Coming up in the sport of figure skating Deneane Richburg had few Black skating role models and fewer Black peers.
Isolated, Richburg said each time she entered an ice arena she felt she had to “check her racial and cultural identity at the door.” With her love for the sport strong, Richburg wanted to introduce more people of color to the almost exclusively white sport of figure skating, thus she founded Brownbody, a nonprofit that fuses figure skating, modern dance and social justice.
“The ice is a natural part of how I exist. I wanted to be able to carve out a space for other Black skaters such as myself,” said Richburg. “(Through Brownbody) we take on the sometimes difficult conversations about Blackness and explore them.”
Richburg will be introducing her sport to new audiences at two separate upcoming events.
Thor Consulting, Thor Design Plus and Falls Agency, are co-hosting a fundraising gathering celebrating Brownbody this Tuesday (Dec. 4) from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at Thor’s Regional Acceleration Center, 1256 Penn Ave. N., Minneapolis. The gathering is free and open to the public, but guests are asked to RSVP (www.events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07efsx7n1vd1e5268f&oseq=&c=&ch=). Richburg will be speaking during the event.
Saturday (Dec. 8) Brownbody presents “Works in Progress,” a free ice-skating and modern dance demonstration. The event takes place at 8:30 p.m. at Pleasant Ice Arena, 848 Pleasant Ave., St. Paul. Joining Richburg are performers Thomasina Petrus, Kevin Washington, Laurie Benson, Amy Berglund, Sarah France, Ruth Gebremedhin and Thom West.