I spent 3 days at an exclusive ‘zen’ meditation with the RZA

"I spent 3 days at an exclusive ‘zen’ meditation with the RZA"
Campers and Camp TAZO assistants with RZA and Sifu Shi Yan Ming at the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden in Snug Harbor, Staten Island. 
Photo by Daniela Graves

Story originally written and posted by Jaelani Turner-Williams Apr 11, 2020, 8:45 AM

I didn’t expect to be chosen for this year’s Camp TAZO, but the internet had other plans. Last winter was the second iteration of Camp TAZO, a sleepaway camp for adult creatives, which started in March 2019. Hosted by former “Rupaul’s Drag Race” contestant, Alyssa Edwards, 30 campers joined her for a “campfire” theme in Texas during the inaugural Camp TAZO. 

In February 2020, a more exclusive selection of 10 campers were chosen by the TAZO team and multifaceted artist, RZA, from legendary rap group Wu-Tang Clan, for Camp TAZO: Zen. With the camp set to be held in Staten Island, applicants were asked to provide a three-minute visual that RZA and the TAZO team would view.

Though it was likely evident that I was reading from my notes, weeks later, I received a surprise email from TAZO that I was chosen as one of 10 winners. The experience didn’t begin without a helping hand. Performance artist Nicoletta de la Brown was the linchpin between TAZO and the campers, contacting each of us to detail our hopes for the experience. Corresponding with each of us for weeks, Brown asked that we create a presentation regarding our personal ideologies with an emphasis on who we were as creatives.

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