Tip of Her Tongue: Martine Syms "Misdirected Kiss"

Thursday, Jan 21, 2016
8:00 p.m.
The Oculus Hall at The Broad
Tickets SOLD OUT


Martine Syms is a conceptual entrepreneur based in Los Angeles who uses publishing, video, and performance to look at the making and reception of meaning in contemporary America. Misdirected Kiss is a performative lecture that tells a story about language, movement, and performance as observed in black female entertainers. Inspired by the curriculum of Maxine Powell, director of the in-house finishing school at Motown Records in the 1960s who thought that “class and style and refinement” would help her race become outstanding, this performance is a visual essay that traces how we construct and stage ourselves for the world. As artist Gordon Hall once said, "Politics is something you do with your body." 

The title Misdirected Kiss is drawn from a set of silent films in which white men accidentally kiss their black maids instead of their white lovers. This illicit contact typically takes place in between public and private space where vision is obscured. Syms uses this as a starting point to think through the ways that everybody wants to be a black woman, but nobody wants to be a black woman. Syms states, “I'm thinking about Kim Kardashian, LaVerne Cox, Michelle Obama, and Beyoncé. But also myself, my best friend, my sister, my mother, my aunty, and my grandma."


Watch Martine Sym's The Mundane Afrofuturist Manifesto on KCET



About Tip of Her Tongue

“The Broad To Go” and "The Broad on the Go!" art kits were created so that kids could be creative and experience The Broad from home. The first art kits were delivered in 2020 so that families could get much-needed art supplies while school buildings were closed.

Inspired by Broad collection artists, each art kit contains art supplies, a journal, free museum passes, and art activities in English and Spanish that help develop critical thinking skills.


The Broad is proud to partner with Touch Art Supply and community organizations that are vital to families in Los Angeles and for advancing arts education.

Learn more about our community partners: 826 LA, Arts in Action, Cruzita’sGreetings from South Central, Hank’s Mini Market, Inner City ArtsLos Angeles Music and Art Schoolthe Los Angeles Public Library, Salesian Family Youth Center of Los AngelesSchool on WheelsSelf Help & Graphics Art, and South LA Café.


Special thanks to leading partner East West Bank
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