Avery D. Wilson’s mission is to help the people in his life stomp out the negative by affirming the positive.
And he’ll be able to expand this mission when lots of people come together Sunday, April 24, to interact in the A-8 Experience: A Performance Art Showcase at Independence Park Theatre.
“This is more than just a performance — it’s interactive for the audience from the time they get out of their car in the parking lot to the end of the show,” Wilson says. “I want them to experience what we’re doing and walk making affirmations for themselves.”
“A-8” refers to eight affirmations Wilson is addressing in his bid for the Mr. United States title in May. He established and branded the Avery D. Wilson Foundation upon announcing his pageant candidacy in February to spread his message.
Wilson has dedicated his foundation to serving communities in need through creative art experiences. Now he’s using his talent and experience as a dancer, choreographer, competitor and dance and cheerleading school owner to stage a performing arts showcase to promote his message, addressing such issues as racism, sexism and equality and replacing them with positive affirmations.
“I tell my mother all the time to speak your faith, not your feelings,” Wilson says. “If you replace your negative feelings by stating the things you want in life — the things you want to achieve — the positive will become a reality.”
The performance lineup will include Avery, who will give a preview of the dance and spoken word piece he’ll perform at the Mr. United States Pageant. He’ll be joined by Jill Rucci’s 8&1 Dance Company and TMJ Dance Project, both of Dallas; dancers from Baton Rouge’s Tokyo the Academy; Atlanta actress Shanna Marie Burris; poets Brandon L. Jackson, of Dallas, and Michal Graves, of Baton Rouge; dance soloists Alyseia Darby, of Atlanta, and Roxi Victorian, of Baton Rouge; and Vibe Element singer Cozy Gage Jr., of Baton Rouge.
Wilson is affiliated with all the performers through his dance and acting background and his dance school ownerships in Baton Rouge and Atlanta. He’s since relinquished ownership of the two schools to focus on the pageant and his foundation.
He will leave Baton Rouge for New York on May 4 to compete in the three-day pageant, which begins May 6. He’s also maintaining his social media campaign, #LoveMatters, which ranks first in the required social media category going into the pageant.
And though the pageant will not be televised, fans can tune into the action through Wilson’s Snapchat account, AveryDWilson, which will be streaming the action live.
In the meantime, Wilson will use the showcase to introduce his brand through art, raise awareness for the visual and performing arts in the greater Baton Rouge community, generate financial support for his organization’s overall programming efforts and raise money for scholarships for students in the field of performance art and academia based on scholastic achievement, artistic talent and financial need.
Proceeds from the performance also will benefit his foundation and his Mr. United States bid.
“More than ever before, artists must responsibly speak of the times in which he/she lives, and must be compelled to honor his/her truth with an expectation to push society forward,” Wilson says. “The A-8 Experience will surely be a spectacle of inspiration and entertainment for the entire family.”
Follow Robin Miller on Twitter, @rmillerbr.