Omari Soulfinger (b. 1986 in Brooklyn, NY) is a performing artist dedicated to creative advocacy. Since 2001, Omari has worked with under served families and their communities in various capacities, including as a classroom teacher, social worker and advocacte. Adjacent to his community work, Omari has performed stand-up comedy, improv, storytelling, puppetry, musical, forum, street theater, mime, clowning, and burlesque.
"Comedy happens when “a strained expectation transforms into nothing”. Through all my performances, I intend to satirize the expectations we have of ourselves and each other. I enjoy the absurdity of the expectations that keep us comfortable and predictable. Are they also oppressive and unrealistic? I am inspired by vulnerability and “cringe” moments. A “cringe” is a somatic fear of experience, fear of self, fear of imperfection and failure. My performances are playful experiments with exaggerated characters and stories that ask funny questions about things that are no joke.
"Performance is a requisite skill to meet the norms of status-quo society. The live experience, physical movement and impermanence of a performance, are ehicles for exploring the strictures of our identities. My practice is influenced heavily by the contributions of "social jokers" that came before me such as Dick Gregory, Josephine Baker, Abbie Hoffman, Situationist International, Melvin Van Peebles, Wavy Gravy, Andy Kaufman, Guerilla Girls, The Yes Men, Anna Deavere Smith, Augusto Boal, and Robin Williams.
Through immersive staging and audience involvement, I remove unseen expectations of the invisible wall and instead build an invisible bridge. An invitation for the audience to co-create an experience. My social work background is vital in creating the space and capacity for this. Practice in relationship building, group work and sparking intrinsic motivation are the backbone of my performances. Overall, I’m asking the audience to find the determination to get involved and re-imagine all of our presumptions about what is possible.”