The Festival of the New Black Imagination is a new platform designed to celebrate the exciting ideas springing forth from 21st century urban cultural producers.
The Festival will explore these new possibilities–what they mean, and where things are headed–through lectures, discussion and performances.
Speakers and Presenters (partial list)
Born in New York City, Howard received his architectural training from Hampton University and Pratt Institute. Howard founded HTDSTUDIO in 2000, which has since become an internationally recognized, research and design based practice with a mission to bring innovative design excellence to architectural, interior, urban and sustainable design projects. He has won several competitions including the Edward Waters College Library in 2004 and Griffintown Horse Palace Competition in 2010. He is a Senior Advisor of Urban Cyberspace Co. in New York, Board Member Emeritus of the West Harlem Group, and is included in the permanent collection of the African American Design Archive at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York City. In addition to numerous projects currently underway, Howard is working with a Detroit non-profit with promoting job creation, sustainability and hyper-local communities.
Dr. Kyra Gaunt-Palmer
Kyra is a 2009 Inaugural TED Fellow, a former CUNY Associate Professor, and author of The Games Black Girls Play (NYU Press, 2006), winner of the 2007 Alan Merriam Prize in ethnomusicology for a book about how musical blackness is learned through girls' musical games and gender roles in the era of hip-hop. She is a prominent voice in the conversation of race/racism and the transformation of higher education. She is also a member of the Festival's Advisory Board. More information on Kyra at KyraocityWorks.com.
A true music icon, Nona Hendryx continues to build on a storied career both as a solo artist and member of the legendary group LaBelle. She recently created the Hopestock “Unfiltered” music series, which features an eclectic mix of artists whose songs touch the heart and rouse the soul. In addition to performing throughout Europe with the Daughters of Soul (Sandra St. Victor, Indira Khan, Lisa Simone, Lalah Hathaway and Joyce Kennedy), Nona continues to push boundaries in her solo performances, by performing in special audio clothing that gives her the freedom to explore non-conventional performance spaces and to merge music, multi-media technology with the environment and art. Nona Hendryx online.
Dr. Nat Irvin II
Dr. Irvin is the Strickler executive in residence and professor of management at the College of Business at the University of Louisville. His groundbreaking demographic research has created new paradigms for the future of African Americans in business and has made traditional stereotypes of black consumers obsolete. Among the profiles of emerging archetypes he has identified are “thrivals,” a new breed of forward-thinking, globally tuned African Americans who bring a “no-limits” approach to doing business. Advertisers and other media use Irvin’s findings to identify new demographic groups and target them with customized messages and opportunities. In 1996, he founded Future Focus 2020, a non-profit think tank dedicated to examining the impact of upcoming, permanent changes in business, social and economic cultures. The organization continues to bring futurist thinking to urban America and minority communities.
Tyehimba Jess’ first book of poetry, leadbelly, was a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. The Library Journal and Black Issues Book Review both named it one of the “Best Poetry Books of 2005.” Jess received a 2004 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and was a 2004-5 Winter Fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. He won a 2000 – 2001 Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Poetry, the 2001 Chicago Sun-Times Poetry Award, and a 2006 Whiting Fellowship. Jess is an Assistant Professor of English at College of Staten Island and a Cave Canem fellow.
Sian Morson is the CEO and founder of Kollective Mobile, a mobile development agency in Oakland, CA. She writes and speaks about technology with an emphasis on mobile development. She holds a BFA from New York University in Film & Television and a MA from Middlesex University in London in Electronic Arts. Sian is also an internationally-exhibited video artist. Her work deals with issues of race, politics and of course, technology.
Visionary Ali Muhammad turns ideas into realities. Through his media brand, 21st Century Hustle, Muhammad has inspired ambitious minds since the dawn of this millenium. For his clients and colleagues, he is an indispensable resource for everything unexpected and innovative in urban culture. After earning a journalism degree from Florida A&M in 1996, Muhammad quickly climbed the corporate ladder at Vibe, first as an intern and finally as Associate Ad Director of Music and Entertainment.Through this post, he developed an influential list of contacts including his mentor and musical icon, Quincy Jones. When Muhammad wasn’t bolstering the Vibe brand and developing relationships in the music, fashion and entertainment industries, he worked as a music supervisor with Rainforest Films, where earned credits on films such as Stomp the Yard; The Gospel; and the cult classics Trois 2: Pandora’s Box and Trois 3:The Escort. Muhammad’s visionary ventures continue with 21hustle.com, the online component of 21st Century Hustle magazine, and Hustlevision a digital production company.
Wangechi Mutu is a Kenyan-born artist who creates and lives in Brooklyn, New York. With a deep investment in the female subject and issues that pertain to the picture of a post-colonial African, Wangechi manages her meta-global dialogues by masterfully unfolding the complexities of gender, culture, and mass media imagery. In Mutu's haunting works, the female body is a primary site of engagement and provocation. Her elegantly horrific figures lurk in a hybrid world, trapped between consciousness and unconsciousness, silences and noises, life and death, real and unreal. The artist's signature aesthetic severs and blends a multitude of sources: medical diagrams, glossy magazines, anthropological and botanical texts, pornographic materials and traditional African arts, travel postcards, and mechanical and hunting publications. Mutu was the recipient of Deutsche Bank’s first Artist of the Year award (2010). She has exhibited at major institutions worldwide and her work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art; The Studio Museum in Harlem; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NY; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Blanton Museum, Austin, TX; The Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art; and Tate Modern and Saatchi Gallery in London. Visit her Website wangechimutu.com for more information on this artist.
Toure is a novelist, essayist, music journalist, cultural critic, and television personality. He is the host of Fuse's Hiphop Shop and On The Record. He is also a contributor to MSNBC's The Dylan Ratigan Show, serves on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominating Committee, and is a member of the Adjunct Faculty of the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. Touré has written three books: The Portable Promised Land (2003), Soul City (2004), and Never Drank the Kool-Aid (2006). In September 2011 Free Press will publish Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?, a look at modern Black identity.
Vernon Reid, the co-founder of the Black Rock Coalition and founder of double-platinum selling and Grammy Award-winning group Living Colour, is known for his rampant musical eclecticism, having played with artists as diverse stylistically as Mariah Carey and Public Enemy to Mick Jagger and jazz guitarists Bill Frisell.
Though he is making a name for himself as the bandleader for experimental jazz/funk/soul orchestra Burnt Sugar, many got to know Greg Tate from his role as Staff Writer at The Village Voice from 1987–2003. In fact, he was recently acknowledged by The Source magazine as one of the "Godfathers of Hiphop Journalism" for his groundbreaking work on the genre’s social, political, economic and cultural implications in the period when most pundits considered it a fad. His writings on culture and politics have also been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Artforum, Rolling Stone, VIBE, Premiere, Essence, Suede, The Wire, One World, Downbeat, and JazzTimes. His published interviews include dialogues with Miles Davis, George Clinton, Richard Pryor, Carlos Santana, Lenny Kravitz, Erykah Badu, Joni Mitchell, Lisa Bonet, Samuel R Delany, Ice Cube, Betty Carter, King Sunny Ade, to name only a few. Tate has also written for the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum, ICA Boston, ICA London, Museum of Contemporary Art Houston, The Studio Museum In Harlem, The Gagosian Gallery, Deitch Projects and the Tate Museums London and Liverpool. His writing about visual art includes monographs and essays about Chris Ofili. Wangechi Mutu, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ellen Gallagher, Kehinde Wiley and Ramm El Zee. His books include Everything But The Burden: What White People Are Taking From Black Culture (Harlem Moon/Random House, 2003), Midnight Lightning: Jimi Hendrix and The Black Experience (Acapella/Lawrence Hill, 2003); Flyboy In The Buttermilk: Essays on American Culture (Simon and Shuster, 1993). Next year Duke University Press will publish Flyboy 2:The Greg Tate Reader. He recently completed The 100 Best Hiphop Lyrics for Penguin and is now working on a book about the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, for Riverhead Press. More info on Burnt Sugar is here.
When & Where
New Black Imagination Festival
A platform for progressive black culture