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California African American Museum

600 State Drive

Los Angeles, CA 90037

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Keynote Address & Panel featuring Bryonn Bain, with Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro, Jody Armour, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, and Brent Blair

Opening Poetry Invocation: Father Amde Hamilton

The Institute for Theatre and Social Change (ITSC) at the USC School of Dramatic Arts, in partnership with Roski School of Art and Design and the California African American Museum, is launching its 2018 conference with a keynote panel featuring Bryonn Bain (Lyrics from Lockdown), Patrisse Khan-Cullors (When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir), Jody Armour (Negrophobia and Reasonable Racism: The Hidden Costs of Being Black in America) and Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro (Intersectionality: An Intellectual History) to address the issue of the role of radical art in an era of alternative truth.

This conference is investigating the role of transformational fiction when false narratives are becoming the daily weapon of dominant culture. Theatre of the Oppressed founder Augusto Boal’s work provides an ethical framework for shaping this social, political, and therapeutic dialogue about the usefulness of art as, in his words, “a rehearsal for the revolution.” Speaking to this theme in 2007, Boal noted: “We are in a war of images, and the oppressors are winning.”

Radical Fictions can interrogate, disrupt, and critically reframe dominant false cultural norms and narratives, particularly about race, class, gender, nationality, and the basic identity of people at the margins of power. Keynote speaker Bryonn Bain and the panel collectively address the question, “What more is needed from artists, activists, and academics in this period of oppressive fiction?”

Opening poetry invocation by Amde Hamilton, co-founder of the Watts Prophets.


Bryonn Bain

Bryonn Bain is Brooklyn's own prison activist, actor, hip hop theater innovator and spoken word poetry champion. Wrongfully incarcerated during his second year at Harvard Law, Bain was featured on 60 Minutes after writing Walking While Black: The Bill of Rights for Black Men -- which received the largest reader response in the history of The Village Voice. Described by Cornel West as an artist who "…speaks his truth with a power we desperately need to hear," Bain's work as a BET host won awards for the critically acclaimed talk show My Two Cents. Bain's second book, THE UGLY SIDE OF BEAUTIFUL: Rethinking Race and Prisons in America is published by Third World Press with a foreword by Mumia Abu Jamal and introduction by Lani Guinier. A Visiting Lecturer in the Dramatic Arts at Harvard University, Bain has taught groundbreaking courses on hip hop, spoken word and the prison crisis at Rikers Island prison, NYU, Columbia University, Long Island University's Brooklyn Campus, The New School University and Boys Town Detention Center. Executive Produced by Gina and Harry Belafonte, LYRICS FROM LOCKDOWN is the multimedia, hip hop theater production based on Bain's experience of wrongful imprisonment. Including letters and lyrics from a fellow poet and former L.A. gang member sentenced to Death Row at 17, LYRICS has sold out on three continents worldwide and received extraordinary reviews: www.LyricsfromLockdown.com

Patrisse Khan-Cullors

Artist, organizer, scholar, and public speaker, Patrisse Cullors, is a Los Angeles native and Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter, an online forum that builds connections between Black people and allies to fight anti- Black racism, to spark dialogue, and create connections that encourage social action.

At the age of 16, Patrisse discovered herself and her passion for helping young queer women who were dealing with the challenges of poverty and being a person of color in a white-American dominant country after witnessing loved ones experience hate and brutality. In 2013, Patrisse co-founded the global movement of #BlackLivesMatter which has since grown to an international organization with dozens of chapters and world-wide activists fighting anti-Black racism. She produced and directed a series of theatrical pieces titled POWER: From the Mouths of the Occupied.

Patrisse has been honored with various awards including: The Sydney Peace Prize Award (2017), Black Woman of the Year Award (2015) from The National Congress of Black Women, Civil Rights Leader for the 21st Century Award (2015) from the Los Angeles Times, Community Change Agent Award (2016) from BLACK GIRLS ROCK!, Inc., Women of the Year Award for the Justice Seekers Award (2016) from Glamour, and ESSENCE’ first-ever Woke Award.

Patrisse seeks to educate and empower individuals on community issues around anti-Black racism and violence to promote change for a better tomorrow.

Jody David Armour

Jody David Armour is the Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law at the University of Southern California. He has been a member of the faculty since 1995. Armour’s expertise ranges from personal injury claims to claims about the relationship between racial justice, criminal justice, and the rule of law. Armour studies the intersection of race and legal decision making as well as torts and tort reform movements.

A widely published scholar and popular lecturer, Armour is a Soros Justice Senior Fellow of The Open Society Institute’s Center on Crime, Communities and Culture. He has published articles in Stanford Law Review, California Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review, Boston College Law Review, Southern California Review of Law and Women's Studies, University of Colorado Law Review, University of Pittsburgh Law Review, Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, Southwestern University Law Review, and Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law. His book Negrophobia and Reasonable Racism: The Hidden Costs of Being Black in America (New York University Press) addresses three core concerns of the Black Lives Matter movement—namely, racial profiling police brutality, and mass incarceration. He has recently completed a second book that examines law, language, and moral luck in the criminal justice system. Armour often appears as a legal analyst on NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, KPCC, KCRW, and a variety of other television and radio news programs. At the request of the US Department of State and European Embassies, Professor Armour has toured major universities in Europe to speak about social justice as well as Hip Hop culture and the law. His work on the intersection of these topicsgrew into a unique interdisciplinary and multimedia analysis of social justice and linguistics, titled Race, Rap and Redemption, produced by USC alumna J. M. Morris, and featuring performance by Ice Cube, Mayda del Valle, Saul Williams, Lula Washington Dance Theatre, Macy Gray Music Academy Orchestra, and Mailon Rivera.

Armour earned his AB degree in Sociology at Harvard University and his JD degree with honors from Boalt Hall Law School at UC Berkeley. Prior to joining USC, he was an associate at Morrison & Foerster, Kirkpatrick and Lockhart and taught at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall, Indiana University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Armour currently teaches students a diverse array of subjects, including Criminal Law, Torts, and Stereotypes and Prejudice: The Role of the Cognitive Unconscious in the Rule of Law.

Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro

Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro is a tenured professor and chair of Gender Studies at the University of Southern California and a globally recognized scholar of intersectionality theory, the world's leading analytical framework for analyzing and resolving inequality. She has written numerous articles and three books on the intersections of categories of difference like race, gender, class, sexuality and citizenship and their impact on policy: the award-winning The Politics of Disgust and the Public Identity of the “Welfare

Queen,” (2004), Solidarity Politics for Millennials: A Guide to Ending the Oppression Olympics (2011) and Intersectionality: An Intellectual History (2016). The applied forms of her research focuses on diverse donors in philanthropy, partnerships between funders and nonprofits for social change, and cross-sector training of leaders to implement intersectionality.

In 1993, under the mentorship of NBA Hall of Famer Tom “Satch” Sanders, Hancock Alfaro conducted the original survey research and designed the business model for the Women’s National Basketball Association. The only women’s professional basketball league to succeed in the United States, the WNBA began its 21st season in May 2017. Her recent collaborative work includes service on the Board of the Liberty Hill Foundation and work with both Hispanas Organized for Political Empowerment (HOPE) and the Los Angeles African American Women’s Public Policy Institute (LAAAWPPI). She sits on four boards: the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU SoCal), Community Partners, LAAWPPI, and Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Political Empowerment (SCOPE-LA).

Today Dr. Hancock Alfaro is also Founder of RISIST, the Research Institute for the Study of Intersectionality and Social Transformation, a new online certification and collaboration platform. RISIST is a cooperative social enterprise that consults with organizations seeking to apply intersectionality to the challenges they face in analyzing interlocking systems of inequality and transforming their organizations into ones that “walk the walk” in their recruitment, leadership development and retention policies. RISIST consolidates 15 years of work done by Dr. Hancock Alfaro across the country to consult with and train individuals, groups and organizations in intersectionality.

Brent Blair

Brent Blair joined the USC faculty in 1994 and is the current head of the USC/SDA Theatre & Social Change program where he founded an MA in Applied Theatre Arts (2010-2014), and has created numerous undergraduate courses and a minor in Applied Theatre Arts focusing on the areas of therapy, education, and social change. He has designed community-based projects and professional development training programs in liberation arts both locally, nationally, and around the world. A designated Linklater voice teacher, he trained in Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) with the late Augusto Boal from 1996 until his death in 2009.

A trained therapist, he gained his PhD in Depth and Community-based Psychology and began doing research using the tools of TO in post-traumatic settings. His writings and methodology known as The Museum of the Unspeakable has been used in Rwanda, Afghanistan, Iran, Spain, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, the Netherlands, and India. In 2013 he led an intensive Liberation Arts training workshop for widows and survivors of war in Kabul, Afghanistan, and in 2014 he co-created community-based projects exploring the role of Ukrainians during the Maidan uprising.

Dr. Blair is on the board of the Jana Sanskriti International Research and Resource Institute in Kolkata, India, and has been training the Global Leadership Fellows of the World Economic Forum in Theatre of the Oppressed for the past nine years through a collaboration with Columbia University. Founder of the USC Institute for Theatre and Social Change, he is currently engaged with local communities exploring artistic resistance in anti-democratic cultures, particularly focused on the period following the 2016 elections in the U.S.

Father Amde Hamilton

Father Amde is a co-founder of the legendary Watts Prophets, a group of musicians and poets from Watts, California, United States. Like their contemporaries The Last Poets, the group combined elements of jazz music and spoken-word performance, making the trio one that is often seen as a forerunner of contemporary hip-hop music. Formed in 1967, the group comprised Richard Dedeaux, Father Amde Hamilton (born Anthony Hamilton), and Otis O'Solomon (also billed as Otis O'Solomon Smith).

Hamilton, O'Solomon, and Dedeaux first met and collaborated at the Watts Writers Workshop, an organization created by Budd Schulberg in the wake of the Watts Riots, as the Civil Rights Movement was beginning to take a new cultural turn. Fusing music with jazz and funk roots, and rapid-fire, spoken-word poetry, they created a sound that gave them a considerable following.

Amde Hamilton, who is a priest of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, can be seen performing a spoken-word piece at the 1981 funeral service of Bob Marley in Jamaica in the 1982 film Land of Look Behind. Hamilton was the third American to be ordained as a priest of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

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California African American Museum

600 State Drive

Los Angeles, CA 90037

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