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Celebrating Black History at Emerson and Beyond

Celebrating Black History Month in block letters over black, green, yellow, and red color panels

February is Black History Month, and Emerson is hosting several events that celebrate, empower, and uplift Black creativity and the Black experience. Here’s a list of events with Emerson connections, and a few external events we couldn’t resist sharing.

Note: Not all listings are intended as Black History Month events. Check back throughout the month for additions.

Radical Self Love

MFA candidate Porsha Olayiwola ’22, Boston’s poet laureate, is giving a virtual presentation, Radical Self Love, as part of Fitchburg State University’s celebration of Black History Month on Tuesday, February 1, 6:30 pm. Olayiwola will use writings from Nikki Giovanni, Toni Morrison, Kendrick Lamar, and more in a writing workshop “that seeks to establish a safe space within ourselves and use radical self-love to explore art…” Please register for this virtual event.

Firewater Poetics

Firewater Poetics is a monthly open mic series sponsored by the Elma Lewis Center. Zenaida Peterson and MC Letta Neely will be the featured performers on Wednesday, February 2, 6:00-8:00 pm. There are a few in-person spots; if you’re interested please call 617-824-8526. The link for this event is:

BCE Conference 2022: Getting a Seat at the Table

This year’s hybrid Business of Creative Enterprises Conference looks at the legacy of exclusion within the creative industries, and focuses on how historically disenfranchised groups working in the arts, entertainment, fashion, and other creative fields can “be in the room where it happens”

“(dis)enfranchisement: Getting a Seat at the Table” opens Saturday, February 5, at Emerson Los Angeles and online, with keynote speaker Michael Traylor, associate general counsel at Meta. Throughout the day, industry experts, artists, and thought leaders will share insights in panels focusing on the cannabis industry, talent management, and the streaming world.

The following Saturday, February 12, in Boston and online, the conference continues with keynote speaker Christina Norman, head of content for the National Basketball Players Association. Panels will explore Street Art for Social Change, Crypto, Independent Music Artists. Please register for all BCE Conference 2022 events.

Black Networking Event

Connect with Black alumni, staff, and faculty here at Emerson! EBONI is hosting an event Tuesday, February 8, 8:00-9:00 pm, for students to learn about the resources available to Black students and network with some alumni, who will answer your questions. Join via EmConnect

What Is Black Creativity?

This event, co-sponsored by Boston Center for the Arts and Castle of Our Skins, a Black Student Union Fellowship comprised of students from Longy School of Music, New England Conservatory, and Boston Conservatory at Berklee, seeks to answer the event’s question while “showcasing the breadth, depth, and ever expansive world of Black artistry” with music by numerous performers. It’s happening Saturday, February 12, 8:00-10:00 pm, at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. All patrons must present proof of vaccination for COVID to enter theatre. This is a free event, but registration is requested.

Black Women in Radio

On Thursday, February 17, 5:30 pm EST, several alumni will participate in an online discussion about Black women in radio hosted by the EBONI Alumni Association. This virtual event will be moderated by D. Simpson ’94, general manager of WERS, and actress Chrystee Pharris ’98.

Scheduled panelists include New York DJ and radio mogul Cherry Martinez ’97; producer, voice actor, and the next host of Emerson’s Making It Big in 30 Minutes podcast, Georgette Pierre, MA ’09; WERS traffic coordinator Ashley Lindsay ’12; and voice over artist and media consultant Leigh Hamilton ’76. Register on Eventbrite!

Senseless Smoke Screening and Talkback

Teen Empowerment‘s original film, Senseless Smoke, was developed by and based on the true experiences of Boston youth. The film explores systemic issues youth navigate, and offers their visions for making positive lasting change to build an equitable world, and the Elma Lewis Center, along with Intercultural Student Affairs and the Engagement Lab, are bringing it to you on Thursday, February 24, 6:00-8:30 pm, in the Student Performance Center (Little Building).

Senseless Smoke invites you into their message for peace through their own words, music, experiences, and realities. A talkback and discussion with some Teen Empowerment actors will follow the screening.

Celebrate Black History Month with the Museum of African American History

The Museum of African American History has several exhibits including, “Birthplace of the Boston Abolitionist Movement” and “Jazz Scene in Boston: Telling the Local Story”. Please contact the museum for update COVID-19 restrictions.

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