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Brooklyn, NY

NYC: Festival of the New Black Imagination


Long Island University
1 University Plaza
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The Festival of the New Black Imagination (http://nbifestival.org) announces its first event on Saturday, October 15, 2011.  It marks the launch of a new forum for progressive, forward-looking black cultural creators whose goal is to inspire the audience with examples and stories from creators, curators and thinkers from the African diaspora who are defying convention and are redefining what it means to be black in the 21st century. Visual artists Sanford Biggers and Wangechi Mutu, cultural critic Greg Tate, author and TV personality Toure, music icon Vernon Reid, celebrated poet Tyehimba Jess, futurist Dr. Nat Irvin II, and others share their personal visions, passions and projects at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus (1 University Plaza) in Zeckendorf Health Sciences Center, Room 107.  The entrance is on Dekalb Avenue at Hudson Street.  The event will take place from 10AM – 5PM. Admission is $10 to the conference until October 1, and $15 thereafter.  Seating is limited.

There will be an Festival afterparty at Water Street Lounge (66 Water Street in DUMBO) beginning at 8PM, featuring performances by several black alternative artists including Dope Sagittarius, Imani Uzuri, Tamar-Kali, No Surrender, Saidah Baba Talibah. DJ Reborn will spin throughout.  Afterparty tickets are $15 until October 1 and $20 thereafter.

A crowd-sourced fundraising drive is underway through Saturday, October 8 at http://www.indiegogo.com/nbifestival11.

“I’ve been interested in black creative expression that counters the limited narratives that tend to end up as lazy shorthand for black authenticity in mainstream culture,” says Festival founder and chief curator, Rob Fields. “A festival seemed to be the best way to highlight the diverse preoccupations, interests and ideas that have always been present in black culture, but are often overlooked or ignored.”

The daytime portion of the Festival is organized into a series of talks and discussions, The audience will hear writers, poets, visual artists, filmmakers entrepreneurs, and other creators and curators expound on the things they care about, as well as offer their take on provocative or pressing topics of the day.  A full list of participants includes:

  • Sanford Biggers, celebrated visual artist
  • A. Sayeeda Clarke, filmmaker
  • Dope Sagittarius, electro/hip hop/punk assault team
  • Marcus Dowling, music journalist and cultural critic
  • Howard Duffy, architect, designer and Principal, HTD Studio
  • Dr. Nat Irvin II, noted futurist and professor at University of Louisville College of Business
  • Tyehimba Jess, award-winning poet
  • DJ 2-Tone Jones, producer of Shaolin Jazz: The 37th Chamber
  • Dominique Morisseau, playwright
  • Sian Morson, CEO, Kollective Mobile
  • Wangechi Mutu, celebrated visual artist
  • Tambay Obenson, Founder of the indiewire film blog, Shadow And Act
  • No Surrender, downtown alt hip hop stalwarts
  • Saidah Baba Talibah, Canadian rock n soul songstress
  • Tamar-kali, singer/songwriter, hardcore warrior soul goddess
  • Toure, music journalist, cultural critic and TV personality
  • DJ Reborn, noted DJ and musicologist
  • Vernon Reid, Grammy Award-winning guitarist of Living Colour
  • Greg Tate, journalist, cultural critic, co-founder of the Black Rock Coaltion, and bandleader
  • Imani Uzuri, vocalist and composer
  • Gerald Watson, lifestyle marketing consultant and producer of Shaolin Jazz: The 37th Chamber
  • Elon James White, comedian and creator, ThisWeekInBlackness.com

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