Dancer Stephanie Hewett stands in a broad stance with their arms extended out sideways and their head thrown back. Photo by Robbie Sweeny Photography

B.L.A.C.K. Speaker Series

Brilliant. Lives. Acknowledged. Color. And Knowledge.

A monthly virtual dialogue exploring the uplifting power of Black artistry featuring and led by Black and Brown visionaries.

The B.L.A.C.K. Speaker Series centers Black and Brown voices in lively conversation and candid reflection about the influence, significance, and unique cultural contexts of Black art. Grounded in dance and featuring intersections with artists working in music, spoken word, and visual art, these dialogues examine how performers and creators encounter and engage their blackness in their work.

Dancer, performing arts instructor, and MFA candidate Jazmine Freeman hosts this once-monthly virtual forum, exploring difficult questions and provocative challenges facing Black artists and creators of color today.

Co-sponsored by the Mills Dance Department and the Office of the Provost, the production of this series arose out of an urgent request amongst students in the Mills Dance Department for increased study of the work of Black artists as a means through which to combat systemic racism and anti-blackness in the field.

2020

SEPTEMBER — N. K. Condua

September 25, 2020 

N.K. Condua walks towards the camera looking off to their right. they wear a black T shirt with the words "The Activists" across the chest.N.K. Condua is an artist and educator and Head Coach of the Ebony Flame Dancers, an all Black dance team for young women in Georgia. In addition to providing formal training on technique, style, and choreography, Condua’s teaching practice also focuses on cultivating team building skills and fostering high scholastic achievement. Having trained at the Atlanta Ballet, Condua noticed a lack of representation of Black artists. In this exchange, Condua and host Jazmine Freeman will discuss the importance of access in art and authenticity of expression, particularly as it intersects questions of racial and gender justice. 



OCTOBER — SevanKelee

October 30, 2020 

SevanKelee, in close up, looks out of frame with a ukulele on their shoulder.Hailing from East Palo Alto, this month’s guest SevanKelee Boult is a San Francisco-Bay Area poet and performance artist. Over the past decade, Boult has graced stages from the De Young Museum to Marsh Theater, captivated audiences at Los Angeles’ premiere slam poetry festival, and represented myriad Bay Area slam teams competitively. In 2014, she held the distinction of carrying the Grand Slam Champion title for four different teams simultaneously—San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, and Palo Alto. Her poem, “Cucumber,” has been featured on HBO’s Real Sex since 2000. Boult’s works have probed body image, queerness, and trauma. In this exchange, the artist and host Jazmine Freeman will discuss Boult’s œuvre and the impacts of systemic racism.


NOVEMBER — Stephanie Hewett

November 30, 2020 | 4:30 PM PST

Registration

Sunshine illuminated Steph Hewett's hair and shoulders, wearing a jean jacket and beige top, with a broad smile across their face. Photo by Amina El Kabbany.Movement artist, choreographer, DJ, and music producer Stephanie Hewett, MFA ’17 sits down with host Jazmine Freeman this month to discuss how art and sound can document, convey, and celebrate Black resilience and joy. Originally from the Bronx, New York—formerly the territory of the Indigenous Lenape people—Hewett completed her undergraduate studies in dance from Trinity College before becoming an alum of the Mills College MFA Program in Dance in 2017. Currently, Hewett is in residency with For the Wild, a serial podcast that unearths stories surrounding “land-based protection, co-liberation, and intersectional storytelling.”

About Jazmine Freeman

Jazmine Freeman, standing in an arraty of shadows, smiles looking at the viewer, their hair, dyed red, falling curls around thier face.Trained in ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, and modern and African dance, Jazmine Freeman is a performer and dance instructor from Atlanta, Georgia. Today, Freeman dances with the Mills College Repertory Company in Oakland and the Adinkra Dance Project in Atlanta. Prior to the Bay Area’s shelter-in-place mandate, Freeman also taught students at Oakland’s HEAT Danceline, where she served as the head jazz instructor. Before coming to Mills to pursue a master’s in fine arts in the College’s graduate dance program, Freeman captained the Morehouse College Dance Team, Mahogany N Motion, and completed her BA in Drama & Dance from Spelman College, where she choreographed the Miss Spelman Pageant and the Homecoming Step-Show.