BAM EP 5 Scholars, Dancers, and Choreographers: Dr. Osumare and Dr. Dixon Gottschild

Welcome to Contemporary Black Canvas. I am your host, Dr. Pia Deas. On this episode of Contemporary Black Canvas, we are sharing an audio recording entitled “ It’s A Commitment,” an audio recording. This audio piece features esteemed dance scholars Dr. Halifu Osumare and Dr. Brenda Dixon Gottschild. This is part of a larger, artists’ interview series conceptualized and hosted by Margaret Kemp, an Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance at UC Davis, and produced by Alexander Adams. They were kind and generous enough to ask us to share this  recording with Contemporary Black Canvas to include as part of our Black Arts Movement series. For links to the guests and their work, please check our show notes. Please tune in and enjoy.


Margaret Kemp

Halifu Osumare

Brenda Dixon Gottschild  


Dancing in Blackness

The Africanist Aesthetic in Global Hip Hop

The Black Dancing Body

Black choreographers moving: A national dialogue

Everybody Creative Arts Center

Black Choreography Moving Towards the 21st Century

Digging; The Africanist presence in American performance, dance and other contexts

BAMAA EP 4 Scholar & Activist Abdul Alkalimat

Welcome to Contemporary Black Canvas, I am your host, Dr. Pia Deas. In this episode,  I had the pleasure of speaking with scholar and activist, Abdul Alkalimat. In our conversation today, he begins by discussing how influential his family of activists and scholars were on his early development and his lifelong commitment to the freedom struggle. Our discussion focuses how he, together with Conrad Kent Rivers and Hoyt Fuller, founded the artist’s collective, OBAC, the Organization of Black American Culture in Chicago in 1967. We discuss OBAC’s role in Black Arts Movement and in creating the Wall of Respect mural. The Wall of Respect, a mural of black leaders, changed the tone of Chicago, strengthened its Black community, and inspired a thousands of artists across the country to not only embrace the Black Arts movement but to also create cultural murals in other neighborhoods. The story of OBAC and the Wall of Respect was captured through a combination of essays, and artifacts in his book The Wall of Respect: Public Art and Black Liberation in 1960s Chicago edited by him Robin Crawford and Rebecca Zorach.  Dr.Abdul Alkalimat has been and continues to be a substantial force in the black community. Currently, outside of his long career in academia, he is maintains a variety of digital archives, including one focused a collection of his work and pertinent information related to liberation movements since the 1960’s and the other is a dedication to Malcolm X. Throughout his career, Alkalimat demonstrates the importance of knowledge to freedom and survival. He urges listeners to keep generational records as they are an “important part of our DNA”. To find his work, please check out his website: Malcolm X dedication Site  Abdul Alkalimat archive Wall of Respect Book Africobra Information Henry Box Brown’s Bio William Dawson’s bio Rev. J. H. Jackson’s bio Artist Jeff Donaldson & Africobra Margaret Taylor-Burroughs’ bio

BAM Ep 2: Jae and Wadsworth Jarrell

Welcome to Contemporary Black Canvas, where we celebrate the depth and breadth of the Black artistic and intellectual traditions. I am your host, Dr. Pia Deas, in this episode, we interviewed painter, sculptor, and printmaker Wadsworth Jarrell and fashion designer Jae Jarrell. Their works, contributions and founding of the AFRICOBRA Movement has been inspired by the need to continuously uplift and empower their communities with art that is colorful, joyful, and strong. The Jarrells along with other founding members, Jeff Donaldson, Barbara Jones-Hogu, and Gerald Williams formed the collective in 1968 in Chicago. They believed that their skills could be better put to use by creating art rather than protesting and thus made revolutionary art that instilled pride and possessed a heavy political aesthetic. Jae Jarrells fashion designs which were inspired by the Black Arts Movement and the individuals who would adorn these pieces as they fought for liberation and equality. Likewise, Wadsworth Jarrell’s visual art was inspired by Black leading figures, Black life in Chicago, and jazz. Their artistry taps into their philosophies and principles of creating art that reflected the “electricity of the atmosphere” during the revolutionary movement. From Jae’s early exposure to the arts and design to Wadsworth’s experience in the military, tune into this week’s episode as they take us back in time to 1968 and the start of it all: A moment where political and social issues needed to be addressed through art and the burgeoning of the creation of a new African American school of thought and artistic language to meet the needs of the times.


Art Institute of Chicago

Jeff Donaldson

Barbara Jones- Hogu

Kevin Cole

Gerald Williams

AfriCobra Principles

The Revolutionary Suit

Revolutionary (Angela Davis)

Black Prince  

BAMAA Ep 1: Poet and Press Founder Naomi Long Madgett

I am delighted to welcome you to a new series within the larger Contemporary Black Canvas series. This month in honor of Black history month we are premiering the first two episodes of our new, on-going series, the Black Arts Movement Audio Archive. The Black Arts Movement Audio Archive is the first audio archive of its kind preserves the voices of artists important to the Black Arts Movement and scholars whose emerging work in the field provide us with a deeper understanding of the Black Arts and Black Power Movement. You can find this new series on our website by clicking on the left header “podcast” and then selecting Black Arts Movement Audio Archive. This is an ongoing and developing series and episodes will be released periodically through the next year and beyond.

This week we had the benefit of speaking with Dr. Naomi Long Madgett, esteemed and award-winning Poet, Educator, and senior Editor of the Lotus Press. Dr. Madgett’s career and press coincided with the Black Arts Movement and while her aesthetics do not place her directly within BAM, she is still an important poetic voice whose work defies easy literary  periodization. Born in 1923 she has been blessed to see the genesis of many great eras and wars that influenced her early years & recollections of life. After attending the first high school for African Americans west of the Mississippi, Sumner High School, Dr. Madgett then returned to her home state to complete her college education at Virginia State University. Join us in discussion of her family history, living through world wars, traversing prejudice, and how an intimate relationship with her father strongly shaped her convictions and deep admiration of lan  guage and literature. Learn about the foundations of Dr. Madgett’s affinity for poetry and her steady ascension to prominence in community with fellow poets, writers, and great figures of the African American intellect. Additionally, join us to hear about her friendship with Langston Hughes and the day she met Countee Cullen at his home. Enjoy a dialogue rich in our history and sprinkled with excerpts from Dr. Madgett’s autobiography, Pilgrim Journey.

Click here for more information & to purchase Dr. Madgett’s publications:

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My Lives & How I Lost Them by Christopher Cat in collaboration with Countee Cullen