Court Theatre Will Host BLACK POWER SERIES

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By: Apr. 23, 2024
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 Court Theatre will present the Black Power Series: Invoking the Black Archive. In conjunction with the world premiere of Stokely: The Unfinished Revolution, the Black Power Series is a collection of public talks, artist responses, archival showings, and exhibitions that explore the monumentality of Black contributions to American history and culture. 

The Black Power Series is comprised of three events:

Agora Series: Stokely: The Unfinished Revolution: Thursday, May 23 at Woodson Regional          Library (9525 S Halsted St., Chicago, IL, 60628)

An Evening with Roy Kinsey: A Legacy Project: Thursday, June 6 at the Poetry Foundation (61 W Superior St., Chicago, IL, 60654)

A Presentation by Damon Locks: Past, Present, and Future: Monday, June 10 at Blanc Gallery (4445 S Martin Luther King Dr., Chicago, IL, 60653)

Each event location features an exhibition in conjunction with the Black Power Series. 

Participants include Theodore R. Foster III, PhD; Roy Kinsey; Damon Locks; Faheem Majeed; and Court’s Director of Engagement, Kamilah Rashied. 

“When I think of any art form’s legacy, I think of unfinished business,” shares Director of Engagement and Creative Producer Kamilah Rashied. “How art exists not to solve the problems of this world, but to reflect them. Our work is to interpret this art – to mine it for meaning – right now. This is the compass that has guided our programs for the Black Power Series. Comprised of talks, archival explorations, and artist responses honoring the monumentality of Black creativity, this series conjures counter-narratives that imagine an expansive and liberatory Afrofuture. I can’t wait to share these programs with audiences and be in conversation with them."   

All events in the Black Power Series are free and open to the public. Tickets can be reserved online at CourtTheatre.org or by calling the Box Office at (773) 753-4472. 

The Black Power Series is sponsored in part by the Poetry Foundation, and is programmed in partnership with Blanc Gallery; the Vivian G. Harsh Collection Research Collection at Woodson Regional Library; Chicago Public Library; and the Parrhesia Program for Public Discourse at the University of Chicago. 

Agora Series: Stokely: The Unfinished Revolution

The Agora Series is comprised of public discussions in which thinkers, creatives, and activists share bold ideas and shed light on the lived experiences of Chicagoans today; these discussions connect the ideas on Court’s stage with current events. This installment of the Agora Series complements the world premiere of Stokely: The Unfinished Revolution. 

When articulating how he defined “Black Power”, Stokely Carmichael interpreted it as “a call for Black People in this country to unite, to recognize their heritage and build a sense of community”. Chief among his goals, and that of many of Stokley’s contemporaries, was the establishment of spaces for Black Thought and Black studies – for the present and for posterity. These efforts fostered a spirit of solidarity and bolstered the organizing power of a critically engaged Black America, across a diverse range of liberatory approaches and perspectives. In the second installment of this year’s Agora Series we’ll be in conversation with scholars and artist educators who invoke Black archives to proliferate and preserve the culture today. 

Participants include Theodore R. Foster III, PhD; Roy Kinsey; Damon Locks; Faheem Majeed; and Kamilah Rashied. 

This event is presented in partnership with the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection at Woodson Regional Library, Chicago Public Library, and the Parrhesia Program for Public Discourse at the University of Chicago. Selections from the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection at Woodson Regional Library will be available for public viewing both before and after this event. 

Date:               May 23, 2024

Location:          Woodson Regional Library (9525 S Halsted St., Chicago, IL, 60628)

Doors:             5:00pm

Conversation:   5:30pm

An Evening with Roy Kinsey: A Legacy Project

Chicago native, rapper, and librarian Roy Kinsey credits Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns as a foundational text that has deeply informed his lyricism as an MC. In An Evening with Roy Kinsey: A Legacy Project, an intimate presentation at the Poetry Foundation, Kinsey will share more about the Black storytellers who have been essential to shaping his craft, the urgency of preserving of Black literary culture through rap music, and his history.

Kinsey’s tenth studio album, A Westside Story: A Legacy Project, due fall 2024, firmly focuses on growing up in an ever-changing Chicago. Part listening session, part performance, and part album discussion, An Evening with Roy Kinsey: A Legacy Project gives audience members a rare look behind the veil into Kinsey’s creative process.

This event is sponsored in part by the Poetry Foundation and curated selections from the Poetry Foundation’s special collection will be available for public viewing prior to the event. 

Date:               June 6, 2024

Location:         Poetry Foundation (61 W Superior St., Chicago, IL, 60654)

Doors:             6:30pm

Conversation:   7:00pm

A Special Presentation by Damon Locks: Past, Present, and Future

​​Visual artist, educator, and musician Damon Locks bridges the divide between vintage records; voices of the past; and new, familiar ambient sounds. In his visual work, as much as his work as a music and sound artist, Locks weaves grooves into a sonic loop that collapses time. In celebration of the world premiere of Stokely: The Unfinished Revolution, Damon Locks will share an artist’s response to this new work in conversation with the current exhibition at Blanc Gallery, Frontline Profit: James Baldwin, exploring the parallels between Black history, Black activism, and Black artistry. 

Frontline Prophet: James Baldwin is exhibited at Blanc Gallery from May 25 – June 30. A year-long traveling exhibition featuring the artwork of Detroit-based creative Sabrina Nelson, Frontline consists of more than 40 works on paper and canvas, sketchbooks, installations, and video in celebration of Baldwin’s centennial birthday. These visual and sonic pieces have been culled from the lectures, writings, and social-political themes in Baldwin’s work on critical culture, identity, race, and sexuality. Nelson will collaborate with local visual artists, musical artists, and writers to design dedicated works and programming focused on liberation and justice. Frontline originally opened The Interchurch Center in Harlem in July 2023, and will exhibit in seven cities through August 2024. The exhibition has been co-curated by Ashara Ekundayo and Omo Misha.

This event is sponsored in part by the Poetry Foundation, and is presented in partnership with Blanc Gallery. Frontline Prophet: James Baldwin is available for viewing before and after the event

Date:               June 10, 2024

Location:          Blanc Gallery (4445 S Martin Luther King Dr., Chicago, IL, 60653)

Doors:             6:00pm

Conversation:   6:30pm




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