NYU Africana Studies Program and Institute of African-American Affairs presents Black Aesthetics 2001

A semester-length program featuring influential performers, creators, and scholars, Black Aesthetics 2001 will contribute to the celebration, in-depth critical analysis, and discussion of the current state of aesthetics from cultures of the African Diaspora. With events from September through December, Black Aesthetics 2001 addresses the full range of artistic expression and inquiry, including musical performances, panels for visual and performance artists to present and discuss their work, and a special focus series on life and culture in Mali. All programs are free to the public, and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

The program is divided into two series:

• Black Aesthetics 2001 Discussion Series
• Between Tradition and Modernity: Mali in Perspective

The aesthetic impulse is as old as humanity itself, and Africa, as the birthplace of humanity, has had its own part in shaping the human reality of aesthetics. Through the trans-Atlantic slave trade, African aesthetics were exported into the Western Hemisphere and into the world as a whole. Over one hundred years after the abolition of slavery in the Americas, and over forty years since the advent of contemporary African independence, African aesthetics are alive, well, and continually developing and evolving. Trail-blazing experimental techniques and processes were developed by the cultural activities of liberation movements, whether in exile or at home. The flowering of cultures of resistance and affirmation in the international Diaspora had a revolutionary influence on global expressive culture. In countries like Nigeria, Angola, Jamaica, Senegal, Cuba, Trinidad, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Brazil, and the United States, new concepts in literature, music, cinema, sculpture, and painting developed. From 1960 onwards, these concepts progressed to the degree where they are now a touchstone and reservoir for world culture.

Monday, October 15, 6:30pm
New Developments in Visual Arts
NYU Institute of African-American Affairs
269 Mercer St., Rm. 601
Panelists include Chakaia Booker, Abdoulaye Ndoye, Ben Jones, Emilio Cruz
Moderator: Historian and Independent Curator, Helen Shannon

Monday, October 22nd, 6:30pm
New Developments in Dance
NYU Institute of African-American Affairs
269 Mercer St., Rm. 601
Panelists include Dionne Kamara, Blondell Cummings, Sarita Allen, Dean Moss
Moderator: Dance Critic, Zita Allen

Monday, November 19th, 6:30pm
Series Overview: Black Aesthetics in Theory and Practice
NYU Institute of African-American Affairs
269 Mercer St., Rm. 601
Poet Keorapetse Kgositsile will read from his poetry, sculptor Melvin Edwards will show examples of his art, and the two will have a conversation with writer/historian Robin D.G. Kelley

The Photography of Malick Sidibé
To the youth in Bamako, Malick Sidibé was the James Brown of photography: the godfather whose themes described the total energy of the time. His photographs enable us to revisit the youth culture of the 1960s as it flowered in Bamako, showing exactly how the young people in Bamako had embraced rock and roll as a liberation movement, adopted the consumer habits of an international youth culture, and developed a rebellious attitude towards all forms of established authority. To say that Bamako’s youth is on the same page as the youth in London and Paris in the 1960s and 1970s was also to acknowledge Malick Sidibé’s role in shaping and expanding that culture. Inasmuch as today there is a desire to go back to the music and film of the 1960s and 1970s in order to give a meaning to that culture, we can also go back to his photographs to gain access to the style, vibrancy, and ethos of those times in Africa. Sidibé’s photographs will be on display in the Institute through the semester.

An Evening with Malick Sidibé
October 1st, 6:30pm
Africana Studies Program
269 Mercer, Room 601

From the Mouth of the Crocodile: Fall, 2001 Artist-in-Residence, Habib Koité
Habib Koité comes from a noble line of Khassonké griots, and his music draws upon the rich traditions of Mali as well as contemporary styles from other world cultures. He studied music for four years at the National Institute of Arts (NIA) in Bamako, through which he had the opportunity to work and play with a line-up of notable Malian musicians including Oumou Sangare and Toumani Diabaté. In 1988, Koité formed his own band, Bamada, which toured extensively throughout Mali. Winning first prize at the Perpignan Voxpole Festival in 1991 afforded him the chance to record the hugely successful single “Cigarette A Bana,” which scored a major hit throughout West Africa. Following the release of his next single “Nanale,” Koité was awarded the prestigious Discovery of 1993: Media-Adami Award by Radio France International (RFl). His album “Muso Ko” went straight to the top of the European World Music Charts, and was followed by the hugely successful “Ma-Ya,” which spent an unprecedented 3 months at the top of the World Music Charts Europe. Koité’s newest album, “Baro” has just been released in the US by Putumayo records, and features Mali’s king of the balafon, Kélétigui Diabaté.

From Roots to Records: A Conversation with Habib Koité and Professor Michael Veal, Yale University
October 4th, 7pm
Main Building
100 Washington Square East
Room 703

Music of the Diaspora: Habib Koité Performs with the Firespitters Band
October 5th, 7pm
Main Building
100 Washington Square East
Hemmerdinger Hall
Ground Floor

The Films of Souleymane Cissé
Reknowned filmmaker Souleymane Cissé will visit the NYU campus to present and discuss three of his most famous films. Winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s Jury Prize in 1987, Cissé’s critically acclaimed films have helped to define contemporary African film as one of the most dynamic and visually stunning traditions in the world. A leading spokesperson for African cinema as an expression of cultural autonomy, Cissé began his film career as a projectionist after Mali gained its independence in 1960. In 1963 he received the first of several scholarships to study cinema in the Soviet Union at the State Institute of Cinema (VGIK), and after returning home in 1969, he made newsreels and documentaries for the Mali State Information Service. He released his first work of fiction in 1972, and 1987, he directed, wrote, and produced Yeelen, the mythic story of a power struggle between two magicians, hailed as “the best African film ever made.”

November 9th, 6:30 pm
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Film Center
36 East Eighth Street

Finyé (The Wind)
November 10th, 6:30 pm
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Film Center
36 East Eighth Street

November 11th, 6:30 pm
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Film Center
36 East Eighth Street

Older Events

Slave Routes: The Long Memory, Fall 1999
Yari Yari: Black Women Writers and the Future, Fall 1997
Frantz Fanon Conference, Fall 1996
Pan-African Film Festival & Conference, Fall 1994

Lectures/Lecture Series
Black Genius Lecture Series, Spring 1997
Featured speakers: Farai Chideya, Stanley Crouch, George Curry, Angela Davis, Joycelyn Elders, bell hooks, Spike Lee, Haki Madhubuti, Julianne Malveaux, Walter Mosley, Randall Robinson, Anna Deavere Smith, Melvin Van Peebles

Black Thought in Progress, 1995-1999
Featured speakers: Patricia Hill-Collins, Angela Davis, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Paul Gilroy, Farah Griffin, Stuart Hall, George Lipsitz

Africana Social Science Lecture Series on Africa & Development, 1998-2000
France in Africa/Africa in France Series, 1998-1999
Tahar Ben Jelloun, Elikia M’Bokolo, Henri Lopes, Maryse Conde, Tierno Monemembo

New Voices in Black Studies, Fall 1998
Derrick Bell, Peggy Cooper Davis, Manthia Diawara, Steven Gregory, Robin D.G. Kelley, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Robert Stam, Clyde Taylor

Praying at Different Altars: Putting the Spirit in Daily Life, Spring 1999
Thulani Davis, Michael Eric Dyson, Dorothy Desir-Davis, Marcia L. Dyson, Amir Al-Islam

Toussaint L’Ouverture, Fall 1998
Bennet Guillory, Patricia Benoit, Alex Dupuy, Edward Glissant, Danny Glover, E. Francis White, Robin D.G. Kelley

Border Raids & Treaties of the Heart: A Reading, Fall 1998
Junot Diaz, Cornelius Eady, Kimiko Hahn, Thulani Davis

Who’s Representing Whom?, Fall 1998
Hazel Carby, Lisa Duggan, Tricia Rose, John Kuo Wei Tchen, Thulani Davis

Rethinking Area and Ethnic Studies, Spring 1998
Ben Lee, Manthia Diawara, John Kuo Wei Tchen, Leo Lee, Lila Abu-Lughod, Doris Sommer, Craig Calhoun, George Yudice

Jayne Cortez, Spring 2000
Danny Glover, Fall 1998
Amiri Baraka, Fall 1997
Anna Deavere Smith, 1996-1997
Walter Mosley, 1995-1996

Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence
Wole Soyinka, Spring 1999