A Virtual Conversation with Co-creators and Scholars
Thursday, November 19, 2020 | 6:00 – 7:00 PM (EST)
Join the film's contributors co-Director Kwasi Fordjour, producer/songwriter MELO-X, co-writer Clover Hope along with musician/scholar Dr. Jason King, ethnomusicologist Dr. Fredara Mareva Hadley and Center for Black Visual Culture program director Dr. Joan Morgan as they discuss the creative process and cultural impact of this diasporic project. Moderated by Rujeko Hockley, assistant curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Co-Sponsored with Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, Department of Photography & Imaging at
NYU Tisch School of the Arts, NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts and 370J Project
Kwasi Fordjour is a creative director at Beyoncé’s entertainment and management company Parkwood Entertainment and co-director of Black Is King. After pivoting from music management to creative direction, Fordjour has worked at Parkwood for nearly a decade, moving up the ranks to become creative director. In his time there, Fordjour has worked on everything from artist development of label signees, magazines, many marketing campaigns, fashion design, A&R, experiential art installations, album art of multiple albums including The Lion King: The Gift and Everything is Love, through to choreography on singles such as Grown Woman and Drunk In Love. He also wrote and creative directed R&B duo Chloe x Halle’s recent short film, The Kids Are Alright.
Fredara Mareva Hadley, Ph.D. is an ethnomusicology professor at The Juilliard School. She specializes in researching, writing, and teaching African American music. Committed to sharing knowledge about black music by any means possible, Dr. Hadley has been published in academic journals and outlets including Billboard and PBS. She's presented her research topics at universities at conferences both domestic and abroad. Her commentary is featured in projects including the BBC documentary Killing Me Softly: The Roberta Flack Story; PBS' docuseries,
Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music. Dr. Hadley's ongoing projects focus on the musical impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and on Shirley Graham DuBois, one of the earliest Black women musicologists and opera composers.
Rujeko Hockley is an assistant curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art. She is the curator of the upcoming retrospective Julie Mehretu, opening in March 2021, and co-curated the 2019 Whitney Biennial. Additional projects at the Whitney include Toyin Ojih Odutola: To Wander Determined (2017) and An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1940-2017 (2017). Previously, she was Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum, where she co-curated Crossing Brooklyn: Art from Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and Beyond (2014) and was involved in exhibitions highlighting the permanent collection as well as artists LaToya Ruby Frazier, The Bruce High Quality Foundation, Kehinde Wiley, Tom Sachs, and others. She is the co-curator of We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-85 (2017), which originated at the Brooklyn Museum and travelled to three U.S. venues in 2017-18. She serves on the Board of Art Matters, as well as the Advisory Board of Recess.
Clover Hope is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn, born in Guyana, raised in Queens. Over 15 years, she’s written reviews, features, profiles, investigative pieces, and cover stories for a range of publications: Vibe, Essence, X
Newsday and Amsterd
Jason King is the founding faculty member at New York University's Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, where he is Associate Professor, Director of Global Studies, and Director of Writing, History & Emergent Media Studies. He is a musician, DJ, performer, producer, arranger and songwriter, scholar, curator, journalist and the author of The Michael Jackson Treasures, a Barnes and Noble exclusive biography on the King of Pop, which has been translated in more than 7 languages. He is the host and producer of NPR’s Pop Talks series, and the former host and co-producer of NPR Music's Noteworthy, a series on the creative process of music superstars like Dua Lipa, Alicia Keys, and Miguel, as well as the curator of NPR&B, NPR's 24/7 R&B radio channel. He is a regular contributor to publications like Pitchfork, Slate, and NPR Music and he has been an expert witness in legal cases for Drake, Katy Perry, JAY Z, Timbaland, Lady Gaga, Madonna, and others.
MELO-X is a multi-media artist based between New York City and Los Angeles. His work includes projects that range from album collaborations, music remixes, stage design, creative direction and film scores. In 2015, together with Claude “Visionary” Dary, he founded XTRA CREATIVE HOUSE which serves as a branding, tech, culture, film and design brain trust. Throughout the years of 2016-2019, he won numerous awards for the score of Beyonce’s Lemonade film, album production and sound design for the On The Run Tour part 1 and 2 respectfully. Some of these awards include Grammy nominations, in both production and song writing, and Peabody Award for the film score to name a few. MELO-X has a massive performance history that spreads across genres and industries. From the Pop Rally at New York’s Museum of Modern Art with Awol Erizku, to The Movement in Africa Exhibit at the Sean Kelly Gallery, MELO-X shows a balance between his work as a performer and a visual artist.
Dr. Joan Morgan is the Program Director of the Center for Black Visual Culture at New York University. She is an award-winning cultural critic, feminist author, songwriter and a pioneering hip-hop journalist. Morgan coined the term “hip-hop feminism” in 1999, when she published the groundbreaking book, When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: A Hip-Hop Feminist Breaks it Down which is taught at universities globally. Regarded internationally as an expert on the topics of hip-hop, race and gender, Morgan has made numerous television, radio and film appearances. She has been a Visiting Scholar at The New School, Vanderbilt, Duke and Stanford Universities. She was a Visiting Assistant Professor at her alma mater, New York University, in the department of Social and Cultural Analysis. Her most recent book is She Begat This: 20 Years of the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Jamaican-born and South Bronx bred, Morgan is a proud Native New Yorker.
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