Blog Entry Narrative Change

Black Male Re-Imagined III: October 11th at the Kennedy Center

Amidst the backdrop of key historic moments for Black America -- including the pending departure of the nation’s first Black male President and recent opening of the first National African American History Museum -- and in an effort to affirm accurate portrayals of Black people in the mainstream media, the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, in partnership with the Perception Institute, will host a special gathering titled "Black Male Re-Imagined III".

The third installment of a groundbreaking event series launched in 2010, this year’s "Black Male Re-Imagined" will feature timely discussions that explore how Black men and women are portrayed in the mainstream, with a particular focus on issues such as: dissecting media coverage of police violence against Black people; the intersection and inclusion of issues facing Black men, women, gay and trans people; the disparities in attention and action focused on Black women victims of systemic and domestic violence; exploring Black Masculinity (with a panel sponsored by Mic); the relationships between Black fathers and daughters; the power of the arts in driving social change and activism, and more.

“The intent behind Black Male Re-Imagined III is to provide a space to acknowledge, explore and celebrate the lived realities, hopes, dreams and challenges that are tied into identity and perception for Black men and women, including those who are cis-gender, transgender and gender non-conforming,” said Rashid Shabazz, VP of Communications for the Campaign for Black Male Achievement. “Due to the myriad issues facing Black communities – such as the physical, mental and psychological trauma Black people are dealing with as a result of rampant police violence, the need for honest and challenging discourse between Black men and women around patriarchy and toxic masculinity, as well as greater inclusion and sensitivity to the experiences and traumas that our Black gay and transgender communities are going through -- we really wanted this to be an opportunity for these urgent conversations to take place, and to provide a platform for voices that have, by and large, been excluded or overlooked by the mainstream.”

"Black Male Re-Imagined III" is FREE and open to the public! GET TICKETS NOW

If you're not able to make it down to D.C. for the event, a live-stream of the program will be available! WATCH IT HERE

Check out some of the artists and influencers that will be a part of BMR3:

Samora Abayomi Pinderhughes is a pianist and composer, known for large multidisciplinary projects and for his use of music to examine sociopolitical issues. He has performed in venues including the White House, the Blue Note, MoMA, the Sundance Film Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, and Carnegie Hall, and has toured internationally with artists including Branford Marsalis, Christian Scott, Jose James, Harvey Mason, and Emily King. Pinderhughes is also a member of Blackout for Human Rights, and was musical director for their 2016 #MLKNow and #JusticeForFlint events. CBMA's "Black Male Re-Imagined III" will center on the theme of "Ascension," which comes first from Pinderhughes' forthcoming new protest album The Transformations Suite (to be released on October 12th). Continuing in the tradition of artists like Bob Marley, Duke Ellington, Marvin Gaye, Billie Holiday, and Tupac Shakur, Suite paints a musical picture of the current state of social inequality and injustice in the United States and beyond. Pinderhughes has spent the past five years writing, recording, and producing The Transformations Suite, which combines music, theatre, and poetry to examine the radical history of resistance within communities of the African diaspora. The themes ofSuite move through five distinct phases: Transformation, History, Cycles, Momentum (parts 1 and 2), and Ascension. Learn More

Haile Gerima is a writer, producer and director, perhaps best known for his acclaimed film SANKOFA (1993), the dramatic tale of African resistance to slavery that won international acclaim, awarded first prize at the African Film Festival in Milan, Italy, as well as Best Cinematography at Africa’s premier Festival of Pan African Countries. His most recent film, TEZA was awarded Best Screenplay and the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival in 2008, and also received the Grand Prize at the Ouagadougou Panafrican Film and Television Festival in 2009, among other international commendations. Throughout his career, Haile Gerima has used his work as a critical lens for personal growth and creative development. His concern for people of African descent is evident, especially, where the representation of their image is concerned. An alumnus of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Film and Television, Gerima has spent over 40 year making high value, low budget films outside of commercial institutions. Gerima has been a distinguished professor of film at Howard University since 1975. Learn More

Award-winning artist Simone Leigh creates sculpture, videos and installations informed by her interest in African art, ethnographic research, feminism and performance. Leigh received the 2013 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Award. She is a Creative Capital Grantee (2012) and a recipient of the LMCC Michael Richards award (2012). Leigh has been awarded the 2011 Joan Mitchell Foundation grant for Sculpture; The artist-in-residence program at the Studio Museum in Harlem from 2010–11; The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace program, Bronx Museum’s Artist AIM program, the Art Matters research grant and the New York Foundation for The Arts Fellowship for Sculpture. Her work has been featured in several publications including: Bomb Magazine, Modern Painters, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Small AxE and Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art and Artforum. Leigh's groundbreaking, critically-acclaimed exhibit "The Waiting Room" recently completed its run at the New Museum in NYC, and marked a new chapter in her ongoing exploration of black subjectivities, particularly those of women. Learn More

Haki R. Madhubuti is a major poet, essayist, editor and publisher throughout the Black Arts Movement was born in 1942 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Madhubuti has published several collections of poetry, including Think Black, Black Pride, We Walk the Way of the World, Direction score: Selected and New Poems, Book of Life and Don't Cry, Scream. In addition to his poetry collections, Madhubuti also published a collection of critical essays entitled, Dynamite Voices: Black poets of the 1960s. Madhubuti's work is particularly acute about charting the growth of Blackness within the individual consciousness. Through his work, Madhubuti has become a major influence on African-American writers and a leading political voice for black awareness and pride. His emphasis on self-reliance and social protest have gained him prominence as a lecturer and speaker for more than 30 years. Learn More

A voice of truth and gentle strength, Harry Belafonte has called Aja Monet “The true definition of an artist.” Of Cuban-Jamaican descent, Aja Monet is an internationally established poet, performer, singer, songwriter, educator, and human rights advocate. Her craft is an in-depth reflection of emotional wisdom, skill, and activism. In both Aja Monet’s poetry and songs, she poses questions about the power of the imagination and metaphor in how we engage with local and global issues. As a Teaching Artist for Urban Word NYC as well as Urban Arts Partnership in NYC, she uses poetry as a therapeutic tool with at-risk inner city kids, showing how words can empower and encourage holistic healing in youth education. Monet has authored two books of poetry, Inner-City Chants & Cyborg Cyphers and The Black Unicorn Sings and as a musician released the EP Courage in 2014. Learn More 

Darnell L. Moore is a Senior Correspondent at MicNews, Co-Managing/Editor at The Feminist Wire and writer-in-residence at the Center on African American Religion, Sexual Politics and Social Justice at Columbia University.  Along with NFL player Wade Davis II, he co-founded YOU Belong, a social good company focused on the development of diversity initiatives Darnell’s advocacy centers on marginal identity, youth development and other social justice issues in the U.S. and abroad. He is the host of Mic's digital series, The Movement. A prolific writer, Darnell has been published in various media outlets including MSNBC, The Guardian, Huffington Post, EBONY, The Advocate, OUT Magazine, Gawker, Truth Out, VICE, Guernica, Mondoweiss, Thought Catalog, Good Men Project and others, as well as numerous academic journals including QED: A Journal in GLBTQ World Making, Women Studies Quarterly, Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media & Technology, Transforming Anthropology, Black Theology: An International Journal, and Harvard Journal of African American Policy, among others. He also edited the art book Nicolaus Schmidt: Astor Place, Broadway, New York: A Universe of Hairdressers (Kerber Verlag) and has published essays in several edited books. Learn More

Salamishah Tillet is an Associate Professor of English and Africana Studies and a faculty member of the Alice Paul Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Her book Sites of Slavery: Citizenship and Racial Democracy in the Post-Civil Rights Imagination (Duke University Press, 2012) examines how contemporary African American artists, writers, and intellectuals remember antebellum slavery within post-Civil Rights America in order to challenge the ongoing exclusion of African Americans from America’s civic myths and to model a racially democratic future. In 2010, she co-edited the Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters Special Issue on Ethiopia and her work has appeared in American Literary History, American Quarterly, Callaloo, Novel, Research in African Literatures, Savoring the Salt: The Legacy of Toni Cade Bambara, Violence in the Lives of Black Women: Battered, Black, and Blue, and Women's Review of Books.  She is currently working on a book on the civil rights icon Nina Simone. Salamishah has appeared on the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, TedxWomen, and written blogs and editorials for The Atlantic, The Chicago Tribune, The Guardian, The Nation, The New York Times, The Root, and Time.  In 2010, she wrote the liner notes for John Legend and The Roots’ three-time Grammy award-winning album, Wake Up! Learn More

Jamil Smith is a Senior National Correspondent with MTV News. Most recently, he was a Senior Editor at New Republic, where he wrote and edited columns and features for both print and digital. There, Smith also hosted the podcast INTERSECTION, which dealt with identity politics. Prior to that, he served as a segment producer for "The Rachel Maddow Show" and "Melissa Harris-Perry." Smith's bylines have also appeared in the Washington Post,, and theGrio. Previous stops include NFL Films, HBO Sports, CNN and the William Morris Agency. Learn More

Mychal Denzel Smith is a contributing writer at The Nation, a blogger at, and an Alfred Knobler Fellow at The Nation Institute. He is the author of Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching, published in 2016 by Nation Books. Smith is also a freelance writer and social commentator. His work on race, politics, social justice, pop culture, hip hop, mental health, feminism, and black male identity has appeared in various publications, including The Guardian, Ebony, The Grio, The Root, The Huffington Post, and GOOD magazine. Learn More

Rashad Robinson is the Executive Director of Color Of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. Rashad leads the Color Of Change team in developing strategies powerful enough to change the rules that affect Black people’s lives. Under Rashad’s leadership, Color Of Change continues to seize opportunities for advancing the power, freedom and wellbeing of Black workers, students, families, farmers, immigrants and others, wherever their freedom is limited or threatened. Learn More

Rashida Bumbray is a curator and choreographer living and working in New York. She currently serves as the Senior Program Manager at Open Society Foundations for the Arts Exchange, an experimental campaign to mainstream arts for social justice within the foundations globally. Previously, Bumbray was the Director of Artistic Affairs at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. From 2012-2014, Bumbray was guest curator at Creative Time for the public art exhibition Funk, God, Jazz and Medicine: Black Radical Brooklyn (2014). From 2006 to 2011, Bumbray served as Associate Curator at The Kitchen, where she organized several critically acclaimed projects and commissions, including solo exhibitions by Leslie Hewitt, Simone Leigh, Adam Pendleton, and Mai Thu Perret as well as performances by Derrick Adams, Sanford Biggers, Kalup Linzy, and Mendi & Keith Obadike among others. Learn More

Christian Scott, also known as Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah (born March 31, 1983, in New Orleans, Louisiana) is a two-time Edison Award winning (2010 and 2012) and Grammy Award nominated trumpeter, composer, producer and music executive. Christian’s Grammy nominated international recording debut, Rewind That was called “arguably the most remarkable premiere the genre has seen in the last decade” by Billboard Magazine, earning Christian two prominent features on their cover and inclusion in their list of “Ones to Watch in 2006.” Learn More

David J. Johns is the executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. The Initiative works across federal agencies and with partners and communities nationwide to produce a more effective continuum of education programs for African American students. Prior to joining the Department, Johns was a senior education policy advisor to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) under the leadership of Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. Johns also was a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Fellow in the office of Congressman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y. Learn More

Jessica Disu, a.k.a. FM Supreme is a three-time international performing poet, artist, activist and educator who describes herself as a “humanitarian rap artist.” Disu has shared stages and performed at conferences with the likes of Russell Simmons, Lupe Fiasco, Common, MC Lyte, Nick Cannon, Spike Lee, Melissa Harris Perry (MSNBC/Tulane University), Chuck D (Public Enemy), Prodigy (Mobb Deep) and a host of activists, scholars, artists, policy makers and elected officials on a Cities United crusade to decrease violence in inner city communities and to positively uplift Black males in the media with the Campaign for Black Male Achievement. Learn More

Anthony Smith is Executive Director of Cities United, a national network of communities focused on eliminating violence in American cities related to African American men and boys. Formerly, Smith was Director for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods in the office of Mayor Greg Fischer in Louisville, KY, where he worked with city departments, community and faith- based organizations, community members and civic and business leaders to develop prevention strategies to reduce violent crime and create better outcomes for the most impacted populations. Smith is a seasoned leader with over 20 years of experience organizing, facilitating, managing, mobilizing, and building networks. Learn More

Paul Coates is the founder and director of Black Classic Press, which specializes in republishing obscure and significant works by and about people of African descent. A leader in the field of small publishers, Coates founded BCP Digital Printing in 1995 to produce books and documents using digital print technology. Coates formerly served as an African American Studies reference and acquisition librarian at Howard University's Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. He is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University (M.S.L.S.), and Sojourner-Douglass College. A former member and Maryland State coordinator of The Black Panther Party, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Black Panther Party Archives at Howard University. Learn More

Navasha Daya is an exceptionally gifted and seasoned singer, songwriter, producer, musician, performing arts curator, certified holistic wellness practitioner, and spiritual and cultural arts activist who from childhood was inspired and encouraged to use her voice and talents to uplift others and inspire change. Grammy-Award winning songstress, India.Arie, described Navasha’s voice as “the true definition of soulful.” Learn More

Brandan “Bmike” Odums is a highly sought after visual artist and filmmaker who uses these chosen mediums to tell stories and make statements that transform the minds of viewers as well as the spaces in which his work appears. In 2016 Brandan debuted his first solo show in New Orleans in a 35,000 sq ft warehouse named #StudioBe. Welcoming hundreds of visitors a week as well as school tours from around the region. In 2013, Brandan completed a series of graffiti murals depicting iconic African American civil rights leaders at the Hurricane Katrina damaged Florida Avenue public housing complex in New Orleans’ 9th Ward. Learn More

Arthur Jafa is best known for his work as a director and cinematographer, working on such films as Crooklyn (1994), Seven Songs for Malcolm X (1993), and Daughters of the Dust (1991). Jafa directed the films Deshotten 1.0(2009), Tree (1999), and Slowly This (1995). In addition to his work on films, Jafa has also published essays on black cultural politics in Black Popular Culture (1992) and Everything but the Burden: What White People Are Taking from Black Culture (2003) and speaks frequently on the complexities of a black aesthetic as well as the potentialities of black cinema. Jafa studied at Howard University, Washington DC, and his work has been shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2001); Media City, Seoul (2000); Black Box, CCAC Institute, Oakland (2000); Artists Space, New York (1999); Tramway, Glasgow, Scotland (1999); and Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada (1999). Learn More

We hope you will come out for a full-day of dynamic speakers, performances, panels and exhibitions. Be sure to purchase your tickets here before they all sell out! You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter and engage the conversation leading up to and during the event, as well as learn updates on the program, using the hashtag #BlackMaleReimagined.


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In the latest episode of the "Journey To Radiance" podcast series, we reflect on CBMA’s momentous 10 years working daringly to build beloved communities for Black men and boys across the nation, and its efforts to shape a vision of what's to come.