What Does Black Masculinity Look Like?: Blackness, Gender & Contemporary African Dance


C. Kemal Nance and Stafford Berry, Jr. "What Does Black Masculinity Look Like?", 2014. Photo provided.
C. Kemal Nance and Stafford Berry, Jr. "What Does Black Masculinity Look Like?", 2014. Photo provided.

Krannert Art Museum to Host Second Global Africa Community Forum

CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Sept. 24, 2014 —Krannert Art Museum (KAM) will host its second Global Africa Community Forum on Thurs., Oct. 9 at 5:30 p.m.

The event, titled What Does Black Masculinity Look Like? Blackness, Gender and Contemporary African Dance, will be a dynamic and participatory public forum for engaging issues relating to the arts, cultures and communities of Africa and the African diaspora. This year’s forum explores experiences of blackness, gender and coming of age.

As described by Allyson Purpura, curator of African Art at Krannert Art Museum, “The program departs from a conventional discussion format and emerges instead from three interconnected performance segments involving dance, sound, voice and personal testimonials.”

Directed by choreographer and performer C. Kemal Nance, lecturer in Dance at the U of I, the evening will include performances by Nance; Stafford Berry, Jr., assistant professor of Dance and Black Studies at Denison University; Nyama McCarthy-Brown, assistant professor of Contemporary Dance in the Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance at Indiana University; and Djibril Camara, master Guinean dancer, choreographer and instructor.

Purpura states, “The forum is truly a collaborative endeavor. The evening will conclude with a conversation between the audience and forum contributors.”

Organized by an interdisciplinary team of scholars at the University of Illinois, the event is the culmination of efforts by Nance; Purpura; Rory James, director of the Bruce D. Nesbitt Center for African American Culture; Anne Lutomia, PhD candidate in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership; Erik McDuffie, associate professor of African American Studies; Anne Sautman, director of Education at Krannert Art Museum; Sam Smith, engagement director at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and Mabinty Tarawallie, MSW, alumna of the University of Illinois School of Social Work. The Global Africa Community Forum is co-sponsored by the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center, the Center for African Studies, Dance at Illinois, Krannert Art Museum and Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

This is the second Global Africa Community Forum to be held at Krannert Art Museum. The first, entitled Creating Community Through African Art, accompanied the 2012 opening of Encounters: The Arts of Africa, Krannert Art Museum’s renovated gallery dedicated to the arts of Africa and its diasporas.

The first forum gathering was moderated by Purpura and conceived and led by Anne Lutomia, Mabinty Tarawallie and Sam Smith, who selected specific artworks in the gallery to speak to perceptions, misperceptions and relationships between Africans and African Americans in the United States.