June 3, 2011 —
The College of Arts & Sciences and Westphal have organized a celebration that highlights poetry, jazz, hip-hop and spoken word, all pillars of African American culture. Shadow Acts is a performance event that will take over Bossone's Mitchell Auditorium on Friday, June 3rd at 7 PM. The highlight of the evening will be new work by award-winning poet Sonia Sanchez. Sanchez, a Philadelphia native, has authored over a dozen books of poetry and has been a professor of poetry at eight universities and lectured nationally and internationally on Black culture and literacy. Her new work for this event was inspired by the art of Kara Walker and Yinka Shonibare, whose work will be projected during Sanchez's poetry reading. Walker is a critically acclaimed painter and printmaking artist who exhibits worldwide. Shonibare, an English painter, sculptor and photographer, explores the issues of race and class in contemporary society. Philadelphia Weekly staff writer, Tara Murtha, who has written on Sanchez and her role within the Black cultural and literacy movement, will moderate the discussion and a Q&A session with the audience.
Sanchez will be joined on stage for discussion and performances by several poets, musicians, artists and academics including jazz artists Evan Solot and Odean Pope; poet and rap artist Ursula Rucker; Latin musicians Ray and Marie Taylor; Black activist and owner of Philadelphia's Robin's bookstore (110 S. 13th St.) Larry Robins; and Professor James Spady, author of 360 Degreez of Sonia Sanchez: Hip Hop, Narrativity, Iqhawe and Public Spaces of Being (2000). The evening also features Drexel Music professor and ethnomusicologist, Dr. George Starks, performing with the George Starks Jazz Quartet. Also performing is MAD Dragon recording artist Kuf Knotz, who has been at the center of Philadelphia's hip-hop scene for nearly a decade and is releasing the Deluxe CD Edition of his album, Boombox Logic, Sunday June 5th, on Drexel University's student-run record label, MAD Dragon Records.
Drexel was one of the first universities to honor and teach the work of Sonia Sanchez. Credit to English professor Dr. Elaine DeLancey, who championed Sanchez's importance to the literary community long before most people. DeLancey is one of the foremost scholars on Sanchez and the founding editor of BMa: The Sonia Sanchez Literary Review.