Relocating to Los Angeles

A Philadelphia native, I left my job as an information technology professional in 2001 to pursue art and have stayed the course since. I lived in NY for a stint while in graduate school for my MFA in film and returned to Philadelphia to teach at the University of Pennsylvania and continue working with the non profit organization I founded. Philadelphia has indeed been a comfort zone. It’s a place of community, of cultivating growth, and of change making.

When I visited Los Angeles last year, I inquired about whether my business models would work there. I researched, asked questions and received the same answers consistently. The answer was always “No.” So, my relocating to Los Angeles will be a time of learning, of trying new things, of understanding the systems which are most often consumed without question or analysis.

I am looking forward to what the future holds. Having been able to accomplish what I have so far, I can’t imagine the ride being anything less than great.

Curating a Cultural Competency Course Series

Cultural Competency Series

As the director of GriotWorks, a signature organization in Philadelphia which produces Black art and cultural programs, there was a great opportunity for a workshop series  for people to explore pressing issues while revisiting or obtaining new knowledge related to Black art and culture. In the wake of recent events, rather than react to current issues alone, as we did with our pop up discussions in the past, I thought it was important to curate a series which would be an open space for scholars, artists, activists and the general public to learn, ask questions and pull from a common source of information.

The monthly workshops ranged from the ‘History of the Black Arts Movement, Black Film and AfroFurutism to How to Lead A Social Media Movement.’ It was important to first, listen to what people were talking about and to take note of where the gaps in conversations were happening. I credit social media debates on facebook and twitter for providing clear access to conversations, points of contention and the clear lines which divided scholars and non-scholars. It was clear that the scholars were experts in their fields but there were community scholars who were making a significant impact on the ways people were responding to each other, particularly after the events in Furgeson last summer. So, the workshop series was curated in consideration of current events but not in response to them. Rather, each workshop examines a broadened context for today’s social issues and hopefully, equips participants with information which will strengthen their ability to work and advocate for progress.

Learn more about GriotWorks Cultural Competency Course series by visiting GriotWorks.org.