Latest News

Join us for the opening event of Dancing While Black’s 10th Anniversary Year

DWB’s 10th anniversary season opens with Sankofa story circles! Shani is honored to have been invited to serve as a Seed Storyteller. The Anniversary year’s co-choreographers have invited a group of visionary artists who have engaged with Dancing While Black through its ten year journey to facilitate this event. Story Circles are a democratic process of storytelling created by John O’Neal of the Free Southern Theater, the predecessor of Dancing While Black’s New Orleans partner, Junebug Productions. Audio description will be available during this event.

Dancing While Black: Sankofa Story Circles

Sunday, May 22, 2022, 2:00pm ET

@ BAAD! The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance
2474 Westchester Avenue, Bronx, NY 10461 (Westchester Square)

Since 2012, Dancing While Black (DWB) has served as a launching pad and community hub, bringing Black dance voices to the fore and centering a space for them to reflect and create authentically. Throughout that time, they’ve supported 22 emerging Black artists as Fellows, incubated more than two dozen works and held countless convenings.

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Creative Capital and its expert reviewers and panelists have the great privilege of seeing and learning about a wealth of exciting artists’ projects each grant cycle. The 2022 Shortlist features remarkable new projects in the visual arts, performing arts, technology, film, literature, and socially engaged art in all forms that advanced to the final round in the national selection process. Lineage is highlighted in the visual arts section under the multimedia and painting categories.

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For the past couple of months, Shani has been working on the production, co-curation, and management of Dance/NYC’s 2022 Symposium: Life cycles. Livelihoods. Legacies., which focuses on uncovering the generational continuum of lives in dance. The symposium will serve hundreds of participants from throughout the performing arts sector– artists, workers, educators, funders and organizers– who prioritize artmaking as essential and recognize its role in centering our humanity, especially in these challenging times.

As the only regional gathering of its kind, this convening offers a meeting place for the dance field to exchange ideas, expand networks, sharpen organizational practices, and deepen the inquiry around New York City’s legacy and trajectory of dance making.

This three-day virtual event, which will run from March 17-19, includes interactive workshops, expert consultations, sponsor placements, a community bulletin board, a virtual service fair, and live-streamed panel discussions with more than 100 leading artists and facilitators. All sessions will include ASL interpretation and closed captions. For more about the speakers, organizers, and mission of this important work please visit www.dance.nyc.

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Happy new year! As this year fades into our rearview, we’re grateful for Lineage— a series of intimate, in-depth conversations Shani Jamila hosts with fellow contemporary socially engaged Black artists. Each individual episode has been a gift, and the collective is truly exceptional.

This year featured the oral histories of Pulitzer prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage; poet, lawyer and 2021 MacArthur fellow Dwayne Betts; Apollo Theater Executive Producer and director of HBO’s Between the World and Me Kamilah Forbes; choreographer and the first Black woman director at the Metropolitan Opera Camille A. Brown; iconic poets and founders of the Black Arts Movement, Sonia Sanchez and Haki Madhubuti; artists and scholars Dr. Fahamu Pecou and Dr. Aimee Meredith Cox; writer, performer and Vice President at The Kennedy Center Marc Bamuthi Joseph; 2021 Rome Prize winner, painter Firelei Baez; photographer and sculptor Fabiola Jean-Louis; and musicians Jason Moran and Alicia Hall Moran. 

The full archive, which includes the inaugural season, is freely available and publicly accessible on  lineagepodcast.com. While there be sure to check out We Hold These Truths, Shani’s meditative film which features many of the brilliant guests from this current season, and subscribe, rate and review the podcast.

Stay tuned for new episodes in the new year with extraordinary guests including author Kiese Laymon and the renowned artist Carrie Mae Weems. Together, we tell an intergenerational story of what it means to be Black in America.

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The Taneya Gethers Muhammad Memorial Scholarship supports young scholar activists at Spelman College. We are so pleased to share that the inaugural recipient of this $25,000 annual award has been selected.

Please join us at 7pm on Tuesday, November 9th for a virtual gathering. You will have the opportunity to meet Shauniece Frazier, the very first student to benefit from this initiative. In addition, we are so pleased to welcome a very special guest to help us mark this moment– writer and theorist adrienne maree brown.

brown is a writer living in Detroit, a student of the works of Octavia E. Butler and Ursula K. LeGuin. Grievers is her first novel. Her previous books include Octavia’s Brood, Emergent Strategy, Pleasure Activism and We Will Not Cancel Us. After sharing excerpts from her new novella, she will be in conversation with our own Dr. Ruha Benjamin, author and professor of African American Studies at Princeton University.

This event is free to attend, but you must register to receive the link. We look forward to celebrating this remarkable milestone with you next Tuesday!

About the Scholarship

The Taneya Gethers Muhammad Memorial Scholarship aims to support the academic pursuits of students who are in the tradition of alumnae whose legacies she studied, such as Pearl Cleage, Varnette Honeywood, Alice Walker, Marian Wright Edelman and Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, as well as student movement leaders like Lenora Taitt, Gwendolyn Middlebrooks, Herschelle Sullivan Challenoir, Roslyn Pope and Zoharah Simmons.

A scholarship in the amount of $25,000 will be awarded annually to a Spelman student with a demonstrated commitment to scholar activism.

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Lineage is a collection of conversations, hosted by Shani Jamila, with the very best socially engaged Black artists of our time. Many of the participants are recipients of the prestigious MacArthur genius grants– an “unrestricted fellowship to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.”

Already in the archive you can find episodes with MacArthur fellows including musician Jason Moran and performer Okwui Okpokwasili. Stay tuned for Shani’s upcoming interviews with Season Two guests playwright Lynn Nottage and artist Carrie Mae Weems. And now, with the recent announcement of the newest class of fellows, those numbers went up! HUGE congratulations to the 2021 class of MacArthur geniuses, which now includes choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar as well as writer Reginald Dwayne Betts.

Jawole, the featured guest in Lineage’s Season One finale episode, is the founding artistic director and chief visioning partner of the Urban Bush Women performance ensemble. Designated a Master of Choreography by the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center, she received the Bessies Lifetime Achievement Award and honorary degrees from both Tufts University and Rutgers University.

Dwayne is a poet and lawyer whose latest collection of poems, Felon, won the 2020 American Book Award and the NAACP Image Award. Fresh to the press, you can listen to exclusive stories about what he’s up to now on lineagepodcast.com.

We want to conclude with a special shoutout to curator and friend of the show Dr. Nicole Fleetwood, who also received this special honor.

Be sure to subscribe, rate and review Lineage wherever you get your podcasts! Through the voices of the most extraordinary artists of our time, we tell an intergenerational story of what it means to be Black in America.

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Shani is proud to be an advisor for the Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap, a thoroughly researched and thoughtfully curated set of nine CDs, eleven scholarly essays and a 300-page coffee table book that acts as an extension of the museum’s permanent collections. The project was produced over seven years from launch to completion, with the care and intention befitting the weight and scope of hip-hop’s story.  Its August 2021 launch comes as the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) prepares to celebrate its five-year anniversary, and highlights its ongoing mission to tell the stories of American history through the African American lens. It follows other defining collections from Smithsonian Folkways, the Anthology of American Folk Music and Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology.

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Many thanks to the Brooklyn Arts Council, who awarded Shani a 2021 grant for her Lineage Podcast + Portrait project. BAC grants support artists whose work enhances the cultural climate of the borough, city, state, and nation. This program is supported by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) and New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA).

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Shani has been cast in a performance of the seminal Ntozake Shange choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ When The Rainbow Is Enuf. This production is directed by Gina Belafonte. Special guests will include Alfre Woodard, Vanessa Williams, CCH Pounder and original Broadway director Oz Scott. Join us! Premiering live on Clubhouse on Saturday, 3.20, at 6pm EST/ 3pm PST. It will reprise in the UN75 Club on 4.17 at 6pm EST.

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Launching February 18, 2021— in honor of the birthdays of literary giants Toni Morrison and Audre Lorde– We Hold These Truths is a new meditative film created and curated by conceptual artist Shani Jamila and produced in collaboration with Park Avenue Armory. The film introduces the artists featured in Season Two of Jamila’s Lineage Podcast + Portrait Project, which features intimate, in-depth interviews with contemporary socially engaged Black artists. We Hold These Truths includes inspiring reflections by artists across multiple disciplines, on some of the truths learned from their elders that have rooted them in these challenging times.  Watch now for a first glimpse at the new season of Lineage, and stay tuned for bi-weekly audio interviews with each of the featured artists, beginning on Tuesday March 2nd. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify to receive new episodes every other Tuesday.

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Announcing the new season of the Lineage Podcast + Portrait Project! Lineage features intimate, in-depth interviews with contemporary socially engaged Black artists. Season Two will include conversations with renowned creatives and thought leaders Firelei Báez, R. Dwayne Betts, Camille A. Brown, Aimee Meredith Cox, Kamilah Forbes, Shani Jamila, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Kiese Laymon, Fabiola Jean Louis, Haki Madhubuti, Alicia Hall Moran, Jason Moran, Lynn Nottage, Mary Lovelace O’Neal, Wendi Moore-O’Neal, Fahamu Pecou, Sonia Sanchez and Carrie Mae Weems. Stay tuned for bi-weekly audio interviews with each of the featured guests, beginning on Tuesday March 2nd. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify to receive new episodes every other Tuesday.

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Announcing the Taneya Gethers Muhammad Memorial Scholarship! Taneya was a writer, educator, librarian, community builder and a proud graduate of Spelman College. She rigorously studied the history of radicalism at Spelman, wrote about the importance of renewing our commitment to cultural activism, and created library programs to educate the community about our undertold stories.

Shani is honored to have partnered with the college and Dr. Ruha Benjamin to develop this fund in Taneya’s name, supporting young scholar activists. In providing funding for Spelman students who share her commitment to making a radical impact on campus and in the community, they will continue her fierce devotion to her family, both blood and spirit. 

Click here to learn more and to donate to the scholarship fund. 

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Shani is proud to be the voice of this campaign, produced by TIME’S UP Now. “The women running for office this cycle needed a squad of impassioned, dedicated activists to speak up and speak out. And you showed up — every single day. Thank you for your relentless fight — but we can’t let up now. #WeHaveHerBack is for more than the leaders of today—it’s for those still to come. Stay involved by texting HER BACK to 306-44 and continue to call out sexist and racist political attacks and news coverage when you see it. Because when it comes to women leaders — today, tomorrow, and always: We. Have. Her. Back.”

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On Saturday, July 11th, Shani will be talking about her practice as an abstract painter with Aimee M. Everett, Adrienne Gaither and Niama Safia Sandy. If you’d like to join in, click here to register. 

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July 2021: ADAMA presents Midnight Oil, a curated experience featuring artists and the music that inspires them. Artists from around the world have been invited to create and share music playlists that provide the soundtrack to their creative process. In addition to a link to the playlist, the museum features a brief interview with each artist about their selections and samples of their work.

This week we catch up with Shani Jamila: artist, scholar and host of the acclaimed podcast series “Lineage.” Shani’s work is deeply engaged in genealogy and memory using her own family’s detailed records as a source. Her podcast series Lineage features intimate interviews with acclaimed artists at the intersection of art and social activism. Check out Shani’s playlist and learn more about what moves her.

Join Shani Jamila for an artist talk sponsored by the African Diasporic Art Museum of Atlanta on Sunday May 10th. She will be in conversation with artists Shanequa Gay, Andrea Chung, and Ebony G. Patterson. The panel will be moderated by the Curator of Education at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Makeba Dixon Hill. The ADAMA Arts Salon series features conversations with contemporary artists, curators, scholars and more from across the African Diaspora.

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On Thursday February 27th, Shani will deliver an artist talk at Rutgers University. This event is free and open to the public, join us!

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Shani’s collage work is featured in the latest issue of The Iowa Review, Winter 2019/20. The “Americana Fantastica” portfolio is devoted to contemporary expressions of the surreal and the fantastical; it takes some of its inspiration from a 1943 issue of the avant-garde magazine View.

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Shani has been appointed a 2020-21 Artist Fellow in fine arts/ painting at The National Arts Club, a private club in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park. The National Arts Club was founded in 1898 by author and poet Charles De Kay, the literary and art critic for The New York Times, to stimulate, foster, and promote public interest in the arts and to educate the American people in the fine arts. 

The NAC Artist Fellowship program continues the Club’s 121-year history of supporting the arts and artists by recognizing and supporting a select number of leading artists from a range of disciplines, with the goal of furthering their careers.

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Artist to Artist, Neighbor to Neighbor. Conversations About Home, Hosted by Shani Jamila.

Introducing Lineage! This new podcast + portrait project features intimate, in-depth interviews about the idea of home with some of New York City’s most imaginative thinkers– including MacArthur geniuses, Pulitzer Prize winners and Bessie Award recipients. And now there’s an opportunity for YOU to become an inaugural supporter of this work. 

Join the Founders Circle and receive exclusive access to live events, become an associate producer of the podcast, get discounts on merchandise, or personally commission a painting! There’s a whole list of amazing rewards to thank you for support. Click here to make your contribution today.

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Shani has been named a 2019 Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar! The Aspen Scholars are a group of global leaders who are selected for their work, accomplishments, and ability to transform ideas into action.

Presented by the Aspen Institute in partnership with The Atlantic magazine, the Aspen Ideas Festival is the nation’s premier, public gathering place for leaders from around the globe and across many disciplines to present and discuss the ideas and issues that both shape our lives and challenge our times.

From Aspen Lectures to debates to one-on-one interviews and more, days are filled from early morning to late evening. Attendees have exceptional opportunities to interact with public officials, artists, scientists, authors, business executives, scholars, economists, foreign policy specialists, entrepreneurs, and leaders of all kinds — on footpaths and sidewalks, over lunch on the lawn or coffee at the espresso bar, in auditoriums and in small seminar rooms. The intimacy of Festival gatherings renders the experience unique and unforgettable.

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Shani is a Spring 2019 Artist in Residence at MASS MoCA!

“Since opening in 1999, MASS MoCA has become one of the world’s premier centers for making and showing the best art of our time. With annual attendance of 120,000, it ranks among the most visited institutions in the United States dedicated to new art. More than 80 major new works of art and more than 50 performances have been created through fabrication and rehearsal residencies in North Adams, making MASS MoCA perhaps the most fertile site in the country for new art. The museum thrives on making and presenting work that is fresh, surprising, and challenging.

Hosted by MASS MoCA’s Assets for Artists program, selected artists receive private studio space on MASS MoCA’s campus, newly renovated housing, free access to the museum’s galleries throughout the residency, optional financial and business coaching from Assets for Artists staff, and a daily group meal.”

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shani-jamila ace-hotel solo-exhibition collage
Shani is the February Artist In Residence at the Ace Hotel! In this capacity, she has been making new work that will be featured in a solo exhibition in the hotel’s gallery.

Ace Hotel New York is proud to present a new collection of works by artist Shani Jamila. The exhibition will be on view until March 31st, with an opening reception on March 7th and an artist talk on March 29th.

Artist Shani Jamila’s collages, paintings and soundscapes explore family, lineage and identity.

The collages utilize her archive of photo essays created over the course of her travels to nearly fifty countries as source material. They interrogate how the idea of home is constructed and the surrealist nature of our political reality. As Jamila encounters people and places through her camera lens, moments of recognition or solidarity emerge which are reorganized and re-purposed through collage, simultaneously revealing and obscuring identity and familiarity.

Her paintings began as a creative mapping of her personal family records. If she wanted to delve even deeper into her family’s history, she may want to consider going throw the vast online archive of newspapers, obituaries, and genealogy records – others wanting to do the same can look at this to get a start learning about their ancestry. Jamila is in the seventh generation on both sides of her lineage. The content of the work, and its color palette, are drawn from enormous genealogical charts produced by her grandmother.

While the materials vary, there is a constant refrain in Jamila’s work of who she is, where she comes from and how she interacts with the world, whether via the camera, the photograph’s transformation to collage or the meditative repetition of pressing her fingertips to paint and canvas. With Seven, she invites us into an immersive installation to experience how the work is woven together.


Private Happening

“At Ace, we agree with Richard Avedon when he says, “Anything is an art if you do it at the level of an art.” Sculpture, mineral, sound and thought – some people wink and call it art. Each Sunday night our Artists in Residence program invites members of the community to spend one night with us, enjoying a modest tab and access to a cart of supplies. On Monday mornings, we find out what they’ve made.

This February, artist Shani Jamila will spend her Sundays at Ace Hotel. Her travels to nearly fifty countries deeply inform her collage, photography and painting practice. She has exhibited and performed at the Manifesta European Biennial of Contemporary Art, Harvard University’s Cooper Gallery, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Smack Mellon, SCOPE Art Fair, Brooklyn Museum, Corridor Gallery, City College, New Museum and Princeton. The community conversations she’s hosted at institutions including the Aperture Foundation, Lincoln Center, Schomburg Center and New York Live Arts are known for engaging discussions about the arts and society. This was also the subject of her TED Talk, “Reimagining Resistance Through Art,” which she delivered during a residency at the organization’s headquarters. A Fulbright scholar once named “One of the 35 Most Remarkable Women in the World” by ESSENCE Magazine, her image and quote are featured in “A Choice to Change the World,” a permanent exhibition at her alma mater Spelman College.

An artist yourself, you say? Make your marks at Ace Hotel New York using promo code ARTSCHOOL and recieve 10% off your stay.”

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