All posts by: ShaniJamila

Academic Announcements


As a student at Spelman College, Shani’s work was affirmed, her path was set, her chosen family was found. That is why she was so honored to have her career featured on Spelman’s home page during the month of February. Thank you for celebrating her work in the arts and human rights.


Shani’s artwork is currently being shown in  Princeton University‘s  All Rise exhibition. For those of you in the vicinity, please visit the campus to view this show– open until April 4th.




Finally, Shani will be presenting on global travel, art and social justice during Black Portraiture{s} II: Imaging the Black Body and Re-Staging Histories, an upcoming conference in Florence, Italy. This historic gathering of artists, curators, and scholars is being organized by Deborah Willis, Awam Amkpa, Ulrich Baer, Manthia Diawara, Robert Holmes, Ellyn Toscano from NYU; Henry Louis Gates from Harvard; and Thelma Golden from the Studio Museum of Harlem. Participants include Michaela angela Davis, Carrie Mae Weems, Mickalene Thomas, Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, Hank Willis Thomas, Imani Uzuri, Sanford Biggers and more. To preview the full schedule, click here.


Art Exhibits + Media Mentions


In addition to the Princeton show mentioned above, Shani was happy to have artwork exhibited at the SCOPE New York flagship fair this March, as part of Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation’s The Time Is Now exhibit. The show, which featured twenty Rush contemporary alumni artists, was held one block across from The Armory Show piers at Metropolitan Pavilion West alongside 60 international galleries.




In media news, it has now been ten years since Decipher Radio launched on WPFW 89.3FM in Washington D.C.! Shani participated in the anniversary broadcast, which included retrospectives from all who were founding members. She’ll always be grateful that her first gig as a radio talk show host allowed such creative freedom, intellectual rigor and just plain fun. Please join her in offering continued support for this strip of programming and in wishing a happy anniversary to Decipher: the music, the movement, the message.


Currently Shani is is a regular contributor to The Spin, an internationally broadcast radio program hosted by Esther Armah. In March 2015 she was on with Dr. Blair Kelley to discuss Selma, Ferguson and the campaign to put a woman on the $20 bill. Click here to listen in. In January, she was on the first episode of 2015 with writer asha bandele and political scientist Dr. Christina Greer. Here is the link to tune into that show.


Lastly, Shani wrote a new blog about her trip to Alabama to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Selma-Montgomery march, an event that came to occupy an iconic place in the American imagination. To check it out, visit her site on the Huffington Post.  Enjoy!


Next Up


Next up, the tenth annual Human Rights Institute will be held in New York City this May. This arts based training engages a select cohort of social justice advocates from around the country. Shani leads it in her capacity as the director of the Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center.

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Click here to read the full article, “Human Rights Advocate Travels the Globe in Pursuit of Change,” Alumnae Success Profile. Spelman College. February 14, 2015




Shani’s in the Arts Section of the New York Times!


A photograph Shani captured during her time in Ferguson, which is currently featured in the Respond exhibit at the Smack Mellon Gallery, is mentioned in today’s New York Times as emblematic of the take-away message of the show! They describe it as “a knockout group show” that “has produced a soundtrack of shouts, cries, chants and whispers to set against the wall of insulating white noise that enwraps the art world at large.” Click here to read the article in the NYT!




About The Exhibit: “After learning of the grand jury’s decision to not indict Daniel Pantaleo, Smack Mellon postponed a planned exhibition in order to respond to the continued failure of the United States to protect its black citizens from police discrimination and violence. In order to channel our outrage into actions that can facilitate systemic change, [the] gallery space will be used to present events, performances and artworks that affirm that black lives matter, express frustration and anger with the institutional racism that enables law enforcement to kill black members of the community with impunity, and imagine creative solutions and visionary alternatives to a broken justice system.”


92 Plymouth Street @ Washington
Brooklyn, NY 11201
January 17- February 22, 2015
Gallery hours: Wed-Sun, 12-6pm


Sincere thanks to Smack Mellon’s current Studio Artists Esteban del Valle, Molly Dilworth, Oasa DuVerney, Ira Eduardovna, Steffani Jemison, and Dread Scott, and the Smack Mellon staff, who were the lead organizers of RESPOND. Hope you’re able to check it out!


Human Rights Training Opportunity
10th Annual Human Rights Institute



The Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center is pleased to announce that applications for our 10th annual Human Rights Institute (HRI) are currently available. The institute promotes good governance and social change by training a select group of participants from around the country to strengthen their local advocacy efforts by using a human rights frame. Alumni become part of a nationwide community of advocates and have access to ongoing education, technical support, and dialogue. This year’s HRI, co-sponsored by the U.S. Human Rights Network, will be held from May 7-9, 2015 in New York City.


To obtain a copy of the application, please click here.


Applications with scholarship requests must be sent by February 23, 2015. The deadline for applications without a scholarship request is February 27, 2015.

Spelman College, September 2012: With the advent of this new school year, the Laura Spelman dorm reopened after having been renovated to house the college’s recently created Social Justice Fellows program. One of the highlights of the newly repurposed living and learning center is a visual timeline that was created to trace the history of Black women’s advocacy from 1881, when Spelman was founded, to the present day. Artist Therese McKee Huffman put together an absolutely beautiful montage of women who have made “A Choice to Change the World.” The faces on the wall include Fannie Lou Hamer, Michelle Obama, Ida B. Wells, Rosa Parks, Anna Julia Cooper, Audre Lorde, Maya Angelou, Angela Davis, Toni Cade Bambara, Johnetta B. Cole, Alice Walker and the list goes on.

Seeing this mural in person was one of those moments that absolutely took my breath away!!!! I am awed, humbled and deeply honored to be included amongst so many of my sheroes in this permanent installation at my beloved alma mater. It makes me really proud to know that generations of Spelman women will be as inspired as I was by this demonstration of our institutional commitment to social justice. Click here to read an article about it.