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fences the movie poster with denzel washington and viola davis

Virtual Panel Discussion of August Wilson's Fences | How the Themes Still Matter Today

Rediscover one of the greatest Black voices in theater: August Wilson. Wilson, an award-winning playwright and author, chronicled 20th century Black American life and won a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for his 1983 play Fences.

Watch a recording of the panel discussion with Omaha thespians Raydell Cordell III, Kathy Tyree, Tyrone Beasley and John Beasley exploring the symbolism of the movie adaptation of Fences (which you can rent for as little as $4 here), generational differences and the father and son relationship within Black families.

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headshot of sydney shead (woman sitting outside laughing)

Virtual Panel Discussion of Local Filmmakers Making Movies that Move

We turned our attention to amplify local filmmakers using their art to influence social justice issues such as racial, economic and systemic barriers in Omaha. In partnership with Film Streams, artist  Sydney Shead shared her film series “The Unwavering Project."  Shead is an Omaha entrepreneur, family advocate and consultant.

In her latest film project, she highlights the unwavering resilience and positive community impact from Black men. In the film, men share their childhood experiences from family trauma to violence and their triumphs as professionals, artists, business owners, and family men.

You can watch the recorded panel discussion with Shead and two of the film participants Shannon Teamer and Kristopher Kuhn. Kuhn is a former NBA hopeful and the founder, owner, and director of Hoop Rank Early Education and Sports Academy.  Teamer is the senior director of Inclusion Programs & Services, director of TRIO Project Achieve at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and author of Start. Stay With It. Finish Strong.

The panel discusses what it means to be unwavering, the importance of using film to tell their stories and the challenges and opportunities in the film industry.

This panel discussion was streamed to O-pa's Facebook and YouTube channels.

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headshot of photographer rudy smithWorth a Thousand Words: The Photography of Rudy Smith

After hearing Martin Luther King, Jr. speak at a convention in Denver, Rudy Smith was forever changed. The award-winning photographer Rudy Smith chronicled news events with his camera including Omaha’s race upheavals and the 1968 visit of Robert Kennedy who was campaigning in North Omaha two weeks before his assassination. Throughout Smith's photography career, he worked as both the objective observer and the committed activist. During a time of Civil Rights turmoil and reform in America, Smith photographed historical subjects such as protests, marches, and riots.

Voices AMPLIFIED! hosted a live exhibit of his selected work, and invited panelists to talk about the importance of Smith’s work and how he made a national difference.

The panelists include Llana Smith, the wife of Rudy Smith, Kristine Gerber, a local historian and publisher, and Janice Gilmore, a former columnist of the Omaha World Herald and former Omaha Public Schools principal. You can watch a recording of the panel discussion below.

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woman prepping food items in a kitchen smilingDinner and Discussion on Food, Health and the Arts

Food is rooted in Black culture and history. It’s also at the heart of health issues that challenge our community. Voices AMPLIFIED! partnered with No More Empty Pots (NMEP) for a casual Sunday dinner, where participants could register for a free meal kit and cook along with the live-streamed program to make a red rice bowl (download a copy of the recipe here). 

NMEP is a grassroots non-profit organization that helps people and communities improve self-sufficiency and food security. During the cooking, the hosts discussed the history of food, cooking and preparing food as an art form and its impact on mental health. Jade Rogers, founder, and Chief Innovation Officer of The House of Afros, Capes & Curls moderated the discussion. Panelists included guests from No More Empty Pots: Nancy Williams, Co-founder/Chief Executive Officer, Mariah Henry, Production Manager and Meya Hill, Culinary Certificate Program Coordinator.

You can watch a recording of the panel discussion below.

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no more empty pots logo

 

 

ranky tankyThe Food and Music of the Gullah Culture

Ranky Tanky is a Grammy-Award winning musical ensemble based in Charleston, South Carolina that specializes in jazz-influenced arrangements of traditional Gullah music, a culture that originated among descendants of enslaved Africans in the Lowcountry region. This event invited the Omaha community to engage with Ranky Tanky and learn about the Gullah Culture, music and history.

Kathy Tyree, artist, director and founder of Kathy Tyree Productions moderated the event, which included a Gullah inspired menu:

Cornmeal Battered Okra with Sweety Drop Peppers -Vegetarian
Braised Shrimp with Geechee Boy Grits
Low Country Crab Pie Puffs
Gullah Fried Corn Cakes
Red Rice Beignets with Low Country Remoulade
Spiced Smoked Pork Shoulder on Benne Seed Rolls with Carolina BBQ Sauce

 

 

Alicia OlatjujaLunch and Discussion with Alicia Olatuja 

Voices AMPLFIED! and co-host Omaha Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc invited the public to lunch and a live discussion with jazz singer Alicia Olatuja on her upcoming performance “Intuition: Songs From the Minds of Women.” Olatuja discussed the Black woman's voice in music as Black women reassert their rights, gain more political clout and speak out against harassment, abuse and exploitation in all walks of life. Gennean Scott, former VP of Human Capital and Inclusion at O-pa, moderated the event.


omaha chapter of alpha kappa alpha, inc

 

 

philadancoVirtual Discussion with PHILADANCO | The Black Voice in Dance

The Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO) has a legacy of breaking barriers and building bridges across cultural divides. Founded in 1970 by Joan Myers Brown, PHILADANCO uses the language of dance to explore Black history, social justice and civil rights. Panelists for this event included Joan Myers Brown, artistic director Kim Bears-Bailey, company member Jameel Malik Hendricks and Omaha native and renowned choreographer Ray Mercer. They discussed the influence of dance in social justice and the arts, as well as fighting Black stereotypes in dance as an art form and as an artist. Omaha Dance educator Aaron Derell moderated this event. You can watch a recording below.

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man speaking or singing passionately into a microphone on stage"Let America Be America Again"

Titled after Langston Hughes' poem, the Voices AMPLIFIED! finale event featured local literary, musical, dance and visual arts talent focused around racial equity, social justice, and the arts, with an emphasis on both the Black Lives Matter movement and past reflections throughout history. Featured artists included actor Raydell Cordell III, singer Dani Cleveland, musician Justin Payne, poet Devel Crisp, poet Withlove Felicia, choreographer and dancer Aaron Derell, and an ensemble conducted by Ananias “Markey” Montague. Read more about these artists.

Before the show, audience members could explore an exhibition of immersive art by students, faculty and alumni from the University of Nebraska Omaha's School of Communication, Fine Arts and Media in the ConAgra East Lobby at the Holland.

Explore the program book below and watch a recording of the event.

View the Let America Be America Again Program Book

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