Voices AMPLIFIED! is a multidisciplinary arts and social justice initiative to amplify artists in diverse cultures.
Under the direction of Gennean Scott, Vice President of Human Capital and Inclusion and Andy Cassano, Vice President of Programming and Education, Voices AMPLIFIED! will elevate artists and their work in social justice through live music, dance, and spoken word. The new series will include panel discussions by local and national artists and community partners on food, health, #BlackVoicesMatter and more.
Voices AMPLIFIED! is led by a committee of ten community members comprised of educators, artists and O-pa employees: Deborah Bunting, Andy Cassano, Raydell Cordell III, Aaron Gregory, Bill Grennan, Dara Hogan, Matt Mason, Jade Rogers, Gennean Scott and Kathy Tyree.
“Inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility are core values at Omaha Performing Arts and are woven throughout our efforts. Voices AMPLIFIED! is an extension of that work and a long-term initiative to expand our artistic, community engagement and education programs,” said Gennean Scott, Vice President of Human Capital and Inclusion.
During the 2020/2021 season, Voices AMPLIFIED! will partner with performing artists who reflect on Black history and racial equity to amplify Black voices and Black stories and encourage dialogue in the community. While current events have directly shaped the direction of this year’s topic, the community approach to Voices AMPLIFIED! is an ongoing effort at O-pa.
Explore Upcoming Events
Live Virtual Discussion with PHILADANCO | The Black Voice in Dance
Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 5:30 PM
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 including Joan Myers Brown, artistic director Kim Bears-Bailey, company member Jameel Malik Hendricks and Omaha native and renowned choreographer Ray Mercer will discuss 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 will moderate this event.
This panel discussion will be streamed to O-pa's Facebook and YouTube channels.
"Let America Be America Again"
Friday, June 25, 2021 at 7:30 PM
Holland Performing Arts Center
Virtual Panel Discussion of August Wilson's Fences | How the Themes Still Matter Today
Sunday, October 25 at 4:00 PM
Our groundbreaking Voices AMPLIFIED! series starts with rediscovering 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.”
Join us for a free panel discussion of the movie adaptation of “Fences,” with Omaha thespians: Raydell Cordell III, Kathy Tyree, Tyrone Beasley and John Beasley. The panel will discuss the symbolism of Fences,
generational differences and explore the father and son relationship within Black families.
We invite you to watch the film on your own and then join us for this pre-recorded panel discussion streamed live.
You can rent the film for as little as $4 here.
Virtual Panel Discussion of Local Filmmakers Making Movies that Move
Sunday, November 22 at 4:00 PM
We turn our attention to amplify local filmmakers who are 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 will share 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.
Join us for a 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 and director of TRIO Project Achieve at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and author of “Start. Stay With It. Finish Strong.”
The panel will discuss what it means to be unwavering, the importance of using film to tell their stories and the challenges and opportunities in the industry.
This panel discussion will be streamed to O-pa's Facebook and YouTube channels.
Watch on Facebook
Worth a Thousand Words: The Photography of Rudy Smith
Sunday, December 13 at 4:00 PM
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.
We invite you to tune in for a live exhibit of his selected work, along with panelists who will 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. This panel discussion will be streamed to O-pa's Facebook and YouTube channels.
View on Facebook
Dinner and Discussion on Food, Health and the Arts
Sunday, January 17, 2021 at 5:00 PM
Food is rooted in Black culture and history. It’s also at the heart of health issues that challenge our community. Join us and our host No More Empty Pots (NMEP) for a casual Sunday dinner. NMEP is a grassroots non-profit organization that helps people and communities improve self-sufficiency and food security. The free meal kit registration has reached capacity and is closed, but you can still cook along with us! Download a copy of the recipe here.
We will cook and discuss the history of food, cooking and preparing food as an art form and its impact on our mental health. Jade Rogers, founder, and Chief Innovation Officer of The House of Afros, Capes & Curls will moderate the discussion. Panelists include guests from No More Empty Pots: Nancy Williams, Co-founder/Chief Executive Officer, Mariah Henry, Production Manager and Meya Hill, Culinary Certificate Program Coordinator.
This panel discussion will be streamed on O-pa's Facebook and YouTube channels.
The Food and Music of the Gullah Culture
Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 5:30 PM
Holland Center | Scott Recital Hall
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. We invite you to engage with Ranky Tanky and learn about the Gullah Culture, music and history.
Kathy Tyree, artist, director and founder of Kathy Tyree Productions will moderate this event. Register Now
Enjoy 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
Ranky Tanky will perform live at the Holland Center on Friday, February 5 at 7:30 PM.
Lunch and Discussion with Alicia Olatuja
Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 12:00 PM
Scott Recital Hall | Holland Center
Join us and co-host Omaha Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc for lunch and a live discussion with jazz singer Alicia Olatuja on her upcoming performance “Intuition: Songs From the Minds of Women,” Olatuja will talk about 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, VP of Human Capital and Inclusion will moderate.
Alicia Olatuja will perform live at the Holland Center on Thursday, March 11 at 7:30 PM.