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  • Stephanie Shonekan is professor of ethnomusicology and dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland. Shonekan earned a doctorate in ethnomusicology and folklore with a minor in African American studies in 2003 from Indiana University. Her dual heritage combining West Africa with the West Indies allows her to straddle the Black world comfortably. She has published articles and book chapters on afrobeat, Fela Kuti, Nigerian and African American hip-hop, soul music and country music. Her publications explore the nexus where identity, history, culture and music meet. Her books include The Life of Camilla Williams: African American Classical Singer and Opera Diva (2011), Soul, Country, and the USA: Race and Identity in American Music Culture (2015), Black Lives Matter & Music (2018) and Black Resistance in the Americas (2018). She also wrote and produced a short film based on the mother of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Lioness of Lisabi. The film was awarded first prize at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival in 2010 and by the Girls Inc. Film Festival in 2012.

  • Christopher Prince is a singer, poet, actor, and activist. After his early training with DC’s Workshop for Careers in the Arts, he went on to become an integral member of the Black gay and lesbian arts scene of the 1980s and 90s. His poetry has been published in the Baltimore Sun, Haki Madhubuti’s Black BooksBulletin, and Callaloo-A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters. As a vocalist—with jazz/pop quartet The Four of Us, neo-soul duo Night’sKin, and more recently with his own jazz trio—Christopher has performed at venues including Mr. Henry’s, JoJo’s, Blues Alley, the Atlas Performing Arts Center, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the Fort Dupont Park summer concert series. He also appears on the soundtrack of Marlon Riggs’ iconic documentary Tongues Untied.  Christopher is currently completing an Atlas Arts Lab residency.  His production “Loud as the Rolling Sea” will be mounted in June 3, 2023 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. In addition to his artistic gifts, Christopher has a long history of artistic activism. He has co-produced and managed the stage entertainment for Black Gay Pride Day and produced the "Gospel & Soul" celebration for HRC. He recently served as the Project Director of the documentary film Fierceness Served!: The ENIKAlley Coffeehouse.

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