Airgo x Akenya: Blackness and Community in Renaissance

On Saturday, October 21, 2017, the Doyle Program was one of many co-sponsors for the event, Blackness and Community in Renaissance. This was a live podcast and concert with Chicago AirGo hosts Damon Williams and Daniel Kisslinger and a guest star Akenya—described by Williams as “one of the most dynamic and powerful vocalists in [Chicago].” The event began with an interview portion, covering a range of topics, including Akenya’s experiences from early childhood to today, dealing with issues of racism in the U.S. education system, the creation of her music and writer’s block, the opportunity for resources in universities to practice music, the revolutionary power of the arts, the importance of accepting who you are, and the necessity of having a creative community to foster growth and solidarity. The audience question and answer portion widened the conversation for the AirGo hosts to share their perspectives as well. All three gave their input on the importance of maintaining empathy and compassion in their line of work, making sure to take time to jot down an idea when it comes (because you’ll forget it later!), issues of branding yourself as an artist, and even on the important question of with which artist (from a different genre and any time period) they would want to be stranded on an island. Akenya ended the program with a concert, including her original songs “Disappear,” “Misery,” and “Absent Mindedness.” Additional sponsors and organizers of the event included the NAACP, WGTB, the Center for Social Justice, the Women’s Center, Georgetown Women’s Alliance, Georgetown’s Film and Media Program, Justice and Peace Studies Program, the American Studies Department, and the Georgetown University Student Association.

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