Straz Center ‘Voices of Community’ Focus on Artists of Color


The Straz Center in Tampa is hosting a series of live virtual public meetings called Community voices.

The goal is to amplify the voices of Blacks, Indigenous people and people of color, said Fred Johnson, artist in residence and community engagement specialist at Straz.

He worked with Straz VP of Education Ella Santana to create the programs, which include:

“You know, given the challenges that have been magnified, over the past two years, with the ill-fated murder of George Floyd and a more amplified conversation about the implications of racial discrimination, and what a lot of people don’t know and don’t understand about the realities of people who have been oppressed, it really creates an opportunity to empower the BIPOC community, ”Johnson said.
He said it was an opportunity to give a voice to this community as a whole and to “share the richness and some of the challenges of growing up as a black and brown in Tampa Bay, and where we are now. and what we can learn about each other, and what we can do better, and how we can be more inclusive and really have the opportunity to expand our reach and be more representative, ”Johnson said.

Thursday’s town hall premiere will focus on the ever-evolving artistic and social power of spoken word, hip hop and reggae, its Caribbean predecessor.

The program will feature Melvin and Marvin Coleman of The Inkwell, rap artist DY, spoken word artist Wallie B., rap artist Hyfa and Johnson will host the program.

Johnson said those town halls would include both artists who live and work here and others who grew up here and now live in other places.

He said they would also work with composers and choreographers who attended historically black colleges and universities like Florida A&M University, Bethune Cookman-University, Howard University and Morehouse College.

“So this is a great way to give a new voice, it’s a great way to empower and educate and hopefully inspire so that we can create new ways of being together in the community. . “

Johnson added that the Straz Center is dedicated to eradicating racism, discrimination and separatism, and plans to exercise its full reach in service to the community.


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