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Closing Session: We Will Rise Student Showcase

Marlon Solomon is a rising Junior at Berklee College of Music, where he double majors in Music Business Management and Music Production & Engineering.  He is the current president of the Black Student Union, Concert Manager of External Affairs, and a Residential Assistant. 

Hoping to one day start his own management company, he is currently the artist manager for Nia Ashleigh.

Jasmine Forrest is a dance major at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, currently working on Tia Fuller's Rihanna Ensemble. Jasmine has past experience as a Berklee Summer Institute ambassador and is currently a student representative of the Culture of Respect Committee, committed to informing, educating, and reforming the way our institution, and our society, works together to provide adequate resources for sexual assault and rape survivors on campus. 

Jasmine is extremely grateful to present her work in the We Will Rise Student Showcase, and looks forward to shedding more light on the Black experience in the U.S.

Jordan Pearson is currently attending Boston Conservatory at Berklee and studying Contemporary Theatre. Some of Jordan's past theatre credits include; Macbeth (Macbeth), Parade (Jim Conley), Midas (Metamorphosis), and Reggie in a Virginia Rep's Production of Akeelah and the Bee. 

Jordan appreciates you all for supporting black art and its cultural significance.

Taylor Deneen Christmon is a singer, songwriter, producer, and arranger attending Berklee College of Music. Originally from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, her signature sound comes from a variety of genres including r&b, jazz, neo-soul, and gospel. Some of her main influences are Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Whitney Houston, and Jill Scott. 

Taylor has graced the global stages of South America, Europe, and has had the opportunity to perform in front of Missy Elliot, Sylvia Rhone, Angela Winbush, Chaka Khan, Andra Day, and more. She is a recipient of the Elizabeth Boland Scholarship and won the Berklee Voice Department Outstanding Performer Award last spring. Taylor will graduate this May with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Music and Contemporary Writing & Production.

Funder is a fourth semester student at Berklee College of Music studying Electronic Production & Design. He is also a recording artist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer. His involvement over his time at Berklee include “The Show'' (live in March 2020 and virtually in December 2020), a remix of “This Christmas” by Donny Hathaway (virtual, December 2020), and a cover of “I Can’t Breathe” by H.E.R. (virtual, August 2020) with Taylor Deneen. 

Jacob Conley is a writer, actor, and musician from Atlanta, Georgia who is a sophomore at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. He is currently working on a collection of plays, as well as a novel entitled The Landing on West 128th.

Simone A. Francis is the Assistant Director for Diversity, Inclusion, and Student Engagement in the Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Office of the Executive Director, Boston Conservatory at Berklee. She identifies as a West Indian educator and diversity, equity, and inclusion practitioner grounded in community and creative practice. She aims to celebrate the phenomenal work of Black creatives and utilize her skillset to facilitate meaningful community building efforts amongst students, organizations, and social-justice driven groups. At her core, she believes that telling Black stories and amplifying Black narratives gives us the tools for radically reshaping our futures and driving social change.

Simone is the Founder of Anansi Creative Studio, an organization that centers authentic storytelling, community centered practice, creative expression, and (re)imagination as tools for building stronger communities and inclusive spaces, and offers unique cultural and educational engagement opportunities for a wide range of audiences with storytelling and creative expression at the core. She is also the Curator of reIMAGINED, a digital platform housed within Anansi Creative Studio, that celebrates the beauty and boldness of Black creatives. 

She currently serves on the Directorate Boards of the Pan-African Network and the Coalition of Multicultural Affairs in the American College Personnel Association. She has worked in local and international environments, including schools such as Indiana University, Stanford University, NYU, and NYU Shanghai in China. Beyond her various roles in the education world, you can find Simone caring for her plant babies, cooking, traveling, and vibing to reggae, dancehall, soca, and old school r&b. She enjoys stillness, quiet, and the solitude necessary to clear her mind and engage in deep reflection. 

Watch the recording here. Password: qf4dp1B=

Join us at the We Will Rise Summit Closing Session to celebrate Berklee student performers and their artistry at the We Will Rise Student Showcase. Select student performers Jasmine Forrest, Marlon Solomon, Jacob Conley, Taylor Deneen, Funder, and Jordan Pearson, will each introduce a select performance piece made in response to our current social times.