We Will Rise Summit We Will Rise Summit


Friday, February 26, 2021

Summit Welcome & Opening Remarks

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Welcome to the We Will Rise Summit! 

Join us for opening remarks by Simone A. Francis, Assistant Director for Diversity, Inclusion, and Student Engagement, to honor the land our Berklee Boston campus resides upon, welcome community members to the summit experience, and learn more about this year's Black History Celebrations. 

This opening features a wonderful performance by Berklee College of Music student, Romarna Campbell.

Writing Towards Resiliency: A Writing & Reflection Workshop

Join this workshop to explore reflection as a supportive tool in building resilience. 

We often find ourselves in situations where we have to make key decisions that will impact the direction of our career. Our ability to make decisions that feel authentic and intentional can be developed through deep reflection. Together, participants will use writing to examine how we build resilience personally and professionally.  

Black Lives Matter: A Worldwide Moment of Reckoning

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The Black Lives Matter movement, although originally founded in the US in 2013, has propelled worldwide in the last few years in an aim to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities. The realities of  “combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy”  (*) are however intrinsically linked to the geographical location; and the political, economic and social structures ruling in those countries. 

Join this panel of international speakers, including journalist Moha Gerehou (Spain), DJ & music business professor, Akua Afram (UK) and musical artist Ann Shirley (Cameroon) as they share their personal and professional views on the present and future of this worldwide moment of reckoning.  

This session is moderated by Chris Wade, Global Entertainment & Music Business '14, who is currently the Director of Creator Force and an Adjunct Instructor at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music.

*Black Lives Matter website

[NEW] B.L.M. (Black Liberation Music)

Updated Link

The role of music in the fight for human rights across the African Diaspora has been well documented. Together, we will explore what historian Vincent Harding called "the river of Black protest" that winds throughout U.S. and world history, highlighting iconic artists and the movements they represent. Participants will explore the legacy of these artists and the tradition of liberation music that continues to this day.

[NEW] Thelonious Monk and Erroll Garner Vs Columbia Records: How Black Musicians Fought Exploitation and Corporate Power

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This session explores the history of the exploitation of Black musicians by looking at the experiences of two iconic, presumably successful, pianists/composers and their ongoing battles with the most powerful recording company in the United States.  By following the money, we discover that Monk and Garner took two very different paths — one chose to stay within the corporate fold, the other choosing to break free and launch an independent label. Together, we will examine the consequences of such choices, economically, aesthetically, politically and emotionally.

Yoga for Zoomers

Ease your neck, shoulders, and lower back with gentle postures that help release the tension, strain, and tightness of computer workstation fatigue. 

Materials needed: Chair, Blocks (or Books), Yoga Yune Up Ball (or Tennis Ball)

We Will Rise Conversation Series with Ellice Patterson

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If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." -Toni Morrison

Join Founder and Executive/Artistic Director of Abilities Dance Boston, Ellice Patterson, in discussion with Boston Conservatory at Berklee's Assistant Professor of Dance, Marianne Harkless Diabate, for an engaging conversation about empowerment and healing through dance. Learn about Ellice's journey in writing a book that had yet to be written using the modality of dance, and the intersectional nature of Ellice's work to break barriers and reframe conceptualizations of race, gender, and disability. 

Beyond the Protest

Over the past year or so, we have experienced an uprise of unwarranted death at the hands of the police, giving rise to renewed political and social unrest. This has resulted in individuals, groups, and organizations to react with performative activism; many strapped up their boots and headed to the streets. 

And now, where do we go from here? 

In this session, participants will discuss performative activism, learn best practices, and identify resources for moving beyond the protest through activism, life, and artistry.

Get Your Foot Off Your Own Neck: Better Networking to Avoid Getting Scammed!

Professor Butler understands your desire for fame and fortune, but wants you to know that selling your soul to the highest bidder is not your only option. You always have a choice.  Before you can make an informed decision about who to work with, you need someone to educate and empower you on how to recognize, embrace and assert your power. 

 This session is all about how to keep from getting scammed, especially during this age of Covid, when people are desperately in search of ways to make a living with their music.

Open to students and alumni only.

Black Artists and the Soul of Our Music: A Virtual Performance

Watch the performance on YouTube anytime!

Join us for a virtual performance celebrating and honoring Black artists, while reflecting on Black history to move towards an empowered future. Ensemble and Dance faculty Tia Fuller, Ruka White, and Val Jeanty, will draw on inspiration from gospel, soul, jazz, and dance showcasing the talents of Berklee's Black student community. Hear reflections from the Black student organizations on campus and leaders Lacretia Johnson Flash and Kenn Brass.

Along with hosts Prince Charles Alexander and Simone A. Francis, this event will educate, heal, and empower through words, dance, and music. Audience members are invited to attend this free virtual performance featuring Black artists of today and tomorrow!

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Social Hour + Opening Remarks

Welcome to the We Will Rise Summit - Day Two! 

Join us at the social hour to mingle! Depending on where you are in the world, bring a breakfast, lunch, or dinner beverage and snack. Towards the end of the social hour, we will honor the land our Berklee Boston campus resides upon, welcome community members to the summit experience, and hear reflections from Associate Director for Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. Jasmine Parker.

Hip-Hop Writing and Black Awareness

Join this session to explore how Black identity is passed down through songwriting and poetry in Hip-Hop music. Participants will examine language, tradition, and colloquialisms unique to Black writers.

We Will Rise Conversation Series with Bryan Terrell Clark

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Join actor, singer, songwriter, and producer Bryan Terrell Clark in discussion with Boston Conservatory at Berklee's Assistant Professor of Theater, Pascale Florestal, for an interactive and engaging exploration of Black identity in theatre, television, and the music industry. Listen to Bryan discuss his experiences on Broadway in iconic hits such as Hamilton and Motown: The Musical, while learning about his career journey, various entrepreneurial pursuits, and his personal commitment to social change and activist work.

Bryan asks you to come in, ready to be real. This is a space to process and unpack our humanity and truths together - without judgment - giving voice to the hard questions and new realities of the time.

Yoga for Zoomers

Ease your neck, shoulders, and lower back with gentle postures that help release the tension, strain, and tightness of computer workstation fatigue. 

Materials needed: Chair, Blocks (or Books), Yoga Yune Up Ball (or Tennis Ball)

We Will Rise Conversation Series with Anthony R. Green & Ashleigh Gordon

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Join the co-founders of Castle of Our Skins, Anthony R. Green and Ashleigh Gordon, in discussion with Boston Conservatory at Berklee's Chair of Composition, Contemporary Music, and Core Studies, Jonathan Bailey Holland, for a timely discussion on celebrating Black artistry through music. Learn about how Castle of Our Skins utilizes music to explore the histories of unsung and celebrated figures, and illustrate the breadth and depth of Black culture through intergenerational and interdisciplinary offerings. 

Anthony and Ashleigh will offer insight into their unique approaches to advocate for social change and engage with social justice work across the globe. 

Alumni Networking Social

It's a Zoom social for current students and alumni! 

This session features a diverse group of Black alumni from the Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory at Berklee communities. Current students - join this session to listen to their stories, learn about their professional and artistic pursuits, and expand your network.

Open to students and alumni only.

We Will Rise Conversation Series with Aysha Upchurch

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Join Aysha Upchurch in conversation with Berklee College of Music's Assistant Chair of Ensembles, Queen D. Scott, for an authentic and vibrant discussion about utilizing your passion for radical change. Learn about Aysha and the many hats she wears as a dancer, choreographer, educator, entrepreneur, and consultant, in addition to what it means to be D.Ø.P.E. - dismantling oppression, pushing education - through hip hop, performance art, and innovative creation and design.

The Power of Student Artistry

As artists, we may not always feel like we have the voice or the power to create meaningful change in the world. Join this session, led by the Change Scholars: Cultural Leadership & Advocacy Program student group, to explore the various ways artists have facilitated change through their art forms. 

Participants will process how their personal art form responds to current social issues, and brainstorm methods to harness the power of art and creative practice as student artists.

Open to students only.

Exploring the Nuances with Black Student Leaders at Berklee

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Join Black student leaders Ashley Pointer, Steph Davis, Stephanie Boolean, and Ariana Stanberry for an invigorating moderated discussion with alumna Amy Onyonyi (‘20, BCB Voice Performance), exploring important and nuanced topics including Black identity, community, and creativity, the impact of -isms and monolithic narratives, and the pursuit of an arts-based career.

Bryan Terrell Clark: An Intimate Workshop on Identity and Authenticity

Join Bryan Terrell Clark for an intimate self-reflective workshop, diving into meanings and manifestations of self-love and self-appreciation in one's art practice. A workshop tailored to the needs of artists in this current moment, Bryan will guide participants in an active exploration of authenticity and identity; a discovery of new ways to feel, process, express, and channel intentional energy into your work in pursuit of social change. 

If You Really Wanna Party with Me...

"When I move, you move..." "I'm a savage, classy, bougie..." "Get jiggy with it..." "Now move your body like BOW!" "Let it rain, now clear it out... “ 

In our lives, dance and music go hand in hand.  Certain songs pull mannerisms, dance movements, and customs out of the people hearing the music. There are often regional variants of these movements; the connection and understanding between the DJ and the dancer are integral to the process. In this session, we will take you on a journey through the regions of Black social, club, dance, and music culture. Participants will learn DJ culture, foundational grooves, and jam/groove. We will end with a community Soul Train line/Soul Cypher from the comfort of your own home. Please wear comfortable clothes and make space around the computer to move and dance.

*This session is a healing space for BIPOC students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Closing Session: We Will Rise Student Showcase

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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.