Pierce Freelon speaks on Revolution

Pierce Freelon speaks on Revolution

About the speaker

Pierce Freelon is a musician, professor, and artivist with a passion for creativity and community. He has taught courses on music, black studies, and political science at UNC Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University. Front man of the genre-bending band The Beast, he has been hailed as a “natural, engaging blend of jazz and hip hop,” by Jazz Times Magazine. An international ambassador of art + activism, Freelon co-created a community music studio and PBS web-series called Beat Making Lab, which donated equipment and trained youth across the continent of Africa, the Caribbean, and South Pacific. Freelon’s pioneering hip hop curriculum and fundraising led to the creation of Next Level—a one million dollar collaboration between UNC’s music department and the US department of State; fostering cultural exchange and conflict resolution through hip hop. Freelon is a former program coordinator of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, where he brought Bebop to Hip Hop to youth, from South Central Los Angeles, to New Delhi.

Pierce runs a Pan-African community center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina called ARTVSM Studios—a multi-medium space for creating art and emancipating minds, where youth engage in beat making, video editing and radio production workshops free of charge. He lives in Durham with his wife and two children.

Favorite quotes from this talk See all

Mass slaughters, millions of African sons and daughters thrown overboard, thumb screws, forced migrations, beat down and bludgeoned for this country's foundations. All in the name of salvation. — Pierce Freelon

In naming Harriet Tubman, a black woman, as a superhero, that is in itself a revolutionary gesture; because it's a paradigm shift away from the ubiquitous, white saviour narrative that dominates many aspects of our history and culture. — Pierce Freelon

In order to free yourself, you must first know that you are enslaved. That takes critical thinking, questioning; it's no wonder reading a book as a black person could get you lynched during this period. — Pierce Freelon

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