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Virginia Beach, NSU release podcast on Black art and resistance

 Juneteenth is often celebrated with a parade, like this 2019 Juneteenth celebration in Philadelphia.
Photo via Shutterstock
Juneteenth is often celebrated with a parade, like this 2019 Juneteenth celebration in Philadelphia.

“Black Futures: The Art of Resistance” features professors from Norfolk State and Old Dominion universities and is being released to celebrate Juneteenth.

Norfolk State University and the Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department will release “Black Futures: The Art of Resistance,” a podcast dedicated to detailing Black resistance and arts on June 19.

“We’re following the spirit of Black History Month; a lot of people have absolutely no idea about the month,” said Cassandra Newby-Alexander, producer of the podcast and Norfolk State University history professor who has led extensive research into local Black history.

The beginning of the podcast series details forms of resistance and showcases two Black artists.

The podcast features Brittney S. Harris, an award-winning playwright and Old Dominion theater professor. Her theater work is known for being infused with ideas of resilience and redemption, and she uses her platform to bring awareness to social injustice and racial inequality.

It also features Curtis Stewart, a Grammy-nominated, award-winning composer and violinist, elaborates on his work and how he uses his ethnicity and culture in his compositions.

“He talks about the world he lives in, and how African Americans are expected to operate in those spaces,” Newby-Alexander said. “He’s very much aware of his identity as a Black person but also aware of his identity as a biracial individual.”

The two artists bring forward their experiences and backgrounds to give listeners an idea of their work as African Americans. They’re asked numerous questions to give insight on Black art subjects.

“(Ron Karenga) said that Black art should have three criteria: functional, collective, and committed. They actually loved that construct and talked about it as it related to the work they do,” Newby-Alexander said, referring to the activist who is credited with creating the Kwanzaa holiday.

The podcast highlights the importance of resistance through art “(and) the remaking that artists are trying to do, and trying to not remake Black people into another box but to add a multitude of voices, so Black people have the freedom to be who they are, which is individuals,” Newby-Alexander said.

“Black Futures: The Art of Resistance” is available June 19 through the City of Virginia Beach and other podcast platforms. 

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