27th Concert of Colors Forum on Community, Culture & Race

Freedom of Expression: The Power of Owning Our Voices

6-9 p.m. Thursday, July 11, 2019 @ AANM 


The Concert of Colors Forum on Community, Culture & Race is one of the largest annual events AANM has produced in recent years.  It fuses artists and activists locally and nationally to grapple with concepts of art and society. Through performance and dialogue, the Forum grapples with the role of art as a tool for advocacy and community building.

This year’s theme, Freedom of Expression: The Power of Owning Our Voices, highlights many art forms and their roles in highlighting the various forms of freedom of expression among vulnerable communities. This year’s panel discussion will explore leveraging creativity as a tool for sparking conversation, sharing ideas and igniting change. Live performances and light refreshments are included.

Keynote speaker Dr. Gloria House (aka Aneb Kgositsile), the Kresge Foundation Eminent Artist of 2019, is Professor Emerita of Humanities and African American Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Associate Professor Emerita in the Interdisciplinary Studies Department of Wayne State University. She is the former Director of the African American Studies Program at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, from which she retired in 2014. Since the 1960s when she worked as a student in the Southern civil rights movement, Dr. House has been an activist in African American community development and international solidarity causes. She is the recipient of many awards for her work as a human rights advocate, including the Edward Said Scholar/Activist Award of the Michigan Peace Team, the Harriet Tubman Award of the Michigan Chapter of NOW, and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights. She is a widely published author of poetry collections and academic and cultural studies and was lead editor of the anthology A Different Image: The Legacy of Broadside Press, selected as a Notable Book of Michigan for 2005 by the Library of Michigan.

Moderator Charles Ezra Ferrell is vice president of public programs at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, where he also served as a consultant and founder of the acclaimed Liberation Film Series. He edited Free the Land! Reflections in Honor of the Significant Life, Contributions, Battles and Victories of Revolutionary Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, Esq. (Liberation Press, 2015) and contributed chapters to Malcolm X’s Michigan Worldview (MSU Press, 2015) and Black Power Encyclopedia (ABC-CLIO, 2018). He serves a board member of the General Baker Institute and a member of the University of Michigan-Semester in Detroit’s General Baker Memorial Scholarship Committee.

Performer + Panelist Ramy Essam is considered one of the strongest voices for the young people in Egypt and its struggle for a progressive and modern society. He has become an international symbol of social activism and a beacon of uncommon bravery in the Middle East and around the world. In 2014, Sweden offered him safe haven; with his voice freed, he’s toured and released rock-influenced recordings that fulfill his mission. Essam performs with a band of both Swedish and Egyptian musicians and was recently awarded the Spirit of Folk Award by the Folk Alliance International.

Performer + Panelist Tall Paul is an Anishinaabe and Oneida hip-hop artist enrolled on the Leech Lake reservation in Minnesota. Born and raised in Minneapolis, his music strongly reflects his inner-city upbringing. From personal expressions of self, to thought provoking commentary on issues affecting Indigenous and diverse communities as a whole, Tall Paul’s music evokes a wide variety of substance and soul.

Panelist Satori Shakoor is executive producer and director of The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers® a nonprofit live storytelling series and podcast series on WDET, Detroit Public Radio. She is a storyteller, artist, social entrepreneur and a 2017 Kresge Literary Arts Fellow. Satori received early recognition as a background singer/recording artist when she toured with George Clinton’s Parliament/Funkadelic as one of the Brides of Funkenstein. She expanded her performance career to include acting, standup comedy, producing and playwriting. Shakoor is a founding member of Obsidian Theatre Company in Toronto. SHe has partnered with AANM, New Detroit and others to produce live events, coach storytellers and facilitate storytelling workshops. In November 2018, The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers expanded to Utrecht, The Netherlands.

This event presented in partnership with


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