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Thursday, April 26 • 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Roundtable: Doing Digital Wrongly

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Jessica L. Robinson, Porshe R. Garner, Ruth Nicole Brown, and Blair E. Smith of band We Levitate
”Doing Digital Wrongly”: On music making praxis through Black Girlhood
Moderator: Michelle Habell-Pallan
In the 21st century, hip-hop feminist researchers have been “working to bring the politics of African American girls front and center” (Brown, 2007) in scholarship and community activism (Pough et. al, 2007; Brown, 2009; Brown & Kwayke, 2012; Love, 2012). Black feminists scholars and activists have a long-standing history of utilizing language and literacy in scholarship and with community to develop individual and collective intellectual traditions that work towards disassembling systems of inequality, re-writing and re-imagining Black female experiences, political thought, art (Lorde, 1996; Jordan, 2000; Clifton) collective activism (Combahee River Collective, 1986; Collins, 2000) and self-recovery from daily attacks of racism and sexism (hooks, 1993) Black queer issues (Lorde, 1996; Harris, 1996; Smith, 2000) and transnational politics (Alexander, 2005). This roundtable, presented by members of the girl-band, We Levitate (https://soundcloud.com/solhot-next-level), aims to extend the legacy of Black feminist and/or womanist writers and artists whose ideas, provocations, and testimonies provided a solid foundation from which to theorize, practice, and make art and in the case of We Levitate make music. This roundtable explores our concept of “doing digital wrongly” as a music making process rooted in Saving Our Lives Hear Our Truths (SOLHOT), a collective space of organizing with Black girls to celebrate Black girlhood. Doing digital wrongly interrogates (1) the resources needed to make music in community with one another based on structural limitations and emotional necessity, (2) artistry as produced without a form and invested in embracing those sounds which are deemed as “alien” based on ideas of “good music”, as well as (3) a dedication to insist on and persist in making political sonics by intensely co-laboring and producing an collective emotive capacity unattached to binary gender schemas.
Guided by an investment in Black feminist and womanist theories and practices, we demonstrate the usefulness and nonuse of a sonic ritualized creative practice that allows us to critique ourselves and structural conditions as well as theorize concepts such as power, gender and form, in relation to doing collective work with Black girls, based on how sounds arrived to us and what we brought to it. To explore our work together, this roundtable will feature demonstrations of sonic creations by each member as well as a conversation with each member on artist-practice and political investment in sonic creativity as experienced through our practice of organizing through Black girlhood.

avatar for Ruth Nicole Brown

Ruth Nicole Brown

Ruth Nicole Brown is an associate professor in Gender and Women’s Studies and Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research documents, analyzes, and interrogates Black girls’ lived experience and explores the gender... Read More →

Porshe R. Garner

Porshé R. Garner is a doctoral candidate in Education Policy Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her work investigates and analyzes alternative forms of power and how it manifest in the intergenerational space of the collective Saving Our... Read More →
avatar for Jessica L. Robinson

Jessica L. Robinson

Jessica L. Robinson is a doctoral student in Media and Cinema Studies (Institute for Communications Research) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her work, done in community with the SOLHOT collective, focuses on the politics and poetics of the life-making/saving practices... Read More →

Blair E. Smith

Blair Ebony Smith is a doctoral candidate in Cultural Foundations of Education at Syracuse University. Her artistic and scholarly work with creative and collective organizing with Saving Our Lives, Hear Our Truths, practice based, publicly engaged, collectively organized space to... Read More →

Thursday April 26, 2018 2:00pm - 3:30pm PDT
Sky Church

Attendees (2)