About the Event
A grassroots initiative promoting storytelling, creativity, and the arts, the Muslim Writers Collective will focus this iteration of its programming on themes drawn from the MCA exhibition Faith Ringgold: American People. This storytelling event will center itself around hearing life experiences from Muslim American and Muslim-adjacent perspectives.
About the Collaborators
An internationally recognized hip-hop dancer, choreographer, and teacher, Amirah Sackett explores and embodies her Muslim American identity through combining hip-hop movement and Islamic themes. She reached viral video fame after being featured on POPSUGAR Celebrity, The Huffington Post, AJ+, and Upworthy. Amirah was named one of “17 Muslim American Women Who Made America Great in 2016” by The Huffington Post. Sackett was honored to be a TEDx speaker, guest lecturer and teacher at Harvard University, and a cultural diplomat with the U.S. State Department in Bangladesh, Malaysia, Kuwait, and Romania. She had the honor to represent the U.S.A. as a cultural performer, in United Arab Emirates, at the Expo 2020 Dubai, the SWANA’s region’s first World’s Fair. Based in Chicago, Amirah continues to teach the next generation and encourage emerging artists to use Hip-Hop culture as a way to uplift, inspire, and create social change.
Binta Kane Diallo is a Chicago-born Senegalese and Gambian American singer-songwriter. Diallo utilizes her gifts for self-reflection. By weaving her native tongue of Wolof and English via song she invites listeners to remember their innate connection to the divine. She continues to cultivate her artistry by curating her debut EP, Rooted, which will be a hybrid of Neo-soul and Senegalese pop music.
Jacinda Bullie is a Hip-Hop Theater practitioner, poet, installation visionary, creative producer, and podcast host. A daughter of Choctaw Nation, an Islamic revert, and an activist by temperament who fell in love with the Hip Hop pedagogy, Bullie focuses her storytelling work on tangibly reimaging a more just world. In the late 80’s and early 90’s, after spending time at local Chicago House parties and the few emerging underground Hip-Hop spaces such as Estelle’s, Blue Gargoyle, Hot House, Lower Links and Dem Dares Alcatraz concerts, Bullie began spitting poetry at Lit X. As an arts facilitator who finds freedom in remembering that she is a spiritual being simply having an earthly experience, she moves her body to remember and practice radical play so that nothing is taken too seriously. Bullie is also the co-founder of the performance collective Kuumba Lynx.
Born in Pakistan, but raised in the Chicagoland area, Syeda Raza is passionate about all things related to education, immigration, and social justice. She has published several articles and presented at national conferences on her research related to undocumented student and immigrant identity. During her undergraduate years, Raza became involved in immigration advocacy work here in Chicago. In 2015, she was appointed as an E3! (Educate, Engage, & Empower) ambassador for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders through which she raised awareness about DACA within AAPI communities. After earning her master’s degree in science education, she was selected as one of 37 STEM educators across the country for the Knowles Teaching Fellowship awarded to promising early career educators. Raza is now entering her 7th year as a high school teacher in the western suburbs and is also a PhD student in educational psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she is interested in exploring the life stories of South Asian/Desi Muslim emerging adults.
Tasleem Jamila is an internationally award-winning poet, author, multi-disciplinary artist, interdisciplinary scholar, cultural curator, organizer, and holistic wellness therapist who uses heart-centered storytelling to examine the intersections of culture, spirituality, and indigenous holistic healing modalities. Jamila is the CEO of My Soul Speaks Institute, Executive Director of Art As Sacred Initiative and host of the Art As Sacred podcast. She is a 2021 recipient of the Thurgood Marshall Fellowship from Western Michigan University, 2020-2021 IMAN (Inner-city Muslim Action Network) Creative Cypher Artist fellow. In addition, she is the author of three books, From Mississippi Clay to African Skies in Search of Sacred Presence, forthcoming, Black Baptist Muslim Mystic: From the Cosmos, and The Woman’s Guide to Holistic Healing. Jamila’s performances, lectures, and seminars include The Kennedy Center, Excel London, Harvard University, Columbia University, NYU, University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois. She has performed and facilitated workshops extensively across the US and Ghana, Canada, England, South Africa, Senegal, and Malaysia and continues to tour worldwide.
About the Organization
The Muslim Writers Collective (MWC), Chicago chapter is an organization aimed at reclaiming the Muslim American narrative in media. A secular Muslim identity-based organization, MWC Chicago uplifts performers who identify as “Muslim” regardless of age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, physical/ mental ability, and any other protected classes in the United States. MWC Chicago is an anti-racist & LGBTQI+ affirming organization and all of leadership must agree to create a space welcoming to all.
Lead support for the 2023-24 season of MCA Talks is made possible by The Richard and Mary L. Gray Lecture Series through a generous gift to the Chicago Contemporary Campaign.
Generous support is provided by The Antje B. and John J. Jelinek Endowed Lecture and Symposium on Contemporary Art; the Kristina Barr Lectures, which were established through a generous gift by The Barr Fund to the Chicago Contemporary Campaign; The Gloria Brackstone Solow and Eugene A. Solow, MD, Memorial Lecture Series; and the Allen M. Turner Tribute Fund, honoring his past leadership as Chair of the Board of Trustees.
Lead support of Faith Ringgold: American People is provided by the Harris Family Foundation in memory of Bette and Neison Harris, Zell Family Foundation, Cari and Michael Sacks, and R.H. Defares.
Major support is provided by Ellen-Blair Chube, DIOR, Susie L. Karkomi and Marvin Leavitt, Liz and Eric Lefkofsky, Northern Trust, Carol Prins and John Hart/The Jessica Fund, Robin Loewenberg Tebbe and Mark Tebbe, and Charlotte Cramer Wagner and Herbert S. Wagner III of the Wagner Foundation.
Generous support is provided by Cheryl and Eric McKissack and Karyn and Bill Silverstein.
This exhibition is supported by the Women Artists Initiative, a philanthropic commitment to further equity across gender lines and promote the work and ideas of women artists.