Month: February 2019

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah concert (PHOTOS)

From left to right: Lawrence Fields, piano; Luques Curtis, bass; Logan Richardson, saxophone; Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, trumpet; Weedie Braimah, percussion; Corey Fonville, drums. (Ethan Bakuli/Rebirth Project)

By Ethan Bakuli

This Valentine’s day, the University of Massachusetts Amherst Fine Arts Center was welcome to a special performance by New Orleans trumpeter and composer Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and his quintet.

Performing in the Bowker Auditorium, Adjuah’s Feb. 14 concert came at the end of a week-long tour across the Pioneer Valley through the Billy Taylor Endowment for Jazz Residencies, teaching and working with local high school and Five College students in masterclass workshops and one-on-one student critiques.

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Culinary historian and chef Michael W. Twitty traces his roots—and America’s—through food

Author, chef and food historian Michael W. Twitty. (Cynthia Ntinunu/Rebirth Project)

By Ethan Bakuli

Community members, faculty and students were in attendance for a talk by culinary historian and memoirist Michael W. Twitty. The talk, held Wednesday evening in the Commonwealth Honors College Events Hall, was based off of Twitty’s 2017 personal memoir, “The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South.”

For well over a decade, Twitty has worked with living history museums to recreate the cooking practices of black people, dating back to the Transatlantic slave trade. What began as his love of culinary history and cooking grew into a desire to learn and teach others the ways enslaved people raised, harvested and cultivated their crops during the 18th and 19th century.

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“If Beale Street Could Talk” film review: A “radical project of black love”

By Ethan Bakuli

(Warning: Light spoilers ahead)

University of Massachusetts Amherst faculty, students and community members were in full attendance Sunday evening for a special film screening of If Beale Street Could Talk, hosted by the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies in partnership with local movie theater Amherst Cinema.

Afro-American Studies department chair Stephanie Shonekan introduced the evening’s screening, anticipating that Barry Jenkins’s (director of Moonlight and Medicine for Melancholy) film adaptation of the 1974 novel by James Baldwin would allow present-day audiences to “pause and think about what messages [Baldwin] is still sending us decades later.”

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“Streets of Seoul” Performances (PHOTOS)

An audience member is invited to spare with an Amherst College Kendo practitioner. (Ethan Bakuli/Rebirth Project)

On Friday, Feb. 8, The University of Massachusetts Korean Student Association hosted its second annual “Streets of Seoul” performances in the Campus Center Auditorium.

Close to around 300 students from across the Five Colleges were in attendance, filling up the auditorium wall to wall. As the night went on, Korean pop blared from the speakers as friends grouped around roundtables adorned with miniature trees with white Christmas lights.

Audience members and performers had the chance to grub on an assortment of Korean street food, ranging from Kimchi fried rice and spicy rice cakes to chicken wings and pork fried dumplings.

Performers included dance routines by the UMass and Smith Korean Dance Clubs, a sparing match between Amherst College Kendo members, a rap performance by trio Kimchi Gang, and a diabolo (Chinese yoyo) performance by the UMass TASC Force.

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New Yorker writer and Columbia Journalism professor Jelani Cobb speaks on free speech and polarization on college campuses

Author, writer and educator Jelani Cobb discusses “Speech On and Off Campus” with Associate Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Anna Branch. (Rebirth Project/Brie Bristol)

By Ethan Bakuli and Brie Bristol

On Tuesday Feb. 5, University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Office of Equity and Inclusion presented  “Understanding the Forces that Drive Us Apart: A Symposium on Polarization” as an daylong event allowing participants “to understand the history and dynamics of social polarization.”

The symposium, hosted in the Campus Center Auditorium, featured a conversation between Jelani Cobb, New Yorker staff writer and Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism at Columbia University, and UMass Associate Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Enobong (Anna) Branch discussing freedom of speech on college campuses.

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