JSU hosts day of visual art and spoken word featuring renowned artist Danny Simmons, Def Poetry Jam Poets

Danny_Simmons_3-01Jackson State University Art Galleries are excited to present a day of visual art and spoken word on Wednesday, March 4, with renowned artist Danny Simmons and Def Poetry Jam Poets Toni Blackman, Ursula Rucker, and Bonafide Rojas.

From 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., catch the Def Poetry Jam Reunion Show in the Rose E. McCoy Auditorium hosted by C. Leigh McInnis, poet and JSU professor. Also performing are members of  JSU’s OutSpoken, MADDRAMA, Maranda Joiner, host of Synergy Nights, and live painting by Sabrina Howard.

Before the show, the Jackson State University Department of Art will host a reception and gallery talk by Simmons, a neo-African abstract expressionist painter, in the Johnson Hall Art Gallery from 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. His lecture Channeling Home: African Influences in African American Art, will center on issues of art and social responsibility.

Simmons is the founder of the HBO Tony Award-winning series “Def Poetry Jam” that was hosted by rapper Mos Def and aired from 2002-2007. He is also the older brother of Hip-Hop impresario Russell Simmons and rapper Joseph Simmons (Rev. Run) of the legendary hip-hop group Run DMC.

Also, in Johnson Hall Gallery, from 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Blackman, Rucker, and Rojas, will discuss their lives as creatives.

Blackman, an artist and social entrepreneur, is the first Hip Hop artist selected to work as a cultural ambassador with the U.S. Department of State. The California native is also an artist with the Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute and a fellow in the Echoing Green Foundation’s Thought Leadership Cohort.

“Strong and vulnerable” are just some words used to describe the poetic works of Rucker, a native of Philadelphia. She has also been featured on several albums by the Hip-Hop group The Roots.

Rojas, poet and musician, is from the Bronx. He has authored four poetry collections and is the founder of the publishing company Grand Concourse Press. His writing appears in journals and anthologies that include “Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam” (Three Rivers Press, 2001) and ”Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social & Political Black Literature & Art” (Third World Press, 2002).

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, please contact the Department of Art at 601-979-2040 or art@jsums.edu.