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The opening event for the Women Take the Reel film festival, Black Lives through the Arts, is devoted to reflecting on and celebrating Black Lives through film, music, poetry, and dialogue.  Each of the works presented in this program provides a different lens with which to look at topics ranging from identity, racial justice, sexuality, gender, masculinity, and more.  All of the contributing artists and filmmakers will be present to talk about their works that day and will be featured in a concluding roundtable discussion and Q&A with the audience.  Each of the contributing artists and filmmakers will be present to contextualize their works at a concluding roundtable discussion and Q&A with the audience.

Location:  Brattle Theater, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA

Schedule of Events:

4pm: Opening Reception

4:45pm: Welcome by Professor Sandy Alexandre, Associate Professor of Literature at MIT

5pm: Screening of Black Men Dream by Shikeith with introduction by the filmmaker, followed by musical performance by Castle of our Skins: Seychelle Dunn (saxophone) and Adrienne Baker (flute)

6:15pm: Slam Poetry performance by Lenelle Moïse followed by screening of feature filmblack./womyn. by Tiona McClodden with introduction by the filmmaker

8:30pm: Roundtable discussion with Tiona McClodden, Lenelle Moïse, Shikeith, members of Castle of Our Skins and moderated by Barbara Lewis, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Trotter Institute for the Study of Black History and Culture at UMass Boston.

Presenter and performer bios:

Shikeith is a multidisciplinary visual artist, and film maker. In his younger years Shikeith was ostracized by other Black boys within his community who challenged the authenticity of his Black masculinity. This experience among other personal traumas inspired his works exploration into the individual psychological reaction to being viewed under the scopes of being Black, and male  in America. His first solo exhibition ‘Ode to Black’ was held at the Paul Robeson Cultural Center as an undergraduate at The Pennsylvania State University, where he studied art and received several awards including The Leslie P. Greenhill scholarship for Photography. In 2014, he received a grant from The Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh program — a partnership of The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments. The grant supported his film ‘#Blackmendream (2014)’, and solo exhibition “Somewhere over the _ (October 2014)” with Bunker Projects gallery in Pittsburgh, PA.

Born out of the desire to foster cultural curiosity, Castle of our Skins celebrates Black artistry through music. From classrooms to concert halls, Castle of our Skins invites exploration into Black heritage and culture, spotlighting both unsung and celebrated figures of past and present.

Seychelle Dunn, saxophone
Seychelle Dunn (born 1985) is a saxophonist and pianist known for her inclusion of African American artistry in education and performance. Prior to her work in the Greater Boston area, Seychelle worked in education for the Baltimore Public School system and is an alumna member of Morgan State University a Historical Black College that prides itself on incorporating African American Culture through the daily collegiate experience. While attending MSU, Seychelle studied with accomplished composers Dr. James Lee III and Dr. Nkeiru Okoye as well as jazz saxophonist Tim Green. Upon completing her studies and earning both a B.A. & M.A. degree in music, Seychelle attended Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge studying with classical saxophonist Kenneth Radnofsky. Currently, Seychelle performs with her saxophone quartet and as a solo artist in addition to serving as piano faculty at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education and a teaching artist with the Handel and Haydn Society.

Adrienne Baker, flute
Adrienne Baker, a flutist originally from Wilmington, Delaware, joins Castle of our Skins as Director of Outreach and Community Engagement. She performs regularly in the Greater Boston area in addition to being an active freelance musician. Passionate about accessibility in music, she currently maintains a private studio of students at all levels of playing. This summer she attended the Imani Chamber Winds Festival in New York City, with scholarship, where she was able to work closely with members of the Imani Winds and play in masterclass for renowned flutist Judith Mendenhall. Adrienne studied music at Ithaca College and the Longy School of Music at Bard College. Her flute instructors have included Alan Weiss, Susan Milan, William Bennett, Trudy Kane and Robert Willoughby. Adrienne can be heard on Soundcloud at To follow her blog,

Tiona McClodden is a filmmaker and visual artist. She produces and distributes her work through her film and media imprint, Harriet’s Gun Media whose mission is to produce and distribute works of art across a range of media platforms that examine, explore, and critique issues at the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality. Themes explored in McClodden’s films have been social change, social realism, re-memory and more recently narrative biomythography. Tiona lives and works in North Philadelphia, PA.

Lenelle Moïse is an award-winning poet, playwright, and performance artist. She creates jazz-infused, hip-hop bred, politicized texts about the intersection of identity, memory and spirit. She is the author of Haiti Glass, winner of the 2015 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award. Moïse recites from hand-made scrolls, with fervor, humor, power and movement. She has performed Off-Broadway, at the United Nations and at theatres, colleges and conferences across North America. In addition to dynamic readings of Haiti Glass, she has authored Word Life, her acclaimed autobiographical coming of age story andSpeaking Intersections, a fierce set of queer feminist poetry and prose. Moïse is also developing Where There Are Voices, a one-woman show based on Haiti Glass.

Barbara Lewis, Ph.D., heads the Trotter Institute for the Study of Black History and Culture at UMass Boston, and is an Associate Professor in the Department of English. As a Francophone scholar, she co-translated Faulkner, Mississippi by Edouard Glissant, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.  As a cultural historian, she has published on lynching in drama, the minstrel stage, the black arts movement, and playwright August Wilson. For over fifteen years, she wrote theater, film, and art reviews and covered the creative arts scene in New York, writing for Essence, the Amsterdam News, the Soho Weekly News, and Ms. Magazine. Dr. Lewis has taught at City College, Lehman, New York University, and was Chair of the Department of Theatre at the University of Kentucky.  Expressing her interest in connecting campus and community, she blogs about women’s history, current events, and the arts for The Public Humanist.

This event is co-sponsored by the Women and Gender Studies Department at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, The Women’s Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at Boston University, the Gender and Cultural Studies Program at Simmons College, and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Northeastern University.

– – – About the festival – – –

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Events are open to all community members. We welcome people of every identity, ability/disability, and background, and will strive to meet all needs for full participation.