A A A print this page

Millsaps College and Jackson State University Present: "A Conversation About Race, Art and Identity"


Millsaps College and Jackson State University faculty, staff and students will come together on both campuses Feb. 19-20 for "Necessary Tension: An Honest Conversation about Race, Art, and Identity" featuring Kiese Laymon, associate professor of English and co-director of Africana Studies at Vassar College.

The two day event-conceived and planned by a joint committee of students, faculty and staff from the two schools-seeks to open dialogue on and between the two campuses about the complexities of racial identity formation and navigation on college campuses, the necessity and practicalities of creating spaces where students can explore and express identity, and the role and function of artistic endeavor in that process.

The public is invited to participate in two connected panel discussions; the first is scheduled at Millsaps College on Feb. 19 from 7-9 p.m. in the Recital Hall of the Gertrude C. Ford Academic Complex. The second is scheduled at Jackson State on Feb. 20 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Liberal Arts Building, room 266.

Laymon will be joined on the Millsaps panel by Louwanda Evans, Millsaps visiting assistant professor of sociology; Millsaps alumni, Natalie Collier, a 2002 graduate, and the Rev. Ricky James, a 2004 graduate. The JSU panelists will include Charlie Braxton, a poet, playwright and journalist, and Brad "Kamikaze" Franklin, a hip-hop artist, community activist and entrepreneur, in addition to Laymon, Evans, and Collier. The JSU event also will feature performances by Franklin, Skipp Coon, and Pyinfamous.

Laymon will also offer a master class in creative writing for both Millsaps and JSU students; this class is scheduled at Millsaps College on Feb. 19 from 1-2:30 p.m. in the Gertrude C. Ford Academic Complex, room 215.

Laymon is a black southern writer, born and raised in Jackson. Laymon attended Millsaps College and Jackson State University before graduating from Oberlin College. He earned an M.F.A. from Indiana University and is the author of the forthcoming novel, Long Division (Agate Bolden) in June and a collection of essays, How To Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America(Agate Bolden) in August. Laymon is a contributing editor at Gawker.com. He has written essays and stories for numerous publications including Esquire, ESPN.com, Gawker, Longman's Hip Hop Reader, Mythium and Politics and Culture.

For more information, contact Kenneth Townsend at 601-974-1001 or mailto: Kenneth.townsend@millsaps.edu.