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Nikky Finney and Ruth Nicole Brown (African American Studies, Michigan State University and Founder, Saving Our Lives, Hearing Our Truths - SOLHOT) in conversation, with Janice Harrington (Creative Writing, Department of English) moderating.
Cosponsored by the College of Fine and Applied Arts, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, the Center for Advanced Study, and HRI.
Images (left to right): Nikky Finney (by Forrest Clonts) and Ruth Nicole Brown
About the Speakers
Nikky Finney was born by the sea in South Carolina and raised during the Civil Rights, Black Power, and Black Arts Movements. She is the author of On Wings Made of Gauze; Rice; The World Is Round; and Head Off & Split, which won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2011. Her new collection of poems, Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry, was released in 2020 from TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press.
Dr. Ruth Nicole Brown is at her best when disciplinary norms are disrupted in favor of creating ideas that swing.
Brown’s research documents and analyzes Black girls’ lived experiences and the practical ways they make Black girlhood with those who love them. Her previous work has explored how Black girl’s conceptualize freedom, creativity, and relationships in Saving Our Lives Hear Our Truths (SOLHOT). Brown founded SOLHOT in 2006 as a collective space to celebrate Black girlhood and to date it remains her most cherished and consistent practice of meeting Black girls face to face and heart to heart. SOLHOT has received support from The Novo Foundation (2018-2021), campus grants, Champaign-Urbana institutions, and those who actively participate. A Whiting Foundation Public Engagement Fellow (2019-2020), Brown’s Black Girl Genius Week (BGGW) exhausts the rituals of SOLHOT to widen the cipher and experience the imaginative capabilities and artistry that only occurs when Black girls and women are together as homegirls. BGGW has taken place in central Illinois (2014, 2016, & 2019), Columbia, SC (2019 & 2020), and Chicago, IL (2019 & 2020).
Brown is the Inaugural Chairperson of the Department of African American and African Studies at Michigan State University. She earned a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor in Political Science with graduate certificates in World Performance Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies.