Exploring Unconventional Black Feminist Art

WED, NOV 17, 2021

Boston Globe cultural columnist Jeneé Osterheldt moderates a discussion with three Black women artists who will open up about their creative paths and the unique challenges they faced along the way.

How do you produce and thrive when you don’t adhere to societal expectations of what it means to be Black and female in America? Osterheldt and the featured panelists will hold nothing back for this conversation.

+ BIO: Oompa -

OOMPA is a nationally-acclaimed, Boston-born, poet, rapper, and educator, who is forever representing the queer, black, orphaned, hood kids n’ them. She was named one of NPR’s 2020 Slingshot Artists to Watch and her engaging, interactive performing style won her the Boston Music Award for Live Act of the Year in 2019, following her 2018 Unsigned Artist of the Year victory among an unprecedented 12 total nominations. In a 2019 feature, WBUR’s the Artery describes the lyric-focused rapper as having a “natural tenderness with language” and calls her verses “funny…incisive and memorable.” Oompa showed this poetic prowess as the winner of the 2017 Women of the World Poetry Slam and a finalist in the 2016 National Poetry Slam. Following the release of her second album, Cleo, in August of 2019, Oompa sold out The Sinclair and a number of other Boston venues. Since then, she has shared the stage with renowned artists like Charli XCX, 24KGoldn, Tinashe, UMI, and Rico Nasty. Most recently, she headlined the Paradise Rock Club in Boston for her album release show on October 8, 2021
In November 2020, Oompa dropped her most recent single entitled “Closer” along with a striking visual component. The song showcases a new sonic direction for her music and the lyrics convey a refusal to falter or be reactionary in the face of multiple global crises; the pandemic and an intense awakening about what it means to be Black in the world. This song isn’t a promise to be a cure to the world’s ills, but something that aims to counter the effects of the poison. Her latest album, UNBOTHERED was released independently on October 1 to much popular and critical acclaim. This album is joy incarnate. What it feels like, what it sounds like, what it looks like, who it’s for, and, most importantly, how to find and make joy a reality in this life even when presented with so much constant sorrow. This album is Oompa expanding as a human and as an artist. Free of boxes, free of expectations, and free of rules except for those she has laid out for herself.

+ BIO: Ashley -Rose

Ashley-Rose is an internationally acclaimed Haitian-American poet, performer, and playwright from Boston Massachusetts. She has received numerous accolades during her career, including Urban Music Award Poet of the Year, the City of Boston’s Extraordinary Woman of the Year, and the ONEin3 Impact Award for being one of the most influential people in the City of Boston. Her poetry and storytelling has appeared on stages and in magazines across the globe, including but not limited to, the NAACP National Convention, Boston’s TEDx Roxbury, World Channel’s Stories From the Stage, Boston’s Opera Collaborative, Dutch Public TV, The American Repertory Theatre, Performer Magazine, Boston Center for the Arts, Abuja Literary Festival of Nigeria, BAM Festival, MusiConnects, American Theatre Magazine, Museum of Science, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, San Diego CityWorks Journal, Thalia Magazine, and numerous other media outlets. She has been selected to pen poems for companies including CHASE Bank, LISC, Americorps, ABCD, and many more non-profits organizations. Poetry is Ashley-Rose’s gift, but her passion is using the arts as a tool for education, community development, and collective healing. Currently, she works as a race and restorative justice specialist at Suffolk University, where she creates and leads trainings centering on diversity and inclusion, conflict transformation, racial healing, and truth-telling. She also teaches poetry as a Poet-in-Residence in Suffolk’s Theatre Department. Her play Roslindale Love Canal will premiere at the BCA in June 2022 and her highly anticipated book Zip Your Own Dress will be released in Winter 2021.

+ BIO: Candace McDuffie

Candace McDuffie is a respected cultural critic and music journalist who focuses on the intersection of race, gender and entertainment. Her written work has been featured on digital platforms such as: Rolling Stone, MTV, Forbes, Grammy.com, PAPER, SPIN, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, Vibe, Tidal, Marie Claire, The Christian Science Monitor and Boston Magazine.

McDuffie has appeared as a commentator on BBC World Service: World Business Report and the Boston based Indie617 Radio Show. As a public speaker, she has given talks and moderated panels at an array of conferences, schools and cultural events including: Black Communities Conference, Boston Book Festival, Writer’s Digest Annual Conference and The Muse and The Marketplace.

+ BIO: Jeneé Osterheldt

Jeneé Osterheldt is a culture columnist who covers identity and social justice through the lens of culture and the arts. She centers Black lives and the lives of people of color. Sometimes this means writing about Beyoncé and Black womanhood or unpacking the importance of public art and representation. Sometimes this means taking systemic racism, sexism, and oppression to task. It always means Black lives matter. She joined the Globe in 2018. A native of Alexandria, Va. and a graduate of Norfolk State University, Osterheldt was a 2017 Nieman Fellow at Harvard, where her studies focused on the intersection of art and justice. She previously worked as a Kansas City Star culture columnist.
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