Black History Month 2024 Opening Ceremony
Join us in the celebration of another year of Black History Month at McGill!
Black History Month at McGill is organized by the Equity Team in the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice-President (Academic). The 2024 edition will feature two main events in partnership with our University Libraries and Department of History and Classical Studies in the Faculty of Arts.
Black History Month 2024 Opening Ceremony
Thursday, February 1, 2024
5 PM - 8 PM
Elizabeth Wirth Music Building | Tanna Schulich Hall | 527 Sherbrooke Street West
The 2024 Opening Ceremony will feature a performance by Montreal Steppers, a local performance collective, followed by a talkback panel discussion about the performance and Black art and culture more broadly. The talkback panel discussion will be moderated by Wellysanè Minyangadou Ngokobi and will include Professor Alex Blue V, Professor Angélique Willkie, and Kayin Queeley.
Meet the Panelists
Alex Blue V is a Professor in Art History and Communication Studies at McGill. His research examines the intersections of race, sound, space, and place, often employing heavily ethnographic methods to demonstrate the influence of race on sound, and the influence of sound on race. Additionally, he is interested in narratives of death, dying, and afterlives in relation to Black sound and musical culture. Blue is currently working on two book projects. The first, titled A Matter of Death and Life, is an ethnographic (or “necrographic”) study of the narratives of death and dying in contemporary Detroit hip-hop, and how artists employ various forms of death as praxis in music making. The second, which he is co-authoring, is an ethnographic study of country rap, also known as “hick hop,” that examines issues of race, gender, class, nationalism, and identity, primarily (but not entirely) in the southern United States. Blue received his MM in Jazz Studies from University of North Texas, and his PhD in Ethnomusicology from University of California - Santa Barbara.
Angélique Willkie pursued a 25-year career in Europe in dance, circus and music. Performer, dramaturg and mentor, she is active in Montreal’s professional dance community and is the 2022 recipient of the Prix de la danse de Montréal, catégorie Interprète. She participates actively in conversations on equity, diversity and inclusion on the Boards of Festival TransAmériques, La Chapelle scènes contemporaines and Espace Perreault transmissions chorégraphiques. Associate Professor of Contemporary Dance at Concordia University, her research interests focus on interdisciplinary creation and decolonial dramaturgies. She holds a Concordia University Research Chair in Ecologies of B/black Performance, was Chair of the President’s Task Force on Anti-Black Racism and is Special Advisor to the Provost on Black Integration and Knowledges. Angélique is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
Kayin Queeley is the founder and director of the Montreal Steppers which was formed in 2019 and has since connected with more than 15,000 participants and offered over 500 workshops in schools across the country. These workshops center the importance of Black Lives, Black history/futurity and stories in hopes to inspire, strengthen solidarity, to reimagine a just world where we can breathe, live, succeed, and thrive differently and together. Kayin was named a CBC Black Changemaker in 2023 for his dedicated community work. He is an educator, choreographer and writer. He has created and produced several original productions that explore Black diasporic life and resilience in Canada in the afterlife of slavery. He is also a Case Manager in Crisis Response in the Office of the Dean of Students at McGill University and has worked to support students in his various roles at McGill as well as other institutions over the past 10+ years. Kayin was born and raised in Saint Kitts and Nevis and completed his undergraduate and master's degrees at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh before making a home in Montreal.
Meet the Moderator
Wellysanè Minyangadou Ngokobi is a doctoral student in Educational Studies at McGill University. Her research focuses on bettering teacher education programs so that they best prepare pre-service teachers to facilitate the culturally diverse classrooms here in Montreal and worldwide. As an advocate for critical cultural awareness in learning environments, she leads and is involved with various initiatives and committees geared towards EDI and anti-racism at McGill University, consistently seeking to center and empower student voices in conversations they are too often excluded from.