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“Daughters of the Dust” Kicks Off Free Film Series

RIVERSIDE, California – The award-winning film “Daughters of the Dust” will kick off a free summer film series at the University of California, Riverside May 12-13.

The series, “Film for Thought,” is part of the Center for Ideas and Society’s Mellon Advancing Intercultural Studies project. This two-year project will investigate issues surrounding economic inequality, access to higher education, religious identity and intolerance, and omitted or erased histories.

As the debut film in the series, “Daughters of the Dust” is co-sponsored by the UCR Speculative Fiction and Cultures of Science program. The screening will be hosted at the Culver Center of the Arts, 3824 Main St., on Friday, May 12, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 13, at 3 p.m. A panel discussion will follow the May 12 screening and will include: Jayna Brown, UCR associate professor of ethnic studies; Paulette Brown-Hinds, editor-in-chief of IE Voice; and moderator Derek Burrill, associate professor of media and cultural studies.

Tickets are free and may be reserved online.

“Daughters of the Dust” is a remastered and recently re-released 1991 feature film directed by Julie Dash of Los Angeles. The film follows the struggles of a multi-generational family in the Gullah community on the Sea Islands off of South Carolina – former West African slaves who adopted many of their ancestors’ Yoruba traditions – to maintain their cultural heritage and folklore while contemplating a migration to the mainland, even further from their roots. Dash, who is a fan of Afrofuturist science fiction and fantasy has said that she considers the film to be, in some sense, speculative fiction in the same vein.

The film was the first U.S. feature film by an African American woman director to achieve nationwide distribution. It won the Cinematography Award and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival in 1991; was selected for the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2004; won the Excellence in Cinematography Award at the Cascade Festival of African Films in 2005; and won a Special Award from the New York Film Critics Circle Awards in 2016.

The film series will resume at the Culver Center in July and August and will include a mix of full-length documentaries and shorter pieces. Film titles and show times are available on the center’s website and on the Culver Center’s film page.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded $250,000 to the Center for Ideas and Society in January for a series of seminars, public lectures, and films geared toward thoughtful reflection on economic inequality, diversity in higher education, religious heterogeneity, and the many still-untold histories of marginalized groups. Seminars will begin in fall 2017. Participating faculty, and undergraduate and graduate students will conduct original research on seminar themes, with results to be presented at a final conference in spring 2019. In addition to the summer film series, each seminar will be accompanied by a public lecture and film.

“We value the contributions of the Inland Southern California community in thinking about these topics,“ said Georgia Warnke, director of the center. “We hope the lectures and films will encourage widespread participation.”

The current grant is the second the foundation has awarded UCR for the Advancing Intercultural Studies project. The Center for Ideas and Society was awarded $208,000 in 2014 to conduct a related series of seminars exploring existing and future aspects of diversity in the United States, and to enhance appreciation of both the problems and the opportunities to which it can give rise.


The Diamond Monologues Tour Sparks Discussions on Women Empowerment, Community Building

LOS ANGELES, CA---(March 31, 2017)--- As a creative, our passion is to create. But as a creative who is meant to inspire, the work that is put out will take time to perfect. This is how the process went for San Bernardino native author and playwright T’ana Phelice when she had the idea to bring her books to the stage two years ago. She would audition girl after girl only to find out that they weren’t as serious and that they just didn’t have that “it” factor.

It’s been a long process, but Phelice has finally found her DREAM TEAM of six amazing women who are not just passionate about their craft, but believe in Phelice’s production, The Diamond Monologues. Each dynamic, millennial woman that is in the play has been touched and inspired by the character that they play which makes it easier for them to bring her to life.

"There’s so many women including myself, that go through similar things that are acted out within the play and it’s not talked about or it’s ignored unless of course we’re talking amongst each other,” Asia Smith, who plays Tia, explains.

To give those a brief of what to except from the play without giving too much away, the audience will definitely walk away feeling changed! You will cry, laugh, and nod your head in agreement as you listen to the story of each girl. The stories are our real life testimonies that we go through as women. From relationships, careers, family life, and friendships—I can guarantee you that you will hear your story in The Diamond Monologues.

The Diamond Monologues finished two successful and sold out shows in Ontario, California and now they are headed to Los Angeles, California on Saturday, April 22 where they will debut their play and change lives at the Little Casa Theater located at 2101 E. 1st Street in Los Angeles at 6 p.m. Beverages will be served and Lady Adrienne Braxton from "Braxtons Back" on StudioW Buzz will be opening up the stage play with some words of encouragement and her personally testimony how she overcame great barriers that made her the strong woman that she is today.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit Space is limited.


NubianPoets.Com 2017 National Poetry Month Contest -- This year’s contest theme is "Why Black Lives Matter" –

Nationwide ( -- April is national poetry month and is proud to have Latorial Faison who has been featured along with Iyanla Vazant, Danny Glover, and Dr. Cornel West in the 2003 NAACP Image Award winning book, Keeping the Faith: Stories of Love, Courage, Healing, and Hope from the Black Community as this year’s contest judge.

Latorial holds a graduate degree in English from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, and has authored several books, which include: 28 Days of Poetry Celebrating Black History, Mother to Son, Secrets of My Soul and many more.

Contest Prizes:

* 1st Place - $250.00

* 2nd Place - $100.00

* 3rd Place - $75.00

* And 5 Honorable Mention awards

Contest Rules

Anyone can enter the contest by submitting an original (non-published) poem 30 lines or fewer with a maximum of 60 characters per line, in any style. “Why Black Lives Matter” is the contest theme. There is $3.00 reading for this contest; each contestant is allowed to submit only one poem. Poems must be submitted by U.S. mail and must include your legal/real name and address on each page of your entry. An official entry form can also be obtained by logging on to reserves the right to feature the winning poems on their web site. (Each contestant retains all rights to their poems, but is encouraged to keep copies, as none will be returned.) All entries must be postmarked by April 30, 2017. All winners will be notified no later than June 9, 2017, at which time all prizes will be mailed.

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