DJ Lynnée Denise: Artist-in-Residence at ASU
Lynnée Denise had an incredible artist residency at Arizona State University and was given the opportunity to challenge theater/dance students to think more critically about their artistic practices/degrees. She encouraged them to interrogate the state of the world (not just the U.S.), and how it shapes their daily lives. She believes that Western academic institutions are sites of resistance for radical teacher/scholar/artists and therefore students don't have the luxury to be apolitical. "We, as artists, have the job of making that clear."
She also shared her work as a black music activist at a club in Phoenix while folks sat on the dance floor, which was ideal. Lynnée Denise prefers that audiences engage the DJ as the historians and educators that they are! Her mother was in the audience hearing her speak for the first time which made for an even more intimate setting. At the end of the night, chairs were removed from the floor, and she spun deep house. In response to the music and the lecture, a full on praise dance moment took form. Lynnée's mother found her way to the center of the circle and was grooving to house, for the first time in her life, and her body knew what to do (cultural memory). DJ Scholarship is international localism, misery resistance, emotional intelligence, informed solidarity, and a willingness to listen to local community wisdom.
The three-part residence also included a roundtable discussion on intersectionality as a form of critical inquiry and praxis with Detroit writer/scholar Dr. Marlon Bailey and writer/scholar Dr. Nia Witherspoon. Lynnee described the dialogue as "being sandwiched between black excellence" the roundtable themes were guided by the incredible moderating skills of Dr. Mako Fitts Ward.