In the last six years, B. Brian Foster has talked with hundreds of Black Mississippians about race, the blues, politics, memory, community, and more. In this talk, he shares with us some of what they’ve shared with him, and he considers what it all might mean both now and for the future. Some of that work is included in his new book, I Don’t Like the Blues: Race, Place, and the Backbeat of Black Life, in which he considers the value of non-affirming sensibilities like pessimism, frustration, and exhaustion for how we think about Black identity and lived experience.
Brian Foster is a writer and storyteller from Mississippi. He earned his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and currently works as assistant professor of sociology and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi. Foster also serves as coeditor of the journal Sociology of Race and Ethnicity and is director of the Mississippi Hill Country Oral History Collective.
SouthTalks is a series of events (including lectures, performances, film screenings, and panel discussions) that explores the interdisciplinary nature of Southern Studies. This series is free and open to the public, and typically takes place in the Tupelo Room of Barnard Observatory unless otherwise noted. However, as a result of the current health crisis, all events will be virtual, free, and accessible on the Center’s YouTube channel after each live event. Visit the Center’s website for up-to-date-information about all Center events. Registration will be required for all events in order to receive the webinar link.
There will be four Summer Sunset Series concerts in June, with the Center for the Study of Southern Culture sponsoring the Sunday, June 13 event at 6 p.m. with James “Super Chikan” Johnson, a blues musician based in Clarksdale, Mississippi.
Other concerts are:
June 6 – The Soul Tones sponsored by the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council
June 13 – James “Super Chikan” Johnson sponsored by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture
June 20 – Blackwater Trio sponsored by the University of Mississippi Museum
June 27 – Thacker Mountain Radio sponsored by the Ford Center for the Performing Arts and the Mississippi Arts Commission
Mississippi Creates: Annemarie Anderson, Kelly Spivey, and Schaefer Llana
The Center for the Study of Southern Culture and Yoknapatawpha Arts Council partner for the premiere of Mississippi Creates, an event that pairs musical performance with short documentary films, providing a glimpse into the creative life and environments of two local musicians: Tyler Keith and Schaefer Llana. This pair of films is part of a larger series that highlights artists and performers who have been influenced or inspired by the culture and sounds of Mississippi. The screening includes a live musical performance by Schaefer Llana and will be followed by a brief Q&A with the musician and film directors Annemarie Anderson and Kelly Spivey. This event is free to the public and open to all ages. Bring your own chairs and refreshments.
Annemarie Anderson is the oral historian for the Southern Foodways Alliance. She manages and conducts oral history work throughout the South. At age 10 Schaefer Llana moved from St. Louis, Missouri, to Batesville, Mississippi, where she learned to play piano and guitar. Kelly Spivey is a documentarian living and working in Memphis, Tennessee. She holds a BFA in photography from SCAD, and both an MA in Southern Studies and an MFA in Documentary Expression from the University of Mississippi.
Mississippi Creates is made possible by Cathead, the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, and the Mississippi Humanities Council. Doors at 7:30 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m.
featuring Shardé Thomas, Scott Barretta, and LMR Live host Nancy Maria Balach
Join Living Music Resource for a lively discussion and interactive experience with artists featured in the upcoming September 14 “Voices of Mississippi” concert — demonstrating the range of talent and people who make up our state, including Scott Barretta and Shardé Thomas. Visit livingmusicresource.com at 1 p.m.
SouthTalks is a series of events (including lectures, performances, film screenings, and panel discussions) that explores the interdisciplinary nature of Southern Studies. This series is free and open to the public, and typically takes place in the Tupelo Room of Barnard Observatory unless otherwise noted. However, as a result of the ongoing health crisis, many events will be virtual, free, and made accessible on the Center’s YouTube channel after each live event. Visit the Center’s website for information about all Center events. Registration will be required for all events in order to receive the event link.
Voices of Mississippi is a new multimedia event celebrating the music, art, and storytelling traditions of the people of Mississippi. Based on the 2019 multi-Grammy Award–winning box set “Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians” documented by William Ferris, director emeritus of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, the program features live musical performances by blues and gospel musicians including Cedric Burnside, Luther and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars and Sharde Thomas. The live music is integrated with archival film, audio recordings, and photographs by folklorist William Ferris.
A historian with an egalitarian perspective, Ferris grew up in Vicksburg, Mississippi where he began documenting artists and musicians in his community. From the 1960s through the 1990s, Ferris preserved an invaluable archive of cultural and musical recordings, and much of that art and humanity will be shared in this profound concert experience.
With a broad array of blues, folk, gospel music, and spoken-word storytelling, Voices of Mississippi paints a powerful picture of a time and place that remains an essential piece of the American cultural landscape.