Black Out Loud Conference celebrates Black visibility Aug 10-12

Local poet, activist and teaching artist Donney Rose will host the inaugural Black Out Loud Conference – a three-day event designed to celebrate Black visibility in the realm of the arts, media and activism – Aug. 10-12 in Baton Rouge, sponsored by the Urban Congress on African American Males in Baton Rouge, Design Baton Rouge, The Bluest Ink LLC, and Healthcare Gallery & Wellness Spa. Deriving its name from Rose’s February 2017 book of the same name, the conference seeks to assist participants with tools and resources to better push their narratives from outside the margins to center. The conference’s keynote address will be delivered by TMZ Senior Producer and Baton Rouge native, Van Lathan, who is now widely known for confronting rapper Kanye West on his thoughts on slavery. Conference registration fees range from $20 to $65, with full weekend packages or single day options available. (Volunteer opportunities as well as sponsorship and vendor packages are still available – information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/BlackOutLoud2018/.)Van Lathan

The mission statement of Black Out Loud is to empower/center the narrative of the Black American experience by offering its attendees communicative tools and inspiration and to encourage ownership of one’s story and the management of how these stories are presented in the world. From a larger perspective, Rose said he hopes the conference will serve as an example for marginalized populations to be emboldened to center their narratives, as humanity in general is strengthened when all voices are heard and considered.

“Baton Rouge is my hometown and the place that fostered all of my perspective around race/race relations, for better or worse,” Rose said. “It is a city that is home to many progressive, liberation-minded individuals, but also steeped in cultural norms of bigotry, racism and exclusion. It is not enough for a select few ‘exceptional’ Black people to have their voices amplified, but for a larger swath of the Black population to feel emboldened to tell and live their truths, void of those truths being misinterpreted or co-opted for someone else’s benefit. Because Baton Rouge is home to two large universities and a city that has an influx of revolving residents, many of whom are young people of color, it is important for those people to be able to see this city be a place that is not just tolerant of them, but one that validates their existence and their stories.”Donney Rose at mic

The conference will kick off on Aug. 10 at the Healthcare Gallery & Wellness Spa, 3488 Brentwood Drive, Suites 102 & 103, with performances, a video presentation on the power of voice/advocacy, and a networking cocktail hour. On Aug. 11, attendees will convene at the McKinley Alumni Center, 1520 Thomas H. Delpit Drive, for workshops and panel discussions featuring subject matter experts in the fields of art, media and activism sharing best practices on controlling their narratives and ensuring theirs struggle are not dismissed. The conference will end on Aug. 12 at the McKinley Alumni Center with a brunch.

In choosing Lathan as the keynote speaker, Rose specifically sought to have someone of high caliber who lives the Black Out Loud experience of pushing a narrative. Aside from his work as a senior producer at TMZ, Lathan, who resides in Los Angeles, is also a screenwriter, essayist and the host of The Red Pill podcast.

Being selected as the inaugural keynote speaker for Black Out Loud is a dream come true, Lathan said.

“Having the chance to directly affect the community I grew up in is a breath of fresh air to me. I sincerely cannot wait for the opportunity,” Lathan said. “I feel it’s another mission that needs to be accomplished. I love forums where we can talk to us about what we need to be doing. It allows us to intellectually love each other, hold each other accountable, and strengthen each other at the same time. It’s a central goal and mission for the advancement of our culture. Going forward, the ability to be self-definitive is key. We’ve got to take the power of how we’re portrayed in mass media back, and weaponize it against stereotypes and falsehoods that make us less safe, and less viable.”

Other confirmed speakers and panelists include Michael “Quess” Moore, co-founder of Take Em Down NOLA, the movement that encouraged the removal of Confederate statues in New Orleans. Rose is joined in conference development by a team of dedicated professionals including Ronaldo Hardy, Lynette Pierce, Marcel Williams, and Leslie D. Rose.

ONLINE: https://www.facebook.com/BlackOutLoud2018/ or email blackoutloudbr@gmail.com.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/black-out-loud-conference-2018-tickets-46057255491.

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