Black Life 2022


Experience the vitality and range of cultural production in the African diaspora through this multidisciplinary event series.

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  • Sasha Kelley

  • Upcoming
  • Past
  • Past

Past Events

  • Friday, December 9, 5:30 PM

    India Sky: Music Performance and Film Screening

    Join us for a pre-album release celebration and musical performance by vocalist and multidisciplinary artist India Davis, performing her original songs interwoven with dance, theatrics, and video projections.

  • Saturday, August 27, 12–4 PM

    Black Life: Sasha Kelley

    Join us for a special event organized by Oakland-based multidisciplinary artist Sasha Kelley as a culmination of her engagement as the Black Life series’s summer resident artist.

  • RSVP by December 20 to receive a limited-edition print project in the mail

    Black Life: The Ladder Print Mailer

    Sign up to receive a special-edition risograph mailer, printed in the BAMPFA Art Lab, featuring an archival interview with Ernestine Eckstein from a 1966 issue of The Ladder: A Lesbian Review.

  • Presented Friday, June 25, 6 PM PDT

    Black Life: Sam Vernon

    Artist Sam Vernon offers a talk on the occasion of a new print project made in collaboration with the BAMPFA Film Library. Register for this event and receive a print piece in the mail!

  • Recorded Tuesday, June 1, 6 PM PDT

    Black Life: Nina Collins, Eisa Davis, Geetha Ramanathan, Dawn L. Troupe, and John Wilkins in Conversation

    In conjunction with BAMPFA’s presentation of Kathleen Collins’s Losing Ground, watch a live conversation and Q&A about Collins’s work with Nina Collins, Eisa Davis, Geetha Ramanathan, Dawn L. Troupe, and John Wilkins.

  • Presented Wednesday, April 28

    Black Life: Adrian Octavius Walker

    Black Life co-curator Ryanaustin Dennis interviews mixed-media artist Adrian Octavius Walker at Pt. 2 Gallery in Downtown Oakland a day before the opening of the Represented Group Exhibitionwhere Walker will be exhibiting new print work.

  • Recorded February 26, 2021

    Black Life: Dax Pierson

    Music producer Dax Pierson discusses his work with Black Life cocurator Ryanaustin Dennis.

  • Presented Saturday, January 25, 4 PM

    Black Life: Europa Grace

    Europa Grace presents an experimental performance considering the structures of value exercised by the modern black body.

    Programmed by Ryanaustin Dennis

  • Presented Thursday, December 3, 2020

    Black Life: Darol Olu Kae

    Award-winning Los Angeles–based filmmaker Darol Olu Kae presents a specially woven visual mix, screened in collaboration with Locally Grown TV.

Past Films

  • Nolly Babes on Nollywood: Highway to the Grave

    • Saturday, October 29 7 PM
    Teco Benson
    Nigeria, 2000

    For their Black Life presentation, Nolly Babes—sisters Tochi and Ebele Anueyiagu—has selected Highway to the Grave, a film that deals with indigenous mythology, superstition, and feminine power.

    Tochi and Ebele Anueyiagu and Ruth Gebreyesus in Prerecorded Conversation

  • Bush Mama

    • Saturday, October 1 7 PM
    Haile Gerima
    United States, 1975

    Dorothy, the title character, is raising a daughter in Watts while her husband is in prison. Her political awareness develops as she navigates the cacophony and turmoil of the neighborhood and stays connected with him via correspondence.

    Introduced by Ryanaustin Dennis

  • Killer of Sheep

    • Thursday, July 7 7 PM
    Charles Burnett
    United States, 1977

    New 35mm BAMPFA Collection Print

    A poetic evocation of working-class Watts, “a great—the greatest—cinematic tone poem of American urban life” (New York), Killer of Sheep’s “single most-recalled moment” is “the slow-dance scene between the . . . alienated Stan and his wife” (Adrian Martin). 

    Introduced by Ruth Gebreyesus

  • Black Life: The Story of a Three Day Pass

    • Thursday, December 2 7 PM
    • Sunday, December 5 4 PM
    Melvin Van Peebles
    France, 1968

    Digital Restoration 

    The Thursday, December 2 screening features an introduction with Ryanaustin Dennis. The Sunday, December 5 screening will be presented without an introduction.

    In this exuberant, inventive, and poignant film about an American soldier’s sojourn in Paris, Melvin Van Peebles brilliantly balanced French New Wave style with profound social critique and psychological substance.

    Introduced by Ryanaustin Dennis

  • Black Life Presents: Kevin Jerome Everson and Claudrena N. Harold’s UVA Black Fire Films

    • Wednesday, November 10 7 PM

    Kevin Jerome Everson and Claudrena N. Harold’s UVA Black Fire films employ a radical, nonnarrative approach to represent the history of Black achievement and everyday life at the University of Virginia.

    Ryanaustin Dennis in Person


  • Black Life: Nan Collymore

    As a special guest contribution to the Black Life Newsletter, interdisciplinary artist, independent scholar, and mother Nan Collymore shares the essay “Haptic Cloth. A Film.”

  • Black Life Podcast

    For this season of the Black Life Podcast, cocurators Ryanaustin Dennis and Ruth Gebreyesus will be highlighting some of the rare treasures of BAMPFA’s Film Library & Study Center.

  • Black Life Podcast: Akande X

    Black Life host Ryanaustin Dennis speaks speaks with writer and thinker Akande X, whose work explores the intersection of blackness, comedy, the Internet, and politics.

  • Black Life Podcast: jose e. abad

    Ryanaustin Dennis interviews jose e. abad, a queer social practice performance artist whose work explores queer futurity through an intersectional lens.

  • Black Life: Claudrena N. Harold

    Claudrena N. Harold, a professor of African American and African studies and history at the University of Virginia, shares the essay “The Art of Peer Pressure: Black Fire UVA!”

  • Black Life Podcast: Sanford Jenkins

    Black Life host Ryanaustin Dennis talks with filmmaker Sanford Jenkins about his career and the development of his new narrative feature Joy and Pain.

  • Black Life Podcast: MahaWam

    Black Life host Ryanaustin Dennis speaks with Oakland-based musician, nightlife organizer, producer, and DJ MahaWam.