Reggie Eldridge is a Chicago-based writer, educator, musician and performer. A member of Chicago’s Real Talk Live ensemble, he has toured the United States and beyond as a performance and slam poet since 2006, including four consecutive years as a finalist in the Southern Fried Poetry Slam. His work has appeared in print and on television, and he will be making a national television appearance debut in Season 3 of the hit TVOne series, Verses and Flow.
In 2009, he co-founded Sacred Sounds Poetry, Tampa, Florida’s first and only Poetry Slam Incorporated (PSI) certified poetry slam. With Eldridge as Chief Coordinator, Sacred Sounds orchestrated and hosted the 20th Annual Southern Fried Poetry Slam in Historical Ybor City, a competition in which more than 150 poets competed for more than $6000 in cash prizes.
A graduate of the University of South Florida’s Master’s program in Africana Studies, he has lectured in a variety of spaces on the role of the arts in the construction of identity and actively seeks to expand the dimensions of thought on performance and slam poetry, race and identity, and on the varied and transcendent power of word.
He currently resides in Chicago, where he moderates and edits the New Fruit Journal of Arts and Culture, where for 2012-13 he taught 11th grade American History, AP US History, and the Black Art workshop, and where he continues to hone various artistic connections through a variety of media, including photography, painting, and design.
Born and raised in South Central, Los Angeles, Javon Johnson earned his Ph.D. in 2010 from Northwestern University in Performance Studies with certificates in African-American Studies and Gender Studies. At Northwestern, Dr. Johnson trained as a scholar and practitioner of performance concerned with the ways in which culture, economics, politics, and history both informs and are informed by performances of Blackness. With interests in performances of race, gender, sexuality, class, and pop-culture, he is heavily invested in African American literature, history and politics. His dissertation, which he is currently in the process of transitioning into a book tentatively entitled Owning Blackness, is a multi-sited ethnographic project that critically examines how race, particularly Blackness, operates within slam and spoken word poetry communities in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York.
After earning his doctorate, Dr. Johnson accepted the position of Visions & Voices’ Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Southern California. Housed in the Department of American Studies & Ethnicity, he taught courses such as “African-American Popular Culture,” a historical survey that began with blackface minstrelsy and ended in the contemporary moment, “Race, Gender & Sexuality,” a seminar that started with the 19th and early 20th centuries to explore the ways in which masculinity is constructed in the U.S., and the more topically driven “Race and Class in Los Angeles.”
A nationally award-winning poet, seven time intercollegiate speech & debate national champion, featured blogger for the Huffington Post, and co-founder of Say Word, an organization that mentors teenagers and promotes creative self-expression through spoken word poetry in Los Angeles, Dr. Johnson is always searching for new and innovative ways to engage larger communities about African-American art, literature, history, culture, and politics.
Allison Mathews is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology and Humphreys Fellow with the Graduate School at UNC-Chapel Hill. Allison is from Dallas, TX and earned her MA in Sociology from UNC-Chapel Hill and her BA in Sociology from Howard University. Her dissertation research focuses on the role that Black and gay identity play in Black gay men's religious choice and participation. Her research interests include race and ethnicity, masculinity and sexuality, religion, and health disparities. She has experience conducting community-based participatory research and seeks to understand how intersectional identities influence mental and physical health outcomes for African Americans. Allison is a recipient of the Kenan-Biddle Partnership Grant and member of the Frank Porter Graham Graduate and Professional Honor Society.
Santiba Campbell is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Bennett College in Greensboro, NC. She earned her B.A. in Psychology at Winston Salem State University. She earned her M.A and Ph.D. in Social Psychology at the University of Delaware. Santiba Campbell joined the Connecticut College faculty in 2010 as a lecturer in psychology. She then went on to be a researcher and instructor at University of Delaware before joining the Bennett College faculty. Her work is focused on African American success and the cultural psychology of African Americans. Her research can be found in “Race Still Matters: How race influences success and satisfaction for African American college students“and “Cultural Psychology of African Americans” which she published with Dr. James M. Jones.
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