Thu, Oct 6, 2022

6 PM – 9 PM EDT (GMT-4)

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Blanchard Campus Center Great Room

50 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075, United States

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This year marks the 13th anniversary of the Hortense Parker Celebration . Class 1883, Hortense Parker is the first known person of color to graduate from Mount Holyoke College and the first known African-American to attend Mount Holyoke College. An accomplished pianist and music teacher, this year's theme, "Freeing the Collective Soul" features keynote speaker Christa Brown, actress and founder of Free Soil Arts Collective and alumnae speaker, Iyanna James-Stephenson, '15, known as Iyanna the model. We will also have student performances, including performance by WOFA - Pioneer Valley Performing Arts West African Drum and Dance Company and the announcement of the Freeing the Creative Soul Student Creation Contest.
A reception will be held following the celebration.

Hortense Parker's life centered on the creation and appreciation of music, especially as an accomplished pianist. In honor of her legacy, this year's events celebrate the accomplishments of BIPOC students, faculty, and staff in the arts. We want to acknowledge the difficulties that BIPOC face in many artistic spaces where there is a eurocentric standard for what is considered "real art" as well as calling-in the cultural appropriation and minimizing of BIPOC art. For years BIPOC artists have been treated with insensitivity, overshadowed, and not given credit for their work. We want to encourage BIPOC artists to take up space in the arts, not just for Hortense Parker week, but for the many years to come.

This event is Sponsored by the SGA Students of Color Committee in Collaboration with the Office of Community and Belonging and the Weissman Center for Leadership
The event is free and open to the public.
Food Provided (Reception from 8pm-9pm following the event.)


Blanchard Campus Center Great Room

50 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075, United States


Christa Brown's profile photo

Christa Brown

Executive Director and Founder

Free Soil Art Collective Company

Christa Brown is the Founder and Executive Director of the Free Soil Arts Collective. Independent research so far indicates that the Free Soil Arts Collective is the first theatre organization of its kind in the Merrimack Valley to be led by a Black woman. She is a member of the Rho Epsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Christa has a B.F.A. in Theatre from Longwood University, and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from the Institute for Nonprofit Practice.

Iyanna James-Stephenson's profile photo

Iyanna James-Stephenson

Iyanna The Model

Iyanna James-Stephenson, class 2015,  is a Renaissance woman with a multitude of talents. Most widely known by her alias, Iyanna The Model, and more recently known by her burlesque name Feline Agbara, she has built her brand around her work as a muse, performance artist, writer, and filmmaker. Iyanna The Model as a brand, focuses on uplifting, empowering, and inspiring others in highlighting freedom, expression, and the freedom of expression – through the body. She has been offered the lead role in music videos with Will Smith, Bad Bunny, Marc Anthony, and J Balvin and has represented brands like SONY Latin Music, BEATS By Dre, and APPLE. Last summer, Iyanna released her first short film entitled “Sacred Energy Exchange: A Personal Story on Polyandry, Kink, and Masturbation ©2021.” In her black & white, minimalist film, Iyanna uses sensual movement and narration to encourage the viewers to learn, understand, and explore their own bodies before anyone else has a chance to misuse and abuse them. Sacred Energy Exchange was nominated for Best Short Screenplay by the Miami Urban Film Festival and won three awards, including Best Original Story at the Cannes™ Shorts Film Festival in France. ABOUT THE PERFORMER Iyanna is a healthy-relationship and a healthysex advocate. She hosts a podcast entitled “S*X TALK,” where she uses the power of conversation to destigmatize sex and sexuality. By normalizing the conversation of sex on public platforms, she aims to provide insight, education, resources, and community. Although she still works as a creative, editorial, and commercial model, she has pivoted her focus from doing mostly two-dimensional photo projects to creating multi-dimensional art experiences. After two years of performing to New Orleans style Jazz, Blues, and R&B music, she created a new form of dance called AfroBurlesque™. Since it’s debut, she has co-produced a monthly event “NOIRE: A Sacred Movement Experience,” currently being hosted at Rock Steady, an Afro-Caribbean restaurant and lounge in West Midtown Atlanta.


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Hosted By

Office of Community and Belonging | Website | View More Events

Kelechi Ezeugwu
Co-hosted with: Office of Community and Belonging (OWNER), Students of Color Committee , Be Well, Mount Holyoke College Cultural Centers, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), Engage MHC

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