The 23rd Annual Black Solidarity Conference at Yale

Thursday, February 8th - Sunday, February 11th  


“Let's Get it On: Deconstructing Sex, Sexuality, and Gender in the Black Community”

This year’s theme calls participants to unpack the sexual and gendered practices and ideas that we’ve inherited, as well as discuss the ways our community intentionally disrupts them. The 2018 conference will truly run the gamut: from topics such as Black hyper masculinity, to the overt sexualization of Black bodies, to giving voice and visualization to Black queer and trans experiences. By entering this conference with an open spirit of exchange, we will challenge traditional notions of sex(uality) and gender while making space to explore our intersectional identities.


Thursday, February 8th

3:00p.m. - 9:00P.M. : Registration

Location: Afro-American Cultural Center, 211 Park St., New Haven

Meet us at the Afam House to check-in for conference! You will be given a folder full of Conference goodies and a wristband (that you must keep on for all of conference). We can't wait to see you! If you requested Yale Housing, this is also where you will be connected with your host for the weekend. We will have music and games for informal bonding and a chance to meet the awesome participants! If you pre-ordered a BSC T-shirt, you will also pick it up here! 

6:30P.M. - 9:00P.M. : 2 dope queens screening & discussion

Location: sudler hall 100 Wall Street

DOORS OPEN AT 6:30PM. Screening begins at 7PM. We recommend arriving early! Following a screening of an upcoming HBO special, "2 Dope Queens", the audience will discuss the ways that Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson ensure full representation of people of color and the ways in which HBO tries to convey diverse experiences in their productions.


Friday, February 9th

9:00a.m.-9:45a.m. :Morning Reception

Location: Afro-American Cultural Center, 211 Park St., New Haven

The BSC Executive Board welcomes 700 participants to conference! If you have questions regarding the programming for conference, BSC Board members will be there to assist you. Please join us for light refreshments before the first round of talks. 

10:00a.m. - 11:15A.M. : Morning Talks

1. Revolutionary Hope: A Conversation Between James Baldwin and Audre Lorde, Yale Heritage Theatre Ensemble (Rayo Oyeyemi '20, Jordan Harris '20)

Location: Linsley-Chittenden hall / 63 high street room 211

This portion of the conference will be a staged reading of the conversation between the former poet laureate of NY and activist Audre Lorde and James Baldwin, renowned cultural critic and author. The conversation is entitled, Revolutionary HopeIn this powerful, illuminating, and sometimes disconcerting exchange, Lorde and Baldwin reckon with blackness, the gender divide, and the way forward for Black men and women. The rationale behind this particular style of presentation is to convey the words and ideas of our forebears through contemporary voices. Tensions around markers of gender and sexuality within the Black community are conversations that have started long before many of us had the words to articulate our experiences. As you listen to this exchange, register what resonates with you, what confuses you, and what remains unsaid or unexplored. Hearing how previous Black luminaries approached these vexing dynamics will hopefully drive us closer to finding solutions that bridge divides and promote deeper solidarity.


2. We've Been Here: Black History Out of the Margins, Dr. Athena D. Mutua

location: Linsley-Chittenden hall / 63 high street room 102

We've all heard the predominant narrative of Black History in schools that focus on charismatic black male leaders. This talk will destabilize that narrative by highlighting the black women and queer people of color whose work often gets excluded from the textbooks. Join Dr. Mutua to relearn a more inclusive black history.

3. Intersectionality & Intro. On Oppression, DeRay McKesson, Dr. Lisa Bowleg, & Dr. Curtiss Rooks

Location: Sterling-sheffield-strathcona / 1 prospect street room 114

Come to this panel to delve into an idea that is integral to understanding our theme: intersectionality. As a conference that focuses on the black experience, this year it's even more important to understand how different forms of oppression intersect and compound for certain members of our community. Learn how different systems interact to create minorities within the black community.

4. Black Feminism in the New Millennium, Ashlee Marie Preston, Aimee Cox, Riché Barnes, & Chelsea Miller

location: sudler hall / 100 wall street

This panel will define the meaning of black feminism as a theory and then discuss ways that people demonstrate this idea in their everyday lives. The panelists will outline how they understand black feminism from their academic work and social ventures. 

11:30a.m. - 1:00 p.m. : career fair & career workshops

1. Career Fair | Afro-American Cultural Center, 211 Park St.

Our sponsors for BSC 2018 are so excited to meet you! Come network and learn about professional opportunities at a myriad of companies. Check out our Corporate Sponsors for this year. As an added bonus, you'll get a chance to enter our grand prize raffle!

2. Getting Into Google and Why Diversity Matters, 211 Park St.

1:15p.m. - 2:15P.M. : Lunch on Participants' own

2:30p.m. - 3:30p.m. : Friday Afternoon Talks

1. Representations of Black Men, Saki Benibo & Damon Young

location: sterling-sheffield-strathcona / 1 prospect street room 114

Come hear Damon Young, Editor-In-Chief of Very Smart Brothas (an online black news source), and Saki Benibo, author of "The 4:44 Effect" and "Moonlight: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made" talk about their experiences in writing about black men. They will discuss issues of privilege and power as they reflect on the position of black men in our community and the medium of journalism.

2. Race, Sexuality, and Gender in the Global South, Andrew Dowe

location: linsley-chittenden hall / 63 high street room 102

Engage in a comparative exploration of relationships between race, gender, sexuality and nation in contemporary Anglophone Caribbean and South Africa in through mediums such as visual arts, film, and memoir. This talk will emphasize transnational approaches to questions of identity, hybridity, citizenship, rights, migration, and visibility.

3. Writing Liberation, Staceyann Chin

location: sudler hall / 100 Wall Street

Join renowned spoken word poet, performing artist, and LGBTQ rights activist Staceyann Chin as she performs and shares insights into writing about identity and liberation.

4. Spirituality + Sexuality, Reverend Deborah Johnson and Reverend Lawrence T. Richardson

location: linsley-chittenden hall / 63 high street room 101

Where is there space in organized religion for authentic expression of sexuality? Religion and religious texts seem prescribe a strict understanding of sex and sexuality that can butt heads with individual preferences for expressing sexuality. This discussion will delve into ways that members of our community reconcile a spectrum of sexuality with spiritual life. 

5:00 p.m. - 6:00 P.M: Dinner + discussion with ujima groups

BSC participants, prior to arriving at Yale, are divided into 33 “Ujima” groups of 20 students from different schools. During dinner on Friday and lunch on Saturday, they break up into these specific groups to share ideas, discuss the presentations of the day, and form closer relationships with each other.

6:15 P.M.-7:00 p.m. : dessert reception, cosponsored by wake forest university's business school

Location: Afro-American Cultural Center, Founder's Room

Please join us following dinner for various desserts, co-sponsored by Wake Forest University's Business School. Come early to get delicious treats and stay to hear about the amazing possibilities for students of color at WFU!

7:00 P.M. -9:00 p.m. : BSC Talent Show

Location: Afro-American cultural center, E-Room

Come one, come all to BSC's Annual Talent Show! In a room full of excitement, you'll see your peers from across the nation perform a variety of amazing acts!


9:00 P.M. - 2:00 a.M. : Toads concert, co-sponsored by epic league entertainment

Toad’s Place 300 York St., New Haven

Doors open at 9:00 P.M., party goes till 2 AM! Full bar open for 21+.


Saturday, February 10th

10:45 a.m. - 12:00 P.M. : Morning Talks

1. How Good is Sex? Devin T. Robinson X Egypt

location: 17 hillhouse avenue room 101

How Good is Sex is an interactive and comedic workshop designed to give the meaning of “sex and relationship education” a new jolt of energy. This workshop will reposition how we think about the physiological and emotional repercussions of sex, intimacy, heartbreak, and interpretations of love. It will reshape the way you think about sex, self-worth and the confusion that comes with coming of age.

2. Queerness in the Age of Black Lives Matter, Brea Baker & Dr. Van Bailey

location: mason laboratory / 9 Hillhouse ave room 211

The landscape of our country is changing at a staggering pace, both socially and politically. Black Lives Matter has made its stamp on history and continues to fight for our right in an increasingly hostile environment. The LGBTQ+ community has been growing in influence as they fight to endure a society that routinely tries to deny their humanity. Join us for a discussion on the intersections of these two battles and the ways in which they both support and oppose each other.

3. The Pressures of Black Masculinity, Clay Cane

location: Dunham laboratory / 10 hillhouse ave room 220

Join us for an interview with renowned author, film maker and radio-show host Clay Cane, as he reads a excerpt from his book Live Through This: Surviving the Intersections of Sexuality, God and Race, and shares insights on the pressures and impacts of black masculinity both in Hip Hop and our society at large.

4. Who I am and How I Feel: A Discussion on Mental Health, Alfiee Breland-Noble

location: sterling-sheffield-strathcona 1 prospect st room 114

Hear from a mental health professional, Dr. Alfiee Breland-Noble on her interests in entering the field and exciting research, as well as how the questions of identity brought up by our theme effect mental health as well as the stigmas associated with them.

5. The Black Gay Body In Pop Culture, Emil Wilbekin

Location: Lighten Room, 211 Park Street (Afro-American Cultural Center)

Native Son Founder and former Vibe Editor-in-Chief Emil Wilbekin and Queer Haitian American political strategist and journalist Richard L. Brookshire III talk Black Queer Body Politics. An inter generational conversation about the images of Black gay men in the context of TV, film, art and social media. Is it Exploitation or Emancipation? 

12:15p.m. - 1:15P.M. Lunch with Ujima Groups

1:30p.m. - 2:45P.M. Afternoon Talks

1. We Love Hip Hop, but Hip Hop Doesn't Love Us? Jalylah Burrell, Tracy G., and Johnny Brownlee

location:  Dunham laboratory 10 hillhouse ave room 220

Hip Hop is an art form cherished by the black community. It's a genre that we created and built from the ground up, helping it to reach dominance in the modern world. It has also developed a culture that permanently interwoven it's self into the larger entity that is black culture. However, with all this support and integration why are there still many members of our community still ostracized by this genre?  Join Us for an interactive panel and discussion about this idea and the treatment and representations of various identities in hip hop music and culture.

2. Black Love, Jafari Allen

location: sterling-sheffield-strathcona 1 prospect street room 114

Join us for a discussion on black love with renowned Professor Jafari Allen, who specializes in transnational black sexuality. Topics addressed will include new and varying examples of black love, and a discussion of what that looks like in todays day and age, and challenges to traditional images of romantic relationships.

3. Black Artists on Gender, Ariell R. Johnson, Danielle Bowman, Lacey Lennon, and Art Hoe Collective

location: mason laboratory 9 hillhouse ave room 211

Join us for a discussion on gender identity and self expression in the art world, and how different people use their medium to both make statements about themselves and the world around them. Our panelists will also discuss how they navigate the industry as professional female artists and how this impacts the spaces for artists of various identities to succeed.

4. NATIVE SON: Building A Black Gay Community, Emil Wilbekin

location: 17 hillhouse avenue room 101

NATIVE SON is a movement/platform created to inspire and empower Black gay men. This workshop explores how an inter generational community was created around cultural shifts in sexual identity, gender non-conformity and Black male representation while contemplating possibilities for global expansion across multiple platforms. 


3:00 p.m. - 4:30P.M. : Afternoon Activities

1. Coffee Chats with Wake Forest University

location: Afro-American Cultural center, 211 Park Street

Talk with a representative from WFU to explore opportunities at their school as well as inside advice on applying to business school. If you're considering business or grad school, then come get personal face time and perspective from professionals! All that attend a coffee chat will receive a grand prize raffle ticket. Sign up here!

Keynote Dinner

Omni Hotel New Haven

5:30 p.m. - 6:30p.m. : Cocktail hour with the board

Ujima Group leaders and volunteers are invited to join the BSC board before the Keynote Dinner for light refreshments and photos. 

7:00 p.m. - 9:00 P.M. : Keynote Dinner

Please arrive no later than 6:45PM. Doors will close at 7PM. Black formal attire is requested. Please join us for an evening of dinner, conversation, music, and a keynote speech by Janet Mock.

9:30 p.m. - 1:00 A.M. : After-party [at the omni]


Sunday, February 11th

10:00 a.m. - 11:30AM: Optional Black Church at Yale Service

location: 211 park street