Our Podcast Episode 2 is now live! Be sure to subscribe on Apple, Spotify or other major platforms. Episode 2: Black Utopia features performing artists Jenn Freeman (Po’Chop) and Anna Martine Whitehead in conversation about their work. We’ll learn about Black women from history like Jackie Ormes, the first African American female cartoonist and creator of the Torchy Brown comic strip. We’ll talk what it means to be invisible-ized and the Abolitionist principal that there is no “away.”  The episode also features performances by spoken word artist, Tiff Beatty, a song from Whitehead’s upcoming opera, “Force!” as well as original music “Crown Jewel” sung and composed by Stacy Rene Erenberg. We then close out with a conversation with theater artist and activist, Jocelyn Prince, Principal at ALJP Consulting, on the importance of staying vigilant in a fragile democracy.

Bronzeville G-ddamn was written and performed by Tiff Beatty as part of The People’s Church of the G.H.E.T.T.O created by Jenn Freeman (Po’Chop).  Zach’s Song from FORCE! is sung by Zachary Nicol, Tramaine Parker, Daniella Pruitt, and Ayanna Woods; composed by Anna Martine Whitehead with arrangement by Ayanna Woods.

This episode was sponsored by FLATS, a Chicago-based apartment community, with editing by Hannah Foerschler and original music composed by Andrew Hansen. Graphic design by Vin Reed. Your host and producer for Pivot Arts is Julieanne Ehre.

Guest Bios

Chicago-based burlesque artist Jenn Freeman also known as Po’Chop uses elements of dance, storytelling, and striptease to create performances and inspire students and collaborators across the country. Po’Chop has performed at the Brooklyn Museum in Brown Girls Burlesque’s Bodyspeak, and headlined shows in New Orleans, Minneapolis, St. Louis and New York. Po’Chop is a Board Member & Cast Member, for Jeezy’s Juke Joint, an all black burlesque revue. Po’Chop performs on Netflix’s Easy (Season 2), appears in music videos for songs by Jamila Woods and Mykele Deville, and is a muse for co-created experimental dance films such as LITANY & Home | Here. Jenn Freeman was awarded as a 2017 3Arts Make A Wave Artist, selected as a 2018 Chicago Dancemakers Lab Artist and as a 2019-2020 Urban Bush Women Choreographic Fellow, and most recently can be found collaborating with Rebuild Foundation as their 2020 Chicago Dancemakers Forum dancer in residence.

Anna Martine Whitehead does performance from the homelands of the Council of the Three Fires: The Odawa, Ojibwe and Bodéwadmiakiwen (Potawatomi) Nations; as well as the Miami, Ho-Chunk, Sauk and Meskwaki; the Kiikaapoi, Peoria, and the Očeti Šakówiŋ (Sioux) Nations. They have been presented by the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art; San José Museum of Art; and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. They are a 2021 Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant recipient, 2020 Graham Foundation Fellow, and an awardee of a 2020 MAP Fund grant. And in 2022 they will be institutionally supported by the Rauschenberg Foundation and the Santa Fe Art Institute. Martine has written about blackness, queerness, and bodies in action for Art21 Magazine, C Magazine, frieze, Art Practical and Queer Dance: Meanings and Makings (Oxford, 2017); and is the author of TREASURE | My Black Rupture (Thread Makes Blanket, 2016). They currently teach at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Stacy Rene Erenberg is an activist, healer, and socially conscious songstress who loves to sing! She has been singing since she can remember talking. Vocal expression through music is her church. Since her 2006 Chicago Debut as front woman of 10 piece neo-soul band Vertikal, she has performed at legendary Chicago venues such as The Jazz Showcase, The Metro and The Park West. Stacy seamlessly blends improvisational and traditional genres with sultry sweet vocals that create an inventive interpretation of jazz, blues and folkloric music. Stacy Rene believes that storytelling through music can build community and heal. Stacy Rene’s original lyrics tell stories of love, struggle and resistance in movements for social change.

Jocelyn Prince (she/her/hers) is a Principal at ALJP Consulting. She is also on faculty in theater and performance studies at Northwestern University, where she serves on the advisory board of the Black Arts Consortium. Jocelyn is a graduate of Bradley University and Northwestern University and has worked with theaters across the country including Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The Public Theater, Court Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Cleveland Play House, and Yale Repertory Theatre. Jocelyn is a frequent staffer and volunteer with the Democratic Party. She was a staff field organizer for the 2008 Obama for America, 2016 Hillary for America, and 2020 Kamala Harris for the People campaigns.