Essex Hemphill: Remembering and Reimagining

Film Screening And Panel Discussion
09 May 2019
7:00 pm - 10:30 pm
Peter Jay Sharp Building
BAM Rose Cinemas
30 Lafayette Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217
$15 for BAM and PEN America Members

Proud, provocative, and uncompromising poet and activist Essex Hemphill gave voice to the experiences of black gay men during the 1980s and 90s. He used verse and performance to inspire a generation of artists, activists, and readers, exploring the interplay of race, identity, and politics during the rise of AIDS. His collaboration with activist and writer Joseph Beam on the 1991 literary anthology Brother to Brother continues to resonate today.

Several of today’s leading artists, writers, and poets convene for an evening to pay tribute to Hemphill’s work and influence. First, writer Darnell L. Moore hosts a panel discussion featuring Timothy DuWhite, Michelle Parkerson and Ni’ja Whitson, reflecting on how Hemphill’s work has reverberated across the decades and how his legacy has influenced activist artists from the 1980s through the present.

After a short break, we present a screening of Black Is…Black Ain’t (1994), a study of the definitions of “blackness” that African-Americans impose on each other, and Anthem (1991), a hip-hop-inflected experimental short. Both films feature Hemphill and were directed by his friend and collaborator Marlon Riggs.

Hemphill’s work is also featured in Triptych (Eyes of One on Another), presented as part of the BAM 2019 Winter/Spring Season.

Presented with Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) with production support from the Poetry Foundation.

Credit card sales only at the venue.


Ni’Ja Whitson
Timothy DuWhite
Michelle Parkerson
Darnell L. Moore

Event Sponsors