Oakwood’s Visitors

Erika Alexander cordially obliged several individuals during a photo opportunity following the lecture. Pictured here (l-r) are Ted Rivers, one of the originators of Oakwood’s broadcasting program; Mrs. Patrice Conwell and Dr. Victoria Joiner, assistant professors in the Communication Department; Erika Alexander; Dr. Rennae Elliott, chair of the Communication Department; and interviewer, David Person.

Dykes-Rivers Lecture Series Presents Erika Alexander

The Department of Communication hosted actress, producer, activist Erika Alexander for the Dykes-Rivers Lecture Series on September 15, in the Peters Media Center Studio. Students, faculty and community guests listened as Alexander described her journey to being an actress and activist for women’s and children’s issues. Alexander is possibly best known as for her award-winning role as “Maxine Shaw” from the hit series Living Single, and as “Cousin Pam” on The Cosby Show.

The lecture series followed an interview format with Oakwood alum David Person, ’85, who asked Erika about her work as a delegate to Africa for the Clinton Global Initiative. After spending time in front of the camera, Erika has moved on to co-create, produce and star in the new YouTube series, #TheBFFChronicles. She has also co-created and writes for the graphic novel series Concrete Park.

Erika had visited a communications class earlier in the day, and noted how impressed she was with our students and their interest, as well as her positive impression with the Peters Media Studio and Oakwood’s campus.

The Dykes-Rivers Lecture Series is named for communication pioneers James Dykes, Sr., and Ted Rivers, who were instrumental in the beginnings of radio broadcasting at Oakwood.

English and Foreign Languages Department Welcomes Dr. Sonia Sanchez

On September 6, Oakwood’s Department of English and Foreign Languages and the Alabama State Council on the Arts hosted an evening with poet, mother, professor Dr. Sonia Sanchez on the “Poet as Creator of Social Values” in the Moran Hall Auditorium.

Sanchez is the author of over 20 books, and has lectured  at over 500 universities and colleges in the United States, and has traveled extensively, reading her poetry in Africa, Cuba, England, the Caribbean, Australia, Europe, Nicaragua, the People’s Republic of China, Norway, and Canada. This is her third visit to Oakwood University: the first in 1994, the second in 2000. Ramona Hyman, Ph.D., associate professor of English, coordinated the poet’s visit, and thanked everyone for their attendance.

Music Department Hosts Groundbreaking Artist Jacob Collier   

Jacob Collier, one of the world’s most distinctive, inventive and prodigious young musicians, stopped by Oakwood University to present a master class for the Department of Music, between stops on his global tour.

Jason Max Ferdinand, D.M.A., chair of Oakwood’s Music Department, said that “Jacob Collier is simply a genius! The knowledge that spews from his brain surpasses what many musicians learn in a lifetime. I think he totally revolutionizes how music can and should be approached!”

Growing up in a family of musicians, Collier has embraced the Internet to share his uniquely creative talent, and is best known for his trademark multi-faceted YouTube videos in which he sings all the parts, plays all the instruments, and visualizes every component with a mosaic of screens. “Mr. Collier displayed an amazing versatility and depth of imagination which inspired our students,” said Dr. Leslie Pollard, who attended the event.

Jacob has spent the last year collaborating with Ben Bloomberg at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), designing and building a one-of-a-kind solo live performance vehicle, which brings his one-man, multi-instrumental, multi-visual format of music making to the stage in a way that has never been seen or heard before. Collier is concurrently working on commissioned arrangements for orchestras and bands, traveling to give masterclasses at various schools and universities, and collaborating with many different musicians, including Take 6.

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