Shá Cage is a curator and cultural consultant. She is also a writer, activist, theater/film maker, performer and director who has been called a Change-maker, one of the leading artists of her generation, and a mover and maker. Her work has taken her to Japan, South Africa, Germany, England, West Africa, Canada, The Netherlands, Bosnia and Croatia, Sweden, and across the U.S. She holds both Emmy and Ivey awards, a TCG Career fellowship, a McKnight Theater Artist Fellowship, artists of the year recognitions, and international awards. She is the co-founder of several organizations and initiatives including The Million Artist Movement, The MN Artist Coalition, Tru Ruts, MN Spoken Word Association, Mama Mosaic, Black Film MN, Catalyst Arts, The Black Arts Healing Retreat, and the Black Arts Alliance. She was seen last as Lady Capulet on stage at the Guthrie Theater and has held lead roles at the Jungle, Penumbra, Frank Theater and Mixed Blood. She is the editor and curator of the Moment of Silence forthcoming anthology www.blackmnvoices.com and has 3 plays and 6 films to her credit. She has been using art to elevate Black and Brown narratives through Tru Ruts for over 20 years.
Hannah L Drake is a blogger, activist, public speaker, poet, and author of 11 books. She writes commentary on politics, feminism, and race. Hannah’s message is thought-provoking and at times challenging, but Hannah believes that it is in the uncomfortable spaces that change can take place. “My sole purpose in writing and speaking is not that I entertain you. I am trying to shake a nation.”
One of the most striking qualities of Mike Bond’s superb debut recording, The Honorable Ones, is the understated, sophisticated way in which the 30-year-old pianist-composer subsumes his abundant technique for imperatives of beauty and self-expression. This springs directly from his personal influences and history. Bond, a Rutgers University graduate, received the Excellence in Jazz Performance Award and the Arthur G. Humphrey award for Music Education in 2012. Bond met Orrin Evans, who serves as Artistic Producer of The Honorable Ones. He graduated with a Bachelor’s of Music Degree in both Jazz Performance and Music Education. In addition to periodically hiring Bond to play piano in his Captain Black Big Band, Evans recommended him to bass maestro Curtis Lundy, who hired Bond for his first New York engagement. Meanwhile, Bond spent two years working for SmallsLIVE, the imprint of Smalls Jazz Club, where he learned to produce albums and video-edit, while meeting numerous musicians, promoters and producers. These days, Bond boasts a c.v. that includes shows with the magisterial tap dancer Savion Glover, trombone giant Conrad Herwig, masters like saxophonists Mark Gross, Jerry Weldon and Bruce Williams and trumpeters Joe Magnarelli and Duane Eubanks, rhythm section greats including drummer Billy Kilson, Byron Landham and Matthew Parrish. He is a featured sideman on guitarist Jean Chaumont’s debut album “The Beauty Of Differences” which received a 4 star review in Downbeat Magazine. His debut album “The Honorable Ones” dropped in February 2020. – Ted Panken (edited)
Originally from California, Gene Shinozaki moved to Boston, MA, where he attended Berklee College of Music, majoring in drumming. With the goal to follow the footsteps of his favorite band, Dream Theater, Gene replicated their decision to drop out, feeling disillusioned with school. After Dropping out of Berklee, he found an interview of Reeps One on Beatbox Battle TV, which inspired him to dedicate his life to beatbox. He then immediately started busking to make money and turn this dream into a reality. Within two years, Gene began performing at popular venues and even starred in the Season Finale on Fox’s hit television show “So You Think You Can Dance” (Season 10).
In 2013, Gene entered his first beatbox battle, which would eventually lead him to become one of the most renown battlers in the world. Since the 2014 American Beatbox Championships, Gene has made it at least to semifinals in every battle. And in 2015, he won the Grand Beatbox Battles, held in Switzerland, making him the first American to take the title. Gene is currently one of the core members of the Brooklyn-based group, The Beatbox House. Gene has since moved to NYC to be closer to his crew.
Alonzo Demetrius Ryan Jr. is a trumpeter, composer bandleader from Plainsboro NJ. His musical journey began at the age of 8, singing and learning the piano until finally settling on the trumpet by age 10. Alonzo spent two years at the historic Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz where he connected with other talented young professionals and, more importantly, gained life-long friends and mentors. In 2014 he obtained a Bachelor’s in music at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and performed in and around the Boston area. In 2019 he received his Masters from the Berklee Global Jazz Institute Masters Program. Throughout his short career, Alonzo has worked with an ever-growing list of notable musicians spanning several genres including Terence Blanchard, Terri Lyne Carrington, Ralph Peterson Jr., Dezron Douglas, among others.
We’re so excited to have The Sketch Effect helping us visualize our ideas and outcomes of the Convocation. The Sketch Effect is a talented team of creative and operational rockstars dedicated to elevating ideas through remarkable visual communication.