13th Floor Lounge Podcast

Host Leatrice Ellzy Wright and co-host Donna Nunn discuss art, culture, life, enterprise and ideas with artists, thinkers and doers who are animating our NOW and informing our LATER.  The 13th Floor Lounge is a production of Beatrix Moss. Our theme music, "Meanwhile, Back On Venus" is composed by and used with the permission of Russell Gunn.  

13th Floor Lounge #16 - Pellom McDaniels, III

Pellom Headshot.jpg

Atlanta-based artist Pellom McDaniels, III is best known for his work as a scholar, historian, and curator of African American collections at Emory University. He is the author of Porter, Steward, Citizen: An African American's Memoir of World War I (2017), The Prince of Jockeys: The Life of Isaac Burns Murphy (2013) and has contributed essays to anthologies such as Before Jackie Robinson: The Transcendent Role of Black Sports Pioneers (2017), The Olympics and Philosophy (2012), and All Stars and Movie Stars: Sports in Film History (2010). His first screenplay titled The Prince of Jockeys has been optioned and is in pre-production.

13th Floor Lounge #15 - Kevin Sipp

Kevin Sipp is a fine artist, independent scholar, and curator with expertise in printmaking, painting, sculpture and multi-media installation. A Florida native, he has lived and worked in Georgia since the early 90's where he received a BA in Printmaking from the Atlanta College of Art.  Sipp's fine art works have appeared in solo and group exhibitions throughout the country and internationally. His fine art prints have been featured in exhibitions by noted curators such as renowned Master Printmaker Malcolm Christian, Founder of Caversham Press in Balgowan, South Africa. His foundational aesthetic focus examines the spiritual, political, social, and historical influence of African derived culture in the world often making references to African Myth, Afro-Futurism, Cultural Identity, Colonial History, past and contemporary music, politics and comics.

Kevin is a highly sought-after public speaker whose lectures have inspired and entertained audiences at college campuses such as Brandeis University and the Emory University Michael C. Carlos Museum, including Arnall Golden & Gregory Law Firm, festivals and comic book conventions. His poetry has also been featured during the National Black Arts Festival sharing the stage with such luminaries as Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez and the poets of the Nuyorican Cafe.  Kevin is currently the curator at the City of Atlanta's Gallery 72.

Kevin's graphic novel The Amazing Adventures of David Walker Blackstone may be purchased at Lulu by clicking here and you can explore the wonderful arts programming offered this fall by City of Atlanta's Office of Cultural Affairs by clicking here.  



13th Floor Lounge #14 - 20 Minutes with Theaster Gates

Theaster Gates was born in Chicago in 1973. He first encountered creativity in the music of Black churches on his journey to becoming an urban planner, potter, and artist. Gates creates sculptures with clay, tar, and renovated buildings, transforming the raw material of urban neighborhoods into radically reimagined vessels of opportunity for the community. Establishing a virtuous circle between fine art and social progress, Gates strips dilapidated buildings of their components, transforming those elements into sculptures that act as bonds or investments, the proceeds of which are used to finance the rehabilitation of entire city blocks. Gates’s non-profit, Rebuild Foundation, manages the many projects in his Chicago hometown—including the Stony Island Arts Bank, Black Cinema House, Dorchester Art and Housing Collaborative, Archive House, and Listening House—while extending its support to cities throughout the American Midwest. Many of the artist’s works evoke his African-American identity and the broader struggle for civil rights, from sculptures incorporating fire hoses, to events organized around soul food, and choral performances by the experimental musical ensemble Black Monks of Mississippi, led by Gates himself.  

Theaster Gates is currently a Professor in the Department of Visual Art and Director of Arts and Public Life at the University of Chicago.  He has has exhibited and performed at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Punta della Dogana, Venice; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Santa Barbara Museum of Art; and Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany; among others.  We had an opportunity to sit with Theaster for 20 minutes at Emory University to discuss community, practice, purpose and ritual. Learn more about Theaster Gates at theastergates.com .  



13th Floor Lounge #13 - Lionell Thomas

There is more to the arts than what is seen and experienced. What happens behind the scenes and away from the public gaze is often what powers great exhibitions, performances and and artists.  On this week's 13th Floor Lounge we chop it up with Lionell Thomas, the new Director of Art and Culture for Fulton County, Georgia.  

Lionell comes to Fulton County after nearly three decades of dedicated public service in the arts in the Washington, DC metropolitan region and national cultural stage. For over 26 years, Lionell was a stalwart at the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH), serving in various professional capacities including most recently as the Executive Director from 2011 to 2015. During his tenure as DCCAH’s Executive Director, he directed strategic planning efforts that successfully grew the agency’s budget from $7 million to $17 million in less than four years. He was also credited with oversight of the financial business plan instrumental to restoring the Historic Lincoln Theater. From 2009 to 2011 as the Executive Director of the Prince George’s Arts and Humanities Council (PGAHC), Lionell was responsible for raising the visibility of PGAHC, expanding programs to the community and establishing the humanities as central to the core mission of the agency.

Having served on numerous nonprofit national boards and commissions, Lionell is widely respected for his keen knowledge and profound sensitivity to arts and culture. Lionell holds a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Lewis University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Pittsburgh. Lionell was inducted into the DC Hall of Fame in 2014 for his outstanding contribution to the arts as the youngest ever to receive the honor.

13th Floor Lounge #12 - Malaika Adero

We're back! We've been on a little hiatus but we're back. Hope your summer has been great and you've had some time to dig into culture, family, fun and travel. We return with literary heavy hitter Malaika Adero as our guest after a week of violence, ongoing protests and a country in upheaval.  We open this week's show with a discussion about the state of the community. 

About Malaika! Malaika Adero has worked with writers, authors and publishers for more than three decades to develop, edit, produce and publish literature. Award winning and bestselling books have been the result of her work with extraordinary talents, some among the most famous and legendary men and women of our time.

Her work history includes jobs in large corporations such as Simon & Schuster–where she worked for 18 years– and small publishers such as Amistad Press and Institute of the Black World (IBW) Press. She has held executive positions, including Vice President and Senior Editor at Atria Books/Simon & Schuster. And, she has worked in nearly every other job required to publish a book, i.e. in production, direct marketing, promotion and sales.

Malaika now brings all of her experience and experiences, good practice and work ethic to her independent boutique firm, Adero and the Literary Tribe, providing consultation, management and services, entering. 

Check out Malaika's online magazine at homeslicemag.com. Find Malaika at @MalaikaAdero on Twitter and @malaikaadero on Instagram.

13th Floor Lounge #11 - Remembering Prince

                   Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 - April 21, 2016)

Prince Rogers Nelson died on Thursday, April 21, 2016, exactly one week after we were inspired and awestruck by his Atlanta performance.  We aren't sure where the moon and stars' alignment was at the time of his transition but we do know that this singular event has rocked our world.  A world without Prince?  What?  We are not ready for that reality just yet so we sent a text out to some friends to come through and help us celebrate Prince and honor his creative genius, brilliance, intelligence, heart and humanity. A very special thanks to Shanti Das, Lil John Roberts and Jason Orr for hanging out in the lounge share their very personal experiences with Prince and exploring his impact on culture and the Prince legacy with us. #PrinceForever

13th Floor Lounge #10 - Gina Paige

Photo Credit: Leroy Hamilton

Photo Credit: Leroy Hamilton

In 2003, Gina Paige co-founded African Ancestry, Inc., and in doing so, pioneered a new way of tracing African lineages using genetics, and a new marketplace for African-American consumers looking to more accurately and reliably trace their roots. Leveraging her pioneering spirit, lifelong entrepreneurship and corporate expertise, Paige travels the U.S. helping African Americans demystify where they’re from so that they may better understand who they are --- optimizing success in their lives, communities and businesses.

PIONEER, TRAILBLAZER Under Paige’s leadership, African Ancestry has grown into the nation’s leading genetics-based ancestry-tracing company, sparking global interest, dialogue and focus on the importance of knowing who we are. Paige has traveled the world testing and revealing African roots of more than 150,000 people, while educating and informing identities. As with most great innovators, Gina’s work with African Ancestry has spawned a mix of industry off-shoots and major company milestones, including reaching its 13th anniversary in 2016.

Many of the world’s thought leaders, influencers, celebrities, dignitaries and other icons have looked to Paige to learn more about their roots. From Oprah Winfrey, John Legend and Spike Lee to Condoleezza Rice and The King Family, Paige has had a personal hand in demystifying their unknown African roots. Paige has also worked with major companies looking to join the growing trend in genealogy programming. She’s worked with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on three groundbreaking PBS programs including Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and African American Lives 1 & 2. She has also worked with NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? and CNN’s Black in America series, among others.

Visit africanancestry.com to learn more about getting your DNA tested and giving yourself and your family the gift of ancestry.  Follow Gina on Instagram at @ginampaige. #knowyourroots

13th Floor Lounge #9 - Lisa Pope

Born to a hairstylist father, it was natural for Lisa Pope to end up in the beauty and hair care industry. Lisa has successfully transitioned from fashion stylist, makeup artist and hairstylist to entrepreneur. She has worked with the likes of big names like Samuel Jackson, Jasmine Guy and Ciara;  but today, she is happy to share her expertise with the everyday consumer.  On this week's 13th Floor Lounge we take a look at how contemporary beauty trends have impacted black identity and ideals of beauty.  

Find Lisa Pope at @oopslisapope on Instagram and Lisa Pope (new page) on Facebook.

13th Floor Lounge #8 - Terreon Gully

Our guest on this week's 13th Floor Lounge is drummer, Terreon Gully.  Terreon is an exceptional musician whose voice of choice is drumset.  As a diverse musician, he has mastered a variety of musical styles:  straight ahead, funk, fusion, Afro-Cuban, big band, drum and bass, rhythm and blues, hip hop, pop and gospel.  In addition to drumset, Terreon’s musical abilities expand to include writing, producing, and arranging.
Terreon performs and records extensively.  When not busy with Dianne Reeves, The Christian McBride Band, Stefon Harris, David Sanborn or Yerba Buena, Terreon finds time to squeeze in working with such artists as Burning Spear, Lauren Hill and Roy Ayers to name a few. Known for his authenticity and versatility, Terreon performs in a variety of genres and musical settings, working with the best.  From reggae pioneers, hip hop icons, to jazz legends, Terreon has performed, toured, and recorded with many artists, among them:  the Benny Green Trio, Charlie Hunter, Real Live Band, Abbey Lincoln, Marc Cary, Russell Gunn, Lizz Wright, Jackie Terrason, and Common as well as a host of other artists.  Terreon endorses Premier drums, Sabian cymbals, Remo drumheads, ProMark drumsticks, and LP Percussion.  

Follow Terreon on instagram at @terreongully. 

13th Floor Lounge #7 - Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Daniel Bernard Roumain

This week on the 13th Floor Lounge Podcast we are pleased to be joined by two of our favorite artists, Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Daniel Bernard Roumain.  They stopped by the lounge to talk art, values, community and collaboration after a full day of rehearsals with the Atlanta Ballet in preparation for their weekend performances of Home in 7. Home in 7 is a collection of Marc Bamuthi Joseph's memories of Atlanta performed as spoken word with a violin response by Roumain and choreographed movement by Amy Siewert and the dancers of the Atlanta Ballet.  It's a MUST SEE performance. We'll be there.  Will you?  Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Marc Bamuthi Joseph is one of America’s vital voices in performance, arts education, and artistic curation. ln the Fall of 2007, Bamuthi graced the cover of Smithsonian Magazine after being named one of America's Top Young lnnovators in the Arts and Sciences. He is the artistic director of the 7-part HBO documentary Russell Simmons presents Brave New Voices and an inaugural recipient of the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship, which annually recognizes 50 of the country's "greatest living artists". He is the 2011 Alpert Award winner in Theater and in April 2012, he was one of 21 artists to be named to the inaugural class of Doris Duke Artists. He currently is completing new works for the Philadelphia Opera and South Coast Repertory Theater while serving as Director of Performing Arts at YBCA.

Daniel Bernard Roumain’s acclaimed work as a composer and a violinist has spanned more than two decades, and has been commissioned by venerable artists and institutions worldwide. Proving that he’s “about as omnivorous as a contemporary artist gets” (New York Times), DBR is perhaps the only composer whose collaborations span the worlds of Philip Glass, Bill T. Jones, Savion Glover and Lady Gaga.  An avid arts industry leader, DBR serves on the board of directors of the League of American Orchestras, Association of Performing Arts Presenters and Creative Capital, the advisory committee of the Sphinx Organization, and is co-chair of 2015 and 2016 APAP Conferences.  DBR earned his doctorate in Music Composition from the University of Michigan under the tutelage of William Albright, William Bolcom, and Michael Daugherty.

13th Floor Lounge #6 - Valerie Boyd

This week the 13th Floor Lounge welcomes Valerie Boyd, the author of Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston and the forthcoming Gathering Blossoms Under Fire: The Journals of Alice Walker.

Boyd is an Associate Professor of Journalism and the Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer in Residence at the University of Georgia, where she teaches narrative nonfiction writing, as well as arts and literary journalism. Boyd is also co-founder of the University of Georgia’s new Low-Residency MFA Program in Narrative Nonfiction and Screenwriting, which launched in August 2015; Boyd directs the Narrative Nonfiction Program.

An accomplished journalist and cultural critic, Boyd is the former arts editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and she has published articles, essays and reviews in numerous anthologies, magazines and newspapers, including: Step Into a World: A Global Anthology of the New Black Literature, Ms. magazine, Paste, The Oxford American, Book magazine, Essence, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Creative Nonfiction, and African American Review.

She founded EightRock, a cutting-edge journal of black arts and culture, in 1990. In 1992, she co-founded HealthQuest, the first nationally distributed magazine focusing on African-American health. 

Boyd’s Wrapped in Rainbows—the first biography of Zora Neale Hurston in 25 years—was published to wide critical acclaim. It was hailed by Alice Walker as “magnificent” and “extraordinary”; by The Washington Post as  “definitive”; by the Boston Globe as “elegant and exhilarating”; and by the Denver Post as “a rich, rich read.”

For her work on Wrapped in Rainbows, Boyd received the Georgia Author of the Year Award in nonfiction as well as an American Library Association Notable Book Award. The Georgia Center for the Book proclaimed Wrapped in Rainbows one of the “25 Books That All Georgians Should Read,” and the Southern Book Critics Circle honored it with the Southern Book Award for best nonfiction of the year.

Boyd is currently curating and editing the journals of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker. Simon & Schuster will publish Gathering Blossoms Under Fire: The Journals of Alice Walker in 2017.

13th Floor Lounge #5 - Imara Canady

Chosen as one of Georgia’s Best and Brightest “40 Under 40” by GA Trend Magazine, a ‘Person to Know” by Atlanta Magazine and a “Man of Distinction” by The Atlanta Tribune, we are joined this week by our good friend W. Imara Canady who gives us tips and tricks on how to access arts and culture on a shoestring budget.

We've listed Imara's list of where to access affordable tickets, discounts and bargains below.  Please use it often and share it with others who love the arts and want to explore its breadth on a budget. 

  1. BroadwayBox.com
  2. Visit Playbill.com for Rush Tickets 
  3. Visit the website of the show and use their Lottery system to purchase tickets
  4. Use Student discount options
  5. Download the GoldStar App or Sign Up for the GoldStar Newsletter
  6. League of Chicago Theatres website
  7. Living Social 
  8. Bank of America's Monthly Free museum admission for account holders
  9. Industry Nights
  10. Contact individual community theatre's and ask if the have a "Pay What You Can" program?


13th Floor Lounge #4 - Ronda Penrice

Ronda Penrice is an author, journalist and expert on African American history and contemporary American culture. A native of Chicago, Ronda has a lifelong interest in African American history and culture. Her first book, African American History for DUMMIES (Wiley Publishing, 2007), is an extensive look at a complex subject that is both a historical and cultural overview.  We round out Black History Month with a look at the past and a projection into the future.

You can follow Ronda Penrice on twitter at @rondaracha. 

13th Floor Lounge #3 - Aku Kadogo

Aku Kadogo

This week Aku Kadogo joins us in the lounge for a lively conversation. She's an international theatre director, choreographer, educator and creative producer of cultural arts projects. She directs highly energetic, imaginative theatre works and has produced a number of collaborative interdisciplinary projects. Her eclectic career has spanned across the United States, Australia, Europe and Asia. 

For more information on Aku Kadogo please visit www.akukadogo.com. Enjoy this week's 13th Floor Lounge Podcast! 

13th Floor Lounge #2 - Okorie Johnson

Okorie Johnson

Before we introduce you to this week's guest, we would like to thank you for all of the great feedback you shared after listening to the first episode of the 13th Floor Lounge.  We are thrilled that you enjoyed it, were informed and inspired. I love those of you who critiqued - WITH NOTES. Thank you for helping us be better. Keep listening and keep letting us know what you think. 

This week's guest is cellist Okorie Johnson.  Okorie has been playing cello for more than 30 years. A graduate of Morehouse College, he played with Spelman College’s string ensemble, and has studied with Oliver Edel at the Levine School of Music in Washington, DC. His specialty is melodic cello accompaniment to acoustic, guitar-based soul, folk and jazz. He has accompanied and recorded with acts like Donnie, Doria Roberts, Marathon (Chuck Carrier), Tony Rich Project, Jennifer Daniels, Grammy award-winning artist India.Arie, Jason Michael Green, Leah Morgan, progressive rock notables The Muffins, Khari Cabral Simmons, Doria Roberts, Brenda Nicole Moorer, Callaghan, Anthony David, and De La Soul. 

For more information on Okorie Johnson, visit his website at okcello.com.  Enjoy this week's 13th Floor Lounge Podcast!

The 13th Floor Lounge Podcast Launches with Visual Artist Fahamu Pecou!

Beatrix Moss is excited to invite you to join us on a new journey as we launch the 13th Floor Lounge Podcast.  Each week host Leatrice Ellzy and co-host Donna Nunn hang with in-studio guests discussing art, culture, lifestyle, enterprise and ideas that intrigue, inspire, entertain and inform.  

Our first guest is friend, visual artist, scholar and karaoke king Fahamu Pecou. His works combine observations on hip-hop, fine art and popular culture. Pecou’s paintings, performance art, and academic work addresses concerns around contemporary representations of Black masculinity and how these images impact both the reading and performance of Black masculinity.

Fahamu rides for Kanye West no matter what, has a dope ass sock game and uses his voice to amplify issues that impact Black bodies. We love him for that.

Poet Barry Wright also stopped by the lounge to kick it with us.  He unveils his new poem Revolution to help us move into Black History Month.   

Pour yourself a glass of wine, a cocktail or something healthy and green and join us for what promises to be a lively conversation.  

Fahamu Pecou

Fahamu Pecou