University of the Arts in association with The Smoke, Lilies and Jade Arts Initiative to present performance and panel discussion on Health for Black Men


The Smoke, Lilies and Jade Arts Initiative (SLJ) was conceived by Artistic Director Zane Booker, in 2004, when he returned to Philadelphia from touring the globe as a world class performer with such companies as; Netherlands Dance Theater, Les Ballet De Monte Carlo and Mikail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project.  Through Booker’s experiences abroad, he became aware of America’s lack of tolerance for issues concerning race, gender and HV/AIDS.

SLJ is a socially conscious, multi-media dance theater production company dedicated to educating and exploring experiences of the African American Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. Through the use of dance, spoken word, and film SLJ is designed to provide education, services and support to organizations that assist those affected by HIV/AIDS.

SLJ maintains a great conviction that the arts can: (1) make a tremendous impact on the culture of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered (LGBT) and African-American communities, (2) serve as a tool to bring awareness to caustic global ills such as HIV/AIDS (3) stimulate the imagination and creativity, (4) nurture the values of cultural diversity.

To this end on Saturday, January 10, 2009, The Smoke, Lilies and Jade Arts Initiative in association with the University of the Arts will hold a studio performance and panel discussion on Black Men’s Health.  This will be held at 6pm at Gershman , 401 S Broad St in Philadelphia. A minimum donationof $5 is requested.

SLJ’s performance will provide inspiration for dialogue through the arts of dance and spoken word. Participants and audience members will have a unique opportunity to put questions to the panelists. By raising awareness about the specific health risks African Americans face and documenting them on videotape, we will create both an event and an archive.

Dancers will inlcude Justin Bryant, Lindsay Lafountain, Jeff Sousa, Maya Johnson, Nicole Sabella, Ashleigh Whitworth, Tony Jackson, Danielle Grimes and Brigitte Madera. These dancers have all worked as part of Booker’s ensemble since he started SLJ in 2006. All are artists educated at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, where Booker teaches. In addition Michael Thomas formerly of New York’s Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, will join us again as a guest artist.

The panel discussion that follows will feature three prominent physicians: Dr. Lisa Bowleg, PhD – Drexel Department of Community Health and Prevention, 2008 University of Pennsylvania Red Ribbon Award recipient for AIDS research; Dr. Theodore J. Corbin, Jr., M.D., MPP, Director of Violence Intervention Program, 2006 Soros Fellow; and Dr. John Rich, M.D. M.P.H chair of the department of health management and policy in the School of Public Health, and  2006 MacArthur Fellow.

Included in this event:

  • A panel discussion on Black Men’s Health by two prominent gay African American medical doctors with expertise on the relationships between HIV and urban Black LGBT populations, moderated by a Professor in Community Health and Prevention who also specializes in these issues
  • Dance performances on the topic of Black Men’s Health commissioned from emerging choreographers Tommy Waheed, Justin Bryant, Lindsey LaFountain and Maya Johnson
  • Spoken word performances commissioned from James Tolbert and Prentice Bush two artists, who are also community activists, likewise on the theme of Black Men’s Health
  • An exhibition of personal correspondence documenting Black LGBT Philadelphia,
  • Participation by collaborating organizations that focus on preventing the spread of HIV among Black LGBT populations including The Attic Youth Center, Safeguards and Colours,
  • Free confidential onsite HIV testing
  • Anonymous written evaluations.

For more information visit:

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 215-823-6976

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