Black History Month 2023: Honorariums

Dr. Ronald McCurdy

Dr. Khalid White

Credit: Aidan Un

Revivals of Blackness

Honorarium Biographies

Dr. Ronald McCurdy

Dr. Ronald C. McCurdy is Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and Professor of Music in the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California (USC) where he served as chair of the jazz department for six years (2002- 2008). He has served as a consultant to the Grammy Foundation and the Walt Disney All-American College Band. McCurdy continues to tour The Langston Hughes Project. This multimedia presentation is based on Hughes’ poem, Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz. In 2008 he premiered the orchestral version of The Langston Hughes Project with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra with rapper and television actor, Ice-T. McCurdy has also created or co-created two other interdisciplinary productions including, Letters From Zora (Hurston) and Shanghai Jazz: A Cultural Mix.

McCurdy is the co-author of The Artist Entrepreneur: Finding Success in a New Arts Economy (Rowman & Litterfield Publication 2019). He is co-author of a vocal jazz improvisation series titled Approaching the Standards, (Warner Bros. 2011) McCurdy authored, Meet the Great Jazz Legends (Alfred Publishing, 2010). He contributed chapters to two recent publications: Teaching Music in Performance Through Jazz: Vol. I (Gia Publication) and African Americans and Popular Culture (Edited by Todd Boyd, 2008). Dr. McCurdy is a performing artist for the Yamaha International Corporation.

Dr. Khalid White

Dr. Khalid White (He/Him/His) is an award-winner in the fields of Education, Film and Literature. A career educator, Khalid began educating California’s youth and young adults in 2004. Presently, he is an African American Studies Professor at San Jose City College, located in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley.

As an entrepreneur, Khalid owns the multi-media company Blkmpwr (Black Empower), LLC. The company focuses on education, empowerment, and equity.

A proud HBCU alum and CA Community College advocate, Khalid is a co-founder of the Pipelines to Possibilities (P2P) program, connecting the two systems of higher education to increase faculty diversity.

Khalid continues to serve in the intersections of education, public health, and community, advancing equity, inclusion, and social justice.

Revivals of Blackness

A multidisciplinary ensemble established by choreographer/movement artist/vocalist Lela Aisha Jones, pianist/composer Luke Carlos O’Reilly, percussionist/composer/vocalist Alex Shaw, and filmmaker Aidan Un, Revivals of Blackness is a collaborative artistic offering to our kindred, honoring the life-giving contributions of global Black folks by staying real and more than well as we navigate legacies of U.S. racial violence. Commissioned by World Cafe Live in the summer of 2020, prompted in part by heightened attention to ongoing systemic racism in the U.S., this innovative multimedia performance is a dynamic ceremony interweaving music, dance, poetry, interviews, and visuals to illustrate the collective lived experiences of diasporic Blackness as effervescent, fluid, infinite, wayward, and always right on time.

As seasoned U.S.-based BIPOC artists, our artistry is intentionally intertwined with our activist practices – collective activations of our lived experiences and cultural knowledge grounded in generations of blackness. Revivals of Blackness was born from the collaborative culmination of our personal storied multidisciplinary journeys through diverse African diasporic music and dance traditions, bringing American jazz, R&B, gospel, and soul into informed cultural dialogue with Capoeira Angola, Afro-Cuban rumba, Afro-Brazilian samba & maracatu, Ewe drumming, and orisha songs from Yorubaland. Through our artistry, we assert that blackness be more centered, be acknowledged, be loved, be humanized, and be honored in all communities, particularly in white spaces and structures of power. Revivals of Blackness centers and challenges the ways we think about how Blackness intersects with ancestry, archive, ritual, and tradition, inviting us all to question and reflect upon the multitude of luscious ways that Blackness shapes our lives.

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Lela Aisha Jones

Luke Carlos O’Reilly

Alex Shaw