Conference 1

‘What Is This [new] “Black” in Black Popular Culture?’

Stuart Hall, Social Justice (1993)

We take as our starting point, the title of Stuart Hall’s essay, ‘What Is This “Black” in Black Popular Culture?’ and ask our panelists  to consider Black.

Popular Culture in their lifetime, in their work and in other’s work, that they engage with . What we need to consider for the future – working outside the rest of Europe ? Hall’s essay was published 20 years after we’d been in this space, now we need to consider, 23 years after he wrote it, where are we now and where do we go from here.


Establishing the cultural frameworks to enable the discussion and to explore the Black dynamic theory and practice.

Conference 1 will aim to lay the theoretical and critical foundations, which will help to frame and form the basis of discussion for the ongoing series. 

Conference 1 

Who are we when we talk about Black?

In a society made up of people with multiple cultural references and hybrid identities, how do we name ourselves?
Who is doing the naming?


  • Explore how the cultural, political and the personal relate to current representational practices and our knowledge of the past and contribute to our aspirations for the future.
  • Examining and challenge artistic and curatorial practices as they relate to the cultural politics of skin colour, race and representation with particular reference to people of African decent and the arts.
  • Discuss what is currently accessible and how do we make it accessible for modern black/African identities to engage on an equal par?


Keynote speakers and panelists will be drawn from cultural theorists, activists, professionals and practicing artists.

Ben Okri

Leading voice in African literature (Keynote speaker)

Justin Mckenzie

Artistic Director/MD - Jazz re:freshed

Dr Kehinde Andrews

Associate Professor of Sociology

Caleb Femi


Jacob Whittingham

Writer/ Author

Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff

Freelance journalist

Wail Qasim

Writer, critic and campaigner

Kinsi Abdulleh

Visual artist, Editor, Producer and Educator. Founder of NUMBI Arts

Robi Walters

Award winning Artist/ Creative

Inua Ellams

Poet, Playwright/ Performer, Graphic Artist and Designer

Chardine Taylor-Stone

Writer, cultural producer and feminist activist

Kevin Le Gendre

Journalist and broadcaster (Music chair)

Fiona Compton

Journalist and broadcaster

Ayishat Akanbi

Fashion stylist, writer, cultural commentator

Kojey Radical

Musician, poet, and mixed media visual artist

Lola Okolosie

Columnist for Guardian Opinion, editor-at-large for Media Diversified

Event Schedule:


Intro/ Welcome/ Housekeeping

Session 1:


Chair – Kevin Le Gendre
Chardine Taylor-Stone
Kojey Radical
Justin Mckenzie


Session 2:
Idols and Icons

12 –1.30

Chair: Lola OkolosieK
Kinsi Abdulleh
Inua Ellams
Robi Walters


Session 3:
Cultural Theory


Chair: Wail Qasim
Jacob Whittingham
Kehinde Andrews


Session 4:


Film screening:
London Locks (Best Documentary at the New Renaissance London Film Fest.)

Chair: Fiona Compton
Liv Little
Aaron Christian
Ayishat Akanbi



Caleb Femi

Spoken Word Performance

Ben Okri
Keynote speaker

Q&A and book Signing

7.30 – 9pm


Sat: 19th November
Time: 9am -9pm

Open to public including SOAS staff and students.


Djam Lecture Theatre (DLT),
University of London,
London WC1H OXG

Based in central London — SOAS is a short walk from the London Underground’s Goodge Street and Russell Square stations.