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Discussion at a Community Sing at Harlem Stage at Aaron Davis Hall^46 Sekou at work at the Arab American National Museum with Detroit poets and staff during a semester long residency at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor ^46 Michaela Angela Davis and Carl Hancock Rux in conversation at the NYC premiere screening of finding the 51st (dream) state. Photo by Vaughn David Browne.^46 Richie Harper leading a community sing at Harlem Stage at Aaron Davis Hall^46

The America Project

Sekou Sundiata was internationally known as a poet who wrote for print, performance, music and theater, as an educator, and as an artist-activist. He was a Sundance Institute Screenwriting Fellow, a Columbia University Revson Fellow, a Master Artist-in-Residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts (Florida), the first Writer-in-Residence at the New School University, and the recipient of a Lambent Fellowship in the Arts. He was featured in the Bill Moyers' PBS series on poetry, The Language of Life, and as part of Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam on HBO. Sundiata was a professor at Eugene Lang College in New York City.

Sundiata wrote and performed in the highly acclaimed performance theater works The Circle Unbroken is a Hard Bop, which toured nationally and received three AUDELCO Awards and a BESSIE Award; The Mystery of Love, commissioned and produced by New Voices/New Visions at HARLEM STAGE / Aaron Davis Hall in New York City and the American Music Theater Festival in Philadelphia; and Udu, a music theater work produced by 651 ARTS in Brooklyn and presented by the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven, the Walker Art Center and Penumbra Theater in Minneapolis, Flynn Center in Burlington, VT, the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, and Miami-Dade College in Florida.

Sundiata released two major recordings, the GRAMMY-nominated The Blue Oneness of Dreams (Mouth Almighty/Mercury), and its successor, longstoryshort (Righteous Babe Records). He toured internationally with his band; in 2001, they performed in 23 cities in the United States and Canada as part of Ani DiFranco's "Rhythm and News Tour."

blessing the boats, Sundiata's only solo theater piece was produced by MAPP and opened in November 2002 at HARLEM STAGE /Aaron Davis Hall, NYC. It was presented through June 2007 in more than 30 cities across the U.S., in Scotland and Australia. In March 2005, Sundiata produced The Gift of Life Concert, an organ donation public awareness event at the Apollo Theater that kicked off a three-week run of blessing the boats at the Apollo Theater. These events at the Apollo were produced in partnership with the Apollo Theater Foundation, the National Kidney Foundation and the New York Organ Donor Network with support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

the 51st (dream) state, which Sundiata described as his personal and poetic "State of the American Soul Address," premiered at Stanford Lively Arts in April 2006. Produced by MAPP, it was presented at more than a dozen renowned performing arts centers and festivals including: Brooklyn Academy of Music; Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, College Park, MD; Melbourne International Arts Festival; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; University of Texas, Austin; University Musical Society, Ann Arbor, MI; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN and the Zeiterion Theater, New Bedford, MA. Sundiata passed away in July 2007 before completing the scheduled tour of the 51st (dream) state. The cast, director and producers of this historic work decided to carry on Sundiata's voice and vision as long-time performer & collaborator La Tanya Hall stepped into his role for performances presented by Miami Dade College in FL (November 2007) and Bucknell University in PA (February 2008).