Photo courtesy of The Black Album Mixtape Facebook.

Actor, playwright and activist Regina Taylor is working with SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts on a new multimedia project to explore and address questions about the current racial reckoning.

Taylor is asking students, professionals and community members to submit video, audio, images and text to be included in “the black album. mixtape.” All entries submitted on the project’s website will be in the running for cash awards given by Taylor and a panel of judges during a virtual block party on May 11.

“I launched this project as a platform for crucial conversations during this time of racial reckoning,” says Taylor, a Meadows Distinguished Visiting Artist and alumna of the Meadows School’s Division of Theatre. “the black album explores how we as artists advance social justice in our work, and how we imagine, teach, and create in the face of COVID-19. This is designed to help all of us—performers and the public, seasoned arts leaders, and new students—to realize the power we hold within ourselves and our ability to press forward for justice.”

In October 2020, SMU students performed “the black album. 2020. resistance.,” a work written by Taylor that included a collection of vignettes exploring the question of what it means to be Black at this time. To sign up to receive a link to watch a recording of the performance, go here.

Each week, a group of submissions will be posted online for everyone to see.

In conjunction with the artistic project, there will be livestreamed virtual discussions on April 16 at noon and 8 p.m. Producer, host and actor Troy Pryor will lead the noon talk with guests including Louis Carr, the president of media sales at BET Networks. During the night event, choreographer Dianne McIntyre and poet and playwright Carl Hancock Rux will have a conversation.

There will also be Black Bone China “Food for Thought” virtual dinners, where food is served on china made by SMY ceramics students. The talks, which will be recorded and available for viewing later, will look at the inequities made evident by COVID-19 and systemic racism as well as the effect of the pandemic on the arts. A discussion with Robert Barry Fleming, Nataki Garrett, Jonathan McCrory and Carl Sylvestre will be available for streaming April 27. Register for “Food for Thought: Arts Activism & Technology” here.