Freedom Dreams: A Formula for Justice / Funmilola Fagbamila

Freedom Dreams: A Formula for Justice / Funmilola Fagbamila

Playwright, artist, and founding member of Black Lives Matter, Funmilola Fagbamila, presents a discussion on the necessity of emotional intelligence in our pursuit of more just and healthy societies. Utilizing a solution-oriented approach, Prof. Fagbamila breaks down the ways that bias is not only learned intellectually but articulated emotionally. Via storytelling, spoken word, and interactive dialogue, Funmilola examines how we can begin remedying some of our most pressing collective issues and envisioning a future where freedom is no longer a dream.

The catalyst for political engagement has rarely been misery, poverty, or oppression. People are drawn to social movement because of hope: their dreams of a new world radically different from the one they inherited.
Robin D.G. Kelley

As one of the original organizers of the Black Lives Matter movement, Funmilola contributed to the organization’s inception in 2013. Her work was honored by the US Congress in both 2015 and 2018; and her writing, political analyses and social commentary have been featured in publications such as the Guardian, TNT, NOWTHIS news and NPR. Prof. Fagbamila has delivered keynote addresses and performances at universities across the U.S. and Europe, including UCLA School of Law, Oxford, Harvard and Stanford.

BIO Funmilola Fagbamila is a Nigerian-American playwright, actress and scholar. She serves as professor of Pan African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles. As an original organizer of the Black Lives Matter national network, Funmilola contributed to the organization’s inception in 2013 and served as the Arts and Culture director in LA for years following.

In 2015, Funmilola was honored by the United States Congress and the Black Community, Clergy and Labor Alliance for her commendable activist scholarship and service. In 2017, Prof. Fagbamila was awarded the Inaugural Activist-in-Residence position at the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin. And in 2018, Amplify Africa and the US Congress honored Funmilola once more with the African Excellence award in the field of education.

Funmilola’s viral poem “Black Girl Fly” has been viewed online more than 4 million times and in 2021 the TNT network collaborated with Funmilola on a national feature for this piece. Her writing, creative productions and social commentary have been featured in publications such as the Guardian, BBC, NPR, NOW THIS news, Blavity, FOXtv and Netlflix.

In 2017 Cal State LA hosted a public dialogue between Funmilola and the Ooni of Ife, traditional ruler of the largest African kingdom — Yoruba kingdom Ile-Ife. In 2018, Funmilola and Nigerian presidential candidate Omoyele Sowore participated in a public dialogue on the state of affairs in Nigeria and the African diaspora. And in 2020 Funmilola traveled to Paris at the request of the president of France, to offer her consultation in France’ plan to address the country’s colonial history with African nations. This came to fruition after the president, Emmanuel Macron, had viewed Funmilola’s social commentary and political analysis in the popular French publication, Le Monde.

Funmilola has delivered keynote addresses, lectures and performances at universities across the U.S. and Europe. Some of the venues include UCLA School of Law, Oxford University, Stanford and Harvard.

Her currently-touring international stage play “The Intersection: Woke Black Folk” has been met with critical acclaim by thinkers and artists such as Angela Davis and Erykah Badu. This production explores the complexities of Black political identity and is a story about how humans navigate difference. It premiered to sold-out houses at both the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles (as the featured theatrical production) and the Skirball Cultural Center. The Intersection has staged in venues and universities across the U.S., England, France, the Netherlands and Brazil.

What schools are saying:

The event was phenomenal. The students, faculty, staff, and general Merrimack community loved every minute of it. The fact that the students requested of Funmilola to stay longer to continue talking and even walked her out to the car are a testament to just how much she impacted them. I have received many rave reviews from attendees and many requests from students for her to return in some capacity to Merrimack. The talk was motivating, challenging, and thought-provoking. It created a space for Black students to feel seen and the conversation afterwards was what really stood out to me. The students truly huddled around and engaged. A fire was lit and Funmilola was that spark in that moment. It was amazing to see the thrumming of energy in the room and I wish we all had had more time together.

Thank you,

Nicole W.
Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Unity House
Office of Multicultural Initiatives
Merrimack College


Funmilola was Fabulous! She was personable, empathetic, savvy, engaging, fun, and a pleasure to have on campus! She did a wonderful job curtailing her message to fit our purpose. Her message was universal and timely.  I look forward to continuing work with you as we will seek more speakers in the future for newly evolving efforts.

Thank you!
B. Lewis
Director, Student Life and Engagement
Forsyth Technical Community College Winston-Salem, NC

I think the event went very well! The format was easy to navigate and helped steer the conversation. I appreciated her ability to talk to a more conservative audience while still providing candid answers and information about what is going on in the world.

A lot of the professors were pleased with the breadth and depth of information provided and thought it was a wonderful way to end Women’s History Month!

K. Jones
Student Activities Coordinator
Central Carolina Community College

Category : Artist with multiple talks &Blog &Diversity and Multicultural &Funmilola Fagbamila &Inclusion DEI &Social Justice &Speakers

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