Black Arts Dialogues

The Black Arts Dialogues (BAD) is curated by prize-winning author, New York Times Best-Seller and Oprah Winfrey Book Club novelist, Ayana Mathis. This program features a series of one-on-one conversations between Mathis and distinguished Black artists of various disciplines. From musicians to visual artists, filmmakers to fashion designers, actors to dancers, the Dialogues celebrate Black artists as thought leaders and culture makers who shape history, society, and aesthetics. BAD is a venue for artists to talk about their creative process, challenges, and goals, all within the larger context of Black art as a profound force in the US and around the world. The series will be accessible to audiences at Columbia and the public at large.

Upcoming Black Arts Dialogues

Image photo of Okwui Okpokwasili

Okwui Okpokwasili is a Brooklyn-based performance maker. Okwui Okpokwasili is a Brooklyn based performer, choreographer and writer creating multidisciplinary performance pieces. The child of immigrants from Nigeria, Okpokwasili was born and raised in the Bronx, and the histories and imagined futures of these places and the girls and women who inhabit them feature prominently in much of her work.

Past Black Arts Dialogues

Image poster for The Black Arts Dialogues event with Ayana Mathis & Delroy Lindo

Delroy Lindo Bio

Over the course of the past three decades, Delroy Lindo, a British-born actor with Jamaican roots, has established himself as a versatile figure in film, television, and theater. Lindo recently starred in Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods, which earned him a New York Film Critics Award for Best Actor, and The Harder They Fall for Netflix. His upcoming projects include a leading role in Neil Gaiman’s limited series Anansi Boys for Amazon as well as the feature Blade for Marvel Studios.

Throughout his career, Lindo has had memorable film roles in The Cider House Rules; Heist; Ransom; Get Shorty and previously garnered acclaim for a trio of films with Spike Lee: Clockers; Crooklyn and Malcolm X. On TV, Lindo starred on CBS’ The Good Fight as Adrian Boseman. He won a Peabody Award for Strange Justice and the NAACP Award for Law and Order: SVU. His incursions in Broadway have earned Lindo Drama Desk and Tony Award nominations, playing Herald Loomis in August Wilson and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. Further, his role as Walter Lee in A Raisin in the Sun also brought the actor a Helen Hayes Award Nomination/NAACP Image Award for Best Actor.

Delroy Lindo directed The Blue Door and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone to critical acclaim at Berkeley Repertory Theater. Directing Medal of Honor Rag also earned him a Los Angeles Theater Weekly Award. His notable career achievements include an Honorary Doctorate in Arts and Humanities from Virginia Union University; a BFA degree (cum laude) from SF State University; and an MFA from NYU’s Gallatin School.

Black Arts Dialogues(BAD ) Session II: Ayana Mathis in conversation with Dee Rees


Ayana Mathis received her MFA at the Iowa Writers' Workshop where she became the first African-American woman to hold the position of Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing. Mathis’s first novel, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie (Knopf, 2012), was a New York Times Bestseller, a 2013 New York Times Notable Book, NPR Best Book of 2013, and second selection for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 and was long listed for the Dublin Literary Award and nominated for Hurston/Wright  Foundation's Legacy Award. Her nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, The Financial Times, Rolling Stone Magazine, The New York Times T Magazine and Guernica, among others.  She is the recipient of fellowships from the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, and Bogliasco Foundation. She is a 2020-2021 American Academy in Berlin Prize Fellow. Her second novel, A Violent Woman, is forthcoming with Knopf.

Ayana Mathis