IRAAS and AAADS with support from the Mellon Foundation Launch New Conversation Series Black Arts Dialogues (BAD)


February 3, 2021


“Intimate, dynamic conversations about art and process with Black artists of distinction”

  • Ayana Mathis, Host and Curator of the Series


On Tuesday, February 23rd the Black Arts Dialogues will live stream its inaugural event, an hour-long virtual conversation with jazz innovator, pianist, and composer Jason Moran and BAD host and curator, award-winning author Ayana Mathis.  Moran will join Mathis for an informal and wide-ranging conversation about jazz, artistic collaboration, and of course, Moran’s work, including his 2019 boundary shattering solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art, his work at the Kennedy Center and his most recent album, The Sound Will Tell You, released in January 2021.

The inaugural conversation will stream live via Zoom at 7 pm EST. Attendance is free but pre-registration is required.  Please register here:

The Washington Post describes Moran’s work as, “borderless bigness.” The New York Times has said of him: “The broader his artistic identity grows, the more Jason Moran, 44, seems like the elder statesman-to-be that jazz has been waiting for.”

The Black Arts Dialogues (BAD) is a limited, biannual series of one-on-one conversations – intimate, inspired and inspiring – about art and Blackness with artists of distinction in various disciplines, from musicians to directors, fashion designers to filmmakers. BAD is a celebration of excellence, a space of curiosity and exploration for artists to discuss their creative process, challenges, goals and expertise.

For more information about the series, its guests or host Ayana Mathis please visit:



The Black Arts Dialogues (BAD) is hosted by the Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS) in the African American and African Diaspora Studies Department (AAADS) at Columbia University. BAD is produced by the Mellon Arts Project with support from the Mellon Foundation.

February 23, 2021

Ayana Mathis Photo

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.


Jason Moran Photo

Pianist, composer, and artist Jason Moran was born in Houston, TX in 1975. He earned a degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Jaki Byard. He was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2010 and is currently the Artistic Director for Jazz at The Kennedy Center. His activity stretches beyond the 15 critically acclaimed solo recordings. His 21-year relationship with his trio The Bandwagon (with drummer Nasheet Waits and bassist Tarus Mateen) has resulted in a profound discography for Blue Note Records and Yes Records, a label he co-owns with his wife, singer and composer Alicia Hall Moran. Moran keeps a close relationship with music and activism, culminating in his film scoring with director Ava DuVernay on SELMA and 13th.  His groundbreaking multimedia tributes to Thelonious Monk, Fats Waller, and James Reese Europe have shifted the jazz performance paradigm.  Moran currently teaches at the New England Conservatory.