Allied Media Conference to Offer More than 75 Sessions and Feature Local and National Artists

The four-day virtual event will explore the intersections of media and communications, art, technology, education, and social justice
Esperanza Spalding, allied media conference
Jazz bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding will perform during the Allied Media Conference opening ceremony. // Photograph by Carmen Daneshmandi

The Detroit-based 21st Allied Media Conference takes place from July 23 to 26 this year. The social justice conference will feature 75 interactive sessions, as well as plenaries, community dinners, an opening and closing ceremony, and parties featuring local and national artists, such as Flint musician Tunde Olaniran, acclaimed jazz bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding, and singer-songwriter Toshi Reagon.

Organized by Allied Media Projects, the virtual event’s programs will offers solutions to a myriad of issues brought about by police violence against Black people and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “For first-time participants, we hope the Allied Media Conference is an opportunity to expand one’s mindset, become aware of the supremacist systems operating around and within us, and explore new liberatory ways of being,” says Jenny Lee, executive director of Allied Media Projects. “We hope participants can take this knowledge back to their communities and use it to cultivate joy and begin to dismantle oppressive forces in themselves and others.”

The opening ceremony takes place from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. tomorrow and will be hosted by Olaniran. The virtual event will feature a musical performance by Spalding, accompanied by Ahya Simone, Supercoolwicked, Bevlove, and Kesswa. Indigenous creation myths and Black organizing tales from the past, present, and future of Detroit will also be brought to life by six Black and Indigenous animators and illustrators.

Following the ceremony, Stableheed­ — a Detroit multidisciplinary performative collective — will provide live curated music from Detroit rappers MotorKam and Monalyse, and DJ’s Jhouse, Problematic Black Hottie, and Stardust.

Tunde Olaniran, allied media conference
Flint musician Tunde Olaniran will host the opening ceremony. // Photograph by Landon Speers

The conference’s interactive sessions, like workshops, meetups, panel discussions, and performances will focus on how all forms of media can further liberation and how individuals can become better organizers to dismantle systems of supremacy. Along with the sessions, there will also be four plenaries hosted by local and national thought leaders and activists­, such as Autumn and Adrienne Maree Brown, cohosts of the podcast How to Survive the End of the World. The meetings will focus on themes like abolition, the future of care, world-building through literature, and queer astrological technologies.

The conference will also offer two virtual community dinners. The dinners are produced by New York City-based culinary artist and organizer Ora Wise and will feature chefs, growers, and food sovereignty activists who will share teachings, recipes, and conversations on building solidarity and decolonizing cultures within the food world.

And Allied Media Conference’s closing ceremony, on July 26, will feature a performance by Reagon, who is the creator of the Parable of the Sower rock-opera. An interactive audio collage, and a ritual performance will also be included. The conference also provides a series called AMC @ night, which are virtual parties produced by Detroit curator Eryka Marie.

The Allied Media Conference will take place on event platforms YouTube Live, Socio, and Zoom. Registration, which ranges from $0 to $600, is required to participate in the interactive sessions and is available here. Any amount paid over $200 is considered a tax-deductible gift to Allied Media Projects.