Any Afrofuturists in the building? Anyone in the building wondering what Afrofuturism is?
On this week’s installment of Practically Speaking, we revisit Afrofuturism with artist and educator D. Denenge Akpem. Afrofuturism is a cultural movement that combines elements of science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, and Afrocentricity, in order to critique present-day dilemmas of people of color. It also tries to remix and re-examine the historical events of the past.

We also hear from avant-garde musician and composer David Boykin about the new cultural movement.  

Plus, host Audra Wilson profiles visionary Science Fiction author Octavia Butler.

Tune in this Friday at 11am on http://vocalo.org 89.5fm (NWIndy) and 90.7fm (CHI).

UPDATE: You can hear the entire show here.

As the news editor for Giant Bomb, a video game news and reviews site, Patrick Klepek has received his share of online harassment, from the comments to Twitter to his personal email. But he’s a white dude in a position of influence. What kind of harassment do less established writers and people in the community particularly women and minorities face? Klepek talks to us about his recent work to call attention to toxic conversations online and how to make the Internet a (slightly) nicer place.

Months-long protests in North Dakota against a multi-billion-dollar oil pipeline have recently become more tense as protestors have been met with dogs and guards said to be using pepper spray. Protesters and the tribe have also claimed sacred burial grounds were bulldozed. The protestors at the reservation of the Standing Rock Sioux say they are taking a stand for future generations against the four-state Dakota Access Pipeline Project.

Phyllis Davis is part of the Gun Lake Band Potawatomi Tribal Council and recently lead a contingency of tribes to North Dakota in an act of solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux and the protesting tribes. She joined Jesse and Jill on the AMp to talk about the protests.

The Morning AMp airs M-F 8-10 AM on 91.1 FM (CHI) / 89.5 FM (NWI) and streaming at www.vocalo.org

Ray has been an activist since the 60s. He organized lunch counter sit-ins and participated in the March on Washington. When he was drafted to fight in Vietnam, he took his activism overseas with him. Unlike Ray, Bill enlisted in Vietnam and served 4 years. He now works with veterans in need.
On the next Practically Speaking, we explore the triumphs and challenges of Black veterans, including those who have given their lives for a country that has not always respected them or their contributions.

Listen in this Friday at 11am on www.vocalo.org | 90.7 (CHI) | 89.5 (NWI).

Dr. Kishonna Gray in an assistant professor of justice studies at Eastern Kentucky University and what she’s really interested in is video games. Dr. Gray’s research focuses on race and gender in video games and video gaming communities, looking at the intersecting oppressions women of color face while playing Xbox Live.

Intern Wyatt Souers spoke to Dr. Gray about the experience conducting her research and the impact of her studies could have on the community.​

As the 75th anniversary of the beginning of WWII approaches, Memorial Day has an extra layer of emotion for veterans. Edgar Harrell was one of the few survivors of the USS Indianapolis sinking, torpedoed by Japan in the Pacific Theater just a week before the US bombed Hiroshima. We talk with him about his story and why as insulated as we are from conflict, it is important to remember what life is like during war time.

Hour Two of “Our Ladies of Chicago Soul”. From the biggest stars, to the lesser known gems, host Ayana Contreras puts together a roll call of soul from Chicago. Featuring music by The Emotions, Jo Armstead, The Lovelites, Kitty Haywood, & much more.

Listen to Hour 1 here: Vocalo – Reclaimed-soul-our-ladies-of-chicago-soul-hour-1

Catch fresh installments of Reclaimed Soul Thursdays at 8pm (CST) on vocalo.org or over the air on 91.1fm


(photos by Jesse Menendez)

Chicago Rock band Twin Peaks tearing up their set at Bar 96 on Rainey St in Austin, Texas for SXSW 2015. Although UK garage rock outfit Palma Violets headlined the showcase, Twin Peaks in my humble opinion stole the show. They ripped through songs from their impressive album Wild Onion, which despite what genre you may place them in, does an excellent job of combining a number of influences into one raucous presentation of unabashed multi-subgenre madness.


Chicago Hip Hop artist and SAVEMONEY collective member Taylor Bennett has recently released a collection of new songs under the title Broad Shoulders. He joined Jesse Menendez in studio share his thoughts on Chicago rap scene, and how his music stands apart from his older brother Chance The Rapper.

Writer Mikki Kendall and K. Sujata, executive director of the Chicago Foundation for Women, join us to debrief on a community conversation on race and feminism that CFW hosted last night, look at the indictment of an NYPD officer after a public housing shooting that killed Akai Gurley, and get some laughs in as we decide where on the scale of delightfully trashy to woefully boring Fifty Shades of Gray lays.

In her recent book, The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation, WBEZ’s Natalie Moore weaves together her reporting on neighborhoods like Chatham, Beverly and Bronzeville with her own family’s story to illustrate how deep segregation runs in Chicago. Natalie joined us at the shop.
Plus, we revisited a story about how Chicago’s iconic two-flat buildings are being reimagined for the 21st Century. For that conversation, host Richard Steele was joined by:
• Chris Bentley, who reported a story on two-flats for WBEZ’s Curious City.
• Bryan Hudson, Principal Architect and Owner of SOMA Design Consultants, and
• Dennis Rodkin, Residential real estate reporter for Crain’s Chicago Business

The Barber Shop Show airs live on Fridays at Noon on Vocalo 91.1FM. You can also stream live at vocalo.org. In addition, the show rebroadcasts on Saturdays at 9am on 91.1FM and on Sundays at 3pm on WBEZ 91.5FM

When Nelson Mandela came to Chicago in the early 90s, he commented on how segregated the city is, and how it reminded him of apartheid South Africa.

On this installment of Practically Speaking, we explore how Chicago has come to be known as one of the most segregated cities in the U.S. with Lincoln Quillian, assistant professor of sociology at Northwestern University.
We also take a look at the historical West Side vs. South Side divide among Blacks in Chicago. Host Audra Wilson talks to Henrietta Whitaker, who’s lived in Chicago for 40 years. She lives on the South Side, but worked for many years on the West Side.

External image
Photo by John H. White

Tune in to fresh installments Fridays and Saturdays at 11am (CST) on vocalo.org | 89.5FM (NWI) | 90.7FM (Chicago)

For centuries, Zwarte Piet, or Black Pete, is known traditionally in the Netherlands as Santa Claus’s dark skinned servant and every year many Dutch people celebrate by painting their faces black and parading. Last month, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights Verene Shepherd expressed her concern about the tradition’s racist connotations and called an investigation into whether it has a violent consequences. Writer Flavia Dzodan joined the AMp’s Molly Adams and WBEZ’s Michael Puente this morning by phone all the way from Amsterdam to talk about the history of this tradition and the changing face of Europe.


Since they started, Chicago’s Empires have been committed to a DIY approach to music. That, and their hard work ethic has nurtured their impressive output of anthemic rock albums. It’s these factors that have been the key to the band’s steady climb to success. In a short time they’ve played at Lollapalooza, and made an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. This week on Live Music Thursday, Empires perform their track ‘Silverfire’ from their new album Orphan, which is out this month.

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