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(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)September 14, 2004

(Mahwah) – Filmmaker Jamal Joseph will screen his new documentary based on the life of poet Sonia Sanchez in an Encounter with the Artists” presentation Wednesday, October 13 at 7 p.m. in the Sharp Theater of Ramapo College of New Jersey. The event is free. The documentary focuses on Sanchez’s pivotal role in the cultural journey of America in the second half of the 20th century. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a discussion with these visionary artists.

Sonia Sanchez is considered the mother” of the spoken word movement, a poet, playwright, activist, feminist, professor and winner of the Robert Frost Medal in poetry. Her mother died a year after she was born and she lived with several relatives until moving to Harlem with her sister in 1943 to be with their father. She earned a B.A. in political science from Hunter College in Manhattan and did postgraduate work at New York University. She studied poetry with Louise Bogan and formed a writers’ workshop in Greenwich Village and also the Broadside Quartet” of young poets.

During the early ’60s she was an integrationist, supporting the philosophy of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). After considering the ideas of Black Muslim leader Malcolm X, who believed blacks would never be truly accepted by whites in the United States, she focused more on her black heritage from a separatist point of view.

Sanchez is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry, including Shake Loose My Skin: New and Selected Poems (1999) Like the Singing Coming Off the Drums: Love Poems (1998) and Does your house have lions? (1995), which was nominated for both the NAACP Image and National Book Critics Circle Award. She has also published plays, books for children and has edited two anthologies.

Jamal Joseph, a writer, producer and director, is an alumnus of the Sundance Institute. The activist and former Black Panther has written and produced for HBO, New York Undercover, Jersey Films, Fox and New Line Cinema. He co-produced Tupac Shakur’s poetry albums, recited by artists such as Quincy Jones, Nikki Giovanni, Danny Glover, the cast of The Lion King and Mos Def. Joseph attributes the years he spent in the Black Panther Party and nine years of incarceration as his inspiration. During his imprisonment, he earned two college degrees, authored two volumes of poetry and five plays, two of which were award-winning productions. He is co-founder of IMPACT-a leadership and creative arts program that offers free instruction in music, dance, drama, writing, step, martial arts and leadership to young people between the ages of 10 and 18.

The documentary screening will take place in the Sharp Theater, located in the Berrie Center for Visual and Performing Arts on the campus of Ramapo College. For further information, call 201.684.7844.

This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment of the Arts.

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Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice, has been named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by CollegesofDistinction.com, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on Niche.com, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice.

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