Past Event

Ladies Ring Shout: Contemporary Representations of the Black Female

Unfortunately, due to the overwhelming response for this event, pre-registration has now closed.

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From The Color Purple to Precious to The Help, what’s missing in representations of Black women in popular culture today? In Ladies Ring Shout–a performance using a combination of spoken word, movement and original soundtrack–Felicia Holman, Abra Johnson and Meida McNeal explore portrayals of women of color in popular culture and offer their own poignant and personal stories of resistance in this three-woman show. “There’s potency within this range,” says TimeOut Magazine. “It’s as if the trio’s work is fundamentally a tug-of-war between emotional and intellectual investigation.” Join us for this special multi-media performance and post-show conversation moderated by Sylvia Ewing

Free and open to the public. Registration is required but is now sold out.  For more information, call 312.422.5580. 

Felicia Holman is, by trade, a Certified Personal Trainer with both the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the National Strength and Conditioning Association.Yet her lifelong passion for performance & expression motivated her co-founding The Ladies Ring Shout. Over the years, Felicia has co-devised evocative performances that confront/explore such notions as sexuality, home, race, history, and memory.

Meida Teresa McNeal is an Independent Artist and Scholar, Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist, Dance Researcher for the Chicago Artists Resource Web Project and an educator at Columbia College, Governors State University and in Chicago Public Schools. In addition to developing a number of performance projects, Meida is currently completing her first book-length manuscript “Compromised Subjectivities: Constructing Trinidadian Nationhood and Navigating Postcolonial Caribbean Performance” based on over ten years of ethnographic research in Trinidad.

Abra M. Johnson teaches sociology with the City Colleges of Chicago and its Bridge Program with DePaul University. Having scholarly interests in representations of race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in popular music, she recently travelled to Savannah, Georgia to study Gullah and Ogeechee African-American subcultures as a National Endowment for the Humanities Community College Faculty Fellow.

Sylvia Ewing is an award-winning journalist, writer and educator. She was the voice of WTTW Channel 11 for many years and continues to be their on-air pledge talent. She was a correspondent and producer for WBEZ’s Eight Forty-Eight program and produced the Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Traffic art series. As a freelance journalist, she has contributed to Chicago Parent, N’Digo, Chicago Sun-Times, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer and South Africa Now, as well as the radio stations WMAQ and WVON. She is also an adjunct professor at Columbia College Chicago.

Kulvinder Arora is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Beloit College in Wisconsin. Formerly, she taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Gender and Women’s Studies Program and directed the Model World Conference on Women’s and Girl’s Rights which educates and empowers Chicago high school students to work on women’s rights issues. She is currently writing a book on representations of women of color in feature films in which she analyzes only those films that depict positive representations of strong women of color. In shifting the conversation to positive representations, she highlights the similarities and differences in women’s struggles across the globe. 

Emily Hooper Lansana is a storyteller and performance artist. Most notably recognized for her collaboration with Glenda Zahra Baker as the Performance Duo: in the Spirit. She works as the Theater and Literary Arts Curriculum Supervisor for the Chicago Public Schools/Office of Arts Education. She has consulted for a number of institutions including The Field Museum of Natural History and eta Creative Arts Foundation. As an adjunct professor, Ms. Lansana has taught at Columbia College, Chicago State University, the University of Chicago, and DePaul University. She also worked as the Director of Education at New York’s Lincoln Center Theater. Ms. Lansana is a nationally recognized performance artist and served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Black Storytellers and as President of the Chicago Association of Black Storytellers. She received her BA in Theater Studies with a certificate in Teacher Preparation/Education from Yale University and an MA in Performance Studies from Northwestern University.


Co-sponsored by Chicago Foundation for Women’s African American Leadership Council and the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture at the University of Chicago. 




If you need a sign interpreter or require other arrangements to fully participate, please call 312.422.5580. For parking locations near the facility, please visit