I am a PhD Candidate in Ethnomusicology at The University of Pittsburgh. My research interests include African American popular music, women in music history, music and media industry politics, and collecting, curating and archival practices. I was the Andrew Mellon Fellowship recipient for the 2018/19 academic year. My forthcoming dissertation uses in-depth ethnography with 1970s funk musician Betty Davis to critically examine how the music and lives of artists are reclaimed through the cultural practice of reissue. My Master’s Thesis, “Gospel Mime: Anointed Ministry, Afrocentrism, and Gender in Black Gospel Performance,” examined the unique praise and worship practice within the African American Church community that combines popular gospel music with the theatrical medium of miming.
In 2016, I became the Associate Producer of Betty - They Say I'm Different (Native Voice Films, 2017), a documentary about Pittsburgh pioneering funk musician Betty Davis. The film premiered in Amsterdam at IDFA in November of 2017 and had its US premier in Pittsburgh in 2018. I have collaborated with several organizations all over the country to produce mixed-media events surrounding the film, such as panels and symposiums on women in media/music industry, public talks, DJ dance parties, and helping to reunite Davis' backing band, Funk House, for the first time in over forty years.
I have over a decade of teaching experience with all age groups (from pre-school to higher education) in a diverse range of communities and socioeconomic backgrounds. From community centers to non-profits to college classrooms, my teaching is inspired by the intersection of performance, history and community. Prior to coming to Pitt, I received my BA from an interdisciplinary Cultural Studies program at Columbia College Chicago.
Before entering graduate school, I immersed myself in non-profit work as a teaching artist for the MGR Foundation, where I taught on Artistic Activism. I am currently a Program Consultant for Focus On Renewal, a non-profit that serves McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania. I have been an instructor for Pittsburgh Montessori schools, Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ, The South Side Community Arts Center in Chicago, IL, and Recreational Arts, Inc..
I am an avid vinyl enthusiast and enjoy DJing from my personal collection under the moniker Sauce Queen. I am also a vocalist who has performed with Truth and Rites, Brittney Chantele, and the Afro Yaqui Music Collective. Most recently, I sang lead vocals on the first new song written and produced by Betty Davis in forty years. As a creative team, Davis and I released “A Little Bit Hot Tonight”—a sultry pop-hybrid of soul, blues, Latin and jazz—on July 22nd, 2019. All proceeds from the song go to the Betty Davis Scholarship, an annual award for a graduating senior who is pursuing music at Steel Valley High School (Ms. Davis’s alma mater).
In 2019, I became the Music Curator for Sourceress, a new podcast about demystifying supply chains through conversations with people who are approaching sourcing in innovative ways. I have presented papers at the Society for Ethnomusicology conference, the Society for American Music conference, and the Cultural Studies Association conference.