Sadie Barnette, Rodney Barnette, Leigh Raiford of The Black Studies Collaboratory at UC Berkeley, and The Black Aesthetic collective, February 25, 2022. Performance view, The Kitchen. Photo by Walter Wlodarczyk.

Sadie Barnette, Rodney Barnette, Leigh Raiford, The Black Aesthetic Collective

The Black Aesthetic: An Evening of Film & Conversation

On View: February 25-February 26, 2022

The Kitchen (512 West 19th Street)


6:30 pm

Join Professor Leigh Raiford of The Black Studies Collaboratory, interdisciplinary creative collective The Black Aesthetic (Jamal Batts, Ra Malika Imhotep, Leila Weefur, Nan Collymore), artist Sadie Barnette, and founder of the original Eagle Creek Saloon Rodney Barnette in an evening of film and conversation.

Sadie Barnette and Rodney Barnette will open the evening with a cross-generational dialogue about their ongoing collaboration and the expansive histories therein. This will be followed by a screening of short films and accompanying discussion as organized by The Black Aesthetic and The Black Studies Collaboratory.

The Black Aesthetic: An Evening of Film & Conversation with Sadie Barnette, Rodney Barnette, and The Black Aesthetic collective at The New Eagle Creek Saloon is presented in partnership with The Kitchen and The Black Studies Collaboratory at UC Berkeley. This program is part of Sadie Barnette: The New Eagle Creek Saloon, presented at The Kitchen from January 18–March 6, 2022, in conjunction with madison moore: Nightlife-in-Residence.

This public program provides ASL interpretation and will be presented on-site as well as broadcast remotely with closed captioning. The program contains music, film, and low lighting.


The Black Aesthetic, by working with artists, writers, and filmmakers, cultivates work that invites our audience to consider their relationship to Black creative thought. Through film screenings, performances, and publications the collective contribute to a growing collection of artistic visions and dialogues that are grounded in place, body, and lived experience. As writers, visual artists, and curators, the group collaboratively creates experiences that unleash Blackness from disciplinary boundaries, be they in form, content, or comportment.

Leigh Raiford is a professor of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where she teaches, researches, curates, and writes about race, gender, justice, and visuality. She is the author of Imprisoned in a Luminous Glare: Photography and the African American Freedom Struggle; co-editor with Heike Raphael-Hernandez of Migrating the Black Body: Visual Culture and the African Diaspora; and co-editor with Renee Romano of The Civil Rights Movement in American Memory. Raiford is Inaugural Director and co-Principal Investigator with Tianna S. Paschel of the Black Studies Collaboratory, a three-year initiative to amplify the world-building work of Black Studies funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Jamal Batts, PhD, is a curator, writer, and scholar. He is a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow and a Curator-in-Residence at the University of Pennsylvania. His work reflects on the relationship between Black queer contemporary visual art and the intricacies of sexual risk. He is a 2020 Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Scholar-in-Residence, a 2020 Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellow, and a ONE National Lesbian & Gay Archives LGBTQ Research Fellow. His writing appears in publications such as the catalogue for The New Museum’s Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon, Open Space, ASAP/J, and New Life Quarterly.

Ra Malika Imhotep is a Black feminist writer and performance artist from Atlanta, Georgia, pursuing a PhD in African Diaspora Studies and New Media Studies from the University of California. As a scholar and cultural worker, Ra is invested in exploring relationships between queer Black femininities, Black vernacular cultures, and the performance of labor. As a steward of Black Studies and Black feminist thought, Ra dreams, organizes, and facilitates spaces of critical reflection and embodied spiritual-political education. Ra is co-author of The Black Feminist Study Theory Atlas and author of gossypiin (Red Hen Press, 2022).

Leila Weefur (He/They/She) is an artist, writer, and curator based in Oakland, California. Through video and installation, their interdisciplinary practice examines the performativity intrinsic to systems of belonging. The work brings together concepts of sensorial memory, abject Blackness, hyper surveillance, and the erotic. Weefur has worked with local and national institutions including The Wattis Institute, McEvoy Foundation, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, SFMOMA, San Francisco Art Institute, Museum of the African Diaspora, and Smack Mellon. Weefur’s writing has been published in SEEN by BlackStar Productions, Sming Sming Books, Baest Journal, and more. Weefur is a lecturer at Stanford University.

Nan Collymore is a writer and an interdisciplinary artist. She is interested in the body and land, and how the two coexist. Her work is an attempt at creating a language that reimagines the body as land and as a corporeal topography. Her recent projects are the publication of Alisha B. Wormsley’s, There are Black People In The Future, Soft Material, and the founding of small publishing house L’Habillement.


Sadie Barnette: The New Eagle Creek Saloon is made possible with generous support from Bernard I. Lumpkin & Carmine D. Boccuzzi, Agnes Gund, and Olivier Berggruen & Desiree Welsing; annual grants from Open Society Foundations, Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, and Keith Haring Foundation; and in part by public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

Season programming is made possible in part with support from The Kitchen’s Board of Directors and The Kitchen Leadership Fund. To learn more, click here.