American Realness

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko


Friday, January 8, 5:30pm
Saturday, January 9, 8:30pm
Sunday, January 10, 5:30pm
Monday, January 11, 8:30pm
Sunday, January 17, 1:00pm

Run Time: 75 minutes

Abrons Arts Center, Underground Theater
466 Grand Street / tickets $20

Single Tickets Festival Pass

#negrophobia examines the erotic fear associated with the black male body. Jaamil Olawale Kosoko juxtaposes interior and exterior landscapes to expose a confessional identity-mashup where visual and performance aesthetics collide in a face-off of self-revelation, ecstatic theatricality, and discomfort. Part social commentary and part self-critique, #negrophobia references issues related to grief, misogyny and black patriarchal constructs of masculinity housed within the chaotic frame of a body and mind on the verge of psychosomatic collapse. #negrophobia features UK based model, performance artist, and night-life personality IMMA/MESS.

#negrophobia was originally commissioned by Gibney Dance Center as part of their Making Space series with additional support from friends of anonymous bodies and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund with residency support from the Bushwick Starr and Miami Theater Center. Additional developmental support from Harlem Stage.

Photo by Scott Shaw

#negrophobia by Jaamil Olawale Kosoko
Model, performance artist, and night-life personality IMMA/MESS.
anonymous bodies Support/Staff
Kate Watson-Wallace, Co-Director of anonymous bodies, Decor/Set Consultant, Outside Eye
Eli Tamondong, Administrative Assistant, Projects Manager
Hillary Richardson – Artist’s Assistant, Liaison
Andre Lumpkin – Lighting & Technical Support
Mersiha Mersihovic – Dramaturg/Lighting Assistant
Ricarrdo Valentine – Stage Manager
Jonathan Gonzalez – Assistant Stage Manager
James Doolittle – Video Design
Emily Reilly – Publicist, Blake Zidell and Associates

Originally from Detroit, MI, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko is a Nigerian American independent performance and humanities curator, producer, cultural strategist, poet, and performance artist currently based between Brooklyn, New York and Philadelphia. With his creative partner Kate Watson-Wallace, he co-directs anonymous bodies || art collective, a visual performance company focusing on innovative approaches to curation, performance, and education. He is an inaugural APAP Leadership Fellow, a Co-Curator of the 2015 Movement Research Spring Festival and the 2015 Dancing While Black performance series at BAAD in the Bronx; a 2014 American Express Leadership Academy alum, a contributing correspondent for Dance Journal (PHL), and Critical Correspondence (NYC); a 2012 Live Arts Brewery Fellow as a part of the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival; a 2011 Fellow as a part of the DeVos Institute of Art Management at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; and an inaugural graduate of the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (ICPP) at Wesleyan University. Kosoko is a Founding Advisory Board Member of the Coalition for Diasporan Scholars Moving and was most recently elected to the Executive Committee on the Board of Trustees at Dance/USA. He has sat on numerous funding and curatorial panels including The Map Fund, Baker Memorial Prize, the National Endowment for the Arts, Movement Research at Judson Church, and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.

Kosoko’s work in live performance has received support from The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage through Dance Advance, The Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative, The Joyce Theater Foundation, and The Philadelphia Cultural Fund. His solo performance work entitled other.explicit.body. premiered at Harlem Stage in April 2012.. As a performer, Kosoko has created original roles in the performance works of Nick Cave, Pig Iron Theatre Company, Keely Garfield Dance, Miguel Gutierrez and The Powerful People, Headlong Dance Theater among others. Kosoko’s poems have been published in The American Poetry Review, Poems Against War, The Dunes Review, and Silo, among other publications. In 2011, Kosoko published Notes on an Urban Kill-Floor: Poems for Detroit (Old City Publishing). He is a contributing correspondent for Dance Journal (PHL), the Broad Street Review (PHL), and Critical Correspondence (NYC). He has served on numerous curatorial and funding panels including the National Endowment for the Arts, MAP Fund, Movement Research at Judson Church, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, the Baker Artists Awards, among others. Visit for more info.

IMMAMESS (performer) Born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama Kentrell started his formal dance training at The Montgomery Ballet with teacher Oskar Antunez. Shortly after he received his high school diploma from Pebblebrook High School within the Cobb County Center For Excellence in The Performing Arts. On scholarship, Kentrell moved to New York City to train at The Ailey School under teachers Helen Pickett, Miton Meyers, Denis Jefferson, and Troy Powell. As an Ailey School student, Kentrell had the opportunity to perform with the first company of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater on the stage of New York City Center as an ensemble dancer for the choreography of Memoria. Later moving to Torrington, CT, Kentrell began his training at The Nutmeg Conservatory For The Arts for two years under the direction of Sharon E. Dante. At the conservatory for the arts Victoria Mazzarelli, Eleanor DeAntuono, and Joan Kunsch taught Kentrell. Placing third at the Youth America Grand Prix with a selected pas de duex from William Forsyth’s “In The Middle Somewhat Elevated”, Kentrell went on to join The Atlanta Ballet under artistic direction of John McFall. Atlanta Ballet gave Kentrell the opportunity to work with choreographer in resident Lauri Stallings during her collaboration with Antwan “Big Boi” Patton for BIG. After dancing in ballets such as Swan Lake, Firebird, and Dracula, Kentrell left to pursue his BFA. Attending Parsons New School for Design, Kentrell continued his interested in movement outside of the formal structures. Within the fine arts department, Kentrell studied the trajectories of dance makers such as Lucinda Childs, Yvonne Rainer, Steve Paxton, and Kazuo Ohno. As a Parsons graduate, Kentrell has performed at MoMA PS1, RARE Gallery Chelsea, Art Basel Miami, Fowler Arts Collective, and many others. Hoping to further his relationship with movement, Kentrell continues to train in New York City. He’s currently living in London studying his MA in Art at Central Saint Martins.

Kate Watson-Wallace is a choreographer, director, visual artist and music curator based in Brooklyn, NY. She is in the inaugural class of the Low Residency MFA in studio art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her performance work has been funded by the Map Fund, Doris Duke Foundation through Creative Capital, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, among others. She is a 2007 Pew Fellow in the Arts in choreography. She has choreographed music videos for Animal Collective, Black Dice, and Dead Skeletons, and created collaborative performance work with Chris Powell (ManMan), HPrizm (Anti-pop Consortium) and most recently RYAT.  Watson-Wallace has toured internationally as a performer, choreographer, and guest lecturer,most recently premiering new work at Summerstage Central Park. She co-directs anonymous bodies with Jaamil Olawale Kosoko. Upcoming projects include a new performance in collaboration with Xenia Rubinos that will premiere at JACK space in Brooklyn in May and tour throughout 2016.

Mersiha Mesihoivc (dramaturg/lighting assistant), founder & artistic director of CircuitDebris – a space for interdisciplinarity, radical dance & community engagement is a Bosnian/Swedish, NYC- based dance artist, curator, cultural organizer and teaching artist whose work is primarily interested in human behavior, movement invention and pushing boundaries of what dance should address. With an ongoing collaboration with saxophonist/composer James Brandon Lewis, Mesihovic initiated CircuitDebris in 2011 to formally conceptualize her collaboration with artists across disciplines and passion for community engagement. Most recently Mesihovic was hailed as ”Rising NYC Choreographer” by and CircuitDebris referred to as a vibrant, eclectic and fresh NYC Dance Company to watch. Mesihovic has taught her unique Movement Invention/Composition workshop at Universities, Dance Centers and for Dance Companies in US and abroad including Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg & Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria in South Africa, Gibney Dance -NY and Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“Jaamil Olawale Kosoko’s #negrophobia has many forms. It is an art installation, a practiced, choreographed performance, and a poetry reading. It is a personal story and a history lesson, told through the lens of internet culture. It might be consciousness-raising and Afrofuturist, but it might also be the negation of both.”
– Katherine Bergstrom, Point Of Contact