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Collaborating Artist Profile: Avery R. Young

In 2016, Derek Lee McPhatter engaged an exciting roster of guest artists to build the musical world of Bring the Beat Back. Here’s a bit more from Avery R. Young, who led development of the music we hear on the musicship megarhythmic (mamaship).

BTBB: Please tell us a bit about your background and work on Bring the Beat Back.
AY: I am Avery R. Young. I am an arts educator and performer. I am also a composer. Some of my songs are featured in the performance extravaganza, Bring The Beat Back.

BTBB: How Did You Get Involved with Bring the Beat Back?
AY: I became involved with the show at the invite of its creator, Derek Lee McPhatter. We had a couple of dinners and a brunch where he explained the show and what he wanted and I was down.

BTBB: What do you find most interesting / entertaining about the show?
AY: The most entertaining and interesting part of the show is all that the show is fusing. The intersection of religion, blackness, queerness, acceptance & love. The show is dissecting a lot. As a number of people do. A lot of folk out here juggling and this show is about what Derek has juggled & is still juggling.

BTBB: What do you hope audiences experience in April?
AY: I hope the audience experiences a good time. There is a way in which a room fill of black & same-gender-loving folk can institute a space where all the occupants can become family. It's a decadent defense. A decadent magic trick as well. I hope the audience experiences black queer magic.

BTBB: What else are you working on?
AY: What am I not working on? I am working on new music, my manuscript & a way to merge the two inside a couple performance pieces based on black Chicago (America).


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Avery R. Young

Best known as a poet, songwriter, and performer, multi-disciplinary artist Avery R. Young is also an award-winning teaching artist who mentors youths in the crafts of creative writing and theater. He has been an Arts and Public Life Artist-In-Residence at the University of Chicago and has written curriculum for Columbia College Chicago, Young Leeds Authors, True Star Magazine, and Chicago Public Schools Art Integration Department. Young’s poems and essays on HIV awareness, misogyny, race records, and art integration have been published in The BreakBeat Poets, The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks, AIMPrint, and other anthologies.

His album booker t. soltreyne: a race rekkid combines his poetry and sound design to discuss matters of race, gender, and sexuality in America during the Obama Era. Avery’s work in performance, visual text, and sound design has been featured in several exhibitions and online publications---notably The Hip Hop Theatre Festival, The Museum of Contemporary Art, and American Jazz Museum. He currently works as a teaching artist, mentoring Rebirth Youth Poetry Ensemble and performing with his band, de deacon board.