Pitt-Bradford Announces Black History Month Speakers

A black and white photo of Nikki Giovanni next to a photo of Mathew KnowlesThe University of Pittsburgh at Bradford will host online discussions with two leaders in the Black arts community in honor of Black History Month: renowned poet Nikki Giovanni and music industry executive Mathew Knowles.

Giovanni is a poet, activist, mother, professor, seven-time NAACP Image Award winner and the first recipient of the Rosa Parks Woman of Courage Award.

She holds the Langston Hughes Medal for Outstanding Poetry and is the author of 28 books, which have appeared on the bestseller lists at The New York Times and Los Angeles Times.

Giovanni has written across genres from militant Black poetry to children’s literature. Since 1987, she has taught writing and literature at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

On Feb. 11, from 5 to 6 p.m., Giovanni will talk about her work in a brief interview with Emily Williams, vice president and dean of academic affairs at Pitt-Bradford, before discussing and reading from her newest publication, “Make Me Rain.” The new collection of verse addresses the injustices of society while offering personal insight on living an outspoken life.

On Feb. 18, music industry executive Knowles will have a discussion with Williams and present “Harmonizing Your Work Force with DEI Strategies and Working in the Digital Age During and after COVID.”

Knowles is founder of Music World Entertainment and Artist Management. He has served as executive producer for more than 100 award-winning platinum and gold albums in multiple genres, including pop, R&B, gospel, dance and country, as well soundtracks and special-themed projects.

Sales of records he has produced have exceeded 450 million worldwide, and the artists he has worked with include Chaka Khan, Earth, Wind & Fire, The O’Jays, Destiny’s Child, and his daughters, Solange and Beyoncé.

While best known for managing the careers of his daughters and Destiny’s Child (featuring Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams), he has garnered countless awards for his achievements in business, the music industry and community partnerships.

Knowles will talk about diversity and inclusion as both necessary and positive in the workforce toward increasing adaptability, innovation, engagement, acceptance and greater problem-solving capacity.

Learn more about Pitt-Bradford’s programming and register for the events.