BL Shirelle

“Gospel, Rap, and Social Justice” with Naomi Wilson, BL Shirelle, Julio Medina, and Carlos Roche [New Date]

Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 7:00pm


Introduced by Julio Medina, Director of Exodus Transitional Community, based in New York. With a firm belief in human resilience, Exodus Transitional Community delivers innovative programming tailored to adults and youth affected by the justice system, and advocates for a society in which all can achieve social, economic, and spiritual well–being.

Special guest Carlos Roche, a survivor of the Attica prison massacre, will introduce songs by gospel singer Naomi Wilson and rap poet BL Shirelle, honoring the men who sacrificed their lives to demand justice during the 1971 uprising.

Wilson and Shirelle spent a combined half century behind bars, and have emerged from prison as fierce advocates for the rights of families and individuals who have been impacted by the U.S. “In/Justice System.” Their music can be found at Die Jim Crow records.

They will present their songs and stories in collaboration with Wesleyan students in the course THEA 115 “America in Prison: Theater Behind Bars,” taught by Professor and Chair of the Theater Department Ronald S. Jenkins.

Sound design for this event, which took place on Tuesday, April 26, 2022 at The Grace Center in Harlem, was created by Bachelor of Liberal Studies student Jason Torello, who previously studied in Jenkins' Shakespeare class through the Center for Prison Education.

Support for this event comes from Wesleyan University’s Allbritton Lecture Series, the Creative Campus Initiative, the Service Learning Program, and the Center for Pedagogical Innovation.

Roche, Wilson, and Shirelle previously took part in “Incarcerated Stories: Remembering Attica” on Zoom in May 2021, and the world premiere of “Echoes of Attica” in September 2021 in Ring Family Performing Arts Hall.

Image: BL Shirelle. Photo by Brian Goodwin.