Question Bridge: Highlights from Blueprint Roundtable

Question Bridge: Black Males is a transmedia art project that seeks to represent and redefine Black male identity in America, created by Chris Johnson, Hank Willis Thomas, Bayeté Ross-Smith, and Kamal Sinclair. Through video mediated question and answer exchange, diverse members of this "demographic" bridge economic, political, geographic, and generational divisions. While filming Question Bridge: Black Males, the artists encountered a compelling question and answer exchange between a younger participant and an older civil-rights activist. The question, “Why didn't you leave us the blueprint?” was posed to those who brought the civil rights movement to glory, and elicited a variety of different answers. 

In conjunction with the museum's Hank Willis Thomas exhibition, the CMA hosted a Blueprint Roundtable event on Sunday, February 2. The program began with a Distinguished Fellows Awards Presentation, honoring George Forbes, Robert Madison, Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr, the late Arnold Pinkney, and Louis Stokes. Prior to the event, the Cleveland Museum of Art sat down to talk with and celebrate the honorees, sharing their memories and experiences in a brief oral history. Hear their stories unfold in the clip below (or to watch each interview separately, click on the individual's names listed above).

See the full awards presentation and acceptances from the honorees in the clips below.



The Distinguished Fellows Award recipients pictured below with CMA Interim Director Fred Bidwell (third from left) and the Blueprint Roundtable discussion panelists. 

Following the awards presentation, the Distinguished Gentlemen of Spoken Word performed on stage before the Blueprint Roundtable panel discussion officially began. Moderated by NewsChannel 5 Anchor/Multimedia Journalist Leon Bibb, the session launched into a powerful, multigenerational conversation about leadership, mentorship, and critical social issues in the black community, featuring established emerging black male leaders in the local Cleveland community. 

Blueprint Roundtable panelists, L-R: Leon Bibb, Dr. Julian Earls, Retired Director, National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Glenn Research Center; Randell McShepard, Vice President of Public Affairs, RPM International Inc. and Chairman, PolicyBridge; Phillip Morris, Columnist, The Plain Dealer; Steve Sanders, Retired NFL Player, Author, Speaker & Executive Director, Training Camp for Life; Ricky Smith, Social Media Celebrity & Founder, #RAKE; Nathan Tolliver, Student, Event Planner & LGBT Advocate.


Watch the discussion in its entirety via the clip above, and check out the conversation online via the CMA on Twitter and Instagram, as well as via hashtag #questionbridge!

Photos: Cleveland Museum of Art/Robert Muller


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