Lynnee Denise (US)

Artist & Speaker

Lynnée Denise was shaped as a DJ by her parent’s record collection. She’s an artist, scholar, and writer whose work reflects on underground cultural movements, the 1980s, migration studies, theories of escape, and electronic music of the African Diaspora. Lynnée Denise coined the phrase ‘DJ Scholarship’ to re-position the role of the DJ from a party purveyor to an archivist, cultural custodian and information specialist of music with critical value. Through interactive workshops, lectures and presentations at universities, conferences and performance venues, Lynnée Denise harnesses music as a medium for vital public dialogue on how to transform the way that music of the Black Atlantic is understood in its social context and beyond entertainment.

Lynnée Denise’s work on DJ Scholarship has been featured at prestigious institutions such as the Broad Museum, the Tate Modern, Savvy Contemporary Gallery Berlin, Goldsmiths University of London, Iziko South African Museum, Stanford, Yale, NYU, and Princeton University. She works actively as a freelance writer and has been featured in the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Black Scholar Journal, The Journal of Popular Music Studies, and as part of anthologies including Women Who Rock, and Outside the XY: Queer Black and Brown Masculinity. Her current book project, Why Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton Matters will be published in 2023 by the University of Texas Press.

Through global residencies supporting her research and production work, she has focused on Black expatriates in Europe, such as James Baldwin, and on South African music in the post apartheid context. She produced the first and only Michael Jackson conference (After the Last Dance) with The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The School of Prince with the Los Angeles Public Library, and Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace: From Detroit to Watts, the first conference dedicated solely to the musical life of The Queen of Soul with the UCLA African-American Studies Department.

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