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Black History Month Florence was founded by Justin Randolph Thompson and Andre Halyard in 2016 as a cross venue initiative designed to highlight the cultures of African Diasporic communities in the city of Florence and throughout Italy more generally. Janine Gaelle Dieudji joined our team from the second edition overseeing logistics and coordination.
Justin Randolph Thompson__Co-Founder and Director of Black History Month Florence
President of the Associazione Culturale BHMF
‘You won’t be naming no building after me… to go down dilapidated’
Justin Randolph Thompson is a new media artist, organizer and educator born in Peekskill, NY in ’79. Living between Italy and the US since 2001, Thompson is a Co-Founder and Director of Black History Month Florence. Justin's work and scholarship engages local communities as living yet fleeting monuments. Thompson teaches art at several universities and develops strategies for the initiation of annual and biennial cultural projects of international collaboration. His art has been exhibited internationally in venues such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Reina Sofia, the American Academy in Rome and more. Thompson is the recipient of numerous awards including the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, a Franklin Furnace Fund Grant and a Visual Artist Grant from the Marcelino Botin Fundation.
Janine Gaëlle Dieudji_Co-Director and Vice President of the Associazione Culturale BHMF
Janine Gaëlle Dieudji is currently Exhibitions Director at the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL) in Marrakech. As a cultural activist and multilocal, at MACAAL she’s committed to building an inclusive museum, through the curation and production of exhibitions, as well as educational programs and artists residencies.
A native of France and Cameroon, Janine moved to Florence in 2011 and has gained a broad range of experience in arts and culture over the years. Past and present experiences include exhibitions and projects in collaboration with Le Murate Art District, American Academy in Rome and Villa Romana as Vice-President and Co-director of the cultural association BHMF (Black History Month Florence).
Andre Halyard__Co-Founder BHMF
Andre Halyard a.k.a. DRE LOVE, born in “Queens”, New York is a bandleader, DJ, marketing strategist, singer and trendsetter based in Florence for the past quarter of a century. Traversing the worlds of music and fashion Halyard co-founded Black History Month Florence with Justin Randolph Thompson co-coordinating its first edition. Musically Dre has collaborated on numerous projects including: Radical Stuff, Neffa e i Messaggeri della Dopa, DJ Enzo, Gopher D, Reggae National Tickets, Irene Grandi, Almamegretta and Alex Britti, amongst others. Conscious rhymes, acid-rap improvisation, funky grooves, soulful and intimate vocals live together in his music, made up of tributes to the Afro-American tradition and the European electronic experiments.
Matias Mesquita_ Consultant BHMF
Matias Mesquita is President at Casa de Angolana Italia and Director Kibaka Florence Festival di Cinema Africano and the Associaçao Angolana Njinga Mbande. Rallying around African Students in Florence and connecting various African Communities, Mesquita directs the Week of Afro-Descendents and has been programming and consulting for BHMF since 2017.
Marzia Duarte_Interns Coordinator/Assistant to the Director
Marzia Duarte has worked with BHMF over the past year coordinating interns and engaging in project development. Marzia is a teacher and additionally works on the programming dedicated to children within the context of BHMF.
Patrick Joel Tatcheda Yonkeu_Director of Black History Month Bologna
Patrick Joel Tatcheda Yonkeu, in art Omraam Tacheda was born in 1985 in Douala in Cameroon, and studied science, at the St Jean Baptiste college de Bangangtè. After finishing school he attended the Accademia di Belle Arti in Bologna with a research project on Zen in art. Patrick lives and works in Bologna.From 2020 Patrick is the director of the fist edition of Black History Month Florence's first external chapter Black History Month Bologna.
Tatjana Lightbourn_Project Manager
Tatjana Lightbourn is a Studio Arts College International Alumni and artist engaging language as a medium for socially rooted work. A resident of Italy 2018-2020 Lightbourn has worked with BHMF on projects including Black Archive Alliance and more She is currently developing US based strategies to advance the work of BHMF.
Ilaria Biccai and Olivia Kasa_ Graphic Design team
Colletivo Peyote/ Ilaria Biccai and Olivia Kasa are both graduates from the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Florence and developed the designs and logos for the 2017 edition of Black History Month Florence and have elaborated a catalogue from the 2017 edition that was released in 2018. The two Designers are currently working to advance the 2021 BHMF look.