Black History Month Florence was founded by Justin Randolph Thompson and Andre Halyard in collaboration with Andre Salvatore Mi 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. The scope of the project is to broaden the understanding of history and contemporary culture within an ever more diversified Italian setting. Art, Theatre, Music and Literature were the points that we chose to focus on through 16 events that took place throughout the month of February. Janine Gaelle Dieudji has joined our team for 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 of Black History Month Florence. He has exhibited internationally and participated in numerous residencies in the US and in Europe in venues such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Reina Sofia, Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum, The Mobile Museum of Art, 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, The FCA Emergency Grant, The EAF from Socrates Sculpture Park and a Jerome Prize from Franconia Sculpture Park and a Visual Artist Grant from the Marcelino Botin Fundation.
Janine Gaelle Dieudji_Co-Organizer and Vice President of the Associazione Culturale BHMF
Janine works as an external advisor/collaborator for the production and development of cultural event such as Art and Cinema Festival in Florence and beyond. She also assists artists in the development of work and the increase of visibility by connecting them with other art professionals, collectors and press media.
Andre Halyard a.k.a. DRE LOVE, born in “Queens”, New York.
From an early age was fascinated by all the disciplines that were then traced under the Hip Hop culture, from dance to turntablism, up to rap and beatmaking. Since 25 years, Dre lives and works in Italy where he had the opportunity to collaborate on numerous projects including: Radical Stuff, Neffa e i Messageri della Dopa, DJ Enzo, Gopher D, Reggae National Tickets, Irene Grandi, Almamegretta and Alex Britti, just to name some. His scratchy voice and the “easy going” attitude led him to have an immediately recognizable style, solar and refined. Aware 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.
Andrea Salvatore Mi__Communications Consultant
Andrea Salvtore Mi started djing in 1990 broadcasting radio shows for the italian Popolare Network focused on the international electronic scene. The inspirations for his sound start from dub and hip hop and move to bass music, digital dub, dubstep, wonky, ghetto tech, uk funk, beats... he used to call his sound "from dub to club". Playing regularly in some of the best italian clubs and festivals but also in some of the worst, Andrea has played longside Smith&Mighty, Daddy G, Mala, Jazzanova, Soul Jazz Sound System, Caribou, Dj Vadim, Akufen, Coldcut, David Rodigan, Questlove, and many others…
Currently the resident dj for “Vibranite” events at the Auditorium Flog in Florence and part of different dj teams “Ragnampiza", "Off_Beatz" and "Music Pollution".
'Mixology' is his personal weakly radio show. Featuring exclusive mixes and interviews with the most relevant and cutting edge international artists, Mixology takes musical snapshots of music that is moving forward.
Matias Mesquita_ Consultant
Matias Mesquita is President at Casa de Angolana Italia and Director Kibaka Florence Festival di Cinema Africano at Associaçao Angolana Njinga Mbande. He is a consultant for BHMF since 2017.
Ilaria Biccai and Olivia Kasa_ Graphic Design team
Ilaria Biccai and Olivia Kasa are both recent 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 will be released in 2018. The two Designers are currently working to advance the 2018 BHMF look.