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Pierce Freelon Champions An Afrofuturist World For North Carolina Youth

Pierce Freelon is known to many in the Triangle for his ambitious projects and constant stream of new ideas.

I shouldn't be learning about my ancestors from Nas only. It should be Nas and my history teacher.

If he is not performing onstage with his band The Beast, teaching about the intersection of politics and hip-hop, or heading a rap cypher in downtown Durham, he is likely leading workshops at Blackspace: a digital makerspace that offers black and brown youth the opportunity to create multimedia projects that reflect their identities.Freelon’s passion for community building drove him to run for Durham mayor and campaign for a seat on the Durham City Council. But after his time on the campaign trail, Freelon is back to focusing on what he loves most – re-imagining a black future.

You want to make the community safe? Give the people jobs. Like living wage jobs.

Freelon joins host Frank Stasio in studio to talk about how growing up with the influences of his politically-minded grandmother Queen Mother Frances Pierce and parents, Grammy-nominated jazz artist Nnenna Freelon and architect Phil Freelon, shaped the man he is today.

Freelon premieres his new collaborative film "The History of White People in America" at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 21.


Laura Pellicer is a digital reporter with WUNC’s small but intrepid digital news team.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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