Juneteenth at Seneca Village: Artist Bios


  • Abdou M’Boup

    Hailing from a family of oral historians and musicians, Abdou M’Boup has brought his traditional Senegalese sounds across Africa, Europe, America, and Asia and has collaborated with Nina Simone, Harry Belafonte, and more. He is a professor of World Music Rhythm at the New School University and leads his own band, WAAKAW, meaning “country people” in his native language of Wolof.


  • Ayodele Maakheru

    Ayodele Maakheru is an American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Bronx Council on the Arts BRIO award winning musician, songwriter, performer, and educator. Maakheru’s appearances include an impressive array of tours, television, and both Broadway and Off-Broadway performances. A versatile musician, he plays nearly every instrument in the strings family and has recorded three original albums: Sunship, Distant Traveler, and Another Country.
  • Gha’il Rhodes Benjamin

    Gha’il Rhodes Benjamin is an award-winning spoken-word and performance-recording artist, actress, educator, and self-empowerment speaker. She recently debuted her newest one woman show titled “Flesh, Bones and Memories of Brave Brown Uninhibited Women” at the historical Jazz and Cultural Center Sistas’ Place. Other stage performances include Symphony Space, The Schomburg Center, Lincoln Center Outdoor Summer Series, and the Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center.


  • Marilyn Nelson

    Marilyn Nelson is the author or translator of more than 20 books and chapbooks for adults and children. Her critically acclaimed books for young adults include A Wreath for Emmett Till and Carver: A Life in Poems, a Newbery Honor Book. Of Nelson’s nine poetry collections for adults, The Homeplace won the 1992 Annisfield-Wolf Award; The Fields of Praise: New and Selected Poems received the 1998 Poets’ Prize, the PEN Winship Award, and the Lenore Marshall Prize. A three-time finalist for the National Book Award, her many honors include the Frost Medal, the Poetry Society of America’s award for “distinguished lifetime achievement in poetry.” A professor emerita of English at the University of Connecticut, Nelson currently serves as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and was Poet Laureate of Connecticut, 2001– 2006.
  • Tislarm Bouie

    Professional dancer and choreographer Tislarm Bouie is the founder and CEO of production company Planet Bouie. His professional credits span various mediums from film and television (In the Heights, Saturday Night Live, and Live from Lincoln Center) to the stage (Coldplay, Alicia Keys, Jon Batiste) and commercials (Vogue, Samsung, and Champ Sports). He most recently choreographed “The Wiz” for The Children’s Theater of Cincinnati.
  • Kia Sillman

    Kia Sillman is a professional dancer, choreographer, and educator. She was a member of the final cast of one of the longest running Showgirl shows on the Las Vegas Strip, Donn Arden’s ‘Jubilee!’ and performed in an original Cirque du Soleil production, “One Night for One Drop: AMANZI.” Since returning to New York, Sillman’s choreography appeared in the 2021 MTV VMA’s and TV shows such as “Blacklist” and “The Deuce.” Kia is currently dancing for the NBA’s Brooklynettes, and a professional model represented by Bella Agency.


  • DeWitt Fleming, Jr.

    Originally from Washington, DC, DeWitt Fleming, Jr. is an entertainer, producer, and instructor. He has appeared on Broadway and television across the world, performing in After Midnight, Boardwalk Empire, Cirque Du Soleil’s Banana Shpeel, Riverdance. His recent album was recorded live at Jazz at Lincoln Center.


  • Miche Braden

    Jazz singer and actor Miche Braden is a protege of Motown musicians Earl Van Dyke, Thomas 'Beans' Bowles, and jazz master composer Harold McKinney. Braden won praise including Drama Desk & Lucille Lortel nominations for her portrayal of blues legend Bessie Smith in the musical stage production "The Devil's Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith."
  • Angela Johson-Swan

    Guitarist extraordinaire Angela Johnson-Swan’s career spans the globe where she’s performed in backing bands for will.i.am, Macy Gray, Boney James, and Fifth Harmony. Swan attended the prestigious Berklee School of Music, shared the stage with Stevie Wonder, and auditioned for Prince. She did a demanding three-year run in the Cirque du Soleil production of Amaluna and toured in the ambitious production of David Byrne's "American Utopia."
  • Carla Cook

    Carla Cook is a Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist, recording artist, songwriter, and educator, who has performed and worked with such luminaries as Jimmy Heath, The Count Basie Orchestra, Lionel Hampton’s Big Band, and countless more. In addition to her performing career, Cook is proud of her work as an educator. She has taught master classes at numerous universities and jazz camps in Australia and the U.S. for teens and adults and is on the faculty of the prestigious Julliard School.


  • Myles Nurse

    Featured in Architectural Digest’s 2021 “Ones to Watch,” sculptor Myles Nurse conveys a narrative, message, or emotion through the imbrication of detail, composition, and time. Nurse was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, and after graduating with a BFA in art from Georgia State University, Nurse established a multi-disciplinary practice in photography, design, and sculpture, drawing inspiration from figures as diverse as Richard Avedon and Ed Ruscha
  • Community Legacy Project

    ASNEAA’s Community Legacy Project (CLP) is a call to honor our ancestors and humanity, while promoting social justice advocacy at open spaces in NYC. CLP combines multicultural heritage exploration—centering Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) narratives—with arts as advocacy creative expression projects in solidarity to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive future for all people.


  • Akua Dixon

    Composer and cellist Akua Dixon is a five-time Grammy winner, NEA multi-laureate, and African American Classical Music Award winner. Dixon has played in concert with musical legends such as Duke Ellington, James Brown, Diana Ross, and Tony Bennett. Her own group, the Akua Dixon String Ensemble, has accompanied Frank Foster, Antonio Hart, Jimmy Heath, Carmen McRae, Pharoah Sanders, Woody Shaw, and Buster Williams, among other jazz artists. Dixon created string arrangements for the CD "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” which won five Grammy Awards, and for "A Rose Is Still A Rose" by Aretha Franklin, which was nominated for a Grammy Award.
  • Ashley Jackson

    Harpist Ashley Jackson enjoys a multifaceted career as a highly sought-after musician and collaborator in New York and beyond. As a soloist, she has performed at Lincoln Center, Celebrate Brooklyn!, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. She has also performed with the New York Philharmonic, Metropolis Ensemble, and the Qatar Philharmonic. Jackson holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Juilliard School, a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University.
  • Shirazette Tinnin

    Fulbright Scholar, educator, clinician, author, and health coach, Shirazette Tinnin is an award-winning drummer and percussionist. Tinnin performs and tours frequently with premier bands and artists such as the Allan Harris Group, Tia Fuller Quartet, The Mimi Jones Band, and many more, and has taught students at the collegiate level.

About Andromeda Turre, Artistic Director

  • Andromeda Turre is a professional vocalist and composer and the founder of Growing Up Jazz, an education program that centers overlooked views of American history through the lens of jazz. In addition to her work as Chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee for the Town of Bedford, New York and radio host on SiriusXM Real Jazz, Turre is a highly sought-after curator of bespoke music experiences and events, such as the Central Park Conservancy’s Juneteenth in Seneca Village.