Former DNC Chair Candidate, Social Justice Advocate, and Fox News Analyst Jehmu Greene to Moderate Frank Conversation On Race, Art and Culture at Minneapolis Institute of Art

A 19th century dollhouse speaks to 21st century women. Now, they speak to us.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN, FEBRUARY 14, 2018 – Jehmu Greene, Fox News Analyst and former DNC Chair Candidate, joins the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) and creative studio Flow Nonfiction as guest host and moderator for a special premiere screening of We Need to Talk: The Dollhouse, followed by a panel discussion on race, representation and the issues facing African-American women today, February 23rd at 6pm at Mia (2400 3rd Ave S). The 25 minute short film We Need To Talk: The Dollhouse captures an uncensored discussion between Minneapolis artist Andrea Pierre and her three peers – Junauda Petrus, Aisha Mgerni and Erin Sharkey – touched by a domestic scene portrayed in an ornate dollhouse in the museum’s collection.

ABOUT WE NEED TO TALK: THE DOLLHOUSE

In a community room outside the formal exhibit space at Mia sits an ornate 19th century dollhouse, whose intricate scenes and decorations have long fascinated Minneapolis resident Andrea Pierre and her two young daughters. Eventually, though, one of the girls noticed something. The only doll with her same skin color was hidden away back in the kitchen and posed as a servant, the single black doll in an otherwise all-white collection. Ms. Pierre saw this as a teachable moment – to talk about race, class, slavery, and the inequities intrinsic to our society.

Then one day soon after, with no fanfare or formal comment from the museum, the doll was no longer in the house. Its removal has sparked conversation between Andrea and her peers in the arts community, and has raised bigger questions surrounding racial representation in art and history.

Now, Mia and creative studio Flow Nonfiction bring this discussion to life with We Need to Talk: The Dollhouse, a 25-minute short film capturing an unmoderated and uncensored discussion between Andrea and three of her peers who sat down to tackle this complicated subject.

What starts as a conversation about a doll quickly evolves into a much larger discussion about the issues facing Black women in America. The four discuss Sandra Bland, white Feminism and the Women’s March, confederate monuments, and taking a knee during the national anthem. Artists themselves, they discuss the marginalization of African and African-American artwork in American museums, and in the process illuminate a unique opportunity for institutions like Mia to correct the course.

Jehmu Greene states, “Conversations are at the core of our civilization and our humanity. In recent months African American women have found themselves as the topic of conversations without being prioritized participants. I am thrilled to be joining these amazing Black women in the We Need To Talk: The Dollhouse event at Mia. I can’t wait for what the women from the film and I can learn from each other as well as how our discussion can continue this important and candid conversation about race, representation and art. The more we create spaces to come together, to listen and to uplift the “art of the conversation” over the rush to respond in the current media environment, the better chance we have at truly addressing some of the larger misunderstandings within our culture.”

“The We Need to Talk project raises important questions,” said Elisabeth Callihan, Head of Multi-Generational Learning at Mia. “Mia is committed to being representative of and relevant to our local community through our collection, exhibitions, programs, and the diversity of our staff and board. There’s always more work to do and more to learn as we strive for meaningful change.”

“When you look at how difficult and divisive the national conversation has gotten, I think so much of that is that we’ve lost the ability to listen, and to try and understand without getting defensive or angry,” says director Matt Naylor. “It’s a lot harder to dismiss someone’s experience when you see them as a human being.”

Executive Producer David Rice: “In allowing our team of filmmakers to eavesdrop on their deeply personal conversation, the women in We Need to Talk: The Dollhouse reveal the layers of nuance completely absent from the national discussion about race. Working on this project has been transformative experience for all of us at Flow.”

FEBRUARY 23RD EVENT AT MIA

Co-hosted by local arts organization Free Black Dirt, Mia is proud to host an artists reception and the premiere screening of We Need to Talk: The Dollhouse, February 23 at 6 PM in museum’s reception hall. Following the screening, Fox News Analyst Jehmu Greene moderates a conversation with the film’s four featured women – Andrea Pierre, Junauda Petrus, Aisha Mgeni and Erin Sharkey – in a salon-style discussion of today’s complicated issues affecting African-American women. The special Mia event is free and guests should RSVP by visiting http://bit.ly/MiaTalk

JEHMU GREENE

Jehmu Greene is an evangelist for social good, an award-winning media and advocacy strategist, proud Texan and recent candidate for Chair of the Democratic National Committee. Heading into her eighth year as a Fox News Political Analyst, Jehmu unapologetically defends progressive values and policies on the network. She co-founded Define American with Jose Antonio Vargas, an initiative that uses media and culture to elevate the immigration reform conversation and is a founding board member of VoteRunLead. She previously served as president of WakaWaka, a global social enterprise working to bring solar power to people living without access to electricity; president of Rock the Vote, where under her leadership membership grew from 1,500 to over 1 million and young voter turnout had the highest increase ever recorded in between two presidential elections; president of the Women’s Media Center where she designed the Name It, Change It campaign to fight sexism against women candidates and trained progressive women to amplify their voices in the media; director of women’s outreach and Southern political director at the Democratic National Committee; National Director of Project Vote and Executive Director of Texas Young Democrats. She has worked on over twenty political campaigns at the local, state and national level and served as an advisor and national surrogate for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. Jehmu was appointed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the United States National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). She splits her time between New York City, Austin, and Twitter: @jehmu.

ABOUT THE PRODUCERS

The Minneapolis Institute of Art enriches the community by collecting, preserving, and making accessible outstanding works of art from the world’s diverse cultures.

Flow Nonfiction is an Austin-based creative studio whose work seeks to celebrate humanity and promote social good. Their web and TV series for Wounded Warrior Project, Special Olympics, and Small Business Revolution have earned multiple Clio, Halo, and festival audience awards. Flow initiated the We Need to Talk: The Dollhouse project after learning of the dollhouse story while filming Mia’s Art is Essential series in 2017.

ABOUT CO-HOST FREE BLACK DIRT

Free Black Dirt is an artistic partnership formed by Minneapolis based collaborators Junauda Petrus and Erin Sharkey. Committed to creating original theatre and performance, hosting innovative events, organizing local artists, and promoting and supporting the emerging artists’ community in the Twin Cities, Free Black Dirt seeks to spark and engage in critical conversations.

For media inquiries please contact annie@bush-film.com | 831-332-0878

SPACE IS LIMITED; CLICK HERE TO RSVP


“We Need to Talk: The Dollhouse
Executive Producers David Rice and Kim Huskinson
Produced by Tanya Schurr and Annie Bush
Directed by Matt Naylor


Excerpt: The Women’s March

Andrea Pierre, Junauda Petrus, Aisha Mgeni, and Erin Sharkey

Andrea Pierre, Junauda Petrus, Aisha Mgeni, and Erin Sharkey

MIA_Andrea_Still

The Dollhouse

“It’s hard to be patient with folks who are brand new to the party we’ve been at the whole time.” Erin Sharkey on The Women's March
“I’m going to put you in your place. You’re not a being, you’re not a person, you’re a commodity: act like one.”Aisha Mgeni on Taking a Knee


Andrea Pierre

Andrea Pierre

Erin Sharkey

Erin Sharkey

Photos by David Rice for Flow Nonfiction

Junuada Petrus

Junauda Petrus

Aisha Mgeni

Aisha Mgeni