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Love Songs within Africa and the African Diaspora

February 19 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Join the UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere, the A. Quinn Jones Museum, the UF Center for African Studies, the UF Office of Black Student Engagement, and the City of Gainesville on Saturday, February 19, to celebrate Black History Month with two events that spotlight links between Africa and the African Diaspora. Throughout Africa and the African Diaspora, Black people have expressed love in many forms. From speaking to their loved ones, to piecing their memories of their homeland in their diasporic locations, to paying their homage to their ancestors, these complex threads of knowledge production have shaped identities and influenced traditional practices. This discussion moderated by Imani Mosley (University of Florida) will attempt to unpack some of these layers filled with local or global experiences with our invited speakers on Saturday, February 19, from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. EDT, on Zoom. Community members are welcome to watch this conversation in-person at the A. Quinn Jones Museum (1013 NW 7th Avenue). For the safety of staff and attendees, masks are expected.

Register Here!


Imani Danielle Mosley is an Assistant Professor of Musicology at the University of Florida. Her research focuses on Benjamin Britten, music, opera, and modernism in Britain post-1945. Her current research addresses sacred sonic culture, acoustics, and ritual in the English churches and cathedrals central to Britten’s sacred music. In addition to her work on Britten, she also specializes in contemporary opera, reception history, queer theory, masculinities studies, digital humanities, sound studies, and race in 21st-century popular music.

Featured Speakers:

Sharon Burney is a Program Officer with the Council on Library and Information Resources. As a member of the grants team, she offers support for the Recordings at Risk and Digitizing Hidden Special Collections programs. She will be the host of the upcoming season 3 of the Material Memory Podcast, highlighting the HBCU Library Alliance collections, institutions, and members. As an administrative specialist with twenty-five years of successful experience in program and organizational support, Sharon specializes in academic, cultural heritage and community institutional support systems, navigating administrative policy adherence with an interpersonal connection that promotes community building. Prior to joining CLIR, Sharon Burney spent fifteen years providing program support to the University of Florida African American Studies Program, helping it to become a premiere degree program. Prior to that, Sharon worked as a program assistant for one of the top pediatric neurosurgeons in the United States. In her free time, she is a widely respected poet and community organizer. She loves to embrace the infinite historical contributions of the Diaspora while blending them with contemporary civil rights, activism, and social issues in her poetry. Sharon Burney’s passion for public service, education and humanity is exemplified in every aspect of her life, and when in rest mode you can find her enjoying the simple moments with her daughters and pets.
Dr. Mandisa Haarhoff is a lecturer in English and Literary Studies, University of Cape Town. She is a recipient of the National Research Fund’s Black Academic Advancement Programme for her book manuscript in progress, Kaffirland/Vaderland: Black Absenting and White Indigeneity in South African Farm Narratives. The monograph analyzes racialized representations of presence and belonging through a reading of South African farm and cartographic narratives. It examines the ways in which farm novels participate in constructions of white indigeneity and enact black absenting throughout the late-colonial and apartheid period. Haarhoff’s research interests are concentrated around postcolonial theory, black studies and critical race theory. Her teaching centers on African and diasporic literatures.
Tafa Mi-Soleil, whose full name is Evenie Rose Thafaïna Saint-Louis, was born in Fort Jacques, Haiti. She has a unique voice that supports a contemporary style, which is in line with the rare Haitian singer-songwriters with a Pop & Soul tendency. Tafa delivers an art where the commitment is subtle but omnipresent. Tafa’s musical style evokes many emotions and vibrations with her distinct voice, whether it is to sing about love, melancholy, joy, or to highlight societal challenges. Additionally, Tafa works as a music producer. Tafa Mi-Soleil is also a fashion designer and is about to launch her own line of clothing and fashion accessories. Among other things, she paints and acts.
Leslie Robertson Toney is currently a doctoral candidate in Sociology with a concentration in Women’s and Gender Studies at Virginia Tech. Her current work focuses on young women and girls in the Caribbean, understanding sexual agency, and the impact of Caribbean historical and social conditions on inequality for women and girls. For over fifteen years Leslie worked as a psychotherapist in the US and internationally. Her practice, teaching and research experiences have focused on inequality and access for individuals in marginalized communities, and developing socially and culturally competent mental health care. She has worked as a clinician in public mental health, as a technical officer addressing mental health research and policy and mental health programs in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, and she has been a trainer and consultant for international emergency/disaster relief, training medical professionals and non-mental health professionals in low-intensity mental health treatments, applying psychosocial interventions to address adherence for youth living with HIV, and integrating cultural programming into community mental health. In her study of the Caribbean, Leslie integrates over a decade of photographic work on cultural festivals and rituals particularly carnival, and traditional religious and cultural practices. Applying Black feminist, decolonial and transnational feminist frameworks she integrates her mental health experience and years of documenting cultural life in the Caribbean Diaspora in analyses of meaning making for people in the Caribbean and the Black Diaspora at large.
Worlasi is a multilingual singer, rapper, songwriter and music producer. Hailing from the Volta region of Ghana, Worlasi is renowned for his authenticity, live performance, artistic versatility and notable use of his native language Ewe, as well as Fante, Ga and Pidgin throughout his music.


Shadine Ménard has been a translator and writer for over 15 years. Founding HIP: Haitian International Pulse magazine in 2008, after a decade of working in the magazine industry, allowed her to become professionally acquainted with the Haitian culture she already loved dearly. The Fashion Institute of Technology alum also has twelve years of merchandising and management experience with local and international companies, using her social media and marketing know-how to maximize their impact in their communities. She currently resides in Haiti and contributes to the Haitian community through her work as a translator, TEFL teacher, and community center volunteer.


February 19
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm