Najee is a local artist and musician concentrating on how we heal those who heal others. He organizes around the arts and youth engagement. Najee is presently involved with YolloCalli Arts Reach as an artist in residence at Barrett Park where he teaches the youth ages 13-24 apothecary arts. He is a current student at the School of Audio Engineering (S.A.E.) in river north pursuing a degree of applied science in audio engineering, and represents one half of the Afro-Surrealism duo Zo//Ra.
Jenna is a storyteller, an activist, an educator, comedian, singer, actor, healer, lover, and front line warrior for social justice. In all her various work, she aims to inspire and empower. After earning her B.F.A in performing arts at The University of Illinois at Chicago, she made her life’s purpose to imagine... to work to create a world that she wants to see, and live in. As a co- founding member of the Let Us Breathe Collective, she hosts events and facilitates workshops at The Breathing Room Space located in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, there she aims to liberate people affected by mass-incarceration and state violence using storytelling, wellness-minded action, comedy, and song. Jenna hopes to provide a brave space in which folks can learn, liberate, and love each other freely.
Jenna has worked in youth development for the past 13 years. As an educator her latest project is through an organization she created called “Journeys with Jenna” where she takes her students from Chicago and Oakland on journeys to various concerts, workshops,events, and everything in between. On” Journeys with Jenna”, the world is our classroom and every moment is an adventure using resiliency and change as the guiding force. Journeys with Jenna is traveling to Puerto Rico in partnership with the Chicago Boricua Resistance at the end of the month to rebuild grassroots organizations and to learn hands on how to best serve our family on the island. Her latest youth development collaboration journey is with the Young Cultural Stewards in partnership with the Chicago Park District.
Jenna is a SAG actor that has been featured in various shows in the Bay Area and Chicago. She will be featured in two major motion pictures this Summer and Fall. “Sorry to Bother You” and “A Beautiful Boy.” Her latest theater performance happening is a sketch comedy show called “Nice Tan.” Jenna aims to be a part of performing arts projects and pieces that tell a story and creates diverse representation.
Jenna loves to ride her bike, get free, dance, read all the sci-fiction books, and absorb the sun. Whatever magic Jenna is involved in she works for the greater good of her people, her self, and the universe.
Zo//Ra (Ester Alegria and Najee Searcy)
Zo//Ra is an afro-surrealist alchemic performance duo. They revere ancestrally relevant works. With a regenerative and holistic identity, Zo//Ra’s work reflects their embrace of inherent sexual identities and presentations. They induce an afrocentric and surreal fusion of indigenous black existence and creative fervor. Zo//Ra therefore must render queer, femme centered, community focused art. Their dreamy sound marries Chi-town deep house, earthy vocalizations and cool hints of blue, with love and respect."
In other words, Zo//ra was to come an afro-surrealism calling. A calling of ancestors. A pulling of akashic strains. The noodle soup to the broth of your rhythm. The serum floating between your thighs on cheap chicken tuesday. Zo//Ra walks the hood and the boulevard, walking the ancient path of wisdom and light. Darkness and plight. Welcome to a world unannounced but with outstretched and open arms. We are yet to be as we were in the future.
Melissa Almandina Melissa Castro Almandina is a Xicana poet and artist from the Southwest Side of Chicago. She is a member of Brown and Proud Press, a zine collective that serves as a platform for healing in POC communities and is a resident artist at AMFM Gallery. She facilitates poetry workshops on the Southwest Side of Chicago and debuted her hand bound zine of poetry entitled, Rose Quartz and Serpentine. She was a featured author at Pilsen Fest and is published in the Garland Court Review, Cuentos de Gringolandia, and Hooligan Magazine.
In this version of In-Session, guided by poet Rumi’s book of poetry, Hush: Don’t Say Anything to God: Passionate Poems of Rumi, we aim to discuss citizenship through affirming the present moment and those who are a part of it. We will feature a lovely performance from Zo//Ra, an open discussion about citizenship with Najee and Jenna, and hand-written poetry crafted by Melissa Almandina.
Threewalls is always finding new ways to share our artist’s unique voices through exhibits, talks, and gatherings. We would like you to be the first to know about these opportunities.