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2010.03.10> For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Relations
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@unomaha.edu

Malcolm X Festival Set for April 18-20

PLEASE NOTE -- Due to a scheduling conflict, Bill Duke—noted actor, producer and director--will not be able to attend and present at the Malcolm X Festival and Conference, which takes place at UNO starting on April 18. With that in mind, Rommi Smith, the Parliamentary Writer in Residence for the United Kingdom, will give the keynote presentation at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 20. A corrected press release follows. Please call or e-mail with questions or concerns.

UPDATED PRESS RELEASE

Omaha - Well-known figures from the entertainment and literary world will serve as major speakers at this year’s Malcolm X Festival and Conference at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO.) The festival, sponsored and organized by the UNO Department of Black Studies, runs Sunday through Tuesday, April 18-20.

Producer and writer Kevin Arkadie, known for his involvement with “Soul Food” and “CSI,” will give a presentation on Tuesday, April 20. His special workshop session begins at 4 p.m. in the Milo Bail Student Center. He also plans on working with Omaha Public Schools teachers during the conference.

The Omaha Public Schools are sponsoring the keynote appearance of poet and playwright Rommi Smith, who is the Parliamentary Writer in Residence for the United Kingdom. Her presentation takes place at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 20, in the William H. and Dorothy Thompson Alumni Center on campus.

“Rommi Smith is a true international artist and performer,” said Omowale Akintunde, chair of the UNO Department of Black Studies. “Her appearance is one that I know people will talk about and be excited about.”

An actual film premier will also be part of the festival. Akintunde’s independently produced film “Wigger” will be shown for the first time at a red carpet event on Monday, April 19, at the Great Escape Theatre, 7440 Crown Point Ave. The show will start at 6 p.m. Tickets will be $10.

“Wigger” was shot in and around North Omaha last year, and stars Anna Maria Horsford, Meshach Taylor and David Oakes. Akintunde directed the production. The story-line very much follows Akintunde’s research focus on diversity, race relations and identity issues and the Black masculinity theme of this year’s festival. All three stars will be at the premier, Akintunde said.

“This movie addresses so many issue that are present in society,” Akintunde said. “Yes, it is about race and identity, but it’s also an entertaining film that I hope holds the attention of an audience.”

Prior to the start of the academic presentations, conference organizers will hold a dinner at UNO’s William H. and Dorothy Thompson Alumni Center on Sunday, April 18. Reggie Callaway, from the R&B group Midnight Star, will perform at the event. The dinner begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $40 each; a table of 10 for $400. Callaway will perform with student musicians from UNO. Midnight Star’s single “Operator” from the group’s album “No Parking on the Dance Floor” was a number one hit on the R&B chart that same year in 1983.

For more information, including a complete listing of presenters and presentation topics, go to http://www.unomaha.edu/blst/ or call (402) 554-3502.

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

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