Andrew J. Figueroa (Writer/Performer), better known by “Fig,” is an up-and-coming Hip-Hop artist, theatre maker, and arts educator from Southern California. With a Mexican father and British mother, he is the first U.S.-born member of his household and the younger of two. He is a graduate of Hampshire College, where he earned a B.A. in Latino Studies, and Performance through Theatre and Hip-Hop. His art strives to challenge how society engages with traditional theatre spaces and to open dialogue around how we can re-imagine the stage to include historically marginalized communities through a critical Hip-Hop lens. His work is an agent of educational and social change directed at youth (specifically youth of color) by tapping into the influence Hip-Hop has on U.S. culture and young people.
Jorrell Watkins (Artistic Director) is an interdisciplinary artist of martial arts, poetry, dance, and theatre. Most of his work is contextualized through an historical framework that serves to bridge the gaps between written history and collective memory. Watkins' education and experience includes but is not limited to: B.A. from Hampshire College, certified conflict resolution trainer, and educator at North Star Self-Directed Learning for Teens.
Allison Smartt (Manager/Designer) owns Smartt Productions, which develops and tours innovative performances about social justice, including the nationally acclaimed solo-show, MOM BABY GOD. A skilled producer and technician, she’s worked with respected institutions like Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Barrington Stage Company and the Five College Dance Department. Her designs have been seen and heard at La MaMa, The Yard, and more. She is a member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. An alumna of Hampshire College, she concentrated in Immersive, Design Driven Performance and is currently the Assistant Technical Director and Faculty at CalArts School of Dance.
Reed Sutherland (Composer/Graphic Designer) believes that inclusive and cooperative teamwork within artistic mediums is a model for not only human success, but a way to understand our own existence. Being in a creative environment is where Reed finds comfort and happiness. While at Westfield State University he had the pleasure of studying with bright and open-minded professors that guided him through art history and visual thinking, taking from them not just lists of names and dates, but also an understanding of logical processes and workflows. Reed applied these lessons to the bandstand, teaching himself to play bass guitar while learning Graphic Design. After acquiring an internship at Northfire Recording Studio in Amherst, MA, Reed was changed for good. Committed to the idea of being a good team member and resource for bands and artists, Reed brings a set of open eyes and ears for anyone willing to work together to achieve one goal: Create.
Mtali William Banda (Composer) is a writer and jazz saxophonist. Since an early age, Mtali has had the privilege of performing with a lot of great artists from diverse musical backgrounds and from all over the world. He is a recent graduate of University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he studied Black Studies and Jazz performance. Mtali is also the founder of the social justice blog, Soul Latte, which features writings revolving around progressive politics, race, and culture. He also is a senior editor at ProfoundlyHuman.com, where he writes about culture and spirituality. Whether it is music or writing, all of Mtali’s work is based on one principle: the oneness of mankind, and how that message can be best spread.
Ian Haas (Drummer) is currently studying in the Jazz Drum Set program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Ian started playing music at a young age with his older brother and uncles. His interest in music really took hold in middle school and since then, he has been working to find beauty through music. He now plays with the bands YEWO and Ballads and Softcore Porn. Upon graduation Ian will receive a Bachelor's Degree in Jazz Drum Set Performance and African American Music.
Mara Penatzer (Keyboardist) is a pianist and composer who aspires to create expressive and personal music. Mara received her Master’s degree in Jazz Composition and Arranging from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and her undergraduate degree in Jazz Piano Performance with a minor in Music Theory from the University of North Texas. In addition to playing for Mixed-Race Mixtape, Mara is currently working on several composition projects, which include commissions for pianist, Andy D'Antonio, and NYC-based string trio, forty/sixty, as well as musical settings of poetry from Ronald Johnson's, ARK.
Julisa Campbell (Stage Manager) is a recent graduate of Mount Holyoke College with a B.A. in Studio Art and Film Studies. During her time in college, she created a photographic series that explored the observations and representations of the human figure, directed three films, worked as a technology consultant and a concert manager for the college community, and danced for high school students, Girl Scouts, concerts, fundraising events, and more to help advance the South Asian dance form, Bhangra, as a mechanism to promote culture and inclusivity. During the summer of 2014, she traveled to France and worked as a tour guide at the Château de Chantilly where she researched historical paintings and book illuminations of the 15th and 16th centuries. Julisa’s interests have led her to pursue her passions at the intersection of art, music, film, and dance. As a person who genuinely loves juggling multiple things at once, Julisa hopes that one day she will be too complex to categorize.