As the Moss Arts Center’s first independent guest performing arts curator, Shirlette Ammons is infusing the center’s current season lineup with new energy and perspectives. Her work spotlighting genre-crossing Black southern artists features a trio of spring concerts, including a performance by the curator.

Ammons performs with a full band on Friday, April 7, at 8 p.m. in the Moss Arts Center’s Cube, located at 190 Alumni Mall.

A Durham, North Carolina-based poet, musician, emcee, and film creative, Ammons’ highly collaborative work defies genre.

“Performing as part of this series I had the pleasure to curate is my most recent effort at defying genre and prescribed roles,” said Ammons. “My music is a polyrhythmic expression of my queerness, Blackness, and Southernness. It is best conveyed with the support of expert musicians whose astuteness of craft and joy for life elevate my expression. I thrive in a space of collaboration and am nourished by the energy of a live audience.”

Ammons explores her own relationships with gender, as well as being Black and from the South, in the upcoming recording, “Spectacles,” which is described by writer Grayson Currin as a “poignant expression of her own multitudes, rendered by a modern wellspring of Black Southern brilliance and her wider creative community.”

A Cave Canem fellow and a 2013 recipient of the North Carolina Arts Council artist fellowship, Ammons has toured Germany, Switzerland, and Austria as part of the Purple Velvet International Female Hip-Hop Tour with all-female emcees representing three continents: sookee (Germany) and Lex La Foy and DJ Doowap (South Africa).

Ammons is also accomplished in the realm of TV and film, working as a producer on the Emmy Award-winning PBS docuseries “A Chef’s Life” as well as “Somewhere South.” She also served as a producer on “The Seeds We Keep,” a hybrid art essay and documentary short for “Oxford American,” and “Stay Prayed Up,” a feature-length concert documentary exalting the musical legacy of eastern North Carolina gospel trio the Branchettes.

For 10 years, Ammons also served as youth arts coordinator at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, North Carolina, where she offered arts instruction every day after school to hundreds of young artists.

This performance is part of “Up 86.” The collaboration between the Moss Arts Center and Ammons includes an upcoming performance by Winston-Salem, North Carolina, singer and multi-instrumentalist Sonny Miles on Friday, April 14.

Please note, this performance contains mature language and may at times be high volume.

Related events

The hosts of "Dusty and Digital" on Virginia Tech's campus radio station WUVT-FM will welcome Ammons on their weekly program on Thursday, April 6, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Ammons will lead a songwriting workshop for students in Virginia Tech Digging in the Crates (#VTDITC), the university’s student-led hip-hop studies program. In celebration of Pride Week at Virginia Tech, she will also participate in a conversation with students at the LGBTQ+ Resource Center.

Ticket information

Tickets for the performance are $15 for general admission and $10 for students and youth 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center's box office, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.

Paid parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Virginia Tech has also partnered with ParkMobile to provide a convenient, contactless electronic payment option for parking, which may be used at any parking meter, campus parking space, or lot with standard F/S, C/G, or R parking.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Jamie Wiggert at least 10 days prior to the event at 540-231-5300 or email during regular business hours.

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