Pierce Freelon is an Artivist – merging the worlds of art and activism by any medium necessary. He is a professor of Black studies; an Emmy-Award winning producer and director; an electrifying Hip-Hop and jazz musician; and a former candidate for Mayor of Durham. Pierce is a captivating speaker and performer, whose presentations about race, politics, technology and culture leave audiences entertained and enlightened. 
Pierce has traveled the world building spaces for creative expression and social justice. He founded Blackspace, an Afrofuturism digital maker space in his hometown of Durham and he co-founded Beat Making Lab, an Emmy-award winning PBS web-series, which has taken him from community centers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to making beats with environmentalist Jane Goodall. Pierce is the director of an aminated film about the construction of race called The History of White People in America – an official selection of the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival – and is the frontman of the jazz and hip-hop band The Beast.
Freelon earned his BA in African and Afro-American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his MA in Pan African Studies from Syracuse University. He has lectured in over a dozen countries and has been featured in Wall Street Journal, Good Magazine and on NPR.


Beat Making Lab
Join Pierce on a journey – from being the youngest professor in the Music-department at UNC-Chapel Hill, to travelling the globe with PBS and winning an Emmy-award; while learning how to make better beats, and a better world!

From Racism to Afrofuturism
An in-depth look at race as a cultural construct, this multi-media presentation grapples with the question of a post-racial America, and explores the redemptive, healing and emancipatory power of music and poetry.

Shape Change
Not your typical Starbucks diversity training, Shape Change is a creative collaboration exploring dynamic communication and solidarity building through the arts. Led by Professor, musician and filmmaker Pierce Freelon, elements of this WokeShop have been shaped by Pierce’s radical grassroots community work across four continents. Inspired by the words of science fiction writer Octavia Butler, Shape Change invites participants to become sculptors – to tell stories, foster empathy and co-create a better world.

Running For Mayor and the Fall of the Confederacy
In 2017, Pierce Freelon made history when he threw his hat in the ring to run for Mayor of his hometown Durham, North Carolina. That August, Durham was in the national spotlight when a group of millennial activists tore down Durham’s Confederate monument. Explore the intersection of race, youth and politics in this riveting reflection on millennials in the new south.