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Oakland Symphony Presents "Playlist" with Angela Y. Davis, Hosted by W. Kamau Bell

Oakland Symphony Presents "Playlist" with Angela Y. Davis, Hosted by W. Kamau Bell


Oakland Symphony's Playlist with Angela Y. Davis, Hosted by the award-winning comedian, director, and producer W. Kamau Bell.

Playlist will feature the Oakland Symphony and special musical guests, led by Music Director and Guest Conductor Rickey Minor, performing the soundtrack of Davis’s life, personally selected by Davis. She will be on-stage at the Paramount Theatre as the ‘mix-tape’ of her favorite music comes to life and she shares how her journey was shaped by specific songs, artists, and genres.

In 2018, W. Kamau Bell was the first person to do Playlist with the Oakland Symphony and he returns to host this evening’s musical journey into Davis’s musical passions.

The second installment of Playlist, in 2019, presented the favorite music of Dolores Huerta, the Mexican-American labor leader and civil rights activist who, with Cesar Chavez, co-founded the United Farm Workers. In 2022, Debbie Allen, the five-time Emmy-winner, actress, dancer, director, and youth mentor, shared the musical soundtrack of her life.

Through her activism and scholarship, Angela Y. Davis is an activist, scholar and writer and she has been deeply involved in our nation’s quest for social justice. Her work as an educator has always emphasized the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender justice. Her teaching career has taken her to San Francisco State University, Mills College, and UC Berkeley. She also has taught at UCLA, Vassar, the Claremont Colleges, and Stanford University. She spent the last fifteen years at the University of California, Santa Cruz where she is now Distinguished Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness, an interdisciplinary Ph.D program, and of Feminist Studies. Davis is known internationally for her ongoing work to combat all forms of oppression and she is a living witness to the historical struggles of the contemporary era. In addition to being a co-founder of Critical Resistance, an organization that aims to end the prison industrial complex, Davis is the author of several books, including Angela Davis: An Autobiography (1974), Women, Race, and Class (1980), Women, Culture and Politics (1989), Blues Legacies and Black Feminism (1998), Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003), Abolition Democracy (2005), and The Meaning of Freedom (2012).

W. Kamau Bell is a stand-up comedian, director, producer, and dad. For seven seasons, he was the host and executive producer of the five-time Emmy Award-winning CNN docuseries United Shades of America. Kamau won a Peabody Award for his Showtime docuseries We Need To Talk About Cosby. As a stand-up comic, Kamau has recorded two comedy specials. The second one, Private School Negro, is available on Netflix. Kamau is on the board of directors of DonorsChoose - a non-profit that helps teachers raise money for class projects, and Live Free - a non-profit dedicated to ending gun violence, mass incarceration, and mass criminalization. Kamau also is the ACLU’s Celebrity Ambassador for Racial Justice. He lives in Oakland, California.

Music Director and Conductor Rickey Minor led the Oakland Symphony for Debbie Allen’s Playlist in 2022. He has worked with renowned recording artists such as Adele, Rihanna, Gwen Stefani, Demi Lovato, Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Katy Perry, Aretha Franklin and his numerous television credits include The Tonight Show starring Jay Leno, American Idol, The Grammys, The Emmys, and The Academy Awards. He’s received Two Emmy Awards, 12 Emmy Award Nominations and he was music director for the Academy Awards.

Event Info

  • Dates: October 21, 2023
  • Location: Paramount Theatre
  • Address: 2025 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612
  • Time: 7:30 PM to 10:00 PM
  • Price: $45 to $125
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