Research for the Soul

At the end of my first quarter of study as an African American studies major at UCLA-the number one public and top research university in the nation, I received a scholarship to conduct research with the Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program (URFP) during the winter and spring of 2018. I spent the winter quarter gathering online evidence on campus; however another key step in completing my research is gathering primary source evidence out in the world, but to do that I need your help! I am traveling to Washington, D.C. to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), knowing that it will greatly inform my work. Because the trip I want to take is not funded by UCLA and I am a fulltime and unemployed student -- I need financial support!

Since transferring as a junior in fall of 2017, I have taken some of the most amazing classes: The Sunken Place with Tananarive Due, which allowed me to hang out with Oscar winner, Jordan Peele multiple times; Race, Inequality, and Public Policy that exposed me to the radical work of so many important authors; and an African American Musical Heritage class that focuses on a socio-cultural and historical development of African American musical culture taught by my research advisor. I joined the Afrikan Arts Ensemble staff to support the curation of events, workshops and dialogue centered around Black art and artists on campus.

I have also been able to connect with the brilliant and beautiful Black community here at UCLA through attending the Afrikan Black Coalition Conference and participating in Hop Hop Congress’s annual Fashion Show; all in an effort to interrogate reclamation of Black culture and identity through popular 21st century Black art.

My research will reveal that, contrary to white supremacist ideology of American culture; popular Black art is created by and for Black people. To successfully argue that Solange Knowles’ 2016 album, “A Seat at the Table,” and Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 album, “To Pimp A Butterfly,” prioritize Black experience and concretize aspects of Black lives that are often sublimated for survival, it is important to explore both the sociopolitical era they emerged from and the ideology of the Black Power and Pride movement of the 20th century. My urgency in traveling to NMAAHC lies in providing context for my theory and the analysis of the works of these profound artists.
I’VE GOT 10 DAYS TO RAISE $2,500! Although admission to the Museum is free, everything else is not. A breakdown of the money needed: airbnb: $870, airfare: $550, food: $540, inner city transportation (train/uber/ metro): $280, any additional funds will be used to bring back primary source material and to offset the 2.9% and $0.30 of each donation that gofundme takes away.

Thank you for taking time to read about and support my journey!
  • Anonymous 
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    • $20 
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    • $25 
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Organizer and beneficiary

Vivian Allen 
Los Angeles, CA
Kira Allen 
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