Kwabena Slaughter is an artist, historian, and performing arts producer. He is currently in the American Studies Ph.D. program at George Washington University. His dissertation research focuses on Booker T. Washington’s relationships with artists, such as Henry Ossawa Tanner, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Jacob Riis. By studying the communications between these artists and Booker T. a whole new understanding of him comes into view.
In 2001 Kwabena received his MFA in Studio Art from the University of Illinois at Chicago. His artwork investigates the social epistemology of photography and the camera, and how the medium impacts public awareness about representation. In the time period between his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees, he worked as a production designer, producer, and venue manager at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Kwabena’s writings have been published in the Oxford Bibliography, the Journal of Popular Music Studies, on the Black Perspectives blog of the African American Intellectual History Society, on the Picturing Black History project, and in the journal Philosophy and Social Action. His passion for archival research led to the discovery of audio recordings related to the Harlem On My Mind exhibition, which are now digitally accessible to researchers via the Met Museum’s Watson Library. His artwork is in museums and private collections in the U.S. and abroad. Kwabena currently serves as agent and archivist for Maxwell Melvins, the former president of the Lifers Group and creator of the first hip-hop album recorded in prison.