SCHOLAR, SINGER, STORYTELLER, TEACHING ARTIST, HISTORIAN
Areas of Expertise:
Culture and History
Dr. Karen Wilson-Ama’Echefu
American scholar Dr. Karen Wilson-Ama’Echefu is a Harlem native who engages in public speaking. Hmmm. Public speaking? More like public humming, singing, skipping, dancing, tripping, questioning, challenging, inspiring, inciting, chuckling, telling, quelling, woofing, hoofing, winkling, twinkling, traveling, messin' 'round, tweeting, elucidating, howling, equivocating, trilling, thrilling, pontificating, poetry-making, risk-taking, reporting, cavorting, and telling the truth as she understands it to be.
Dr. Karen Wilson-Ama’Echefu also sings music across the historical spectrum of the African Diaspora in the United States including spirituals, calls, jazz, blues, and rhythm and blues. She curated, wrote and premiered, “A Tribute to Blueswomen: Beauty and the Blues” with her group, Blue Wave – New York. In collaboration with her musical director Stephen Vaughan, she developed a new genre called Story Cabaret for Blue Wave West, presenting original, traditional and contemporary stories all wrapped up in jazz, blues and singable tunes. Dr. Wilson-Ama’ Echefu has traveled and performed with Pete Seeger and her performance of Paul Laurence Dunbar's "The Party" was broadcast on PBS as part of their "Favorite Poem Project."
Dr. Wilson-Ama’Echefu was a featured presenter at the 2010 Blues and Spirit Symposium alongside legendary Hip Hop Artist Chuck D, and other notable music and history giants, and has spoken and presented on the intellectual and cultural life in the African American Slave Quarter Community on college campuses across the United States. Her research interests include African cultural and religious history, eighteenth and nineteenth-century enslavement in the United States, leadership and strategy in slave quarter communities, and the philosophies and theologies of Africans and their descendants in the Western Hemisphere as identified through their song, story and dance. Her scholarship identifies African intellectual and cultural presence in North America as providing evidence for continuities, discontinuities and transformations of African Diasporic culture in the United States and considers the West African Diasporic Blues Complex as a marker for African cultural presence in the Western Hemisphere. She also writes on histori-cultural presence of African American women, which includes their beautiful blues.