Local artists and creative leaders reflect on the Caribbean’s history and impact on the city of Boston in this one-night discussion co-hosted with ICA Artist Advisor and former Poet Laureate for the City of Boston, Danielle Legros Georges. The panelists will explore what the Caribbean means to them and how “Caribbean-ness” manifests in Boston, particularly in the creative sector. Guest speakers include spoken word artist and educator Anthony Febo, Gabriel Sosa of Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Althea Blackford the founder of Boston Caribbean Fashion Week, and City Councilor At-Large Julia Mejia.

About the Moderator

Danielle Legros Georges is poet, literary translator, and editor whose work sits in the areas of contemporary U.S. poetry, Black and African-diasporic poetry and literature, and Caribbean and Haitian studies. The author of several books of poetry including Maroon, The Dear Remote Nearness of You, and Island Heart, translations of the poems of 20th-century Haitian-French poet Ida Faubert, her poems have been widely published, anthologized, and commissioned. She has received fellowships and grants from institutions including The Massachusetts Cultural Council, MASS MoCA, the PEN/Heim Translation Fund, the Black Metropolis Research Consortium, and the Boston Foundation. In 2014, Legros Georges was named Boston’s Poet Laureate. Her four-year term included collaborations with area artists, literary organizations, museums, libraries, and schools; and representing Boston at international literary events.  

About the Panelists

Born in the Dominican Republic, City Councilor At-Large Julia Mejia arrived in the 
neighborhood of Dorchester when she was five years old. Raised by a single mother who was 
undocumented for most of her childhood, she was forced at an early age to speak up on behalf 
of her mother and others who felt ignored by the very institutions that were supposed to serve 
them. Driven by a lifelong pursuit of justice and equity, Councilor Mejia has created countless 
opportunities for others to step into their power and advocate for positive change as a 
community organizer. Following the 2019 election AND a historic two-month recount, Julia won 
her seat by a single vote and is now the first Afro-Latina to sit on the Boston City Council. Mejia 
is currently the Chair of the Committee on Education, the Committee on Government 
Accountability, Transparency, and Accessibility as well as the Committee on Labor, Workforce, 
and Economic Development. 

Gabriel Sosa is a Cuban-American artist, educator, and curator. Sosa works at the intersection of drawing, public art, and community engagement. His work has been shown at Fitchburg Art Museum; The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco; Fábrica de Arte Cubano, Havana, Cuba; Tufts University Art Galleries; A R E A, Boston; and Museo La Tertulia, Cali, Colombia. He has participated in residencies at Lugar a dudas, The Art & Law Program, Materia Abierta, Urbano Project, Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, Mass MoCA, and the Santa Fe Art Institute. Most recently, he was named one of The Makers by WBUR, a series highlighting creatives of color making an impact in the region. Sosa is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Art Education Department at MassArt, and Deputy Director of Essex Art Center, a community arts nonprofit in Lawrence, Massachusetts. 

Althea Blackford is a trailblazer in production and entertainment. As the owner of VStyle Productions, she’s the creative mind behind the local fashion TV show “Style It Up” on Boston Neighborhood Network, spotlighting New England fashion designers. Her commitment to showcasing talent extends beyond regional boundaries, as she also stands as the visionary Founder and Executive Producer of Boston Caribbean Fashion Week. Here, the vibrant tapestry of Caribbean culture unfurls through the artistry of both costume and clothing designers, firmly establishing Althea as a cultural curator in the heart of Boston. As the founder and travel advisor of Destination Let’s Go, Althea turns travel dreams into reality. With over a decade of expertise, she specializes in crafting personalized Caribbean group trips, all-inclusive getaways, romantic retreats, and adventurous experiences, offering a stress-free booking process. Althea Blackford is a storyteller, weaving tales of style and exploration. Join her on a journey where every moment is a celebration of culture, fashion, and the joy of discovery. 

Anthony Febo is a Puerto Rican poet, teaching artist, and new dad living in Arlington, MA. He is a co-founder of the Lowell-based youth poetry organization FreeVerse! and has toured the country individually and as half of Adobo-Fish-Sauce: a cooking and poetry collaboration. He has competed on numerous slam teams at the National Poetry Slam and has coached even more youth teams at the international Brave New Voices and Massachusetts Louder Than A Bomb Poetry Festivals. Through Adobo-Fish-Sauce, he was a recipient of the MassART and City of Boston’s Radical Imagination for Racial Justice Grant, the New England Foundation for the Arts Public Art for Spatial Justice Grant, and The Boston Foundation’s Live Arts Boston Grant. They have been awarded residencies at the Boston Center for the Arts, the National Teen Arts Convening at the ICA Boston, and the Strange Foundation in New York’s Catskill Mountains. A teaching artist for over 15 years, Febo has taught at various non-profits in the Greater Boston area as well as theaters and museums such as the ICA. In fact, Febo was one of the teaching artists chosen to develop a weeklong professional development with Italian educators at the Venice Biennale teaching the pedagogy used in the ICA’s Wall Talk program. As an artist, Febo’s work examines what it means to actively choose joy in the face of what is trying to break you. Weaving performance into his writing, he examines issues such as toxic masculinity, family, culture, identity, and the role representation plays into a person’s development. His first full-length book of poetry, Becoming an Island, was published though Game Over Books.