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Pierce Freelon

Blackspace | Beat Making Lab

Pierce Freelon is a professor, director, musician, Emmy-Award winning producer, and former candidate for mayor of Durham.

Born and raised in Durham, Pierce has traveled the world, building spaces for creative expression and social justice. He founded Blackspace, a digital maker space where youth learn about music, film, and coding. He is the writer, composer, and co-director of an animated film series called History of White People in America, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2018. In 2012 he co-founded Beat Making Lab, a PBS web series, which took him from community centers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to making beats with environmentalist Jane Goodall. He is the frontman of the jazz and hip-hop band The Beast.

Pierce earned a BA in African and African American Studies at UNC Chapel Hill and an MA in Pan African Studies at Syracuse University. He has taught music, political science, and African American studies at both UNC Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University.

Bio Aug 2018