Annual Gronbeck Lecture with Dr. Anjali Vats

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 - 3:45pm to 4:45pm
Becker Communication Studies Building
Room 203
Iowa City, IA 52242

Please join us as Dr. Anjali Vats delivers the 5th Annual Gronbeck Lecture. Her talk, which is part of a larger book project on Prince Rogers Nelson entitled Creating While Purple: Prince, Intellectual Properties, and Black Capitalism, examines how Prince, through the creation of the NPG Music Club and negotiations with streaming services from Spotify to Tidal, imagined and terraformed Afrofuturist worlds in largely uncharted digital waters. From the moment he introduced the NPG music club in a video that drew on tropes of discovery, technological development, spirituality, dignity, and unbounded identity, Prince envisioned and engineered radical and futuristic Blackness. In negotiating with streaming services, he continued a project of Black digital worldmaking, this time by investing in those who could engage in similar Afrofuturist projects. This talk shows how Prince made both concrete and speculative enactments of Blackness online. It further shows how, in doing so, Prince created his own brand of purple Afrofuturism while also showing respect to those that came before.

Dr. Vats is Assistant Professor of Communication and African Diaspora Studies at Boston College and Assistant Professor of Law at Boston College Law School (by courtesy). She is interested in issues related to race, law, and popular culture, with particular focus on intellectual property law.

Free and open to all.

Hosted by the University of Iowa Bruce Gronbeck Rhetoric Society and the Department of Communication Studies with support from the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies.