Evaluation Action Area
I am the Executive Director of Alternate ROOTS, a regional non-profit arts organization based in the South. I became a member of Alternate ROOTS in 2001. I have served on the organization’s board as a Regional Representative, and as an officer. Alternate ROOTS hired me in 2004 as the Regional Development Director. I held this position for four and one-half years before transitioning into the role of Executive Director in 2009.
I am also co-founder and co-artistic director, along with my brother Maurice Turner, of the group M.U.G.A.B.E.E. (Men Under Guidance Acting Before Early Extinction). M.U.G.A.B.E.E. is a performing arts group that blends together jazz, hip-hop, spoken word poetry, and soul music with non-traditional storytelling. M.U.G.A.B.E.E. has released two albums, Earth Tones (2002) and World Domination (2006); written and produced two plays, Steal Away (2001) and Batteries in the Killing Machine (2005).
I have worked as a lead convener with Voices from the Cultural Battlefront: Organizing for Cultural Equity, a 20+ year international conversation about art, culture, and the struggle for human rights. I participated in the Center for Civic Participation Arts & Democracy Project and helped to present intersectional conversations in more than six cities. Earlier in my career, I worked as an arts educator with the My Mississippi Eyes (MME) program for student empowerment at Lanier High School in Jackson.
I am also a co-founder of the State of the Nation Art & Performance Festival, which presented more than 500 artists in five productions over six years. I served as a lead organizer for the United States Social Forum in Atlanta, GA (2007) and Detroit, MI (2010). In 2009, I visited the White House twice to meet with members of President Obama’s administration on issues of Cultural Policy.
M.U.G.A.B.E.E. is currently working on three national projects commissioned by the National Performance Network: Race Peace, an ongoing collaboration with New Orleans-based Mondo Bizarro to facilitate a performance project on race and racism in the US; 7 Trumpets, a new evening length performance exploring the natural and man-made occurrences of the number seven; and The Burnin’ a musical by Progress Theatre which premiered in 2015.
In 2011, Irondale Ensemble Project in Brooklyn, NY awarded me the M. Edgar Rosenblum award for outstanding contribution to Ensemble Theater. In 2013, I was named to the Kennedy Center Honors Artist Advisory Board alongside Debbie Allen, Maria De Leon, and Ping Chong.
I currently serve on the board of Appalshop and was a member of the executive board of the Network of Ensemble Theaters from 2003 through 2008. I am on the We Shall Overcome Fund Advisory Board at the Highlander Center for Research and Education.
I studied English and History at the University of Mississippi from 1992-1996. I live in Utica, Mississippi with my wife Brandi and two children, Jonathan and Xiauna.