Lead architect of the forthcoming participatory media installation DuSable City, steward of the creative sousou someplace like Home, originator of the experi(m)ent(i)al podcapsule trance-mission DrumLanguage , & disciple of Kamau Brathwaite, Ayinde Jean-Baptiste [Sanba Tonnè] is a poet/griot/keeper of memory, & systems thinker who occasionally commits acts of journalism.
Born on Umoja of a hard, demanding love, he was raised in Chicago and Evanston, IL in an extended family of blood and political relations. He has shared truth & troth in hundreds of settings, including churches, schools, community centers, group homes, youth prisons, universities, museums, stadiums, kitchen tables, the halls of government and the streets.
A veteran of electoral and issue campaigns beginning in 2001 with his father’s first campaign for elective office in Evanston, IL, Ayinde has organized locally and nationally against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, against the occupation of Haiti, on the issue of immigration, and in the fight for reparations for slavery.
In Chicago he worked with the Industrial Areas Foundation to launch PACT, their first broad-based organization by and for young adults and served on the founding board of the Haitian Congress to Fortify Haiti. Through his work with these organizations, Ayinde helped extend the age limit for dependent Health Care coverage in Illinois for veterans, and Haiti’s legislature amended the nation’s Constitution to grant dual citizenship to Haitians who have naturalized abroad and their children.
In 2012, he transitioned into multimedia storytelling, first as a Contributing Editor and later Senior Editor at The Haitian Times in Brooklyn NY. In recent years this work has featured on WNYC, WBAI, WVON & WBEZ, with support from City Lore, Chicago Community Trust, Black Metropolis Research Consortium, THREAD at Yale, City Bureau, CCCADI, Voqal, & the City of Evanston.
He continues to explore the transformative potential of Black sound and orality by engaging with communities of listening, movement, memory-making and archiving, serving as a multiformat arts presenter with the Brooklyn Museum, Haiti Cultural Exchange, City Lore, DuSable Museum & Education Center, Old Town School of Folk Music, Bowery Poetry Club, Franke Center for the Arts & more, as well as in advisory & solidarity roles with Let Us Breathe Collective & Honey Pot Performance.
As an independent producer& strategist, his recent collaborators include Renegade Performance Group, The Gates Preserve, The Westside Justice Center, UMedics, Allied Media Projects, The DuSable Heritage Association, Raymond Whittaker Design & Joy Strategies.
Oral History|Dramaturgy|Multimedia Storytelling|Community Arts Convening & Curation|Field Recording|Audio Production|Political Strategy|Advocacy|
RESIDENCIES / FELLOWSHIPS / AWARDS
CCCADI DEAR Fellowship, 2021
City Bureau Fall Reporting Fellowship, 2018
City of Evanston Cultural Fund Grant, 2016
BMRC Summer Research Fellowship, 2016
Thread At Yale, 2015
Producer, Ippies Award for Best Multimedia Package, Feet in Two Worlds, 2014
Kathryn Davis Fellow--Portuguese, Middlebury College, 2013
Visiting Teacher, Brooklyn Community Arts & Media High School, 2009
Herskovits Undergraduate Research Award, Northwestern University, 2004-05
CIRA Award, The Graduate School at Northwestern University, 2003-04
VONA Winter Intensive, 2021
VONA Summer Workshop, 2020
Chicago Torture Justice Center Liberatory Memory Workshop, 2019
Vocalo Storytellers Workshop, Chicago Public Media, 2015
Families for Freedom Speakers Bureau, 2014
Feet in 2 Worlds/Cowbird Workshop, The New School, 2013
City Lore/ Transom Documentary Institute, 2013
Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies, Northwestern University, 2006
National and Great Lakes Regional Trainings, Industrial Areas Foundation, 2005
Haitian Kreyol Summer Institute, Florida International University, 2004
2021-Present (Premiering Fall '23)
City Lore Young Professionals Advisory Board, 2014-15
Selebrasyon! Arts Festival Advisory Board, Haiti Cultural Exchange, 2014
Founding Board Member, Thick Routes Performance Collage (predecessor of Honey Pot Performance), 2006-07
Artists 4 Reparations, Core Committee, 2002-04
(Moderator) Erol Josué Residency talkback DuSable Museum of African American History /Old Town School of Folk Music/ Chicago DCASE 2021
The Ujamaa Hour Podcast (At The Crossroads of Listening, Language, & Liberation) Season 3, Episode 6 2020
(Roundtable) No Bois Man No Fraid talkback Old Town School of Folk Music, 2019
“Shango Electric: Sacred Speech-acts in Black Publics” Black Portraitures IV Harvard University, 2018
(Moderator) “Performing Black Masculinities: Where, How and for Whom?” Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 2017
(Roundtable) “Drafting Memory: Multimedia Journalism & Haiti’s Digital Archive” Caribbean Studies Association Port-au-Prince, Haiti 2016
“Rele Ountogi” Caribbean Studies Association Port-au-Prince, Haiti 2016
(Roundtable) “Ritual, Spiritual, and Digital Technologies in Action” African Diaspora Religious Studies Association Harvard University, 2016
“When the Lakou goes Digital” Haitian Studies Association Montreal, Canada 2015
(Moderator) History Tellers: Migration and Community, Beyond Coasts: Haiti in the Mid-West Symposium Northwestern University, 2015
#BlackLivesMatter panel, MLK Day DuSable Museum of African American History, 2015
“Rasin/Chimen (Roots/Routes)” Bowery Poetry Club, 2014
B-Side Caribbean Heritage Month Special BRIC TV, 2014
DuSable Day DuSable Museum of African American History, 2014
“Coal City Star” Luaka Bop Records/HellaCrisis, NY Art Book Fair MoMA PS1, 2013
IFÁ - OHÙN OLÓDÙMARÈ (IFÁ - Voice of Almighty God) - Dr. Ifábùkúnmi Ò. Adéwále, 2012
DrumLanguage, podcapsule exploration of the African Diasporic experience
Feet in 2 Worlds (Fi2W.org)
Haitian All-StarZ Radio (WBAI New York)