Courageous Conversations

34 3Arts supporters
$3,110 raised of $3,000 goal
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Funded on April 15, 2019
    • 104% contributed

Courageous Conversations is a project I’ve been developing over the last two years utilizing innovative gameplay to facilitate conversations centered around the construction of Blackness. As a Black woman in America, I feel this dialogue present at every level of daily life via the media, personal interactions, and political discourse. Courageous Conversations is designed as an invitation for individuals to engage in a larger discussion about race and ethnicity. Intersecting humor and gamification, participant’s notions about Blackness are challenged through facilitated conversations.  Players are charged to “out-black” their opponent utilizing a deck of “Trading Races”, a card game developed by me. Since its inception, “Trading Races” has helped to fuel transformative experiences and give players a safe space to critically examine how they construct Blackness and its malleability. With the community's support through this campaign, I will produce a three-part immersive series of Courageous Conversations focusing on the following themes: the racial divide in Chicago, race in the public education system, and one’s personal understanding of race.  

About This Project

Race, as a concept in America, holds such a dichotomy that it isolates and intimidates individuals from exploring the evolving constructs of race; particularly Blackness. This project invites allies to begin cultivating dialogues that dismantles damaging constructs of race while examining historical contexts and discourses.  Embracing dialogue as a prolific tool of activism, Courageous Conversations seeks to empower communities to continue these conversations in the aim of creating real and impactful social change.  

This project is cathartic for me, because, in the simplest terms, it helps me to answer the question… who am I? For some, this question is straight forward. But for me, it involves my view of myself and how I’m seen within and outside of the Black community.

There appeared to be a hierarchy of Blackness that was somehow understood yet unspoken.  In a society in which one can “have their Black card revoked,” I knew the need for this conversation was essential and provocative. I wanted to create a space to unearth a conversation about Blackness that engages the participant without judgement or fear; a space that allows people to begin to question their construction of Blackness and its fluidity.  

By utilizing participatory art and gameplay, Courageous Conversations creates a space for debate and conversation. Whether consciously or subconsciously, we are constantly redefining the notion of Blackness. Dialogue is a powerful tool for gaining understanding and building empathy around this fluid issue. Courageous Conversations is urgently needed in our current social ecosystems where the narrative around Blackess is being hotly debated without active participation or critical thought.

Funds from this campaign will enable the funds from this campaign will enable the Courageous Conversations to come to life. to evolve into this next stage. With your support, I plan to organize three events that will examine language, identity (perceptions), and society's expectations involving race and identity. A project of this size and intention requires resources for space rental, food, administration, publicity/marketing, production, and compensating the facilitators. Having these funds will enable us to do our best work. My hope is that Courageous Conversations will extend its reach and empower more individuals and communities to engage in uncomfortable conversations about race.

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $25
    Digital thank you: a permanent feature of your name on our website. ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    Above + Deck of "Trading Races" Game - playing card game in which participants attempt to “out-Black” their opponent. ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $75
    Above + 1 expansion pack of your choice - Pack of themed cards to add to the original "Trading Races" game. ($37.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    Above + 2 expansion packs - Both packs of themed cards to add to the original "Trading Races" game. ($50.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $150
    Above + Traveling tote bag from "Trading Races." ($75.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $250
    Above + Invitation to "I Am Not Your Negro" game night and custom "Trading Races" card of yourself or a person of your choice (limited to 20). ($100.00 is tax deductible.)

Kenyatta Forbes

Make a Wave Artist

Kenyatta Forbes is a multidisciplinary artist who uses her own experiences as a Black woman to open a dialogue about the construction of "blackness." Using humor, gamification, and her experience as an educator, Kenyatta fuses together a safe space for …

View Kenyatta Forbes's profile
  • Update 1: Thank you so much.
    Posted on April 12, 2019


    My heart is so full.  Words can not describe how incredibly thankful I am to have a community that not only understands this work but see how important it is to continuously use dialogue as a foundation for change.  

    This is only the beginning.  

    Update 2: WE GOT GAME SERIES
    Posted on June 08, 2019


    I am so happy to annouce that we are on track!


    The week of June 10th, we'll be headed to a Chicago High School for a special intimate facliltation of Trading Races with the youth of Chicago.  We're excited to engage students in conversations and introduce educators to Trading Races.


    Additioanlly, we're exctited to partner with Arts + Public Life to produce the WE GOT GAME SERIES.  Please join us for Part 1: My Kind of Town, Chicago.   Details below!




    Part 1: My Kind of Town, Chicago


    WED, JUN 26 | 6:00pm-9:00pm | Free

    Arts Incubator, 301 E Garfield Blvd.


    Game Night curated by Trading Races game maker Kenyatta Forbes and Tonika Johnson of Folded Map™ Project.

    Conversation moderated by Kara Wright, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Partner at MindHearted.


    Featuring ecofriendly and socially conscious handmade goods available for purchase by @ReformedSchool


    We Got Game invites guests on a three-part exploration of game design and game culture through experiences curated by Chicago-based artists and game-makers, paired with thorny, heavy, and humorous conversations. Part 1, My Kind of Town: Chicago, invites guests to experience a curated game night with the focus of diving deep into complex conversations around race and politics central to the City of Chicago. Open game play following conversation. A special expansion pack of “Trading Races” will also be created featuring individuals from Chicago.


    Click here to RSVP

    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Melissa Fox

    • Ruth Ann Harnisch

    • Jennifer reeder

    • William Estrada

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Jasmine Gardunio

    • Tonika Johnson

    • Bradley Murray

    • Bradley Murray

    • Brighid O'Shaughnessy

    • Tatiana Gant

    • Juliet Dervin

    • Elvia Rodriguez Ochoa

    • Mark Surman

    • Hannah Kane

    • Sydney Chatman

    • Talythnia Forbes

    • Jon Satrom

    • Jacquelyn Eckert

    • Kara Wright

    • Angelica Callanta

    • Kirsten Leenaars

    • Amelia Flemming

    • Roberta Ulrich-de Oliveira

    • Maria Hibbs

    • Ashlyn Sparrow

    • Megan Jeyifo

    • Jennie Magiera

    • Caeana Sanders

    • Jessica Rosenberg

    • Willie Winters

    • Chandler Sansing

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Peter Gaona

make it work


3AP Presenting Partner:

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 Additional support provided by: 

Department of Cultural Affairs logo  Illinois Arts Council