black out loud

The first Black Out Loud Conference — a three-day event designed to celebrate Black visibility in the arts, media and activism — is coming to Baton Rouge Aug. 10-12, Donney Rose has announced.

Local poet, activist and teaching artist Rose will host the conference, which is being sponsored by the Urban Congress on African American Males in Baton Rouge, Design Baton Rouge, The Bluest Ink LLC, and Healthcare Gallery & Wellness Spa.

"Deriving its name from Rose’s February 2017 book of the same name, the conference seeks to assist participants with tools and resources to better push their narratives from outside the margins to center," a news release says. "The conference’s keynote address will be delivered by TMZ senior producer and Baton Rouge native Van Lathan, who is now widely known for confronting rapper Kanye West on his thoughts on slavery."

Conference registration fees range from $20 to $65, with full weekend packages or single day options available. Volunteer opportunities as well as sponsorship and vendor packages are still available. For information, visit

The conference will open Aug. 10 with performances, a video presentation on the power of voice/advocacy, and a networking cocktail hour. On Aug. 11, attendees will take part in workshops and panel discussions featuring subject matter experts in the fields of art, media and activism sharing best practices on controlling their narratives and ensuring theirs struggle are addressed. The conference will end with a brunch on Aug. 12. 

In addition to his TMZ work, Lathan, who resides in Los Angeles, is also a screenwriter, essayist and the host of The Red Pill podcast.

Other confirmed speakers and panelists include Michael “Quess” Moore, co-founder of Take Em Down NOLA, the movement that encouraged the removal of Confederate statues in New Orleans. In addition to Rose, the conference development team includes Ronaldo Hardy, sponsorship & development; Lynette Pierce, volunteer coordinator/logistics manager; Marcel Williams, talent coordinator; and Leslie D. Rose, publicity.

For more information, visit or email To register, go to

Follow Judy Bergeron on Twitter, @judybergeronbr.