Black Table Arts is a left-of-center identity-politics organization that focuses on promoting the arts in African-American communities, primarily in the Minneapolis area. The organization has sponsored a number of projects including compilation books of the work of African-American poets, theatre projects focused on left-progressive racial issues, and other race-based community outreach issues. The organization has also worked with other race-based advocacy organizations such as local and state chapters of Black Lives Matter to host events to push left-progressive identity-politics agendas.
Because Black Life Conference
The Because Black Life Conference is an annual conference hosted by Black Table Arts that focuses on identity-politics issues. The organization says that the conference covers such issues as using trap music as a tool to help us “interact with the earth,” abolishing borders between countries, and fighting a supposed “rising police state.” According to a Facebook post advertising the event, certain workshops at the event were segregated by race and restrict entry for white attendees of the conference. The event is cohosted by a number of liberal organizations including Black Lives Matter Minnesota, a member organization of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation; NAACP MPLS, the Minnesota branch of the NAACP; and other race-motivated organizations. 1
George Floyd Protests
Black Table Arts promoted and sponsored a number of projects and fundraisers created in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police officer in 2020. The organization promoted a fundraiser which totaled more than $100,000 in donations in support of protesters arrested for violence against police officers and destruction of private property in a number of cities across the United States. 2
Keno Evol is the founder and executive director for Black Table Arts. He is a poet and author from Chicago and performs the bulk of his advocacy in the Midwest. He is active in publishing far-left articles on issues including police brutality, illegal immigration, and a wide variety of race issues. Evol wrote an article for Libcom.com, a Communist online publication, highlighting and praising an “occupation” in Minneapolis in which rioters overthrew a police precinct, burned the station, looted businesses, and blocked public roads for a number of days. 3
Black Table Arts receives funding from a number of left-of-center organizations as well as through fundraisers on crowdfunding platforms. Notably, the organization has received grants of an undisclosed amount from Headwaters Foundation For Justice, a left-of-center grantmaking organization based in Minneapolis4 and an $8,150 grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, a Minnesota-based grantmaking organization that makes grants primarily to left-of-center organizations focused on advocacy through the arts. 5 The organization also received a $5,000 grant from the state of Minnesota as part of its Cultural Community Partnership Grant program which funds a number of arts-oriented organizations, which are often motivated by identity politics and other left-of-center issues. 6
- “Because Black Life Conference.” Black Table Arts Facebook. Accessed June 27, 2020. https://www.facebook.com/events/rarig-center/the-because-black-life-conference-2019/2055783117841619/.
- “Raising Money to Support Anti-Police-Brutality Protesters.” Black Table Arts Facebook. Accessed June 27, 2020.
- “#4thprecinctshutdown: a statement on magic and resistance.” Keno Evol. Libcom.com. Accessed June 27, 2020. https://libcom.org/library/4thprecinctshutdown-statement-magic-resistance-keno-evol.
- “Grantee Partners.” Headwaters Foundation for Justice. Accessed June 27, 2020. https://headwatersfoundation.org/grants/hfj-grantee-partners/.
- “Arts project support FY20 round 3 awards.” MRAC. Accessed
- “FY 2018 Grantees.” Minnesota State Arts Board. Accessed June 27, 2020.