Maimouna Youssef (aka Mumu Fresh) to keynote MLK Day celebration

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Maimouna Youssef is an Afro-Native singer, songwriter, emcee, activist and educator who has performed all over the world. Photo courtesy of the artist
Maimouna Youssef is an Afro-Native singer, songwriter, emcee, activist and educator who has performed all over the world. Photo courtesy of the artist

Grammy-nominated musician and activist Maimouna Youssef (aka Mumu Fresh) will deliver a creative keynote at University of Puget Sound’s 33rd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Thursday, Jan. 24. Free and open to the public, the event will be held from 7-8:30 p.m. in Wheelock Student Center. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and a reception follows the event.

Vivie Nguyen, director of Puget Sound’s Office of Intercultural Engagement, says the event aims to draw connections between the civil rights movement and ongoing anti-racism movements. “My hope for this celebration is to bring the greater campus and Tacoma communities together to honor the progress and efforts of the past and to acknowledge that there is ongoing work to be done regarding civil rights: within ourselves, on our campus, in our community and country,” said Nguyen.

Youssef is an Afro-Native singer, songwriter, emcee, activist, and educator. She has performed all over the world with artists such as Common, The Roots, Sting, Erykah Badu, Ed Sheeran, and Nas. The songstress has released six independent projects including a 2017 album titled “Vintage Babies.” In 2018, her performance on NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series received critical acclaim and viral viewership.

Youssef became a musical ambassador for the United States in 2017 and traveled throughout Central America performing and facilitating workshops. She is committed to what she describes as “art activism,” and has performed numerous times in U.S. prisons. She works with a wide variety of organizations, including the Congressional Black Caucus and W.K. Kellogg Foundation, to bring awareness to important social issues.

“Maimouna’s voice, being, background and delivery all encompass the very things we seek this celebration to be,” said Nguyen. “She is extremely multifaceted and talented, accessible and powerful, speaking to a wide breadth of generations.

“Fame and accolades aside, I believe that her lived experience and perspective as an Afro-Native woman – and how these have shaped her music and message – are things that will deeply draw the audience in, and which the audience will leave reflecting upon.”

Puget Sound’s 33rd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration is made possible through partnerships and dialogue among Puget Sound’s Office of Intercultural Engagement, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Black Student Union and African American Studies Program.

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