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Combatting the Myth of Absence

Updated: Feb 16, 2021

Listening to Learn: Khalil Kinsey, Chief Operating Officer and Curator of The Kinsey Collection sits down with Zara Jones to talk about the Myth of Absence; a theory that states if we are not talking about "it", then "it" never happened. After you finish watching the video, work through the discussion cards below or join the conversation by commenting on what you've learned from this interview.

About Khalil Kinsey:

Khalil Kinsey showed an affinity for the arts and culture from a very young age. Having been exposed to the world early on through travel with his parents, he developed a deep appreciation for the similarities that bond us as human beings, as well as the diversity that is to be learned from and celebrated. Khalil has always found inspiration through creative expression and worked in the action sports, fashion, and music industries for many years where he built a reputation as a trend forecaster. With growing awareness and pride for the work of his parents in spreading the often-untaught knowledge of African American achievement and contribution, Khalil began working alongside them in 2009 and serves as General Manager and Curator for The Kinsey African American Art & History Collection. He oversees The Kinsey Collection exhibitions and properties – including operations, museum services, strategic partnerships, and more.

Khalil also serves as Vice President of The Bernard and Shirley Kinsey Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that focuses on educational outreach and reform. He provides a refreshing perspective to the organization and has a deep desire to reach the youth that so desperately needs the knowledge of self. He travels around the country speaking to audiences about the importance of African American history, racial equity/social justice, as well as art collecting and cultural appreciation/preservation. With a passion for youth and youth culture, Khalil works with many organizations across the country, offering consultation in the areas of education reform, mentoring, marketing and communication. Following the family tradition, Khalil attended Florida A & M University, where he studied Journalism and is an avid traveler.

About Zara Jones:

Zara Jones is the ambitious Girl Scout that worked hard to bring the Plano African American Museum to life, in addition to centralizing & mobilizing Plano Black History by creating She's a Senior at Plano West, Author, Podcast Host, Youth Content Curator for Dallas Professional Women, Lifestyle Blogger and Creator of Zest of Life w/Zara. Zara has volunteered alongside her family as soon as she was able to walk. With a lifetime spent on volunteering, fixing broken things, and leaving spaces in a better condition than she found them in, Zara carries the legacy of servicing others first. She credits her amazing support system to her parents and community that have modeled this environment her entire life! After spending 11+ months working on the project, Zara sits down with one of her inspirations Khalil Kinsey.

Exhibit Activity & Questions:

  1. Tell us about the young Khalil and the spark of curiosity that led you to ask your parents about your heritage.

  2. Were there times as a young Khalil, that you felt disconnected from your heritage, and what did you do to connect and learn about it over time?

  3. What are some ways we can learn about our heritage?

  4. What advice would you give others that have never considered it or have abandoned trying to learn about it because of the painful past that associated with African-Americans in the United States?

  5. Tell us about 3 of your most impressionable artifacts or pieces of history that are part of the Kinsey Collection. Have those changed over time?

  6. What are 5 things you hope all people learn from exhibits that honor the contributions of all people and why do you think it is important?

  7. Were there times you ever wanted to stop learning because of the painful history associated with the artifacts collected? What advice would you give others on the lenses they should wear when they examine the historical contributions and stories of the past?

  8. Let's go back in time for a moment. What if the young Khalil had access to resources like the National Black History Museum, the Smithsonian, and a collection like the one your family has collected over the decades, how do you think life would be different for a young Khalil and other kids of color and African-American heritage?

  9. What call to action do you have for parents, educators, and the adults of the world that focus on improving communities to embrace exhibits like the legacy your family has created with the Kinsey Collection and the inspiration you've sparked for the Plano African American Museum online exhibit?

  10. During your journey of discovering Black heritage and history, what stood out to you the most?

  11. Tell us about the journey you had being surrounded by Black history, heritage, and contributions throughout your later life and how that has shaped you as a person. What have you noticed in yourself that maybe others may not know? How have you used your voice, knowledge, and viewpoints to help others during times of racial indifference to erase some of the damaging viewpoints of Black history and culture? How did you use your voice and how did that action move the needle or influence positive change?

  12. Why is history important and what can we learn from it?

  13. This project was very challenging because it was hard to track down history from official archives like the library and other historical resources. Why do you think it is much harder to find, locate, evaluate and curate Black history and what can we do to help improve the process of locating Black history for future generations?

  14. Do you think exhibits like the Kinsey Collection help change the perception of Black culture that's amplified through the mainstream media (news, movies, books, fictional characters, history books?)


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