Meshell Ndegeocello
Chapter and Verse: The Gospel of James Baldwin

Inspired by the writing of James Baldwin
Created by Meshell Ndegeocello
In collaboration with Charlotte Brathwaite
Featuring the contributions of Staceyann Chin, Suné Woods, Nicholas Galanin, and others to be announced

A Co-Production of Bismillah, LLC, Fisher Center at Bard, and Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre

Co-Commissioned by Live Arts Bard, UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre, and Festival de Marseille.

“No label, no slogan, no party, no skin color, and no religion is more important than the human being.”—James Baldwin

A project inspired by James Baldwin’s truth-telling treaty on justice in America, The Fire Next Time, and our endlessly changing world. Chapter & Verse: The Gospel of James Baldwin is a 21st century ritual tool kit for justice. A call for revolution. A gift during turbulent times. 

Dates: September – December, 2020
Location: Online

“This is my offering to you. This is a different experience, so I hope you have an open mind, or at least an open heart. I see James Baldwin as an Orisha, his writing as the living word. I wanted to pay homage to him and to the time and effort it took to sit, to physically and emotionally fill the page with a truth that made my own sorrow feel less lonely.” Meshell Ndegeocello



Participants are invited to engage in an urgent and critical investigation of race, religion, sexual orientation, America and its status quo, celebrating Baldwin’s ideas and legacy through music and visual imagery, calling for Individual actions remotely executed in unison. Using the vernacular of a church service, structured rituals or worship, empowerment, and sacred practices inspire the gifts the project will offer each month for free. Each month, September–December 2020, these gifts—music, thoughts, meditations, and visual testimonies of resilience inspired by James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time—can be accessed via

1. Call: Dial a toll-free telephone number and discover songs, meditations, and chants to ease your mind any time, day or night, when you need it most: 1-833-4-BALDWIN (1-833-422-5394).

2. See: Experience visual testimonies of Baldwin’s text, with original music created by Meshell and artistic collaborators, including Suné Woods, Nicholas Galanin, and Charlotte Brathwaite. Sign up for new content alerts here!

3. Read: Sign up for our monthly broadsheet, featuring Baldwin’s words and calls to action, delivered 4 times, directly to your mailbox.

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