By Gloria Howell, Bicentennial Intern, Class of 2018, Doctoral Student, Higher Education & Student Affairs, Bloomington
The African American Arts Institute (AAAI) was established in 1974. Comprised of three dynamic ensembles (IU Soul Revue, African American Dance Company, and African American Choral Ensemble), the AAAI is the nation's first and only university-based program dedicated to the performance and promotion of Black music and dance.
The late Herman Hudson, who served as Vice Chancellor for Afro-American Affairs, proposed the establishment of the IU Soul Revue in 1971 after recognizing the artistic gifts that Black students were displaying during talent shows in their residence halls. Due to the influx of students expressing interest in the IU Soul Revue, Hudson formed the African American Dance Company in 1974 and officially developed the Afro-American Arts Institute that same year. The African American Choral Ensemble was formed in 1975.
Today, the AAAI ensembles attract over 10,000 audience and community members at performances, workshops, conferences, lecture presentations, and other events in both the United States and abroad.