The Riverside Theatre
91 Claremont Avenue, between 120th and 121st streets


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May 17 2024


5:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Formats (virtual, in person, hybrid)


Reel Sisters Celebrates Women in Hip Hop

Join us for an evening of readings and episode screening of Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip Hop, a Netflix docuseries honoring the powerful women of hip hop music and culture. CR Capers, founder of the Hip Hop Film Festival, will lead a discussion with Crystal Whaley, co-executive producer of episode 4 of Ladies First, DJ Franchella, and Evangeline Lawson, photographer and front cover artists of African Voices’ Hip Hop @50th Issue.

Derick Cross, AV Art Director & Beatbox performer, will MC the event. The evening will kick off with selected readings from our issue, including a performance by poet Avery Danae Williams.



CR Capers is the Founder and CEO of Harlem Film House, a 501(c) (3) corporation that turns artists into creative entrepreneurs. As Executive Director, CR creates and produces film & music festivals and operates year-round workshops, theatre productions and live events, while also offering business consulting to filmmakers and content creators in underserved communities around the world.

Crystal Whaley is a writer, director, and EMMY Award-winning producer in film/TV/digital with over 20 years of experience and specialized expertise in content development and content creation. Crystal recently co-executive produced the 2024 NAACP Image Award Nominated & 2023 Critics Choice Award Nominated premium documentary series Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip Hop, currently streaming on Netflix, produced an eight-episodic narrative series for a streamer, served as a supervising producer for 2023 Emmy nominated MSNBC documentary series, Model America and They Called Him Mostly Harmless a documentary for Max premiering summer 2024. For more info on Crystal, visit

Liza Jessie Peterson is an artivist; an actress, playwright, poet, author and youth advocate who has worked steadfast with incarcerated populations for more than two decades. Her critically acclaimed one woman show, The Peculiar Patriot, was nominated for a Drama Desk Award, Elliot Norton and a recipient of a Lilly Award. The play is also available on Audible. Liza performed The Peculiar Patriot in 35 prisons across the country and a documentary, Angola Do You Hear Us; Voices from a Plantation Prison, features her historic performance of The Peculiar Patriot at Louisiana State Penitentiary (aka Angola), which is streaming on Paramount Plus and Amazon Prime, and was shortlist for an Academy Award.

Liza is the lead writer on a television series in development with Felicity Huffman and John Wells Production.

Evangeline Lawson is a multi-talented photographer, writer, and filmmaker committed to creating and telling culture-preserving stories. She is the guest photographer for African Voices’ massive exploration, in print and digital, of hip-hop culture, “Hip-hop at 50: Where Do We Go From Here?” Evangeline’s photography also appears on the cover of Arts Today, on both the poetry book and spoken word poetry album covers of Kevin Powell’s Grocery Shopping With My Mother, and throughout the documentary film When We Free The World, a meditation on Black manhood and Black fatherhood in America, of which Evangeline is also co-producer and co-writer.

DJ Franchella: After moving to Bedstuy just days after graduating from UCLA, Franchella expanded her musical knowledge to the sounds of Brooklyn & uptown. Within months after moving to New York as part of a teaching fellowship, Franchella became a DJ. A native of the west coast, caught between two generations, Franchella’s music diversity allows her to play for any crowd. From spinning at some of New York’s clubs like The Anthony to hot spots in Europe, Puerto Rico & Bermuda to DJing her curated events, Franchella is known to keep the party going and the vibes right no matter the occasion. Franchella’s claim to fame includes DJing twice for the Beyhive VIP pre-party during Beyonce’s Formation Tour, both stops in New York City.