MEET PIERCE

Pierce Freelon is a musician, professor and social entrepreneur with a passion for creativity and community. Born and raised in Durham, he earned a BA in African and African American Studies at UNC Chapel Hill and an MA in Pan African Studies at Syracuse University. He has taught music, political science and African American studies at UNC Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University.

Pierce is the founder of Blackspace, a digital maker space where young people learn about music, film and coding, and front man of the jazz hip-hop band The Beast. He also co-founded Beat Making Lab, an Emmy-Award winning PBS web-series and social entrepreneurship community program. Inspiring young people has always been a focus of his; he has performed, lectured and collaborated internationally.

Community service has always been a priority for Pierce, having served on the board for the North Carolina Arts Council, among a number of other nonprofit boards.

Pierce lives in Durham with his wife Katye and their two children.