Oakland native, Antoine Hunter aka Purple Fire Crow is an award-winning internationally known African-American, Indigenous, Deaf, Disabled, choreographer, dancer, actor, instructor, speaker, producer and Deaf advocate. He creates opportunities for Disabled, Deaf and hearing artists, produces Deaf-friendly events, and founded the Urban Jazz Dance Company in 2007 and Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival in 2013. Awards include the USA Artists Fellowship, 2022 Disability Futures Fellowship, 2021 Dance Teacher Award, 2019 National Dance/USA fellowship recognized by the Mayor of Oakland, 2018 inaugural Jeanette Lomujo Bremond Humanity Arts Award and 2017 Isadora Duncan (Izzie) for BAIDDF.
Hunter’s work has been performed globally and he has lectured across the U.S. including at Kennedy Center’s VSA, Harvard and Duke University, and the National Assembly of State Arts as an ambassador for social change. Hunter utilizes his company’s artistic talents to engage with audiences, empower Deaf and disabled communities, and advocate for human rights and access, working to end discrimination and prejudice.
His shoe company DropLabs and Susan Paley released an innovative haptic product to help people feel music. Hunter curated 2021 Bay Area Deaf Arts at SOMArts, is a 2021 YBCA 100 honoree, is on the production team of Signing Animation actively working on inclusive films and serves on the boards of Dance/USA, BABDA, Museum of Dance and councils for CalArts Alumnx and Intrinsic Arts.
In response to Covid-19 in July 2020, Hunter founded #DeafWoke, an online talk show that amplifies BIPOC Deaf and Disabled stories as a force for cultural change. www.realurbanjazzdance.com
Founded in 2007 by Deaf dancer and choreographer Antoine Hunter, Urban Jazz Dance Company’s (UJDC) mission is to uplift and provide opportunities for Deaf, Hard of hearing (Hoh) and Disabled artists from marginalized backgrounds.
UJDC amplifies visibility and creates opportunities for Deaf artists through programming by 1) being a Deaf-led dance company highlighting Deaf experiences, 2) teaching dance classes to Deaf and hearing dancers, 3) annually producing the Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival (BAIDDF) and social justice Deaf Louder November home seasons, both platforms for Deaf artists to celebrate their talents through performance/workshops that engage 70 artists and 750 attendees, 4) Deaf Dance Festivals in other locations including San Diego, Rochester NY and Turkey, 5) touring Deaf’s IMPRISONED Internationally, a production exploring Deaf Diaspora and how a Deaf person lives in a “prison within a prison”, 6) school engagements serving over 5,800 youth per year with 47% of whom are from low income backgrounds, 7) community workshops with local museums and organizations, 8) the ongoing virtual #DeafWoke and 9) teaching contracted organizations Deaf/Disabled access/inclusion practices through UJDC Access Services program.