Tickets & Events

Sunstar Festival

KST Presents

Women & Music 

Curated in partnership with the SCALE Fellowship Program

Saturday, March 18

Kelly Strayhorn Theater | 5941 Penn Ave.
Pay What Moves You: $25 – $40


Access the digital program

KST’s annual Sunstar Festival celebrates the power and diversity of creative women in music. Since its 2009 inception, Sunstar has highlighted a diversity of women musical artists, centered BIPOC women and welcomed women and femmes across gender expressions. For 2023, KST is thrilled to collaborate with the SCALE Fellowship Program of the Equity Impact Center to curate a musically diverse program featuring women across a spectrum of identities. Featuring performances from Toshi Reagon, DJ FEMI, Lola Cole, and Casaundra, hosted by Diarra Imani

Toshi Reagon is presented in partnership with Point Park University’s Pittsburgh Playhouse. On March 30 – April 2, 2023 the Playhouse presents Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower created by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon. Tickets are on sale now!

Image Credit: Courtesy the Artists 


Sunstar Roundtable 
with Leigh Solomon Pugliano

Saturday, March 18

Kelly Strayhorn Theater | 5941 Penn Ave.
Pay What Moves You: $0 – $25

Click for more details…


Toshi Reagon (Singer, Composer, Musician, Curator, Producer) is an award-winning multi-talented and versatile singer, composer, musician, with a profound ear for sonic Americana—from folk to funk, from blues to rock. While her expansive career has landed her at Carnegie Hall, the Paris Opera House and Madison Square Garden, you can just as easily find Toshi turning out at a music festival, intimate venue or local club. Inspired by the visionary and prescient story telling of Octavia E. Butler, Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon created the opera Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower, which premiered in 2017 at NYUAD Arts Center in Abu Dhabi and to date, has been performed on four continents.The opera will be presented at Pittsburgh Playhouse March 30 – April 2, 2023. Toshi resides in Brooklyn NY. From there she continues to tour as a solo artist and with her band Toshi Reagon and BIGLovely.

Based in Studio City, CA, Lola Cole combines her Mississippi Blues roots with her Native Atlanta Soul to give voice to God and Freedom. She has been considered a hybrid artist; singing and writing with a conscious/activist mindset from a spiritual viewpoint. With a deep appreciation for jazz and the history of music culture, Lola calls her sound cultural art. It is a blend of her ingenious, black, southern, music roots. Lola recently captivated audiences at Atlanta Dogwood Festival, Atlanta Pride Festival, SXSW 2016 for the ChooseATL Takeover and returned to the stage at SXSW 2018. From sharing stages with artists like Prisca, LeCrae, Khari Simmons, The Shadowboxers, Cleveland P. Jones, All Cows Eat Grass, and more.

Born and raised on the East Side of Pittsburgh, DJ FEMI strives to be a beacon of light in the night life and a prime example that women can be great DJs, business women, and entrepreneurs. In recent years, FEMI has been set up with some amazing opportunities, like performing with the legendary Sheila E. at Stage AE and opening up for Pi’erre Bourne at The Roxian Theatre. Some of her favorite moments also include, but aren’t limited to, djing for Chandra Rhyme (2021 SCALE Fellow) at Stage AE for the big scale showcase, in Las Vegas for the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight and some private events in Washington, D.C. where she opened up for Shoreline Mafia, UNIIQU3, Rico Nasty and Dai Burger, as well as many more artists.

Casaundra is a R&B/Soul singer, songwriter and composer from Pittsburgh, PA. Her “Motivation Music,” is very intentional in its goal to address self-care, awareness and healing. Casaundra has performed at the Oaks Theater with the likes of Etta Cox for “Ladies of Jazz” in 2018. She has also shared the stage with phenomenal Pittsburgh singers, Anita Levels and Tereasa Hawthorne, in “Pittsburgh’s Divine Divas”. Her short-term goals include putting out singles and curating music-related events for Pittsburgh’s immediate neighborhoods and surrounding communities.

Diarra Imani is a Pittsburgh-based artist that is dedicated to truth-telling in her work. Whether it be through song, poetry, or painting, Diarra’s work is centered around her story of becoming and the truths of the journey. Diarra finds that a lot of music and entertainment centers on a false life. She believes her role as an artist is to tell the truth to her listeners, to her comrades, and to the folks who are witnessing her without her knowing. Diarra’s artistry is multidimensional. She uses paint to illuminate a vision, poetry to evoke feeling, and song to reflect and create moments in time. Diarra realized how much she loved bringing music to people in masses around 15 years old, when she played Solomon Steel Pans during the Christmas parade of 2012 for the Urban Pathways Steelpan band. Diarra has since been granted travel to Ghana with the Teaching Artist Institute and performed during the Ghana Music Awards.


The Equity | Impact Center addresses systemic inequity through broad social, cultural, and economic solutions and comprehensive, intentionally designed initiatives. We provide capacity-building, leadership development, and organizational development support to advance social justice missions through programs and initiatives that address systemic inequity. The Equity | Impact Center understands that social justice and nonprofit organizations have a commitment to meet their mission in order to address the inequities that exist in our society but must operate and fully function as other institutions do. Because systemic inequity impacts people across communities, identities, and areas of work, we intend to provide the necessary learning, tools, resources, space and strategies to support, advance, and sustain this work.

The SCALE Fellowship was designed by Leigh Solomon Pugliano in 2019 to provide individualized artist development, entrepreneurial skill-building curriculum, and intentional opportunities for Black women in music to connect, share, learn, grow, and collaborate. Each cohort will accepts up to 8 participants for the 8-month program and provides Fellows with a financial award along with additional funds for: equipment, technology, business development, recording, branding, and legal support. SCALE will support Black women in music in designing business strategies along with space to create, produce, and present their work. The program provides resources (knowledge, network, financial) as well as the support needed to develop a sustainable career and overcome the challenges that exist for Black artists. The SCALE Fellowship intends to:

  • create an affirmative space for Black women in music to connect
  • provide financial support to Black women in music
  • provide a platform to showcase Black women in music
  • provide entrepreneurial skill-building tools and resources to Black women in music
  • support the development of an equity-centered, inclusive, and elevating music ecosystem for emerging artists