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jerryking : blackness   13

At Howard University, Homecoming Is a Pilgrimage
November 17, 2019 The New York Times | Written by Bianca Ladipo.

At Howard University in Washington, homecoming encompasses more than collegiate nostalgia; it’s a celebration of black culture, a music and arts festival, a history lesson, a community reunion.....The weekend, which usually falls in mid-October, begins with Yardfest, held on the several-acre green at the heart of the 152-year-old historically black university.......Over the last decade, institutions of higher education across the country have struggled with declining enrollment, historically black colleges and universities being among the hardest hit. But recently, enrollment at H.B.C.U.s has begun to rebound as the schools have become increasingly visible in the culture. .... Howard aka“The Mecca.”....the term emerged after the Civil Rights Movement. In the wake of the death of Malcolm X and in the spirit of the Black Power movement, students began to informally refer to the campus as “The Mecca of black education.”... the current political climate is causing young black students to think in new ways about the college experience — what it means to grow intellectually in a predominantly black space. Homecoming pilgrimages at H.B.C.U.s, he added, are unique reflections of such spaces and their histories.....While most of Howard’s students are not affiliated with sororities and fraternities, the presence of Greek life is strong. Trees around the campus yard are painted with the emblems of each organization, marking meeting places for members. Of the nine national Black Greek letter organizations, five of them were founded at Howard. 
African-Americans  alumni  blackness  Black_Power  black_pride  Colleges_&_Universities  education  emotional_connections  fraternities  friendships  hard_times  HBCUs  homecoming  Howard  pilgrimage  Washington_D.C.   
november 2019 by jerryking
What It’s Like to Be a Black Man in Japan
March 9, 2019 | The New York Times |By Adeel Hassan.

diverse blackness is in Japan was limited. Through the column, I’ve learned of black lawyers, university presidents, stuntmen, filmmakers, J-pop idols, entrepreneurs galore, even true expats with political aspirations. This had the impact on me that I was hoping it would have on our Japanese hosts.

Second, I learned how writing is a form of activism. I never intended to be an activist but it’s inevitable that if you take on issues with passion and persuasiveness that will lend itself to activism. By virtue of your prominence, people will look to you for leadership. It’s a hell of a responsibility and has placed me and my work in the cross hairs of some unsavory elements over here, some of whom labeled me and any black person with a similar “can’t sit silent and still and accept the nonsense” mentality as dangers to Japan.
African-Americans  blackness  culture  expatriates  Japan  race 
march 2019 by jerryking
James Baldwin: why Beale Street still talks
JANUARY 31, 2019 | Financial Times | by Diana Evans.

The writer’s work remains hugely relevant, particularly in today’s charged racial atmosphere.......James Baldwin never goes out of fashion. This might seem an enviable attribute for a writer to sustain posthumously, if it were not for a predominant reason why. He is a soldier, a comrade. He is a brother-in-arms in a war that doesn’t end. Along with Toni Morrison, Angela Davis, Richard Wright, Nina Simone, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou and many others, Baldwin is among those foremost in an army of artists and activists who have challenged, fought and assuaged racism and become icons of “black struggle”. As the struggle continues and does not appear to be concluding any time soon, Baldwin’s work is as relevant and prevailing as ever.

The latest landmark in the mounting homage and salutation to Baldwin’s writing is Oscar-winning Barry Jenkins’s adaptation of his penultimate novel If Beale Street Could Talk. Set in Harlem in the 1970s, it’s a mournful, limpid, at times excruciating portrayal of an engaged young couple, Fonny and Tish (played by Stephan James and KiKi Layne), who are separated by Fonny’s sudden incarceration after being falsely accused of rape, leaving Tish to weather pregnancy alone. The film successfully mirrors the book’s oscillating, dreamy atmosphere, capturing the childlike innocence of Tish’s love-soaked narrative voice which accentuates the cruelty of the world around them. She asks, late in the novel, Fonny still hopelessly imprisoned and childbirth close, “What happened here? Surely, this land is cursed.”......No one else articulates with quite the same inexhaustible clarity the outrage, hardship, and fury of existing on the receiving end of race, the sense of being endangered, at best truncated, both physically and spiritually, on a most fundamental level........Born in New York in 1924, Baldwin grew up in poverty in Harlem, the eldest of nine children, and was a gifted Pentecostal preacher prior to being a writer, though he eventually left the church, deeming it a reinforcement of institutionalised modes of oppression. A novelist, essayist, playwright and short-story writer, during his lifetime he became a kind of literary spokesman for the civil rights movement, appearing on the cover of Time magazine in 1963 and forming friendships with Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Medgar Evers, all of whom were assassinated, which he was trying to address in his unfinished manuscript “Remember This House”, the basis for I Am Not Your Negro.
African-Americans  blackness  films  movies  James_Baldwin  Toni_Morrison  writers 
february 2019 by jerryking
How a Businesswoman Became a Voice for Art’s Black Models - The New York Times
By Melissa Smith
Dec. 26, 2018

Curator Denise Murrell focused on the works of 19th century [ ] Édouard Manet....
Revealing that maid’s identity became the foundation of Ms. Murrell’s doctoral dissertation, and the driving force behind her exhibition “Posing Modernity: The Black Model From Manet and Matisse to Today,” currently on view at the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University.....“A person of color who is standing right there before you, and being ignored, is something that is part of the condition of being” part of the African diaspora to begin with. Art historians play a significant role in shaping our understanding of the past. It bothered her that their narratives would rewrite, subjugate or exclude the history of black people.......Ms. Murrell went on to reconsider Matisse’s use of black models in light of his trips to New York during the Harlem Renaissance, and circled back to the question that triggered her entanglement with art to begin with: How have contemporary black and nonblack artists reflected on these black figures in their work? “You can’t really understand African-American art and visual culture and artistic production without understanding a lot of what it is reacting to,”......Scholarship around black representation is growing, though gaps remain. And museums are increasingly addressing the full range of their communities, and the needs of a public more attuned to issues of race — approving exhibitions, like Ms. Murrell’s, that probe what blackness really means in the context of art history.....When Ms. Murrell ran into roadblocks, she found funders and strong-armed institutions for loans. Ms. Murrell said that while curators, art historians, gallery owners and others in the art community are sincere when they talk about diversity, they are also reluctant to dismantle established norms, including those that work against people of color. Larger institutions want to play it safe, and often refrain from funding unconventional scholarship. “There’s the concern that if you talk about race or any other kind of marginalized subject, how broad is the interest going to be?” Ms. Murrell said. Leaning on a mentorship model borrowed from her time in the corporate world, Ms. Murrell said she wants to create an incubator for minorities with new ideas.
African-Americans  art  art_history  blackness  curators  exclusion  exhibitions  marginalization  PhDs  artists  playing_it_safe  visual_culture  race  women 
december 2018 by jerryking
Opinion | How James Brown Made Black Pride a Hit
July 20, 2018 | The New York Times | By Randall Kennedy, law professor at Harvard.

African-Americans have internalized society’s derogation/denigration of blackness....It was precisely because of widespread colorism that James Brown’s anthem “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” posed a challenge, felt so exhilarating, and resonated so powerfully....the song was written a half century go.....but, alas, the need to defend blackness against derision continues......Various musicians in the 1960s tapped into yearnings for black assertiveness, autonomy and solidarity. Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions sang “We’re a Winner.” Sly and the Family Stone offered “Stand.” Sam Cooke (and Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding) performed “A Change is Gonna Come.” But no entertainer equaled Brown’s vocalization of African-Americans’ newly triumphal sense of self-acceptance.

That Brown created the song most popularly associated with the Black is Beautiful movement is ironic.....At the very time that in “Say It Loud,” Brown seemed to be affirming Negritude, he also sported a “conk” — a distinctive hairdo that involved chemically removing kinkiness on the way to creating a bouffant of straightened hair. Many African-American political activists, especially those with a black nationalist orientation, decried the conk as an illustration of racial self-hatred....by 1968... prejudice against blackness remained prevalent, including among African-Americans.....Champions of African-American uplift in the 1960s sought to liberate blackness from the layers of contempt, fear, and hatred with which it had been smeared for centuries. Brown’s anthem poignantly reflected the psychic problem it sought to address: People secure in their status don’t feel compelled to trumpet their pride.....Colorism was part of the drama that starred Barack and Michelle Obama....Intra-racial colorism in Black America is often seen as a topic that should, if possible, be avoided, especially in “mixed company.” .....Colorism, however, remains a baleful reality.....
'60s  African-Americans  blackness  black_liberation_movement  black_nationalism  black_pride  Black_Is_Beautiful  colorism  James_Brown  music  Negritude  self-identification  songs  Spike_Lee  soul  white_supremacy  biases  self-acceptance  self-hatred  shadism  hits  1968 
july 2018 by jerryking
Trump’s Obama Obsession - The New York Times
Charles M. Blow JUNE 29, 2017

Obama’s blackness [is at] the front of Trump’s mind, but Trump also appears to subscribe to the racist theory that success or failure of a member of a racial group redounds to all in that group. This is a burden under which most minorities in this country labor.

Trump’s racial ideas were apparently a selling point among his supporters. Recent research has dispensed with the myth of “economic anxiety” and shone a light instead on the central importance race played in Trump’s march to the White House. As the researchers Sean McElwee and Jason McDaniel reported in The Nation in March:

“In short, our analysis indicates that Donald Trump successfully leveraged existing resentment towards African Americans in combination with emerging fears of increased racial diversity in America to reshape the presidential electorate, strongly attracting nativists towards Trump and pushing some more affluent and highly educated people with more cosmopolitan views to support Hillary Clinton. Racial identity and attitudes have further displaced class as the central battleground of American politics.”

Trump was sent to Washington to strip it of all traces of Obama, to treat the Obama legacy as a historical oddity. Trump’s entire campaign was about undoing what Obama had done.
blackness  Donald_Trump  Charles_Blow  Obama  disrespect  legacies  birthers  racial_resentment 
june 2017 by jerryking
A Beauty Product’s Ads Exclude the Black Women Who Use It - The New York Times
By TRESSIE McMILLAN COTTOM MAY 3, 2017

..................When black women bought SheaMoisture products, they were rejecting powerful stereotypes about black women’s hair as inherently unattractive. Unwittingly or not, SheaMoisture was part of a political project for black women, helping us resist harmful biases about our natural hair that circumscribe our choices and well-being.

But Sundial Brands, the black-owned company that runs SheaMoisture, has its own goals. In 2015, it company sold a minority stakee to Bain Capital to finance an expansion. At the time, Richelieu Dennis, the chief executive of Sundial, said SheaMoisture would be pursuing the “new general market,” which he described as a “consolidation of cultures, ethnicities and demographics aligned with commonalities, needs and lifestyles.”

To believe it is possible to diversify SheaMoisture beyond its black natural-hair customer base, one must believe that black beauty is desirable for non-black consumers. For that to be true, black women would have to be an ideal beauty type in the global market that Mr. Dennis was going after. Mr. Dennis had one problem: reality..........SheaMoisture could not sell a product meant to make black women look “whiter,” such as a chemical treatment to straighten hair, without changing its entire product line. But it could concede to the demands of capital by marketing its existing products to non-black women. SheaMoisture eventually apologized, acknowledging the insult many black women felt. By prominently featuring white women in what had become a political project, the company had signaled to black women that we could never be enough.

Beauty is never just about preference. It is about economics and power and exclusion. Brands like SheaMoisture rely on certain ideas of what is beautiful to make money.
biases  blackness  personal_grooming  personal_care_products  women  African-Americans  hair  beauty  colorism  shadism  brands 
may 2017 by jerryking
Forcing Black Men Out of Society - NYTimes.com
Devah Pager

This astounding shortfall in black men translates into lower marriage rates, more out-of-wedlock births, a greater risk of poverty for families and, by extension, less stable communities. The missing men should be a source of concern to political leaders and policy makers everywhere.

While the 1.5 million number is startling, it actually understates the severity of the crisis that has befallen African-American men since the collapse of the manufacturing and industrial centers, which was quickly followed by the “war on drugs” and mass imprisonment, which drove up the national prison population more than sevenfold beginning in the 1970s.

In addition to the “missing,” millions more are shut out of society, or are functionally missing, because of the shrinking labor market for low-skilled workers, racial discrimination or sanctions that prevent millions who have criminal convictions from getting all kinds of jobs. At the same time, the surge in imprisonment has further stigmatized blackness itself, so that black men and boys who have never been near a jail now have to fight the presumption of criminality in many aspects of day-to-day life — in encounters with police, in schools, on the streets and on the job....William Julius Wilson wrote in his 1996 book, “When Work Disappears,” for the first time in the 20th century, most adults in many poor inner-city neighborhoods were not working.... Devah Pager wrote in her book, “Marked: Race, Crime and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration.”
understated  African-Americans  men  criminality  incarceration  racial_disparities  racial_discrimination  books  stereotypes  children  deindustrialization  war_on_drugs  stigmatization  family_breakdown  instability  unemployment  mass_incarceration  joblessness  William_Julius_Wilson  blackness  presumptions 
april 2015 by jerryking
globeandmail.com: Black is not only beautiful, it's brilliant and heroic
February 14, 2009 G&M book review by JOHN HAREWOOD of A
BLACK STUDIES PRIMER
Heroes and Heroines of the African Diaspora By Keith A. P. Sandiford .
Asks the questions, Why is black history necessary? What topics should
be studied? Who will teach?

Summary
An essential text for students and scholars of black history. Features over 1,000 biographies of historical and contemporary black figures that have made a significant contribution to the development of modern civilisation. It is a celebration of the impact made by black people in areas including politics, engineering, agriculture, entertainment, literature, medicine, sport, philosophy and more. This easy reference encyclopedia has been compiled to fill the gaps in black studies in the school curricula, and will inspire students and teachers alike.
African-Americans  slavery  heroes  heroines  book_reviews  books  curriculum  Diaspora  Africa  primers  blackness  black_pride  black_studies  Black_Is_Beautiful  Negritude  self-identification  history  scholars 
february 2009 by jerryking

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