The Greek-American R&B Legend Who Passed as Black

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-09-22 02:49Z by Steven

The Greek-American R&B Legend Who Passed as Black

Zócalo Public Square
2018-12-17

Kristen E. Broady, Dean and Professor of Economics
College of Business
Dillard University, New Orleans, Louisiana


An Excelsior Records advertisement features R&B pioneer Johnny Otis between blues singer Jimmy Rushing and bandleader Gerald Wilson. Courtesy of Flickr.

Johnny Otis Felt He Had Been ‘Saved’ by the Political, Spiritual, and Moral Force of African-American Culture

If a role exists in black music that Johnny Otis couldn’t play, it would be hard to find. Known as the godfather of rhythm and blues, Otis was a bandleader, talent scout, singer, drummer, minister, journalist, and television show host. Between 1950 and 1952, Johnny and his band recorded 15 top 40 R&B blues hits. He discovered, produced and promoted a roster of stars, including Etta James, Little Esther, and Jackie Wilson.

Otis was not only a trailblazer in the world of music but also a religious leader and political activist. Born seven months after the beginning of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, he lived through Supreme Court decisions that decriminalized interracial marriage, barred racial gerrymandering of political districts, and ended covenants barring black Americans from owning property. He witnessed the inauguration of the nation’s first African-American president and was a friend of Malcolm X and an enemy of racial oppression. Yet Johnny Otis, arguably one of the most important figures in mid-century black music in America, was not actually black. He was white, passing as black

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The new one-drop rule: challenging the persistence of white supremacy with in-service teachers

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Teaching Resources, United States on 2019-09-22 02:27Z by Steven

The new one-drop rule: challenging the persistence of white supremacy with in-service teachers

Teaching Education
Volume 29, 2018 – Issue 4: What is To Be Done with Curriculum and Educational Foundations’ Critical Knowledges? New Qualitative Research on Conscientizing Preservice and In-Service Teachers
pages 330-342
DOI: 10.1080/10476210.2018.1505841

Benjamin Blaisdell, Assistant Professor
College of Education
East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina

Publication Cover

The one-drop rule refers to the process of being racialized Black when someone contains any amount of Black ancestry, i.e. one drop of Black blood. In this article, I use what I call ‘the new one-drop rule’ to explain how even the smallest presence of white discourse can disrupt racial equity work in schools. Based on a critical race study in a racially desegregated elementary school, I illustrate how one drop of white discourse from even one less racially literate white teacher can cause usually more racially literate white teachers to support white supremacy. I also share how collaborative research utilizing critical race theory (CRT) can help schools build greater racial literacy and resist white discourse. I argue that critical research on race with in-service teachers should not forefront the consciousness-raising of resistant white teachers but rather center the wants, needs, and racial knowledge of racially literate teachers and especially teachers of color.

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But in Puerto Rico and other parts of Latin America where racial mixing was common, there are numerous ways to identify racially, with different names for different combinations of skin tones, hair textures, and facial features, such as “negra,” “trigueña,” or “morena.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-09-22 02:07Z by Steven

In the United States, racial segregation enforced strict political and social barriers between Blacks and whites long after slavery. (“One drop” of African blood designated you as “Black,” no matter what your complexion or ethnicity.) But in Puerto Rico and other parts of Latin America where racial mixing was common, there are numerous ways to identify racially, with different names for different combinations of skin tones, hair textures, and facial features, such as negra, trigueña, or morena.

It’s one of the reasons that not every Latino who has brown skin or African ancestry calls themselves “Black” or “Afro-Latinx“—and some might even take offense to the suggestion that they should be called anything but Puerto Rican.

Natasha S. Alford, “This Afro-Latina Started a Magazine in Puerto Rico to Celebrate Black Beauty,” The Oprah Magazine, September 20, 2019. https://www.oprahmag.com/life/a29107354/afro-latinos-puerto-rico-magazine/.

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Many mixed-race people are not permitted to fully determine their own identity because of how the world insists on defining them. That’s when hair can represent a manifesto of self.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-09-22 01:46Z by Steven

Hair is Africa’s most enduring marker in America, the phenotype most likely to persist through generations of interracial children. Hair is what black folks look at when trying to determine who is one of us. Many mixed-race people are not permitted to fully determine their own identity because of how the world insists on defining them. That’s when hair can represent a manifesto of self.

Jesse Washington, “The untold story of wrestler Andrew Johnson’s dreadlocks,” The Undefeated, September 18, 2019. https://theundefeated.com/features/the-untold-story-of-wrestler-andrew-johnsons-dreadlocks/.

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This Afro-Latina Started a Magazine in Puerto Rico to Celebrate Black Beauty

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Latino Studies, United States on 2019-09-22 01:39Z by Steven

This Afro-Latina Started a Magazine in Puerto Rico to Celebrate Black Beauty

The Oprah Magazine
2019-09-20

Natasha S. Alford

image
Mikey Cordero

Revista étnica shines a spotlight on Afro-Latino culture on the island.

When Sacha Antonetty-Lebrón was a young child growing up in Puerto Rico, she attended modeling school, her dreams of appearing in advertisements sprouting like the palm trees in the sandy streets of her native island.

But even with her bright eyes and perfect smile, Antonetty-Lebrón was often warned there may be one factor that worked against her.

“The owner invited me to the modeling school but made sure to tell me, ‘They didn’t ask for Black girls, but I’m going to send you. Do the best you can do,’ Antonetty-Lebrón remembers.

And when she did get calls for castings, she rarely saw any other Black faces. Antonetty-Lebrón, whose skin was a deep rich brown, learned at an early age that Afro-Latinos—or afro descendientes—were noticeably absent in nearly every form of Spanish media in Puerto Rico.

From TV anchors to beauty queens, the “ideal” Puerto Rican was always fair-skinned with European features—despite the fact that Puerto Rico’s rich history includes African, Taino native, and Spaniard ancestry.

Still, when Afro-Latino images did appear in media or television, they were often in offensive or derogatory roles—and just like in the United States, actors would even dress in blackface for comedy…

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It has become commonplace to acknowledge the following point, but it bears repeating anyway: The idea of racial classification, as we understand it now, stretches back only to Enlightenment Europe.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-09-19 23:15Z by Steven

It has become commonplace to acknowledge the following point, but it bears repeating anyway: The idea of racial classification, as we understand it now, stretches back only to Enlightenment Europe. I have stayed in inns in Germany that have been continuously operating longer than this calamitous thought. But even though we can trace race’s origins without much difficulty, it seems impossible — and worse than that, woefully naïve — even to speak of an end to such persistent and flattening thinking, thinking that has led to so much human suffering, precluded and squandered so much human potential. And yet I am convinced that we will never overcome the evils of racism as long as we fail first to imagine and then to conjure a world free of racial categorization and the hierarchies it necessarily implies.

Thomas Chatterton Williams, “My Family’s Life Inside and Outside America’s Racial Categories,” The New York Times Magazine, September 17, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/17/magazine/black-white-family-race.html.

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For someone so utterly unsentimental and sternly rational about race and blackness, he indulged his wife’s strange neoessentialist belief in “hybrid vigor”—that is, her belief that their daughter’s racial fusion of black and white represented the birth of a new, superior race.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-09-19 23:04Z by Steven

He [George Schuyler] was a man of contradictions. For someone so utterly unsentimental and sternly rational about race and blackness, he indulged his wife’s [Josephine Cogdell] strange neoessentialist belief in “hybrid vigor”—that is, her belief that their daughter’s racial fusion of black and white represented the birth of a new, superior race. With Schuyler’s help, his wife turned their only daughter into a social experiment, raising Philippa on a scientifically prepared diet of raw meat, unpasteurized milk, and castor oil, and keeping her in near isolation from other children. The child’s strange upbringing was both a raging success and a terrible failure. Philippa learned to read at two, became an accomplished pianist at four, and a composer by five. She was a child celebrity, a kind of black Shirley Temple with a high IQ who became the subject of scores of articles in publications such as Time, The New York Times, and The New Yorker, and was roundly hailed as a genius. There is a poignant moment in Kathryn Talalay’s biography of Philippa Schuyler, Composition in Black and White, when Philippa is thirteen and her parents finally show her the detailed scrapbook they’ve been keeping about her upbringing and career—notes and articles they’ve been keeping diligently over the years. Philippa, rather than being touched, was horrified to realize, with sudden clarity, all the ways she’d been her parents’ social experiment and “puppet.” In the years that followed, she grew increasingly disillusioned with America, her own blackness, and the musical career of her youth. Like a character out of Black No More, she eventually changed her name and began to pass as white—as an Iberian-American named Filipa Montera. She spent most of her adult life overseas, still playing music, but less seriously, and trying to find herself in various romantic affairs. She eventually tried to reinvent herself as an international journalist and children’s advocate, and in 1967 she died in a helicopter crash while attempting to evacuate war orphans out of Vietnam.

Danzy Senna, “George Schuyler: An Afrofuturist Before His Time,” The New York Review of Books, January 19, 2018. https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/01/19/george-schuyler-an-afrofuturist-before-his-time/.

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When people challenge her blackness, I always say, ‘If she went to Howard, it means she’s one of us.’

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-09-19 22:41Z by Steven

“When people challenge her [Kamala Harris’] blackness, I always say, ‘If she went to Howard [University], it means she’s one of us,’ ” says Howard grad and Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Jenice Armstrong. “She comes from there. No one should challenge her blackness.”

Robin Givhan, “Kamala Harris grew up in a mostly white world. Then she went to a black university in a black city.The Washington Post, September 16, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/09/16/kamala-harris-grew-up-mostly-white-world-then-she-went-black-university-black-city/.

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Emeli Sandé is done worrying what other people think

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-09-19 22:32Z by Steven

Emeli Sandé is done worrying what other people think

gal-dem
2019-09-18

Charlie Brinkhurst Cuff

The first time I met Emeli Sandé was on a wild night out. Age 19 and at the only hip-hop club night in Edinburgh, my friends and I were dancing when a group of men led us off the dancefloor and into a VIP area, where Emeli was socialising. As it turned out, one of those men was Emeli’s husband. We spent the night shimmying and doing shots and I remember wondering how she was going to get on stage the next day. It was a late one. But when, on the band’s invitation, we attended her concert, her voice soared across one of Edinburgh’s most opulent venues. “If someone can sing like that on a hangover,” I thought, “I have no choice but to stan”.

On this, our second meeting then, I feel obligated to bring up our first. “That was fun! I remember that night,” Emeli says. We’re sitting in a small, Ethiopian restaurant in Camden called The Queen of Sheba, settling down to eat a vast platter of injera with accompanying stews and sauces and talk about Emeli’s new album, Real Life. After a complimentary glass of Ethiopian honey wine, we settle straight in.

This album comes three years after her last outing, Long Live the Angels and seven years after her debut album catapulted the 32-year-old singer to fame. “This time it was really different. Like I built a studio in my house,” she says. “I finally had the freedom of ‘a room of one’s own’.”…

Read the entire article here.

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The untold story of wrestler Andrew Johnson’s dreadlocks

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2019-09-19 02:19Z by Steven

The untold story of wrestler Andrew Johnson’s dreadlocks

The Undefeated
2019-09-18

Jesse Washington

Buena wrestler Andrew Johnson returns to mat after dreadlock haircut incident
Andrew Johnson is pictured during his 120-pound bout at the Williamstown Duals on Jan. 5 in New Jersey, Johnson’s first time back on the wrestling mat since he was forced to cut off his dreadlocks or forfeit his match on Dec. 19, 2018. Andrew Mills/NJ Advance Media/Barcroft Media

How the high school athlete endured his infamous haircut

When Andrew Johnson walked into The Line Up barbershop last April, all eyes focused on him. Since that awful day in December when a referee had forced the 16-year-old Buena Regional High School wrestler to either cut his dreadlocks or forfeit his match, he felt as if the world was constantly watching him, especially in his small New Jersey town. Watching and whispering about things beyond his control.

Yo, that’s that kid who got his locs chopped by the white ref.

Andrew, who goes by Drew, sat down in Chris Perez’s chair. Perez has tended Drew’s hair since middle school. After a video of Drew’s shearing attracted a massive social media audience last December, he had reshaped Drew’s hair into shorter dreadlocks that radiated from his head.

But now Drew had a new problem. The night before, he had grabbed a pair of scissors from the kitchen and hacked at what remained of his dreads, then asked his little sister to finish the job. Drew loved his hair but was tired of it causing so much trouble. Tired of being treated differently and made into something he was not. Tired of looking in the mirror and seeing the referee, Alan Maloney, looking back.

Maloney already had a racist incident in his past before telling Drew that his hair was “unnatural” and giving him 90 seconds to cut it. What resulted was far more than a humiliating haircut for one high school student. It became a shared and painful experience for many who see how issues of identity, subjugation, power and freedom are intertwined in African American hair…

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