Brit Bennett on her New Novel ‘The Vanishing Half” and the History of Racial Passing

Posted in Audio, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2020-06-30 14:45Z by Steven

Brit Bennett on her New Novel ‘The Vanishing Half” and the History of Racial Passing

CBS This Morning
2020-06-26

Best-selling author Brit Bennett is following the success of her critically-acclaimed debut, “The Mothers,” with a “The Vanishing Half,” a novel exploring the American history of racial passing. She joins CBS News’ Errol Barnett to discuss how the story, which opens in 1968, is particularly timely today. Bennett also shares her reaction to J.K. Rowling’s controversial statements on transgender women and how the trending #PublishingPaidMe has uncovered inequities within the publishing industry.

Listen to the episode (00:26:00) here. Download the episode here.

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Maria Campbell on the pain and relief of re-releasing Halfbreed with uncut account of RCMP rape

Posted in Articles, Audio, Canada, Interviews, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Women on 2020-06-25 17:56Z by Steven

Maria Campbell on the pain and relief of re-releasing Halfbreed with uncut account of RCMP rape

As It Happens
CBC Radio
2019-11-29


Métis author and playwright Maria Campbell has re-released her seminal 1973 memoir Halfbreed with previously censored pages intact. (Sheena Goodyear/CBC )

Métis author says the published version of her 1973 memoir ‘didn’t tell the complete story’

Nearly five decades after Maria Campbell first published her seminal memoir Halfbreed, she says she finally feels like it’s finished.

That’s because the first version of the book was incomplete. Two integral pages detailing her account of being raped by a Mountie when she was 14 years old had been excised.

Those long-lost pages were discovered last year in an unpublished manuscript, and now the memoir has been re-released intact for the first time.

“I feel like it’s finished now, because it never felt finished for me,” Campbell said. “I always felt like there was a part of it that was missing, and that it didn’t tell the complete story.”

The Métis author, broadcaster and filmmaker joined As It Happens host Carol Off in studio to discuss Halfbreed’s legacy and continued relevance today…

Listen to the story (00:27:32) here. Read the transcript here.

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Kamala Harris

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Audio, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2020-06-25 15:17Z by Steven

Kamala Harris

Asian Enough
Los Angeles Times
2020-06-23

A conversation with Democratic U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris about the recent rise in anti-Asian hate, how government leaders should address racism in America, and growing up with Indian and Jamaican roots in Northern California.

From the Los Angeles Times, “Asian Enough” is a podcast about being Asian American — the joys, the complications and everything else in between. In each episode, hosts Jen Yamato and Frank Shyong invite celebrity guests to share their personal stories and unpack identity on their own terms. They explore the vast diaspora across cultures, backgrounds and generations, share “Bad Asian Confessions,” and try to expand the ways in which being Asian American is defined. New episodes drop every Tuesday.

Listen to the podcast (00:31:31) here. Download the podcast here.

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Rebecca Hall Talks Complicated Notions Of Bi-Racial Identity In Directorial Debut ‘Passing,’ ‘Tales From The Loop’ & More [Deep Focus Podcast]

Posted in Articles, Arts, Audio, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2020-06-15 01:47Z by Steven

Rebecca Hall Talks Complicated Notions Of Bi-Racial Identity In Directorial Debut ‘Passing,’ ‘Tales From The Loop’ & More [Deep Focus Podcast]

The Playlist
2020-06-10

Rodrigo Perez

Actor Rebecca Hall comes from a unique and interesting pedigree and lineage. There’s the surface element of that pedigree which could be seen as aristocratic privilege in the world of the arts. She is the daughter of the famous theatre director Sir Peter Hall (who passed away in 2017) and her mother is the legendary opera singer and stage actress Maria Ewing. Hall attended Cambridge University’s constitute school, St Catharine’s College, studied English, and eventually found her way back to acting after some time briefly spent as an actor during childhood.

Known for an eclectic career that took off after an early breakthrough performance in Christopher Nolan’s “The Prestige,” Hall’s also appeared in such movies as “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” “Frost/Nixon,” Nicole Holofcener’s “Please Give,” Ben Affleck’s “The Town,” Joel Edgerton’s “The Gift,” and Antonio Campos’ striking indie “Christine” which brought her much extra acclaim to an already celebrated career.

But her personal identity, or at least the one of her parents, is much different. Hall’s mother is from Detroit, Michigan—perhaps an unlikely place as any to birth an opera singer—and bi-racial with African American and Dutch ancestry. Her grandfather was also bi-racial and to hear Hall tell it, both of them had a very complicated and complex struggle with their identity and how they appeared to others in the world.

This struggle, this question of identity and who you pass as in the world is something Hall tries to reckon with in “Passing,” her upcoming directorial debut which probably couldn’t be more timely. An adaption written by Hall as well, and something she’d been hoping to make for years, “Passing” is based on Nella Larsen’s 1920s Harlem Renaissance novel of the same name that explores the practice of racial passing, a term used for a person classified as a member of one racial group who seeks to be accepted by a different racial group. The film stars Tessa Thompson and Oscar nominee Ruth Negga as two reunited high school friends, whose renewed acquaintance ignites a mutual obsession that threatens both of their carefully constructed realities.

In this latest episode of our Deep Focus Podcast, Hall discussed “Passing” at length, including the ideas of permission and permits needed to try and tell these kinds of stories and the charges of cultural appropriation that can be lobbied at one when making them. But her original statement of intent is perhaps most succinct and eloquent when she said: “I came across [Passing] at a time when I was trying to reckon creatively with some of my personal family history, and the mystery surrounding my bi-racial grandfather on my American mother’s side. In part, making this film is an exploration of that history, to which I’ve never really had access.”

At the time, she described “Passing” as an astonishing book “about two women struggling not just with what it meant to be Black in America in 1929, but with gender conventions, the performance of femininity, the institution of marriage, the responsibilities of motherhood, and the ways in which all of those forces intersect.”…

Read the entire article and listen to the podcast (01:04:15) here.

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How Emma Dabiri is changing the conversation around afro hair

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Interviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2020-03-07 00:19Z by Steven

How Emma Dabiri is changing the conversation around afro hair

Vogue (Australia)
2020-03-05

Eni Subair


Author Emma Dabiri of Don’t Touch My Hair. Image credits: Matthew Stone

The author of Don’t Touch My Hair — which illustrates the oppressive hair journey that black people have been on — wants to put an end to the discriminatory behaviour surrounding afro hair. Here, she unpicks her own experience and delves into the stigmatisation still held within society.

In February, 18-year-old Ruby Williams was awarded a sum of £8,500 (AU$16,634) after embarking on a three-year legal battle with her school in east London, having been singled out and sent home numerous times because her afro didn’t adhere to school regulations. Shockingly, the issue is ongoing in the UK, with the frequency of school exclusions for afro hair rapidly rising.

Emma Dabiri, author of 2019’s powerful Don’t Touch My Hair and a lecturer at SOAS University of London, is campaigning against the UK ruling currently in place around hair by asking members of the public to sign a petition to amend the Equality Act 2010. Currently, the act protects colour, nationality, and ethnic or national origins, but hair — specifically afro hair — is not a named “protected characteristic”. It’s a grey area that leaves students and employees open to being pulled up about their hair. Dabiri, who is of Nigerian and Irish descent, wants the law changed, not least because the mother of two fears her own children may one day face the same prejudice. “I have a seven-year-old who has had hairstyles other kids have been excluded for having,” she tells Vogue. “I want that to change before he goes to secondary school.”

She hopes her book, which illustrates the oppressive hair journey black people have been on, will help change the rhetoric and discriminatory behaviour around afro hair.

Here, Emma Dabiri tells Vogue why she’s rallying the masses to sign the petition, and why warped perceptions around black afro hair need to stop…

Read the entire interview here.

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Andrea Levy: In her own words

Posted in Audio, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2020-02-10 15:56Z by Steven

Andrea Levy: In her own words

BBC Radio 4
2020-02-08, 20:00Z
57 minutes

Produced by Melissa FitzGerald & Sarah O’Reilly

Andrea Levy, alongside friends and family, speaks candidly about her writing life and her impending death.

Profiling the life and work of Andrea Levy, the best-selling author of Small Island, who died in February 2019.

Speaking on condition that the recording would only be released after her death, Andrea Levy gave an in-depth interview to oral historian Sarah O’Reilly for the British Library’s Authors’ Lives project in 2014. Drawing on this recording, along with comments from friends, family and collaborators, this programme explores Levy’s changing attitude towards her history and her heritage and how it is intimately bound up with her writing.

Andrea Levy grew up in North London in the 1960s, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants. Her father Winston came to Britain in 1948 on the Empire Windrush, and her mother Amy arrived six months later. At home, Jamaica was never discussed. Levy recalls how her parents believed that, in order to get on in this country they should live quietly and not make a fuss, and the silence around race in the family home haunted her throughout her life: “I have dreams now where I sit down with my parents and we talk about the difficulty of being a black person in a white country. But at the time? No help whatsoever.”

A significant day arrived when she attended a racism awareness course in her workplace in the 1980s. Staff were asked to split into two groups. “I walked over to the white side of the room. But my fellow workers had other ideas and I found myself being beckoned over by people on the black side. I crossed the floor. It was a rude awakening. It sent me to bed for a week.”…

For more information, click here. Listen to the interview (00:56:42) here.

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“Who Inherits?”: A Conversation Between Tao Leigh Goffe and Hazel V. Carby

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Interviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2020-02-04 20:22Z by Steven

“Who Inherits?”: A Conversation Between Tao Leigh Goffe and Hazel V. Carby

Public Books
2020-02-03

Tao Leigh Goffe, Assistant Professor of Literary Theory and Cultural History
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Over the decades of her transatlantic career, distinguished Yale University professor emerita of American and African American studies Hazel V. Carby has considered how one negotiates ancestral ties to two islands intimately entangled by empire, Britain and Jamaica. Her new book, Imperial Intimacies: A Tale of Two Islands, is her answer to that question.

As Hazel explains in Imperial Intimacies, hers was an unlikely path to academia. She started out training as a ballerina and went on to teach at a secondary school in East London. When she moved to the West Midlands to pursue a master’s degree and then a PhD at the University of Birmingham, her life was altered forever by the influence of a mentor—Stuart Hall, esteemed professor and cofounder of the university’s Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies—who also negotiated a family history strung between Britain and Jamaica.

Hazel and I sat down to speak about the publication of Imperial Intimacies, a book that, she realized, she had been writing her whole life. We discussed the influence of books such as Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park and Octavia Butler’s Kindred. Like Dana, the main character in Butler’s Afrofuturist novel—who finds herself teleported into the plantations of the antebellum past, meeting her black and white ancestors—Hazel traces her African and European Carby lineage. She does so through meticulous research on her ancestors in England, Wales, and Jamaica.

Hazel speculates on the subjectivity of one of her white forbears: an English man named Lilly Carby, who arrived in Jamaica in 1788 as a member of the British Army. What can Hazel possibly inherit from him, when her other ancestors were his property? Her experimental rendering in Imperial Intimacies presents the reader with a kaleidoscopic view of the ongoing coloniality of the present…

Read the entire interview here.

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Historian Victoria Bynum on the inaccuracies of the New York Times 1619 Project

Posted in Articles, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Mississippi, Passing, Religion, United States, Women on 2019-11-20 02:21Z by Steven

Historian Victoria Bynum on the inaccuracies of the New York Times 1619 Project

World Socialist Web Site
2019-10-30

Eric London


Victoria Bynum

An interview with the author of The Free State of Jones

Historian Victoria Bynum, author of The Long Shadow of the Civil War: Southern Dissent and Its Legacies (University of North Carolina Press, 2010), The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War (University of North Carolina Press, 2001) and Unruly Women: The Politics of Social and Sexual Control in the Old South (University of North Carolina Press, 1992), spoke to the World Socialist Web Site’s Eric London on the historical falsifications involved in the New York Times’1619 Project.”

The 1619 Project, launched by the Times in August, presents American history in a purely racial lens and blames all “white people” for the enslavement of 4 million black people as chattel property.

Bynum is an expert on the attitude of Southern white yeomen farmers and impoverished people toward slavery. Her book The Free State of Jones studied efforts by anti-slavery and anti-confederate militia leader Newton Knight, who abandoned the Confederate army and led an armed insurrection against the Confederacy during the Civil War. It was adapted for the big screen in Gary Ross’s 2016 film Free State of Jones.

* * *

WSWS: Hello Victoria, it is a pleasure to speak to you. The New York Times writes that slavery is “America’s national sin,” implying that the whole of American society was responsible for the crime of slavery.

But [Abraham] Lincoln said in his second inaugural address in 1865 that the Civil War was being fought “until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword.” What was the attitude of the subjects of your study toward slavery? Is it possible to separate those attitudes from the economic grievances that many white farmers and poor people harbored against the Confederate government of the slavocracy?

Victoria Bynum: Direct comments about the injustice of slavery are rare among plain Southern farmers who left few written records. Knowing this at the outset of my research, I was delighted to find clear and strong objections to slavery expressed by the Wesleyan Methodist families of Montgomery County, North Carolina, which I highlighted in my first book, Unruly Women. In 1852, members of the Lovejoy Methodist Church invited the Rev. Adam Crooks, a well-known abolitionist, to address their church…

WSWS: Do you see parallels between the New York Times’ references to genetics (the historic “DNA” of the United States) and the argument, advanced by the slavocracy, that “one drop” of black “blood” was enough to count a light-skinned person in the expanded the pool of slave labor. Can you expand on this?

VB: The frequent correlation of identity with ancestral DNA continues to mask the historical economic forces and shifting constructions of class, race and gender that have far more relevance to one’s identity than one’s DNA can ever reveal. Historically, race-based slavery required legal definitions of whiteness and blackness that upheld the fiction that British/US slavery was reserved for Africans for whom the institution “civilized.” From the earliest days of colonization, however, both forced and consensual sexual relations created slaveholding and non-slaveholding households that were neither “black” nor “white,” but rather were mixed-race. The frequent rape of enslaved women by slaveholders produced multitudes of such children, but so also were many mixed-race children born to whites and free blacks. Slave law dictated that the child of an enslaved woman was also a slave—and therefore “black”—regardless of who fathered the child. Conversely, deciding the race of children born to free women who crossed the color line was not so easy, and became even more difficult after slavery was abolished. In the segregated South, where one’s ability to work, live, love, travel and enjoy the full benefits of American citizenship depended on one’s perceived race, such questions might end up in court, as was the case in 1946 for Newt Knight’s mixed-race great-grandson, Davis Knight, after he married a white woman. While custom dictated that Davis Knight was “black” based on his great-grandmother Rachel’s mixed-race status, state laws required more precise evidence. Under Mississippi law, unless one was proved to have at least one-fourth African ancestry, one was legally—though not socially—white. On this basis, Davis Knight went free…

Read the entire interview here.

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The Food of Taiwan Meet Cathy Erway-Author Interview

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Interviews, Media Archive, Videos on 2019-11-19 02:02Z by Steven

The Food of Taiwan Meet Cathy Erway-Author Interview

Miss Panda Chinese: Mandarin Chinese for Children
2015-05-16

Amanda Hsiung Blodget

Food of Taiwan author interview | misspandachinese.com

The Food of Taiwan by Cathy Erway guides you to the food, the culture, and the people of Taiwan! Explore more authors in Interview with Miss Panda series.

Join this delicious Taiwanese cuisine discovery and heritage culture conversation with Cathy Erway, the author of THE FOOD OF TAIWAN: Recipes from the Beautiful Island. Cathy is also the author of The Art of Eating In, the blog Not Eating Out In New York and the host of “Eat Your Words” on Heritage Radio Network. I am delighted to share with you Cathy’s new book, The Food of Taiwan, which is among the very first to celebrate Taiwanese cooking and culture in English.

The Food of Taiwan! Watch the interview and find out how Cathy embraces her heritage culture through family and a semester of study abroad, why Taiwan is an island obsessed with food (good food!), what makes Taiwanese cooking unique, ingredients needed for making a Taiwanese dish, her hapa/mixed-race experience growing up and much more.

Read the entire article here.

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Interview 01: Charise Sowells

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2019-11-10 03:31Z by Steven

Interview 01: Charise Sowells

Caffeinated Cinema
2019-10-31

Screen Shot 2019-09-11 at 3.12.51 PM.png

Charise Sowells is a biracial singer-songwriter, scriptwriter, and filmmaker. As a New York University graduate, she has found acclaim in all her fields. Her work has led her to be praised by names such as NPR, San Francisco Weekly, and many more. Sowells’ scripts have been put up for the screen and the stage. Most currently, her newest play An Ocean In My Soul sold out the Santa Monica Playhouse, and she is raising funds to support an extended run. Additionally, her production company, #UNABASHT, enables her to find her place as an artist in her multitudes of creative pursuits. She kindly accepted to be interviewed on her experiences as an artist.

Q. You’re quite the jack of all trades–– from music to film. You’re an acclaimed songwriter, playwright, and you’ve worked in both film and television. Have you decided to continue in just one field or are you upholding them all and why?

A. There was definitely a period where you really needed to put yourself in a box or other people would do it for you. Since I’ve never been one to limit myself that way personally, I struggled with it career wise too. And that was the impetus behind me starting my company ten years ago, Unabashed Productions. Our motto is, “Don’t just think outside the box. Live there.”

#UNABASHT functions as a record label, an online store, a production company, and a publisher which allows me to release all my projects independently and switch gears as the muse moves me, without any hiccups. As the years have gone on, more people seem to be open to the idea that things aren’t so inflexible. In fact, the more you do, the better in some circumstances. So I’ve been embracing all my passions and letting things flow freely.,,

…Q. What was the inspiration for An Ocean In My Soul?

A. It’s two fold – I’m mixed myself and after struggling with my identity throughout my youth, I joined a group in high school that traveled around the U.S. and Canada raising awareness about race as a social construct and the concepts of systemic racism and white privilege. When I decided to study playwriting at NYU, I had hopes of expanding people’s horizons about experiences and characters not typically seen onstage or screen through my work. To better inform myself, I took classes about the African Diaspora. One of those classes introduced me to the idea of the Black Atlantic, a graveyard of African souls who died while crossing over to the Americas against their will and in horrendously inhumane conditions. That was the seed for this play…

Read the entire interview here.

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