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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Is it time to unlearn race? Thomas Chatterton Williams says yes

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing on 2019-10-15 19:18Z by Steven

Is it time to unlearn race? Thomas Chatterton Williams says yes

The Guardian
2019-10-15

Summer Sewell, Assistant Editor of Features


Thomas Chatterton Williams: ‘I think you have to be an optimist.’ Photograph: Alex John Beck

The author and critic discusses why we should move away from race categories defined ‘using plantation logic’ – and suggests ‘retiring from race’

The American writer Thomas Chatterton Williams is racially ambiguous enough to be mistaken as Algerian in Paris, where he and his French wife are raising two children, their heads capped with airy blond curls.

It was the birth of his older child, Marlow, six years ago, that set off an instant panic in him. She can pass for Swedish, he says. So what did it mean that he, then a self-identified black man who had always accepted the black/white binary, had a child who would be perceived as white?

It meant, at first, he would apply camera filters to darken her skin – to make her belong, to him and to a race. Eventually, it meant asking questions complex enough to alter how he identifies himself now: what does it mean to belong to a race, part of which for black people can include “an allegiance to pain”? And why would passing that down to his daughter make her black?

In his second book, out Tuesday, Self-Portrait in Black and White, he calls for us to consider why we uphold race categories defined “using plantation logic” and encourages us to do away with the arbitrary nomenclature altogether. Not to be confused with the term “post-race”, he suggests “retiring from race”, “transcending race”, “unlearning race”. It’s a big ask, he admits.

Because both of us are mixed-race people who grew up with one black parent and one white parent, Chatterton Williams thinks he and I have a head start on dismissing the barriers of race. We both remember the first time we were “raced” by a stranger and simultaneously separated from our white parent, and setting out from then on to continually contemplate race in our respective lives. For him, this has come to mean examining the artificiality of it.

On the campus of Bard College, a private arts college upstate New York where he taught a four-week course, Can we retire from race?, this fall, we discussed the privilege of proximity to whiteness, whether it is asking too much of black people to let go of race while retaining the pride of an identity forged in the face of systematic oppression and, finally, why he’s optimistic norms can change…

Read the entire interview here.

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18:Multiracials & Civil Rights + Colorism + Hair Wars with Professor Tanya Katerí Hernández

Posted in Audio, Autobiography, Interviews, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2019-10-11 00:18Z by Steven

18:Multiracials & Civil Rights + Colorism + Hair Wars with Professor Tanya Katerí Hernández

Radiant Mix
2019-10-10

Hope McGrath, Host

 Artwork for 18:Multiracials & Civil Rights + Colorism + Hair Wars with Professor Tanya Katerí Hernández

In this episode Hope McGrath has an insightful conversation with Tanya Katerí Hernández, an internationally recognized comparative race law expert and Fulbright Scholar who is the Archibald R. Murray Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law. Not only do we learn about Tanya’s powerful personal story, but she shares her expertise in anti-discrimination law, race relations, and beyond as we discuss her new book “Multiracials and Civil Rights: Mixed-Race Stories of Discrimination.” This is one fascinating episode where we can learn new insights about the mixed-race experience and law, plus so much more. Learn something new everyday…Enjoy the show!

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Professor Tanya Katerí Hernández shares her personal story as an Afro-Puerto Rican woman which highlights the issue of colorism front and center within her family
  • Hair Wars— the plight of multiracial hair and its importance in our lives is real!
  • The growth of interracial relationships and the mixed-race children population does not alter how racism manifests in anti-discrimination law cases.
  • An academic scholar of comparative race relations and anti-discrimination law discusses the new primetime sitcom Mixed•ish
  • Is it acceptable to use the controversial term “mixed” for mixed-race individuals? Get Professor Tanya’s professional opinion.
  • The importance of reinvigorating our communities to pursue equity. We must understand and push back from the systemic and structural racism that is the backbone of our society. Get some insights into how to take action.
  • Learn about some shocking anti-discrimination cases cited in Professor Tanya Katerí Hernández’s new book Multiracials and Civil Rights: Mixed-Race Stories of Discrimination.

Listen to the episode (00:048:58) here.

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Black Voices: This is Black: Macadie Amoroso

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2019-10-05 02:53Z by Steven

Black Voices: This is Black: Macadie Amoroso

Shades of Noir
2019-09-02

Rayvenn Shaleigha D’Clark, Junior Editor

Portrait of Macadie Amoroso. Photo credit: Hâle Denholm)
Macadie Amoroso

SHADES OF NOIR Q&A – ‘Blue Beneath My Skin’

Macadie Amoroso: I am the writer and performer of ‘Blue Beneath My Skin’, which I was inspired to write because I’d been wanting, for a while, to voice my personal experiences of being mixed-race. I rarely see or hear of any plays about it, but whenever I speak to other mixed-race people, they always have so much to say about their experiences.

What motivated me to put pen to paper was receiving an email about the festival, This Is Black. It was emphasised in the email that the festival was about celebrating black work and giving black artists a voice, and I immediately felt disheartened. Not because I felt like this wasn’t important (it very much is) but because I don’t identify as black, and therefore, I felt an element of fraud/guilt, thinking, ‘this isn’t for me. Maybe I’ll be taking up space of someone who does identify as black’. This spurred me to write about what it’s like being of mixed heritage, but only having exposure to one side of that. I chose to write it in spoken word because I’ve always been more of a poet than a writer and I think it’s a very effective way of storytelling…

Rayvenn Shaleigha D’Clark: How did you go about building a varied depiction of Black stories and black characters?

MA: I could only build what I know, so I focused on the protagonist’s mixed-race experience, but making sure to highlight through other characters, like her best mate, Paul, that her experience is definitely not the only mixed-race experience out there. I hope what I’ve done through this play and the characters within it, is show that struggle is universal and feeling ‘blue’ is something that everyone experiences regardless of age, gender, sexuality, colour, ethnicity; it’s a part of the wider human experience…

Read the entire interview here.

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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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