Dash Harris is doing the work to end anti-Blackness in LatinX culture

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Interviews, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2020-09-19 01:50Z by Steven

Dash Harris is doing the work to end anti-Blackness in LatinX culture

theGrio
2020-06-16

DeMicia Inman

Through her work in creating ‘NEGRO: A DOCU-SERIES ABOUT LATINX IDENTITY,’ Harris hopes to dismantle anti-Blackness in the LatinX community.

The African diaspora gave much of the world a very layered identity. For centuries, the slave trade resulted in African natives being sold or stolen as slaves and transported across the globe. Now, Black people reside in countries from the United States and Brazil to Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Dash Harris, an Afro-LatinX woman, understands not only her multi-cultural heritage but also the implications and societal structure surrounding her identity. Through her work in creating NEGRO: A DOCU-SERIES ABOUT LATINX IDENTITY and more, she hopes to highlight LatinX existence and dismantle anti-Blackness in the LatinX community…

Read the entire interview here.

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INTERVIEW: Davon Loeb, Author of The In-Betweens

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2020-09-12 22:26Z by Steven

INTERVIEW: Davon Loeb, Author of The In-Betweens

Hippocampus Magazine: Memorable Creative Nonfiction
2020-07-07

Interview by Amy Eaton


Davon Loeb

The Book: Beginning with the challenges of how his White father and Black mother met, with their desire “to run away and start fresh and new”—resulting in a sometimes “pretend family”—to a near-archetypal description of his grandfather having just cut the grass as the author watches with a swollen lip and a black eye, to incessant moments in which different expressions of masculinity get inculcated, Davon Loeb frequently captures the disturbing poesy of life growing up. With painstaking detail, this work is in the vein of James McBride’s ‘The Color of Water’, Justin Torres’s ‘We the Animals’, and Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘Annie John’, ‘The In-Betweens’ is a meditation on bruise and healing. Loeb’s struggles become snapshots of how transformation occurs even where shards have been piled, where one waits “for something to happen, like flashes of red and blue sirens pulsing.” A truly extraordinary new voice! ~ Roy G. Guzmán, author of Restored Mural for Orlando

The author: Davon Loeb is the author of the lyrical memoir The In-Betweens, out now with Everytime Press. He earned an MFA in creative writing from Rutgers-Camden, and he is a poetry editor at Bending Genres. Davon writes creative nonfiction and poetry. His work has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and one Best of the Net, and is forthcoming and featured in PANK Magazine, Barren Magazine, XRAY Magazine, Apiary Magazine, Split Lip Magazine, Tahoma Literary Review, and elsewhere. Besides writing, Davon is a high school English teacher, husband, and father in New Jersey. Follow him on Twitter

AE: Your mother is such a powerful figure in the book. You’ve got your father, who you don’t see for the first time until you’re seven? And then you start seeing him sort of consistently? It feels that your stepfather is the man you feel closest to, the man that you look up to, that you’re aspiring to be, but the women in your book: your mother, your grandmother are just solid rocks in there.

DL: That was intentional. In the chapter, But I’m Not Toby, I emphasize my mother trying to teach me about Black history and what it means to be a young Black man. She’s the strong maternal voice that I think is special in a lot of Black communities. For me, that was special—especially with the uncertainty of my fathers. I wanted to make her really the most consistent character throughout the book, and I do believe I succeeded at that…

Read the entire interview here.

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Part of a Larger Battle: A Conversation with Thomas Chatterton Williams

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Philosophy, United States on 2020-07-17 14:44Z by Steven

Part of a Larger Battle: A Conversation with Thomas Chatterton Williams

Los Angeles Review of Books
2020-07-16

Otis Houston
Portland, Oregon


Thomas Chatterton Williams

I FIRST INTERVIEWED Thomas Chatterton Williams for the Los Angeles Review of Books in the spring of 2019. We discussed his then-forthcoming book, Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race, as well as the state of the discussion about race in in the United States, including the popular movements for social justice born of the increased visibility of the killings of black Americans by police.

I recently spoke with Thomas again about what has changed in the way we talk about race and identity. We also discussed the effects of the collision of social justice theories with art and institutions, and the best-selling books that are now influencing the national mood and tracing the borders of generational and ideological difference in the United States in 2020.

Thomas is a contributing editor at The New York Times and a columnist at Harper’s. He spoke to me by phone from his home in Paris, France. The following conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

OTIS HOUSTON: At about this time last year we discussed Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race. One of your main arguments was that, in order to transcend racism and the social hierarchies it imposes, we have to commit to rejecting the very concept of race and its centrality in determining our identities.

One year later, in a time of mass protests in response to the killing of George Floyd, it seems to me like we’re seeing the media and some of the most prominent voices in the antiracism movement moving further away from the view of race and identity you’ve been advocating for. Increasingly, they argue that effective opposition to racism requires racial identity to always be foremost in our minds, both in the way we view politics and society and in our daily interactions with one another. This ideological movement is perhaps most visible in the books How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi and White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, which have topped best-seller lists for weeks now. How would you describe this shift in thinking?

THOMAS CHATTERTON WILLIAMS: I see that as kind of a lamentable movement, actually. The two books that have dominated the conversation — and I mean dominated — are books that brook no middle ground and occlude any nuance. Robin DiAngelo’s central thesis, for instance, is that white people function not as individuals, but as a category, as a monolith that is inherently racist. According to her, to deny that you’re racist as a white person is proof of your racism, and to admit that you’re racist as a white person is proof of your racism, and the circular logic is airtight…

Read the entire interview here.

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Brit Bennett: ‘Last week was truly the wildest week of my life’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2020-07-06 16:06Z by Steven

Brit Bennett: ‘Last week was truly the wildest week of my life’

The Guardian
2020-07-05

Simran Hans


‘I’m Californian, so nobody really reads me as anxious’: Brit Bennett. Photograph: Leonardo Cendamo/Getty Images

The US author on topping the bestseller charts with her new novel, why being right is overrated, and the TV show bringing her joy in lockdown

Brit Bennett, 30, was born and raised in southern California. She attended Stanford University and earned an MFA in fiction at the University of Michigan. Her acclaimed first novel, The Mothers, was published in 2016, when she was 26. Her follow-up, The Vanishing Half, has spent the past three weeks in the top five of the New York Times bestseller list and the screen rights have been optioned by HBO in a seven-figure deal.

HBO had to outbid 17 rival TV companies in the race to adapt your book for the screen. How does that feel?
Last week was truly the wildest week of my life. It was my birthday week, so I’ve never been sent so many bottles of champagne or bouquets of flowers in my life, and probably never will be again.

And that was on top of your book debuting at No 1 in the NYT bestseller list. What were you doing when you heard the news?
It was maybe 5 o’clock in the evening and I was just sitting on my couch, and my editor called out of nowhere. We were optimistic, but I never imagined that. The people who are No 1 are household names, like Stephen King!

Describe The Vanishing Half.
It’s a story about twin sisters, Desiree and Stella, who decide to live their lives on opposite sides of the colour line – one as a white woman and one as a black woman…

Read the entire interview here.

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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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