APA Leaders 2016: Meet Avalon Igawa!

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Campus Life, Interviews, United States on 2019-09-18 01:44Z by Steven

APA Leaders 2016: Meet Avalon Igawa!

USC APASA (University of Southern California Asian Pacific American Student Assembly)
2016-03-10

Avalon_

Hi again! Hope everyone’s doing well with only one day left to get through before spring break! Anyways, as our headline says, our third APA Leader is Avalon Igawa! Avalon’s heavily involved in the APA community being the President of SCAPE and a CIRCLE coordinator. It’s hard to find someone with her passion and energetic personality! Read more about Avalon in our interview below:

Name: Avalon Igawa Major: Political Economy (Minor: Digital Studies) Year: Junior

What does being APA mean to you? I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this question, and I realize that while it used to be really hard for me, it isn’t so much anymore. And I think that’s because I finally accepted that I don’t need a concrete answer and nobody else does either. It’s a beautiful identity because we can define it for ourselves and let it represent what we want. Wow, that sounded really cheesy, but I feel like it’s true! It took me a long time to accept that I could identify as Asian Pacific American and that I wasn’t erasing my mixed identity. I can be APA and I can be Irish American and I can be mixed. Because for me, being APA means that I can relate to the stories of other APAs and recognize the diversity of all the deep complex histories and narratives that have shaped so many of our experiences. Being APA represents hxstory and struggle, but most of all it represents community. And that’s what I love about it so much…

Read the entire interview here.

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Episode 13: Passing as White

Posted in Audio, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-09-16 00:31Z by Steven

Episode 13: Passing as White

The Nasiona Podcast
Being Mixed-Race Series
2019-09-12

Julián Esteban Torres López, Host, Founder, Executive Director, and Editor-in-Chief
Nicole Zelniker, Interviewer
Sam Manas, Guest

Since European settlers brought enslaved Africans to the United States, there has been passing. In terms of race, passing means presenting as a race you don’t identify as, such as when an escaped enslaved person pretended to be white to avoid being sold back into slavery. More recently, former Spokane NAACP president Rachel Dolezal made headlines when it came out that she was a white woman passing as black for many years.

Not all passing is intentional, however. Sam Manas, for example, is white and Panamanian, although because he is much lighter-skinned than most people from Panama, people tend to think he’s only white.

Sam Manas is a reporter from Baltimore, Maryland, currently studying investigative journalism at the University of Missouri. He writes about local politics and his interests include technology and society. At the time of this interview, he was an intern at The Conversation.

Listen to the episode (00:35:41) here.

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Emma Dabiri on the Politics of Black Hair

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2019-09-09 00:13Z by Steven

Emma Dabiri on the Politics of Black Hair

Sotheby’s
African Modern & Contemporary Art
2019-09-03

Mariko Finch, Deputy Editor, Deputy Director
London, United Kingdom

Emma Dabiri wearing Nigerian Yoruba suku braids

Emma Dabiri is a broadcaster, author and academic who recently published Don’t Touch My Hair — a book that charts the shifting cultural status of black hair from pre-colonial Africa through to Western pop culture and beyond. Ahead of the Modern & Contemporary African Art sale in London on 15 October, in which a number of works depicting traditional African hair are offered, we sat down with her to discuss the history of hairstyles.

Mariko Finch: When did you decide that you wanted to turn your research into a book?

Emma Dabiri: In around 2016. The conversation about black hair had been happening for a while at that stage but I was finding it often quite repetitive. There is so much more to engage with through hair, so I wanted to do that research. There is so much more to engage with through hair; social history, philosophy, metaphysics, mathematical expression, coding, maps…

This topic has recently made it to the mainstream media; through Beyoncé and Solange Knowles, Kim Kardashian and the issue of cultural appropriation. It is very timely to have that debate anchored in something historical.

I felt somewhat exasperated by the way people’s frustrations around cultural appropriation by celebrities were being disregarded and dismissed as just something very superficial; as if those weren’t valid or legitimate concerns. I wanted to provide the historical context for why this anger exists. Let me show that it’s not just vacuous, or petty policing of culture. There are like very strong historical antecedents as to why these emotions run so high…

Read the entire interview here.

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What Does It Mean to Be “Black Enough”?

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2019-08-28 21:21Z by Steven

What Does It Mean to Be “Black Enough”?

Electric Lit
2019-08-15

Brian Gresko

Chris L. Terry’sBlack Card” grapples with biracial identity

Chris L. Terry’s Black Card is a fascinating meditation on race, with a head-nodding soundtrack that moves from funk LPs to punk CDs, Guns N’ Roses to Outkast. The novel follows an unnamed protagonist, a college drop-out who works as a barista in Richmond, Virginia, and plays bass in a punk band. His bandmates are white, along with the majority of the punks he encounters at house parties and shows, but he’s mixed-race, with a white mother and Black father.

All his life he’s been unsure of his Black identity due to his light skin tone and red hair, attributes that read to white people as “racially ambiguous.” His father tells him not to doubt his Blackness, yet this confirmation comes off more as a warning not to get too comfortable around white people, and, like most kids when receiving advice from a parent, he doesn’t really take it to heart…

Read the entire interview here.

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Jackie Kay on putting her adoption on stage – and getting a pay rise for her successor

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-08-25 02:02Z by Steven

Jackie Kay on putting her adoption on stage – and getting a pay rise for her successor

The Guardian
2019-08-07

Peter Ross


‘I think it’s really scandalous to pay your national poet five grand’ … Kay in Glasgow. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

When Scotland’s national poet travelled to Nigeria to ask her birth father if he ever thought of her, he said no. Does it hurt to put this on stage? And should the next ‘makar’ be on £30,000?

Before Jackie Kay was a writer, she was a character. “When you’re adopted,” she explains over lunch in a Glasgow cafe, “you come with a story.” Her adoptive mother Helen – fascinated by her possible origins – encouraged young Kay to speculate about her birth parents. It was known that her father was Nigerian, her mother a white woman from the Scottish Highlands. Were they, perhaps, torn apart by racial prejudice in 1960s Scotland?

There was tragic romance to that idea, and a fairytale quality in the notion that Kay, offspring of forbidden love, should come to live with John and Helen, two people who had plenty of love – not to mention songs and stories – to share. Little wonder that Kay has come to think of herself as a creature not only of genetics but of the imagination. As Scotland’s national poet writes in her beautiful memoir Red Dust Road, she is “part fable, part porridge”.

Red Dust Road, adapted for the stage by Tanika Gupta, is to be presented at the Edinburgh international festival. I catch some scenes in a National Theatre of Scotland rehearsal room: Stefan Adegbola and Sasha Frost are running through the moment when Kay, visiting Nigeria, meets her birth father Jonathan. “Did you ever think of me in all those years?” Frost asks. “No, of course not,” Adegbola replies. “Why would I? It was a long time ago.” This exchange feels brutal, but Kay looks on impassive. She lived it…

Read the entire interview here.

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Q&A with Clinician Turned Novelist, John Vercher ’16MFA

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2019-08-18 21:50Z by Steven

Q&A with Clinician Turned Novelist, John Vercher ’16MFA

Southern New Hampshire University
Newsroom
2019-08-06

Rebecca LeBoeuf, Staff Writer

John Vercher and the text John Vercher '16MFA, Mountainview Low-Residency MFA in Fiction.

John Vercher ’16MFA didn’t think he had what it takes to make a career out of writing, so he went to school to be a clinician instead. After spending more than a decade feeling unhappy in his role, he decided to revisit his passion for writing.

Since Vercher hadn’t written regularly in a while, he knew going back to school was a smart move. Not only would it immerse him in the discipline and craft again, but it could even result in a publishable book.

And it did. Three years after Vercher graduated from Southern New Hampshire University’s (SNHU) Mountainview Low-Residency MFA program, he published his thesis and debut novel, “Three-Fifths,” out this September…

Read the entire interview here.

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Natasha Díaz on Turning Her Black Jewish Childhood Into a YA Novel

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Judaism, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2019-08-15 17:41Z by Steven

Natasha Díaz on Turning Her Black Jewish Childhood Into a YA Novel

Alma
2019-08-15

Emily Burack, Associate Editor

Natasha Díaz was 9 years old when she and her mom went on Oprah to talk about the experience of being a multiracial family. Díaz, who has a Jewish father and a Liberian and Brazilian mom, had recently been featured in a documentary called Between Black & White. When Oprah asked her a question, young Natasha froze up (you can watch the video here).

Well, she is freezing up no longer — Díaz’s debut YA novel, Color Me In, fictionalizes her childhood and tells the coming-of-age story of Navaeh Levitz. Navaeh is a Black Jewish teenager whose father forces her to have a belated bat mitzvah at age 16. Navaeh’s parents are in the midst of a divorce, and the bat mitzvah is her father’s way of having her stay connected to his family. Meanwhile, Navaeh is struggling to figure out her identity, her relationship to her blackness, her privilege, a blossoming relationship, and her family. It’s a compelling and timely read.

We had the chance to chat with Díaz about writing Color Me In, #OwnVoices in young adult literature, and connecting with her Jewish identity.

How close does the protagonist Naveah’s experience as a Black Jewish teenager mirror your own?

I would say in a lot of ways it’s similar, and in a lot of ways it’s very different.

We have very similar backgrounds, racially and religiously. I am multiracial, she’s biracial. I’m Brazilian, Liberian, and Jewish, where she’s just half-Black and half-Jewish. And my parents separated, similar to her, although mine separated when I was much younger than she was. And, as a result of my parents’ divorce, it was literally in the divorce papers that I had to be raised Jewish.

Aside from that, I would say we’re completely different. I was raised very immersed in my culture, especially on my mom’s side, which is where the Black and Brazilian side is. My parents had split custody [over me], so I spent time with both families, but I’m closer to my mom’s family because a lot of my dad’s family doesn’t live in New York City. Where Naveah was sheltered from her identity, I was very immersed in mine.

It doesn’t mean that we haven’t, at times, shared a lot of the same insecurities, like feeling you don’t really fit in in either world, or you’re not really sure what part of yourself you have a right to claim or own. I’ve never had an extremely religious connection to Judaism. Culturally, though, especially growing up in New York City, there’s a lot of Jewish cultural things that I connect to on a personal level…

Read the entire interview here.

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Makaya McCraven Isn’t Interested in Saving Jazz

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2019-08-11 02:01Z by Steven

Makaya McCraven Isn’t Interested in Saving Jazz

Rolling Stone
2018-10-25

Natalie Weiner, Reporter

Makaya McCraven in Chicago in October.
Makaya McCraven in Chicago in October.
Lyndon French for RollingStone.com

Chicago-based drummer and bandleader on how he’s marrying the energy of intimate club performances with 21st-century electronic thinking

“‘Is jazz dead?’ is a stupid question,” says drummer and bandleader Makaya McCraven over beers at a Lower East Side bar that is, fittingly, playing a selection of 1930s and ’40s-era jazz cuts. “If you have to ask the same question for 50 years, it becomes a rhetorical question. When did it die?”

Those who know McCraven’s work would likely reach a similar conclusion. Critically acclaimed releases like In the Moment (2015) and Highly Rare (2017) — both made up entirely of live material — put the heat and vitality of an intimate jazz club into a distinctly 21st century mode of brainy beat music, edited down to their searching, abstract highlights. They gave McCraven the kind of jazz-vanguard cred also recently assigned to artists like Robert Glasper, Kamasi Washington and Shabaka Hutchings, all of whom have earned some degree of crossover success over the past decade thanks in part to their ability to tap into hip-hop and R&B audiences. Despite the fact that these artists emerged at different times and with different aesthetics, each has been presented as the face of a jazz “revival” or “resurgence” — a necessary spark to an otherwise moribund genre. But McCraven, 35, would prefer that listeners don’t call it a comeback…

..In many ways, global jazz culture is the story of McCraven’s life. His father, jazz drummer Stephen McCraven — a Connecticut native who was mentored by avant-gardists Marion Brown, Archie Shepp, Yusef Lateef and Sam Rivers — and his mother, Hungarian folk singer Ágnes Zsigmondi, met in Paris, where McCraven was born. The family later moved to Amherst, Massachusetts, finding an intimate artistic community in the college town…

Read the entire interview here.

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Is ‘Race Science’ Making A Comeback?

Posted in Articles, Audio, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2019-07-16 00:43Z by Steven

Is ‘Race Science’ Making A Comeback?

Code Switch: Race and Identity Remixed
National Public Radio
2019-07-10

Shereen Marisol Meraji, Host/Correspondent

Gene Demby, Lead Blogger

Jess Kung, Intern


Angela Saini, author of Superior: The Return of Race Science.
Henrietta Garden

When Angela Saini was 10 years old, her family moved from what she called “a very multicultural area” in East London to the almost exclusively white Southeast London. Suddenly her brown skin stood out, making her a target. She couldn’t avoid the harassment coming from two boys who lived around the corner. One day, they pelted her and her sister with rocks. She remembers one hit her on the head. She remembers bleeding.

There had been racist comments before that, she says, “but that was the first time that someone around my own age had decided to physically hurt me. And it was tough.”

It was also one of the first stories she reported, writing about the incident and reading it out for class. She says that’s what made her a journalist.

Saini is now an award-winning science journalist, often reporting on the intersection of science, race and gender. Her latest book, Superior: The Return of Race Science, tracks the history and ideology of race science up to its current resurgence…

Read the story here. Download the story (00:22:14) here.

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Chinyere K. Osuji

Posted in Anthropology, Audio, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Family/Parenting, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2019-07-12 12:09Z by Steven

Chinyere K. Osuji

New Books Network
2019-07-11

Reighan Gillam, Host and Assistant Professor of Anthropology
University of Southern California

Chinyere K. Osuji, Boundaries of Love: Interracial Marriage and the Meaning of Race (New York: New York University Press, 2019)

The increasing presence of interracial relationships is often read as an antidote to racism or as an indicator of the decreasing significance of race. In her book, Boundaries of Love: Interracial Marriage and the Meaning of Race (NYU Press, 2019), Chinyere K. Osuji examines how interracial couples push against, navigate, and often maintain racial boundaries. In-depth interviews with black-white couples in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Los Angeles demonstrate how couples negotiate racial difference with their spouses, within their families, and during public encounters. This comparative study of interracial couples in Brazil and in the United States shows just how race can be constructed differently, while racial hierarchies persist. This book would be of interest to those in fields such as racial and ethnic studies, family and kinship studies, gender studies, and Latin American studies.

Listen to the interview (00:52:56) here. Download the interview here.

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