Black Brother, Black Brother

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, United States on 2021-12-03 19:53Z by Steven

Black Brother, Black Brother

Little, Brown Young Readers
2020-03-03
256 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9780316493802
Trade Paperback ISBN-13: 9780316493796
eBook ISBN-13: 9780316493819
Audiobook ISBN-13: 9781549102202

Jewell Parker Rhodes

From award-winning and bestselling author, Jewell Parker Rhodes comes a powerful coming-of-age story about two brothers, one who presents as white, the other as black, and the complex ways in which they are forced to navigate the world, all while training for a fencing competition.

Framed. Bullied. Disliked. But I know I can still be the best.

Sometimes, 12-year-old Donte wishes he were invisible. As one of the few black boys at Middlefield Prep, most of the students don’t look like him. They don’t like him either. Dubbing him “Black Brother,” Donte’s teachers and classmates make it clear they wish he were more like his lighter-skinned brother, Trey.

When he’s bullied and framed by the captain of the fencing team, “King” Alan, he’s suspended from school and arrested.

Terrified, searching for a place where he belongs, Donte joins a local youth center and meets former Olympic fencer Arden Jones. With Arden’s help, he begins training as a competitive fencer, setting his sights on taking down the fencing team captain, no matter what.

As Donte hones his fencing skills and grows closer to achieving his goal, he learns the fight for justice is far from over. Now Donte must confront his bullies, racism, and the corrupt systems of power that led to his arrest.

Powerful and emotionally gripping, Black Brother, Black Brother is a careful examination of the school-to-prison pipeline and follows one boy’s fight against racism and his empowering path to finding his voice.

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Who is Florence Price?

Posted in Arts, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2021-12-03 19:33Z by Steven

Who is Florence Price?

Schirmer Trade Books (an imprint of Wise Music Group)
2021-11-18
48 pages
5.75 x 0.4 x 8.25 inches
Hardback ISBN: 9781736533406

Written and Illustrated by Students of the Special Music School at the Kaufman Music Center, New York, New York.

Young musicians tell the story of a girl and her music

Florence [Price] loved her mother’s piano playing and wanted to be just like her. When she was just four years old she played her first piano concert and as she grew up she studied and wrote music hoping one day to hear her own music performed by an orchestra.

The story of a brilliant musician who prevailed against race and gender prejudices to become the first Black woman to be recognised as a symphonic composer and be performed by a major American orchestra in 1933.

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In Hip-Hop and Academia, Mystic Defines Her Own Success Story

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2021-12-03 18:14Z by Steven

In Hip-Hop and Academia, Mystic Defines Her Own Success Story

KQED
San Francisco, California
2021-12-01

Nastia Voynovskaya, Associate Editor

Mystic surprised the world by walking away from a record deal after her successful debut album. But for her, it was all part of the plan to create and be of service, completely on her own terms. (Nastia Voynovskaya/KQED)

Mystic sits in her backyard on the kind of warm, autumn afternoon that makes people remark at how good it is to live in Oakland, California. Dappled light shines through a lush canopy of persimmon, fig and guava trees. Her pet lovebird chirps in the distance, and she’s snacking on almonds between Zoom calls with young musicians she mentors.

This is the veteran hip-hop artist’s little oasis, away from the unruliness of the city, where she ponders the changing seasons of life, love and art.

It’s a good time for reflection. The recent loss of her longtime close friend and Digital Underground collaborator, Shock G, shook her deeply. That, and the grief of living during a global pandemic, prompted her to listen inward and ask herself what would fulfill her soul right now.

“I mean, shouldn’t we be doing what we love? Isn’t it the time now?” she asks in her naturally poetic cadence, lowering her voice into a near-whisper. Then, she starts to get louder and more passionate, as if proclaiming a manifesto: “If we’re artists, and art is part of our healing journey, then we should all be making art right now, right? There should be art flooding our speakers and our museums and our buildings, right? Public art.”

And for Mystic, one of the roles of hip-hop as a public art form is to bring traumas out of darkness and into the light, where they can be examined and processed—maybe even let go—in communion with others. That’s the power of her classic album Cuts for Luck and Scars for Freedom, whose 20th anniversary Mystic is celebrating this year. She recently took ownership of the master recordings and put out a podcast series looking back at its creation. Now, she’s gearing up for a vinyl rerelease in December.

From the outside, it might look like Mystic is recommitting to her art after years of focusing on her other loves: academia and teaching. After Cuts for Luck and Scars for Freedom was released to great acclaim, she walked away from a record deal and took a different path that brought her to UC Berkeley and, eventually, the University of Oxford for her master’s degree in education. For years, she spent more time in kindergarten classrooms than on stage in front of fans. But to Mystic, these multiple pursuits are all part of one continuous quest to create, express and be of service.

“It takes life to make art,” she texts me after one of our conversations. “There are times of input and times of output. I take my time for input, and that includes healing, living, loving, working with children, school and community. When my art is ready to be born, that is output. That is all 😉.”…

Read the entire article here.

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New Children’s Book Tells the Story of Florence Price

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2021-12-03 15:53Z by Steven

New Children’s Book Tells the Story of Florence Price

Wise Music Classical
2021-10-08

A classroom exploration and discovery led students to create an illustrated biography of a composer whose music is being widely celebrated around the world today. Their book Who is Florence Price? will be published by Schirmer Trade Books, part of Wise Music Group, on November 18th 2021.

Florence Price became the first Black woman to have her music played by a major American orchestra when the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performed her Symphony No. 1 in 1933. The new children’s book Who Is Florence Price? tells the story of a brilliant musician who prevailed against race and gender prejudices to achieve this important milestone. The book was written and illustrated by 45 middle school students at Kaufman Music Center’s Special Music School, New York City’s only K-12 public school that teaches music as a core subject. The project began when English teacher Shannon Potts realized that there were no materials about Price’s life at the lower school reading level. The students studied Price’s biography and mapped out her life story on a wall, discussing which elements were most important to the narrative for their intended audience: children at approximately the third-grade reading level. After collaboratively writing and revising the text, the students created the illustrations, beginning with backgrounds of cut paper. The book was originally self-published as a classroom project shortly before the [COVID-19] pandemic shut down NYC in the spring of 2020 and has been revised for the 2021 release…

Read the entire article here.

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Passing into Film: Rebecca Hall’s Adaptation of Nella Larsen

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2021-12-03 15:18Z by Steven

Passing into Film: Rebecca Hall’s Adaptation of Nella Larsen

Modernism/modernity
Volume 6, Cycle 2 (2021-11-10)

Rafael Walker, Assistant Professor of English
Baruch College, City University of New York

Fig. 1. Promotional poster for Rebecca Hall’s Passing (2021). Image via IMDB.

Director Rebecca Hall’s recent adaptation of Nella Larsen’s exquisite second novel, Passing (1929), is visually stunning. I had the pleasure of seeing the film on the big screen, during its limited theatrical run and before its Netflix release. It was the ideal atmosphere for absorbing this cinematic rendering of Larsen’s eerie, anxiety-ridden plot: ensconced with a sparse audience (my companion and I comprising two of the four patrons for the 5:10pm showing) in a small independent theater in Manhattan, just a few miles from where the story is set, and with Halloween everywhere looming on this late-October evening.1

These qualities of the novel were only enhanced by Hall’s decision to film it in black and white, a daring choice that she, a first-time filmmaker, had to fight for, as Alexandra Kleeman of the New York Times reports. On the one hand, this artistic decision conjures all the nervous palpitations that Hitchcock made synonymous with black-and-white mise-en-scène, maintaining the unshakable uneasiness one experiences while reading Larsen’s novel. On the other, it hurls the either-or terms of Jim Crow racial binarism into conflict with a predominating grayscale—an all-pervading sign of the fictionality of the dichotomizations structuring American culture. Nothing could be more in the spirit of Nella Larsen’s novel. I suspect, however, that Hall’s departures from the source text will attract the attention of modernists far more than her convergences…

Read the entire review here.

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“Colin in Black & White” writer on Kaepernick’s parents & awakening: “They didn’t see him as Black”

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States, Videos on 2021-12-03 02:50Z by Steven

“Colin in Black & White” writer on Kaepernick’s parents & awakening: “They didn’t see him as Black”

Salon
2021-11-28

D. Watkins, Editor-at-Large

Colin Kaepernick in “Colin in Black & White” (Ser Baffo/Netflix)

Michael Starrbury appeared on “Salon Talks” to discuss how he wants to increase awareness of privilege and reality

Back in 2016, the superstar NFL quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick, had become so fed up with racism, police violence against Black and Brown people, and the many injustices woven into the fabric of America, that he decided to begin his own silent protests, by taking a knee during the singing of the National Anthem.

Since then, Kaepernick, 34, has been allegedly blackballed from the NFL, with every team refusing to sign him, even though he is arguably better than half of the quarterbacks in the league. He filed a lawsuit against the NFL for discrimination and won an undisclosed amount of money and then smoothly transitioned toward his second act as an activist. He started Kaepernick Publishing company, donated to grassroots organizations all over the world and launched the Know Your Rights Camp so that young people from improvised areas can get the resources they need to learn about the many types of racial injustices in America, challenge the system and become the next generation of leaders.

Taking a knee during the anthem has bought Colin Kaepernick more hate than any of us could have probably imagined – from him being a constant target for conservative media to President Donald Trump calling him and other NFL anthem protestors who followed his lead a “sons of a bitch” just because they wanted to use their platform as a vehicle for raising awareness. Michael Starrbury, who was a writer on Netflix’s Emmy-nominated series “When they See Us,” had the difficult job of not only researching the impact of Kaepernick’s protest, but tying his decision to do so with some of the most traumatic incidents from Kaep’s childhood in the new Netflix series “Colin In Black and White.”…

Read and/or watch the interview here.

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‘Passing’ filmmaker Rebecca Hall shares the personal story behind her movie

Posted in Articles, Audio, Autobiography, Biography, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United Kingdom, United States, Women on 2021-12-03 02:32Z by Steven

‘Passing’ filmmaker Rebecca Hall shares the personal story behind her movie

Fresh Air
National Public Radio
2021-11-30

Terri Gross, Host

Rebecca Hall (right) works on the set of Passing with actors Ruth Negga (left) and Tessa Thompson.
Netflix

Actor/filmmaker Rebecca Hall had what she describes as a “real gasp” moment when she first read Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel Passing.

The book centers on two light-skinned African American women who run into each other after not having seen each other for many years. One of the women is an active member of Harlem’s Black community. The other is married to a white man and is passing as white.

Reading the story of these fictional women, Hall realized that her maternal grandfather had also passed as white.

“Suddenly, aspects of my family life that were tinged with so much mystery and obfuscation, there was a reason for that,” Hall says.

Hall’s mother, acclaimed opera singer Maria Ewing, also passed as white, though not necessarily by her own volition. Instead, Hall says, Ewing tended to “be whatever people chose to see” — which sometimes meant being described as “exotic” by members of the opera community.

Hall was so moved by Larsen’s novel that she drafted a script for a film adaptation — and then she put it away until she felt ready to do something with it. Now, 13 years later, her adaptation of Passing is available on Netflix

Read the entire interview here.

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Passing Is a Film About Race from the Black Gaze

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2021-12-02 17:39Z by Steven

Passing Is a Film About Race from the Black Gaze

Harper’s Bazaar
2021-11-11

Imani Perry, Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey


Netflix

Rebecca Hall’s adaptation of Passing expertly uses the craft of cinema to explore race and colorism from a Black point of view, Imani Perry argues.

Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel, Passing, was part of a tradition. Writers, both Black and white, had been depicting the practice of extremely light-complexioned African Americans slipping into the white world for at least 70 years prior. Passing literature is the term critics have applied to it. In a racially segregated and stratified society, passing was powerful fodder for the literary imagination. Being discovered came with the risk of shame, violence, incarceration, and even death. In Black communities, passing itself was at once frowned upon and protected, as the secrets of passers were guarded.

Understandably, depicting passing today, when the rules of racial membership have shifted, is challenging. Members of Generation Z are skeptical of the historic “one-drop rule” of African-American membership. Initially, that rule was a way of marking Blackness as inferiority and even a sort of contagion. Over time, African Americans used it to develop an expansive idea of what it meant to belong to “the race.” But today, young people often wonder how much one can claim to belong to a group without carrying the weight of being seen as such.

Director Rebecca Hall, who adapted the 1929 novel for the screen nevertheless succeeds in making a film that brings contemporary viewers into the intimate realm of its Black women protagonists, both of whom “pass”; one completely, the other conditionally. Most impressively, Hall captures the tensions of passing in a manner that is effective in the 21st century. Whereas the novella is a masterpiece of sumptuous yet suggestive prose, the black-and-white film’s luxuriousness is found in texture, light, and gesture. Hall avoids a problem that all too often afflicts Black actors. When directors fail to shift light appropriately, bodies that are luminous too often are made muddy and shapeless. Hall’s effective light is not just visually satisfying; it is a narrative tool…

Read the entire review here.

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Getting into Character: Racial Passing and the Limitations of Performativity and Performance in Britt Bennett’s The Vanishing Half

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-11-30 01:22Z by Steven

Getting into Character: Racial Passing and the Limitations of Performativity and Performance in Britt Bennett’s The Vanishing Half

Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction
Published online 2021-11-22
DOI: 10.1080/00111619.2021.2007838

Ohad Reznick, Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Foreign Literatures and Linguistics
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheba, Israel

Judith Butler’s notion of performativity has been criticized because of its overemphasis on the individual’s performance, while it remains questionable how it changes heteronormativity. In the same way that drag performance challenges the man/woman binary, racial passing challenges the White/Black binary. However, whether passing alters the societal perception of race remains debatable. Analyzing the tropes of acting and passing in Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half, I argue that the novel delineates a tension between a liberal mind-set, according to which passing exemplifies the performativity of identity and a close-minded perspective, according to which one cannot choose one’s racial identity. While the novel unsettles the line between acting and being authentic, and, analogously, the line between an original racial identity and an adopted one, it depicts most of its characters as refusing to accept racial transformations. Likewise, the novel presents gender identity as performative, but not in the eyes of society.

Read or purchase the article here.

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The Day I Passed for White

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-11-29 22:27Z by Steven

The Day I Passed for White

TIME
2021-11-19

Kelly McWilliams


Illustration By Elizabeth Montero for TIME

Kelly McWilliams is the author of the upcoming Mirror Girls, a novel about sisterhood and passing.

As a light-skinned Black woman, I have purposefully passed for white only once in my life.

Which is not to say I haven’t passed unintentionally many times—especially as a young adult, away from home for the first time. When white folks around me vented their subterranean racism (“Black kids only get into college because of affirmative action, you know”), I liked to consider myself a warrior—a masked superspy. I always pushed back against this covert racism—the off-color jokes, the insider whispers. (“I would never date a Black man, they’re all on drugs.” “My roommate’s hair smells, you know, like them.”) Importantly, I always revealed my own racial identity as quickly as possible…

Read the entire article here.

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