The Mix: Conversations with Artists…Between Races

Posted in Arts, Audio, Media Archive, United States on 2018-03-20 17:49Z by Steven

The Mix: Conversations with Artists…Between Races

Stage and Studio
KBOO FM, Portland, Oregon
Tuesday, 2018-03-20 19:00-19:30Z (11:00-11:30 Local Time)

Dmae Roberts, Host

“In The Mix: Conversations with Artists…Between Races” by Dmae Roberts is a radio exploration of Mixed Race. Through the voices of artists who have dedicated their lives to building bridges and bringing to light interracial issues and themes, Roberts takes us on a journey to understanding what means to be of Mixed Race.

You’ll hear Novelist Lisa See (Peony in love), Playwright Heather Raffo (9 Parts of Desire), Writer/Conceptual Artist damali ayo, Playwright Velina Hasu Houston, and three actors formerly from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Juan Rivera LaBron, Soneela Nankani and Joshua Wolf Coleman. For more info visit the Facebook page or go to

Associate producer is Sara Caswell and mix engineer is Clark Salisbury. Originally aired in 2008.

Funded by the Regional Arts and Culture Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

To listen to the interview, click here.

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Phoebe Collings-James Wants To Change The Face Of The Art World

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2018-03-20 00:05Z by Steven

Phoebe Collings-James Wants To Change The Face Of The Art World


Sydney Gore, Assistant Digital Editor

with more color in the picture

In celebration of Black History Month, NYLON is running a spotlight series called Black Girl Power… The Future Is Bright. Every day, phenomenal black women from different industries will be featured to tell their stories—revealing how they became who they are, showing what they have accomplished, and pinpointing how they navigated their careers. Black women deserve to be celebrated 365 days of the year, and we hope that this series will inspire everyone to believe in the power of #blackgirlmagic.

Phoebe Collings-James is an artist from London currently based in New York. Breaking out into the art world can be challenging enough as a woman, but the 28-year-old has been exposed to even more realities as the product of an English and Jamaican family. Collings-James’ latest work at the CONDO exhibition consisted of a series of watercolour paintings of animals titled Just Enough Violence. (Her previous series was called Choke On Your Tongue.)

“My work relies on a hypersensitivity to the situations and people surrounding me. Perhaps that broadly describes many artists, but it is true. I think it’s about bearing witness,” she told us in an email. “That gets scrambled with my research and desires to make physical things, to use my hands to turn materials from one form to another. I love art. I feel like I always forget to say that and it’s the most obvious answer really. I got into it because I love it. I find it inspiring because it can open up your imagination, which is something that is essential if we are to live and not merely survive.”

Collings-James started modeling as a teenager and then got back into it a few years ago as a means to support her artistic practice. Her approach toward fashion and art has always been one of great ambivalence. “I think clothes are vitally important, even more so to people who are overlooked or marginalised in society,” she added. “For many it is one of the few ways of expressing your creativity. To show the world who you are, what you are into, and what you believe in.”

This reasoning is why Collings-James thinks that cultural appropriation has become a more divisive subject today. “Whether it’s designers appropriating ‘work wear’ or Kylie Jenner wearing her hair in cornrows, our style is something very precious,” she explained.

Get more familiar with Collings-James and her work in the interview, below!…

How did you grow into your black identity? (Or, if you’re multiracial, how did you grow into your identity as such?)

I feel like I’m only just figuring that out to be honest. When I see younger women like Amandla Stenberg speak so eloquently and vehemently about their identities I’m so happy that they exist now. As I feel like I was looking for that kind of inspiration as a kid and didn’t find it until much later. A lot of my relationships with my identity have been through the lens of relationships with men who, both black and white, have projected their own complicated relationships with race onto my body and mind. It’s only in the last year I have started to feel more whole. As black people, we often are seen as just skin. Light skin, dark skin, golden skin—ooh that beautiful blue-black skin. We don’t get to be whole. We don’t get to be nuanced or chameleon-like.

I have been reading Grace Jones’ autobiography and she is giving me life each day. Coming from Jamaica like my father’s family, she describes her relationship with a world that would rather she stayed small, or fitted neatly in a box, and she continues at age 66 to smash all conventions. I especially like the way she describes each of the glossy photos that line the gutter of the book. “At the edge of the Caribbean Sea.” “A one-man show. A red curtain, an accordion, a minimal staircase, one leg up. Voila – theatre!” “Acting natural in a 1970’s disco setting.” “Using a New York rooftop as a stage, totally believing in myself.” When people say gender and race are constructs, Grace knows that innately. She lives that performance of identities. She is my hero/ine!…

Read the entire interview here.

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History Matters: The story behind ‘Lost Boundaries’

Posted in Articles, Arts, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2018-03-06 21:11Z by Steven

History Matters: The story behind ‘Lost Boundaries’

The Portsmouth Herald (Seacoast Online)
Portsmouth, New Hampshire

J. Dennis Robinson

Albert Johnston Jr. was 16 when he found out he was black. His fair-skinned African-American parents had been “passing” as white, they told him, since moving from Chicago to rural Gorham, New Hampshire, and later to Keene. Albert’s father had been the town’s country doctor with 2,500 white patients and an active member of the school board, the Masons and the Rotary. His mother, Thyra, was a two-time president of the Gorham Women’s Club and active in the Congregational Church.

Born in 1925, growing up skiing the White Mountains of the Granite State, Albert had only a single black acquaintance in high school. In an era of widespread racial segregation and discrimination, Albert felt a seismic shift as he adapted from a dark-skinned Caucasian to a light-skinned “Negro.”

Then Albert took a road trip. Two decades before Ken Kesey and Easy Rider, with only a few dollars in their pockets, Albert and an old school chum named Walt hitchhiked and hopped freight trains from New Hampshire to California. For Albert, it was a spiritual journey into the homes of his long-lost African-American relatives and into the roots of black culture. For Walt, who was white, it was a great adventure with a good friend. Albert eventually found his way home. Renewed and focused, he enrolled in the well-regarded music program at the University of New Hampshire.

And here, in a UNH college lounge in front of 20 fellow students, Albert Johnston Jr. finally laid his burden down. During a seminar on the “race problem” in America, the topic turned to “cross-bred” people. He could offer some insight on that topic, Albert told his classmates, because he, himself, was a Negro.

The room got very still, he later recalled, like the sudden silence after the climax of a concerto. The Johnston family secret was about to explode, first into the pages of Reader’s Digest magazine, and then as a controversial book and feature film called “Lost Boundaries.”…

Read the entire article here.

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A different portrait of black fatherhood

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2018-03-06 19:31Z by Steven

A different portrait of black fatherhood

In Pictures
BBC News

Zun Lee

Zun Lee was raised in Germany by Korean parents – but as an adult he discovered his real father was a black American with whom his mother had had a brief affair.

After this discovery, he began to explore fatherhood among black Americans.

Lee says the US media mainly portrays black fathers in one of two ways:

  • the absent father, often portrayed as a “deadbeat”
  • the traditional family patriarch, as seen in TV programmes such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

And his project, on display at the Bronx Documentary Centre, in New York, aims for a more balanced and nuanced portrayal.

Read the entire article here.

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On prejudice

Posted in Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Philosophy, Slavery on 2018-03-06 01:27Z by Steven

On prejudice


Blake Smith, Postdoctoral Fellow
European University Institute, Florence, Italy

Famille Métisse (1775) by Marius-Pierre le Masurier. Photo courtesy Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac/RMN

An 18th-century creole slaveholder invented the idea of ‘racial prejudice’ to defend diversity among a slave-owning elite

n 1791, Julien Raimond published one of the first critiques of racial prejudice. Raimond was a free man of racially mixed ancestry from the French colony of Saint-Domingue (today the country of Haiti), and his essay ‘Observations on the Origin and Progress of White People’s Prejudice against People of Colour’ argued that legal discrimination against people of African origin resulted from psychological biases. Raimond’s work was the first sustained account of how racial prejudice operates – and how it might be eliminated. Today, the idea that unconscious biases permeate individual psychology, prompting discriminatory behaviours and perpetuating social inequality, is central to discussions of race in politics, academia and everyday life. But this idea was the product of a specific 18th-century moment, with surprising and troubling motivations behind it.

Raimond was an activist for the rights of people of colour. In 1789, he left his home in Saint-Domingue just before the outbreak of the French Revolution. He went to Paris to lobby the government to grant equal status to free people of African origin. In Paris, Raimond joined a circle of radical thinkers and politicians who believed that racial equality had to be part of the emerging Revolution. But Raimond was no opponent of slavery. On the contrary, while his allies argued for its abolition, Raimond insisted that racial equality and abolition of slavery had nothing to do with each other. The first page of his treatise claimed that a cabal of ‘white plantation-owners … have cleverly conflated the cause of people of colour with that of slaves’. Raimond, in fact, wanted to preserve slavery. He believed that eliminating racial prejudice would bring white and non-white slave-owners together in a united front against enslaved Africans. He drew on the pro-slavery arguments of white plantation-owners. Raimond’s idea that there is such a thing as ‘racial prejudice’ and that discrimination is rooted in this psychological phenomenon originated in these plantation-owners’ defences of slavery.

Raimond’s ideas strike many present-day readers as bizarre and hypocritical. After all, he pioneered modern critiques of racial prejudice while also defending slavery. Most people today presume that racism led to slavery, and that slavery and racism were practically synonymous. But in the 18th century, this was not so clearly the case. From Raimond’s perspective, as an 18th-century creole slave-owner, slavery and racism were distinct, and it seemed urgent to disentangle them. Slavery, after all, had existed for thousands of years, while modern racial discrimination, Raimond held, was something recent, contingent and reformable. Like many thinkers of his era (including many of the United States’ Founding Fathers), Raimond saw the world divided between an elite of propertied men and a servile mass of labourers. He saw that the power of a tiny elite would be more resilient if the privileged included people of different colours…

Read the entire article here.

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The First Great Movie of the Trump Era

Posted in Articles, Arts, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2018-02-23 05:05Z by Steven

The First Great Movie of the Trump Era


Jada Yuan and Hunter Harris

Daniel Kaluuya and Jordan Peele filming the game-room scene of Get Out.
Justin Lubin/courtesy of Universal Pictures

How Get Out began as a rebuke to Obama-inspired dreams of racial harmony and became a conduit for fears reignited by the rise of the new president.

Get Out was shot in just 23 days on a budget of $4.5 million, but when it opened one year ago, it quickly became clear it was not just another low-budget horror movie. There were monstrous grosses and rapturous reviews, but most important, the film instantly became a cultural phenomenon — the subject of political commentary and social-media memes. The bizarre story of a young black man lured by his white girlfriend to her family home in the country, where they plan to replace his brain with an older white person’s, it immediately introduced into the lexicon terms like “the sunken place” — as in “We’ve lost Kanye to the sunken place,” used to suggest the rapper has lost touch with his black identity. Racial inequity, and the failure of white liberals to adequately address it, proved powerful fodder for a horror narrative. A year later, as one of the most unlikely Oscar Best Picture nominees in years, Get Out is being taught in courses on racism and Afro­futurism. It began as an insight in the brain of creator Jordan Peele during the 2008 primary fight between Obama and Hillary Clinton and premiered at Sundance within a week of Donald Trump’s inauguration. This is the story of how Get Out got out…

Read the entire article here.

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Lupita Nyong’o To Star In ‘Born A Crime’ Based On Trevor Noah’s Memoir

Posted in Africa, Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Media Archive, South Africa on 2018-02-22 04:47Z by Steven

Lupita Nyong’o To Star In ‘Born A Crime’ Based On Trevor Noah’s Memoir

Deadline Hollywood

Amanda N’Duka


EXCLUSIVE: Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, currently starring as Nakia in Disney/Marvel’s record-smashing, watershed hit Black Panther, has signed on to star in Born a Crime, the film adaptation of The Daily Show host Trevor Noah’s bestselling debut autobiography Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood.

Nyong’o will play Noah’s mom, Patricia, who served as an important figure to her son in his formative years. She was shot in the head by his stepfather while returning from a church service in 2009, but survived.

Noah is producing the project through his Ark Angel Productions alongside Norman Aladjem, Derek Van Pelt and Sanaz Yamin of Mainstay Entertainment, and Nyong’o…

Read the entire article here.

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Incognegro: Renaissance Author Mat Johnson Talks About Living a Black Life With Skin That Can Look White

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2018-02-20 03:12Z by Steven

Incognegro: Renaissance Author Mat Johnson Talks About Living a Black Life With Skin That Can Look White


Charles Pulliam-Moore

Dark Horse

In Dark Horse’s Incognegro: Renaissance, Zane Pinchback—a young black journalist and New York transplant by way of Tupelo, Mississippi—finds himself smack dab in the middle of Harlem at the height of its Renaissance during the 1920s. Zane, like Incognegro: Renaissance creator Mat Johnson, is a black man with a light enough complexion that people are sometimes unsure or entirely unaware of his race.

To those who know him, Zane’s identity isn’t a question, but for many of the new people he encounters in New York—particularly the white ones—Zane is able to pass as white, and thus move through certain spaces that other black people can’t. Drawn by Warren Pleece, Incognegro: Renaissance opens on a very taboo and illegal book party in Harlem where black and white people co-mingle as the champagne flows freely.

When a black guest suddenly turns up dead of an apparent suicide, the authorities show up on the scene to shut the gathering down, but have zero interest in investigating whether the death may be a homicide because the man is black. Realizing that his ability to pass (and willingness to do work others won’t) might allow him to dig deeper into the potential crime, Zane sets out on a mission to uncover the truth.

When I spoke with Johnson recently about his inspiration for the new series, he explained that much of the core premise is based on his own experiences and a life-long love of Walter Francis White, the civil rights activist who was the head of the NAACP from 1931 to 1955. But what Johnson really wants readers to get out of the series, he said, was a better understanding of the fact that identity in all its forms is fluid…

Read the entire interview here.

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Kaufmann’s ‘Black Tudors’ to be ‘epic’ TV drama

Posted in Articles, Arts, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2018-02-15 18:48Z by Steven

Kaufmann’s ‘Black Tudors’ to be ‘epic’ TV drama

The Bookseller: At the Heart of Publishing since 1858

Benedicte Page

The production company behind the ITV series “Vera” and BBC1’s “Shetland” has acquired exclusive television rights to Black Tudors: The Untold Story by Miranda Kaufmann (Oneworld).

Kate Bartlett’s drama label, formerly known as ITV Studios, London Drama, and now rebranded as Silverprint Pictures, bought rights from Emily Hayward Whitlock at The Artists Partnership and Charlie Viney at The Viney Shaw Agency. Silverprint plans to develop stories from the book into “an epic and ambitious returning drama series.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Paintings Of Barack And Michelle Obama Unveiled At Portrait Gallery

Posted in Articles, Arts, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2018-02-12 19:38Z by Steven

Paintings Of Barack And Michelle Obama Unveiled At Portrait Gallery

National Public Radio

Camila Domonoske

Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama stand next to their newly unveiled portraits during a ceremony Monday at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Brand new portraits of former president Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama — wearing matching calm, strong expressions — were revealed on Monday at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Kehinde Wiley painted Barack Obama sitting in a chair, elbows in his knees, leaning forward with an intense expression. The background, typical of a Wiley painting, is a riotous pattern of intense greens.

“Pretty sharp,” Obama said with a grin.

Amy Sherald, a Baltimore-based artist, painted Michelle Obama sitting in a floor-length gown, chin on her hand, looking directly at the viewer with a calm, level gaze.

The paintings, like the presidency they honor, are a historic first. Wiley and Sherald — both already famous for their portraits of black Americans — are the first black painters to receive a presidential portrait commission from the museum…

Read the entire article here.

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