Colouring the Caribbean: Race and the art of Agostino Brunias

Posted in Arts, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs on 2017-10-17 02:38Z by Steven

Colouring the Caribbean: Race and the art of Agostino Brunias

Manchester University Press
December 2017
272 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-5261-2045-8
eBook ISBN: 978-1-5261-2047-2

Mia L. Bagneris, Jesse Poesch Junior Professor of Art History
Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana

Colouring the Caribbean offers the first comprehensive study of Agostino Brunias’s intriguing pictures of colonial West Indians of colour – so called ‘Red’ and ‘Black’ Caribs, dark-skinned Africans and Afro-Creoles, and people of mixed race – made for colonial officials and plantocratic elites during the late-eighteenth century. Although Brunias’s paintings have often been understood as straightforward documents of visual ethnography that functioned as field guides for reading race, this book investigates how the images both reflected and refracted ideas about race commonly held by eighteenth-century Britons, helping to construct racial categories while simultaneously exposing their constructedness and underscoring their contradictions. The book offers provocative new insights about Brunias’s work gleaned from a broad survey of his paintings, many of which are reproduced here for the first time.

Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. Brunias’s tarred brush, or painting Indians black: race-ing the Carib divide
  • 2. Merry and contented slaves and other island myths: representing Africans and Afro-Creoles in the Anglxexo-American world
  • 3. Brown-skinned booty, or colonising Diana: mixed-race Venuses and Vixens as the fruits of imperial enterprise
  • 4. Can you find the white woman in this picture? Agostino Brunias’s ‘ladies’ of ambiguous race
  • Coda – Pushing Brunias’s buttons, or re-branding the plantocracy’s painter: the afterlife of Brunias’s imagery
  • Index
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Half Breed, theatre review: Funny, gripping show packs a punch

Posted in Articles, Arts, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-09-29 02:52Z by Steven

Half Breed, theatre review: Funny, gripping show packs a punch

London Evening Standard
2017-08-14

Veronica Lee


Impassioned: Natasha Marshall performs in Half Breed Rebecca Need-Menear

Natasha Marshall gives an impassioned performance in a semi-autobiographical show, writes Veronica Lee

“I am that mixed-race kid, 50/50. I’m about as black as it goes round here,” 17-year-old Jaz says in Natasha Marshall’s semi-autobiographical piece about being the only non-white girl growing up in a small English village.

Jaz, who lives with her white grandmother in the West Country, dreams of going to drama school while her best friend, Brogan, whose main ambition in life is to have a baby, talks of London as if it were Mars.

But they’re tight, these two, kindred spirits brought together by both having spent time in the care system, and Brogan, despite not being able to fathom why her friend is doing it, is as determined as Jaz that her Shakespeare audition speech will be perfect…

Read the entire review here.

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A young black girl tries to pass for white in 1960s rural Georgia in the short film ‘Across the Tracks’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-09-05 16:59Z by Steven

A young black girl tries to pass for white in 1960s rural Georgia in the short film ‘Across the Tracks’

Afropunk
2017-08-30

Eye Candy

Two African American sisters grow up in racially charged 1960s Georgia, but one is born with fair skin. And when schools integrate in their small town, she decides to change her destiny—by passing for white.

Set in modern day and 1960s rural Georgia, “Across The Tracks” follows two black sisters—one dark skinned, the other light skinned—as they both navigate the desegregation of their school and make choices that will change them forever. Shot by director/cinematographer Mike Cooke in the small town of Arlington, GA. and co-written by Kimberly James, “Across the Tracks” is a story so resonate with and relevant to the black experience even now you’ll wonder why it hasn’t been done sooner…

Read the entire article here.

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Elaine Welteroth, Teen Vogue’s Refashionista

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2017-09-05 00:20Z by Steven

Elaine Welteroth, Teen Vogue’s Refashionista

The New York Times Magazine
2017-08-31

Jazmine Hughes


Elaine Welteroth
Credit Erik Madigan Heck for The New York Times

The editor in chief has taken on a seemingly impossible task: reinventing the glossy magazine for a hyperempathetic generation.

If you are, like me, a person with no sense of style and a stomach paunch, you might understand why dressing for a fashion show would be a psychological challenge. The day before my first one, I begged my best-dressed co-worker to chaperone my visit to a fast-fashion outlet. I’d coveted a pleated gold-foil skirt I’d seen on the store’s website. My co-worker had approved the skirt on the model. I tried it on. She did not approve it on me. In person, the gold foil looked cheap, the waistband of the skirt unflattering. Instead, she picked out a rose-colored accordion skirt that I would never have thought to buy. I put it on the next morning. Four hours later, I spilled steak juice all down my front.

Maybe another person would have given up at that point, but I was on my way to meet Elaine Welteroth, the editor in chief of Teen Vogue. Hired at 29, she is the youngest-ever editor in chief of a Condé Nast publication, and only the second black woman to hold the title there. Since taking over the magazine last year, she has become a personality of sorts, appearing as herself on ABC’s ‘‘black-ish’’ and being photographed cuddled up to celebrities: the Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson, the actors Gabrielle Union and Aja Naomi King. As I headed to the Coach fall show this February, I found myself growing increasingly nervous to meet her. It wasn’t that she was famous, really. But I spent a significant portion of my adolescence fantasizing about running my own teen magazine, and, like her, I am a young, black New York-based editor with curly hair and myopia. She was famous to me…

Read the entire article here.

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Sundance prize-winning doc ‘Unrest’ gets UK release

Posted in Articles, Arts, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2017-08-26 19:34Z by Steven

Sundance prize-winning doc ‘Unrest’ gets UK release

Screen Daily
2017-08-25

Tom Grater, Deputy online editor
London, United Kingdom


Unrest

Unrest, the feature documentary about ME (also known as chronic fatigue syndrome) which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, will get a UK release in October.

The film chronicles its director’s struggles with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). A PHD student at Harvard, she was suddenly struck by the mysterious illness and left bedridden.

She has since become a filmmaker and activist for ME awareness and was invited to deliver a TED Talk on the subject in June 2016.

Unrest will be independently released by its co-producers, Jennifer Brea’s Shella Films based in Los Angeles, and Lindsey Dryden’s Little By Little Films based in Gloucestershire, UK

Read the entire article here.

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Halsey Covers Our Music Issue—and Proves No Topic is Off-limits

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-08-17 03:25Z by Steven

Halsey Covers Our Music Issue—and Proves No Topic is Off-limits

Playboy
20Q
2017-08-05 (September 2017 Issue)

By Rebecca Haithcoat
Photography by Ramona Rosales

With Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, the queen of New Americana is more outspoken than ever. Here, she covers everything from donating $100,000 to Planned Parenthood to the virtues of the dad bod.

Q1
Hopeless Fountain Kingdom hit number one on the Billboard 200. You’re the first woman to top that chart in 2017. How does it feel?

A lot of this accolade shit is super arbitrary: “Halsey is the first girl with blue hair from New Jersey to.…” It’s exciting but also enraging, because I know a lot of women who put out better albums than me who deserve massive accolades, and I’m the one who had to break the seal…

Q14
How did you navigate growing up biracial?

I’m half black. My dad managed a car dealership, wore a suit to work, had a nice watch, was always clean-shaven, handsome, played golf on the weekends. And people would come up to him like, “Yo, brotha! What’s up!” And my dad would be like, “Hi.…”

Q15
How did that affect you?

I’m white-passing. I’ve accepted that about myself and have never tried to control anything about black culture that’s not mine. I’m proud to be in a biracial family, I’m proud of who I am, and I’m proud of my hair. One of my big jokes a long time ago was “I look white, but I still have white boys in my life asking me why my nipples are brown.” Every now and then I experience these racial blips. I look like a white girl, but I don’t feel like one. I’m a black woman. So it’s been weird navigating that. When I was growing up I didn’t know if I was supposed to love TLC or Britney.

Q16
How do people react when they do find out you’re biracial?

White guilt is funny, but this is a really hard time for white allies. People don’t want to do too much but want to do enough, and in my bubble of Los Angeles I’m surrounded by a lot of good people with a lot of good intentions. But as I learned in this past election, my bubble is just a small fraction of how this country operates. That is ultimately my greatest frustration with the public perception of any sort of activism: the mentality of “Well, it’s not affecting me.” Open your fucking eyes…

Read the entire interview here.

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Thomas and Sally

Posted in Arts, Forthcoming Media, History, Live Events, Slavery, United States on 2017-08-12 22:09Z by Steven

Thomas and Sally

Marin Theater Company
Mill Valley, California
September 28-October 22 (2017) | World Premiere

By Thomas Bradshaw

An explosive world premiere by a 2017 PEN Award winner, Thomas and Sally gets up close and personal with founding father Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, the enslaved woman who mothered six of his children. Playwright Thomas Bradshaw takes us behind the scenes—and into the beds—of American history with the Hemings-Jeffersons and the rock stars of the Revolution: Ben Franklin, John & Abigail Adams & the Marquis de Lafayette!

Mr. Bradshaw’s writing has been influenced by the research of many historical experts on the Jefferson and Hemings families, but the world of this play is completely his own:

“Thomas and Sally is a work of historical fiction. You may recognize many of the names in this play, but others are pure invention. History is highly malleable and subject to interpretation. This is my attempt to explore the essence of these characters and the world they lived in. This is a play, and I am playing with history. I hope you enjoy.”

Thomas Bradshaw’s plays have been produced at regional theaters in NYC as well as in Europe. He is currently working on commissions from the Goodman Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, and the Foundry Theatre, as well as developing a TV series for HARPO and HBO. He is the recipient of a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2010 Prince Charitable Trust Prize, the 2012 Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and this year’s PEN award for an Emerging American playwright.

For more information, click here.

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An Octoroon

Posted in Arts, Live Events, Media Archive, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2017-08-05 21:28Z by Steven

An Octoroon

Woolly Mammoth Theater
641 D Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
Telephone: 202-393-3939

2017-07-17 through 2017-08-06

By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Directed by Nataki Garrett

Last year’s most talked-about, most unforgettable production is returning to Woolly for a limited three-week run: An Octoroon by new MacArthur “Genius Grant”-winner Branden Jacobs-Jenkins!

A plantation on the brink of foreclosure. A young gentleman falling for the part-black daughter of the estate’s owner. An evil swindler plotting to buy her for himself. Meanwhile, the slaves are trying to keep things drama-free, because everybody else is acting crazy.

An Octoroon, Jacobs-Jenkins’ Obie-winning riff on a 19th century melodrama that helped shape the debate around the abolition of slavery, is an incendiary adaptation. Part period satire, part meta-theatrical middle finger, it’s a provocative challenge to the racial pigeonholing of 1859—and of today.

Featuring company members Shannon Dorsey, Jon Hudson Odom, and Erika Rose

Two and a half hours, with one intermission

For more information, click here.

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Author Danzy Senna on Finding Inspiration After Leaving Brooklyn

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Media Archive, United States on 2017-08-05 21:19Z by Steven

Author Danzy Senna on Finding Inspiration After Leaving Brooklyn

Vulture
2017-07-27

Joy Press


Photo: Lauren Tamaki

“When you are writing a novel, you are always trying to submerge yourself in a dream state, and New York was constantly waking me up from that state,” says Danzy Senna. She’s sitting outdoors at a shady café in South Pasadena, California, roughly 2,400 miles from Brooklyn, where she once lived and from which she drew inspiration for her propulsive new novel, New People.

South Pasadena, the sweet and sleepy town where we both currently reside, is not Brooklyn — it’s more like a Southern California hallucination of Mayberry. Its leafy streets and Craftsman houses regularly stand in for a middle-American idyll in movies, TV shows, and commercials. (The swaying palm trees reliably get cropped out of the frame.) Suburban L.A.’s low-stimulus environment has proved far more conducive to Senna’s writing than the boho hyperactivity of New York. Senna is the 46-year-old author of five books, including her celebrated 1998 debut novel, Caucasia, and all of her work explores the nuances of being mixed race in America with stinging humor and acuity. But, in some ways, “the central identity conflict in my life has been New York versus L.A.,” she says. “I became an author in New York, but it was like a book party that never ended. I became someone who had written something once. In Brooklyn, I’d walk out my door and bump into someone at seven in the morning at the dog park who would tell me about their six-figure book advance.” Los Angeles, by comparison, she jokes, is “so boring that your imagination becomes your life.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Documentary ‘Rumble’ explores Native Americans’ influence on music

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, United States, Videos on 2017-08-02 00:39Z by Steven

Documentary ‘Rumble’ explores Native Americans’ influence on music

Christian Science Monitor
2017-07-27

Peter Rainer, Film critic


Link Wray appears in the documentary ‘Rumble.’
Bruce Steinberg/Courtesy of LINKWRAY.com/Kino Lorber

The alchemy of American music as it relates to Native Americans is such a voluminous subject that, inevitably, the fascinating “Rumble” can’t do it justice.

July 27, 2017 —In the fascinating documentary “Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World,” the great jazz critic Gary Giddins says, “The one group that hasn’t really been investigated in terms of their contribution [to music history] is the Native Americans.”

This new film, co-directed by Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maiorana, the former of whom previously co-directed the documentary “Reel Injun,” about Native American stereotypes in Hollywood movies, aims to rectify that omission. (Those who made the movie were inspired by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian’s exhibit “Up Where We Belong: Native Musicians In Popular Culture,” which was co-created by Stevie Salas, a veteran Apache guitarist, and Tim Johnson.)

Why was such an integral swath of musical culture neglected for so long, in a field where it seems as if every last bit of academic arcana has already been tilled?

One of the problems, as the film points out, is that, up until at least the 1960s, it was commercially even less advantageous to be an Indian (the term is often used throughout the movie) than an African-American. Native American singers, musicians, and songwriters did not announce their heritage (which was often of mixed blood). They “passed” as white, or in some cases, as solely African-American or Hispanic.

Robbie Robertson, the lead guitarist for the legendary group The Band, who grew up in Canada’s Six Nations Reserve, remembers a saying from the 1950s, when he was starting out: “Be proud you’re an Indian, but be careful who you tell.”…

Read the entire article here.

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