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.

Tags: , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , ,

Thomas and Sally

Posted in Arts, Forthcoming Media, History, Live Events, Slavery, United States on 2017-08-01 20:06Z by Steven

Thomas and Sally

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

By Thomas Bradshaw


Thomas Bradshaw

An explosive world premiere by the 2017 PEN Award-winner, Thomas and Sally gets up close and personal with our country’s first prominent mixed-race couple: Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, the enslaved woman who mothered 6 of his children. 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!

For more information, click here.

Tags: , , ,

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 2017-07-30 21:56Z 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
Tags: , , ,

Documentary Team Covers the Mixed-Race Experience in “Mixed Up”

Posted in Arts, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2017-07-30 18:06Z by Steven

Documentary Team Covers the Mixed-Race Experience in “Mixed Up”

Westword
Denver, Colorado
2017-07-13

Laura Shunk, Food Critic


Filmmaker and librarian Rebekah Henderson will tackle mixed-race identity in her forthcoming documentary. Courtesy Rebekah Henderson

Rebekah Henderson works as a Ross-Cherry Creek librarian. Trish Tolentino makes movies and owns Stories Not Forgotten, a video production company that archives family memories. The two had never worked together before they partnered on “What Makes a Mother,” a short interview-driven documentary about the hills and valleys of motherhood, which was released this year. But they found that they collaborated well, and now they’ve regrouped to start work on a second film, “Mixed Up,” which will delve into the experience of being a mixed-race person in the United States.

After seeing another film about a mixed-race family that she says downplayed the challenges of navigating U.S. culture and systemic racism, Henderson, who is half black and half white and is married to a man who is also of mixed race, felt driven to share stories of others like herself, who may not fit any particular check-box of racial identity. She also felt compelled to share her experience with her son, who looks white. “It’s hard to say this publicly, but I was disappointed that my son turned out so white,” she says. “On one hand, I think it’s just that mom thing that you’re disappointed that he doesn’t look like you. But it brought up all these things. I’ve always identified as black, because I grew up in the ’80s: If I checked white, they would erase it and say, ‘No, you’re black.’ That was my experience growing up as mixed race. My husband is also mixed race, but he looks white, so he identifies as mixed race.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

Misty Copeland’s latest Under Armour ad reminds us that ballet is a sport

Posted in Articles, Arts, United States, Videos on 2017-07-30 00:37Z by Steven

Misty Copeland’s latest Under Armour ad reminds us that ballet is a sport

USA Today
For The Win: USA Today Sports
2017-07-19

Maggie Hendricks

Under Armour has a new ad out featuring Misty Copeland, guaranteed to both make you want to work out and perhaps pick up a poetry book. Saul Williams provides the backing poem, For Misty, with words as lyrical as her movements…

The systemic structure built to keep me in place
is the stage I dance on
Black and woman
Mothership’s my mother’s hips beheld deep space
Astronaut of corporal grace…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Review: Vic Mensa, ‘The Autobiography’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Audio, Autobiography, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United States on 2017-07-28 15:41Z by Steven

Review: Vic Mensa, ‘The Autobiography’

First Listen: Hear Upcoming Albums in Their Entirety
NPR Music
National Public Radio
2017-07-20

Rodney Carmichael, Hip-Hop Reporter


Vic Mensa’s new album, The Autobiography, is out July 28.
Courtesy of the artist

When history ranks 2017 among hip-hop’s wonder years — and from the sounds of the previous six months it certainly qualifies — Vic Mensa’s long-awaited full-length debut will be a big part of the reason why. The Chi-town native has created a work in The Autobiography that’s equal parts confessional and confrontational, gut-wrenching and uplifting. Steeped in a personal story arc that envelopes Mensa’s hometown, it echoes with the pain of a generation.


Courtesy of the artist

It only makes sense that the LP is executive produced by No I.D., who’s already responsible for another of the year’s more revelatory LPs in Jay-Z’s 4:44

Read the entire review here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Clyde Ensslin Explores Thomas Jefferson’s Secret, Unflattering History in his Fringe Debut

Posted in Articles, Arts, History, Media Archive, United States on 2017-07-21 18:09Z by Steven

Clyde Ensslin Explores Thomas Jefferson’s Secret, Unflattering History in his Fringe Debut

Washington City Paper
2017-07-06

Caroline Jones, City Lights Editor


Clyde Ensslin (Darrow Montgomery)

Clyde Ensslin’s journey to the Capital Fringe Festival began, of all places, in an Uber. Ensslin has driven for the rideshare company since 2014, and one night in the fall of that year he received a message to pick up a passenger at the bar Showtime in Bloomingdale. That passenger turned out to be Capital Fringe CEO Julianne Brienza.

As they rode, she told him she’d just closed on Fringe’s new headquarters on Florida Avenue NE. When Ensslin revealed he had never heard of the arts festival, Brienza gave him a crash course in the world of Fringe, from its roots in Edinburgh to her plans to build Trinidad into an arts district. “She just kind of blew me away,” he says of his first impression. She encouraged him to see shows when the festival returned in the summer. He bought an eight-pack of tickets.

“At the time, I did not think this was anything I’d want to do,” he says now. But after seeing pieces he loved, like Cara Gabriel’s I Am the Gentry, he bought another eight-pack the following year. By the end of the 2016 festival, he was hooked. At the same time, Ensslin’s passengers were regularly telling him how much he sounds like former president Bill Clinton, so he started thinking about constructing a play that would coincide with the 20th anniversary of the 42nd president’s impropriety and subsequent impeachment

…Early on in the process, he discussed his plans with Ibe Crawley, the operator of IBe’ Arts, a small gallery in Historic Anacostia, who pushed him to not focus directly on Bill and Monica and instead tell the story of another lecherous commander-in-chief: Thomas Jefferson. The resulting play, a monologue called Thomas Jefferson: Hoochie-Coochie Man, is presented as a college lecture, taught by professor William Jefferson Clinton, that breaks down the relationship between Jefferson and Sally Hemings and the ways that story has evolved over time.

To begin his research, Ensslin consulted the authoritative text on the subject, historian Annette Gordon-Reed’s The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family. Gordon-Reed tells the stories of multiple generations of the Hemings family, who became Jefferson’s property when he inherited them from his father-in-law. She chronicles the hard labor they did on his plantation and follows members of the family after they were freed upon Jefferson’s death. After hearing her speak at the 2016 National Book Festival, Ensslin dove deeper into the historiographical archives, reading Christopher Hitchens’ Thomas Jefferson: Author of America and titles by Michelle Alexander, Michael Eric Dyson, and Eddie S. Glaude Jr. as he tried to understand the paradox that Jefferson occupies in American history.

Ensslin’s show arrives at a time of renewed interest in Jeffersonian scholarship. After DNA evidence conclusively proved Jefferson fathered a child with Sally Hemings, historians and curators were forced to deal with that aspect of Jefferson’s life for the first time. A large donation from philanthropist David Rubenstein in 2013 allowed curators at Monticello, Jefferson’s home in Charlottesville, Virginia, to build replicas of the cabins slaves lived in on the plantation. Visitors can now go on tours that specifically highlight the experiences of slaves and the Hemings family. But even Hamilton, every woke theater nerd’s guide to early American history, paints Jefferson as a politically savvy bon vivant, only mentioning Sally in a winking reference for history buffs…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,