The Black Violinist Who Inspired Beethoven

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2020-09-11 02:13Z by Steven

The Black Violinist Who Inspired Beethoven

The New York Times
2020-09-04

Patricia Morrisroe


The violinist George Bridgetower has, like so many other Black artists, been largely forgotten by a history that belongs to those who control the narrative. The Trustees of the British Museum, via Art Resource, NY

George Bridgetower, the original dedicatee of the “Kreutzer” Sonata, was a charismatic prodigy but faded into history.

Six months after Beethoven contemplated suicide, confessing his despair over his increasing deafness in the 1802 document known as the Heiligenstadt Testament, he was carousing in taverns with a charismatic new comrade, George Polgreen Bridgetower. This biracial violinist had recently arrived in Vienna, and inspired one of Beethoven’s most famous and passionate pieces, the “Kreutzer” Sonata.

Beethoven even dedicated the sonata to Bridgetower. But the irritable composer — who would later remove the dedication to Napoleon from his Third Symphony — eventually took it back.

While Napoleon didn’t need Beethoven to secure his place in history, this snub reduced Bridgetower to near obscurity. Though his name was included in Anton Schindler’s 1840 biography of Beethoven, he was described inaccurately as “an American sea captain.” Like so many Black artists prominent in their lifetimes, he has been largely forgotten by a history that belongs to those who control the narrative.

Bridgetower was born on Aug. 13, 1778, in eastern Poland, and christened Hieronymus Hyppolitus de Augustus. His father, Joanis Fredericus de Augustus, was of African descent; his mother, Maria Schmid, was German-Polish, making Bridgetower what was then known as a mulatto, a person of mixed race. (The poet Rita Dove’s 2008 book “Sonata Mulattica,” an imagined chronicle of Bridgetower’s life, has helped raise his profile a bit in recent years.)…

Read the entire article here.

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Blue Beneath My Skin

Posted in Arts, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Videos, Women on 2020-08-26 00:22Z by Steven

Blue Beneath My Skin

The Alchemist Theatre Company
London, United Kingdom
2020-06-22

Macadie Amoroso

“Clothes allow me to choose how people see me,
Clothes can speak louder than my skin…”

Through the eyes of a 17-year-old mixed race girl, Blue Beneath My Skin explores the nuances of identity and ethnicity, and how self-perception and the perceptions put upon us can push us onto a destructive path.

Blue beneath my skin was fist performed at The Bunker Theatre in 2019 as part of the ‘This is Black’ festival. In 2020 it was revived as part of East 15’s Debut Festival and won the King’s Head Theatre’s Stella Wilkie Award and was chosen for Pulse Festival.

Watch the entire play here.

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This Is Black – Double Bill I: Blue Beneath My Skin & All the Shit I Can’t Say to My Dad at the Bunker

Posted in Articles, Arts, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2020-08-26 00:08Z by Steven

This Is Black – Double Bill I: Blue Beneath My Skin & All the Shit I Can’t Say to My Dad at the Bunker

The Up Coming
2019-08-10

Michael Higgs

Featuring four new plays by emerging black writers, Steven Kavuma’s This Is Black is a highly anticipated festival that promises to be a success. The first part of the festival, Double Bill I, presents highly passionate and thoughtful performances of two one-handers, which leave plenty of room for thought.

Written by and starring Macadie Amoroso, Blue Beneath My Skin features the life story of a 17-year-old mixed-race girl who dreams of becoming a fashion designer, but who frequently encounters setbacks through an onslaught of sexism and racism. Amoroso’s acting is top-notch and full of soul, never failing to be convincing even for a single moment. The writing, too, is very strong for the most part – although the occasional irregular use of rhyme, probably a leftover from spoken-word-poetry, does mar the overall presentation somewhat. Plot-wise, the ending also feels rather forced and unlikely. But these minor hiccups are hardly detrimental to an otherwise outstanding performance, which takes a particularly fascinating point of view in exploring racial tensions and questions of identity when being of a mixed heritage…

Read the entire review here.

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Blue Beneath My Skin, Alchemist Theatre Co. (Streamed Broadcast)

Posted in Articles, Arts, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2020-08-25 23:56Z by Steven

Blue Beneath My Skin, Alchemist Theatre Co. (Streamed Broadcast)

Breaking The Fourth Wall: Michael Davis’ thoughts on theatre and the Arts.
2020-06-27

Michael Davis

The second entry in Alchemist Theatre’sWriters On Hold’ series, Blue Beneath My Skin continues to explore the themes of racial identity and feminimity. Written and performed by Macadie Amoroso, the monologue focuses on a 17-year-old mixed race girl, who after she was abandoned as a baby by a canal, was found and later raised by an all-white family.

While ‘Canal Baby’ (Amoroso’s character) has a ‘comfortable’ existence, domestic life does have its tensions. She’s still close to her ‘father’, but he and her ‘mother’ are no longer a couple. Living in an all-female household (with ‘mother’ and ‘sister’), far from having many things in common, even neutral interests such as fashion are a divisive subject, where they seldom see eye-to-eye. Regardless of this, it is the one avenue where Amoroso’s character feels she can express her individuality, irrespective of her family’s opinions and tastes.

Read the entire review here.

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Other Tongues: Call for Submissions VOLUME 2

Posted in Arts, Autobiography, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers, Women on 2020-08-22 20:55Z by Steven

Other Tongues: Call for Submissions VOLUME 2

I Wonder As I Wonder
2019-09-16

Adebe DeRango-Adem

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Mixed-Race Women Speak Out (Again!)

Co-editors Adebe DeRango-Adem and Andrea Thompson are seeking submissions of writing and/or artwork for a follow-up anthology of work by and about mixed-race women, intended for publication by Inanna Publications in 2020-21.

Deadline for Submissions: SEPTEMBER 1, 2020

The purpose of this anthology is to explore the question of how mixed-race women in North America identify in the 21st Century. The anthology will also serve as a place to learn about the social experiences, attitudes, and feelings of others, while investigating more general questions around what racial identity has come to mean today. We are inviting previously unpublished submissions that engage, document, and/or explore the experiences of being mixed-race…

…WHAT IS OTHER TONGUES?

The first edition of Other Tongues: Mixed Race Women Speak Out was born from a desire to see a new and refreshing literature that could be at the forefront of mixed-race discourse and women’s studies, while providing a space for the creative expression of mixed-race women. Through an inspirational and provocative mix of visual art, literature, orature, creative non-fiction and academic analysis, Other Tongues chronicled the changes in social attitudes towards race, mixed-race, gender and identity, and the each of the contributors’ particular reactions to those attitudes.

The diversity of each woman’s story demonstrated the breadth and depth of the lived reality of the mixed experience for women in North America at that particular moment in time. In this way, the book became a snapshot of the North American racial terrain in the afterglow of the inauguration of the first mixed-race/Black American President—a pivotal point in history that many mistakenly labeled the dawning of a “post-racial” age….

For more information, click here.

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Born into Slavery, Joshua Johnson Became the First Black Professional Artist in the United States

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2020-07-17 21:06Z by Steven

Born into Slavery, Joshua Johnson Became the First Black Professional Artist in the United States

Artsy
2020-07-16

Jaelynn Walls, Curator and Writer
Houston, Texas


Joshua Johnson
Family Group, ca. 1800
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

Historians know woefully little about Joshua Johnson, the first professional African American artist to work in the United States. An active painter in Maryland and Virginia from roughly the 1790s to 1825, Johnson was all but forgotten until the middle of the 20th century. In 1939, Baltimore genealogist and art historian J. Hall Pleasants attributed 13 paintings to Johnson and began the long journey of reconstructing his career through scraps of often contradictory information. Even the artist’s last name is uncertain, and many art historians are still debating whether it was spelled “Johnson” or “Johnston.”

Johnson was born into slavery in mid-18th-century Maryland to a white man and a Black slave woman owned by William Wheeler Sr. Chattel records note his race as mulatto, though Maryland had no legal definition for what constituted “Black” versus “mixed race” at the time. Pleasants located documents variously describing Johnson as a slave, a slave trained as a blacksmith, a Black servant afflicted with consumption, and an immigrant from the West Indies.

While much of Johnson’s history remains mysterious, his special place in art history is assured. The next renowned African American artists to emerge in the United States, Robert S. Duncanson and Henry Ossawa Tanner, followed Johnson by decades…

Read the entire article here.

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Colin Kaepernick’s Life to Become Netflix Series From Ava DuVernay

Posted in Arts, Biography, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2020-07-06 20:38Z by Steven

Colin Kaepernick’s Life to Become Netflix Series From Ava DuVernay

The Hollywood Reporter
2020-06-29

Lesley Goldberg, West Coast TV Editor

‘Colin in Black & White’ will tell the story of the athlete and activist’s adolescent life.

Colin Kaepernick’s formative years are becoming a Netflix series.

The athlete and activist is teaming with Ava DuVernay for Colin in Black & White, a scripted limited drama that has been picked up straight to series at the streaming giant.

The six-episode series will examine Kaepernick’s adolescent life, focusing on his high school years and the acts and experiences that led him to become the activist he is today. Kaepernick will appear as himself as the narrator of the series, which will cast an actor to play the younger version of the star quarterback.

Kaepernick in 2016 protested racial injustice, police brutality and systematic oppression when he kneeled during the national anthem ahead of a San Francisco 49ers game. His act of protest was, at the time, considered polarizing with both NFL officials and fans, eventually drawing the ire of President Trump, who urged team owners to fire players who protest during the national anthem. Kaepernick became a free agent in 2017 and filed a lawsuit against the NFL and its owners, alleging that they colluded to keep him out of the league. He remains a free agent. More recently, in the wake of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of Minnesota police, Kaepernick has become another face of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Read the entire article here.

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Brit Bennett: ‘Last week was truly the wildest week of my life’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2020-07-06 16:06Z by Steven

Brit Bennett: ‘Last week was truly the wildest week of my life’

The Guardian
2020-07-05

Simran Hans


‘I’m Californian, so nobody really reads me as anxious’: Brit Bennett. Photograph: Leonardo Cendamo/Getty Images

The US author on topping the bestseller charts with her new novel, why being right is overrated, and the TV show bringing her joy in lockdown

Brit Bennett, 30, was born and raised in southern California. She attended Stanford University and earned an MFA in fiction at the University of Michigan. Her acclaimed first novel, The Mothers, was published in 2016, when she was 26. Her follow-up, The Vanishing Half, has spent the past three weeks in the top five of the New York Times bestseller list and the screen rights have been optioned by HBO in a seven-figure deal.

HBO had to outbid 17 rival TV companies in the race to adapt your book for the screen. How does that feel?
Last week was truly the wildest week of my life. It was my birthday week, so I’ve never been sent so many bottles of champagne or bouquets of flowers in my life, and probably never will be again.

And that was on top of your book debuting at No 1 in the NYT bestseller list. What were you doing when you heard the news?
It was maybe 5 o’clock in the evening and I was just sitting on my couch, and my editor called out of nowhere. We were optimistic, but I never imagined that. The people who are No 1 are household names, like Stephen King!

Describe The Vanishing Half.
It’s a story about twin sisters, Desiree and Stella, who decide to live their lives on opposite sides of the colour line – one as a white woman and one as a black woman…

Read the entire interview here.

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HBO Wins ‘The Vanishing Half’ Auction In 7-Figure Deal; 17 Bidders Pursued Brit Bennett Bestseller

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2020-07-06 15:48Z by Steven

HBO Wins ‘The Vanishing Half’ Auction In 7-Figure Deal; 17 Bidders Pursued Brit Bennett Bestseller

Deadline
2020-06-29

Mike Fleming Jr


HBO

EXCLUSIVE: HBO won a wild auction that sources said saw 17 bidders vying for The Vanishing Half, the novel by Brit Bennett that is currently atop The New York Times bestseller list. Sources said HBO will pay low seven-figures for the book and the author will be executive producer of what HBO will develop as a limited series.

The novel focuses on the Vignes sisters, identical twins who, after growing up together in a small, southern black community, run away at age sixteen. It’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other passes for white, hiding her identity from her husband, who knows nothing of her past. Even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?…

Read the entire article here.

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Pierce Freelon Breaks Down the Invention of Whiteness in a New Animated Musical Series

Posted in Articles, Arts, History, Media Archive, United States on 2020-07-06 15:15Z by Steven

Pierce Freelon Breaks Down the Invention of Whiteness in a New Animated Musical Series

Indy Week
2020-07-02

Brian Howe


Whoopi Goldberg and Pierce Freelon photo courtesy of the artist

“Hey you, Caucasian,” Pierce Freelon raps with confiding urgency as the video begins. He goes on to break down the formation of American whiteness from varied ethnic groups—something defined not by what it was, but by what it wasn’t, meaning Black and Indigenous—over an energetic collage of animated images.

It’s the first trailer for The History of White People in America, which premieres Monday, July 6 on PBS World. Freelon—Blackspace founder, former Durham mayoral candidate, and soon-to-be “family album” creator—is the co-director, writer, and musical composer of the series, which was selected by curator Whoopi Goldberg for the Tribeca Film Festival’s animated-shorts category…

Read the entire article here.

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