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.

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

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 2020-07-09 01:50Z by Steven

Call for Submissions VOLUME 2

I Wonder As I Wonder
2019-09-16

Adebe DeRango-Adem

image2

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.

Tags: , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

‘Big Mouth,’ ‘Central Park’ to Recast With Black Actors for Biracial Characters | THR News

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2020-06-26 02:24Z by Steven

‘Big Mouth,’ ‘Central Park’ to Recast With Black Actors for Biracial Characters | THR News

The Hollywood Reporter
2020-06-24

Netflix’s animated series Big Mouth will recast the role of Missy — at the request of the actor who has voiced her thus far, Jenny Slate. Apple will also recast a biracial character, currently voiced by Kristen Bell, in its animated show Central Park.

Slate and Big Mouth’s creators said in social media posts Wednesday that they will cast a Black actor to voice the middle schooler in the future. The show has aired three seasons and is renewed through season six. The move comes as the industry continues to reckon with its record of inclusivity and representation amid nationwide anti-racist protests.

“At the start of the show, I reasoned with myself that it was permissible for me to play Missy because her mom is Jewish and White — as am I,” Slate wrote on Instagram. “But Missy is also Black, and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people.” (See her full statement below.)…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Revisiting The Pioneering Composer Florence Price

Posted in Articles, Arts, Audio, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2020-06-18 00:10Z by Steven

Revisiting The Pioneering Composer Florence Price

All Things Considered
National Public Radio
2019-01-21

Tom Huizenga, Music Producer


Florence Price was the first African-American woman to have her music performed by a major symphony orchestra.
Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries

In 1933, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra gave the world premiere of Symphony No. 1 by a then little-known composer named Florence Price. The performance marked the first time a major orchestra played music by an African-American woman.

Price’s First Symphony, along with her Fourth, has just been released on an album featuring the Fort Smith Symphony, conducted by John Jeter.

Fans of Price, especially in the African-American community, may argue that her music has never really been forgotten. But some of it has been lost. Not long ago, a couple bought a fixer-upper, south of Chicago, and discovered nearly 30 boxes of manuscripts and papers. Among the discoveries in what turned out to be Price’s abandoned summer home was her Fourth Symphony, composed in 1945. This world-premiere recording is another new piece of the puzzle to understanding the life and music of Price, and a particular time in America’s cultural history.

Read the story here. Listen to the story (00:04:00) here.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Rebecca Hall Talks Complicated Notions Of Bi-Racial Identity In Directorial Debut ‘Passing,’ ‘Tales From The Loop’ & More [Deep Focus Podcast]

Posted in Articles, Arts, Audio, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2020-06-15 01:47Z by Steven

Rebecca Hall Talks Complicated Notions Of Bi-Racial Identity In Directorial Debut ‘Passing,’ ‘Tales From The Loop’ & More [Deep Focus Podcast]

The Playlist
2020-06-10

Rodrigo Perez

Actor Rebecca Hall comes from a unique and interesting pedigree and lineage. There’s the surface element of that pedigree which could be seen as aristocratic privilege in the world of the arts. She is the daughter of the famous theatre director Sir Peter Hall (who passed away in 2017) and her mother is the legendary opera singer and stage actress Maria Ewing. Hall attended Cambridge University’s constitute school, St Catharine’s College, studied English, and eventually found her way back to acting after some time briefly spent as an actor during childhood.

Known for an eclectic career that took off after an early breakthrough performance in Christopher Nolan’s “The Prestige,” Hall’s also appeared in such movies as “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” “Frost/Nixon,” Nicole Holofcener’s “Please Give,” Ben Affleck’s “The Town,” Joel Edgerton’s “The Gift,” and Antonio Campos’ striking indie “Christine” which brought her much extra acclaim to an already celebrated career.

But her personal identity, or at least the one of her parents, is much different. Hall’s mother is from Detroit, Michigan—perhaps an unlikely place as any to birth an opera singer—and bi-racial with African American and Dutch ancestry. Her grandfather was also bi-racial and to hear Hall tell it, both of them had a very complicated and complex struggle with their identity and how they appeared to others in the world.

This struggle, this question of identity and who you pass as in the world is something Hall tries to reckon with in “Passing,” her upcoming directorial debut which probably couldn’t be more timely. An adaption written by Hall as well, and something she’d been hoping to make for years, “Passing” is based on Nella Larsen’s 1920s Harlem Renaissance novel of the same name that explores the practice of racial passing, a term used for a person classified as a member of one racial group who seeks to be accepted by a different racial group. The film stars Tessa Thompson and Oscar nominee Ruth Negga as two reunited high school friends, whose renewed acquaintance ignites a mutual obsession that threatens both of their carefully constructed realities.

In this latest episode of our Deep Focus Podcast, Hall discussed “Passing” at length, including the ideas of permission and permits needed to try and tell these kinds of stories and the charges of cultural appropriation that can be lobbied at one when making them. But her original statement of intent is perhaps most succinct and eloquent when she said: “I came across [Passing] at a time when I was trying to reckon creatively with some of my personal family history, and the mystery surrounding my bi-racial grandfather on my American mother’s side. In part, making this film is an exploration of that history, to which I’ve never really had access.”

At the time, she described “Passing” as an astonishing book “about two women struggling not just with what it meant to be Black in America in 1929, but with gender conventions, the performance of femininity, the institution of marriage, the responsibilities of motherhood, and the ways in which all of those forces intersect.”…

Read the entire article and listen to the podcast (01:04:15) here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Emma Amos, Painter Who Challenged Racism and Sexism, Dies at 83

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2020-06-14 00:38Z by Steven

Emma Amos, Painter Who Challenged Racism and Sexism, Dies at 83

The New York Times
2020-05-29

Holland Cotter, co-chief art critic


The artist Emma Amos with her 2006 work “Head First.” Her paintings often depicted women flying or falling. Becket Logan

Early in her career she created brightly colored scenes of black middle-class domestic life. Her later work was increasingly personal and experimental.

Emma Amos, an acclaimed figurative artist whose high-color paintings of women flying or falling through space were charged with racial and feminist politics, died on May 20 at her home in Bedford, N.H. She was 83.

The cause was complications of Alzheimer’s disease, said the Ryan Lee Gallery in Manhattan, which represents her.

A key event in Ms. Amos’s career came in 1964. A 27-year-old graduate student in art education at New York University, she was invited to join a newly formed artists group called Spiral.

Its members, all African-American, included Charles Alston, Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis and the muralist Hale Woodruff — midcareer artists with substantial reputations. Organized in response to the 1963 March on Washington, the group was formed to discuss and debate the political role of black artists and their work…

…Emma Veoria Amos was born on March 16, 1937, in Atlanta from a lineage that was, by her own account, “African, Cherokee, Irish, Norwegian and God knows what else.” Her parents, India DeLaine Amos and Miles Green Amos, were cousins. Her father, a graduate of Wilberforce University in Ohio, was a pharmacist; her mother, who had a degree in anthropology from Fisk University in Nashville, managed the family-owned Amos Drug Store…

Read the obituary here.

Tags: , , , ,