The “Real” Mrs. William Travilla – Dona Drake

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2020-03-28 01:34Z by Steven

The “Real” Mrs. William Travilla – Dona Drake

Travilla’s Legacy: Keeping True Fashion Alive
2013-11-07

In 1944, [William] Travilla met and married starlet Dona Drake, who at the time was more famous than he was having been in the entertainment industry for eleven years under several different names. Dona Drake, born Eunice Westmoreland, on November 5, 1914 to Joseph and Novella Westmoreland in Jacksonville, Florida. Jacksonville was a major port on the East Coast shipping lanes and due to it’s balmy weather, a vacation destination for Northerners seeking to escape the cold winters.

From 1907 until 1918, it also thirty permanent film studios. Known as “The Winter Film Capital of the World” and where Oliver Hardy got his start and until politicians, plus other factors forced the film makers to California, was a leading industry in the city. Life was good for most of Jacksonville’s residents, but not for the Westmorelands, as segregation was strictly enforced and though Dona claimed Latin heritage throughout her personal and professional career, Eunice Westmoreland was negro. Referred to as such in both 1920 and 1930 census records. Both parents were interchangeably referred to as negro and mulatto in the early 1900 censuses.

By 1930, Eunice’s family has relocated to Philadelphia with her father working in a chili parlor and her older brother enrolled in college. Eunice helped at the restaurant, but soon quit to pursue her life long dream of singing and dancing. By 1933 she had moved to New York City with her mother and another waitress named Rene Villion. Changing her name to Una, she and Rene formed a “sister act” and the pair found work at the Paradise Club on Broadway. Earl Carroll spotted her on stage one night and cast her in his production of Murder at The Vanities. When that ended, the girls toured until Rene left to get married and Una continued solo, performing in packaged tours headed by Rudy Vallée and Harry Richman. Returning to New York City, Una began dating a local Brooklyn mobster named [Louis] “Pretty” Amburg. In October of 1934, Amburg’s nude body was found in the trunk of a burning car. At the time, Una was in Hollywood, with a new name, Rita Rio, and filming her first movie, Strike Me Pink with Eddie Cantor

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This Artist Got His Start as an I.C.U. Nurse

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2020-03-22 01:35Z by Steven

This Artist Got His Start as an I.C.U. Nurse

The New York Times
2020-03-19

Siddhartha Mitter


Nate Lewis at his studio in the Bronx. Ike Edeani for The New York Times

Nate Lewis developed a visual language in the rhythms of EKGs. Now, his intricate works on paper take the scalpel to society.

The artist Nate Lewis left his job as a nurse three years ago, but life on the neurocritical intensive care unit produces memories that don’t readily fade.

The patients battling strokes, seizures, and head injuries. The specialists debating treatment based on test numbers and images. The anxious families keeping watch, looking to the nurse for explanation and reassurance.

“I would show up and these families are giving me everything, telling me their life stories,” Mr. Lewis, 34, recalled of his years at a hospital near Washington, D.C. “I realized what an honor it was to take care of them at this time in their lives.”

One high-stakes drill became familiar: When a patient’s brain, heart or lung functions exceeded the safe range, an alarm would sound, and the monitor would start printing out the relevant graph until the situation was addressed…

…A self-described jock, Mr. Lewis grew up obsessed with basketball, boxed a little and practices capoeira. He implicates his own body in his work, making self-portraits by the same method as portraits of his friends.

They are black, as is he — he grew up in Pennsylvania, the son of a mixed-race couple — and he fielded some criticism at first, he said, for seeming to mutilate black bodies. The accusations of “trauma porn” took him aback. “At that time, I was still thinking in the hospital sense,” he said…

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BBC One to adapt Kit de Waal’s My Name is Leon into film

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2020-03-06 16:27Z by Steven

BBC One to adapt Kit de Waal’s My Name is Leon into film

The Book Seller: At the Heart of Publishing since 1858
2020-02-25

Florence Leslie


Kit de Waal

BBC One will adapt Kit de Waal’s novel My Name is Leon (Simon & Schuster) into a film.

My Name is Leon will be adapted by Shola Amoo, writing his first screenplay for television and directed by Kibwe Tavares. It will be produced by Douglas Road Productions for BBC One.

Set in 1980s Britain, My Name is Leon tells the “uplifting and incredibly moving story of nine year old Leon, a mixed-race boy whose desire is to keep his family together, as his single-parent mother suffers a devastating breakdown” according to its synopsis.

Amoo said: “I’m very excited to be a part of this ground-breaking project for the BBC. It was a real honour and privilege to adapt Kit De Waal’s touching and thought-provoking book for the screen and I can’t wait to share it with the world.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Washington, Fredi

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2020-02-20 22:21Z by Steven

Washington, Fredi

The Broadcast 41: Women and the Anti-Communist Blacklist
2019-08-07

By Jeremiah Favara, Carol Stabile, and Laura Strait

Dancer, Actress, Journalist

Frederika (Fredi) Carolyn Washington (1903-1994) was born in Savannah, Georgia. Like other cultural workers of her generation, she was multitalented, excelling as a dancer, actress, journalist, and activist. Washington began her career as a dancer in the 1920s before going on to a career in film, radio, and the stage in the 1930s and 1940s. Washington was an activist throughout her career, organizing against racism in unions, theaters, television, and film.

Washington was born on December 23, 1903 in Savannah, Georgia. Her father, Robert T. Washington, was a postal worker and her mother, Harriet Walk Ward Washington, was a homemaker.1 Washington was one of five siblings with two brothers, Bubba and Alonzo, and two sisters, Isabel and Rosebud.2

Read the entire article here.

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Passing for White: Merle Oberon (Make Me Over, Episode 4)

Posted in Arts, Audio, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2020-02-20 22:14Z by Steven

Passing for White: Merle Oberon (Make Me Over, Episode 4)

You Must Remember This
2020-02-10

Halley Bondy

In 1935, Merle Oberon became the first biracial actress to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, an incredible achievement in then-segregated Hollywood—except that nobody in Hollywood knew Oberon was biracial. Born in Bombay into abject poverty in 1911, Oberon’s fate seemed sealed in her racist colonial society. But a series of events, lies, men, and an obsession with controlling her own image—even if it meant bleaching her own skin—changed Oberon’s path forever.

This episode was written and performed by Halley Bondy, a writer and journalist whose work has appeared in NBC, The Outline, Eater NY, Paste Magazine, Scary Mommy, Bustle, Vice, and more. She’s an author of five young adult books, a handful of plays, an is a writer/producer for the podcast “Masters of Scale.” She lives in Brooklyn with husband/cheerleader Tim, and her amazing toddler Robin.

Listen to the podcast (00:44:57) here.

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Ahamefule J. Oluo: Susan

Posted in Arts, Biography, Live Events, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2020-02-07 18:28Z by Steven

Ahamefule J. Oluo: Susan

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
University of Maryland
8270 Alumni Drive
College Park, Maryland 20742-1625
2020-02-07 and 2020-02-08, 20:00 EST (Local Time)

After moving audiences at The Clarice in 2017, trumpeter, composer and comedian Ahamefule J. Oluo returns with “Susan,” a memoir delivered through wry comedic monologue and live, grand-scale big-band and jazz.

When Susan Hawley was a sophomore in college, she fell in love with a doctoral student from Nigeria. They got married, had two children, and just as their dream life seemed like it was coalescing, her husband went back to Nigeria to visit his family and never contacted her again—leaving her a Midwestern white lady with two African babies. They were desperately poor; Susan began gaining weight rapidly, soon reaching 400 pounds. These were the cards she was dealt. Ahamefule J. Oluo’s theatrical work, Susan, tells his mother’s story as a means to tell the story of millions of women. It is a tangible crystallization of how race, class and size affect people all over the world every day. Despite all that darkness, Susan will be funny. It’s a collection of wry, black, but humane monologues, interspersed with live, grand-scale orchestral music.

This vulnerable theatrical work about his childhood tells the story of how his Midwestern mother was left to raise two bi-racial babies after the sudden departure of her husband. There’s obvious chemistry between Oluo’s singular voice and the grand creation of the music; at times, when the story is too painful for him, the ensemble carries the show. “Susan” is a category-defying reflection on how race, class, and appearance impact everyone—and how we play the hand that we’re dealt.

In 2002, after being selected as Town Hall Seattle’s first-ever artist-in-residence, Oluo realized he wanted to do something different. After years of performing and recording with prominent musicians like John Zorn, Hey Marseilles, Wayne Horvitz and Macklemore, Oluo knew he had his own story to tell—and the diverse set of skills to do it. During his time in residency, he began experimenting with blending big-band, jazz, standup and memoir to formulate a new musical and theatrical identity.

For more information, click here.

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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 2020-01-25 00:19Z 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: APRIL 21, 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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After Misty Comes Marie: Breaking Barriers in ‘The Nutcracker’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2019-12-01 01:45Z by Steven

After Misty Comes Marie: Breaking Barriers in ‘The Nutcracker’

The New York Times
2019-11-28

Gia Kourlas, Dance Critic

Charlotte Nebres is the first black Marie, the young heroine of “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker,” at New York City Ballet. 
Charlotte Nebres is the first black Marie, the young heroine of “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker,” at New York City Ballet.
Heather Sten for The New York Times

This year, for the first time, New York City Ballet’s “Nutcracker” has a black Marie, the young heroine whose life is charged with magic.

She may not remember it, but during the first summer of her life Charlotte Nebres canvassed for Barack Obama with her mother, Danielle, who carried her in a sling. She attended political rallies. And on a frigid day in January 2009, she accompanied her parents and older sister to his inauguration.

When Charlotte was 6, Misty Copeland became the first female African-American principal at American Ballet Theater. That, she remembers.

“I saw her perform and she was just so inspiring and so beautiful,” Charlotte, 11, said. “When I saw someone who looked like me onstage, I thought, that’s amazing. She was representing me and all the people like me.”

Now Charlotte, a student at the School of American Ballet, is breaking a barrier herself: She is the first black Marie, the young heroine of “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker,” at New York City Ballet. It’s a milestone for the production, which dates to 1954.

It isn’t lost on Charlotte that she “got to grow up in a time when it wasn’t just like, oh yeah I can do this, but not do this,” she said. “There was nothing holding you back.”

But the cultural shift reaches beyond Charlotte, whose mother’s family is from Trinidad (her father’s side is from the Philippines), as her school works to diversify its student body. In addition to Charlotte, the other young leads this season are Tanner Quirk (her Prince), who is half-Chinese; Sophia Thomopoulos (Marie), who is half-Korean, half-Greek; and Kai Misra-Stone (Sophia’s Prince), who is half-South Asian. (The children are always double cast.)…

Read the entire article here.

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Bernardine Evaristo: ‘These are unprecedented times for black female writers’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2019-12-01 01:12Z by Steven

Bernardine Evaristo: ‘These are unprecedented times for black female writers’

The Guardian
2019-10-19

Bernardine Evaristo


‘These times really are extraordinary’ … Bernardine Evaristo. Photograph: Karen Robinson/The Observer

The first black woman to win the Booker prize argues that a revolution is sweeping through British publishing. But can it lead to lasting change?

Chidera Eggerue, AKA The Slumflower, is a social media star, south-east London homegirl and feminist. She first came to prominence in 2017 when she created the hashtag #SaggyBoobsMatter on Twitter in order to promote the body-positive message that women’s breasts and bodies are fine just as they are. It’s an important idea and antithetical to a beauty industry that berates us for our imperfections. A year later Eggerue published a self-help motivational book, What a Time to Be Alone: The Slumflower’s Guide to Why You Are Already Enough, which entered the Sunday Times bestseller list the week it was published in 2018, when she was 23. In her very pink, zanily illustrated book, Eggerue, a self-styled “guru, confidante and best friend” to her readers, offers advice on self-worth and self-acceptance. An earlier booklet called Little Black Book: A Toolkit for Working Women, by Otegha Uwagba, became a bestseller in 2016, paving the way for Eggerue. This, in turn, was probably influenced by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s 2014 essay We Should All Be Feminists.

These are unprecedented times for black female writers, in no small part due to the internet. It has reconfigured how we present ourselves to the world at large, as well as bringing previously marginalised social groups and writing to the fore in ways hitherto unimaginable. As a society we are beginning to recognise and take seriously the ills and pitfalls of social media, but it is still the most exciting channel of mass communication since history began…

Read the entire article here.

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Rosie Perez Says It’s ‘Dangerous’ For Afro-Latinos To Separate Themselves Within Latin Community

Posted in Articles, Arts, Latino Studies, Media Archive on 2019-11-12 20:26Z by Steven

Rosie Perez Says It’s ‘Dangerous’ For Afro-Latinos To Separate Themselves Within Latin Community

ESSENCE
2019-10-25

Lapacazo Sandoval

Rosie Perez Says It’s ‘Dangerous’ For Afro-Latinos To Separate Themselves Within Latin Community
Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images

“The Latinos that are not dark-skinned don’t call themselves White Latinos or Caucasian Latinos. I know that might sound controversial,” she admitted.

Puerto Rican-American actress Rosie Perez burst onto the Hollywood scene thanks to Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing at a time when Tinsel Town wasn’t necessarily rich with opportunities for people of color. And some decades later, Perez, who identifies as Afro-Latino, still isn’t shy when it comes to voicing her concern about the pervasive racism in Hollywood.

“I think it’s very dangerous—the separation of color within the Latin community,” Perez told ESSENCE last Saturday while receiving Hispanicize’s Latinavator Award at The InterContinental in Los Angeles. “ People who are dark skin have to pronounce themselves as Afro-Latinos. The Latinos that are not dark-skinned don’t call themselves White Latinos or Caucasian Latinos. I know that might sound controversial, [but] I think it’s important that we unify.”

“That said: there is a disparity in regards to seeing brown, dark brown and Black-skinned colored Latinas, Latinos, LatinX—whatever—it hasn’t changed that much,” she added…

Read the entire article here.

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