The Artistry of the Soprano Julia Bullock

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2019-10-15 20:10Z by Steven

The Artistry of the Soprano Julia Bullock

The New Yorker
2019-11-16

Russell Platt, Composer and Adjunct Associate Professor of Music
Blair School of Music
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee


Julia Bullock combines a rare onstage aura with a style that is exacting but not fussy, with hardly an unturned phrase. Photograph by Hiroyuki Ito/Getty

It is rare to find a classical singer who can truly project an aura onstage. Those who are young must seem to carry the wisdom of age; those who are older must avoid the risk of royal self-regard. And there is no instrument to hide behind, no violin to seduce, no piano to pound—a singer’s body is, or course, her instrument. But Julia Bullock, a young soprano who performed her Naumburg Foundation recital last Tuesday at the Metropolitan Museum, definitely has it, and she is off to a fine career.

Bullock, an African-American singer from St. Louis who trained at Eastman Bard, and Juilliard, won first prize last year in the Naumburg International Vocal Competition. Over the years, the Naumburg, through its various awards, has had a penchant for honoring interesting singers who don’t fit easily into the standard operatic categories: trailblazers such as Regina Sarfaty, Dawn Upshaw, Barbara Hendricks, and Lucy Shelton, for example. I can’t yet imagine Bullock walking the boards as Tosca or Violetta, but she has made several strategic forays into opera—such as the title role in Purcell’sThe Indian Queen” at Madrid’s Teatro Real and at the English National Opera, and, later this month, she will appear in Saariaho’sLa Passion de Simone,” at the Deutsche Oper Berlin (directed by Peter Sellars). But her recital had its own kind of drama, not the less effective for being so refined…

Read the entire article here.

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Is it time to unlearn race? Thomas Chatterton Williams says yes

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing on 2019-10-15 19:18Z by Steven

Is it time to unlearn race? Thomas Chatterton Williams says yes

The Guardian
2019-10-15

Summer Sewell, Assistant Editor of Features


Thomas Chatterton Williams: ‘I think you have to be an optimist.’ Photograph: Alex John Beck

The author and critic discusses why we should move away from race categories defined ‘using plantation logic’ – and suggests ‘retiring from race’

The American writer Thomas Chatterton Williams is racially ambiguous enough to be mistaken as Algerian in Paris, where he and his French wife are raising two children, their heads capped with airy blond curls.

It was the birth of his older child, Marlow, six years ago, that set off an instant panic in him. She can pass for Swedish, he says. So what did it mean that he, then a self-identified black man who had always accepted the black/white binary, had a child who would be perceived as white?

It meant, at first, he would apply camera filters to darken her skin – to make her belong, to him and to a race. Eventually, it meant asking questions complex enough to alter how he identifies himself now: what does it mean to belong to a race, part of which for black people can include “an allegiance to pain”? And why would passing that down to his daughter make her black?

In his second book, out Tuesday, Self-Portrait in Black and White, he calls for us to consider why we uphold race categories defined “using plantation logic” and encourages us to do away with the arbitrary nomenclature altogether. Not to be confused with the term “post-race”, he suggests “retiring from race”, “transcending race”, “unlearning race”. It’s a big ask, he admits.

Because both of us are mixed-race people who grew up with one black parent and one white parent, Chatterton Williams thinks he and I have a head start on dismissing the barriers of race. We both remember the first time we were “raced” by a stranger and simultaneously separated from our white parent, and setting out from then on to continually contemplate race in our respective lives. For him, this has come to mean examining the artificiality of it.

On the campus of Bard College, a private arts college upstate New York where he taught a four-week course, Can we retire from race?, this fall, we discussed the privilege of proximity to whiteness, whether it is asking too much of black people to let go of race while retaining the pride of an identity forged in the face of systematic oppression and, finally, why he’s optimistic norms can change…

Read the entire interview here.

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Judge strikes down Virginia race requirement for marriage license as unconstitutional

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2019-10-15 18:56Z by Steven

Judge strikes down Virginia race requirement for marriage license as unconstitutional

The Washington Post
2019-10-11

Rachel Weiner

Judge Rossie D. Alston Jr. struck down a Virginia law mandating that marriage license applicants state their race. (Bob Brown/AP)
Judge Rossie D. Alston Jr. struck down a Virginia law mandating that marriage license applicants state their race. (Bob Brown/AP)

A federal judge on Friday struck down as unconstitutional a Virginia law requiring people to state their race when applying for a marriage license.

“The Commonwealth of Virginia is naturally rich in its greatest traditions,” Judge Rossie D. Alston Jr. wrote in his opinion in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. “But like other institutions, the stain of past mistakes, misgivings and discredited legislative mandates must always survive the scrutiny of our nation’s most important institution . . . The Constitution of the United States of America.”

The law, Alston found, violates the 14th Amendment right to due process. It is one of his first opinions; he was sworn in as a federal judge in August.

“We’re very pleased, of course,” plaintiffs’ attorney Victor M. Glasberg said. “The only unfortunate part is that it took a United States district judge to strike a Jim Crow provision that the state of Virginia insisted on defending in court.”

…He also disputed the contention that there is no “straight line” between a 1924 state law prohibiting interracial marriage and the requirement to choose a race when getting married. On the contrary, in his order he agreed with Glasberg that the law reflected a racist and segregationist past embodied in the first state registrar of vital statistics, a white supremacist named Walter Plecker

Read the entire article here.

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Julia Bullock Gets to the Heart of Things

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2019-10-15 01:38Z by Steven

Julia Bullock Gets to the Heart of Things

San Francisco Classical Voice
2017-11-15

Lou Fancher


Julia Bullock in her Carnegie Hall debut | Credit: Hiroyuki Ito/The New York Times

Never in a million years will people viewing Julia Bullock as she strides the War Memorial Opera House floorboards as Dame Shirley suspect there is vulnerability undergirding every step. Nor will the 31-year-old soprano’s direct delivery of transparent tones in the world premiere of John Adams’s Girls of the Golden West, a San Francisco Opera production, hint at the fragile ego and self-doubt she’s worked hard to overcome.

The assumption will be made — even with keen scrutiny and by kindred spirits — that Bullock’s inner engine runs with conscious, creative intensity and is engineered with resilient intellect and the agile instincts of the tap dancer she, during her childhood in St. Louis, Missouri, trained to become.

And every part of all of that — the not so obvious and the apparent — will be true…

…In her role as Dame Shirley, she portrays a real life historical character; a white, educated woman who emerged from the Victorian era and was “stripped of privilege” as she moved across the United States from Boston to San Francisco. Working from archives that primarily include letters written by Louise Clappe (the real name of Dame Shirley), Bullock, as a mixed race 21st-century woman who identifies herself as, “half-white, half-black,” finds points of access. “Shirley [in her letters] shows she communicated with individuals for whom she had no reference points. She was a careful and sensitive observer of the world. She wrote about it with the most sophisticated words she could provide. Her wit has carried me through, kept me from getting pulled down. She has light, even in the dimmest moments.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Virginia law requiring couples to disclose race is unconstitutional, judge says

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2019-10-15 01:12Z by Steven

Virginia law requiring couples to disclose race is unconstitutional, judge says

Cable News Network (CNN)
2019-10-14

Theresa Waldrop

Brandyn Churchill and Sophie Rogers, left, and Samuel Sarfo and Ashley Ramkishun sued Virginia over a requirement that race be disclosed in marriage license applications.
Brandyn Churchill and Sophie Rogers, left, and Samuel Sarfo and Ashley Ramkishun sued Virginia over a requirement that race be disclosed in marriage license applications.

(CNN) A federal judge ruled that a Virginia law requiring couples to reveal their race in applying for a marriage license is unconstitutional.

The lawsuit against the Virginia State Registrar and others was filed after three couples said they were denied marriage licenses in the state after they refused to check a box disclosing their race on their applications.

Finding that the statute violates the 14th Amendment, Judge Rossie D. Alston wrote in his ruling Friday that requiring the couples “to disclose their race in order to receive marriage licenses burdens their fundamental right to marry,” Alston wrote.

“(T)he statutory scheme is a vestige of the nation’s and of Virginia’s history of codified racialization,” the judge wrote.

“The Commonwealth of Virginia is naturally rich in its greatest traditions,” Alston wrote. “But like other institutions, that stain of past mistakes, misgivings and discredited legislative mandates must always survive the scrutiny of our nation’s most import institution … the Constitution of the United States of America.”…

Read the entire article here.

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How Moving to France and Having Children Led a Black American to Rethink Race

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Philosophy on 2019-10-15 00:07Z by Steven

How Moving to France and Having Children Led a Black American to Rethink Race

The New York Times
2019-10-14

Andrew Solomon


Eiko Ojala

SELF-PORTRAIT IN BLACK AND WHITE: Unlearning Race
By Thomas Chatterton Williams

Thomas Chatterton Williams is the son of a black father and a white mother, but grew up identifying as black on the basis that even one drop of black blood defines a person as belonging to that often besieged minority. His father claimed that his mother was a black woman at heart, and brought up his son to oppose the implicit racism of passing, though Williams has a complexion more tanned than sub-Saharan, and is often mistaken for an Arab in France, where he lives. Williams married a white woman and both their children were born with blond hair and blue eyes. Are they, too, black by the one-drop rule? In questioning their determinative race, he has plumbed not only his own but also the complexity of racial identity for people outside the prevalent white/nonwhite binary.

Williams, a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine, is well educated, intellectually sophisticated and prosperous, and he tries to limn the complex relationship between race and class, to figure out where racism is classism and where classism is racism, an almost Escher-like maze as snobbery casts a thin veil over racial hatred and vice versa. Williams can say, “I do not feel myself to be a victim — not in any collectively accessible way.” He is unabashedly the product of a society that champions diversity and encourages people of color to think in terms of identity politics, but he opposes racial essentialism and is an exponent of compromise on some of the niceties of political correctness. He fears the integration that will be available to his blond daughter, Marlow, enabling her to erase aspects of her identity, but he also decries the segregating intolerances that come from both the majority and the minorities…

Read the entire review here.

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Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Philosophy on 2019-10-14 23:53Z by Steven

Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race

W. W. Norton
2019-10-15
192 pages
5.5 × 8.3 in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-393-60886-1

Thomas Chatterton Williams

A meditation on race and identity from one of our most provocative cultural critics.

A reckoning with the way we choose to see and define ourselves, Self-Portrait in Black and White is the searching story of one American family’s multigenerational transformation from what is called black to what is assumed to be white. Thomas Chatterton Williams, the son of a “black” father from the segregated South and a “white” mother from the West, spent his whole life believing the dictum that a single drop of “black blood” makes a person black. This was so fundamental to his self-conception that he’d never rigorously reflected on its foundations—but the shock of his experience as the black father of two extremely white-looking children led him to question these long-held convictions.

“It is not that I have come to believe that I am no longer black or that my daughter is white,” Williams writes. “It is that these categories cannot adequately capture either of us.” Beautifully written and bound to upset received opinions on race, Self-Portrait in Black and White is an urgent work for our time.

Note from Steven F. Riley: See Chatterton Williams’ article “Black and Blue and Blond” in the Volume 91, Number 1 (Winter 2015) edition of the Virginia Quarterly Review.

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An Intimate History of the British Empire

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-10-11 01:56Z by Steven

An Intimate History of the British Empire

The New Yorker
2019-10-09

Maya Binyam


Hazel Carby as a child. Photograph Courtesy Hazel Carby

In “Imperial Intimacies,” Hazel Carby weaves together the story of colonialism and the story of her family.

After Carl Carby arrived in England from Jamaica, in 1943, he wore starched shirts, polished dress shoes, and neatly knotted ties. He was from the colonies, but his mannerisms evinced a restrained, British sensibility. Like most early immigrants from the Caribbean, he was expected to provide a service: his entrance to England was predicated on his employment as a bomber pilot in the Royal Air Force, which recruited around six thousand people from England’s “black colonies” to fight in the Second World War. At a dance in Worcester, he met Iris Leaworthy, a young, white Welsh woman who worked as a civil servant in the Air Ministry, and the two bonded over the surprising similarities of their upbringings. Both had grown up in poverty. As schoolchildren, each donned a starched uniform and, on Empire Day, a holiday designed to instill in children a feeling of belonging to a great nation, waved the Union Jack. When England went to war, both of them enthusiastically offered their service. The pair soon married, and had a daughter named Hazel. To her, Carl spoke little of Jamaica. “It was as if he had been born an airman in the Royal Air Force,” Hazel Carby writes in “Imperial Intimacies,” her new book of political history, which came out last month…

Read the entire review here.

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There Has To Be Space In Black History Month For Mixed Race People

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United Kingdom on 2019-10-11 01:15Z by Steven

There Has To Be Space In Black History Month For Mixed Race People

Grazia
2019-10-09

Miranda Larbi

There Has To Be Space In Black History Month For Mixed Race People

Black History Month is a sacred space for Black experience and political Blackness, says Miranda Larbi.

For some, October is a month of ghouls, pumpkins and spurious sexy cat outfits. For others, it’s something more significant. Black History Month – a four week window through which to examine Britain’s racial skeletons.

The period offers a brief hiatus from an overarching white narrative where we hear stories from our ancestors, and understandably, they’re not always that positive.

Colonial history is violent, unfair and badly taught. British school kids spend a few scattered hours across their schooling learning about PoC. Maybe they’ll hear a bit about slavery before going back to studying Elizabeth I for the fifth time, but very rarely will the syllabus mention how complicit the British government were in the crimes committed against black people…

If the UK really respected its BAME communities, Black History Month would be obsolete because our history would be seamlessly woven into the British curriculum. But as it is, BHM is an absolutely crucial space. For many of us, Black History Month represents that kind of chicken soup for the soul because it’s been the only opportunity for seeing any kind of representation. It’s just a shame that there isn’t more space in it Black-white biracial narratives during the month…

Read the entire article here.

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Out of this world – Nasa data analyst Fionnghuala O’Reilly crowned Miss Universe Ireland 2019

Posted in Articles, Arts, Europe, Media Archive on 2019-10-11 00:53Z by Steven

Out of this world – Nasa data analyst Fionnghuala O’Reilly crowned Miss Universe Ireland 2019

The Independent
Dublin, Ireland

Gabija Gataveckaite


Miss Universe Dublin Fionnghuala O’Reilly. Picture: Brian McEvoy

Dubliner Fionnghuala O’Reilly (25) was crowned Miss Universe Ireland at tonight’s star-studded event in Dublin city centre.

The Nasa data analyst, who works remotely from Dublin, wowed judges when she spoke about her ambition to use her platform as an engineer and a bi-racial woman to promote diversity and equality.

Dazzling in a diamanté encrusted gown, the Swords woman told Independent.ie Style how special the night was for her and how it was a “dream come true”.

“I feel absolutely amazing,” she said.

“This is like a dream come true for me…

Read the entire article here.

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