Brown Beauty: Color, Sex, and Race from the Harlem Renaissance to World War II

Posted in Books, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2018-10-15 00:06Z by Steven

Brown Beauty: Color, Sex, and Race from the Harlem Renaissance to World War II

New York University Press
September, 2018
368 pages
27 illustrations
Cloth ISBN: 9781479875108
Paper ISBN: ISBN: 9781479802081

Laila Haidarali, Assistant Professor of Gender Studies
Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Examines how the media influenced ideas of race and beauty among African American women from the Harlem Renaissance to World War II.

Between the Harlem Renaissance and the end of World War II, a complicated discourse emerged surrounding considerations of appearance of African American women and expressions of race, class, and status. Brown Beauty considers how the media created a beauty ideal for these women, emphasizing different representations and expressions of brown skin.

Haidarali contends that the idea of brown as a “respectable shade” was carefully constructed through print and visual media in the interwar era. Throughout this period, brownness of skin came to be idealized as the real, representational, and respectable complexion of African American middle class women. Shades of brown became channels that facilitated discussions of race, class, and gender in a way that would develop lasting cultural effects for an ever-modernizing world.

Building on an impressive range of visual and media sources—from newspapers, journals, magazines, and newsletters to commercial advertising—Haidarali locates a complex, and sometimes contradictory, set of cultural values at the core of representations of women, envisioned as “brown-skin.” She explores how brownness affected socially-mobile New Negro women in the urban environment during the interwar years, showing how the majority of messages on brownness were directed at an aspirant middle-class. By tracing brown’s changing meanings across this period, and showing how a visual language of brown grew into a dynamic racial shorthand used to denote modern African American womanhood, Brown Beauty demonstrates the myriad values and judgments, compromises and contradictions involved in the social evaluation of women. This book is an eye-opening account of the intense dynamics between racial identity and the influence mass media has on what, and who we consider beautiful.

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Race and Cultural Practice in Popular Culture

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Forthcoming Media, Latino Studies, Native Americans/First Nation on 2018-10-08 04:05Z by Steven

Race and Cultural Practice in Popular Culture

Rutgers University Press
2018-10-17
296 pages
6 x 9
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-9788-0130-1
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-9788-0131-8
PDF ISBN: 978-1-9788-0134-9
EPUB ISBN: 978-1-9788-0132-5
MobiPocket ISBN: 978-1-9788-0133-2

Edited by:

Domino Perez, Associate Professor of English
University of Texas, Austin

Rachel González-Martin, Assistant Professor of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies
University of Texas, Austin

Race and Cultural Practice in Popular Culture

Race and Cultural Practice in Popular Culture is an innovative work that freshly approaches the concept of race as a social factor made concrete in popular forms, such as film, television, and music. The essays collectively push past the reaffirmation of static conceptions of identity, authenticity, or conventional interpretations of stereotypes and bridge the intertextual gap between theories of community enactment and cultural representation. The book also draws together and melds otherwise isolated academic theories and methodologies in order to focus on race as an ideological reality and a process that continues to impact lives despite allegations that we live in a post-racial America. The collection is separated into three parts: Visualizing Race (Representational Media), Sounding Race (Soundscape), and Racialization in Place (Theory), each of which considers visual, audio, and geographic sites of racial representations respectively.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • “Assembling an Intersectional Pop Cultura Analytical Lens: A Foreword”
  • Introduction: Re-imagining Critical Approaches to Folklore and Popular Culture / Domino Renee Perez and Rachel González-Martin
  • Part I: Visualizing Race
    • “A Thousand ‘Lines of Flight’: Collective Individuation and Racial Identity in Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black and Sense8” / Ruth Y. Hsu
    • “Performing Cherokee Masculinity in The Doe Boy” / Channette Romero
    • “Truth, Justice, and the Mexican Way: Lucha Libre, Film, and Nationalism in Mexico” / James Wilkey
    • “Native American Irony: Survivance and the Subversion of Ethnography” / Gerald Vizenor
  • Part II: Sounding Race
    • “(Re)imagining Indigenous Popular Culture” / Mintzi Auanda Martínez-Rivera
    • “My Tongue is Divided into Two” / Olivia Cadaval
    • “Performing Nation Diva Style in Lila Downs and Astrid Hadad’s La Tequilera” / K. Angelique Dwyer
    • “(Dis)identifying with Shakira’s ‘Global Body’: A Path Towards Rhythmic Affiliations Beyond the Dichotomous Nation/Diaspora” / Daniela Gutiérrez López
    • “Voicing the Occult in Chicana/o Culture and Hybridity: Prayers and the Cholo-Goth Aesthetic” / José G. Anguiano
  • Part III: Racialization in Place
    • “Ugly Brown Bodies: Queering Desire in Machete” / Nicole Guidotti-Hernández
    • “Bitch, how’d you make it this far?”: Strategic Enactments of White Femininity in The Walking Dead” / Jaime Guzmán and Raisa Alvarado Uchima
    • “Bridge and Tunnel: Transcultural Border Crossings in The Bridge and Sicario” / Marcel Brousseau
    • “Red Land, White Power, Blue Sky: Settler Colonialism and Indigeneity in Breaking Bad” / James H. Cox
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Index
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The Notorious, Mixed-Race New Orleans Madam Who Turned Her Identity Into a Brand

Posted in Articles, Biography, Communications/Media Studies, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2018-10-08 02:42Z by Steven

The Notorious, Mixed-Race New Orleans Madam Who Turned Her Identity Into a Brand

Zócalo Public Square
2018-10-01

Emily Epstein Landau, Teacher [and author of Spectacular Wickedness: Sex, Race, and Memory in Storyville, New Orleans]
Georgetown Day School, Washington, D.C.


Lulu White, the most notorious madam in the turn-of-the-century Big Easy. Courtesy of the Collections of the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University. All rights reserved.

By Repackaging the Myths of the Tragic Octoroon and the Self-Made Woman, Lulu White Crafted a Persona That Haunts Beyoncé’s “Formation

In 2016, music and pop-culture idol Beyoncé released the album Lemonade to rapturous reviews. As a historian of New Orleans, I was especially intrigued by the video for one of the songs on the album, “Formation.” The video includes iconic images of the city: Katrina flood waters and post-flood graffiti; “second-lines”; marching bands; crawfish eating; and even a dancing “Mardi Gras Indian.” As we move through various neighborhoods, we visit a church service, a St. Charles Avenue mansion, and, in what appears to be a move through time into the city’s past, a bordello.

The bordello scenes in the video recall famous photographs from Storyville, New Orleans’s notorious red-light district, which flourished from 1898 to 1917. And while the song is clearly about Beyoncé, the persona she embodies in it resonates with an earlier iconic black female: Lulu White, the self-styled “Diamond Queen” of New Orleans’s turn-of-the-century demimonde. Knowing Lulu White’s story helps us see Beyoncé’s artistic creation within a complex historical framework, for in it are woven together threads of American history: stories of sexual slavery and prostitution; revolution and exile; and, not least, capitalism and the American Dream.

Lulu White was the most notorious madam in Storyville. She earned fame and fortune as the “handsomest octoroon” in the South, and her bordello, Mahogany Hall, featured “octoroon” prostitutes for the pleasure of wealthy white men during one of America’s most virulently—and violently—racist periods. It was also the dawn of consumer culture and the beginning of modern advertising. Thus, Lulu White crafted a persona for herself through stories that had long circulated in New Orleans; she repackaged those stories to create what today we would recognize as her brand…

Read the entire article here.

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‘Passing for white’: how a taboo film genre is being revived to expose racial privilege

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2018-08-22 00:48Z by Steven

‘Passing for white’: how a taboo film genre is being revived to expose racial privilege

The Guardian
2018-08-20

Janine Bradbury, Senior Lecturer in Literature; School Learning and Teaching Lead
School of Humanities, Religion & Philosophy
York St John University, York, United Kingdom

SUSAN KOHNER and JUANITA MOORE in Imitation of Life
Crossing the colour line … Susan Kohner and Juanita Moore as daughter and mother in Douglas Sirk’s Imitation of Life (1959). Photograph: www.ronaldgrantarchive.com

Rebecca Hall’sdirectorial debut is an adaptation of Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel Passing, a theme little seen since the likes of Show Boat and Pinky

Hollywood once loved films about passing. The genre was popular in the 1940s and 50s, when segregation was rife and the “one-drop rule” – which deemed anybody with even a trace of African ancestry to be black – prevailed. Box-office hits included Elia Kazan’s Pinky (1949) and George Sidney’s musical Show Boat (1951), which featured light-skinned, mixed-race characters who passed for white in the hopes of enjoying the privileges whiteness confers. The secrets, the scandal and the sheer sensationalism of it all made for excellent melodrama.

Now Rebecca Hall, the star of Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Red Riding, is revisiting the genre with her directorial debut, an adaptation of Nella Larsen’s seminal 1929 novel Passing. Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga will feature in the project, which tells the story of childhood friends, Clare Kendry and Irene Redfield, who are both light-skinned enough to pass for white but choose to live on opposite sides of the colour line…

…How will Hall negotiate the tricky history of the genre? Even though it was a real-life phenomenon, most films about passing, including Pinky and Show Boat, have literary roots. William Wells Brown’s 1853 anti-slavery novel Clotel, which imagines the fate of Thomas Jefferson’s mixed race progeny, is perhaps the first American passing novel. Brown used passing to expose the arbitrary nature of white privilege. His mixed-race characters were a manifest symbol of the reality that many powerful, supposedly God-fearing white slaveholding men were coercing and raping enslaved black women and condemning their own children to a life in bondage (although, as Beyoncé recently revealed, not all unions were of this nature)…

Read the entire article here.

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Overlooked by the Media, Women Like Me Took to Instagram

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2018-07-29 23:50Z by Steven

Overlooked by the Media, Women Like Me Took to Instagram

The New York Times
2017-07-28

Natasha S. Alford, Deputy Editor
The Grio


Monica Ramos

I rarely see Afro-Latinas on television. Online, it’s a different story.

I was about 11 years old when I started to think I wasn’t like the other Latina girls.

The summer before sixth grade, my mother put me in a beauty pageant sponsored by a Hispanic community organization in Syracuse, N.Y., where we lived. The stage wasn’t fancy — it was in a gymnasium on the West Side, one of the poorest areas of the city. But there was a lot at stake. The winner would represent the pride of the community during the Puerto Rican Day Festival parade.

I was mortified at the idea of competing. Aside from being a nerd with thick plastic glasses and a school marching band membership to match, I didn’t look Latina. At least not compared with my pageant competitors or the women and girls I saw in the media…

Read the entire article here.

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Why Barack is black and Megan is biracial

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United Kingdom, United States on 2018-07-01 20:07Z by Steven

Why Barack is black and Megan is biracial

Media Diversified
2018-06-28

Olivia Woldemikael, Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science
Harvard University

Olivia Woldemikael discusses the differences in how Megan Markle and Barack Obama present themselves racially and asks what it means for blackness as an identity

The exclusivity and purity of the racial categories, black and white, is a myth, and a destructive one. Yet, it is continuously perpetuated in national discourse and family conversations. As the personalities of celebrities and politicians continue to be venerated in America, the racial identity of public figures such as Barack Obama and Meghan Markle are important sites for changing our ideas about race.

It’s no surprise to me that Barack Obama was considered America’s first black president and Meghan Markle is considered the biracial princess of England. The two are similarly “light-skinned” in racial parlance. Yet, the manner in which each of them has constructed signifiers of their race explains the difference in public perception. While perception alone does not diminish either’s proximity to whiteness and privilege, which may help explain their success. It does, however, draw attention to the way individuals are able to exercise agency in determining their racial identity, undermining the monolithic American racial ideology. The divergent public personas that Obama and Markle have cultivated demonstrate the fragility of racial categories and hierarchies, as well as highlight the need for a paradigmatic shift in the way we discuss and represent race in the media…

Read the entire article here.

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A Sign of ‘Modern Society’: More Multiracial Families in Commercials

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2018-06-27 01:08Z by Steven

A Sign of ‘Modern Society’: More Multiracial Families in Commercials

The New York Times
2018-06-03

Joanne Kaufman

A hapless man stands on the sidewalk, watching and wincing as an ex-girlfriend tosses his possessions out a second-floor window in a commercial for DirecTV Now. A husband and wife are overjoyed to learn from a Fidelity investments adviser that, yes, they have saved enough for retirement to realize their fondest dream, one that involves a boat and a grandchild. And a considerably younger couple is delighted with the possibilities presented by the Clearblue ovulation test system.

The men and women vary in age, circumstances and happiness levels, but they have one thing in common. They are all part of interracial couples.

Recently, companies and brands like JPMorgan Chase, Humira, State Farm, Smile Direct Club, Coors Light, Macy’s, Tide and Cadillac have featured multiracial couples or families in their advertising.

“There’s no doubt that the incidence of these commercials is at least double what it was five years ago,” said Larry Chiagouris, a professor of marketing at the Pace University Lubin School of Business…

Read the entire article here.

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Not a British Subject: Race and Poetry in the UK

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2018-05-27 23:46Z by Steven

Not a British Subject: Race and Poetry in the UK

The Los Angeles Review of Books
2015-12-06

Sandeep Parmar

As long as we have literature as a bulwark against intolerance, and as a force for change, then we have a chance. Europe needs writers to explicate this transition, for literature is plurality in action; it embraces and celebrates a place of no truths, it relishes ambiguity, and it deeply respects the place where everybody has the right to be understood…

Caryl Phillips, Color Me English

Nature rejects the monarch, not the man;
The subject, not the citizen: for kings
And subjects, mutual foes, forever play
A losing game into each other’s hands,
Whose stakes are vice and misery.

Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Queen Mab”

WHEN I LEFT LOS ANGELES in the summer after 9/11 to study creative writing in England, I was only supposed to be away for a year at most. England was a country I thought I knew — I was born there, lived there for a few years, and returned to visit my maternal grandparents nearly every summer in my teens. Wanting to study poetry, I enrolled in the University of East Anglia’s MA program. Based in Norwich, the writing MA at UEA boasts Kazuo Ishiguro, Anne Enright, and Ian McEwan — along with a host of lesser known but respectable poets — among its graduates. Compared to Los Angeles, Norwich felt strangely remote, enswathed by lakes and rivers and marshland studded by flint houses. Two hours from London, and a bit further to Derby (where my grandparents immigrated in the 1960s from Punjab) I found myself at the desolate end of a train line, cut off from the multicultural Britain of London and the heavily ghettoized Midlands. Norwich — and UEA — could not have been any less ethnically diverse. Whereas inner-city Derby, in particular the multiethnic Normanton road, felt like an entrenched if deeply divided community of Sikhs, Muslims, West Indians, and others, Norwich was eerily homogenous. When I inquired of a local cab driver about racism in the city, he assured me that it was not a problem because “there aren’t any black people.” This did not prove to be exactly true.

What was I doing there? I should have asked myself. And what kind of poet would I become? I never thought to question my attraction to British poetry, or my unfounded sense of its legitimacy. At 21, I was drawn back to the country of my own and my mother’s childhood for instinctual reasons I would only realize many years later. And so, forsaking sunshine, naively idolizing the English way of life as one giant costume drama, I wasted no time and devotedly read beyond the mere handful of 20th-century British poets I had encountered as an undergraduate at UCLA…

…A recent review of Sarah Howe’s book begins with the publisher’s blurb:

Loop of Jade is described as an exploration “of a dual heritage” — Chinese and British — a “journeying back…in search of her roots.” My heart sank a little. Without diminishing the importance of such endeavours, the intervening three decades of identity politics has also led to, perhaps, a sense of, well, here we go again.

The reviewer misses the point — it is not “identity politics” that is at fault here, but publishers who only stage a poet’s racial identity when that poet is not white. Howe’s book moves between lyric and experimental modes, and dodges the uneasy limits of poetic subjectivity. Her work retains a deeply intellectual authority over itself in an industry that would prefer to ornamentalize poets of color…

Read the entire article here.

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Ijeoma Oluo and Rebecca Carroll on Race and Representation in Journalism

Posted in Audio, Communications/Media Studies, Interviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Social Justice on 2018-05-18 19:26Z by Steven

Ijeoma Oluo and Rebecca Carroll on Race and Representation in Journalism

Midday on WNYC
WNYC
New York, New York
2018-05-03

Duarte Geraldino, Guest Host

Ijeoma Oluo and Rebecca Carroll discuss the ethics of representation in Sally Kohn’s book, The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity. Oluo and Aminatou Sow take issue with how they were quoted in Kohn’s book, which sets up what they say is an inaccurate dichotomy between their positions. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair about the controversy, Oluo said the real focus should be that “we need to talk about the work that people of privilege should be doing, not how many more ways we can harm ourselves so that our humanity will be seen.”


(L to R) Call Your Girlfriend’s Aminatou Sow, WNYC’s Rebecca Carroll, Nancy’s Kathy Tu, and Ear Hustle’s Nigel Poor speaking at the 2017 Werk It Festival.
(Gina Clyne Photography )

Listen to the discussion here.

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Passing or Transracial?: Authority, Race, and Sex in the Rachel Dolezal Documentary

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2018-05-18 15:32Z by Steven

Passing or Transracial?: Authority, Race, and Sex in the Rachel Dolezal Documentary

Beacon Broadside: A Project of Beacon Press
2018-05-10

Lisa Page, Assistant Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Rachel Dolezal
Photo credit: YouTube/Dr. Phil

For some of us, racial identity is elastic. We can pass. For white, for black, for Middle Eastern. For Latinx. I am one of those people. I know what it is to assimilate to a group you identify with, because I did it myself, against my white mother’s wishes. She hated me calling myself black.

For this reason, my response to The Rachel Divide, Laura Brownson’s new documentary about Rachel Dolezal, is complicated. Dolezal famously passed for black, for years, before her white parents outed her in 2015. I feel two ways about this. I completely get the outrage that followed the reveal. But I also have sympathy for Dolezal. I know what it’s like to turn your back on the white side of your family.

The film opens with clips of Dolezal’s activism, as president of the Spokane NAACP, which came to a screeching halt once she was revealed to be a white woman who darkened her complexion and wore a weave.

Dolezal doesn’t call that passing.

“Who’s the gatekeeper for blackness?” she asks, near the beginning of the film. “Do we have the right to live exactly how we feel?”…

Read the entire article here.

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