BWW Review: THE DAY I BECAME BLACK at Soho Playhouse

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2019-04-12 02:39Z by Steven

BWW Review: THE DAY I BECAME BLACK at Soho Playhouse

Broadway World
Off-Broadway
2019-04-08

Derek McCraken

BWW Review: THE DAY I BECAME BLACK at Soho Playhouse

Wake up! Bill Posley has a stunner of a story to tell, and although comedy may not resolve his existential crisis, it’s a trip well worth taking with him at Soho Playhouse. Witty, fearless and “woke as f***,” Posley describes (and often reenacts) parts of his lived experience as a biracial man in search of an identity. Feeling too black for white people and not black enough for black people, he regales us with anecdotes that, although amusing in their own right, are also the kind of antidote that our racially fractured country needs right now.

How do you help an integrated audience in an intimate theatrical space feel at ease? Posley’s style: assure white people it’s ok to laugh, then ask black people not to stare at them. Ironically (deliberately?) he doesn’t specifically address any potentially biracial audience members.

To ease us into his culturally conflicted space, Posley shares the many micro-aggressions he endures, such as the intrusive and objectifying question he fields way too frequently. He asks, in an incredulous Valley Girl dialect, “Omigod, like, what ARE you?” Then he deadpans his response: “A Costco member.”

Against the backdrop of having been born biracial into a Massachusetts family, and raised in a culture that demanded he identify as black or white but never both, Posley invites us to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. He first assumes the role of our “beginning black friend,” but this initial duality soon manifests itself as a multi-generational multiplicity: with a slight change of posture and modification of his voice, he embodies his well-intentioned but metaphor-mangling black father, his fierce black grandmother (Grammy), and “Karen at Starbucks,” a white privileged prima donna who unleashes a belittling barrage of complaints directed at Posley, her barista. Let’s just say that his response to her was anything but basic…

Read the entire article here.

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The Day I Became Black

Posted in Arts, Autobiography, Forthcoming Media, Live Events, United States on 2019-04-12 02:26Z by Steven

The Day I Became Black

Soho Playhouse
15 Vandam Street
New York, New York 10013
Telephone: (212) 691-1555
2019-04-12 through 2019-04-19

Bi-racial comedian Bill Posley grew up happily identifying as both black and white. But at age 10, he learned the world does, in fact, judge a book by its color and, even though he’s half white, he’s labeled 100% black. Does a young comedian have to get rid of his whiteness in order to be the color he’s “supposed” to be? Hear Posley weigh in on the modern-day conversation about race from a unique perspective.

For more information, click here.

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Remembering Jane Bolin, the first African-American female judge in the U.S.

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Law, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2019-04-12 02:12Z by Steven

Remembering Jane Bolin, the first African-American female judge in the U.S.

New Haven Register
2019-02-27

David L. Goodwin, Staff Attorney
Appellate Advocates, New York, New York

Van C. Tran, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Columbia University, New York, New York

Judge Jane Bolin shown at her home in New York after she was sworn in as a family court judge on July 22, 1939. She was the nation’s first black female judge and the first black woman to graduate from Yale Law School. She died in 2007 at age 98. Photo: Associated Press File Photo / AP
Judge Jane Bolin shown at her home in New York after she was sworn in as a family court judge on July 22, 1939. She was the nation’s first black female judge and the first black woman to graduate from Yale Law School. She died in 2007 at age 98. Photo: Associated Press File Photo

The struggle for inclusion and diversity in politics has ensued for decades, but for the first time in U.S. history, the rising political power of black women took center stage in the 2018 election. Last November, Harris County [Texas] made history by electing 17 black female judges to the bench — a group of candidates widely known as “Black Girl Magic.”

Their victory was extraordinary and unprecedented. Black female judges were the exception, not the norm, in the judiciary. In 1966, Judge Constance Baker Motley, appointed to the Southern District of New York by President Lyndon Johnson, became the first black woman to serve as a federal district judge. In 1979, Judge Amalya Kearse, appointed to the Second Circuit by President Carter, was the first black woman to be appointed to a federal Court of Appeals.

Three decades before these “first” appointments, Judge Jane Bolin (1908-2007) held the honor of being the first African-American female judge in the United States

Read the entire article here.

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Yaller Gal – The Fortnightly Word

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2019-04-12 01:18Z by Steven

Yaller Gal – The Fortnightly Word

This Cruel War: An Evidence-Based Exploration of the Causes and Ramifications of the American Civil War
2016-10-03

One of the things that keeps us from easily accessing primary sources is their language. Though documents from our past are in English, it’s often a very different creation than we know now. I enjoy discovering and understanding words almost as much as I enjoy history. From time to time, I’ll share one of these new old words that I come across. By learning about words we no longer use, we can better understand the past.

The Word this Week is “Yaller Gal.”

I first came across this word while reading some of the slave narratives recorded in the 1930s. Here are a few of examples of how they were used:…

…The word was also used to describe varieties of grits (“yaller hominy”), cake, and even cats. In that light, it seems pretty obvious that “yaller” is “yellow” in a Southern dialect. But while yellow hominy, yellow cake and yellow cats all make sense, what is a yellow girl?

Though Mrs. Southwell’s quote above might be evidence enough, another from Texas makes it clear.

“When massa come home that evening his wife hardly say nothing to him, and he ask her what the matter and she tells him, ‘Since you asks me, I’m studying in my mind about them white young’uns of that yaller nigger wench from Baton Rouge.’ He say, ‘Now, honey, I fetched that gal just for you, because she a fine seamster.’ She say, ‘It look kind of funny they got the same kind of hair and eyes as my children and they got a nose looks like yours.’ He say, ‘Honey, you just paying attention to talk of little children that ain’t got no mind to what they say.’ She say, ‘Over in Mississippi I got a home and plenty with my daddy and I got that in my mind.’” –Mary Reynolds, Black River, Louisiana.

Plainly speaking, a “yaller girl” was a mulatto, a person of mixed-race conceived through some combination of black and white parentage.1 The four examples used above don’t go into too much detail. It was, for the time, a very understood phrase.

A yaller girl had very light skin, but was still considered nonwhite. For many enslavers, when it came to yaller girls, the more white the better. Of course, she could not be purely white, but the more white in her, the more she was wanted as a sex slave…

Read the entire article here.

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Ninth Avenue

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2019-04-12 00:52Z by Steven

Ninth Avenue

Avon Publishing Company
1951 (originally published in 1926)
267 pages

Maxwell Bodenheim (1892-1954)

He Loved Her Too Much To Marry Her — Without Telling Of His Negro Blood!

Ninth Avenue is about a poor hard-ass Irish-Catholic family in Hell’s Kitchen New York, who’s daughter, through all the racist trials and tribulations, falls in love with a black man and they go off to marry and live happily ever after.” —Michael Sampson Sweeney, HOBOHEMIA – The Life and Writings of Maxwell Bodenheim.

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