The Healing Power of ‘Steven Universe’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2020-04-01 01:00Z by Steven

The Healing Power of ‘Steven Universe’

The New York Times

2020-03-28

Nicole Clark

Steven Universe is raised by the Crystal Gems: Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl, female-presenting, nonbinary aliens. Cartoon Network

The hit cartoon series has helped me process my biracial identity.

For most of my life, Taiwan was a place that lived in my head. My mother told me her origin stories like a series of tall tales, full of pitched, tin roofs and fields of underbrush that my grandmother used to drive through on her moped, lifting her legs to avoid snake bites.

Her stories felt like aphorisms I could attach to the idea of being Taiwanese, something I knew I was, but felt no particular ability to locate outside the life I lived in California. I could not get past the differences of our childhoods, the disparities in our means, the foreign topography. It would take me years to realize I’d inherited her cultural traditions and perspectives growing up — and even longer to separate my identity from the need to demonstrate proficiency in it, as if it were a set of actions committed to memory.

When I began watching Rebecca Sugar’s musical cartoon series “Steven Universe” and its limited series spinoff “Steven Universe Future” — which aired its final episodes on Friday — it immediately fit like a familiar sweater. So much of Steven’s coming-of-age story mapped onto my own: We both come from two distinct cultures, the most dominant of which can feel inscrutable….

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

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…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

My Daughter Passes for White

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2020-03-06 16:08Z by Steven

My Daughter Passes for White

The New York Times
2020-02-29

Seema Jilani, Pediatrician and Humanitarian Aid Worker
Washington, D.C.


Sally Deng

She belongs in a way I never could. I’m comforted — and worried.

I stand in the aisle of the school bus while the other seventh graders snicker and block me from sitting next to them, as they have for the entire school year. Taking my seat next to the bus driver, I look out to the road with resignation. My great-aunt, adorned in a colorful sari, waves goodbye to me while the entire school bus looks on. I want to disappear into the dingy brown vinyl bus seats. With the newfound cruelty of adolescence, I scoff and loudly tell my classmates, “That crazy lady is just my maid.”

I am still ashamed of how I treated my great-aunt. I also know it was a form of preteen self-preservation. I desperately wanted what so many other children that age do: to be as bland and vanilla as possible, just so that I could get through the day without being ostracized.

I now find myself in a mixed marriage, mother to a 3-year-old mixed-race girl who easily passes for white. Her fair skin, auburn hair and light brown eyes do not even hint at her Pakistani background. When I tell people at gatherings that I speak Urdu at home, some are very concerned about whether my daughter will be confused. Yet some are the same families clamoring for their children to get accepted into French-immersion kindergartens. Strangers have asked me whether I am her real mother or have assumed that I’m her nanny. It’s not their belief about my profession that’s disturbing — it’s their certainty that my daughter and I can’t be related because of the colors of our skin…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

Katherine Johnson Dies at 101; Mathematician Broke Barriers at NASA

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2020-02-24 15:55Z by Steven

Katherine Johnson Dies at 101; Mathematician Broke Barriers at NASA

The New York Times
2020-02-24

Margalit Fox


Katherine Johnson, part of a small group of African-American women mathematicians who did crucial work at NASA, in 1966.
NASA/Donaldson Collection, via Getty Images

She was one of a group of black women mathematicians at NASA and its predecessor who were celebrated in the 2016 movie “Hidden Figures.”

They asked Katherine Johnson for the moon, and she gave it to them.

Wielding little more than a pencil, a slide rule and one of the finest mathematical minds in the country, Mrs. Johnson, whose death at 101 was announced on Monday by NASA, calculated the precise trajectories that would let Apollo 11 land on the moon in 1969 and, after Neil Armstrong’s history-making moonwalk, let it return to Earth.

A single error, she well knew, could have dire consequences for craft and crew. Her impeccable calculations had already helped plot the successful flight of Alan B. Shepard Jr., who became the first American in space when his Mercury spacecraft went aloft in 1961.

The next year, she likewise helped make it possible for John Glenn, in the Mercury vessel Friendship 7, to become the first American to orbit the Earth.

Yet throughout Mrs. Johnson’s 33 years in NASA’s Flight Research Division — the office from which the American space program sprang — and for decades afterward, almost no one knew her name…

Read the entire obituary here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Why Some Black Puerto Ricans Choose ‘White’ on the Census

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2020-02-10 01:58Z by Steven

Why Some Black Puerto Ricans Choose ‘White’ on the Census

The New York Times
2020-02-09

Natasha S. Alford


A bomba dance class at the Corporación Piñones Se Integra community center in Loíza, P.R.
Erika P. Rodriguez for The New York Times

The island has a long history of encouraging residents to identify as white, but there are growing efforts to raise awareness about racism.

LOÍZA, P.R. — A dozen dancers wearing bright, colorful ankle-length skirts gathered around five wooden drums. Their shoulders and hips pulsed with the percussion, an upbeat, African-inspired rhythm.

Loíza, a township founded by formerly enslaved Africans, is one of the many places in Puerto Rico where African-inspired traditions like the bomba dance workshop at the Corporación Piñones se Integra community center thrive.

But that doesn’t mean all of the people who live there would necessarily call themselves black.

More than three-quarters of Puerto Ricans identified as white on the last census, even though much of the population on the island has roots in Africa. That number is down from 80 percent 20 years ago, but activists and demographers say it is still inaccurate and they are working to get more Puerto Ricans of African descent to identify as black on the next census in an effort to draw attention to the island’s racial disparities…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

Overlooked No More: Homer Plessy, Who Sat on a Train and Stood Up for Civil Rights

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Law, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States on 2020-02-05 02:24Z by Steven

Overlooked No More: Homer Plessy, Who Sat on a Train and Stood Up for Civil Rights

The New York Times
2020-01-31

Glenn Rifkin


A mural in New Orleans shows what Homer Plessy, right, might have looked like. On the left is P.B.S. Pinchback, the first black man to serve as a governor in the United States, in Louisiana. Pinchback is often mistaken for Plessy.
Mural by Ian Wilkinson; Photo by Jane Morse Rifkin

He boarded a whites-only train car in New Orleans with the hope of getting the attention of the Supreme Court. But it would be a long time before he got justice.

Since 1851, many remarkable black men and women did not receive obituaries in The New York Times. This month, with Overlooked, we’re adding their stories to our archives.

When Homer Plessy boarded the East Louisiana Railway’s No. 8 train in New Orleans on June 7, 1892, he knew his journey to Covington, La., would be brief.

He also knew it could have historic implications.

Plessy was a racially mixed shoemaker who had agreed to take part in an act of civil disobedience orchestrated by a New Orleans civil rights organization.

On that hot, sticky afternoon he walked into the Press Street Depot, purchased a first-class ticket and took a seat in the whites-only car…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Is the Black Quarterback Revolution Going to Last?

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States on 2020-02-02 23:08Z by Steven

Is the Black Quarterback Revolution Going to Last?

The New York Times
2020-02-02

Elena Bergeron

Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs is part of a vanguard redefining the position. But it is a watershed only if it is widespread and persistent.

MIAMI — The N.F.L.’s longtime leading men, the ones with the pizza commercials and the Super Bowl rings, whose names adorn the league’s most-sold jerseys, showed their mortality this season in ways that were uncomfortable to watch.

Tom Brady and Drew Brees didn’t make it through the first round of the playoffs. Aaron Rodgers missed the Super Bowl, too, by losing in a later round. Eli Manning retired, usurped as the Giants’ leader after 16 years. Ben Roethlisberger played like he should be considering it, too.

Together they helmed 12 of the last 18 Super Bowl-winning teams. And all are pushing 40 years old or past it.

Yet their aging out of the game leaves no void, as these playoffs have highlighted the rise of quarterbacks whose savvy and daring have stolen our attention. Russell Wilson’s third-down scramble to survive the Philadelphia Eagles, Patrick Mahomes’s bionic touchdown run for the Chiefs against the Tennessee Titans, Deshaun Watson of the Texans’ magical escape from a sack to beat the Buffalo Bills. Everything that Lamar Jackson did…

Read the entire article here.

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

A Painter Resurrects Louisiana’s Vanished Creole Culture

Posted in Articles, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States on 2020-01-22 01:19Z by Steven

A Painter Resurrects Louisiana’s Vanished Creole Culture

The New York Times
2020-01-16

Elizabeth Pochoda, Editor-in-Chief
The Magazine ANTIQUES


Andrew LaMar Hopkins portrays the significant role Creoles played in the civic life of New Orleans. “Edmond Dédé Piano Recital” (2019) shows the freeborn Creole musician and composer in his elegant salon. Andrew LaMar Hopkins

Andrew LaMar Hopkins celebrates the rich contributions of 19th-Century New Orleans in his folk art style (and drag).

NEW ORLEANS — Dressed as his alter ego, the modish matron Désirée Joséphine Duplantier, the artist Andrew LaMar Hopkins is a familiar presence on this city’s arts scene. His paintings, faux naïf renderings of 19th-century life in the city — particularly the vanished culture of New Orleans’s free Creoles of color — also keep good company. You can see these works in Nadine Blake’s gallery on Royal Street in the French Quarter, on the art-filled walls of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in Treme, and in the rooms of collectors like the designer Thomas Jayne and the food stylist Rick Ellis.

When a dozen of Mr. Hopkins’s paintings appear at the Winter Show at the Park Avenue Armory on Jan. 24 they will be making their first foray north. Placed alongside 18th- and 19th -century portrait miniatures in the booth of Elle Shushan near the entrance of the show, these small works portraying daily life in New Orleans, circa 1830, will enact their own sly magic, inserting themselves into the stream of art history as if the visual record of people and places in antebellum Creole culture had not been lost. “This is what these lives looked like, and no one else was doing it,” Mr. Hopkins, 42, says of both white Creoles and Creoles of color in his work. “I wanted to do them justice.”

Creole is a long-embattled term, perhaps best defined now as a person whose background and identity is traceable to colonial French Louisiana and/or its Franco-African culture. William Rudolph, the chief curator at the San Antonio Museum of Art and an early enthusiast about the work of Mr. Hopkins, says this artist “has used his work to interrogate Creole history.” He added, “He has deconstructed the past.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Black Britons Know Why Meghan Markle Wants Out

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2020-01-10 00:36Z by Steven

Black Britons Know Why Meghan Markle Wants Out

The New York Times
2020-01-09

Afua Hirsch


Samir Hussein/WireImage, via Getty Images

It’s the racism.

The British press has succeeded in its apparent project of hounding Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, out of Britain. The part it perhaps didn’t bargain for, however, is the loss of Prince Harry — a much loved Royal and a key part of the family’s global brand — along with her.

In a statement released this week, the couple said they want to “carve out a progressive new role” within the royal family and will “step back as ‘senior’ members, and work to become financially independent.”

The British press reacted with surprise at the “shock move abroad,” described variously as “seismic,” “selfish,” “rogue” and “an atrocious lapse of judgment.”

If the media paid more attention to Britain’s communities of color, perhaps it would find the announcement far less surprising. With a new prime minister whose track record includes overtly racist statements, some of which would make even Donald Trump blush, a Brexit project linked to native nationalism and a desire to rid Britain of large numbers of immigrants, and an ever thickening loom of imperial nostalgia, many of us are also thinking about moving…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,