La Negra Blanca

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2017-01-10 01:45Z by Steven

La Negra Blanca

The Collagist: Online literature from Dzanc Books
Issue Three (October 2009)

Roxanne Gay, Associate Professor of English
Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

At the club, Sarah goes by Sierra. The manager gave her the name the day she was hired four years earlier. He asked if she had a preference but she shrugged, took a sip of warm soda, told him to knock himself out. He looked her up and down and up again. “Sierra,” he said. “So you’ll turn your head when your name is called.”

Sometimes, when she’s opening the refrigerator, or reaching into a drawer for a pair of shorts, Sarah will catch herself swiveling her hips and arching her back. Even when she’s not on the pole, she’s dancing around it. She takes a lot of Advil because even at home she’s always hearing the thump thump thump of the bass line.

Candy, her best friend at work, took one look at Sarah on her first day and told Sarah to dance to black girl booty shaking music because guys love to see white girls with juicy asses shake their stuff. Sarah blushed, and pivoted to get a better look at her ass. She said, “My ass is juicy?”

Candy laughed and grabbed a handful of Sarah’s ass, but Sarah already knew she had a juicy ass and where it came from. Her mother is black and her father is white but for years people have assumed she’s a white girl because she has green eyes and straight blonde hair. She’s not ashamed of who she is but in Baltimore it’s easier to be a white girl with a black girl’s ass than to be a black girl who looks white or any other kind of black girl for that matter…

Read the short story here.

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In Roxane Gay’s Difficult Women, you’re either difficult or you’re dead

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2017-01-10 01:36Z by Steven

In Roxane Gay’s Difficult Women, you’re either difficult or you’re dead


Constance Grady, Culture Writer

When Roxane Gay picks up a label, she’ll play with it, rip it apart a little, break it down, and finally embrace it. She did it in 2014 with her essay collection, Bad Feminist, which explored what it means to be a committed feminist who also likes to dance to “Blurred Lines,” who is not beholden to an ideological purity. And now she’s doing it again in her new short story collection, Difficult Women.

A difficult woman, in these stories, is usually a woman who has been hurt, typically by living under the patriarchy and under white supremacy. The injuries vary, ranging in scope from the blunt force of unimaginable trauma to the death-by-a-thousand-papercuts of daily microaggressions.

In “I Will Follow You,” the difficult woman was kidnapped by a child molester when she was 10 years old. In “La Negra Blanca,” she’s a mixed-race med student who moonlights as a stripper and is constantly fetishized by men who think of her as a white girl with a black girl’s ass. In “Best Features,” she’s a fat woman who is quietly furious at how worthless the world considers her to be…

Read the entire review here.

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The unbelievable life of the forgotten genius who turned Americans’ space dreams into reality

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2017-01-10 01:10Z by Steven

The unbelievable life of the forgotten genius who turned Americans’ space dreams into reality

Business Insider

Meghan Bartels

There’s no protocol for women attending,” says a white man in a suit holding a sheaf of papers.

“There’s no protocol for a man circling the Earth either, sir,” Taraji P. Henson retorts in my favorite line from the new trailer for the movie “Hidden Figures,” due theaters this January.

Henson plays Katherine Johnson, a brilliant mathematician at NASA working on the space program in its earliest days, beginning in the 1950s. Many of NASA’s first missions were made possible by Johnson’s intrepid, unparalleled calculations.

The movie is based on a nonfiction book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly, who grew up near NASA’s Langley Research Center, where Johnson and her colleagues worked.

Johnson still lives near Langley in Hampton, Virginia, where she’ll be celebrating her 98th birthday later this month. Keep scrolling to learn the true story of her incredible life…

Read the entire article here.

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Who Is Katherine Johnson?

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2017-01-08 20:17Z by Steven

Who Is Katherine Johnson?

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Heather S. Deiss
NASA Educational Technology Services

Denise Miller
NASA Educational Technology Services

Katherine Johnson
Credits: Katherine Johnson

This article is part of the NASA Knows! (Grades 5-8) series.

Katherine Johnson is an African-American mathematician who worked for NASA from 1953 until 1986. She was a human computer. In a time when minorities held very few jobs in mathematics and science, Johnson was a trailblazer. Her work in calculating the paths for spaceships to travel was monumental in helping NASA successfully put an American in orbit around Earth. Then her work helped to land astronauts on the moon.

What Was Katherine Johnson’s Early Life Like?

Katherine Johnson was born in 1918 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. As a very young girl, she loved to count things. She counted everything, from the number of steps she took to get to the road to the number of forks and plates she washed when doing the dishes.

Johnson was born with a love for mathematics. At a young age, she was very eager to go to school. Now in her 90s, Johnson can vividly remember watching her older siblings go to school, wishing so much that she could go with them. When Johnson finally did start school, she so excelled that by age 10, she was in high school. By age 15, she’d started college!…

Read the entire article here.

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Misty Copeland on Seeing So Many Brown Ballerinas in Cuba: “That Will Forever Stick With Me”

Posted in Articles, Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Women on 2016-12-26 21:03Z by Steven

Misty Copeland on Seeing So Many Brown Ballerinas in Cuba: “That Will Forever Stick With Me”


Yara Simón, Trending Editor

Photo: Emily Jan/NPR

In the world of American ballet, Misty Copeland is the exception. As the first black woman to become a principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre, Copeland knows what it’s like to be one of the few women of color to break through. That’s why when President Barack Obama asked her to visit Cuba as part of a sports envoy program designed to further strengthen relations between the United States and the Caribbean nation, Misty felt struck by the number of brown bodies she saw at the prestigious Ballet Nacional de Cuba.

“Just the imagery of seeing a room full of Cuban women and men with brown skin, doing classical ballet, and it’s not even a question for them,” she told The Undefeated. “It’s like, ‘No, this is what we do and this is what we look like.’ That’s something that will forever stick with me.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Misty Copeland En Pointe

Posted in Articles, Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Women on 2016-12-26 17:30Z by Steven

Misty Copeland En Pointe

The Undefeated

Kelley L. Carter, Senior Culture Writer

Photographs by Brent Lewis
Videos by Lois Nam, Senior Digital Producer

America’s most famous prima ballerina heads to Cuba to represent female athleticism. (Yes, athleticism.)


Misty Copeland is at the barre.

She’s demonstrating a battement tendu to a group of ballerinas at a dance magnet school.

The dancers — all girls ages 15 to 17, all in black leotards, white tights and pointe shoes, and all with their hair pulled up into impeccable topknots — listen intently.

All eyes are focused on her. Copeland is speaking in English. The teen dancers only understand Spanish.

There is a language translator — Maria Luz Pereya, a former dancer herself, originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina — and she offers at one point to bring a corded microphone toward Copeland and translate. Copeland quickly shakes her head, declining her assistance in this moment. This is, after all, Havana, the capital of Cuba, an island in the northern Caribbean where, as they say, the three languages spoken and understood by all are: Spanish, baseball and dance.

And Copeland, a groundbreaking ballerina — as well as author, and newlywed — who made history last year when she became the first African-American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in the American Ballet Theatre’s 75-year history, happens to be fluent in the art of motion. “Sport and art and dance unify people,” Copeland said later, sitting on the rooftop of Havana’s The Saratoga — the same place Beyoncé and Jay Z spent their 2013 wedding anniversary. “It’s a language and a culture that people from everywhere, all over the world, can relate to, and understand, and come together for.”…

Misty Danielle Copeland got her start in ballet on the basketball court…

Read the entire article here.

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The Photograph That Helped Misty Copeland Realize Her Responsibility as a Black Woman in Ballet

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Women on 2016-12-26 17:08Z by Steven

The Photograph That Helped Misty Copeland Realize Her Responsibility as a Black Woman in Ballet

Vanity Fair

Misty Copeland

Ahead of her new book, the first African-American female principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre reveals the power of seeing a portrait of Raven Wilkinson, who broke color barriers in ballet more than 50 years ago.

“I saw this image of dancer Raven Wilkinson for the first time in Ballets Russes, the 2005 documentary. I cried upon hearing a history I didn’t know much about. As a black woman in the classical-ballet world, I realized then that, although things have evolved in the 50 years since Raven faced severe racism while performing with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, black women still face an uphill battle finding their place as professionals in classical ballet…

Read the entire article here.

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China Machado, Breakthrough Model Until the End, Dies at 86

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-12-21 17:59Z by Steven

China Machado, Breakthrough Model Until the End, Dies at 86

The New York Times
On The Runway

Vanessa Friedman

China Machado, the first non-Caucasian to appear in the pages of an American glossy fashion magazine and a model who broke not only the race barrier but also the age barrier, died on Sunday in Brookhaven, N.Y., on Long Island. She was 86.

Her family said the cause was cardiac arrest.

Ms. Machado (whose first name was pronounced CHEE-na) lived a colorful life: She was born Noelie de Souza Machado on Christmas Day 1929, in Shanghai; fled the country with her parents in 1946, after the Japanese occupation; had an affair with Luis Dominguín, the Spanish bullfighter, who left her for Ava Gardner; and socialized with François Truffaut

Read the entire obituary here.

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Dating in the Time of #BlackLivesMatter

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Justice, Social Science, Texas, United States, Women on 2016-12-19 00:06Z by Steven

Dating in the Time of #BlackLivesMatter

Racism Review: shcolarship and activism toward racial justice

Shantel Buggs, Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Sociology
The University of Texas, Austin

When I started my dissertation research a year ago, I had not considered what impact the widespread media coverage of #BlackLivesMatter as a movement and rallying cry might have on my respondents. With my research, I intended to explore the online dating experiences of women who identify as multiracial here in Texas; what I have found has been a complex mobilization of Black Lives Matter as a metric of racial progressiveness. In 2016, it has become clear that the increased media attention being paid to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement is shaping a particular orientation toward, and conversation around, race and racism in the United States. As scholar Khury Petersen-Smith notes, the movement has “shattered what remained of the notion of a ‘post-racial’ America.” More specifically, my work has found that BLM has impacted individual-level relationships, creating a framework within which people are able to evaluate and “vet” their dating partners, especially amidst claims that society is more “progressive” and that the atrocities we have witnessed are “not about race.”

As every good social scientist knows, words mean things. The language around, and produced by, movements like BLM – particularly in regards to discourses of race, racial inequality, state-sanctioned violence, and racism – has influenced the ways in which the multiracial women in my study discuss race, racism, and inequality in the context of their intimate relationships. Several women have described using their own stances on the issues BLM addresses as a means of selecting potential dating partners. This finding suggests that BLM and other widespread social justice movements are having significant impacts on how people are navigating racial politics on an interpersonal level. This is particularly pertinent during a time where U.S. media and popular culture is especially focused on issues of racism and state-sanctioned violence…

Read the entire article here.

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How Kathleen Collins’s Daughter Kept Her Late Mother’s Career Alive

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-12-12 19:10Z by Steven

How Kathleen Collins’s Daughter Kept Her Late Mother’s Career Alive


Nina Lorez Collins

Nina Collins in a Karen Walker dress.
Photographed by Ryan Pfluger, Vogue, September 2016

A struggling filmmaker whose life was cut short by illness, Kathleen Collins has a soaring career since her daughter reopened her archive.

Ten years ago, in the middle of an ugly divorce, the most banal of realizations came upon me: In order to find a path out of the mess I’d made, I needed to wrestle with the history that had shaped me. My mother, the late African-American writer, filmmaker, and activist Kathleen Collins, died of breast cancer in 1988 at age 46, when I was still a teenager, leaving me to care for my younger brother. Our parents had split when we were toddlers, and we had been raised by a single, black artist mother, vibrant yet frequently depressed, and unwavering in her commitment to her work. She had kept her illness a secret until two weeks before she died.

In those first few weeks after we buried her, I filled an old steamer trunk with every scrap of paper I could find among my mother’s things: copies of her many plays, short stories, screenplays, journals, letters; and VHS tapes of her two films, The Cruz Brothers and Miss Malloy and Losing Ground, neither of which had been released theatrically. Along with her work and personal correspondence, there were photographs of her ancestors dating back to 1700s New Jersey farmland, snapshots of her singing with Freedom Riders in Albany, Georgia, in 1962, and a handful of high-quality artistic images of her taken by my father when they were still in love. Over the next two decades, that heavy trunk moved with me everywhere I lived. It was a coffee table in my first studio, spent some time at the foot of my bed in my 20s, and eventually, when I had a house, was relegated to my basement. I often wanted to look inside, and a few times I made tentative forays, but the sight of my mother’s familiar scrawl on the pages made me feel shaky. It was simply, for a very long time, too sad for me to hear her voice again…

…Eighteen years later, on a still midsummer day, I turned to the trunk in earnest. I was upstate, in the home I’d made for myself and my four children in the wake of my divorce. Surrounded by optimistic colors, I lifted the handle in hope of understanding so many things. Reaching inside, I pulled out yellowed reams of paper, some handwritten, others typed. There were short stories I never knew existed, about growing up black bourgeoise in Jersey City; others that fictionalized the intense civil rights work she did with SNCC in her 20s (she worked on voter registration and speechwriting). I found accounts of her difficult relationships with men, from my white father to the playwrights, actors, and writers who followed. I discovered plays and screenplays about the loss of her own mother—my grandmother died when my mother was five months old—and her stern father. After years of being afraid to delve in, I now couldn’t stop reading. The stories were like a portal to her inner life, the themes and characters both strange and familiar, in that way that everything about our parents somehow already exists within us…

Read the entire article here.

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