Metis actress Tantoo Cardinal to receive lifetime achievement award

Posted in Articles, Arts, Canada, Interviews, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Women on 2015-02-24 01:19Z by Steven

Metis actress Tantoo Cardinal to receive lifetime achievement award

CTV News

The Canadian Press

TORONTO — As Metis actress Tantoo Cardinal prepares to receive a lifetime achievement award, she remembers what originally inspired her to begin acting more than 40 years ago: anger.

“It wasn’t about a career at all — it was about having a voice,” the Edmonton-raised 64-year-old said in a telephone interview this week.

“I don’t know if people really can appreciate what that experience is — of attempted genocide, generations and generations and generations where your language is outlawed, your creativity is outlawed, anything you think or say or do is actually outlawed…

Read the entire interview here.

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An Open Letter to the White Fathers of Black Daughters

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, United States, Women on 2015-02-23 19:33Z by Steven

An Open Letter to the White Fathers of Black Daughters

bluestockings magazine

Kelsey Henry

I have been drafting this letter since I was ten. I am twenty and tonight is the first night I will write these words outside of me. I don’t know what they will look like here. Honestly, I am scared to see them uncoiled and still damp from the sweaty palms that have enclosed them for a decade. I am so accustomed to holding fistfuls of aching, rambunctious words around you, Dad. More than anything, I wish you would ask me to open my hands, and actually listen to what you see, what I say, what you hear.

But that is not how we work, is it? I give you the words you don’t know how to ask for. We know all our scripted prompts for loving cautiously. We are used to trafficking in glass blown conversations. I will not, I cannot, do this with you anymore. I love you too much for this, so listen.

Dad, you are a white man. I know this might come as a shock because people do not tell you this too often. You are not approached on the street, in the movies, at the workplace, and ordered to explain your race so strangers can “read” you properly and treat you accordingly. You have both the privilege and the curse of living in the unmarked, white blind spot of the American racial imaginary. If you have enjoyed living there, departing only to return comfortably home to White every night, I’m afraid you have a problem.

Me. I am your problem…

…Dad, since then you have flickered. You are swallowed by whiteness and become racially inaccessible to me the moment my race comes to the fore. When I become Black Girl you become White Man and we are not each other’s anymore…

Read the entire article here.

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Memories of Metis Women of Saint-Eustache, Manitoba — (1910-1980)

Posted in Articles, Canada, History, Media Archive, Women on 2015-02-20 15:53Z by Steven

Memories of Metis Women of Saint-Eustache, Manitoba — (1910-1980)

Oral History Forum/Forum d’histoire orale
Volumes 19-20 (1999-2000)
pages 90-111

Nicole St-Onge, Professor of History
University of Ottawa

Introductory Comments

In an article entitled “Hired Men: Ontario Agricultural Wage Labour in Historical Perspective” Joy Parr wrote the following, telling,  words:

Scholars too have claimed that from the beginnings of the province, agriculturalists’ desire for independence combined with the rigorous seasonality of rural work to determine that “no hierarchical labour organization would persist ilz Canadian agriculture.” Yet in each successive generation from the settlement phase onward, rural wage labourers have been essential to the functioning of the province’s persistent and unmistakably hierarchical agricultural system. Through two centuries of clearing, tilling, seeding, and harvesting, the relationships between land and labour and capital and labour have changed, but the reality of the rural hierarchy has been as enduring as the season.

The ‘rural hierarchy’ examined by Parr for Ontario also existed and endured in the Prairie region of Canada. Census data available since 1891 reveal that hired men, over the age of fourteen, were always an important component of farm labour on the Prairie; they represented 13% (6,000) of all rural workers in 1891, 19.4% (84,000) in 1931 and 14.1% (46,000) in 1951. Yet, standard histories of North American agriculture have had difficulty probing beyond the positivist myth that surround the ‘Family Farm’. Few studies discuss in any detail the existence of an impoverished underclass of rural wage workers. Even oral history projects dealing with rural inhabitants have tended to be celebratory; charting the progress of a community since its pioneering days without much regard or analysis to the price paid by some individuals for this ‘success.’ Or, other rural oral history have been apocalyptic lamenting the demise of the Family Farm again without much regard for the consequences ofthis economic and social restructuration for people other than the owners of farms or the businesses that service them…

Read the entire article here.

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Charcoal and Cinnamon: The Politics of Color in Spanish Caribbean Literature

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Women on 2015-02-16 21:03Z by Steven

Charcoal and Cinnamon: The Politics of Color in Spanish Caribbean Literature

University Press of Florida
192 pages
6 x 9
Cloth ISBN 13: 978-0-8130-1736-5
Paper ISBN 13: 978-0-8130-2717-3

Claudette M. Williams, Senior Lecturer
Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica

Charcoal and Cinnamon explores the continuing redefinition of women of African descent in the Caribbean, focusing on the manner in which literature has influenced their treatment and contributed to the formation of their shifting identities.

While various studies have explored this subject, much of the existing research harbors a blindness to the literature of the non-English-speaking territories. Claudette Williams bases her analyses on poetry and prose from Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic and enhances it by comparing these writings with the literatures of the English- and French-speaking Caribbean territories.

Williams also questions the tendency of some of the established schools of feminism to de-emphasize the factor of race in their gender analyses. A novel aspect of this work, indicated by the allusion to “charcoal” and “cinnamon” in its title, is its focus on the ways in which many writers use language to point to subtle distinctions between black and brown (mulatto) women.

The originality of Williams’s approach is also evident in her emphasis on the writer’s attitudes toward race rather than on the writer’s race itself. She brings to the emotionally charged subject of the politics of color the keen analysis and sustained research of a scholar, as well as the perceptive personal insights of an African-ancestored Caribbean woman.

Though the main focus is on literary works, the book will also be a valuable reference for courses on Caribbean history, sociology, and psychology.

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EXCLUSIVE: Meet Hip-Hop’s Next Big Thing Nitty Scott, MC

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2015-02-16 02:10Z by Steven

EXCLUSIVE: Meet Hip-Hop’s Next Big Thing Nitty Scott, MC


Raquel Reichard

If you’re a hip-hop fan, you may already be familiar with the genre’s latest heavy hitter: Nitty Scott, MC.

This year alone the half-Puerto Rican, half-African American artist has been called the next big MC and a woman you should know. And when Nitty’s not creating new music, working on a video project for her mixtape The Art of Chill, or preparing for her NBA All-Star Weekend performance, where she’ll be opening for Drake, she’s emailing fans about mental health and bringing up issues of sexism, sexuality and sexual orientation during interviews with New York’s Hot 97.

This is a lot for any artist, but especially for a 24-year-old working without a manager or record label support. Somehow, the Michigan-born, Orlando-raised and Brooklyn resident is doing it (and killin’ it!), making her an inspirational Latina and all-around badass.

Take a read and find out for yourself:…

…What do you hope your music can accomplish?

On an individual level, I want what most artists want: to find themselves through their art, express themselves uninhibitedly and be able to make a living off of that as well. Once the music takes me where it needs to, I want to break into more philanthropic, humanitarian efforts. Music is the medium and the vessel that will carry me to the level of influence I need to make the world better, as cliché as it sounds. In the scope of my culture, I want it to bring light to the experiences of Afro-Latina women growing up in this generation, really be one of the people who help fill a void and represent us honestly and with nuance…

Read the entire interview here.

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The mixed-race girl’s guide to the art of passing: racial simulations in Danzy Senna’s Caucasia and Nella Larsen’s Quicksand

Posted in Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, Women on 2015-02-08 19:49Z by Steven

The mixed-race girl’s guide to the art of passing: racial simulations in Danzy Senna’s Caucasia and Nella Larsen’s Quicksand

Florida Atlantic University
May 2014
65 pages

Gyasi S. Byng

A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts, Florida Atlantic University

Racial identifications are continually influenced by and constructed through one’s environment. Building on Jean Baudrillard’sThe Precession of Simulacra” and Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space, this thesis argues that houses and clothing are the material objects that allow characters Birdie Lee from Danzy Senna’s Caucasia and Helga Crane from Nella Larsen’s Quicksand to construct their mixed race identities. Birdie Lee’s childhood home is the place where she develops a mixed race identity. When she leaves that home, she is forced to take on simulacra in order to pass for white. Without a stable childhood or adult home, Helga Crane’s wardrobe becomes the space where she unconsciously develops a mixed race identity. Her clothing choices allow her to simulate an entirely black identity that masks her mixed race heritage. Ultimately, the fates of Birdie and Helga are determined by whether or not they can occupy a space that is accepting of their mixed race identities.

Read the entire thesis here.

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The Indomitable Spirit of Edmonia Lewis. A Narrative Biography

Posted in Arts, Biography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2015-02-03 02:41Z by Steven

The Indomitable Spirit of Edmonia Lewis. A Narrative Biography

Esquiline Hill Press
567 pages (est.)
mobi ISBN: 978-1-58863-450-4
PDF ISBN: 978-1-58863-451-1
ePub ISBN: 978-1-58863-452-8

Harry Henderson

Albert Henderson

Edmonia Lewis was the first famous “colored sculptor” and the first to idealize her African and American Indian heritages in stone. She flourished from 1864 through 1878, and, as an artist, was a rare instrument for social change in the aftermath of the Civil War. She pressed her case for equality from her studio in Rome, Italy, and with annual tours of the United States.

Our new narrative of Lewis’s life and art updates many “established facts” – well beyond erroneous birth and death dates – with more than 100,000 words, 50 illustrations, 800 references, bibliography, index, and a reference list of more than 100 works with notes on museum holdings. It is based on private letters, public documents, essays, hundreds of news items, reviews of her work, museum collections, and more than two dozen published interviews. It reveals how a world biased against her color, class, gender and religion received her. Of special interest to African-American and American-Indian studies, as well as art, women’s, and American history, the narrative opens an abundance of previously unrecognized sources, reinterprets important relationships, names missing works, and corrects the identification of an important portrait. Students of the nineteenth century will find it a cool counterpoint to the bitter rage of Civil War and Reconstruction.

Readers familiar with her legendary icons of race may be surprised by her many portraits and her untold moves to Paris and London. They will also find answers to long-standing questions: Where, when, and how did she die? Why did her encounter with a bronze Ben Franklin leave her reeling? Why did she idealize a woman with African features only once in her career? Why did she never cite the now-famous Forever Free after her first interviews in Rome? Why did she have to stalk Henry Wadsworth Longfellow through the streets to make his portrait? Where was her studio? How often did she tour America? How did she enter her work in the 1876 Centennial expo, which had barred colored people absolutely? What were her relationships with fans, mentors, and fellow sculptors? Who were her rivals, her best friends, and her worst enemies? Fresh evidence, never before collected and collated, argues a novel motive for her erotic masterwork, the Death of Cleopatra, which sits apart in her œuvre like a hussy in a small town church. Newly realized sources also change our view of her childhood and provide ample support to refute distortions of her personal character, sexuality, and appearance.

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A Dialogue on Institutional Colorism and Moving Toward Healing with Dr. Yaba Blay

Posted in Articles, Audio, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Science, United States, Women on 2015-01-29 16:16Z by Steven

A Dialogue on Institutional Colorism and Moving Toward Healing with Dr. Yaba Blay

For Harriet

Kimberly Foster, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher

For Harriet is nearly five years old, and I’ve learned there are a few topics that are sure to spark contentious debate. Colorism is one of them. Discussions on colorism provoke strong feelings in Black women, in particular, and it seems that rarely do the conversation’s participants walk away with a deeper understanding of the institutional consequences of colorism or the ways we can move forward in combatting them.

What Bill Duke’s Light Girls documentary sorely missed was the voice of a Black woman colorism scholar, so I felt compelled to speak with Dr. Yaba Blay about how we can have a more effective conversation on colorism in our attempts to heal. Dr. Blay is currently co-director and assistant teaching professor of Africana Studies at Drexel University. She’s the artistic director and producer of the (1)ne Drop Project, and she was a consulting producer for CNN’s Black in America 5.

Read her phenomenal book, (1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race

Listen to the interview and read the transcript here.

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Race in Contemporary Brazil: From Indifference to Inequality

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, Women on 2015-01-26 02:08Z by Steven

Race in Contemporary Brazil: From Indifference to Inequality

Pennsylvania State University Press
304 pages
Dimensions: 6 x 9
1 illustration
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-01905-5
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-271-01906-2

Edited by: Rebecca Reichmann

Brazil’s traditionally agrarian economy, based initially on slave labor and later on rural labor and tenancy arrangements, established inequalities that have not diminished even with industrial development and urban growth. While fertility and infant mortality rates have dropped significantly and life expectancy has increased during the past thirty years, the gaps in mortality between rich and poor have remained constant. And among the poor of different races, including the 45 percent of Brazil’s population identified as preto (“black”) or pardo (“brown”) in the official census, persistent inequalities cannot be explained by the shortcomings of national economic development or failure of the “modernization” process.

Reichmann assembles the most important work of Brazilians writing today on contemporary racial dynamics in policy-relevant areas: the construction of race and color classification systems, access to education, employment and health, racial inequalities in the judiciary and politics, and black women’s status and roles. Despite these glaring social inequalities, racial discrimination in Brazil is poorly understood, both within and outside Brazil.

The still-widespread notion of harmonious “racial democracy” in Brazil was first articulated by anthropologist Gilberto Freyre in the 1930s and was subsequently reinforced by the popular media, social observers, and scholars. By giving voice to Brazilians’ own interpretations of race, this volume represents an essential contribution to the increasingly international debates about the African diaspora and comparative constructions of race.

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Tracee Ellis Ross: ‘That Hurt Like the Bejesus’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2015-01-25 20:23Z by Steven

Tracee Ellis Ross: ‘That Hurt Like the Bejesus’

The New York Times

Tracee Ellis Ross Credit Pej Behdarvand for The New York Times

The actress talks with Jenna Wortham about defining her own sense of beauty and humor.

It’s awards-show season. Do you like going to the shows? I didn’t actually go to the Golden Globes, but I do love awards-show season. It means lots of pretty dresses — and it’s even more fun when you are nominated.

The show you’re on, “black-ish,” has gotten a fair amount of critical praise. Do you know if the show has been picked up for a second season? No. Having been in the business for a while, I never like to look forward. You kind of enjoy what’s happening while it’s happening and leave the rest up to God, the angels, the trees, the stars — whatever you want to call it.

I love how women have responded to you in particular, especially the way you wear your hair out in this gorgeous storm cloud. A storm cloud? Is that what you said?

I may have said that, yes. That’s lovely. Women are asked to put forward, to a certain extent, a mask. And for black women, that has taken on greater significance, because the standard of beauty has not necessarily had the space for different definitions of beauty. I’m trying to find my own version of what makes me feel beautiful. On “black-ish,” there’s a lot that has to be done working around my hair, in terms of scheduling…

Read the entire interview here.

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