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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Plaçage and the Performance of Whiteness: The Trial of Eulalie Mandeville, Free Colored Woman, of Antebellum New Orleans

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2015-01-15 22:11Z by Steven

Plaçage and the Performance of Whiteness: The Trial of Eulalie Mandeville, Free Colored Woman, of Antebellum New Orleans

American Nineteenth Century History
Volume 15, Issue 2, 2014
pages 187-209
DOI: 10.1080/14664658.2014.959818

Carol Wilson, Arthur A. and Elizabeth R. Knapp Professor of American History
Washington College, Chestertown, Maryland

Depictions of plaçage, a type of concubinage found in pre-Civil War New Orleans, have tended toward the romantic. A group of scholars have shown recently that, contrary to popular perception, many plaçage unions were no different from common-law marriages. This article takes a case-study approach to examine one such relationship in detail – one that was the subject of a legal challenge involving the fortune of perhaps the wealthiest free black woman in Louisiana. I apply Ariela J. Gross’s theory of “performance of whiteness” to demonstrate why free woman of color Eulalie Mandeville won her case over her white partner’s numerous white relatives at a time when free blacks in Louisiana and the rest of the nation were losing rights.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Poet Natasha Trethewey Explores Public and Personal Histories of Race in America

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States, Videos, Women on 2015-01-14 18:16Z by Steven

Poet Natasha Trethewey Explores Public and Personal Histories of Race in America

The Aspen Institute

Caroline Tory, Program Coordinator
Aspen Words, Aspen Colorado

On a recent winter night, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey addressed an Aspen Words audience in Aspen, CO, on the intersection between art and activism. “[I am] a poet interested not only in the sounds of language and in its beauty, but in its ability to help us deal with our most difficult knowledge and help us move towards justice.”

Trethewey is the author of four collections of poetry: “Domestic Work,” “Bellocq’s Ophelia,” “Native Guard,” and “Thrall,” as well as a work of nonfiction, “Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.” She served two terms as the 19th US poet laureate from 2012 to 2014, and is currently poet laureate of the state of Mississippi. Trethewey also directs the creative writing program at Emory University in Atlanta, where she is Robert W. Woodruff professor of English and creative writing…

…Trethewey was born in Gulfport, Mississippi, the daughter of parents whose mixed-race marriage was illegal in the state at the time. Her writing includes many references to her father, a poet, professor, and Canadian immigrant, as well as her mother, who was a social worker. Trethewey’s poems weave together the story of her own interracial roots with the history of race in America, while also balancing this narrative with lyricism.

“It is where the poems shade toward the lyrical that I’m able to get closer to the emotional truth of a poem,” said Trethewey in her talk. As an example, she referenced the poem “Incident” from her Pulitzer Prize-winning collection “Native Guard.” In it she tells the story of the Ku Klux Klan burning a cross on her family’s yard after her grandmother hosted a voter registration drive for disenfranchised African Americans in the 1960s. Reworking an initial draft of the poem, Trethewey restructured it to capture the entire story of the incident in the first four lines. This freed her to use the rest of the poem to highlight other emotional truths, such as the need to remember, which are at least as important as the particular facts of what happened.

Trethewey read a number of poems that use art as a reference point, including a series from her most recent book “Thrall.” Titled “Taxonomy”, this series of poems is based on a group of Casta paintings from 18th century colonial Mexico, which portrayed mixed blood unions in the colony…

Read the entire article here.

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Young Artists: Saya Woolfalk

Posted in Arts, Asian Diaspora, Interviews, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2015-01-14 16:58Z by Steven

Young Artists: Saya Woolfalk

November 2008

Timothy McCahill

For the last two years Saya Woolfalk has practically lived in No Place, the futuristic work she is creating through painting, sculpture and video. So it’s not surprising that when she talks about it, the line between fact and fiction seems a little fuzzy. More than just a plain old multimedia installation, No Place has its own inhabitants and culture. The bubbly 29-year-old delights in describing every nook and cranny. “I talk about it as if it could be real,” admits Woolfalk, who is completing a yearlong stint as an artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem, where No Place was recently shown. “But I never forget that it’s another place.”

Woolfalk’s world is inhabited by half-human, half-plant figures called No Placeans, who in her paintings are portrayed roaming a psychedelic landscape reminiscent of Yellow Submarine. In one piece, they appear in front of a blue and yellow building surrounded by pink phalluses. As part of the project, Woolfalk filmed the No Placeans—played by the artist, her friends and colleagues—in the style of a documentary…

…Though the piece grew partly out of Woolfalk’s reflections on utopia, her influences also originate closer to home. Born in Japan to a Japanese mother and an African-American and white father, Woolfalk draws on Japanese anime and traditional African garments for many of her characters and costumes, blending cultures so that her work feels at once foreign and familiar. “Because I’m mixed race, I have this idea that to leave the conversation ambiguous is interesting,” she says…

Read the entire interview here.

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“The Christened Mulatresses”: Euro-African Families in a Slave-Trading Town

Posted in Africa, Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, Women on 2015-01-12 21:13Z by Steven

“The Christened Mulatresses”: Euro-African Families in a Slave-Trading Town

The William and Mary Quarterly
Volume 70, Number 2, April 2013
pages 371-398
DOI: 10.5309/willmaryquar.70.2.0371

Pernille Ipsen, Assistant Professor
Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, Department of History
University of Wisconsin, Madison

“MULATRESSE Lene”—or Lene Kühberg, as she is also called in the Danish sources—grew up and lived in a social world created by the Atlantic slave trade. Her name suggests that she was a daughter of slave traders—a Ga woman and a Danish man—and in the 1760s she was cassaret (married) to Danish interim governor and slave trader Frantz Joachim Kühberg. She lived in a European-style stone house in Osu (today a neighborhood in Accra) on the Gold Coast, and she was both racially and culturally Euro-African. The color of her skin and her name alone would have made it clear to everyone who met her that she was related to Europeans, but her clothes would also have marked her difference, and she may even have worn little bells and ornamental keys to show her heritage and connections. European travel writers described how Euro-African women on the Gold Coast who wore such little bells jingled so much that they could be heard at a great distance. Through their Euro-African heritage and marriages to European men, Euro-African women such as Lene Kühberg occupied a particular and important position as intermediaries in the West African slave trade.

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