Box Marked Black + Futility of Nicknames

Posted in Audio, Autobiography, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2015-02-24 21:52Z by Steven

Box Marked Black + Futility of Nicknames

Stage and Studio with Dmae Roberts: The Best of Performing, Literary and Media Arts
Portland, Oregon
2015-02-24, 11:00-12:00 PST (Local Time)

Dmae Roberts, Host

Dmae spotlights two different writers: Damaris Webb who’s performing her autobiographical play The Box Marked Black about growing up mixed race and Matt Kolbet, a writer in Newberg who’s just published his debut novel The Futility of Nicknames which is inspired by some elements of his life but is an entirely fictional story. Two varied stories: one real, one imaginary on the next Stage & Studio.

Damaris Webb is a performer, director and teaching artist who recently (re) relocated to Portland, OR after 26 years making and producing work in New York City. Ms Webb holds her MFA from Naropa’s Contemporary Performance Program, and her BFA from NYU’s Experimental Theater Wing. Her original work is often seen in non-traditional performance venues such as late night parties, warehouses and church basements, it is sometimes epic and may involve zombies, superheroes or sock puppets. Recent projects include directing Rich Rubin’s “Cottonwood in the Flood” staged reading for the 2015 Fertile Ground. In Portland, she offers Contemplative Dance Practice through Be Space and is a coach for PlayWrite, Inc. For more info:

The Box Marked Black is a tender solo performance piece, tracing the experience of growing up mulatto in the pre-Huxtable era. With only Jenny Willis from The Jeffersons as a guide, our multi-disciplinary storyteller creates narrative from the perspective of both sides of her interracial family, embodying multiple characters, childhood memories (including a Roots sock puppet re-enactment) and fantasy…

For more information, click here. Download the episode (00:32:01) here.

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One Playwright’s ‘Obligation’ To Confront Race And Identity In The U.S.

Posted in Arts, Audio, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-02-18 03:25Z by Steven

One Playwright’s ‘Obligation’ To Confront Race And Identity In The U.S.

Code Switch: Frontiers of Race, Culture and Ethnicity
All Things Considered
National Public Radio

Jeff Lunden

Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins may be only 30 years old, but he’s already compiled an impressive resume. His theatrical works, which look at race and identity in America, have been performed in New York and around the country. Last year, Jacobs-Jenkins won the best new American play Obie Award for two of his works, Appropriate and An Octoroon.

An Octoroon is currently playing at Theater for a New Audience in New York…

…Over the past five years, the young playwright has written a trilogy of highly provocative and fantastical explorations of race in America. In Neighbors, a family of minstrels in blackface moves in next to a contemporary mixed-race family. In Appropriate, a white family discovers their dead father belonged to the KKK. His latest, An Octoroon, is a loose adaptation of a play written more than 150 years ago that deals with identity and race.

“They are all kind of like me dealing with something very specific, which has to do with the history of theater and blackness in America and form,” he says. “And also, my obligation, as a human being with regards to any of these themes.”

It is Jacob-Jenkins’ self-examination that drove Ben Brantley, the chief drama critic for The New York Times, to rank An Octoroon on the top of his best pays list last year. He saw it at Soho Rep, a tiny off-Broadway theater.

“[Jacobs-Jenkins] starts off from self-consciousness, which you would think would be a crippling place for a playwright to begin,” Brantley says.”But his self-consciousness isn’t just particular; it’s national, it’s universal. And it’s the self-consciousness of realizing that we don’t have the vocabulary, the tools to discuss race.”

The play, based on a 1859 melodrama by the Irish-Anglo playwright Dion Boucicault, tells the story of a young man who’s about to inherit a plantation and falls in love with a woman who is an octoroon — seven-eighths white, one-eighth black.

Director Sarah Benson points out that, in the original, all the parts had to be played by white actors…

Read the entire article here. Listen to the story here. Download the audio here. Read the transcript here.

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The Garifuna Exodus

Posted in Articles, Audio, Caribbean/Latin America, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-02-02 01:29Z by Steven

The Garifuna Exodus

Latino USA

Maria Hinojosa, Executive Producer & Anchor

Marlon Bishop, Producer

For centuries, the Garifuna people — descendents of both Africans and indigenous Arawak people from the Caribbean — have lived peacefully in seaside towns on the North Coast of Honduras. There’s always been a trickle of migration from the community to the United States – especially the Bronx, where the largest Garifuna community outside of Central America lives.

But starting last spring, the trickle of migrants became a flood. Hundreds of Garifuna from each town left, thousands all together, embarking on the dangerous journey through Central America and Mexico to the U.S. border. It was mostly mothers with small children. They showed up in places like the Bronx, seeking refuge with family members, wearing GPS ankle monitors placed on them by U.S. immigration officers who detained them. They await court dates in limbo, unsure if they will be forced to go back to the homes they fled…

Read the entire introduction and listen to the story here.

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The gains and losses of racial “code switching”

Posted in Audio, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-01-29 16:19Z by Steven

The gains and losses of racial “code switching”

KALW 91.7 FM
San Francisco, California

Hana Baba, News Reporter/Host

On today’s episode of “Crosscurrents,” we are talking about identity. We have heard how people, whether intentionally or not, can “pass” as another race, just by the sound of their voice. Passing can also be a full-time, physical endeavor. The United States has a long history of African Americans who chose to live as white in their daily lives.

Stanford Professor Allyson Hobbs recently released a book covering this history, called A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life. Hobbs recently visited KALW, and I asked her to explain when and why this form of “code switching” was preferred.

ALLYSON HOBBS: Particularly during the Jim Crow era, which was the era of legalized segregation, there were many advantages to passing as white. … To pass as white meant to get a better job, it meant to live in a better neighborhood, being treated with much more respect and dignity than African Americans were often treated…

Listen to the interview here.

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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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Mixed Kids Roundtable: The Politics of Multiracialism and Identity

Posted in Audio, Barack Obama, Communications/Media Studies, Interviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2015-01-28 02:39Z by Steven

Mixed Kids Roundtable: The Politics of Multiracialism and Identity

iMiXWHATiLiKE!: Emancipatory Journalism and Broadcasting

Jared Ball, Host and Associate Professor of Communication Studies
Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland

We were joined in this edition of iMiXWHATiLiKE! by a roundtable of panelists for a discussion of the politics of multiracialism and identity. Our guests included: Dr. Ralina Joseph, associate professor in UW’s Department of Communication and adjunct associate professor in the Departments of American Ethnic Studies and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, Her first book, Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial (Duke University Press, 2012), critiques anti-Black racism in mixed-race African American representations in the decade leading up to Obama’s 2008 election; Dr. Darwin Fishman, Adjunct Professor at San Diego City College; and Ms. Lisa Fager, Professional agitator, Free Mind. Co-founder Industry Ears. Social market-er. HIV/AIDS Advocate. Indy Voter. Hip Hop. Black. White. Spook Who Sat By the Door. We talked about the film Dear White People and more generally about the history of multiracial identities and the politics of popular culture representation of those identities, and bunch more!

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Have That Awkward Conversation About Race – And Yes, Whiteness Too

Posted in Articles, Audio, Media Archive, United States on 2015-01-27 01:42Z by Steven

Have That Awkward Conversation About Race – And Yes, Whiteness Too

KUOW 94.9 FM
Seattle, Washington

Jamala Henderson, Morning Newscaster/Reporter

Protests over high profile police shootings have renewed calls to discuss police treatment of African-Americans – and talk about race relations in general. But how do we have those difficult and often awkward conversations? KUOW’s Jamala Henderson put that question to University of Washington Professor Ralina Joseph. Highlights from the interview:

How do I talk about race with family and friends?

I tell them you need to just start talking. It needs to be a conversation about what does your family look like? What does your family talk about? What are the silences that you have? There’s not one simple answer. The answer is honestly engaging in dialog engaging in conversation.

What makes race so difficult to talk about?

Some people refuse to name people by race and ethnicity for example in thinking that that’s a progressive move that shows to them they’re colorblind and they’re above labeling people.

But I think that’s actually part of the problem. Pretending that people are all the same, that we don’t see difference, doesn’t actually make disproportionality go away. It just means that we don’t actually have the tools to be able to talk about describe race…

Read the interview here. Listen to the interview here.

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What If Everything You Know About Race Is Wrong?

Posted in Articles, Arts, Audio, Census/Demographics, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-01-16 23:49Z by Steven

What If Everything You Know About Race Is Wrong?

Texas Public Radio
San Antonio, Texas

Jack Morgan, Arts and Culture Reporter

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni

A one-woman show is coming to the Tobin Center and it’s probably unlike anything you’ve ever seen. It’s called “One Drop of Love.” starring Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.

“How did you get mixed up with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon?” I asked.

(Laughs) “I think I met Matt when I was about 12 and Ben when we started high school together,” DiGiovanni told me. “And we did theater—we had a very wonderful theater program at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School. And these two guys are such wonderful human beings.”

A year ago, DiGiovanni first produced this one-woman show for a Master of Fine Arts degree thesis performance.

“Ben came and saw my thesis performance and just said afterwards ‘I think this is really great and important and I’d like to help you get it to a wider audience.’”

Matt Damon also saw it and agreed with his friend. Thus DiGiovanni’s tour was conceived. So exactly what is One Drop of Love? It’s talking about one of this country’s most difficult subjects: race.

“I never know what kinds of experiences the people in the audience have had with race and racism,” DiGiovanni explains.

The whole show revolves around this premise.

“I start off the show as the character from a 1790 census, on which there were only three racial categories.”

In her show, she goes around her audience, linking audience members to one of those racial categories.

Walking through an audience, she names them: “Okay, white…black…mulatto…Chinese? Yes, hello…quadroon…no, I see you! An Indian…”

It’s one part history, one part performance art.

“There are people who look at me and shake their head and say ‘no, that’s not what I am!’ Which is very much the point, because that’s how the census was counted until 1970. A census worker would just go around and guess the race of the person they were looking at.”

She says race, in a sense, isn’t even real…

Read the entire article here. Listen to the interview (00:03:34) here.

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Season 2, Episode 11: Writer Thomas Chatterton Williams

Posted in Audio, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2015-01-08 19:30Z by Steven

Season 2, Episode 11: Writer Thomas Chatterton Williams

The Mixed Experience

Heidi Durrow, Host

We continue the second part of the season with writer Thomas Chatterton Williams author of Losing My Cool and the newly published essay in Virginia Quarterly ReviewBlack and Blue and Blond.”

Listen to the episode here. Download the episode here.

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How New Racial Demographics Are Remaking America

Posted in Audio, Census/Demographics, Economics, Interviews, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2015-01-06 00:23Z by Steven

How New Racial Demographics Are Remaking America

The Diane Rehm Show
WAMU 88.5 FM
Washington, D.C.

Diane Rehm, Host

Mark Hugo Lopez, Director of Hispanic Research
Pew Research Center

Jim Tankersley, Economic Policy Correspondent
The Washington Post

William Frey, Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program (author of Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics Are Remaking America)
Brookings Institution

Jamelle Bouie, Staff writer covering politics, policy, and race

America is becoming a country with no racial majority. In 2009, for the first time in U.S. history, more minority than white babies were born in a year. Soon, most American children will be racial minorities. The nation’s diversity surge played a key role in Barack Obama’s election as president. Many see these trends as necessary as a much-needed younger minority labor force is already boosting an aging baby boom population. But challenges loom, including clashes over public resources, overcoming a cultural generation gap, and fears over losing privileged status. Diane and her guests discuss how new racial demographics are remaking America.

Listen to the show (00:51:40) here.

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