‘Passing’ keeps its writing simple, asking viewers to lean in for greater understanding

Posted in Arts, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2022-01-21 02:00Z by Steven

‘Passing’ keeps its writing simple, asking viewers to lean in for greater understanding

The Los Angeles Times
2022-01-18

Rebecca Hall

Adapting Nella Larsen’s slim novella took writer-director Rebecca Hall 13 years. “Ultimately, I did my best to build my script and my film, not so much out of language as out of small moments of behavior,” she says. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

My adaptation of Nella Larsen’s “Passing” had a slow birth, even by the often glacial standards of script development. When I started writing, I was an actress in my 20s with vague but fervent aspirations to one day direct. I wrote the first draft in 10 days, immediately after first reading the novel, in something of a fugue state. I was fascinated but also mystified by that fascination, and my first draft was crude and impractical. I didn’t think for a second that I would ever have the means or the courage to turn it into a film.

In retrospect, I probably could never have written it otherwise. Over the years, I tinkered, adjusting it radically and then minutely and then radically again until it became something of a piece of me — not so much a project or a process as a thing that I have lived in dialogue with for the better part of my adult life.

The main challenge of the adaptation revolved around the character of Irene. Contemporary reviewers often missed both Irene’s centrality and her fundamental unreliability. Clare, the object of Irene’s obsession, was frequently taken to be the main character, rather than one half of the extraordinary — and extraordinarily complicated — relationship that drives the action…

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How Pearl Hobson became the most popular African-American dancer and singer in Imperial Russia in the 1900s

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Europe, Media Archive on 2022-01-20 02:25Z by Steven

How Pearl Hobson became the most popular African-American dancer and singer in Imperial Russia in the 1900s

Face2Face Africa
2021-07-15

Mildred Europa Taylor, Head of Content


Pearl Hobson poster, 1909. Public domain image

Pearl Hobson was among a number of African-American performers who left the United States in the 1900s to somewhat escape racism. At the time, groups like the Fisk Jubilee Singers were making waves abroad due to the popularity of African-American culture through performance art. Hobson also wanted to profit from the situation. And so she did as she became the most popular African-American dancer and singer in Imperial Russia.

The “Mulatto Sharpshooter,” as she was known, wowed elite audiences from St. Petersburg to Moscow by 1909 while living much of this period in Odessa, Ukraine in Southern Russia, as stated by one account. Not much is known about Hobson’s background. Born on July 7, 1879 in Lisbon, Bedford County, Virginia — even though some say she was born in Roanoke, Virginia — she worked as a maid before becoming a member of the Fencing Musketeers (also known as the Fencing Octoroons and Les Mousquetaires Noirs) which consisted of 11 Black women…

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Rebecca Hall’s Brief But Spectacular take on ‘Passing’ and racial identity

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Biography, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United Kingdom, United States, Videos on 2022-01-13 14:53Z by Steven

Rebecca Hall’s Brief But Spectacular take on ‘Passing’ and racial identity

PBS Newshour
2022-01-12

Melissa Williams

Rebecca Hall has been on-screen since age 10, but in her new film “Passing” she steps into the director role for the first time. It is based on a novel that was written in 1929 by Nella Lawson Larsen at the height of the Harlem Renaissance. Hall shares her Brief But Spectacular take on “Passing” and on her own racial identity as part of our arts and culture series, CANVAS.

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62 Mixed-Race Celebrities Who Have Actually Talked About Their Multiracial Identity

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2022-01-12 01:44Z by Steven

62 Mixed-Race Celebrities Who Have Actually Talked About Their Multiracial Identity

BuzzFeed
2021-12-23

Victoria Vouloumanos, Associate Editor

“I am who I am. I’m good with it. You might need to figure it out, but I’m fine with it.”

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Overlooked No More: Si-lan Chen, Whose Dances Encompassed Worlds

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2022-01-11 15:56Z by Steven

Overlooked No More: Si-lan Chen, Whose Dances Encompassed Worlds

The New York Times
2021-05-27

Jennifer Wilson, Contributing Writer
The Nation

Si-lan Chen in 1944. A socialist, she approached dance as a way to build international solidarity.
Man Ray 2015 Trust/Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY, ADAGP, Paris 2021; Telimage

This article is part of Overlooked, a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in The Times.

As a dancer and choreographer, she sought to represent a broad range of ethnic groups, but audiences often sexualized and exoticized her by focusing on her mixed race.

In 1945, the dancer Si-lan Chen sent a draft of her memoir to the writer Pearl S. Buck, with a letter asking for her thoughts on why she was struggling to get the attention of a publisher.

The problem, Buck explained, was that while Chen had dined with the Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek in revolutionary China, had been romanced by the poet Langston Hughes in Soviet Moscow, and had worked in Hollywood for the producer Joseph Mankiewicz, no one actually knew who she was.

The autobiography, Buck said, of a mixed-race girl growing up in Trinidad, studying ballet at the Bolshoi and choreographing films like “Anna and the King of Siam” (1946), was too focused on, well, her…

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Maria Ewing, opera singer and ex-wife of Sir Peter Hall, dies aged 71

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2022-01-11 15:02Z by Steven

Maria Ewing, opera singer and ex-wife of Sir Peter Hall, dies aged 71

The Guardian
Associated Press

Maria Ewing and Sir Peter Hall in 1984. Photograph: Homer Sykes/Alamy

Ewing, also the mother of actor-director Rebecca Hall, died Sunday at her home in Detroit

Maria Ewing, a soprano and mezzo-soprano noted for intense performances who became the wife of director Sir Peter Hall and the mother of actor-director Rebecca Hall, has died at age 71.

Ewing died Sunday at her home in Detroit, spokeswoman Bryna Rifkin said Monday.

Born in Detroit to a Dutch mother and an African American father, Ewing was the youngest of four daughters.

“She was an extraordinarily gifted artist who by the sheer force of her talent and will catapulted herself to the most rarefied heights of the international opera world,” her family said in a statement…

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New U.S. stamp for 2022 honors Black, Native American woman from Upstate NY

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2022-01-06 03:30Z by Steven

New U.S. stamp for 2022 honors Black, Native American woman from Upstate NY

Syracuse.com
2022-01-02

Geoff Herbert, Reporter and SEO Lead

New U.S. postal stamps honor Edmonia Lewis, a Black and Native American sculptor from Upstate New York.

A new U.S. stamp will honor an Upstate New York woman who was the first Black and Native American sculptor to earn international recognition.

The U.S. Postal Service said the 45th stamp in its Black Heritage series will celebrate Edmonia Lewis, who was born in 1844 in Greenbush, N.Y., and spent most of her career in Rome, Italy. According to the Times Union, her mother was an Ojibwa/Chippewa woman from Albany known for embroidering moccasins and her father was a freed slave who worked as a gentleman’s servant in Rensselaer County; when her mother died, Lewis was known as Wildfire while living with her maternal relatives.

“She identified first as a Native American. Later she identified more as an African American. She was in two worlds. She deserves her stamp,” Bobbie Reno, an East Greenbush town historian who campaigned for Lewis’ recognition, told the Times Union

…According to the USPS, the Edmonia Lewis stamp will debut Wednesday, Jan. 26, at 12:30 p.m. ET at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. The stamp, which features a portrait of Lewis based on a photograph of her in Boston between 1864 and 1871, will be available in post offices nationwide in panes of 20….

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An Artist Discovers His Black Heritage Through Photography

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2022-01-05 17:18Z by Steven

An Artist Discovers His Black Heritage Through Photography

VICE
2016-02-11

Beckett Mufson, Staff Writer

ZUN LEE, FATHER FIGURE. IMAGES COURTESY BAS BERKHOUT

German-born photographer Zun Lee documents the special non-special moments of black family life.

In his late thirties, Zun Lee discovered that he was not the son of two Korean immigrants to Frankfurt, Germany, as he had believed for most of his life. He was the son of one Korean immigrant—his mother—and a black man he’s never met. He’s been struggling with this shift in identity ever since, most recently in the form of three documentary projects, Father Figure, Black Love Matters, and Fade Resistance. Each series examines an underrepresented facet of black culture, often actively fighting harmful stereotypes that Lee has encountered…

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Sarawak’s mixed-race children struggle over ‘native’ identity

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Law, Media Archive, Oceania on 2022-01-05 16:38Z by Steven

Sarawak’s mixed-race children struggle over ‘native’ identity

Free Malaysia Today
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2022-01-05

Wong Pek Mei

Alena Murang and her father Ose and her mother Valerie Mashman.

PETALING JAYA: Alena Murang, who has mixed parentage, discovered only as an adult that she was not legally “native” in her homeland, Sarawak.

Alena, 32, a musician, songwriter and visual artist, said she and many others were oblivious to the issue. Her birth certificate said she was a Kelabit.

Her father Ose Murang, 67, is a Dayak Kelabit community leader and her mother is European.

“Only when I was an adult did I come to understand that in Sarawak, mixed children like myself are not legally native…

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Performing Racial Uplift: E. Azalia Hackley and African American Activism in the Postbellum to Pre-Harlem Era

Posted in Arts, Biography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2022-01-05 03:18Z by Steven

Performing Racial Uplift: E. Azalia Hackley and African American Activism in the Postbellum to Pre-Harlem Era

University Press of Mississippi
2022-01-17
224 pages
13 b&w illustrations and 13 musical examples
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496836687
Paperback ISBN: 9781496836793

Juanita Karpf, Lecturer of Music
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio

A groundbreaking rediscovery of a classically trained innovator and powerful teacher who set milestones for African American singers and musicians

In Performing Racial Uplift: E. Azalia Hackley and African American Activism in the Postbellum to Pre-Harlem Era, Juanita Karpf rediscovers the career of Black activist E. Azalia Hackley (1867–1922), a concert artist, nationally famous music teacher, and charismatic lecturer. Growing up in Black Detroit, she began touring as a pianist and soprano soloist while only in her teens. By the late 1910s, she had toured coast-to-coast, earning glowing reviews. Her concert repertoire consisted of an innovative blend of spirituals, popular ballads, virtuosic showstoppers, and classical pieces. She also taught music while on tour and visited several hundred Black schools, churches, and communities during her career. She traveled overseas and, in London and Paris, studied singing with William Shakespeare and Jean de Reszke—two of the classical music world’s most renowned teachers.

Her acceptance into these famous studios confirmed her extraordinary musicianship, a “first” for an African American singer. She founded the Normal Vocal Institute in Chicago, the first music school founded by a Black performer to offer teacher training to aspiring African American musicians.

Hackley’s activist philosophy was unique. Unlike most activists of her era, she did not align herself unequivocally with either Booker T. Washington or W. E. B. Du Bois. Instead, she created her own mediatory philosophical approach. To carry out her agenda, she harnessed such strategies as giving music lessons to large audiences and delivering lectures on the ecumenical religious movement known as New Thought. In this book, Karpf reclaims Hackley’s legacy and details the talent, energy, determination, and unprecedented worldview she brought to the cause of racial uplift.

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