Radio Diaries: Harry Pace And The Rise And Fall Of Black Swan Records

Posted in Articles, Arts, Audio, Biography, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-07-16 18:20Z by Steven

Radio Diaries: Harry Pace And The Rise And Fall Of Black Swan Records

All Things Considered
National Public Radio
2021-07-01

Nellie Gilles, Managing Producer at Radio Diaries at Radio Diaries

Mycah Hazel, Radio Diaries Fellow


Harry Pace started the first major Black-owned record label in the U.S., but his achievements went mostly unnoticed until recently, when his descendants uncovered his secret history.
Courtesy of Peter Pace

A century ago, around the dawn of the Harlem Renaissance, New York City was brimming with music. Black artists like Eubie Blake, Florence Mills and Fats Waller were performing in dance halls and nightclubs including Edmond’s Cellar and The Lincoln Theatre.

“Every block between 110th Street and 155th Street buzzed with creative energy,” says journalist Paul Slade, author of Black Swan Blues: the hard rise and brutal fall of America’s first black-owned record label.

Despite that energy, when it came to recording and selling music by Black artists, the opportunities were limited. White-owned record labels — Columbia, Victor, Aeolian, Edison, Paramount — recorded few Black artists at the time, and when they did, it was often limited to novelty songs and minstrelsy.

“They were making a fortune off these negative portrayals of Black people,” says Bill Doggett, a specialist in early recorded sound.

Okeh Records was one of the first labels to break the mold. Perry “Mule” Bradford, a Black composer, pushed Okeh to record Mamie Smith and her song “Crazy Blues” in 1920. The record was a hit and entrepreneur Harry Pace took notice…

Read the entire story here.

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Black Swan Blues: The Hard Rise & Brutal Fall of America’s First Black-owned Record Label

Posted in Arts, Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2021-07-16 14:21Z by Steven

Black Swan Blues: The Hard Rise & Brutal Fall of America’s First Black-owned Record Label

PlanetSlade.com
2021-07-03
190 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1527296978
6 x 0.43 x 9 inches

Paul Slade

Forty years before Motown, there was Black Swan. Created by a young Black songwriter called Harry Pace, this pioneering 1920s blues label gave 14 million African-Americans the chance to hear their own authentic music on disc for the first time. Ethel Waters’ Down Home Blues was the label’s first big hit, its sales fuelled by a ground-breaking US tour which made headlines everywhere it touched down. Soon, the exciting new records Pace produced were pulling in white listeners as well as Black, and providing the essential soundtrack at every chic Hollywood party.

But there was danger too. In the Jim Crow South, Waters and her band were cheered to the echo on stage only to have racist insults spat at them in the street outside. In Georgia, the corpse of a young lynching victim was hurled into the lobby of a theatre Waters was just about to play. Pace had to battle a constant stream of dirty tricks from his white rivals, who were determined to sabotage Black Swan at every turn. This is the story of a truly remarkable record label – and of the even more remarkable man who founded it.

This expanded 2021 edition of the book, published to mark the 100th anniversary of Black Swan’s launch, contains a wealth of new information and many fresh insights into both the label’s own story and Harry Pace’s determination to improve African-Americans’ lives.

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‘An American riddle’: the black music trailblazer who died a white man

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-07-15 15:14Z by Steven

‘An American riddle’: the black music trailblazer who died a white man

The Guardian
2021-07-14

Ammar Kalia


Harry Pace, lawyer and cultural entrepreneur, thought by his family to have been Italian. Photograph: Courtesy of Peter Pace

A fascinating new podcast delves into the life of Harry Pace, forgotten founder of the first black-owned major record label in the US – and unlocks a shocking and prescient story about race

There are, according to the academic Emmett Price, “six degrees of Harry Pace”. He is referring to the man born in 1884 who founded America’s first black-owned major record label; desegregated part of Chicago; mentored the founder of Ebony and Jet magazines and spearheaded the career of blues singer Ethel Waters. Pace is a figure who is seemingly everywhere at once, yet his name has been suspiciously absent from the history books.

“This story encapsulates how progress comes about in America – and it is never in a straight line,” says Jad Abumrad. “It is often a cycle – one that contains hope and despair, smashed together.”

Best known for their work on Radiolab and its hit spin-off, Dolly Parton’s America, Abumrad and his co-producer Shima Oliaee are speaking from New York about their latest podcast, The Vanishing of Harry Pace. The six-part series examines the life and legacy of its titular character – the founder of Black Swan records, who had a hand in coining the term “rock ‘n’ roll”. Pace was also a civil rights lawyer, a collaborator of WEB Du Bois, and, you might think, a pioneering black American erased from history because of his race…

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Social Representations of Art in Public Places: A Study of Everyday Explanations of the Statue of ‘A Real Birmingham Family’

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Arts, Family/Parenting, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2021-06-29 22:20Z by Steven

Social Representations of Art in Public Places: A Study of Everyday Explanations of the Statue of ‘A Real Birmingham Family’

Genealogy
Volume 5, Issue 3
pages 59-74
First Published 2021-06-22
DOI: 10.3390/genealogy5030059

Peter J. Aspinall, Emeritus Reader
Centre for Health Services Studies
University of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom


Figure 1. ‘A Real Birmingham Family’, 2014. Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/
commons/2/27/Real_Birmingham_Family_statue_-_Library_of_Birmingham_(15119604114).jpg, accessed on 1 May 2021.

This article focuses on the social/cultural representations of the statue of A Real Birmingham Family cast in bronze and unveiled in Britain’s second city in October 2014. It reveals a family comprising two local mixed-race sisters, both single mothers, and their sons, unanimously chosen from 372 families. Three of the four families shortlisted for the statue were ‘mixed-race’ families. The artwork came about through a partnership between the sculptress, Gillian Wearing, and the city’s Ikon Gallery. A number of different lay representations of the artwork have been identified, notably, that it is a ‘normal family with no fathers’ and that it is not a ‘typical family’. These are at variance with a representation based on an interpretation of the artwork and materials associated with its creation: that a nuclear family is one reality amongst many and that what constitutes a family should not be fixed. This representation destabilizes our notion of the family and redefines it as empirical, experiential, and first-hand, families being brought into recognition by those in the wider society who choose to nominate themselves as such. The work of Ian Hacking, Richard Jenkins, and others is drawn upon to contest the concept of ‘normality’. Further, statistical data are presented that show that there is now a plurality of family types with no one type dominating or meriting the title of ‘normal’. Finally, Wearing’s statues of families in Trentino and Copenhagen comprise an evolving body of cross-national public art that provides further context and meaning for this representation.

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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, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, United States, Women on 2021-06-10 02:43Z 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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Race and Racism in Nineteenth-Century Art: The Ascendency of Robert Duncanson, Edward Bannister, and Edmonia Lewis

Posted in Arts, Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2021-06-10 00:49Z by Steven

Race and Racism in Nineteenth-Century Art: The Ascendency of Robert Duncanson, Edward Bannister, and Edmonia Lewis

University Press of Mississippi
2021-07-15
282 pages
30 b&w illustrations
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496834348
Paperback ISBN: 9781496834355

Naurice Frank Woods Jr., Associate Professor of African American Studies
University of North Carolina, Greensboro

Foreword by George Dimock, Associate Professor Emeritus of Art
University of North Carolina, Greensboro

The extraordinary struggle, achievement, loss, and reclamation of three brilliant African American artists of the 1800s

Painters Robert Duncanson (ca. 1821–1872) and Edward Bannister (1828–1901) and sculptor Mary Edmonia Lewis (ca. 1844–1907) each became accomplished African American artists. But as emerging art makers of color during the antebellum period, they experienced numerous incidents of racism that severely hampered their pursuits of a profession that many in the mainstream considered the highest form of social cultivation. Despite barriers imposed upon them due to their racial inheritance, these artists shared a common cause in demanding acceptance alongside their white contemporaries as capable painters and sculptors on local, regional, and international levels.

Author Naurice Frank Woods Jr. provides an in-depth examination of the strategies deployed by Duncanson, Bannister, and Lewis that enabled them not only to overcome prevailing race and gender inequality, but also to achieve a measure of success that eventually placed them in the top rank of nineteenth-century American art.

Unfortunately, the racism that hampered these three artists throughout their careers ultimately denied them their rightful place as significant contributors to the development of American art. Dominant art historians and art critics excluded them in their accounts of the period. In this volume, Woods restores their artistic legacies and redeems their memories, introducing these significant artists to rightful, new audiences.

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‘Mixed-ish’ Cast Reacts to ABC Cancellation After Two Seasons: “Onward And Upward”

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2021-06-05 02:49Z by Steven

‘Mixed-ish’ Cast Reacts to ABC Cancellation After Two Seasons: “Onward And Upward”

Deadline
2021-05-14

Alexandra Del Rosario, TV Reporter


Kelsey McNeal/ABC

The actresses behind Mixed-ish‘s Johnson family broke their silence on social media after ABC announced that it will not renew the comedy for a third season.

Arica Himmel, who stars as the younger version of Tracee Ellis Ross’ Rainbow “Bow” Johnson, first posted her reaction to the news on Instagram. She reminisced on her time on the series, following in Ross’ steps and more.

“TI want to thank our many loyal fans who joined us each week for the last two years on our journey from the commune to the ‘burbs — it has been an amazing experience and I will miss my TV family more than you can imagine,” she said…

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As a ‘white-passing’ Asian American, I feel grief, shame and confusion right now

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-06-04 15:24Z by Steven

As a ‘white-passing’ Asian American, I feel grief, shame and confusion right now

TODAY
2021-04-02

Maura Hohman, Weekend Editor and Reporter


Melea McCreary and Maura Hohman, a broadcast producer and digital editor for TODAY, share their experiences growing up with Filipino mothers but passing as non-Asian. As Asian Americans across the country are targeted for their appearance, they share their identity crisis. Courtesy Maura Hohman/Melea McCreary/ Fabio Briganti

Schoolmates never pulled their eyes sideways at me, but one did ask if my mom was my nanny and tried to convince me I was adopted.

During Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, TODAY is sharing the community’s history, pain, joy and what’s next for the AAPI movement. We will be publishing personal essays, stories, videos and specials throughout the entire month of May.

I’ll never know exactly how much privilege my face has afforded me, though I’ve often wondered about the magnitude. No stranger has ever yelled a racial slur at me, but at a previous job a client spoke poorly of Filipinos not knowing half my family is from there. Schoolmates never pulled their eyes sideways at me, but one did ask if my mom was my nanny and tried to convince me I was adopted. In the wake of the Atlanta spa shootings that left eight people dead, including six Asian American women, a few friends have texted to see how I’m doing. But over the years, so many friends have said they don’t consider me Asian...

Read the entire interview here.

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Fredi Washington and Her Defining Role in Imitation of Life

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Media Archive, United States on 2021-06-03 23:20Z by Steven

Fredi Washington and Her Defining Role in Imitation of Life

Blog
Amistad Research Center
2018-07-02

The Fredi Washington papers at the Amistad Research Center highlights the life of the African American actress, dancer, and activist known for her stage and screen rolls from the 1920-1940s. She was born Fredericka Carolyn Washington in Savannah, Georgia on December 23, 1903, and was one of nine children of Robert T. and Harriet Walker Ward Washington. Fredi’s mother died when she was young, and she attended St. Elizabeth’s Convent in Cornwell Heights, Pennsylvania with her sister Isabel. Fredi moved to Harlem in 1919 to live with her grandmother. She left school and soon entered show business. She began her career in the early 1920s as a chorus dancer in Nobble Sissle and Eubie Blake’s Shuffle Along. She adopted the stage name Edith Warren in 1926 when she acted in the lead role opposite Paul Robeson in Black Boy

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Regé-Jean Page rises above ‘Krypton’ casting controversy: ‘We still fly’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2021-04-08 03:12Z by Steven

Regé-Jean Page rises above ‘Krypton’ casting controversy: ‘We still fly’

The Los Angeles Times
2021-04-06

Christi Carras, Staff Writer


Bridgerton” star Regé-Jean Page attends a 2020 Vanity Fair BAFTAs party in London. (Jeff Spicer / Getty Images)

DC Entertainment reportedly passed on “Bridgerton” breakout Regé-Jean Page for a role in Syfy’sKrypton” after an executive allegedly argued that the series’ lead could not be portrayed by a Black actor.

Before his star skyrocketed with the release of Shonda Rhimes’ hit period drama, Page auditioned to play Superman’s grandfather in the action program, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Despite the “Krypton” creators’ reported desire to diversify the DC Extended Universe, then-DC chief creative officer Geoffrey Johns allegedly said Superman’s grandfather could not be Black.

In a statement paraphrased Tuesday by THR, a rep for Johns defended the casting decision on the grounds that the Hollywood exec “believed fans expected the character to look like a young Henry Cavill,” who is white and plays Superman in the DC films. The starring role in “Krypton,” which ran for two seasons from 2018 to 2019, eventually went to white actor Cameron Cuffe

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