In the wake of the Charleston massacre, Bergis Jules and Ed Summers collected tweets about the shooting and analyzed how social media users described events. Labeling it an act of terrorism, as we know, took time. More than it should have. Jules and Summers work also revealed that relabeling the shooting as an act of terror occurred in large part because of agitation and curation by organizers and observers online. Mainstream media sites also adjusted their descriptions of events as details poured in, adding information (including racial descriptors) sometimes within hours of posting.
Featuring Maryemma Graham, Josef Sorett, Nikky Finney and Meena Alexander, Salamisha Tillet, Alondra Nelson, Davarian Baldwin, and Frances Negron-Mutaner.
Sylviane A. Diouf describes the series:
“New ideas, enlightening conversations, cutting-edge research, tomorrow’s trends: it’s all here in the podcast series from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Listen to our visiting scholars as they share their knowledge and passions. From feminism to the intersection of religion, race, and sexuality; from memory and identity to urban development; from poetry to biographies, these exclusive interviews explore a world of fascinating topics.”
This event happened last week. It was an honor to be invited and a pleasure to participate. To view the archived livestream, click here. My reflections coming soon!
ShondaLand the Symposium and Watch Party
Thursday January 29 – Friday January 30
ShondaLand is the production company of television screenwriter and producer Shonda Rhimes, whose current series Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder (for which she serves as executive producer) comprise the Thursday Night prime-time block on ABC. At the core of Rhimes’ productions are richly drawn, complex, contradictory Black Women and Women of Color who eschew traditional notions of Black and Female respectability. With the breakout success Scandal which featured Kerry Washington as the first Black Female lead of a Primetime drama since the late Teresa Graves starred in the short-lived Get Christie Love! (1974-1975), Rhimes has helped revolutionize the use of social media in the promotion of television and helped galvanize an unprecedented community of Black Women viewers that recall the groundbreaking work of critic Jacqueline Bobo a generation ago.
True Compassion, 2012
Video shot and edited by Vladimir Gurewich
Over several months, Evan Bissell worked with Larkin Street Youth Services (LSYS) to define and investigate compassion through discussion of community and historical models, painting, stenciling and writing. Using Martin Luther King, Jr’s definition of true compassion as a starting point, workshop participants created collaborative symbols of compassion: bold, medallion-like paintings that examined compassion on personal and societal levels. These paintings formed the frame for a rotating set of ephemeral, double-portraits drawn in chalk pastel and installed in public on Hyde Street (between Golden Gate and Turk) in the Tenderloin. The portraits depicted LSYS youth clients and staff interacting with themselves in a self-chosen compassionate gesture. Inspired in part by the practice of Tibetan Buddhist sand mandalas, the five portraits were left untreated and wiped away each week before the following portrait was created in the same place every Thursday. Passersby frequently questioned why Bissell erased the portraits each week, why do all this work and not make it last? As portraits of neighborhood youth, the impermanent nature served as reminders that true compassion begins by valuing oneself and those already around. Bissell presents a video of the creation and destruction of the portraits.
Participating Artists: Josiah, Reyanna, Evelynn, Brittany, Thomas,
Ceci, Antionay, Yesenia, Manuma, Gia, Aaron, Brittany, Rayana,
Chandra, Kevin, Derek, Ebony, Angel, Felicia, Nigel, Precious, Sara,
Ciara, Pete, Angel, Elter, A.J., Larae, Joseph, Elston, Teana, Ressie,
Mariella, Jovan, Shantel, Jonathan, Joseph, Ishmael, Basir, John, and
Workshop Facilitators: Yukako Ezoe, Lex, Peter Carpou, and Rebeka Rodriguez.
Project Partners: Intersection for the Arts and Larkin Street Youth Services.
Special Thanks: Tenderloin Housing Clinic, Boxcar Theater, Dan Smith,
and the Hyde Street community.
Music: Ramsey Lewis Trio, The Last Poets, and Rich Medina.
Additional Sound and Video Editing: Lucas Guilkey, Alejandro Acosta
The hoodie. via Exit the Apple/Oyin Handmade
Finding Afr@-Latinidad in ‘the Network’:
“My case, then, as an Afro-descendant, Afro-Latin, Colombian, Latin, Latin American, Black, from Bogota, etc., has not been different. I have wondered about those identities that are sometimes imposed, other times accepted, which guide our path. Sometimes through personal searches, other times from trying to understand the classifications imposed by “others,” or by tradition, these questions have fueled my processes of cultural, social, academic and personal recognition and self-identification. They have led me from Colombia, a society that seeks to promote multicultural recognition as a way of becoming modern and contemporary regardless of the historical invisibility of its many cultures, to Canada, a multicultural society in which diversity becomes the advertising slogan of a product that sometimes does not exist. In general, this physical, symbolic and cultural journey has allowed me to explore some long-term questions that accompany the Black woman/man, the Afro-descendant; at the same time, this journey also allows me to ask and answer new questions.
These new questions became research projects and their answers resulted in concrete actions. With the first question, I formulated a route through the discourses and forms of representation and images that were not traditionally associated with Afro-descendants. However upon review they were displayed as belonging to ever changing universal images with varying degrees. The question that began to plague me was: What elements are considered Afro-descendant and African in artistic terms during this period of contemporary globalization?”
Read the rest: Eduard Arriga, “Representations, scales, and identities of Afrodescendants in a digital age,” afrolatin@ project.org | Proyecto Afrolatin@ http://bit.ly/16eWTqe
Quite a bit of discussion of late on singer Beyonce’s latest single, “Bow Down/I Been On.”
“Bow Down” is a Diaspora Hypertext matter for a whole host of reasons. For one, as Guthrie Ramsey (at New Black Man) notes, songs are compositions and they are not meaningless:
AfroPeruvian activist, Rocio Muñoz describes racist imagery in Peruvian media (El Negro Mama, La Paisana Jacinta) in the context of her reaction to ‘Django Unchained:”
“It was degrading to me. I recognized myself in that history. Although I didn’t live it, although I didn’t feel it, I know that history. Because when I look at that woman he went to find, I’m looking at myself.”
(H/T AfroLatin@ Forum)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez Frías died yesterday from cancer. He was 58 years old.
Jamilah Aisha Brown writes:
“…While conflicting headlines fuel the discourse as to whether the Chávez legacy is that of one who constricted Venezuelan human rights or drastically reduced poverty, gains made in Afro Venezuelan communities through his radical socio-economic programs should not be overlooked….
…Prior to the Bolivarian movement, the status of Afro Venezuelans largely resembled others in the region that were subjected to historic racial and economic discrimination; the redistribution of oil revenues into social programs cut Venezuela’s poverty from 55% in 1995 to 26.4% in 2009. Halving the poverty rate has left an indelible impact Black communities who for the first time had regular access to free education, healthcare and guaranteed housing thanks to the implementation of Chávez’s Social Missions…”
Jamilah Aisha Brown, global strategist and digital maven, has compiled a list of media sources to follow for more information on Hugo Chavez’s death. The list includes Spanish-language resources and is a great resource for anyone interested in reading more (or teaching about) Chavez and his impact.
Image Credit: A mural of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas AFP/GETTY
Salamisha Tillet writes:
“…..But, for those of us who want so desperately to shield her from racial taunts and sexist tweets, we are not simply thinking of Wallis alone. According to American Psychological Association, the self–esteem of American girls actually peaks at nine-years-old, the same age as Wallis. And then, in large part due to their sexualization in the media, their self-image takes a dramatic nosedive.
We also understand Wallis’s symbolism to the millions of African Americans girls – our most fragile citizens – who are vulnerable to extraordinary acts of violence, everyday.
Girls like the gone-to-soon slain teenager, Haidiya Pendleton, for whom the activist Aisha Truss-Miller & Family and the Black Youth Project launched a successful petition calling on President Obama to make a speech on gun-violence in Chicago.
And the vast majority of girls with whom I work through A Long Walk Home that experience sexual and dating violence at a crisis rate. Unlike Pendleton or Wallis, their lives continue to be unrecognized, their voices continue to be ignored, and whether they are prodigies or not, far too many have already had their confidence stifled by the intersection of racism, sexism, and poverty into which they were born…”
Read the entire piece: Taunts, Tweets, and Black Girl Genius | The Feminist Wire.