Author and Virgin Islander Asks: Where is the “Real” America?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Authors, Black Resistance Reading List, Television

Prize-winning novelist and native Virgin Islander Tiphanie Yanique skewered the Trump Administration for turning its back on the US Virgin Islands in their time of need in a New York Times op-ed this week. The Islands-St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix-are grappling with extensive damage created by Hurricane Irma. “Today Virgin Islanders are led by a president who makes clear delineations between ‘real’ Americans and all the rest,” writes Yanique.

Yanique’s forthcoming television series, Fortune Bayreflects on how the people of Virgin Islands and other Americans who are deemed less “real” struggle to achieve their aspirations and overcome obstacles. The show is based on Yanique’s prize-winning novel, Land of Love and Drowning. It is featured as part of the Independent Film Project’s 2017 No Borders Production Marketplace.

Read the complete New York Times essay here.

Limonade III: Healing the Haitian Diaspora

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in Activists, Allies, Artists, Authors, Black Resistance Reading List, Books, Field Notes, Parents, Scholars, Students, Teachers

Haitian American musician Wyclef Jean with Haiti’s flag 

During the Caribbean Studies Association 2016 conference I met a number of brilliant young Haitian-Americans, including a 20-something Cornell PhD candidate whose project focuses on Black feminist political theory in contemporary novels by Caribbean authors. Her mother emigrated from Haiti before she was born and left the country permanently in the early aughts. I had to admit to her my ignorance of the precise details of Haitian history that motivated her mom to leave Haiti.

Limonade II: Of Zora and Zombies

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Clockwise from left: author Zora Neale Hurston, Hurston and her partner Percival Punter, and Haitian “zombie” photographed by Hurston during her fieldwork 1936-1937.

On the tap-tap (Port-au-Prince take on the dollar cab/combi/collectivo) from Touissaint Louverture airport yesterday, I had the good fortune of running into Prof. Daphne LaMothe of Smith College. An expert in African American literature, Prof. LaMothe shared with me that Zora Neale Hurston wrote the essential novel Their Eyes Were Watching God here in Haiti in just seven weeks. 

Podcast: Black Moms

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Activists, Allies, Authors, Black Resistance Reading List, Breaking Down Racism, Uncategorized

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/238306689″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=’450′ iframe=”true” /]

In this episode of “Breaking Down Racism,” blogger and author GaBrilla Ballard opens up about how the challenges of discussing race with children and pushing aside stereotypical assumptions of what it means to be a Black Mom.

Produced by Azra Samiee
Directed by Chris Stafford
Written by Caroline Batzdorf
Host/Executive Producer Robin J. Hayes, PhD

Recorded at The New School in New York City.

Pictured Chicago mother and child. 1973. photographed by John H. White for the Environmental Protection Agency.

Haitian Independence Day

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Activists, Allies, Artists, Authors, Black Resistance Reading List, Books, Scholars, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized
JacobLawrenceToussaint_38
To Preserve Their Freedom by African American artist Jacob Lawrence           from his series the Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture

 

January 1, 1804 the Haitian revolution succeeds. To learn more about Haitian history, Progressive Pupil suggests The Black Jacobins by C.L.R. James and The Uses of Haiti by Paul Farmer.  What are some of the biggest misconceptions we have about Haiti today?

Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in Black Resistance Reading List, Scholars, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized
Image Courtesy of http://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Black_Indian_Cov-1.jpg
Image Courtesy of http://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Black_Indian_Cov-1.jpg

“I got Indian in my family” is a phrase not foreign to Black folks, especially Southerners. It quickly rolls off the tongue as an explanation for phenotypic attributes such as keen noses, high cheekbones or “good hair.” Often dismissed as cliché, the notion is brushed off as foolish banter, but once upon a time Native American and Black communities did merge. With everyone so quick to claim “Indian blood” has anyone really questioned why and how this historic alliance came to be and why it dissolved?

William Loren Katz, a former public school teacher, wrote Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage to turn one dimensional accounts on their heads, shine a light of shame on American “heroes”and fill in where the blatant omission of textbooks fail us. While it is an insightful read targeted at middle and high schoolers, don’t be ashamed to walk into the young adult literature section of your local bookstore or library and pick it up. This factual work is a great resource for adults who have been deprived of this history, too!

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Lighter Skin a Fast-Track to Hip-Hop Success?

Posted on 16 CommentsPosted in Allies, Artists, Black Resistance Reading List, Parents, Scholars, Students, Uncategorized
Rihanna-Drake-J-cole
Photo courtesy of drizzydrake.org

Is my black beautiful? This is the question that plagues Black people across the globe, young and old. Although J. Cole recently asserted that his success is attributed to his complexion, I disagree with this statement when studying the way the African American male is perceived and valued as successful within not only rap culture, but also in mainstream media as a whole.  There have been a plethora of artist, in particularly in the hip-hop community, that have failed the, “paper bag test”, and have still been able to obtain success .Diddy, the Notorious BIG, Jay-Z, Tupac, Outkast, and so on and so forth. Often times for African American males their dark skin helps to personify their image as thuggish and dangerous and acts as an affirmation that they are stronger and more powerful than the average man (an assumption that is not reserved solely for Black men) while their fairer counterparts often perceived as being “soft” or emotional.

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Five House DJs of Color You Need to Know (and 5 who are just dope)

Posted on 15 CommentsPosted in Artists, Black Resistance Reading List, Scholars, Students, Uncategorized

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Thanks to artists like Lady Gaga, Diplo, and Daft Punk Electronic Dance Music (EDM), has become the dominant force in pop music today. When we remember electronic artists of the past thoughts of Fatboy Slim and Moby’s bald head may come to mind but long before it became the soundtrack to European debauchery and car commercials EDM was once the life force that kept minority clubs across America’s innercity’s bumping. If you believe that Skrillex as as soulful as dance music gets here are five names that you need to know.

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Liberation Chic

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Activists, Black Resistance Reading List, Prisoners, Scholars

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sLIDscuc-M&feature=related]

Angela Davis at a political rally in Raleigh, North Carolina on July 4, 1974. Photo courtesy of Bettmann/CORBIS.

To an earlier generation, Angela Davis, born today in 1944, is largely remembered as the woman at the center of one of the mid-20th century’s most notorious court cases, an experience which led the President at the time Richard Nixon to refer to her as a “dangerous terrorist.”  She was also a lightening-rod for controversy during her days as a professor in California and even ran for president (twice) on the Communist Party ticket.

However, she describes her interaction with members of a later generation in a different way:

…it is both humiliating and humbling to discover that a single generation after the events that constructed me as a public personality, I am remembered as a hairdo.

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The FBI vs. People of the United States

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Activists, Black Resistance Reading List, Black Resistance Screening List, Scholars, Teachers
Richard Aoki gives Black Power salute at Black Panther Party rally.

Beloved Japanese-American Black Panther Party member Richard Aoki was recently accused of being a FBI informant by investigative journalist Seth Rosenfeld in his new book, Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power.  Aoki passed away in 2009 and is therefore unable to defend himself against these accusations.  However, a number of activists and scholars, including Professor Diane Fujino, Aoki’s biographer, question whether Rosenfeld presents conclusive or even sufficient evidence to support his claims.