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 Bay, reflects 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
“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!
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.
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.
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.