Digitizing our Heritage through the Black Vernacular

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Allies, Artists, Scholars, Students, Teachers
My maternal great-grandparents, Martha Jane Hicks and Sim Hicks, of Virgina. Photo courtesy of Folashade Kornegay.

A version of this post was originally published on March 28, 2012

Paying homage to our ancestors is rooted in ancient traditions from Africa, where religions such as Yoruba and Lugbara called on those who came before us to help guide our path through our earthly existence. With the advent of the Internet and social media, people have been discovering ways to create digital time capsules and honoring our past. Dwayne Rodgers, a photographer and artist based in New York City has decided to draw on these traditions. This past Black History Month, he began The Black Vernaculara communal ancestral shrine for people of African descent. (more…)

The Premature Death of Leadership Development

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Activists, Allies, Artists, Prisoners, Scholars, Students, Teachers

A version of this post was originally published on April 10, 2012

For one reason or another, I have been groomed to be a loyal follower of Tupac. I have always been a fan of his music, poetry, acting, rhetoric, and overall message. As an undergraduate at the University of Washington, I even took a class on Tupac titled, The Textual Appeal of Tupac Shakur led by an amazing and brave former professor of mine, Georgia Roberts. Now, as a graduate student in New  York City, I’m taking a class on leadership development. Recently, we were given the opportunity to either write about a leadership development topic that interested us or the leadership development journey of a real person. Naturally, I chose Tupac Amaru Shakur.

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Honor Mama Africa

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Activists, Artists, Black Resistance Screening List, Scholars, Students, Teachers

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3m_TEq2E4cs]

Last week, I got to do something I haven’t done in years: I went on a field trip. My professor Sean Jacobs managed to get our class, Contemporary Africa, into the welcome reception and opening night screening of the 19th Annual African Film Festival.

Miriam Makeba’s bassists, Sean Jacobs and Bill Salter discussing “Mama Africa” at the 19th Annual African Film Festival. Photo courtesy of Folashade Kornegay.

The festival highlights artistic and cinematic work on and from the African continent and this goal was achieved with Mama Africa. The film is a documentary on the life of Miriam Makeba, a South African singer and civil rights activist who has the nickname “Mama Africa”. The film was directed by Mika Kaurismäki, a Finnish native who fell in love with Makeba’s music in his youth and has expressed that love through amazing cinematography and an honest look at who Miriam Makeba was. It exposes her many different layers and leaves the audience feeling every emotion – sadness, joy, pain, and happiness. In the end, the film inspires us to celebrate her life, legacy, music and activism.

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The Premature Death of Leadership Development

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Activists, Allies, Artists, Prisoners, Scholars, Students, Teachers

For one reason or another, I have been groomed to be a loyal follower of Tupac. I have always been a fan of his music, poetry, acting, rhetoric, and overall message. As an undergraduate at the University of Washington, I even took a class on Tupac titled, The Textual Appeal of Tupac Shakur led by an amazing and brave former professor of mine, Georgia Roberts. Now, as a graduate student in New  York City, I’m taking a class on leadership development. Recently, we were given the opportunity to either write about a leadership development topic that interested us or the leadership development journey of a real person. Naturally, I chose Tupac Amaru Shakur.

(more…)

Black Thought 2.0: New Media and the Future of Black Studies

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Allies, Artists, Scholars, Students, Teachers

More than a dozen prominent African American scholars will participate in a conference on the role of social media in cultural studies, April 6-7 at Duke University. The two-day conference, “Black Thought 2.0: New Media and the Future of Black Studies,” will be held at the John Hope Franklin Center and is free and open to the public.

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Digitizing our Heritage through the Black Vernacular

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Allies, Artists, Scholars, Students, Teachers
My maternal great-grandparents, Martha Jane Hicks and Sim Hicks, of Virgina. Photo courtesy of Folashade Kornegay.

Paying homage to our ancestors is rooted in ancient traditions from Africa, where religions such as Yoruba and Lugbara called on those who came before us to help guide our path through our earthly existence. With the advent of the Internet and social media, people have been discovering ways to create digital time capsules and honoring our past. Dwayne Rodgers, a photographer and artist based in New York City has decided to draw on these traditions. This past Black History Month, he began The Black Vernaculara communal ancestral shrine for people of African descent.

(more…)

The Audre Lorde Project

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Activists, Allies, Scholars, Students, Teachers
Portrait of Audre Lorde by Robert Alexander, 1983.

Happy Women’s History Month! Black women from throughout the diaspora have made significant contributions to Black Studies. Audre Lorde (1934-1992) was a poet, essayist and activist who created a number of ground-breaking ideas about the relationship between race, class, gender and sexuality. Her most well-known quote comes from her classic collection of essays, Sister Outsider: “…the Master’s tools will never dismantle the Master’s house.” Lorde believed that activists of color needed to address all forms of oppression rather than seek inclusion into the elite for members of their particular group. She also advocated for radical political and cultural changes that would equalize power relations in our society.

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Apps for the Conscious Organizer

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Activists, Black Resistance Reading List, Scholars, Students, Teachers

According to the Pew Research Center, 83% of American adults own a cell phone and 42% of them identify their cell phone as a smartphone. These numbers say a lot about the trajectory of technology and social media usage. As a grassroots organizer working with diasporic communities, it is smart to pay attention to these trends since the Pew Research Center goes on to say smartphone use is highest among the affluent, well-educated, those under the age of 45 and people of color. Not only can smartphone Apps be a great tool to reach your desired audience, it can also be a wonderful way to raise funds and recruit volunteers. In this series, I explore useful Apps for community organizers, scholars, teachers, artists and students who have a particular interest in the African diaspora. If you have any suggestions for Apps I should feature, let me know in the comments!

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Respect is Due

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Stories live forever, storytellers don’t.

-Patricia Stephens Due

I was not familiar with Patricia Stephens Due until I recently stumbled across an old interview with her on NPR. Growing up, most of what I learned about the Civil Rights Movement was about the work of Dr. King and the March on Washington.  In school I didn’t learn a lot about the everyday women who helped the movement that changed our country and resonated among Africans around the world.

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The Story of a Morena Boriqueña

Posted 3 CommentsPosted in Activists, Scholars, Students, Teachers

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tT7_oQzDYMw]

I remember going to church as a child and understanding that I was different.  My abuela and I used to go to a Pentecostal church that was mostly white Latinos, but I had darker skin.  I would see the Pastor’s wife and I yearned to look like her.  In my eyes, she had milky white skin and silky hair to her ankles.  Though she never knew this, I would go home, look in the mirror and wonder why my skin was darker and my hair was significantly shorter than hers.  I did not understand what it was to be Latina and black.

Puerto Ricans are descendants of Africans, Europeans and the indigenous Tainos, so it shouldn’t be surprising that Puerto Ricans come in many colors.

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