All Articles Tagged "african american"
This summer the Smithsonian Folklife Festival will feature a five-year research project entitled “The Will to Adorn: African American Diversity, Style, and Identity.” The project garners its inspiration from urban hubs like Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, New York, Oakland, Calif., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Students and faculty of African-American universities extended their assistance to the Smithsonian staff by helping document the fashion of African Americans through interviews, photographs, and field work.
Here’s what Diana N’Diaye, program curator had to say about the exhibition: “Whether we realize it or not, we are all dress artists…the way we compose our look is a creative expression of our ideas about who we are and who we aspire to be. This program explores the diversity of African American traditions of style, but also teaches young people the importance of documenting their own culture and saving that information for themselves and future generations.”
The program features 40 participants and will occupy three tents, each devoted to different aspects of the program. The Collaborative Research Tent allows visitors to speak with researchers and artisans, the Design Studio Tent will allow visitors to see different fashion styles from different communities and the Rock the Runway Tent will feature fashion shows for visitor to view.
This Smithsonian Folklife Festival will be held Wednesday, June 26 through Sunday, June 30 and Wednesday, July 3 through Sunday July 7 at the National Mall. The events are free and last from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day followed by concerts and dance parties starting at 6 p.m.
The event will also feature two other programs, “Hungarian Heritage: Roots to Revival” and “One World, Many Voices: Endangered Languages and Cultural Heritage.” If you’re in the DC area this sounds like something worth experiencing this summer.
Confession: Believe it or not, the reality of America’s racist past didn’t become real to me until college. (Insert gasp!) And I live in Georgia. (Insert disbelief and head shake.) While I grew up knowing about Martin Luther King Jr.—as my elementary history books glossed over the depths of slavery and segregation in America and presented him as the great savior that made all people get along now—I didn’t know much else. Stories of Malcolm X, W.E.B., and others came across my eyes by way of my mother, but my shallow understanding of racism and my upper middle class status left me thinking racism was a thing of the past that had no real effect on the present or future. Yes, I was downright ignorant.
It wasn’t until I went to college and practically minored in African American Studies (Why didn’t my counselor tell me I was one class away from having that credential?) that I found myself in my dorm room crying as I viewed pictures of lynchings and read articles that addressed racism as an institution whose effects have been deep and wide. America’s veil was torn. I realized that by those stars and stripes, we were not healed. But I was also awakened to the legacies of brave souls like Ida B. Wells, Frederick Douglass, and the countless individuals whose stories haven’t been told but to whom we owe our current freedoms. I’d never been more excited about academia than I was then, because I was discovering my own past. And a sense of responsibility, dignity, pride, and accountability to my ancestors filled my heart. There’s something about knowing scores of individuals either had to fight for or never had the opportunities you currently have (and possibly squander) that inspires greatness.
Seeing Jackie Robinson’s life depicted in “42,” this past weekend did just that. Watching the Major League Baseball player turn the other cheek while being barraged with racial slurs, letting the example of Jesus instruct him in the face of persecution, was nothing short of inspiring. But I couldn’t help but leave the film wondering whether my generation is too far removed to be inspired by such a film. Do these films become mere one-time experiences that have us reflecting for roughly a week but then going on about our business as usual afterward? I might sound like an old timer, but I think we’ve forgotten where we came from. And many young people have no real clue where that even is. We are growing up with a black president — dare we think we have arrived?
As I was also remembering MLK’s assassination on April 4, I couldn’t help but wonder how we’ve gone from a people who fought for our dignity and right to be educated — with our greatest threat coming from outside — to a people whose youth don’t see value in education or one other. Of course this is a generalization of a people of great accomplishment, and I realize that the effects of racism still stain us and affect our betterment, but is our culture headed for doom? Are we stuck on N***a Island? If so, how did we get here and is there any hope for getting off?
While “42″ finds Dodgers’ president Branch Rickey quoting Bible scriptures left and right, what the film doesn’t highlight is that it was Jackie Robinson’s own faith that gave him courage, and it’s what truly made him great. Perhaps that element of our culture has been lost, and we need to get it back. While he is keenly aware that there are no quick fixes to the many issues that plague African Americans, Sho Baraka (an artist whose Talented Xth album draws from W.E.B. DuBois’ work on how black culture can be uplifted), believes the decreasing importance of the black church has played a role in our decline. “I don’t believe the church is a important as it once was. Mainly because of the lack of a universal Black problem. Once Black people could comfortably live in suburbs with whites, their problems changed and we no longer have a common struggle.” Well, we know what Frederick Douglass had to say about that: “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”
Am I saying we need to enter back into the chains of racial degradation? Heck no, we won’t go! But perhaps we have forgotten the lines of those ol’ negro spirituals that sung of our Great Emancipator as we find ourselves floating in that vast ocean of material prosperity MLK spoke of — unaware that we are headed towards a fool’s paradise. And our youth are paying the price. We need to remind ourselves of the struggle and educate our young people on our history. I don’t say that as a passing statement; I believe it plays an integral role in combating our current trajectory. We are as grateful for what we have today as we are cognizant of what we didn’t have the days before. We must remind them, because it will give them hope to become more. And we need them to have this hope because if “there ain’t no hope for our youth, then the truth is there ain’t hope for the future,” as 2pac so eloquently told us. They need to know that while entertainment and athletics are worthy arenas to aspire to thrive in, they can be more than rappers and athletes. They can be leaders and role models.
Jackie Robinson breaking into major league baseball is much more than a story of athletic prowess. It is a story of claiming and maintaining one’s dignity and having the guts to fight not with carnal, but divine weaponry. We must embark on that same fight for our people’s dignity. We owe it to those before us and behind us, and we owe it to ourselves. But most importantly, we owe it to the God who created us all equal.
Oprah Winfrey sits down with Oscar-winning actress Jane Fonda and her adopted African-American daughter Mary Williams for their first-ever interview together on “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” airing Sunday, April 7 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on OWN.
Williams grew up in Oakland as a member of the Black Panther Party, as chronicled in her recently released memoir The Lost Daughter. Williams was one of six children raised by a single mother after Mary’s father was sent to prison. At age 13, Mary was invited to attend the Laurel Springs Children’s Camp run by Jane Fonda and her then-husband, Tom Hayden. There, her bond with Jane grew strong. One year later, Jane invited Mary to live with her in Santa Monica, California.
Get more details on EurWeb.com.
Is there a leadership crisis in black America? A new poll suggests African-Americans think so.
The poll was commissioned by BET founder Robert L. Johnson, also the chairman of The RLJ Companies, and was released by Zogby Analytics. And the results are shocking.
According to the online survey of 1,002 African-Americans, when asked the question “Which of the following speaks for you most often?” 40 percent said that no one speaks for them, while 24 percent said the Reverend Al Sharpton of the National Action Network and MSNBC speaks for black people, and 11 percent said the Reverend Jesse Jackson of Rainbow PUSH.
Meanwhile, 9 percent of black respondents named Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D‐CA), 8 percent said NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous speaks for them, and 5 percent mentioned Assistant Democratic Leader, Congressman James E. Clyburn (D‐SC). Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, and former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele each received 2 percent.
Read more on TheGrio.com.
Doing It For Ourselves: Alchemy Networks Partners With YouTube To Bring Online African-American Programming
Maybe African-Americans in Hollywood are slowly learning that if no one will give us the “green light” for programming we’d like to see, we have to start doing it for ourselves.
Enter Alchemy Networks. The new channel which joined forces with YouTube in December, was founded by media veteran Peter Griffith and will center around urban lifestyle and celebrity entertainment. It will also feature original programming.
Griffith told Lee Bailey of EURweb that they’re not interested in being the biggest channel but instead, they want to be the best within every market they target. In fact, they didn’t just “sign on” with YouTube when they came to the table with their ideas. Griffith, along with his partners Alvin Williams, Anthony Maddox ad Xothil Arkin, came up with their own plan, took it back to YouTube and hoped they were still on board:
“What we told them was ‘We’re not the same.’ Let us come back to them and tell what we thought was the best way to approach this community,” he recalled. “And we came to them and said ‘Look. What we’d like to do is develop not just one channel, but several channels that target different demographics of the African-American community.”
Luckily, YouTube jumped aboard. So far, they have two premium channels: Kaleidoscope, which targets 18-34 year olds with a focus on music, gossip and entertainment as well as FWD, launching this month, which targets 25-54 year olds with a focus on the same but also including beauty and fashion.
Kandi Burruss is the first celebrity to sign on with the network. Her new show, Kandi & Friends, will debut later this month. There’s been no word if it’ll be similar to her own show Kandi Koated Nights but it will feature some of her celebrity friends.
Alchemy, to date, boasts one million views per week and has 900,000 subscribers.
Hopefully, with the formation of Alchemy Networks and other independent online shows, we will see more programming that we’ve longed for. Over time, who knows? It might even filter onto actual television stations.
Will you check out Alchemy channels on YouTube?
People of color, we have such thick skin given all we’ve endured throughout history, but we actually have some of the most sensitive skin in the world. Any little thing we do to our skin can cause it to overreact and kick drive its melanin production in what we see on the surface as hyperpigmentation or “dark spots.” And then there’s the raising of the skin known as a keloid.
With so much advancement in dermatology for those of us with more melanin in our skin, there are still some things we need to be cautious about to avoid making a bad situation worse. We sat down for a quick chat with Dr. Michael E. Jones—a cosmetic and reconstructive surgeon Board Certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery—for a little briefing on what causes keloids and what we can do to treat them.
Check out the Q&A on StyleBlazer.com.
Some of the best and brightest in entertainment, business and service donned their sharpest clothes Saturday night and attended the 2013 BET Honors.
The awards show was once again hosted by actress Gabrielle Union, who has held that role since the first awards show in 2008. BET President of Music Programming and Specials, Stephen Hill tweeted after the show that Union was “funny, smart, sarcastic, caustic and real surprising.” If you’ve ever seen the show, it comes as no surprise that she’s any one of those things and is a perfect choice for host.
This year’s honorees include: pastor TD Jakes, singer Chaka Khan, entrepreneur Clarence Avant, basketball player Lisa Leslie, and actress Halle Berry. There were performances and appearances by Erykah Badu, Kem, Brandy, Mint Condition, Alicia Keys, Ledisi, Wayne Brady and a host of others. If some of the floating pictures are any indication, it was an awesome night.
Union spoke of the importance of the BET Honors after last year’s show saying, “A lot of times we wait around to get validation from pretty much everyone else. We feel like we haven’t gotten anything accomplished if ‘others’ don’t say ‘good job.’ It means a lot more when your own says ‘good job.’ That’s what BET does with theBET Honors. It pulls the best and brightest of our family together and tells them ‘good job and keep up the good work’.”
The show is held at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. Proceeds from BET Honors 2013 will benefit Life Pieces to Masterpieces, an organization that provides opportunities for African-American young men in Washington, D.C. by developing and unlocking their potential, and empowering them to transform their lives and communities.
The 2013 BET Honors will air on Monday, February 11th at 9pm.
Behind The Click: Oracle’s Other Oracle Jennifer Sherman On How To Bring More Women Into the Tech Field
Happy New Year and welcome to the first Behind The Click of 2013! I’m happy to bring you a profile on someone who I’ve just discovered…
Though CEO Larry Ellison usually gets most of the media props as Oracle’s head honcho, Jennifer Sherman should definitely be on your tech radar as well. She is proving that, yes, Virginia, there are women of color at such giants as Oracle and doing great things in the process. Sherman is senior director of applications strategy at the company. We’ll get into more about what all that entails in just a bit. But her international background is just as, if not more, compelling.
Current Occupation: Senior Director, Applications Strategy, Oracle Corporation
Favorite website: I’m remodeling my bathroom right now so Pinterest is my new best friend.
Favorite read: Fiction – Song of Solomon; Nonfiction – The Soul of a New Machine
Recent read: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
2013′s ultimate goal: I want to make this year as fabulous as possible. That probably means ordering champagne on Tuesdays, smiling at strangers, accepting compliments wholeheartedly, and telling people how much I value them.
Quote Governing Your Mission or a Quote that Inspires You:
We can choose to be audacious enough to take responsibility for the entire human family. We can choose to make our love for the world what our lives are really about. Each of us has the opportunity, the privilege, to make a difference in creating a world that works for all of us. It will require courage, audacity and heart. It is much more radical than a revolution – it is the beginning of a transformation in the quality of life on our planet. What we create together is a relationship in which our work can show up as making a difference in people’s lives. I welcome the unprecedented opportunity for us to work globally on that which concerns us all as human beings.
If not you, who?
If not now, when?
If not here, where?
Madame Noire: I love how you have lived in many different places. Your background growing up seems fascinating. How did you end up being raised in India, West Africa, and the Middle East?
Across the country, there are many museums promoting, preserving, and honoring the history and culture of African-Americans. With a focus on art, music, technology, history, and even firefighters, here are ten amazing places to check out if you want a little more culture in your life.
African-American Museum, Dallas, TX
As one of the only museums of its kind in the Southwestern United States, the African-American Museum in Dallas was founded in 1974 at Bishop College, a HBCU that closed in 1988. It ran independently starting in 1979, constructed a new facility that opened in, and houses one of the largest African-American Folk Art collections in the US.
From Hello Beautiful
For many parents, Christmas is all about buying the latest hot toy–from dolls you breastfeed to bite-sized luxury vehicles for your man-child to stunt in. As one of the biggest one-stop-shop retailers for many of those parents turned hunters, Wal-Mart conducted an interesting survey of African American and Hispanic parents.
These parents were asked everything from giving gifts whether their child was naughty or nice, waiting for Christmas Day to open gifts and buying toys that look like their children. I remember when I was little and all that was on my Christmas list were various dolls–Barbie, Trolls, Polly Pockets, Cabbage Patch Kids and more.
Read more at HelloBeautiful.com.