All Articles Tagged "alice walker"
Alice Walker, who turns 70 later this month, is thinking about her legacy.
Over the past few years, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author has donated her papers to Emory University, permitted “The Color Purple” to be released as an e-book and reached a deal with Simon & Schuster to publish excerpts from journals she has kept for decades. Walker also participated in the documentary “Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth,” scheduled to air Friday night on PBS stations as part of the “American Masters” series.
“I don’t have this feeling that 70 is really old,” says Walker, who notes one ancestor lived to 125. “But I do feel it’s helpful if you’re thinking about the coming generations to leave your work in a form that people can relate to.”
Interviewed recently by telephone, Walker said one reason she agreed to appear in the film is because the director, Pratibha Parmar, is a friend. Parmar, also interviewed recently, said she was inspired to make the documentary a few years ago after viewing DVDs of other “American Masters” projects.
“It seemed crazy not to have a film on Alice, given the impact she’s had with her life and her writing,” said Parmar, who in the 1990s worked with Walker on the film and book “Warrior Marks,” about female genital mutilation in Africa.
As “masters” go, Walker is hardly an austere, Olympian figure. A longtime feminist and political activist, she has been denounced for not allowing “The Color Purple” to be translated into Hebrew (in protest of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians) and accused of demeaning black men in “The Color Purple,” but celebrated for fighting racism and sexism and writing candidly about abortion, incest and domestic violence.
Read more about Alice Walker at BlackVoices.com
If you adore Alice Walker and her riveting writing then you are in for a treat!
Over the years “The Color Purple” author kept a diary, filling the pages with poems, stories, and essays on everything from the details of childhood poverty to her rise to literary fame. And the Associated Press reports that Walker is gearing up to publish select writings from her journal in 2017, thanks to a deal with Simon & Schuster imprint 37.
The published project will be titled: “Gathering Blossoms Under Fire” and will be edited by Valerie Boyd who also wrote Zora Neale Hurston’s biography. The Huffington Post credits Hurston as one of Walker’s literary idols.
We’re excited to read the wisdom Walker will bless us with from her life’s journey — especially since she’s been writing in her diary for over half a century.
Will you check this book out in 2017?
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker’s criticism of Israel may have led to the University of Michigan disinviting her to speak at the university.
Business Insider reports that Walker, who is best known for her 1982 novel The Color Purple, had been invited to speak at the 50th anniversary of the university’s Center for the Education of Women. And not she isn’t welcomed. “It is unclear why exactly the author’s invitation was rescinded,” according to AnnArbor.com.
Walker, however, thinks it may because of her recent criticism of Israel. Walker supports a boycott of Israel and refused to allow an Israeli edition of The Color Purple to be published, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
In an email Walker posted on her blog, she wrote:
I’m saddened to write this because I’m a proponent of free speech and have been brought up to allow everyone to have their say. But I also realize that there are other considerations that institutions are faced with. This afternoon I was contacted by the University of Michigan instructing me to withdraw their invitation due to the removal of funding from the donors, because of their interpretation of Ms. Walker’s comments regarding Israel. They are not willing to fund this program and the university/Women’s center do not have the resources to finance this on their own.
A statement from the director of UMich’s Center for the Education of Women, however, said that money was that reason:
I want to apologize for how we handled our invitation to author Alice Walker to speak at the Center for the Education of Women.
Upon further research, I decided to withdraw our invitation because I did not think Ms. Walker would be the optimum choice for the celebratory nature of our 50th anniversary event.
Donors had no bearing on this decision. Our 50th anniversary funding is completely assured. All donations, for this and other events, are accepted with no provisos or prohibitions regarding free speech.
Then over the weekend, it was reported that she actually would be invited to speak. The provost of the school, Martha E. Pollack, sent an email to faculty saying that each department can use its own discretion about who they invite to speak and reiterated the apology that had been offered by the Center’s director. “am writing to reiterate the university’s firm commitment to free speech and to the expression of diverse viewpoints. The University of Michigan has a long history of hosting speakers who bring a wide variety of perspectives, and events that focus on challenging topics. Challenging and difficult conversations are the core of our academic mission and spur both individual and community growth. Indeed, we strongly believe that the best response to challenging discourse is more discourse.”
Now we’ll see if this invitation sticks.
Alice Walker Writes An Open Letter Begging Alicia Keys Not To Put Her Soul In Danger By Performing In Israel
If you are unfamiliar with the social politics of Israel, you may not be alone. Author and activist Alice Walker is giving us all a lesson on the struggles going on in the country by way of an open letter she wrote to singer Alicia Keys. Alicia, who is currently on her “Set The World On Fire” Tour is slated to perform in Tel Aviv on the fourth of July, but if Ms. Walker has anything to say about it the show will never happen due to the harsh treatment the people of Palestine have endured at the hands of Israelis. That conflict is the basis for the letter Alice Walker wrote Alicia, imploring her to rethink her scheduled concert. Here’s what it says:
Dear Alicia Keys,
I have learned today that you are due to perform in Israel very soon. We have never met, though I believe we are mutually respectful of each other’s path and work. It would grieve me to know you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country that is being boycotted by many global conscious artists. You were not born when we, your elders who love you, boycotted institutions in the US South to end an American apartheid less lethal than Israel’s against the Palestinian people. Google Montgomery Bus Boycott, if you don’t know about this civil rights history already. We changed our country fundamentally, and the various boycotts of Israeli institutions and products will do the same there. It is our only nonviolent option and, as we learned from our own struggle in America, nonviolence is the only path to a peaceful future.
If you go to my website and blog alicewalkersgarden.com you can quickly find many articles I have written over the years that explain why a cultural boycott of Israel and Israeli institutions (not individuals) is the only option left to artists who cannot bear the unconscionable harm Israel inflicts every day on the people of Palestine, whose major “crime” is that they exist in their own land, land that Israel wants to control as its own. Under a campaign named ‘Brand Israel’, Israeli officials have stated specifically their intent to downplay the Palestinian conflict by using culture and arts to showcase Israel as a modern, welcoming place.
This is actually a wonderful opportunity for you to learn about something sorrowful, and amazing: that our government (Obama in particular) supports a system that is cruel, unjust, and unbelievably evil. You can spend months, and years, as I have, pondering this situation. Layer upon layer of lies, misinformation, fear, cowardice and complicity. Greed. It is a vast eye-opener into the causes of much of the affliction in our suffering world.
I have kept you in my awareness as someone of conscience and caring, especially about the children of the world. Please, if you can manage it, go to visit the children in Gaza, and sing to them of our mutual love of all children, and of their right not to be harmed simply because they exist.
With love, younger sister, beloved daughter and friend,
So far Alicia Keys hasn’t issued a response, but it will certainly be interesting to see if the show must go on or she pulls out based on this information.
What do you think about Alice Walker’s letter?
For years, there has been media speculation concerning the sexuality of celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Queen Latifah, Eddie Murphy, Johnny Gill, and more recently, Raven Symone. The trip out of the closet has been a long one for African American celebrities, evident by the fact there aren’t nearly as many out and open black celebrities as there are white. We don’t often see black celebrities walking around, publicly showcasing their love like Sex and the City’s Cythia Nixon and her girlfriend; Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi; or Elton John and David Furnish. That isn’t to say that there aren’t any out African American celebrities though. In fact, we’ve got an entire list of proud gay celebrities.
This comedian has been making people laugh since she began her stand-up career in 1987 at a Coors Light Super Talent Showcase in Washington DC. She got her first big break opening for Chris Rock at Caroline’s Comedy Club, and since then she’s made a career of being an award-winning television and movie actress, stand-up comedian, and writer. Sykes publicly came out on as a lesbian in November 2008 after the passing of Proposition 8 in California.
Tags:african american celebrities who are gay, alice walker, angela davis, audre lorde, azealia banks, Frank Ocean, gay, gay black celebrities, homosexual african americans, johnny mathis, lee daniels, lesbian, lesbian celebrities, LGBT, lorraine hansberry, meshell ndegeocello, octavia butler, out and proud, paris barclay, rupaul, sapphire, Sheryl Swoopes, Tracy Chapman, wanda sykles
We did the men, now it’s on to the women. We scoured the interwebs and our own treasure trove of celebrity knowledge to bring you 15 women who shocked us just a bit when they stepped out with white men.
Gasp! A television network is dedicating time to show “socially-conscious” movies! That’s what the USA Network says it’s doing.
According to the NBCUniversal-owned network, it is broadening its “Characters Unite” public service initiative by launching a quarterly Saturday film series on Nov. 17 with a special airing of The Color Purple. It is all part of a unique diversity initiative, with Purple’s airing coinciding with the United Nations’ International Day of Tolerance and the 30th anniversary of the publication of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel on which the film is based.
The series is the brainchild of NBCUniversal Cable entertainment chairman Bonnie Hammer, who created the Erase the Hate campaign when she worked with USA nearly 20 years ago. More recently, she pushed through the Characters Unite campaign, which is intended to promote diversity. The idea was tested in April, when the network aired To Kill a Mockingbird on its 50th anniversary.President Obama introduced the 1962 movie about racial inequality, which went on to boost USA’s ratings by 20 percent.
“I’m a big believer that we’re not born knowing how to hate; we’re taught to hate,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter of her motivation. “We may be more sophisticated in how we hide it, but there are still so many phobias in this world, whether it’s Islamophobia, xenophobia or homophobia. I’ve been trying to do things that expose and help teach and draw attention to all of the ‘isms’ and how we do or don’t deal with them in our world. ”
And the project doesn’t stop with just the films. According to Hammer she hopes to organize panels, classroom applications and discussions with talent, producers or directors to accompany the socially-conscious films presented.
Eventually, Hammer told the magazine she would like to also create a contest in which college and graduate students submit films about diversity, which could wind up airing on other NBCUniversal cable outlets such Syfy and E!
Spelman College, a historically black women’s college located in Atlanta, Georgia is the crème de la crème. With a host of illustrious alumni, Spelman has been ranked number one for five consecutive years on the list of top HBCUs. Here are a few famous ladies who have Spelman College listed on their resumes.
Most of us know her as the author who wrote The Color Purple; but before fame, she was awarded a scholarship to Spelman in 1961. During her tenure there, the author became an activist in Civil Rights movements in the state of Georgia. It is said that officials at the college weren’t supportive of her stance, and in 1963, she left Spelman for Sarah Lawrence College in New York.
Over at Clutch Magazine, writer Britni Danielle ponders the question, “What Happened to Black Literature?”
In her piece, Danielle reminiscences about a time in most recent history when contemporary black authors created stories “with complex, upwardly mobile black characters who fell in love with abandon, went hard at their jobs, and knew when to relax with their girls.” In admiration of those glory days, Danielle writes the following: “Their tales spoke to me…And there was always drama. Not the ignorant, I’m-going-to-beat-you-down drama of reality TV or street lit books, but the riveting, I-wonder-what-will-happen-next kind that would leave me turning pages late into the night.”
I have read similarly themed articles and columns like this throughout the years. Urban novels, ghetto fiction, street-lit, blaxploitation-on-a-page…whatever name we grace it with, the point is, we all hate it – or at least a few people do, because the stuff is sure selling like hot cakes. Yet despite the popularity among its mostly black readership, there are no shortage of critics who like to shoulder the blame for the “death of Black literature” on this particular sub-genre. Some of you reading this might agree with the notion that the stories themselves are sub-par; nothing more than violent tales of pimps, prostitutes, gangbangers and illicit sex, riddled with spelling errors and bad grammar. Some might even go as far as to say that you feel that these stories present the worst of our community and only seek to fulfill the appetites of a certain ill-bred segment of black America.
Yet, I have no beef with the sub-genre. In fact, going from the ‘hood to the university; and growing up on a healthy diet of diverse black storytelling from Omar Tyree to Alice Walker, I can say that there is no single narrative that can fully represent the entire black experience. I mean, who are we to say what values these books have on the reader and more importantly, to exclude them from being classified as black literature?
My sister-in-law is a self-published author of street lit. Going under the moniker Veronica Black Beauty, she has so far written and published two novels: Lyric: Philly’s Own Princess and Jay: Philly’s Own Prince. Her first novel, Lyric, was written as an ode to her own roots, which started in the projects of North Philadelphia. There she learned how to survive through poverty, sexual abuse, teenage parenthood, being a high school dropout, depression and sickle cell anemia. She had always dreamed of being a nurse and a writer, however, she couldn’t find the strength inside of her to commit to either. That was until the 4-month-premature birth of my first niece, Lyric. She lived for a couple of months before my sister-in-law Veronica and my brother made the difficult choice to let her pass on. To help her heal from the pain of losing a child, Veronica decided to pick up the pen and write about all the turmoil that swirled around in her head. After one month of writing, that turmoil morphed into characters and a semi-fictional plot about a girl from the Richard Allen Projects. Six months later, she had a story.
Famed Author Alice Walker is making headlines for her refusal to authorize an all-Hebrew version of the classic book The Color Purple, the 1982 novel about inhuman treatment of a poor black girl in the rural South.
The 68-year old acclaimed author and activist recently sent a letter to Yediot Books, an Israeli publishing house, politely requesting that her book not be republished “at this time” because of Israel’s inhumane treatment of its neighbors in Palestine. In the letter, which was also published on the website of the “Palestine Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel,” Walker writes:
“Thank you so much for wishing to publish my novel THE COLOR PURPLE. It isn’t possible for me to permit this at this time for the following reason: As you may know, last Fall in South Africa the Russell Tribunal on Palestine met and determined that Israel is guilty of apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people, both inside Israel and also in the Occupied Territories. The testimony we heard, both from Israelis and Palestinians (I was a jurist) was devastating. I grew up under American apartheid and this was far worse. Indeed, many South Africans who attended, including Desmond Tutu, felt the Israeli version of these crimes is worse even than what they suffered under the white supremacist regimes that dominated South Africa for so long.
It is my hope that the non-violent BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement, of which I am part, will have enough of an impact on Israeli civilian society to change the situation.”
The letter also goes on to mention the personal significance of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning novel, “to rid humanity of its self-destructive habit of dehumanizing whole populations” including Walker’s insistence that the film version not be shown in apartheid South African. She writes, “I lobbied against this idea because, as with Israel today, there was a civil society movement of BDS aimed at changing South Africa’s apartheid policies and, in fact, transforming the government.”
Walker roots in the BDS movement against Israel can be traced back to her nuptials to a Jewish law student in 1967 when she started learning more about the sorted history of the country, this according to an interview with Foreign Policy magazine. Last year, she would join the flotilla of ships, which sought to break Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip in hopes of bringing supplies and raising awareness of the situation there. Already, pro-Israel groups are jumping on Walker, accusing her of being Anti-Semitic, including right-wing conservative blogger Debbie Schlussel, who called Walker’s act a far-left pronouncement from a “self-important Ms. Thang” and “excessively-hyped, lesbionic screedist.”
However, Walker is not the only artist willing to take a stand against the heavy-handed practices of Israel. Artists Against Apartheid, an international alliance committed to equal rights and justice, as well as the elimination of apartheid worldwide, has also called for cultural boycotts of Israel and is supported by hundreds of artists around the world, including former Pink Floyd front man Roger Waters, Carlos Santana and Elvis Costello.
The Israeli conflict/occupation is now in its fifth decade. Despite international pressure for Israel to stop the of expansion of its original stated 1948 boundaries, that country continues to increase the number of settlements into Palestinian territories – often times by military force and in violation of international law. This has resulted in not only the displacement of Palestinians from their homes but also a wave of violence from both sides including suicide bombings by Palestinians within Israel and the death of thousands of civilians along the Gaza Strip.