All Articles Tagged "alice walker"
Alicia Keys Says Music Is A Universal Language And She’ll Still Perform In Israel, Despite Alice Walker’s Objection
Alicia Keys is NOT changing her plans to play in Tel Aviv on July 4, despite protests from author Alice Walker and other notables such as musician Roger Waters that she not do it because of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.
In a letter posted at the website of a group called the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel, Waters (from the rock band Pink Floyd) asked Keys “to join the rising tide of resistance.”
Waters’ letter said: “Please, Alicia, do not lend your name to give legitimacy to the Israeli government policies of illegal, apartheid, occupation of the homelands of the indigenous people of Palestine.”
Also, as we reported, Walker, author of “The Color Purple,” wrote in her own open letter that, though she and Ms. Keys had never met, “I believe we are mutually respectful of each other’s path and work.” Ms. Walker continued: “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.”
Read Alicia Keys’ statement to The New York Times on the situation at EurWeb.com.
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.
When our favorite books are turned into movies it can either be really great or terribly awful. Though the film adaptation of The Color Purple was a bit different from the book, as expected, the movie was still a masterpiece. The film was well cast with big names who were trying new things and people who had yet to step onto our radar. But it all came together to create an iconic film. So timeless that we bet you still can’t help but to watch it when it comes on tv. Though the story is full of pain, many of us have been able to find humor in some of the film’s darkest moments. Like, What’s Love Got to Do With It, lines from The Color Purple have become a part of the culture. (I’m sure many of you will quote the more popular ones in the comments section.) You know the plot, you know the lines but did you know these behind the scenes secrets? Read on to find out.
Who is going to play Shug Avery?
You would not believe the number of names that came up when it came to this role. Initially, it seemed like the directors were going for a professional singer. Phyllis Hymen was the first choice for the role. While some sources say she declined it, others say she lost it. (The story was included in her biography.) Patti Labelle auditioned for the role but didn’t make the cut. Sheryl Lee Ralph also tested for the role. After Phyllis Hymen was out of the running Spielberg himself tried to get Chaka Khan but she later admitted that she was too scared to take on the role. She wasn’t the only one who wasn’t interested. Diana Ross, Lola Falana and Tina Turner all turned down the role of Shug Avery. Who knows how these divas would have come across on screen but we’re glad that the role eventually went to Margaret Avery. She nailed it.
Mainstream America hasn’t been particularly accepting of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community, and that goes double in the African American community. With strong “traditional church” backgrounds and the fear of the down- low brother choosing to express your homosexuality can be detrimental or even dangerous in some situations. Despite this fact, there are some celebrities who’ve decided to endure the inevitable criticism and come out, some publicly, some not so publicly, sharing just one part of who they really are.