All Articles Tagged "NPR"
In 2006, when black movies usually dealt with themes of drug deals, poor choices and the ghetto, Akeelah and the Bee represented a stark contrast. The film, which featured heavy hitter actors Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett, was uplifting and inspirational. It was a message audiences of ages, races and backgrounds could enjoy. We’re sure you remember this movie, but we bet you don’t know
Though Akeelah took years to come together, once the funding and the actors were in place, the movie was filmed in just 31 days. The film was relatively small budget at just $6 million dollars. During it’s opening weekend, it made that back and 3 times that much ($18, 811, 135) when it closed in July of 2006. Filmed in 31 days with a budget of $6 million.
If you’re like me, if you’ve been seduced by all the decadence The Great Gatsby promises to deliver. Plus, I love Leonardo Dicaprio as an actor; so needless to say, Gatsby is on my short-list of films to see this summer. This was true before I heard that Jay-Z was producing the entire soundtrack or that Beyoncé and Andre 3000 would collaborate again to cover Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black.” Learning all of the aforementioned information just sweetened the pie.
If you’re curious about Jay-Z is going to do with the soundtrack, you can listen to it, in its entirety over at NPR.
I’ve been listening to it for the past 25 minutes or so and it’s quite interesting. The fusion of the old and new is seamless and I think it’ll work well for the film. Right now, my favorite song so far is “Over The Love” by Florence + The Machine. If you’re not familiar with her work, please know that that woman’s voice is otherworldly.
Check out the soundtrack here and let us know what you think. What’s your favorite track? What do you make of the body of work as a whole?
Bus, meet black women. Black women meet the bus D.L. Hughley has thrown us under in his new book and then used to back up and run over us yet again in an interview with NPR.
It’s clear D.L. Hughley is on a mission to be seen as a serious voice in the political realm but every time he does so, his efforts go awry and the end result is him being seen for the joke that he is. Remember the white kid crack he made about Obama? Well now the comedian has written a book titled, “I Want You to Shut the F#ck Up: How the Audacity of Dopes is Ruining America,” and according to “Tell Me More” host Michel Martin, inside he has some pretty harsh things to say about black women. In a recent interview, the NPR host took him to task on his allegations, reading an exert from Chapter 17 which reads:
Being a dad to daughters is very different from being a dad to sons. The dangers are different and the way they listen to you is different. I’m sure every father feels the same way that I do about his daughters. I love them, but I don’t like them. Who likes women?
Here are the highlights from the Q&A that follows:
MARTIN: You don’t like women?
HUGHLEY: I don’t like the way they process – no, I don’t. I enjoy their company. I do not like the way that they reason. You can’t understand them.
MARTIN: Well, for a man who has been married for 26 years and has two daughters – you have three children overall, two daughters and a son – you don’t think you’ve figured it out?
HUGHLEY: Do you think any man has figured it out? Anyone? Anyone? Name me a man who says I’ve figured women out, I got it.
My daughters, who I love immensely, are so certain, like if a man can have a face only a mother can love, then women can have personalities only fathers can love.
MARTIN: OK. That’s fine. But I have to ask you, though, and throughout the book, though, you do make some impassioned discussions about just how cheap you feel black life is viewed in this country.
HUGHLEY: It is viewed.
MARTIN: OK. But then to go on and in many parts of the book have some very harsh things to say about black women – African-American women.
HUGHLEY: Like what do you think is harsh?
MARTIN: I have to ask, you don’t think that’s a contradiction? Well, this argument that you’re saying that….
HUGHLEY: I don’t – I think my life has been a contradiction.
MARTIN: …black women is – the only black woman you could be married to is your wife.
MARTIN: Beacause…black women are so messed up? I mean what – or because she’s so great?
HUGHLEY: Well, in her ability to kind of tolerate my – it’s her ability to tolerate me, A) and B) I’ve never met an angrier group of people. Like black women are angry just in general. Angry all the time. My assessment, out of, just in my judgment, you either are in charge or they’re in charge, so there’s no kind of day that you get to rest(ph).
MARTIN: I have to ask whether is it because black women are an easy target?
MARTIN: And so you can say these things because nobody is going to…
HUGHLEY: Do you think black women are an easy target?
MARTIN: Well, I mean I’m thinking you or – one of the ways you came to public attention is your defense of Don Imus for calling the Rutgers women’s basketball team nappy headed ho’s…
MARTIN: …and I understand that your defense was free speech, which I think many people understand. But if you think he’d said that about another group of women, that that would’ve been considered funny?
HUGHLEY: I can’t, really, that’s like, I can’t disprove or prove a negative, but I can say this: that I have defended any number, I have defended Michael Richards for the N-word. I’ve defended Tracy Morgan for his comments. I defended Rush Limbaugh. You know, to me, you know, what people are talking about has never really kind of worked its way into my mindset. It is the idea that they have the right to say it. So I think that’s really kind of an unfair – optically, that looks different than the way I see things. But…
HUGHLEY: …I don’t think black women are easy targets at all. I respect them great – a great deal. I think that to pretend like I don’t see things the way that I do is to do a disservice to them.
I really hate to throw out a blanket statement on top of his gross overgeneralizations but seriously, some black men have the nerve to question us about our loyalty when this guy is out here talking like this? I refuse.
Somebody Lied To You: What Happens When You Believe Something As A Child, That You Never Learn Is Untrue?
It is amazing how creative, imaginative and magnificently wonderful the mind of a child is. Children believe in the fantastic and the surreal and the all-around awesome that rational adult thinkers brush off as fiction. Think back to the days when you were a child. Can you remember some of the things that you accepted as truth without contest and how much richer your life was for it?
When I was a girl, I believed that I could become invisible at will. The secret was baby powder. I’d dust my face with powder and begin to run around my house antagonizing my older sister with the belief that I could not be seen. When she’d say “Stop it,” or “Leave me alone!,” I’d laugh hysterically and just yell out, “You can’t see me—I’m invisible!”
I also believed that I could fly. Not in the way that R. Kelly was saying, but for real. In all of my dreams where flying took place, and there were lots, instead of flapping my arms like wings or extending them straight out in front of me, I flew precisely the way I would swim. With long strokes, I’d extend one arm out in front and gracefully bring it back toward me and repeat that motion with the other arm, only I’d be in the air. The faster my strokes, the faster I’d fly. I flew so often in dreams that I really thought that flying was one of my natural abilities. I believed that if I were ever in danger, I could simply fly away. Luckily for me, I was never in a situation that caused me to test that belief. And also fortunately for me, I learned well before adulthood that I could neither fly nor become invisible.
But what happens when you believe something as a child, that you never learn is untrue?
I remember listening to an episode of NPR’s “This American Life” that aired years ago called “A Little Bit of Knowledge.” The segment discusses exactly this scenario. There is a guy that recalls that he was about 11 or 12 when he first heard the term Nielsen family from a group of adults he overheard talking. From the conversation, he gathered that networks consulted with Nielsen families to see how popular a television show was, but he wondered why they only asked families named Nielsen. He came up with his own answers and assumed that the networks had done research and found that it was a common name and that it cut across class and economic lines. Perhaps, he thought, families with the name Nielsen were an accurate sample size. He said he didn’t think about it again, except from time to time when he’d wonder why T.V. continued to use such a primitive way to collect data. He then went on to say that years later as an adult, one of his friends mentioned that her friend’s family had been asked to become a Nielsen family. He asked, “Isn’t it funny how all of them are named Nielsen?” A long silence ensued and he realized that they are, of course, not all named Nielsen. He was 34 years old at the time.
There was also a woman who spoke of how she believed in unicorns as a child. She said that in her mind there wasn’t much difference between a zebra and a unicorn and that whenever she thought of them, they were in a grassy plain in Africa drinking from a watering hole with the wildebeest and impalas. Fast forward years later, she was at a party and about seven people were standing around a keg talking. Randomly, the topic of endangered species came up and she asked, “Is the unicorn endangered or extinct?” She said that there was a long period of silence, then everyone laughed, and then the laughter was followed by another gap of silence when they all realized she wasn’t laughing. She realized for the first time that unicorns are indeed unreal, and to think so as a grown woman came off as kind of pathetic.
I could not imagine being in either of these situations. How embarrassed they both must have felt. I believed in some pretty interesting things as a kid and I’m grateful, mostly, that I shed those beliefs when I became an adult. A child’s mind is certainly an amazing thing and the things that children come up with are usually quite extravagant, all the more reason why seeing them as fact into adulthood can be hard to live down if/when your friends and family find out…
What did you believe as a child and do you have any stories of finding out late in life that what you’d believed all along was false? If so, we’d love to hear them.
Sheena Bryant is a writer and blogger in Chicago. Follow her on twitter at @song_of_herself.
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People usually ask that question saying why won’t X let Y or Z be great. But in the case of Barack Obama, it’s been made painfully clear why Republicans and Tea Party members in particular won’t let him be great, it’s because he’s black. That’s why I find it so interesting that despite all the hell he goes through as what most agree he is, the first black president of the United States, for some reason a strong segment of the black population won’t let him be black.
The latest forerunner in the case against Barack Obama’s blackness is actor Morgan Freeman. I imagine eyes rolled instantly at the mention of his name, along with a follow-up question of who cares? Unfortunately we care because Mr. Freeman denounced Barack Obama’s blackness openly in an interview with NPR today. Truthfully, I’m not even sure how the topic came up amongst discussion of his new movie, The Magic of Belle Isle, but nevertheless he let his thoughts on Barack Hussein Obama be known, saying:
“First thing that always pops into my head regarding our president is that all of the people who are setting up this barrier for him … they just conveniently forget that Barack had a mama, and she was white — very white American, Kansas, middle of America,” Freeman said. “There was no argument about who he is or what he is. America’s first black president hasn’t arisen yet. He’s not America’s first black president — he’s America’s first mixed-race president.”
Really, Morgan? That’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the leader of our nation? It appears he’s as color struck as the republicans he calls out in his next statement.
“He is being purposely, purposely thwarted by the Republican Party, who started out at the beginning of his tenure by saying, ‘We are going to do whatever is necessary to make sure that he’s only going to serve one term,’ ” he said. “That means they will not cooperate with him on anything. So to say he’s ineffective is a misappropriation of the facts.”
At least he got that point right. Maybe Morgan thinks that if white people acknowledged the half of the president that is just like them he wouldn’t be so stonewalled, but with the last part of that statement I get the impression that Morgan is more so distancing himself from the president because of his multi-ethnicity rather than trying to point out what makes him a lot like the rest of America.
It continues to amaze me how the black community gets so upset when someone who is mixed identifies as such, as they criticize them for assumedly not wanting to really be black. But in the same token we separate these individuals from the real black people by pointing out their multi-ethnic background when they just want to be black. What purpose does this serve? Not a worthwhile one I can tell you that. I suppose we don’t have to subscribe to the one-drop rule that threw most of us in the colored pool way back when to begin with but if someone wants to identify as black, who is at least 50 percent black, and who is in a position of influence in this country, why are we trying to take that away from him? And again, for what reason?
We don’t just play this one day you’re black, the next you’re not game with President Obama when it comes to his genetic background we also label him as one or the other depending on his behavior and his policies. How many times have we heard people—black and white—mask their desire for a real black president as a joke, pointing out his mild mannerisms and timidness and how he’s actually willing to compromise, as any politician who wants to actually achieve things should, as evidence he’s not a real black man? Is there any wonder fools on the other side of the spectrum are going overboard with their machismo to prove they’re real black men? You know, having babies in every area code, disrespecting women, effing the police, and all that good stuff? I get Morgan’s point about Barack clearly being biracial but do we really want to start, or better yet continue, this trend of one-upping one’s blackness and segmenting another’s? If we go by this definition we’ll probably never have a black president because we’re all quite racially and ethnically mixed and that reality is increasing by the day.
We can all look at Barack Obama and see that he is clearly being treated like a black man, and he obviously identifies as such. We don’t need messages like this coming from the same group of people who gets angered by being thrown into one heap of people in society known as minorities. If we start singling out biracial people as something else altogether, our numbers will be way below the 12 to 13 percent of the population we currently make up today. If we think we’re the forgotten ones now, imagine what that new reality would look like.
I know some people are frustrated that President Obama hasn’t been more down for the team so to speak when it comes to the African American community, but I’m 99 percent sure that has nothing to do with the fact that his mom is white, and everything to do with him being in a position to look out for the country as a whole and also seeing that there is no quick policy switch he can hit that will suddenly make black people alright in the world. Can you imagine the type of backlash that would have arisen had Barack Obama stated in 2008 that he was biracial and not a black man? Black folks would have been rushing out in droves to take their votes back. Unfortunately, now some seem to have done the same with their votes of confidence, disappointed that Barack Obama hasn’t lived up to their definition of what a real black man is, proving once again that we’re often our own worst enemies.
What do you think about Morgan Freeman’s comment?
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So often we talk about the effect not having a father has on young black boys, but black girls aren’t immune to the consequences of having an absentee father. Documentary filmmaker Janks Morton is exploring that effect in a new doculogue titled, “Dear Daddy.”
Last summer, Morton had eight girls from a Boys & Girls club in DC that he works with write one-page letters to their fathers and then read them on camera for his project. In the trailer for the film, we see 18-year-old Jasmine Bowden reads of a list of things she hates about her father not being there—the fact that she can’t turn to him for help when she has a problem, the fact that her dad has never offered to help her mother raise her, and the fact that he only comes around when he needs something.
Nearly a year later, Jasmine appeared on NPR yesterday with Morton and Jonetta Rose Barras, author of Whatever Happened to Daddy’s Little Girl? to talk about what happens when black mothers are the only ones around and it was still difficult for the teen to talk about how her father’s absence has affected her. She told Michelle Martin of Tell Me More that her father still isn’t around and that:
“If I had my dad around I really think I probably would’ve made some good choices in boys.”
From the young women he worked with, Morton said the pain girls experienced was the same no matter what circumstances led to their fathers not being around.
“What I saw, it doesn’t matter. The deserter, deceased, the disenfranchised, the whatever the circumstance, it doesn’t matter. The trauma that these girls – these 1.8 million, 18 to 24-year-old black girls, 1.8 million – are carrying on their heart, it’s not been given a voice. And what I found is that this arc, it goes through a woman’s life. It just manifests itself in all these different ways that I think, that if we can get this generation, you know, an opportunity to purge themselves of this trauma, I think there are some greatness that can begin to happen in the relationship dynamic in blacks.”
Though that pain may be the same, it can manifest itself in different ways, though mostly it’s seen with women believing they can’t depend on men, and sometimes depending on other things to cope.
“What I’ve seen with these young women specifically is that this kind of cultural construct we, or this mantra we have of, you know, all the women, independent, stand on your own two feet – which leads to all those great workshops that Jonetta talks about. They’ll give you all of these great things, self-worth, identity, financial literacy, all of these things to deal with all of the secondary manifestations. But to get to the pathology of where the pain hurts, where it starts, I don’t know what it is but that thing is off the table in our community. And this film is, what I’m trying to do, I think that really, if we start here a lot of this other things, you know, abusing your body with drugs, abusing your body with food, all those other workshops get put out of business if we deal with father absence and void vacancy at this juncture.”
Check out more of Morton and Jasmine’s interview on NPR here along with the trailer to his film below. What do you think about this doculogue?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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Claressa Shields has a goal. This 16 year old girl from Flint, Michigan is trying to win an Olympic gold medal for boxing.
Just one of three women who earned a spot on this year’s U.S. women’s boxing team, Shields is the youngest. While her story is unique in its own right, all three women on the team will make history this year, representing the first women’s boxing team for the U.S. as well as the first time women have been able to compete in this sport in the last 108 years.
Claressa was inspired to start boxing after her father Clarence Shields, an underground amateur boxer, told her it was a man’s sport. Her father was the first of many people she had to prove wrong on her journey toward the London Olympics.
But she was serious and once her father realized it, he took her to the gym for the first time when she was 11 years old.
Claressa told National Public Radio (NPR) that when she steps into the ring she’s almost in another world: ”It’s like everything outside the ring’s black,” she says. “Can’t nobody else get in there and help you. Your coach, he can’t get in the ring and fight with you. You don’t have your dad, your mom. When you get in the ring, you don’t have anybody but yourself.”
But for all her focus, Shields is still a teenager and sometimes she has to be reminded to stay focused. Once while practicing a boy called and her coach Jason Crutchfield had to remind her what is at stake.
“You got all your life for boys,” he says. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing right here.”
Crutchfield, who shares a close relationship with Shields, told NPR he noticed her a week after she came into his gym and realized she had an exceptional talent.
“A coach always wants a champion; that’s why we coach,” Crutchfield says. “I just never thought it was going to be a girl.”
Go ahead Claressa! We’ll be watching and rooting for you this summer.
Claressa is chronicling her journey to the Olympics through the “Women Box” radio project on WNYC. You can watch and listen below.
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Girl talk is half the reason black women love to hit up the beauty shop on a regular, but long before women just showed up every week for a wash and set and a side of gossip, hair salons were the birthplace of political activism.
NPR recently talked about the civil rights element of black salons with Tiffany Gill, associate professor of history, African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Gill is the author of “Beauty Shop Politics: African American Women’s Activism in the Beauty Industry,” and in her book she talks about how black women came to the forefront of the beauty industry around the 1820s when it became unacceptable for black men to style white women’s hair and how enslaved women in Urban areas were even able to hire themselves out as stylists and make money.
Stemming from the entrepreneurial example set by Madame CJ Walker at the beginning of the 20th century, Gill said by the time the 1950s and 1960s rolled around, guidelines were written into beauty college curricula about how to engage clients in conversations about politics. She went on to talk about a South Carolina woman named Bernice Robinson who’s salon was known as a place for “all kinds of subversive activity.”
“She would literally be washing someone’s hair, put someone under the drier, be walking someone through the long kind of elaborate voter registration hurdles that black people had to go through and while someone was under the drier she would go and run someone down to the courthouse, try to get them to register to vote, and then come back,” she said.
“And then she actually took it to a more formal level where she would actually organize other beauticians in the area and tell them that, yes, within your space, as women come in, we can do citizenship education classes. We can help prepare people to vote. We can help prepare African-Americans to engage in civic activity and so they balanced their entrepreneurship with their politics.”
Gill said when she started her research she expected to see a decline in political activism inside shops today but she found that the conversation isn’t all weaves and kinky twists in the new millenium.
“I found in San Diego, there’s this very robust research as well as community activism happening, where beauty shops are being engaged in health activism. So everything from empowering beauticians to talk with their clients about HIV/AIDS, about mammograms – because they found that that was a space where African-American were willing to take care of their bodies, willing to talk about their bodies.
So it’s still there. It functions differently, but certainly the health activism, as well as domestic violence prevention, is something that’s happening very much in beauty shops today.”
In 2010, The L’Oréal Fondation D’Enterprise founded Hairdressers Against AIDS to provide in-depth training to thousands of salon professionals at special L’Oréal educational sessions, and this year they held their annual event in Harlem to address the high rate of new HIV diagnoses among African Americans in New York City. Several other black shops held independent events at their salons in recognition of Aids Awareness Month as well.
Were you aware of the history of social activism spurred in black beauty shops? Do you witness this type of activity in the salons you visit?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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It’s pretty obvious that taking the role of president can age you hardcore, putting some pepper in your locks, wrinkles in your skin and bags under your eyes. Before and after pictures of some of our former commander-in-chiefs are startling in their differences, and that can be attributed to the stresses of making huge decisions and being expected to make the “right” decisions at all times. And of course, what is “right” depends on your political views. But as President Obama’s first term starts winding down, he still looks like a stud in our book. Now if he does two terms, we can’t promise anything…but right now, he’s aging gracefully. But it’s not like he’s looking for the public to fawn over him like so many women did in ’08, because according to President Obama, his wife’s approval is all he needs. In an interview with NPR, the President talked about his upcoming 50th birthday (on the 4th), and what his wife thinks about his looks:
“You know, I feel real good about 5-0. The – obviously, I’ve gotten a little grayer since I took this job but otherwise, I feel pretty good. And Michelle, you know, says that, you know, she – she — she still thinks I’m, I’m cute, you know. And I guess that’s — that’s all that matters, isn’t it?”
We think you’re still a stone cold fox too Barack. Wouldn’t you agree?
To check out the entire interview with President Obama, check out NPR.
(The Root) – Audie Cornish, a reporter and substitute host for NPR since 2006, has been named the new host of “Weekend Edition Sunday,” NPR announced on Thursday. She “will be the new voice of Sunday mornings for millions of public radio listeners beginning this fall. Liane Hansen, who has been hosting Weekend Edition for more than 20 years, announced her retirement last year and will broadcast her final show on Sunday, May 29,” an announcement said. Cornish’s appointment represents a major assignment for a black journalist at a network that is struggling with diversity issues.