All Articles Tagged "Zora Neale Hurston"
I’m going to be straight up and ask an honest question here: Where are all the good biography films pictures on black women?
I’m not trying to start nothing – actually I’m okay and cool with starting stuff – but I have to say I’m not really impressed with the selection of biopics lately. The TLC, while full of gossipy tidbits, was ultimately a huge dud. So was the Winnie Mandela biopic entitled Winnie (which is available on Netflix but I would skip it). And excuse me for being presumptuous but I don’t have high hopes for either of the proposed Aaliyah projects. And I certainly won’t be supporting the Zoe Saldana/Nina Simone travesty, if ever that sees the light of day.
Perhaps it is the subject or the productions themselves, but Hollywood (inclusive of Black Hollywood too) really doesn’t attempt to immortalize Black women as it does Black men. This is particularly true of the big screen productions. In fact, it seems the majority of biopics on Black women are actually made for television, and by default, have all the cheese and camp of a film made for television.
As such, I have created a list of ten women, who would make awesome subjects for a well-produced and funded film production. Also so Hollywood doesn’t go casting Madonna as Rosa Parks, I’ll also include a list of women, who I believe would good fits for the roles.
I’m often thoroughly impressed and informed by the images Google selects for their main search homepage a.k.a. “Google Doodle.” And today, while I’m already pretty well versed about the subject, I was happy to see that Google decided to celebrate folklorist, anthropologist and Harlem Renaissance author Zora Neale Hurston on the 123rd anniversary of her birth.
Presumably, Zora is no stranger to the women who frequent this site; but since it is her birthday, let me go’n ahead and take some time to remind you just how deserving of this doodle Ms. Hurston was and still is.
Hurston was born on January 7, 1891 in Alabama but raised in Eatonville, Florida from the age of three years old.
Eatonville was one of the first all-black towns incorporated by the U.S. She described what it was like spending her childhood there in her 1928 essay called “How It Feels To Be Colored Me.” In 1901, white schoolteachers visited the town and gave Hurston a number of books that opened her mind to literature. She would later list 1901 as the year of her birth. Many speculated it was because this was the year she was birthed into her purpose and destiny as a writer.
In 1918, after struggling to put herself through high school, Hurston began studying at Howard University. There she became a member of Zeta Phi Beta sorority and co-founded the university’s student newspaper, The Hilltop.
She wrote an essay called John Redding Goes to Sea which qualified her to become a member of Alaine Locke’s literary club. In 1924 she left Howard and was offered a scholarship to attended Barnard College at Columbia University. She was the college’s lone black student.
She received her B.A. in anthropology in 1927 at the age of 36. Also in 1927, she married jazz musician, later turned physician, Herbert Sheen, an old classmate from her Howard days. The marriage ended four years later in 1931. In 1939 Hurston married Albert Price, a man who was 25 years younger than her. The marriage lasted for seven months.
In addition to her literary career, Hurston also served on the faculty of the North Carolina College for Negroes now (North Carolina Central University.
Hurston’s anthropological trips often produced some of her better known essays. Her time in Harlem, allowed her to connect to other black authors, cementing her place in the Harlem Renaissance as she worked with Langston Hughes and Wallace Thurman in a group they dubbed “Niggerati.” She moved to Eau Gallie in Florida and wrote Mules and Men. A fellowship that allowed her to study in Jamaica and Haiti produced Tell My Horse. During the 1930’s Hurston published her first three novels, Jonah’s Gourd Vine (1934) Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), lauded as one of the best novels of the last century, and Moses, Man of the Mountain in 1939.
She published Seraph on the Suwanee, her only novel chronicling the lives of white characters, in 1948.
During the course of her career, Hurston wrote four novels, and published more than 50 short stories, essays and plays but she fell into obscurity later in life for several reasons. Many critiqued her work for featuring black dialect, a tactic many felt played into stereotypes of blacks being uneducated and unrefined. And in 1948, she was accused of molesting a 10 year old boy. The case was dismissed when Hurston presented evidence that she was in Honduras at the time of the incident. However, her reputation was scarred by the scandal.
Afterward Hurston suffered a period of medical and financial difficulty and was forced to enter a welfare home. She suffered a stroke and died of heart disease on January 28, 1960. She was buried in Fort Pierce, Florida in an unmarked grave. Her grave remained unmarked until 1973 when author Alice Walker and Charlotte Hunt found a grave in the general area and decided to assign it to Hurston.
A renewed interest in Hurston’s work took place in 1975 when Walker wrote an essay for Ms. magazine called “In Search of Zora Neale Hurston.”
Several of her works were published posthumously, her home in Fort Pierce is a national historic landmark and every year both Fort Pierce and Eatonville have annual festivals celebrating Hurston’s life work and legacy.
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?
Big screen adaptations of novels written by black authors are few and far between, which is precisely why we shouldn’t just support black movies, but black books as well – especially considering African-American achievements in literature are highly underrated. So definitely give these movies a watch, but do yourself one better and pick up the original books, because we already know that the movies are never ever as good as the original literary work
The vast majority of my friends are in their mid twenties to early thirties and their lives are littered with questions. Questions of whether they are on the right path, whether they will ever find true love, whether the love they have found will last forever, whether it is possible to find both contentment and financial security in jobs that they have chosen, whether they will ever find the courage to leave jobs that they hate to pursue what they love, whether they will be good partners and good parents, whether they will have continued health so that they are able to raise their children, whether they are fulfilling their life’s purpose, and whether it is wise to wonder about anything that swirls around in their minds at all.
The questions we ask at 20 are much different than the questions we ask at 30, but we all seem to be consumed by questions about our lives and if we’re doing things right. The funny thing is if we just keep on living, life has a way of providing the answers to the questions that we all ask at one time or another. Zora Neale Hurston, who I have great respect and adoration for, eloquently pens in her 1937 Their Eyes Were Watching God that “there are years that ask questions and years that answer.” There is great profundity in her words.
The questions that individuals have about their lives, and life in general, in their twenties are often debilitating. You can get lost for hours in a tsunami of thought obsessing over life, and love, and spirituality, and purpose. Yet it seems that when you veer closer to 30 than to 20, that although the questions do not stop, they do become less frantic and frenzied. The decade of life that exists between one milestone of an age to another provides insight that was not foreseen in years past. The older we become, the more clarity we receive.
If I could give my younger self any advice, I would look her square in the eyes and submit the popular colloquialism “you gotta chill.” I submit that same advice to you. Whether you be 20, 30 or beyond, the years will answer the questions that burn in your heart. Don’t waste precious years that you can never retrieve stuck on questions about the past, present or future. Instead, get busy crafting and creating the reality you want for yourself today. If there is something that exists in your life that you are unhappy about or uncomfortable with, the power exists in you to change it. Do all of the things that you want to do. Live your life to fullest and without a single regret. Fill your existence with the experiences and discoveries that you’ve always wanted to have. This life of yours is the only one that you’ll have and you should live it in a fashion that when your sun sets people will say of you what Hurston said of her iconic character Janie, “She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see.”
Sheena Bryant is a writer and blogger in Chicago. Follow her on twitter at @song_of_herself.
As the next Presidential election draws nigh in November, the two most popular candidates, Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney have been paving the campaign trail. With election year comes slander, controversy and your occasional celebrity political rants. Politics met entertainment with the latest celebrity rant, coming from Nicki Minaj, in which she rapped in vote of Republican Mitt Romney. This was a shock to fans and celebrity bloggers everywhere, but Nicki is not the only popular African-American face that has shown favor to the GOP. Here is a list of some African-American celebrities who have supported or are affiliated with the Republican party:
LL Cool J
LL Cool J attended the Republican Convention in 2004 and has been a supporter of Republican New York governor George Pataki back in 2002. He has never officially stated his political party.
Tags:50 cent, african american, african-american republicans, black, black republicans, Blair Bedford, Booker T Washington, Colin Powell, condoleeza rice, don king, Dwayne Johnson, election, GOP, Jimmie Walker, Joseph C. Phillips, Karl Malone, Lynn Swann, mitt romney, Obama, politics, Republican, sheryl underwood, t.d. jakes, The Rock, Wilt Chamberlain, Zora Neale Hurston
If you’ve been living under a rock for like…forever, Howard University is the historical black college in Washington, D.C. that has been one of the leaders for turning students into future leaders of tomorrow. The school also been the alma mater to many high profile black celebrities. Here are 10 ladies who enrolled at HU and either graduated (some with honors) or made a big impact during their time there.
Taraji P. Henson
The Academy Award nominated actress hustled to make her way through college and support herself. She was first enrolled at North Carolina University Agricultural and Technical. She then transferred to Howard and majored in theater. Henson had a job as a secretary at the Pentagon and was a singer and dancer on a cruise ship to help cover the costs of her education. She graduated in 1995 with a degree in theater arts.
In this age of abbreviated attention spans, instant obsolescence, digital romance, and satellite telephones, there are still some things that deserve to be tucked away in a category of old favorites — things that have the patina of age that are as beloved now as they were years ago. These favorite “things” (social organizations, businesses, institutions, etc.) have persisted over the years because we turn to them again and again as they continue to satisfy us, renew us, or simply “take us back” to places we want to go. Here are a few of our oldest and favorite things:
E.E. Ward Moving & Storage Co.
In a sense, John T. Ward started his moving business in the 1840s—by transporting slaves, according to one writer. Four decades later, in 1881, with a team of horses, a wagon and two helpers, John and his son, William, officially established the Ward Transfer Line, a moving business in Columbus, OH. Eight years later, another Ward son, Edgar Earl, took control of the company, renaming it E.E. Ward Transfer and Storage Company. In 1921, the company finally stopped using horses and turned to motorized equipment.
The company is no longer under the control of the Ward family. In 2001, Eldon Ward, the last Ward family member to own the business, sold it to Brian Brooks and Otto Beatty III. The company, which employs up to 50 people at peak moving times of the year, provides moving and storage services for households and businesses, including international and corporate relocations. Today, the 130-year-old company is recognized by the U.S. Department of Commerce as one of the oldest black-owned business in the nation.
As iPods orchestrate music in the ears of young folk, and open-mouth, dead-to-the-world sleep is always welcome during an early morning commute on public transit, nothing is more satisfying than filling up your time while caught in the grips of an exceptionally great book. For black women, there are a few reads that speak to us and tell our story better than we could put into words ourselves. They’ve been passed on through word of mouth, through book clubs and through literal passing from hand to hand. The 10 works of art featured are books you’ve probably read or heard of, and if you have them, it’s time to crack ‘em open again. Because a truly great book has no limit to the entertainment it can provide, and well, you might as well get your money’s worth, whether in fancy-schmancy e-reader form, or in old-school, bunny-eared paperback fashion. If it’s your first time flipping through them, take notes for your next bookstore ransacking.
What books would you recommend for people to read again or for the first time?
It’s a challenge for many historians to discern just when the Harlem Renaissance began and ended. No doubt that all of those who lived during that time, even in Harlem, didn’t know what they were experiencing. Imagine, realizing that one of the great African-American cultural movements was taking place in a time of extreme inequality and racial strife. The era was most defined by artists like Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes, who, along with other poets, writers and musicians, led an energetic movement for Black artistic expression in the 1920s and 193os.
Duke Ellington performed regularly here, and Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday both launched their careers at the venue’s amateur night. You can say that the Apollo Theater was the ‘Motown’ before Motown. Today, the theater stands as an artifact on the bustling 125th street.