Meanwhile, At The TumblR: Meet Marilyn Nance

Artist Marilyn Nance

Visual artist Marilyn Nance has produced exceptional photographs of unique moments in the cultural history of the United States and the African Diaspora, and possesses an archive of images of late 20th century African American life.

A two-time finalist for the W. Eugene Smith Award in Humanistic Photography for her body of work on African American spiritual culture in America, Nance has photographed the Black Indians of New Orleans, an African village in South Carolina, churches in Brooklyn, and the first Black church in America. She is recognized by the Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklore Programs & Cultural Studies as a community folklore scholar, an individual who has shown a significant contribution to the collection, preservation and presentation of traditional culture in a community or region. Her work can be found in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Library of Congress.

- For more of Nance’s story, visit the Racialicious Tumblr, curated by our own Andrea Plaid.

Sorry But Criticizing A TV Show For Its Lack Of Diversity Does Not Equal ‘Woman Hate’

By Guest Contributor Jen Wang, cross-posted from Disgrasian

I’ve heard this argument in discussions about the lack of diversity on HBO’s Girls and I’m hearing it again now with ABC Family’s Bunheads. The argument is: If you’re criticizing this show, which is for, by, and about girls/women, you’re misogynist.

Bullsh-t.

Emma Dumont, Kaitlyn Jenkins and Bailey Buntain from "Bunheads." Courtesy: ABC Family/Randy Holmes

This week, Bunheads creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, of Gilmore Girls fame, responded to criticism made by Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes about the lack of diversity on Sherman-Palladino’s new series about ballerinas with this exact argument:

“I’ve always felt that women, in a general sense, have never supported other women the way they should…I think it’s a shame, but to me, it is what it is.”

Sherman-Palladino, who says she has never met Rhimes before, went on to say that with the increased demands on showrunners–particularly while getting a new program on the air–there’s no room for criticism among peers. “I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t go after another woman. I, frankly, wouldn’t go after another showrunner,” she said.

Showrunner-to-showrunner professional courtesies aside–think how awkward running into each other in the ladies’ room at the Emmys will be!–Sherman-Palladino’s assessment of the situation, not to mention her assertion of victimhood, is utterly facile and self-serving.

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Video: PBS Newshour Profiles Family Behind Our Black Year

By Arturo R. García

Watch One Family’s Effort to Buy Black for a Year on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

If you’ve got 10 minutes to spare, this report from PBS Newshour is well worth your time, as it retraces the “social experiment” conducted by Maggie and John Anderson while buying exclusively from black-owned businesses for a year, a process Maggie Anderson chronicled in written form in the book Our Black Year.

The project, she told Newshour’s Paul Solman, was borne out of guilt.

“We thought we should be doing more, and we thought we should be doing stuff with the money that we made,” she said. “Make sure that whatever we do, it was with a black company, a black family company, buy a product made from a black company, use black professionals, shop in black communities.”

According to The Cleveland Plain Dealer the Andersons’ search for some basic needs took them far, far out of their comfort zones:

With high hopes of moving the needle, the Andersons transferred their money to a black bank, switched cell phone companies, and fed way more McDonald’s Happy Meals to their girls than optimal–because these black-owned businesses were plentiful.

But fewer own stores selling necessities like diapers, aspirin and fresh food. Maggie often drove for miles, stepping over trash and around winos to enter stores that looked like “post-apocalyptic mini-marts.”

“Are y’all lost?” wisecracks one loiterer.

Exasperated, Maggie overdoes the details of her forays scouring Chicagoland’s food desert. Her rage builds. “Everyone–I mean everyone–we saw on the street and in the stores was black, but not the store owners.”

The video is safe for work, and a transcript of the story can be found here.

Excerpt: The Guardian On Hackney Weekend And Hip-Hop’s Social Costs

Nicki Minaj at Hackney Weekend. Courtesy: The Sun (U.K.)

The Hackney Weekend’s lineup proved that hip-hop artists have little difficulty finding their mainstream flow. On Saturday night, Nicki Minaj spat her brand of hip-hop pop before Jay-Z took to the stage, while on Sunday Britain’s Plan B –back in the arms of his first love, hip-hop, having left the crooning and smart suits of his Strickland Banks era behind him–Professor Green and Tinie Tempah will warm the stage by the Olympic Park for headliner Rihanna. “This is hip-hop’s moment,” said 1Xtra DJ and hip-hop artist Charlie Sloth. “For the BBC to acknowledge that hip-hip is the dominant force in modern culture is huge.”This weekLast week, Ben Cooper, head of Radio 1, said of the Hackney Weekend: “We’re going into an area that I don’t think any commercial operator would have gone into after the unrest of last year. That is the job of the BBC.”

Sloth added that local boys Labrinth–born and raised with nine siblings in Hackney–and Tottenham rapper Wretch 32 playing alongside stars like Jay-Z would send a positive message to the crowd, many of them residents of one of London’s poorest boroughs, who were given priority in the ballot for free tickets. “Seeing these artists up there, coming from the same place as they come from–it gives them hope, it shows what they can achieve.”

But for youth worker turned government youth adviser Shaun Bailey, the gangster lifestyle vaunted by some rappers creates a lack of respect for the black community. “You’ve got a few people who do live a fug-life, a gangster life, and everybody else with their faces pressed up against the glass. They get to see it all, they get to hear it all but they don’t have to suffer any of the consequences, any of the danger,” he said, in a video trailing the debate. “It says to our young people, someone messes with you–blow their head off, literally. And you need to ask yourself: are we building massive hip-hop revenues on the backs of our young dead people?”

- From “Jay-Z at Hackney Weekend: but does hip-hop degrade or enhance?” by Alexandra Topping

Racialicious Crush Of The Week: Vijay Prashad

By Andrea Plaid

Vijay Prashad. Courtesy: Mitra Images

This week’s Loved-Up is courtesy of former Racialicious owner/editor, Carmen Van Kerckhove-Sognonvi.

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Brixton Village Market: The New Brixton [Travel Diaries]

by Guest Contributor Kiratiana Freelon

My dream of visiting the black mecca of London in 2009 ended because of the Tube, when the Victoria line was out of service and a London underground employee convinced me it would take two hours to get to Brixton by bus.

So when I arrived in London early 2012, a voice in the back of my head kept saying, “I must get to Brixton. I must go to Brixton. I must get to Brixton.” After tweeting about my desire, Olympian Andrew Steele tweeted the following to me:

Thankfully, the Victoria line was working, and my journey was a straight shot from Oxford Circus.

As I emerged from the Brixton Tube Station, a steel drum band greeted me on the corner. I stayed to listen to the music, but as it was cold, I finally started walking.

The first thing I spotted was the open–air market, which reminded me of a typical African or Caribbean market—lots of starchy tubers, grand pieces of meat, exotic veggies and fruits, and a ton of random stuff, from socks and bedding to key chains?

But where was the covered market?

Before I headed toward where I thought the covered market was, I spotted a stand selling fresh juices and Jamaican snacks, including beef patties. I decided that a patty would be my introduction to food in Brixton.

I would later regret wasting my appetite.

As I entered the covered market, the first eatery that caught my eye was a small cupcake shop. Then I saw a diminutive gourmet brick oven pizza joint. Then, a Caribbean food and goods place, a hamburger restaurant, a tiny shop selling hair weaves, three Colombian restaurants, a braid shop, a vintage clothes shop, and finally a home-style Thai restaurant. And that was just the beginning. Continue reading

The Friday Mixtape – The Art Of Rap Edition

Not much commentary this week – I’m not feeling well. But, to circle back to The Art Of Rap, which I reviewed earlier this week, here’s a look at the film’s actual soundtrack. Solid enough, but, much like the film, it’s short a few necessary voices who would sound great in a theater setting. So here’s a short collection of MCs and tracks we should’ve heard from: