Tag Archives: Danai Gurira

The Racialicious Links Roundup 10.24.13: POC on film, For Colored Boys, Paloma Noyola Bueno and YA Lit

The fact that audiences are seeing such a varied, nuanced spectrum of black faces isn’t just a matter of poetics, but politics — and the advent of digital filmmaking. For the first hundred years of cinema, when images were captured on celluloid and processed photochemically, disregard for black skin and its subtle shadings was inscribed in the technology itself, from how film-stock emulsions and light meters were calibrated, to the models used as standards for adjusting color and tone.

That embedded racism extended into the aesthetics of the medium itself, which from its very beginnings was predicated on the denigration and erasure of the black body. As far back as “The Birth of a Nation” — in which white actors wearing blackface depicted Reconstruction-era blacks as wild-eyed rapists and corrupt politicians — the technology and grammar of cinema and photography have been centered on the unspoken assumption that their rightful subjects would be white.

The result was that, if black people were visible at all, their images would often be painfully caricatured (see Hattie McDaniel in “Gone With the Wind”) or otherwise distorted, either ashy and washed-out or featureless points of contrast within the frame. As “12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen said in Toronto after the film’s premiere there, “I remember growing up and seeing Sidney Poitier sweating next to Rod Steiger in ‘In the Heat of the Night,’ and obviously [that was because] it’s very hot in the South. But also he was sweating because he had tons of light thrown on him, because the film stock wasn’t sensitive enough for black skin.”

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Racialicious Crush Of The Week: Isaiah Wooden

By Andrea Plaid

Isaiah Wooden (left) with Joe Morton. Photo: courtesy of the interviewee.

I met Isaiah while I was staying at the home of a mutual friend who seems to gather all who are Black and brilliant into his orbit. Isaiah being a native Baltimorean, I was able to chat with him about the physical and socio-economic layout of what I could see of the city when I was there for the Facing Race conference in November. Considering that he’s this week’s Crush, you know I find Isaiah rather amazing, and I’m all about sharing the amazing in this column, right?

So, here’s Isaiah, in his own words…

Isaiah, my first question is: whatcha studying at Stanford that pulled you way away from the East Coast?

First, I have to say: it is such a pleasure to be in conversation with you again! I so deeply appreciate the work that you are doing at Racialicious and, indeed, in the world. To answer the question: I am currently a doctoral candidate in Theater and Performance Studies (T&PS) at Stanford, where I am in the throes of writing a dissertation entitled, The Afterwards of Blackness: Race, Time and Contemporary Performance. The project begins with the premise that one of the more urgent questions to emerge in what has been theorized as the “post-soul,” the “post-black,” and/or the “post-civil rights” era is: what is the time of blackness? Attending to examples of expressive art, I analyze the aesthetic strategies and practices that several contemporary black cultural producers deploy to dramatize the deeply intertwined relationship of blackness and time and, correspondingly, to critique concepts of normative or modern temporality. The project, in many ways, is reflective of my broader teaching and research interests in twentieth and twenty-first century dramatic literature, theory, and criticism; performance studies; African American studies; (black) queer studies; and popular culture. It also evidences my continued engagements with both theory and practice: I have been fortunate to direct a number of the plays that I take up in the dissertation.

Part of what drew me to Stanford in 2008, in fact, was the T&PS Department’s integrative approach to the study of theater and performance. Stanford has been tremendously supportive of what I call my “directing habit” and, indeed, has provided wonderful opportunities for me to flex both theoretically and creatively during my tenure. I was reminiscing just a few days ago with the brilliant playwright A-lan Holt, a recent Stanford alum, about the time we spent in Kampala, Uganda devising a new performance piece that I staged, along with a colleague, at the National Theatre there. As you might imagine, it was a transformative experience. Beautifully, I have had many similar experiences since venturing westward.

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A Couple Of Venus de Milos: The Racialicious Roundtable For The Walking Dead 3.1

Hosted By Fashion and Entertainment Editor Joe Lamour

Danai Gurira as Michonne on “The Walking Dead.” All photos via AMC.

A few weeks ago, I was wasting time on Facebook (as we do) and I scrolled to a post from the official page for The Walking Dead heralding the arrival of one of the most beloved characters on the series, Michonne.

As we all know, it’s really unusual for any television show to celebrate the arrival of a character of color. But, for Michonne–who she is, how she kills zombies (with her trusty razor-sharp katana), how she acts, and who she keeps in her company at all times (a topic we will be discussing in detail this season), is beloved so much by the fans of the book that the powers-that-be have actually been leading with her.

So for this new Walking Dead Roundtable, I gathered a group of Racialicious readers and close buddies: Jeannie Chan, Carly Neely, Kenneth Hwynn, and Elizabeth Smith  to discuss the upcoming season with me. And boy, is there a lot to discuss already.

Warning: Episode spoilers and icky zombie pictures under the cut.

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Race + The Walking Dead: Why Michonne Matters

“The Walking Dead’s” Michonne, as played by Danai Gurira (L) and portrayed in the original comic. (R)

By Guest Contributors Renee and Sparky

At the end of season two, The Walking Dead finally introduced Michonne, a character who fans have highly anticipated. Without doubt, Michonne is a favorite of fans of the original Walking Dead comic-book for her fearlessness, fierceness, and sheer strength of will.  Though she does have her moments of vulnerability, Michonne can always be counted on to have [our hero] Rick’s back and to be a staunch ally.

SPOILERS FOR THE SHOW AND COMIC ARE UNDER THE CUT

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