By Kendra James On Thursday night WNYC presented A Raisin In The Sun: Inside Look at…
Tag: Denzel Washington
By Andrea Plaid
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.
By Andrea Plaid
Having watched several of Mira Nair’s films repeatedly, I swear her guiding directive is, “If you’re 1) brown, 2) grown, and 3) sexy, you need to be in my film.”
By Guest Contributor Kendra James
[Note: The version of the film I saw was a screener in NYC about two weeks ago, and I’m writing this having not seen the final Jan 20th release. If anything has drastically changed (like –I hope– the horrid opening credits sequence in bold, unevenly placed red text) I invite notes about that via comments!]
- The summary, as provided by IMDB: “A crew of African American pilots in the Tuskegee training program, having faced segregation while kept mostly on the ground during World War II, are called into duty under the guidance of Col. A.J. Bullard,” is fairly accurate.
- There hasn’t been a movie screaming, “GEORGE LUCAS MADE ME!” this loudly since Attack of the Clones. Sometimes, it isn’t a bad thing. (And since Lucas, the film’s executive producer, recently claimed this is as close to Episode VII as we’ll ever get, maybe that’s what he was aiming for.)
- Red Tails features a wonderful young cast of black actors who should be on all our radars. You’ll feel better for having a little Nate Parker in your life– and don’t be ashamed if you have flashbacks to the first time you saw Will Smith in Air Force gear in Independence Day. It’s okay, you’re not alone.
For all the red tape and controversy surrounding its release, Red Tails doesn’t explicitly touch upon race as much as it could. Yes, there are the requisite scenes where older, white members of the army tell Bullard (Terrance Howard) that negro pilots can’t ever be expected to fly proper cover for his white bomber pilots; a scene where one of the Tuskegee crew, Joe “Lightning” (David Oyelowo) Little, gets into a fight with white airmen inside their Whites Only soldiers’ bar; and be sure to listen for any and all references of “Black Jesus.” Race is certainly mentioned, and important part of the film. But given the time period, are there other racial issues they could have given a platform? And should the film be chastised for silencing the experience of all African-Americans of the era – specifically women?
More detailed SPOILERS are under the cut.
By Arturo R. García
It was almost enough to make you say, F-ck The Muppets.
No sooner did Eddie Murphy give up his shot at hosting the Academy Awards in a heart-warming display of solidarity with Bro – I mean, Brett – Ratner than an online campaign recommending Kermit The Frog and friends get the job pick up some steam.
The Muppets hosting The Oscars? The most interesting part of that pairing would be figuring out which half should feel more insulted.
But at least Muppets fans are coming at this from a place of honest – if at times overbearing (wokka wokka!) – enthusiasm. It’s been more disappointing to scan around other sites and see the same basic wishlist of prospective replacements:
- Stephen Colbert/Tina Fey
- Neil Patrick Harris
- Somebody associated with Glee
- Nobody at all
- Not to be outdone, the Huffington Post also nominated a muppet, albeit one with his own talk show.
- And one black person
With such a lack of creativity from normally creative people (Tracy Morgan? Oprah? Chris Rock?) you’d think Ratner was still doing the show! O-HOHOHOHO!
But seriously, folks. We here at The R can do better than that – especially since Rick Perry’s botched his audition last night. And our nominees are …
Read the Post Chromatic Casting: Finding A Host For The 2012 Academy Awards
By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid Hat tip to reproductive-rights activist Shelby Knox for this: today…