Black Song: The Forge And The Flame

This book delves into the story of how Afro-American spiritual was hammered out. Author John Lovell, Jr. goes into great detail of how the African influence catapulted American folklore, and the origin of American popular music.  It also takes into consideration the diverse ethnic groups that came to the Americas and Caribbean from the African continent, also how that influenced African American music.

If a folk song ever grew to epic stature, it is the American Negro spiritual. The thousands of Black creators and irrepressible groups who picked up the songs and kept them alive and moving were certainly perpetually busy. They were spread all over the slave land for hundreds of years. The few thousands songs extent are thus hardly more than a tiny fraction of the total output.

http://sincereignorance.com/2014/10/11/a-history-of-african-american-music/

International Decade for People of African Descent

TRNN was in Harlem this week to cover the commencement of the UN ‘International Decade for People of African Descent.’ Activist Opal Tometi, Actor Danny Glover and President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro were among those who spoke. They encouraged Black activists to build solidarity with the over 200 million people who claim African descent in the Americas.

To watch the entire story click here: http://bit.ly/1j1aj54

http://www.un.org/en/events/africandescentdecade/

Onesimus: Smallpox Inoculation

smallpox

Thanks to the pioneering work of Onesimus, many lives were saved from the smallpox epidemic.

Onesimus (fl. 1706 – 1717), slave and medical pioneer, was born in the late seventeenth century, probably in West Africa, although the precise date and place of his birth are unknown. He first appears in the historical record in the diary of Cotton Mather, a prominent New England theologian and minister of Boston’s Old North Church. Reverend Mather notes in a diary entry for 13 December 1706 that members of his congregation purchased for him “a very likely Slave; a young Man who is a Negro of a promising aspect of temper” (Mather, vol. 1, 579). Mather named him Onesimus, after a biblical slave who escaped from his master, an early Christian named Philemon.

http://hutchinscenter.fas.harvard.edu/onesimus-fl-1706-1717-slave-and-medical-pioneer-was-born

The idea behind this radical new treatment came from Africa, specifically from a slave named Onesimus, who shared his knowledge with Cotton Mather, the town’s leading minister and his legal owner. Boston still suffered dreadfully, but thanks to Onesimus and Mather, the terror linked to smallpox began to recede after Africans rolled up their sleeves—literally—to show Boston how inoculation worked.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2014/10/17/how-african-slave-helped-boston-fight-smallpox/XFhsMMvTGCeV62YP0XhhZI/story.html

http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/broughttolife/people/onesimus

http://www.jstor.org/stable/3491675?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

http://www.blackhistorypages.net/pages/onesimus.php

Inferiority Complex

0000kwame

The Charles H Wright Museum

The Wright Museum

Educational Overview

The Wright Museum’s Education and Public Programs Department provides great aesthetic, interpretive and intellectual experiences, and learning opportunities that can inspire and serve diverse audiences for a lifetime. These experiences and opportunities include an array of impacting and enriching curricular and community educational programs, curatorial and library services, a contemporary artists program, volunteer opportunities, and online resources.

Mission

The Charles H. Wright Museum’s Education and Public Programs Department (EPP) mission is to provide great aesthetic, interpretive and intellectual experiences, and learning opportunities that can inspire and serve diverse audiences for a lifetime. These experiences and opportunities include an array of impacting and enriching curricular and community educational programs, curatorial and library services, a contemporary artists program, volunteer opportunities, and online resources.

 Read more:

http://thewright.org/education
http://www.thewright.org/livinghistory/#LivingHistory

Black Splash Exhibit 


Of the many obstacles that Black swimming culture still faces, perhaps the most daunting, is the very notion that it does not exist: that a Black person enjoying the water is anomalous. Because, in fact, it has existed all along. Photo: Courtesy 12 Miles North

In the great and varied canon of American racial stereotypes, there is a highly detailed list of segregated sports.

Basketball, for instance, is a “Black” sport. Hockey, on the other hand, is for Whites. Surfing falls firmly into the category of “white sport,” somewhere between mountaineering and golf. It could be argued that there is no “whiter” sport in the world that was originally invented by non-whites. There are many ways to illustrate this, but let’s leave it here: It is the only sport since the 1936 summer Olympics in which the 2009 world champion, Mick Fanning, can say something overtly anti-Semitic to a reporter and the outlet that reports the statement will be blamed for bad taste.

 Read more:

http://www.theinertia.com/surf/debunking-the-stereotype-that-…

At their first encounter with sub-Sahara Africans in the 1400’s, Europeans explorers found a culturally aquatic people who learned to swim in the coastal and river villages of west Africa, both men and women, as soon as they could walk. For centuries, Africans were regarded as the world’s greatest swimmers and enslaved African swimmers and divers created enormous wealth for their masters by harvesting pearls, recovering sunken treasures a working in and around the water. Nineteenth and Twentieth Century racism excised this rich aquatic legacy from Black Culture with these tragic consequences. Today, as many as 80% of African Americans are not competent and comfortable swimmers, and African Americans are 3 to 4 times more likely to drown than whites. Celebrate Black History Month with the International Swimming Hall of Fame by learning about the rich history and inspirational stories of Black Swimmers of the past, present and future.

 Read more:

http://www.ishof.org/black_history/

HISTORY

The Blind African Slave or Memoirs of Boyrereau Brinch, Nicknamed Jeffrey Brace, As Told to Benjamin F. Prentiss, Esq.

2004, Edited and with an introduction by Kari J. Winter. University of Wisconsin Press

In 1810 in St. Albans, Vermont, a small town near the Canadian border, a narrative of slavery was published by an obscure printer. Entitled The Blind African Slave or Memoirs of Boyrereau Brinch, Nicknamed Jeffrey Brace, it was greeted with no fanfare, and it has remained for nearly two hundred years a faint spectre in our cultural memory.

Read more:

http://www.ishof.org/black_history/history.htm

Minnesota African American Museum and Cultural Center

The history of African Americans in Minnesota is rich, varied and sometimes difficult. The future for African Americans in the region is bright and beautiful. The Minnesota African American Museum (MAAM) celebrates the contributions made by African Americans in Minnesota and the Midwest. MAAM educates and ensures that future generations will have the knowledge, skills and information they need to compete and succeed for many years to come.”

“MAAM partners with local schools to host field trips, educational workshops and performances. The historic building serves as community space in which diverse organizations can promote cross-cultural understanding. The museum is an interactive classroom, a first-class gathering space and a beacon of hope.

 

 

 Minnesota North Star Pioneers

Native peoples and individuals from the world over have come together to make Minnesota the wonderful patchwork quilt it is. The Minnesota North Star Pioneers exhibit chronicles the journey of African Americans to Minnesota and documents the African American contribution to the settlement and development of the Midwest.

http://www.maamcc.org/exhibits/minnesota-north-star-pioneers.php

http://www.maamcc.org/

Black Baseball

Did you know baseball had a long history of African American players before legend Jackie Robinson ever hit the field? Explore the story of “Negro League” baseball and Minnesota’s many surprising contributions to baseball’s rich history.

http://www.maamcc.org/exhibits/black-baseball.php

American Bandit + Black Literary Magazines

https://i2.wp.com/wvs.topleftpixel.com/photos/2013/02/two-men_snow_back-alley_tall_01.jpg

From the darkness, I approached a woman with a daringness and audacity not seen since the Old West. Her brown eyes lit up. I flashed a gun and any intention of heroics died in an instant. I aimed the barrel at her chest and she froze; her silk green dress ruffled in the wind.

But those shock-stricken eyes were familiar. Thick, white lines of cocaine had nearly erased my memory, but not of her. I blinked and she came back in flashes. I remembered her short, curly black hair and her smooth, dark skin. Danielle, the woman I once loved.

My confident smirk faded and my head sunk low like broken ships into the cold harbor. A shadow lingered above me, not below. She said my name, asking if I needed help. The worry in her voice was a needle to my heart. I could feel the spots and blotches dotted along my arm. I needed help. I needed her.

I didn’t want help, though. Help strangely always arrived and handcuffed me. The blue bandits. Red and blue lights flicked in my eyes just thinking of them. I didn’t want to risk rotting. A drizzle of rain pattered on the worn sleeves of my jacket as I contemplated both lunacy and salvation.

“Just give me the money,” I said.

I closed my eyes held out my hand, expecting crumpled bills or a credit card on my palm. After a few seconds of silence, a soft hand wrapped around mine and squeezed gently. Whispers of support floated through the air.

I squeezed back.

——————————————————–

I’ve been reading more, so that’s inspired me to write more. Not my best work, fairly heavy-handed, but pretty decent for 15 minutes. I’ve been struggling between activist and artist for the past year now.

I’m leaning more towards artist.

Black Literary Magazines to check for:

http://www.unionstationmag.com/issues-3/

http://www.spectermagazine.com/

http://www.ebony.com/entertainment-culture/new-literary-magazine-spook-228#.VQh5M-FsWM8

Oscar Micheaux, Film Industry & More

http://www.biography.com/people/oscar-micheaux-9407584

Black Film Industry Before Oscar

As centennial commemorations of DW Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation” gear up, a new book by historian Cara Caddoo proves African Americans helped invent the movies a decade before the first Hollywood film. Published by Harvard University Press, “Envisioning Freedom: Cinema and the Building of Modern Black Life” uncovers the forgotten history of black inventors, filmmakers, and exhibitors.

“A lot of people assume that African Americans just followed in the footsteps of white filmmakers,” says Caddoo, an Assistant Professor at Indiana University, Bloomington, “That’s really a whitewashing of American film history.”

Years before the 1915 debut of Griffith’s pro-KKK film, which is widely credited for inaugurating “modern American cinema,” African Americans produced their own films and built their own theaters. Caddoo explains that this began in the 1890s–more than a decade before Hollywood, and long before the rise of better-known black filmmakers like Oscar Micheaux.

When “Birth of a Nation” debuted, African Americans launched the first mass black protest movement of the twentieth century. By that time, motion pictures were deeply integrated into black life. African Americans had produced films and used them to fundraise, build businesses, construct theaters, and socialize in an era of racial segregation. Caddoo explains, “They were fighting to reclaim a form of popular culture that they had helped create. Tens of thousands of African Americans participated–housewives, gangsters, ministers, and schoolchildren, from Hawaii to Massachusetts, and from the Panama Canal to Canada.”

http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/new-book-shows-african-americans-helped-invent-the-movies-20150209

http://www.amazon.com/Horror-Noire-Blacks-American-Present/dp/0415880203#

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-book-shows-african-americans-helped-invent-the-movies-300032588.html

The Boondocks: In Hindsight

Season 4 of the Boondocks was probably one of the best examples of Seasonal Rot, where a show gets progressively worse with each season. Which is sad, because the show had some of the cleverest writing, most beautiful animation, and likable characters I’ve seen in a long time.

For me, seasons 1 and 2 are perfection of comedic satire. While season 2 was more outlandish and less grounded in reality than Season 1, it captured the feel of the comic strip perfectly. The show constantly caused controvery from having Dr. King say the N-word to directly calling out BET in two episodes. Season 3 lost the social commentary, but not the humor.

Season 4, neither profound nor funny, was panned.

Aaron McGruder, the creator of the season had suddenly left. And once season 4 was announced, his lack of involvement was announced soon after:

“As the world now knows, The Boondocks will be returning for a fourth season, but I will not be returning with it. I’d like to extend my gratitude to Sony and Adult Swim for three great seasons”.

“I created The Boondocks two decades ago in college, did the daily comic for six years, and was showrunner on the animated series for the first three seasons. The Boondocks pretty much represents my life’s work to this point. Huey, Riley, and Granddad are not just property to me. They are my fictional blood relatives. Nothing is more painful than to leave them behind”.

“To quote a great white man, ‘Hollywood is a business’. And to quote another great white man, “Don’t hold grudges”.

“What has never been lost on me is the enormous responsibility that came with The Boondocks – particularly the television show and it’s relatively young audience. It was important to offend, but equally important to offend for the right reasons. For three seasons I personally navigated this show through the minefields of controversy. It was not perfect. And it definitely was not quick. But it was always done with a keen sense of duty, history, culture, and love. Anything less would have been simply unacceptable”.

“As for me, I’m finally putting a life of controversy and troublemaking behind me with my upcoming Adult Swim show, BLACK JESUS”. –

Source

In my opinion, either 1 of 2 things happened:

1: He lost the rights in a dispute.

2: He sold the Boondocks to move on to other projects.

Either one is unfortunate, but based on his “don’t hold grudges” comment, I’m guessing he lost the rights to his show.

The Boondocks was a property that could’ve been handed down to the right people, and could’ve gone in so many different directions.

Take the concept is that Huey is in love for example. Whether it’s with Jasmine or another cynical radical revolutionary remains to be seen. Perhaps, never to be seen. There are probably hundreds of writers slamming their heads on the keyboard. A show that had so much more to dive into.

There were entire arcs from the comics that could’ve made great material for the show, yet were completely abandoned. Like when Huey and Caesar (who was never introduced in the TV show) tried to create an alternative media outlet.

Or Jasmine’s struggle with racial identity.

Or day to day racial prejudice.

I haven’t even bother to watch Black Jesus, not because I think it’s bad. But because it truly seems like this one gag of “how funny would a black Jesus be?”. Same with Black Dynamite, while hilarious, it’s often void of the social consciousness that the Boondocks has (or had). And because it’s a period piece, you don’t get to see much outside 70’s African American culture. Whereas the Boondocks is the something where you can comment on African American culture, history, and progression as a whole.

This is why, personally, I’m always wary when people of color decide to sell off their ideas and brands. Like when the natural hair company and African American owned Carol’s Daughter was bought by L’Oreal Monpolizes and cooperate is something that can screw over anyone of any ethnic background, but in a country where minorities already own so little, for once, I’d like to see this trend end. Something becoming mainstream and then taken over.

On the bright side, these rights can be bought back,

But for now, the Boondocks has become a parody of itself.

Sources

http://colorlines.com/archives/2014/03/aaron_mcgruder_sorta_explains_why_he_left_the_boondocks.html

http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/aaron-mcgruder-finally-explains-why-he-left-the-boondocks

http://www.okayplayer.com/news/aaron-mcgruder-not-involved-boondocks-fourth-season.html

http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/10/24/358263731/a-black-cosmetic-company-sells-or-sells-out

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