Archive for January, 2008

Angela Davis to speak at Brown

Posted in Education, Events, Slavery & Justice on January 27, 2008 by blackrep

Angela Davis

Social activist and educator Angela Davis will deliver the 12th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture at Brown University on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008, at 4 p.m. in the Salomon Center for Teaching, Room 101. Her talk, titled “Recognizing Racism in the Era of Neo-Liberalism,” is free and open to the public.  

Through her activism and her scholarship in recent decades, Davis is known for her deep involvement in our nation’s quest for social justice. Her work as an educator – both at the university level and in the larger public sphere – emphasizes the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial and gender equality.

Davis has spent the last 15 years at the University of California–Santa Cruz, where she is professor of history of consciousness, an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program, and professor of feminist studies. Her teaching career has also included positions at San Francisco State University, Mills College, UC–Berkeley, UCLA, Vassar, the Claremont Colleges, and Stanford University.

Davis is the author of eight books and has lectured throughout the United States and around the world. In recent years a persistent theme of her work has been the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. She draws upon her own experiences in the early 1970s as a person who spent 18 months in jail and on trial after being placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List.” She has also conducted extensive research on numerous issues related to race, gender and imprisonment. Her most recent books are Abolition Democracy and Are Prisons Obsolete? She is now completing a book on Prisons and American History.

Davis is a member of the executive board of the Women of Color Resource Center, a San Francisco Bay Area organization that promotes the political, economic, social and cultural well-being of women and girls of color in the United States. She also works with Justice Now, which provides legal assistance to women in prison and engages in advocacy for the abolition of imprisonment as the dominant strategy for addressing social problems. Internationally, she is affiliated with Sisters Inside, a similar organization based in Queensland, Australia.

Like many other educators, Davis is especially concerned with the general tendency to devote more resources and attention to the prison system than to educational institutions. Having helped to popularize the notion of a “prison industrial complex,” she now urges her audiences to think seriously about the future possibility of a world without prisons and to help forge a 21st-century abolitionist movement.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture

The Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture was established at Brown University in 1996, with former New York Mayor David Dinkins as the inaugural speaker. Past lecturers have included best-selling author Cornel West; Hugh B. Price, president and CEO of the National Urban League; Lee Mun Wah, community therapist, poet and filmmaker; Johnnetta B. Cole, professor emerita of Emory University and president emerita of Spelman College; Randall Kennedy, professor of law at Harvard Law School; Michael Lomax, president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund; and Chicana activist and author Elizabeth Martinez.


Black Magic

Posted in Articles of Interest, Slavery & Justice, White Privilege on January 27, 2008 by blackrep

Earl Monroe
ESPN Original Entertainment, in collaboration with Shoot the Moon Productions and award-winning director Dan Klores, has announced plans for ESPN to televise a two-part, four-hour film tentatively titled Black Magic about the injustice which defined the civil rights movement in America, as told through the lives of basketball players and coaches who attended Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Co-produced by basketball legend and Winston-Salem State University graduate Earl The Pearl Monroe and former New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell, the film will be aired in March 2008 with extensive support across a variety of ESPN networks and media platforms.

“Black Magic is an important story that we look forward to telling on all of our platforms,” said John Skipper, ESPN executive vice president, content. “It’s a living history of sports and culture that invites a broader discussion about race, society and how we think about modern day athletes and sports. It’s the kind of project we embrace wholeheartedly. Dan Klores continues to prove his mettle as a filmmaker and his rare ability to reveal what we thought we knew, but turns out we didn’t know at all.”

“This is a story of injustice, refuge and joy,” said Klores, “It’s an epic that has not been told.” Klores added that Ben Jobe, the 75-year-old retired coach at six HBCUs, and the 15th child of Tennessee sharecroppers, best summarized the film when he said, “I remember when it went from ‘Whaddya want?’ to ‘May I help you?’”
From more than 200 hours of interviews and footage, the film reveals the plight of these players and coaches as a stark but proud one, filled with obstacles at every turn. From separate leagues and facilities, to championship games and titles that never qualified for the history books, all the way to secret games played between blacks and whites in defiance of the law, players and programs at HBCUs not only thrived, but laid the groundwork for the proliferation of the modern athlete. Klores conducted interviews with Willis Reed, Avery Johnson, Ben Wallace, John Chaney, Bob Love, Al Attles, PeeWee Kirkland, Earl Lloyd, Dick Barnett, Woody Sauldsberry, Cleo Hill, Bob Dandridge, Sonny Hill, Perry Wallace, Dave Robbins, Harold Hunter, Miriam Samuels, Charles Oakley, Donnie Walsh, Bobby Cremins, Howie Evans, the widows of coaches Clarence ‘Big House’ Gaines and John McLendon, historians Skip Gates, Cleveland Sellers and Milton Katz, amongst others.
Klores’s directing credits include The Boys of Second Street Park and Ring of Fire: the Emile Griffith Story which both premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. In addition, his recent film, Viva Baseball captured the 2006 BANFF global award and the Imagen Foundation’s 2006 Best Documentary for TV or Film award. His feature length documentary, Crazy Love, to be released on June 1 by Magnolia Films, also was premiered at Sundance. Crazy Love, the rollicking and disturbing story of an obsessive relationship between a married man and single woman, won the Jury Prize at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.

NAJEE ALI: An Open letter to BET Founder Bob Johnson

Posted in Uncategorized on January 27, 2008 by blackrep

 Robert Johnson

Dear Bob,  the comments you in made in attacking Sen. Obama this past Sunday at a South Carolina church before your introduction of Sen. Hillary Clinton demonstrates that it doesn’t matter how much money you have it can’t buy class or, dignity. Bob, while you were shucking, grinning and jiving in front of the Clintons, are you that stupid that you didn’t care that you came across as a bootlicking Uncle Tom? Your attack on Sen. Obama continues to prove how ruthless you continue to be. In your own words which I will now quote you by, “As an African American, I am frankly insulted the Obama campaign would imply that we are so stupid that we would think Hillary and Bill Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues — when Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood; I won’t say what he was doing, but he said it in his book — when they have been involved,” Johnson said. We all know that Sen. Obama wrote about his teenage drug use — marijuana, and alcohol in his memoir “Dreams from My Father.” That’s old news. Bob, for you to attack Sen. Obama’s character shows what a coon you really are. Bob, you are the founder of BET which is the laughing stock of African Americans who care about positives images. Yes, you are successful as a capitalist but a failure in having any morals and helping to support your own race. The fact that Sen. Clinton or anyone would want or accept your endorsement is appalling and for me calls their basic character, let alone judgment, into question. Over the last 25 years you and BET have done more to propagate some of the most harmful, destructive, and degradation of African Americans in the history of popular culture. The booty shaking videos, misogony, gangsterism, violence, alcohol and drug use you allowed to air on BET on your way to becoming a billionaire was all done for the love of money. And now YOU want to take cheap shots at Sen.Obama?. I am constantly amazed at how you are allowed to speak and move in decent society. But, I guess in your case, money triumphs morals. After seeing you put on your best Stephen Fetchit routine this Sunday in front of Sen. Clinton as she sat back and enjoyed campaigning with you, I’m understanding a lot better why the country is calling for Sen. Obama and change!


Daisy Davis-Quick

Speak The Truth Ras

Posted in Artists, Education, Film, Hip Hop on January 15, 2008 by blackrep

Big ups to J Bro and Tigerlily for the expert production on this new joint reflecting on their recent viewing of The Great Debaters.

I am my hair

Posted in Education, White Privilege on January 15, 2008 by blackrep

Bluest Eye
Interesting email in my box, especially as it relates to our latest production: The Bluest Eye (opening Feb 2). In response to their daughter’s feelings of alienation, a couple wrote a book about the pros of nappy hair:

Hello Family and Friends,

As many of you know, Elliot and I have two beautiful children, Taylor and Joshua. Taylor has been blessed with a beautiful head of hair just like her fathers, long and curly. Before her brother was born, Taylor learned a hardlife lesson, people aren’t always kind, especially when there is something about you that is different from those around you and in her case, it was her hair. As a result of this lesson, Elliot and I set out to write a poem,which later turned into a book, to help Taylor understand how blessed she is and how wonderfully made she is in God’s eyes. Every part of her makes herunique, including her curly hair.

In January of 2007 we self published the book and since that time have sold (marketed at no cost) a little over 1700 copies both in the US and thanks to my girlfriend LaDawn, in London as well. The book is now in the hands of Scholastic. We do NOT have a contract with them as they are not sold on the books ability to make money which translates into Elliot and I spreading the word about the book and praying that our family and friends will do the same.

The gloves are off and the Clinton camp is crying “house negro”

Posted in Articles of Interest, White Privilege on January 15, 2008 by blackrep

Obama trailed by Clinton
A really good thread was started this morning in my inbox. It began with a reference and an open question:

Did the Clinton camp really mean to suggest that Obama is a sellout???

To which the next participant replied:

I see that the politics of divide and conquer are still as strong as ever. In the long run I think this will end up hurting the Clinton campaign. To even insinuate that Dr. Martin Luther King played a minor role in the civil rights struggle is beyond lunacy. As for senator Obama’s past drug use it appears that Bill has forgotten his draft dodging, blunt smoking, infidelity days. The fact to the matter is that no one is perfect (just take a look at King George). However, if you are going to go on record and attack someone for past actions take a look at yourself first in the mirror. And if that mirror breaks keep your trap shut. I was looking for a joint ticket but now I think that is highly unlikely.

To which the first poster replied:

i certainly agree that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones; however, do you believe that the clintons’ meant to suggest that barack was a dope feign turned sellout?  i don’t know where i net out on such.  the media ‘spin’ machine is burning the midnight oil on this one.

to be honest, i don’t think this necessarily means a joint ticket is implausible.  afterall, mudslinging in the early days is par for the course.  a look at history proves that even seemingly arch rivals can still concede and join forces when it comes to pennsylvania avenue.  for example, the kerry/edwards courtship.  think about the history here….if barack and clinton join forces, it will be the first time since 1960 (JFK and LBJ) that two senators and former Democratic rivals not only appear on the same ticket but have a good shot at the white house…who wouldn’t want to follow in those footsteps….i’m still optimistic 😉

URI Exhibit: Multiculturalism

Posted in Artists, Events, Film, Slavery & Justice, White Privilege on January 10, 2008 by blackrep

I usually shy away from exhibits/presentations that celebrate any form of “multiculturalism” because I feel that the term is tired; it doesn’t connote the complexity and contributions of Black people, the centrality of their blackness, or other forms of otherness, but merely casts them in a wide net of feel-good tokenism. That being said, visual art is more often than not a subjective experience for viewers anyway, the currator’s notes are less central than lyrics in music or a speaker’s invocation. Betty Laduke’s work is truly beautiful and it is exciting that URI’s Providence Campus Gallery will be presenting it 9:00am – 4:00pm throughout the month. “Trace’s of The Trade” screens at 7pm on the 31st of January in conjunction.