Archive for the White Privilege Category

Where’s the back-pay for royalties?

Posted in Articles of Interest, Artists, Slavery & Justice, White Privilege on February 14, 2008 by blackrep

LaVern Baker
This is an interesting, albeit old, article by John Floyd from the Miami New Times pointing out the sad and very real obstacles that faced many Black artists in the fifties:

Baker wasn’t the only black artist to have a hit stolen by a paleface milquetoast; Pat Boone built a career on robbing the songs of the Jewels, Fats Domino, Little Richard, the El Dorados, and Ivory Joe Hunter. And who hasn’t tried to forget the Crew Cuts’ vomitous rendering of the Chords’ doo-wop masterpiece “Sh-Boom?” But Baker was the first artist to do something about it: Incensed about the loathsome practice, Baker wrote a letter to her Detroit congressman, who actually managed to convene a federal hearing.

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.

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.

Posted in Events, Genre-defying, Theater, White Privilege on December 12, 2007 by blackrep

Al Jolson

Tabanca’s first incarnation premiered last week. For those of you who missed the stage reading, it was a conglomeration of texts, songs, stories, jokes, taboo nursery rhymes and monologues revolving around constructions of Black masculinity and the crisis of Black manhood/fatherhood. But don’t get it twisted; Tabanca is still in development and has a long way to go before it is fully realized. Printed below is an email response we received to Saturday the 8th’s talkback and performance:

I attended last Saturday evening’s showing of “Tabanca” and stayed for the feedback segment. A question was posed by you which I didn’t not think about deeply enough at the time, but in retrospect discovered I would like to comment on.

The question was related as to how the audience felt the play portrayed Black masculinity in America. The question was answered by a few people (mostly, if not all White I believe) and the conversation moved on.  Upon deeper thought, I realized that I too had an opinion on the matter.

While I think that critiquing the stylistic and linguistic elements of the play is something which anyone can and should do, I worry about accepting criticism about any definition of Black masculinity from Whites. My fear is that Whites will be prone to push for an interpretation of Blacks which plays off of two factors: either they will seek to reify bunk stereotypes held by Whites or they will simply move toward an interpretation which is palatable to Whites or which Whites may consider to be the “right” way Blacks should be defined.

As an admirer of Stokely Carmichael, I find that people, regardless of race, should more or less freely interact with one another romantically, socially, politically, economically, etc. However, in the spirit of Carmichael in addition to my studies as an African/Afro-American Studies student, I find that defining the characteristics of Blacks by Whites is an inherently flawed notion which, even if it produced fruitful results, would be undermined purely by the fact that Whites can never possibly know what it is like to be Black. I also question the wisdom of including non-Blacks in the creative process of Tabanca (though using them as actors in the play doesn’t rub me as troublesome.) These are simply my opinions. The show was excellent and I can find little to criticize about the production itself. I shall (and have) most certainly refer my friends to it.

Posted in Articles of Interest, White Privilege on November 27, 2007 by blackrep

Kill Whitey Dancer
I came across an article from the Washington Post about a dance party in Williamsburg (where else?) called Kill Whitey. The host, a white DJ who came up fetishizing the 69 Boys and Southern Black spring break parties like Freaknik, feels like he’s a representative for colorblind Gen Y hipsters:

Tha Pumpsta, who happens be white, has built a following in the past few years by staging monthly “Kill Whitie” parties in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for large groups of white hipsters. His proclaimed goal, in between spinning booty-bass, Miami-style frenetically danceable hip-hop records that are low on lyrical depth and high on raunchiness, is to “kill the whiteness inside.”

What that means, precisely, is debatable, but it has something to do with young white hipsters believing they can shed white privilege by parodying the black hip-hop life. In this way, they hope to escape their uptight conditioning and get in touch with the looser soul within them.