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Art, Music, & Pop Culture

The role of artists in society has always been important. Artists raise awareness about social issues and are often the register of the times. They can reinforce the status quo or they can serve as a catalyst for change. Popular Culture often illuminates where we are all are as a people and a species. We invite critical essays and thinking on art of all types today in the US and abroad.

What Fela Kuti Teaches Us About the Media’s Response to Charlie Hebdo and Black Lives

By Stephanie Shonekan | In These Times

I was not surprised when the world mourned the murder of 17 people in France and ignored 2,000 murders in Baga, Nigeria, the same week. To be fair, the Charlie Hebdo shootings came out of the blue while the Baga massacre was just another episode in a six-year long campaign by fundamentalist Islamic group Boko Haram, which has killed thousands and displaced hundreds of thousands in their mission to eradicate Western-style education.

When Western media and the global public finally noticed, the belated attention felt like a plate of leftovers—cold, stale and unpalatable. For those who are constantly affected by these events, being treated as an afterthought was yet another indication of whom the West values. The 2,000 dead bodies that lay strewn and ignored along the streets of Baga evoked images of the body of Mike Brown as it lay on the streets of Ferguson while four hours ticked by. This is why the #BlackLivesMatter movement is so critical: Again and again, the world shows us that black lives matter least, whether those black lives—and deaths—occur in Africa or in the Diaspora. (more…)

Sarah: Caretaker of the People’s Camera

By Mariame Kaba Editor’s note: Praxis Center is thrilled to feature the photographs of Sarah Jane Rhee on our home page for the month of February. If you are at a protest or action in Chicago, you can’t miss her. … Continue reading

Why Selma Matters: A Mother’s Perspective

By Stephanie Shonekan, Art, Music, and Pop Culture On MLK day, I took our three teenage children to watch Selma. I worried about the film’s effect on them because I knew it would provide another heavy layer of heart-wrenching historical … Continue reading

Bodies for Bullets

By Denise Miller Author’s note: I wrote this poem to highlight the continued and deadly disregard for female bodies and brown bodies. The italicized sections however have been taken directly from the Declaration of Independence. Please feel free to add … Continue reading

Hip-hop and Ferguson: Black Rage, Don’t Shoot, Be Free

By Stephanie Shonekan In recent years, there has been a growing fear among some black music scholars, critics, practitioners, and partakers that its power as a significant expressive outlet for the community has been eroded. Commercialization, globalization, capitalism, media mania, … Continue reading

Lupita: One Small Step for Dark Girls?

By Stephanie Shonekan, Contributing Editor, Art, Music & Pop Culture In the week of April 21, 2014 People Magazine announced their long anticipated choice of “Most Beautiful Woman” Lupita Nyongo. It was not unexpected because the Kenyan actress had become … Continue reading

Pratibha Parmar Brings Alice Walker’s Art to Life

Repost from Women in the World. Samina Ali interviews Pratibha Parmar, who most recently directed Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth, celebrating the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Parmar speaks about retelling Walker’s words. Read more at … Continue reading

New Africa Center Launches in Style

The New Africa Center, formerly known as the Museum for African Art, threw itself a grand launch party last Thursday in Harlem.  The new institution will continue to focus on art, but also on the pressing issues and opportunities of … Continue reading