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.
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…)
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
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
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
By Stephanie Shonekan, Contributing Editor, Art, Music, & Pop Culture Throughout the month of November, the Praxis Center website is featuring the stunning photography of Iris Dawn Parker. An African American whose lens has been focused on the everyday lives … Continue reading
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
By T.S. Leonard Editor’s note: Since the second half of the twentieth century, music critics and scholars have talked about the “whitening of black music.” This phenomenon is ever present on the airwaves and on music shows as African American … Continue reading
By Stephanie Shonekan, Contributing Editor, Art, Music, and Pop Culture If African American musical culture is a stream flowing into Africa during the twentieth century, Michael Jackson represents the watershed because he was a significant and perplexing icon of pop … Continue reading
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
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
By Mariame Kaba and Andrea Smith, reposted from Prison Culture Before writing this piece, we thought about whether we should bother. Was this a discussion worth engaging? Ultimately, we decided that we had some thoughts to share and that it … Continue reading
Reposted from Unsettling America: Decolonizing in Theory and Practice Transformative art is rule-breaking art, all the more so when addressing the obsolete norms, values and laws hindering Indigenous rights and Decolonizing Gender. For the purposes herein, Decolonizing Gender is defined … Continue reading
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