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.

Ligatures for Black Bodies

By Denise Miller

Denise Miller’s stunning artwork is featured on the home page of Praxis Center’s website. Here, she shares three poems from her forthcoming book, Ligatures for Black Bodies, with Rattle Press in November. For Denise, poetry tells the stories of individuals in order to give the entire society its full voice. In Audre Lorde’s words: “our labor has become more important than our silence.” (more…)

A Storied Neighborhood, Wrapped in Contradiction

By Bill Ayers and Claire van den Heever Writer, educator, activist and long-time resident of Chicago’s Hyde Park community, Bill Ayers recently recorded a one-hour audio walking tour of his neighborhood for the mobile application VoiceMap. “I had a lot … Continue reading

The Healing Powers of American Roots Music

By Stephanie Shonekan, Art, Music, and Pop Culture Contributing Editor During this year’s Grammy Awards Stevie Wonder reminded viewers to appreciate the “healing powers” of music. This lovely sentiment, as well as the well-loved adage that “music is a universal … Continue reading

Lioness of Lisabi: A Black Girl Power Story

by Stephanie Shonekan, Art, Music, and Pop Culture, Contributing Editor Reverberations of the assertion that Black Lives Matter have been heard and felt across the nation, on our street corners and in our communities, on college campuses, and in media … Continue reading

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