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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.

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. She’s the one with the camera in her hands wearing a t-shirt in the summer and bubble coat in winter. I first saw Sarah Jane Rhee at a protest. We weren’t yet friends but I watched her running ahead of the march and then saw her blending into the crowd. I was struck by her calm energy and efficient manner. Later, when I saw her photographs from that protest, I was struck by all that she had documented and even more by all that I had missed. I wanted to know this woman who had such a keen eye and seemed to use it to capture us at our best.

Years later, I consider Sarah to be one of my people, one of my most trusted comrades and friends. When Praxis asked me to write something to introduce their readers to Sarah and her work, I jumped at the chance. Sarah and I don’t usually talk about her photographs. We are more likely to exchange Facebook messages and calls about ordering pizza for a meeting or about exchanging keys to her car or about a problem facing one of our common friends.

Last week, I spoke to Sarah on the phone about her photography and social justice. (more…)

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