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, 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 information for them to carry, which makes their walk more labored than their non-black counterparts in the USA. I hoped that the experience would be beneficial, if for no other reason, to flesh out their historical knowledge, and to show them the rare occurrence of a major feature film directed by a black woman. But most of all, I hoped it would raise their awareness and enhance their sense of identity. This was a risky endeavor because most of their friends spent the holiday watching popular action and horror films. But it was important to me that my children spend the time on this particular film at this particular time.
The tragic murders of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice set the stage for my three children to experience Selma. Within the last year, our family discussions about race in America have been more urgent because of the tangible visual evidence, thanks to smart phone cameras and footage, that racial history continues to evolve and that it impacts us in a real way right now. Our frequent conversations about race are complicated because our children’s understandings of blackness are shaped by the different constructions of blackness within their family. (more…)
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