Worth reading


  • This is a shallow examination of “the chickens coming home to roost,” but I like where the writer was trying to go with it. The “demon” within black men in regard to domestic violence and child abuse is no different from the demon within other men. I imagine domestic abuse in the U.S. is lower than in other countries where women have fewer rights. Irregardless, it’s wrong. But I think what she was trying to get at here is the age old question of “Can we separate the person from the product? Can we separate the artist from the art?” I don’t think we will ever all agree on an answer to that question. As a writer, and therefore artist, I have always believed that the artist and the art are inseparable, because the artist creates the art. Everything we put into the universe is a manifestation of some part of who we are, whether we want it to be, or not. Even when your art is your income, you can’t separate the two, because everything is coming from some level of consciousness or unconsciousness. That’s just my two cents… http://www.forharriet.com/2014/12/the-demon-within-black-men-brilliance.html

“Even though arts leaders and arts journalists don’t always work in tandem, their goals are usually the same: to raise awareness of work that reflects our society”

“There’s been a gradual erosion of local news reporting—not just in the arts, but in all areas—as media outlets have cut back on their reporting staffs,” he says. “This doesn’t mean that people aren’t interested in their communities. It just shows that the economics of the digital age make it harder for local outlets to compete against national and international ones in garnering audiences and ad dollars. Arts leaders can’t rely on third parties anymore to tell their stories.”


My Q&A with Clarence Davis, the NY Daily News’ first black photojournalist

Clarence Davis with Camera

“In 1968, I was still working as a social worker and taking classes at Columbia University. At the time, the black students held a demonstration because they were not allowed to have black history classes at the university. They held a sit-in in Hamilton Hall, and I crawled through a window and locked myself in with the students for a couple of days. I took pictures and sold them to the New York Times, and that was the first time I was ever published. They were covering the story and running my pictures every day, and I even made the cover a few times. I sold all of those photos for something like maybe $75 or $85.” – See more at: http://www.artsatl.com/2014/12/qa-clarence-davis-hammonds-house/#sthash.QW4GNUue.dpuf

“theatre is “a white invention, a European invention and white people go to it””

Acclaimed British actress and director Janet Suzman probably wishes she could rewind back to the time where she said “Theatre is a white invention, a European invention, and white people go to it. It’s in their DNA. It starts with Shakespeare.” Talk about a shit show.

As someone who has worked doing marketing and public relations for non-profit theatres, I can say that getting people of color to become a recurring part of the audience is a challenge that theatres have faced for 30 years. However, to say that ethnic minorities do not go to the theatre because theatre is a white invention is uninformed. I know plenty of Asians, Latinos, and black people who enjoy going to the theatre, and do so frequently. What I don’t know of is many theatre companies who produce work starring and written by Asian, Latino, and black people.

People like to see people who look like them onstage, and they like to see stories that they can relate to onstage. Doing one play with a black person does not guarantee a black audience. Not all people in any ethnic group have the same interests or experiences. I’d like to know what media outlets and community engagement events/programs the Print Room used to promote this play.

I have a feeling that Suzman did not intend to be offensive when she made these comments. She was probably just frustrated, as most artists are, by the lack of ethnic audience representation in the theatre. However, to simplify theatre as a white man’s invention is silly. There are many socio-economic, education, and political barriers that keep people of color away from the theatre in colonized countries. However, that does not mean that they are not creating their own theatre outside of the white establishment. Where there are people of any race/religion/culture/ethnicity, there will always be theatre. That has been the truth since the beginning of time.

Below are links to two responses that leave her without a leg to stand on:

Janet Suzman says black people aren’t interested in theatre. How ridiculous by Bonnie Greer

Theatre does not have one simple definition, of course. People of African and Asian descent have been making it for thousands of years, in open spaces, in temples and on the road.”

“To have a mature career as a theatre-maker of colour is practically unheard of, and so a tradition, a way of being, cannot be passed on, cannot be taught. We are always “in development”; “vibrant”; “emergent”. Our voices are at the mercy of others. We must always explain. Start again.

Actor Janet Suzman criticised for calling theatre ‘a white invention’ by Dalya Alberge and Mark Brown

“The sharing of stories between performers and audience stretches across every single civilisation beginning with the oral tradition of re-enacting folk tales or religious myths, graduating into more formalised forms of structured staging. But this shouldn’t be an argument about what theatre is or who ‘invented’ it. This is a more profound discussion about the relevance of the stories we tell and for whom we tell them.”

“American Sabor” shows how Latin rhythms shaped U.S. sound, at Atlanta History Center

At the Palladium in Nuevo York, where during the 40s.

Check out my latest review for ArtsATL.com!

“the exhibition makes the point that 20th-century Latin music in the United States was inherently political. A display of album cover art and videos throughout the show help tell that story. Unfortunately, the text doesn’t always do its part. Although a discussion of Cesar Chavez’s protests with the United Farm Workers of America mentions that the movement was concurrent with and in solidarity with protests for the civil rights movement, it misses the opportunity to examine how or if the music explored the discrimination faced by black Puerto Ricans, Dominicans and Cubans.”

Read it all here.

The privilege of fear

“Yeah,” he continued anxiously. “I’m okay. I guess. … Do you think they saw which dorm I went back to? Maybe I shouldn’t have told my roommate. Should I stay in my dorm and not go to the library tonight?”

This article was published weeks ago, and I have been meaning to share it.

“I taught my black kids that their elite upbringing would protect them from discrimination. I was wrong.”

Part of privilege is being able to be afraid. Unfortunately, this 15-year-old boy’s fear matters not to anyone, not even other black people. If we’re being candid here, when I cross the street in a parking lot, if I can see the driver of the car is white, I pay extra attention, because I am afraid that they will speed up and try to run over me. This may seem totally irrational, but you weren’t there one summer afternoon when I was in North Carolina , and an older white man put his car in reverse and tried to scare me by threatening to run over me with his pickup truck in the parking lot of a Hardees.

Being black and being fearless has somehow become synonymous. Even in our most terrified moments, look at Ferguson, Missouri, we are considered tough, violent, ruthless, unruly. However, fear is a human thing. Everyone is afraid something, and it is our God given right to be afraid and brave at the same time.

Read it all here.