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NewBlackMan (in Exile)

The Digital Home for Mark Anthony Neal

Updated: 2018-03-18T07:14:56.284-04:00


Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Blues: A Conversation with Cornel West


'In February 2018, the Cambridge Public Library hosted a conversation between Harvard University professors Tommie Shelby, Brandon M. Terry, Elizabeth Hinton, and Cornel West. The occasion was the publication of two books, To Shape a New World: Essays on the Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr., published by Harvard University Press, and Fifty Years Since MLK, published by Boston Review. 2018 marks the fiftieth anniversary of MLK's death, and the conversation that night revolved around his fraught legacy and what activism today can learn from it. This podcast presents a small selection of Cornel West's remarks on MLK's politics, life, and dream.'
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What Happens When White Parents Adopt Black Children and Move to Black Neighborhoods?


'Sometimes the best intentions to bolster identity and culture contribute to gentrification and displacement of the Black community. YES! Magazine’s Bailey Williams interviews contributor Angela Tucker about the unique challenges of White parents raising adopted Black children.'
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Meshell Ndegeocello Revels in the Soundtrack of Black Life in the 80s


Meshell Ndegeocello Revels in the Soundtrack of Black Life in the 80s by Mark Anthony Neal | @NewBlackMan | NewBlackMan (in Exile)Black R&B in the 1980s is mostly remembered for the folk who got out; in Janet Jackson, the late Prince, Lionel Richie, the late Michael Jackson, and to a lesser extent Whitney Houston -- who was introduced via collaborations with R&B stalwarts Teddy Pendergrass and Jermaine Jackson -- were figures who crossed-over the mainstream, setting the path for the success, a generation later, for Beyonce, Usher Raymond, Alicia Keys, and so many others that we just refer to as pop stars.Yet the very foundations of R&B in the 1980s were lesser known R&B acts like The S.O.S. Band, Cheryl Lynn,  Paul Laurence. Kashif, Midnight Star, Atlantic Starr, The Deele, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Freddie Jackson, Full Force, Roger Troutman and Zapp, New Edition, and Luther Vandross -- and the producers that served as their connective tissue like the The Calloway Brothers, Mtume, Marcus Miller, Reggie Lucas, James Carmichael, the aforementioned Laurence and Kashif, and the young collaborative teams of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (Flyte Tyme), and Antonio “LA” Reid and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds (LaFace),    Save the role that Flyte Time and LaFace played in the crossover successes of Janet Jackson, Toni Braxton, TLC  and Whitney Houston (in the 1990s), these are artist that have been largely given short shrift in remembrances of the period; Reggie Lucas’s role as the primary producer on Madonna’s debut in 1983 is but one example of what has been overlooked.A decade later it was on Madonna’s boutique label Maverick, that Meshell Ndegeocello recorded her first album Plantation Lullabies.  Twenty-five years after her stellar debut, Ndegeocello offers Ventriloquism, her twelfth studio recording and fourth for the French indie label Naïve.  Ventriloquism, is a fitting tribute to the R&B of the 1980s and early 1990s that Ndegeocello came of age listening to.  As Ndegeocello explained recently to Billboard, “All of this was a soundtrack to my youth. And the D.C. Go-Go bands always would take the hits of the time and filter them through their collective lens.” Like those Go-Go bands, Ndegeocello takes license,   offering thoughtful and at times original interpretations of R&B staples from The Force MDs, Al B. Sure, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, Janet Jackson, George Clinton and Prince.Ndegeocello plays it mostly straight on the opening track, “I Wonder If I Take You Home” (1985), Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam’s Full Force produced technofunk classic. Lisa Velez's career was a legitimate precursor to that of Jennifer Lopez -- a Nuyorican raised Boricua -- and answers questions about the so-called cultural appropriation of Bruno Mars before such questions can be asked.  That Ndegeocello referred to Mars’ music as karaoke, has less to do with encroachments, and more to do with the derivative nature of his music, particularly in comparison to the actual contributions that Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam made to the culture thirty-years ago.“I Wonder If I Take You Home” is one of the few tracks in which Ndegeocello lets loose; even on “Atomic Dog 2017” she chooses restraint, though turning the tables on Ralph Tresvant’s “Sensitivity” (easily the best single of the New Edition solo efforts), which she transforms into a bluesey shuffle, accompanied with cowbells. The Force MDs “Tender Love” gets a little bit of that gutbucket swing, though pitched as a waltz. “Those songs by Ralph Tresvant and The Force MDs” Ndegeocello shared with Billboard, “were the Black wedding songs...They all spoke of this amazing tenderness.”Like her classic Bitter (1999), and so many of her recent efforts like Weather (2011), Comet, Come to Me (2014), and Devil’s Halo (2009), Ventriloquism finds the bassist impressionistic and working the contours of musical interiority. Indeed the seeds of this[...]

Soul of a Nation at Crystal Bridges: The Legacy of AfriCOBRA


'Founding AfriCOBRA artists Jae Jarrell, Wadsworth Jarrell, Carolyn Lawrence, and Gerald Williams discuss the formation of the 1968 artist collective in Chicago, share their artistic philosophy of the Black aesthetic, and talk about the artworks included in the exhibition. Moderated by Romi Crawford.' -- Crystal Bridges
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Historian Ashley D. Farmer on Women and the Work of building Black Power


'Historian Ashley D. Farmer examines the radical work of women in the Black Power movement - as a multigenerational effort to redefine and reclaim Blackness, and as a challenge to Eurocentric gender politics, imperialism and the supremacy of capital, within Black political movements, and across society at large. Farmer is author of Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era from UNC Press.
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Why Athlete Activists Matter: A Conversation with 10-Year NBA Veteran Etan Thomas


On this episode of Edge of Sports with Dave Zirin, 10 year NBA veteran Etan Thomas discusses his new book We Matter: Athletes and Activism.
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The FBI's New Identity Weapon is Aimed Straight at Black Activists


'Journalist Candice Bernd explains how the FBI's use of the "Black Identity Extremist" classification is being used to monitor and prosecute Black activists involved with self-defense and anti-police movements, starting with surveillance triggered by First Amendment protected speech, and echoing the racial and political bias of COINTELPRO. Bernd wrote the article "As Case Against So-Called "Black Identity Extremist" Proceeds, Emails Reveal Dallas FBI's Surveillance of First Amendment Activity" for Truthout.

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In Junot Diaz's 'Islandborn,' A Curious Child Re-Creates Her Dominican Roots


'The Pulitzer Prize-winning Junot Diaz's new children's book follows Lola, a young Dominican-American who is "haunted by the fact that she was born on an island that she can't remember.' -- NPR
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'Public Art Fund Talks' at The New School: Yinka Shonibare MBE


'Yinka Shonibare’s work explores race, class, cultural identity, and colonialism, primarily through use of brightly colored “African” batik fabric. The British-Nigerian artist has utilized these patterns in many forms and mediums to mine their history and associations with the European colonization of West Africa, and to question the meaning of cultural and national definitions. Shonibare’s talk at The New School accompanies Public Art Fund’s upcoming exhibition, Wind Sculpture (SG) I, a new sculpture commissioned for Doris C. Freedman Plaza at the southeast entrance to Central Park.' -- The New School
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Tiny Desk Concert: Jamila Woods


'Singer, songwriter, poet, educator and community organizer Jamila Woods is also a freedom fighter: a voice that celebrates black ancestry, black feminism and black identity. "Look at what they did to my sisters last century, last week," goes a line from "Blk Girl Soldier," her powerful opening number at the Tiny Desk.' -- 
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Soul of a Nation at Crystal Bridges: Artists Betye Saar and Alison Saar in Conversation


'In this conversation, artist Betye Saar discusses her life, work, and legacy with her daughter, artist Alison Saar. The discussion spotlights Saar’s works included in the show, such as The Liberation of Aunt Jemima, as well as touch on the relationship of mother and daughter artists and two generations of work.' -- Crystal Bridges
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TimesTalks | Patrisse Cullors and Angela Davis in Conversation with Melissa Harris-Perry


'Join Patrisse Khan-Cullors, artist, freedom fighter and Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter, and Angela Davis, world-renowned activist, academic, and author, for an important and timely conversation about survival, strength, and seeking justice for those victimized by the powerful with Melissa Harris-Perry, professor, television host, political commentator and contributing writer for The New York Times. In honor of Black History Month, and the release of Cullors' latest book "When They Call You a Terrorist, A Black Lives Matter Memoir," they will discuss the continuing violence and racial uprisings currently plaguing our country, how we change the culture that declares innocent black life expendable, and how protest in the interest of the most vulnerable comes from love. In collaboration with Kaufman Music Center.'
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Tomi Adeyemi's 'Children of Blood and Bone': The New Fantasy Series Taking the Book World by Storm


'Children of Blood and Bone is the new novel taking the book world by storm. The young adult fantasy features a cast of all black characters who journey on an epic adventure to restore magic to their African land.  It is the first in a series of young adult books by up-and-coming Nigerian-American author Tomi Adeyemi. At 24 years old, she obtained a whopping six figure advance for her West African-inspired story, which draws on the modern day parallels of police brutality and empowerment of women and girls, and dissects them in the fantasy world of "Orisha."' -- The Takeaway 
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Lessons in Love from Holland-Dozier-Holland


'Vinson Cunningham wrote in The New Yorker that, “with all due respect to Smokey Robinson, the Motown Sound as we know it was created by Holland-Dozier-Holland.” Brian Holland, Eddie Holland, and Lamont Dozier wrote “Heat Wave,” “Baby Love,” “How Sweet It Is,” and many other hits. Cunningham says that those classics reflect a uniquely tragic view of love: it’s guaranteed to go bad before it even starts.' -- New Yorker Radio 

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Left of Black S8:E14: Melissa Harris Perry and Brittney Cooper


Left of Black S8:E14:  Melissa Harris Perry and Brittney CooperOn location in Winston-Salem, NC at Wake Forest University Left of Black host Mark Anthony Neal is joined by Melissa Harris-Perry, the Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University and scholar and author Brittney Cooper (@ProfessorCrunk), author of Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower. Professor Harris-Perry is the author of the award-winning Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought, and Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America. She is the founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University. Professor Cooper is Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers University.  She is also the author of Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women (University of Illinois Press), and a co-editor of The Crunk Feminist Collection (The Feminist Press 2017) allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="515" src="" width="860">[...]

Jazz Night in America: Christian Scott Performs Songs From The Centennial Trilogy


'Spend enough time in New Orleans and you come to understand it as a place for every kind of convergence. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah understands this to his core: he grew up immersed in ritual Mardi Gras Indian traditions, and distinguished himself as a jazz trumpeter by his early teens.  In this episode of Jazz Night in America, join Scott aTunde Adjuah for an electrifying performance at the New Orleans Jazz Market, where he drew from The Centennial Trilogy, an acclaimed recent release.' -- Nate Chinen for Jazz Night in America

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Noliwe Rooks on The Economics of Educational Apartheid in America


'American studies scholar Noliwe Rooks examines the economics of educational apartheid - from the business that require and reinforce racial and economic segregation in American schools, to the bipartisan effort to turn poor communities into experiments for capital - and explains why integration is the only path to equality for American children. Rooks is the author of Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education from The New Press.'

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'The Hate U Give' Author Angie Thomas On YA Fiction, Being Black In America And More


'Author Angie Thomas (@angiecthomas) has received critical acclaim for her debut novel, "The Hate U Give." The story follows 16-year-old Starr Carter as she navigates two worlds: the poor black neighborhood where she lives, and her upscale suburban prep school. The plot is inspired by the real-life police shooting of an unarmed black man, Oscar Grant, in California.' -- Here & Now

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"Please, Don't Touch My Hair" -- A Conversation About Natural Hair and the Law


'Black women across the world are embracing their naturally kinky and coily hair. However, in recent years, some schools and businesses have enforced grooming standards that deem natural hair unprofessional—leaving many black women and men to wonder what recourse they have when faced with natural hair discrimination in professional and academic settings. In this episode of Black and Highly Dangerous, law professors, Drs. Wendy Greene and Angela Onwuachi-Willig, discuss their recent research on  natural hair within the context of the law and workplace discrimination.'

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"I am by no means a great artist, I'm just a Hard-Working Sista" -- The Carrie Mae Weems Distinguished Lecture at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art


'Artist Carrie Mae Weems is considered one of the most influential contemporary American artists today. Crystal Bridges recently acquired the artist’s photograph series, The Kitchen Table, which was on view in the 2016 temporary exhibition Black Unity. Weems’s work investigates family relationships, cultural identity, sexism, class, political systems, and the consequences of power. She has developed a complex body of artwork employing photographs, text, fabric, audio, digital images, installation, and video. In a recent review of her retrospective in The New York Times, Holland Cotter wrote, “Ms. Weems is what she has always been, a superb image maker and a moral force, focused and irrepressible.” -- Crystal Bridges

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Depression and Anxiety: How Inequality is Driving the Mental Health Crisis


'A 30-year field study of wild African baboons by the incredible Stanford University professor Robert Sapolsky has shown that there is a remarkable relationship between depression, anxiety, and social hierarchies. Male baboons—who live in a very strict pecking order—suffer the most psychological stress when their social status is insecure, or when they are on the bottom rung, looking up at the luxuries of others. Does it sound familiar yet? "If you live in the United States... we’re at the greatest levels of inequality since the 1920s," says Johann Hari. "There’s a few people at the very top, there’s a kind of precarious middle, and there’s a huge and swelling bottom." It's no coincidence that mental health gets poorer as the wealth gap continues to widen: depression and anxiety are socioeconomic diseases. Could an economic revolution end the depression epidemic? And, most curiously, what can we learn from the Amish on this front? Johann Hari is the author of Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions.' -- Big Think

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Tiny Desk Concert: Roy Ayers


'Roy Ayers arrived at his Tiny Desk performance beaming with positivity. The 77-year-old jazz-funk icon and vibraphonist sauntered through the office with a Cheshire grin on his face, sharing jokes with anyone within earshot. Accompanying him was a trio of brilliantly seasoned musicians — keyboardist Mark Adams, bassist Trevor Allen and drummer Christopher De Carmine. Later during the performance, pride washed across Ayers' face as his bandmates took the spotlight.' -- Abby O'Neill, NPR Music

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Seun Kuti Furthers His Father's Message On 'Black Times'


'Seun Kuti was just 14 when he became the lead singer of Egypt 80 — the Nigerian band that had carried the infectious groove of Afrobeat worldwide under the direction of Seun's father, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. The musician says keeping the band together after Fela's death in 1997 was a way of sustaining his message — which often included railing against government corruption and social injustice.' -- NPR
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The Open Mind: Automating Inequality with Virginia Eubanks


Alexander Heffner, host of The Open Mind is joined by University of Albany political scientist Virginia Eubanks, who discusses her new book Automating Inequality: How High Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor. -- CUNY-TV
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The Brian Lehrer Show Live: The Making of a Black Feminist with Brittney Cooper


'Writer Brittney Cooper examines how anger has fueled her development as a feminist in her new book, Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower. Cooper is professor of women's and gender studies and Africana studies at Rutgers University, a columnist at Cosmopolitan magazine and co-founder of the Crunk Feminist Collective.'
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