BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Cornell University Makes 19th Century Black America Photo Archive Available to Public


article via theguardian.com

Cornell University in New York has made a priceless photographic archive available to the public.  It shows the lives of black Americans as they rose through society after the antebellum era. To see all photographs, go to: Loewentheil Collection of African American Photographs

To see original article, go to: A taste of freedom: black America in the 19th century – in pictures | Art and design | The Guardian

FATHER’S DAY: Powerful Photos That Challenge Prejudiced Notions of Black Fatherhood

These Powerful Photos Will Challenge All Your Notions of Black Fatherhood

Image Credit: Campaign for Black Male Achievement

“Harlem Is Nowhere,” an Artistic Collaboration Between Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison, on Display at Art Institute of Chicago Until August 28

“Untitled” (Harlem, New York), 1952 (THE GORDON PARKS FOUNDATION)

article by Tamara Best via nytimes.com

Masters of their fields, the photographer Gordon Parks and the writer Ralph Ellison bonded over a shared vision of using their creative talents to address racial injustice. That commitment led to the powerful, enduring 1952 photo essay “A Man Becomes Invisible.”

But that Life magazine project was not their only collaboration. A new exhibition, “Invisible Man: Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison in Harlem,” for the first time shows images from a lesser-known 1948 project of theirs, “Harlem Is Nowhere.” On view through Aug. 28 at the Art Institute of Chicago, the exhibition offers the two men’s counternarrative (the reality, that is) of the living conditions of black Americans during that time. Among the show’s more than 50 objects — the known surviving material belonging to both “A Man Becomes Invisible” and “Harlem Is Nowhere” — are newly discovered images, photographs that have never been exhibited and items that had not been definitely identified as belonging to either project.

The black-and-white photographs are vignettes of life in Harlem: street scenes of adults and children; political advocacy in real time; and imagined scenes from “Invisible Man,” Ellison’s watershed 1952 novel. The photographs are placed next to the passages that correspond with them, giving a sense of the tight collaborative process. Among the other highlights are drafts of captions for “Harlem Is Nowhere,” and images include a man in an alleyway; Harlem in literal ruin with a clinic building acting as a bright light; and a patient waiting to be seen, sitting in solitude, head in his hands.

Ellison and Parks “lived parallel lives, and they intersect in a creative splendor,” Adam Bradley, an associate professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who has written about Ellison’s work, said in a telephone interview. “They both understood the capacity of dark and light, light and shadow, black and white.”

These artists were compelled to focus on Harlem, their adopted home, which despite being the center of a cultural revival during the Harlem Renaissance, suffered a great economic toll tied to the Depression. They also witnessed the mounting postwar frustrations among their neighbors, black men who had been enlisted to fight but whose freedoms remained limited upon their return home.

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FEATURE: Misty Copeland Channels Degas’ Ballerinas for Photo Shoot, Opens Up about Making History

Copeland re-creates Degas’s The Star; Valentino dress, $15,500, 212-355-5811; Wilhelm headpiece, $495, and corsages, $135, wilhelm-nyc.com; Mokuba ribbon, $11 per yard, 212-869-8900. Photos by Ken Browar & Deborah Ory (via harpersbazaar.com)

Ballet dancers, Misty Copeland tells me, like to be in control. It’s something about ballet itself—the painstaking quest to achieve the appearance of a kind of effortless athleticism, fluidity, and grace—that makes it hard to let go. “I think all dancers are control freaks a bit,” she explains. “We just want to be in control of ourselves and our bodies. That’s just what the ballet structure, I think, kind of puts inside of you. If I’m put in a situation where I am not really sure what’s going to happen, it can be overwhelming. I get a bit anxious.”

Copeland says that’s part of the reason she found posing for the images that accompany this story—which were inspired by Edgar Degas‘s paintings and sculptures of dancers at the Paris Opéra Ballet—a challenge. “It was interesting to be on a shoot and to not have the freedom to just create like I normally do with my body,” she says. “Trying to re-create what Degas did was really difficult. It was amazing just to notice all of the small details but also how he still allows you to feel like there’s movement. That’s what I think is so beautiful and difficult about dance too. You’re trying to strive for this perfection, but you still want people to get that illusion that your line never ends and that you never stop moving.”

It should probably come as no surprise that Copeland would have trouble conforming to someone else’s idea of what a ballerina should look like; she gave that up a long time ago. At 33, she’s in the midst of the most illuminating pas de deux with pop culture for a classical dancer since Mikhail Baryshnikov went toe-to-toe with Gregory Hines in White Nights. Last June, she was named a principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre, the first African-American woman to hold that distinction.

Copeland as Swaying Dancer (Dancer in Green); Oscar de la Renta dress, $5,490, 212-288-5810; Mokuba ribbon, $11 per yard; Hatmaker by Jonathan Howard headpiece corsage, $70, hatmaker.com.au. (photo by Ken Browar & Deborah Ory)

She was also the subject of a documentary, Nelson George’s A Ballerina’s Tale, which chronicled her triumph over depression and body-image issues, as well as her comeback from a career-threatening leg injury in 2012. The story of her rise from living in a single room in a welfare motel with her mother and five siblings to the uppermost reaches of the dance world has become a sort of 21st-century parable: the unlikely ballerina, as Copeland referred to herself in the subtitle of her 2014 memoir, Life in Motion, who may be on her way to becoming the quintessential ballerina of her time.

Degas’s ballet works, which the artist began creating in the 1860s and continued making until the years before his death, in 1917, were infused with a very modern sensibility. Instead of idealized vis -ions of delicate creatures pirouetting onstage, he offered images of young girls congregating, practicing, laboring, dancing, training, and hanging around studios and the backstage areas of the theater. Occasionally, portly men or dark figures appear, directing or otherwise coloring the proceedings. “People call me the painter of dancing girls,” Degas is said to have once told his Paris art dealer Ambroise Vollard, the Larry Gagosian of the day. “It has never occurred to them that my chief interest in dancers lies in rendering movement and painting pretty clothes.” It’s an unsentimental place, Degas’s ballet, and his representation of the dancers is far from sympathetic. But it’s a space where he discovered not only a freedom for himself as an artist but also a kind of beauty that existed behind all the beauty of the performance and in the struggle of his subjects to become something.

Copeland as Degas’s Dancer; Carolina Herrera top, $1,490, skirt, $4,990, 212-249-6552; Hatmaker by Jonathan Howard headpiece, $750, hatmaker.com.au; Mokuba ribbon, $11 per yard, 212-869-8900; Mood Fabrics fabric (worn as a belt), 212-230-5003. (photo by Ken Browar & Deborah Ory)

“Degas’s focus on dance is part of his engagement with depicting the subjects, spaces, rhythms, and sensations of modern life,” says Jodi Hauptman, senior curator in the department of drawings and prints at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, where an exhibition that explores Degas’s extensive work in monotype, “Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty,” opens this month. “His vision wanders and focuses, taking note of what usually is overlooked and homing in on what best reflects the conditions of his time.”

In her own way, Copeland is now forcing people to look at ballet through a more contemporary lens. “I see a great affinity between Degas’s dancers and Misty,” says Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem. “She has knocked aside a long-standing music-box stereotype of the ballerina and replaced it with a thoroughly modern, multicultural image of presence and power,” Golden says. “Misty reminds us that even the greatest artists are humans living real lives.”

“I definitely feel like I can see myself in that sculpture…Ballet was just the one thing that brought me to life.”

The first blush with ballet for Copeland was famously unromantic. Her mother, Sylvia DelaCerna, was a cheerleader for the Kansas City Chiefs, and her older sister had been a member of the drill team at their middle school in Hawthorne, near their home in San Pedro, California. So, at the age of 13, Copeland decided to try out for the drill squad herself, choreographing her own routine—to George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex.” “An odd choice of song,” she says. “I chose ‘I Want Your Sex’ not really knowing anything about what that meant. But that’s how my whole dance career took off.”

Copeland as Degas’s Little Dancer Aged Fourteen; Alexander McQueen dress, $4,655, and corset, $4,525, 212-645-1797; Mood Fabrics ribbon (in hair), 212-230-5003. (photo by Ken Browar & Deborah Ory)

Copeland didn’t just make the team; she was named captain. Her drill coach, Elizabeth Cantine, had a background in classical dance and suggested that Copeland try taking a ballet class at the local Boys & Girls Club. “The class was given on a basketball court, and I was wearing my gym clothes and socks—pretty far from a Degas painting,” Copeland recalls. But she was hooked. Within three months, she was dancing en pointe. “Before dance came into my life, I don’t really remember having any major goals or dreams of wanting to be anything. In the environment I grew up in, we were constantly in survival mode,” Copeland says. “I went to school, and I was really just trying to fit in and not be seen. But ballet was this thing that just felt so innate in me, like I was meant to be doing this.”

To read more go to: http://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/art-books-music/a14055/misty-copeland-degas-0316/?mag=har&list=nl_hnl_news&src=nl&date=021016

Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson Cover Elle Magazine’s ‘Women in TV’ issue

(Elle Magazine)

Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson are in Elle Magazine’s “Women in TV” issue, and they aren’t pulling any punches when it comes to talking about how media has warped our images of women, especially women of color.

Davis said that television and media has warped our perception of female sexuality, saying that TV “lies about women.”

“If you are anywhere above a size 2, you’re not having sex,” Davis said. “You don’t have sexual thoughts. You may not even have a vagina. And if you’re of a certain age, you’re off the table.”

Henson said that it is hard for black characters to be taken seriously, and that perception is something she has had to fight when she plays the character of Cookie Lyon on Empire.

“It was very important to me that she not be sassy and neck-rollin’ and eye-bulgin’ and attitude all the time,” said Henson. “Everything she does is coming from a place of fighting for her family. That’s why she’s not a caricature.”

article via thegrio.com

HBCU Young Alumni Seek to Break Stereotypes as ‘Young, Gifted and Black’ Photo Goes Viral

Nyerere Davidson never imagined that a gathering with friends from around the country would produce an iconic photo representing the future of historically black colleges and universities, but the 2008 Florida A&M University graduate couldn’t be happier about it.

“I just thought it would be a nice illustration to counteract the stereotypes about young black people,” says Davidson, a Milwaukee native and recent transplant to Washington D.C. who organized the shoot as a commemorative moment for his birthday celebration last month in the District.

“This is a range of different people from different parts of the country, different shades, different looks and different styles representing what black excellence looks like. And all of us are from HBCUs.”

Davidson is a marketing executive with the YMCA’s national headquarters, and promotes the organization’s Healthy Living/Healthy Communities initiative. A former volunteer with the YMCA’s community-based Black Achievers program in Milwaukee, he says that imagery is a powerful part of connecting with black youth and showing real possibilities in education and professional life.

“With everything going on at Mizzou, and in cities throughout the country, I think this shows young black people in a totally different way,” he said. “We’re all professionals – doctors, fashion designers, corporate executives – but we’re young and we embrace our responsibility to our communities and what our image means to the outside world.”

“Today we live in a world where there is so much attention devoted to the distorted portrayals of African Americans specifically black males,” says Jacob Waites, a 2010 Cheyney University graduate who was among the attendees featured in the photo. “A society where one image can have a huge impact on perception. This is why it’s imperative that images such as the one from Nye’s 30th birthday brunch is so essential. It’s time to dispel the exaggerated views of African Americans and give the world a real-world experience.”

Friends with alumni ties to FAMU, Claflin, Howard, Morgan State, Alcorn State, Tennessee State, Morehouse and Cheyney are represented in the image.  Many say they are proud of their HBCU experience and aware of the role that scenes like this play in promoting similar experiences for future HBCU students.

“Being a part of this photo was iconic for me– when we came together, W.E.B. Dubois ‘Talented Tenth’ essay came to mind,” says Kimberly Guy, a 2002 Tennessee State alumna.  “He asserted, ‘The Talented Tenth of African Americans must be made leaders of thought and missionaries of culture among their people….Negro Colleges must train men [and women] for it.'”

“In an era of social media with its sometimes derogatory and stereotypical portrayals of African Americans, I feel this photo captures the essence of the Talented Tenth. As a proud HBCU alum, this pic represents collectively all professional black in society that are proudly commited to carrying on the legacy established by our forebears while exceeding society expectations for our race. We are leaders, we are pillars of the community, and we are ‘regular folk’. But most importantly we are young, gifted, and Black.”

article via hbcudigest.com

 

Viola Davis Covers InStyle Magazine for January; Here are 5 New Reasons To Love Her

Viola Davis on InStyle

Viola Davis is having the best year ever. The Emmy Award-winning actress will bring in the New Year as the cover model for the January 2016 issue of InStyle Magazine.

We love Viola’s transparency during her interview. She says that she’s nothing like her cutthroat character Annalise Keating on How To Get Away With Murder. Instead she enjoys going to Target, wearing her natural hair and “going to space” with her gorgeous 5 year old daughter Genesis.

Here are five new things we didn’t know about Viola:

1. Off screen her wardrobe isn’t glamorous:  “If I were to compare my style to Annalise Keating, I would say that I have absolutely no style,” she says with a laugh “Annalise Keating is an Alexander McQueen kinda Max Mara girl. That’s not me. I have a five year old!”

2. She’s about to get married for the third time! When she first wed fellow and actor-producer Julius Tennon 13 years ago, Viola wore a simple skirt from Express. A few years later they exchanged vows again, and she wore a more traditional dress. For their latest upcoming vow renewal, Davis is wearing a custom dress by Carmen Marc Valvo

3. She and her daughter are actually astronauts:  “We go into space. We explore different planets,” Davis says of the game Genesis is most currently fond of. “This ship is in danger. We almost died at one point. We lost oxygen.”

4. She knows how to turn down and relax:  “I am addicted to spas,” she says. “If we go to a hotel, we’ll be the only people in that spa for hours. We’ll start at 5 in the morning sometimes.”

5. She’s empowered by her natural beauty: “What’s released me most from the fear of aging is self-awareness,” she says. “I’ve never determined my value based on my looks or anything physical. I’ve been through a lot in life, and what has gotten me through is strength of character and faith.”

article by Zon D’Amour via hellobeautiful.com

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