Zadie Smith, the acclaimed novelist who is a professor of creative writing at New York University, has been selected to received the Langston Hughes Medal from the City College of New York. The medal honors writers of poetry, drama, fiction, biographies, and critical essays from throughout the Black diaspora. Professor Smith will honored on November 16 at City College’s annual Langston Hughes Festival.
Previous winners of the Langston Hughes Medal include James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Walter Mosley, Gwendolyn Brooks, Octavia Butler, August Wilson, and Edwidge Danticat. Smith is the author of five novels including her latest work Swing Time(Penguin Books, 2016). She also published an essay collection Changing My Mind(Penguin Books, 2009) and writes frequently for the New Yorkermagazine and the New York Review of Books.
A native of London, Professor Smith is a graduate of Kings College of the University of Cambridge. She joined the faculty at New York University in 2010.
A new study by researchers at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University finds that middle and high school students of all races have a more favorable opinion of Black and Latino teachers than they do of White teachers.
The authors of the study examined data on 1,680 teachers in 200 urban schools who taught more than 50,000 students in grades six through nine.
Hua-Yu Sebastian Cherng, assistant professor of international education at New York University and a co-author of the study, said that “we were surprised to find that minority teachers are not just viewed more highly than White teachers by minority students, but in many cases by White students as well.” Asian American students preferred Black teachers even more than did Black students.
The study, “The Importance of Minority Teachers: Student Perceptions of Minority Versus White Teachers,” was published on the website of the journal Educational Researcher. It may be accessed here.
Bronx, NY – Designated as a New York City Historic Landmark, the Andrew Freedman Home, a vibrant location for arts and culture, is revitalizing the artistic landscape of the Bronx, New York. On September 5, New York University alumni and producer Walter E. Puryear will mount “The Fall of the Kings,” a new American drama set in the 1940s.
The play tells the story of an African-American heiress and her Caribbean (Cuban) husband fighting to sustain their family in the midst of an economic disaster.
Described by the New York Times as “exactly the sort of place…that contemporary arts dreams are made of” the venue carries an undeniable palatial air and encompasses over 100,000 square feet. Freedman, a millionaire, former owner of the New York Giants and financier of the city’s first subway lines, bequeathed funding to construct the Home in the 1920s as a luxurious residence for once-wealthy senior citizens.
The playwright, Mai Sennaar, is an alumna of the Tisch School of the Arts. She is a mentee of noted playwright and screenwriter Richard Wesley (The Mighty Gents, Broadway) and Broadway and film actress Novella Nelson. At the age of 19, Sennaar’s first play, “The Broken Window Theory,” was produced at the famed Nuyorican Poets’ Cafe starring Tony Award-winner Tonya Pinkins and directed by Tony Award-nominee Michele Shay.
“The Fall of the Kings” production crew includes choreographer, Dyane Harvey-Salaam, whose Broadway, film and television credits include: The Wiz (original stage and film versions) and the Spike Lee film “School Daze.” Set designer, Christopher Cumberbatch’s work has appeared both in theatre and in the Spike Lee films, “Crooklyn” and “Malcolm X.” Composer Dianaruthe Wharton Sennaar is a founding member of Sweet Honey in the Rock and composer for Ntozake Shange’s Broadway hit “For Colored Girls…” The award-winning, Grammy-nominated composer and trumpeter Christian Scott is a featured guest soloist on the play’s main theme.
“The Fall of the Kings” is an immersive theatre experience where the fourth wall crumbles and the story moves the audience through intimate rooms and enthralling portrayals, welcoming the audience right into the home and lives of the Kings.
“Kings” opens today, September 5 at 8pm, with performances running through November 1st. Tickets range from $30-$45. Discounts are available for groups, Bronx residents, seniors, and students. Exclusive Bed & Breakfast and Bus trip packages are also available.
Spike Lee, Gena Rowlands and Debbie Reynolds will be honored Nov. 14 at the seventh annual Governors Awards. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences voted the awards at their Aug. 25 meeting. Following tradition, AMPAS representatives withheld the announcement until they could notify the recipients.
In 2009, the Academy broke out the Governors Awards into a separate, untelevised ceremony; the Oscarcast time constraints limited the number of honorees and the time devoted to each. So the separate ceremony was an experiment, but an immediate success. There was no pressure to select ratings-friendly individuals, and the board has often gone for people who are well-known in the industry but unfamiliar to the public.
The Academy can salute up to six people each year: four honorary Oscars, and one apiece for the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and the Thalberg Award, which goes to a film producer for their body of work. It’s generally been four honorees, except for 2011, when there were three.
The Roots bandleader and music historian Questlove will be putting his extensive knowledge of music to use when he co-teaches a course called “Classic Albums” at New York University.
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is set to join forces with Universal Music Group’s Vice President of A&R Harry Weinger to teach the two-credit class at the prestigious Clive Davis Institute for Recorded Music at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. The course is to begin at the beginning of the spring semester. Some of the albums to be studied are Michael Jackson‘s Off The Wall, Beastie Boys‘ Paul’s Boutique, and Aretha Franklin‘s Lady Soul, according to The Hollywood Reporter.