America through the eyes of expatriates
Years from now, historians may well regard this era as a transitional period in the evolution of race relations, much like the mid-20th century. As we wind down to the end of the administration of the first non-White male president, the subject of color is as contentious and nebulous as it has ever been in the two and a half centuries of this country’s existence.
Largely overshadowed by the presence of UCLA and USC, two pre-eminent institutions of higher learning in Los Angeles County, Mount Saint Mary’s University remains a unique presence as the only independent college for women locally. With dual campuses nestled near both the city’s major universities (the Brentwood campus houses its undergraduate program), the Catholic liberal arts school has recently launched a new co-educational masters of fine arts program in creative writing at its Doheny campus near University Park USC.
Conference explores art, culture and the ‘Black esthetic’
Novelist Ishmael Reed once described his writing technique as “making something whole from scraps,” or more to the point, “the gumbo style,” meaning that his work was steeped in the European literary tradition, and also shaped by popular culture as produced by the commingling of influences in the new world.
Fifty years ago this week, a crowd filed into Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom on a Sunday afternoon. The Audubon was a multi-purpose building that hosted a variety of events, including festivals, movie screenings, and religious services. But today, however, it was being utilized for another, different type of event entirely. The crowd had gathered to attend a meeting of the newly formed Organization of African American Unity, with its keynote speaker one of the most controversial and polarizing figures in America: El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, more commonly known as Malcolm X.
First off, let me start by admitting that I’ve never seen “Ganja and Hess,” the 1973 blaxploitation landmark from which Spike Lee’s newly released “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus” is derived. That said, I’ll take as gospel all the press releases asserting that this remake sticks close to the original’s script (Lee includes writer-director Bill Gunn in the credits for this latest effort).
Already underway, this year’s Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) which ends on Feb. 16, is all the more interesting in light of the barrage of criticism due to the scarcity of nominations for people of color at the Academy Awards.
“…Sterling was not only employed by the C.I.A., but he worked as an operations officer—meaning he worked clandestinely. Thus, the factual details of the case, which would otherwise be unremarkable, (redacted) potentially, compromise the C.I.A.’s operations…”
Since the early 1980s, the shopping, entertainment, and dining Mecca along Melrose Avenue has been a go-to spot for hipsters and scene makers who frequent Los Angeles’ fashionable West Side. While it strives to project a trendy persona ranging from fancy to funky, the overall economic reality of this Hollywood adjacent enclave is decidedly upscale. Recently, a new arrival in the neighborhood has offered up an intriguing option for diversity in the area. Unofficially in business for several months, the Exact Science Gallery held its formal opening Jan. 24 to coincide with the upcoming Black History Month celebration.
Legitimate Complaint or Sour Grapes? The pros and cons of Oscar omission
“The movie industry is like the Rocky Mountains, the higher you get, the whiter it gets.” —Al Sharpton in a statement released on the afternoon after this year’s Oscar nominations.
"African Americans discover in Paris the terms by which they can define themselves. It's the freedom to work beyond the assumptions of what we can and can't do as African Americans. It's a different rhythm and pace. We can imagine ourselves in new ways in that space."