Guillaume Ivernel and Blacklight Movies are producing a film project called, Soul Man, which includes a sci-fi hero with an awesome afro. Shadow and Act did an article on the upcoming film, which the company plans to release in 2014.
Pierre Bennu’s (Exit the Apple) “Sun Moon Child” video highlights the connections between various black dance styles throughout history. Soda Jerk created a video, Tap Hop, which compares jazz tap dance and hip-hop breakdance.
African dance has been a major influence not only throughout the African Diapora, but also throughout popular culture in general. The documentary below, The Gift of Dance, explores the history and evolution of African dance.
Several dancers, including Katherine Dunham, Geoffrey Holder, Alvin Ailey and Pearl Primus, dedicated their lives to showcasing dance of the African Diaspora.
I like the reference to the trickster to describe Nicki Minaj. Whereas, yes, there are things about Minaj that I don’t like, I can’t tell her not to be her or not exist, and she is a complicated individual like everyone else. Not everyone is completely subversive all the time or subversive in the same way. Resistance comes in many forms. Think of the enslaved who did dances for the master and the master thought they could not do the dances right, but actually they were insulting him. Or the black performers who became minstrels, like Bert Williams, who tried to re-appropriate an performance style that was originally designed to degrade an entire race . It is part of that “Double Consciousness” of having to communicate to different racial worlds.
Nicki Minaj dropped “Stupid Hoe” last week.
Maybe I’m too old to have my thumb on the relevant spaces in the interwebs, but it seems like the video barely caused a buzz. Responses from Jezebel, Clutch, and Vibe were mainly negative, complaining about Minaj’s use of animalistic imagery, neon colors and her less than creative wordplay. Black feminists offered mainly negative critique for obvious and perfectly legitimate reasons. Minaj’s challenge to “stupid hoes” included a reference to “nappy-headed hoes” and images of a pale, plastic, Venus Hottentot Barbie.
Me? Minaj hurts my head. She perplexes me. I think of her as Trickster, two-faced in her betrayal of global black feminist possibility and powerful in her contradictory elucidation of black woman’s power within…
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Released in 1969, Hayes gives a love anatomy lesson. I think this may have been the soul version of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and a precursor to Outkast’s “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik.”
Black Public Media released a video about the historical and present-day misconceptions about Voodoo. A voodoo priest, or hougan, Ati, gives a more accurate description of what voodoo is and its place in the rebuilding of Haiti after the earthquake. To learn more about the Haitian culture, please visit ZOE Magazine/Defend Haiti.
Last night, a great discussion on twitter took place about Nicki Minaj’s new video “Stupid Hoe” and whether she should be considered an afrofuturistic artist. Here is the conversation. My two sense on it is that it is complicated. Whereas I do not often enjoy Minaj’s music (her vocals are irritating) and her lyrics are at times problematic (the title, “nappy headed hoes,” “I’m the female Weezy,” calling other woman monkeys as an insult), her style could be aesthetically considered afrofuturistic. Also, I do find some aspects of her style problematic, such as her appropriation of the Barbie image. While I do understand the point of popularizing a black Barbie, and we have done that often, which is take something that was not made with people of color in mind and accommodate to it, I do not like what the idea of Barbie as a whole represent. Barbie represents a capitalistic stronghold on what a female has to look like and be like in order to be considered beautiful and worthy. I think Minaj’s use of her image reinforces those ideas or at least conforming somewhat to those ideas. So, while aspects of her may appear to be afrofuturistic, I am not sure if it is completely substantiated by her lyrics and some of the things she celebrates. Afrofuturism is not just the image, but the ideas and philosophy behind the image. However, I do not want to completely dismiss Minaj (as I have tried to before) because her style does encourage a type of black quirkiness (see the Willow Smith video, “Fireball“) and she is affected, like everyone else, by the mainstream music industry that controls dominant black image.
An African Epic.
Alaalo (Someone Has a Story), is a short film by a Pratt Institute student, David Adeogun. The coming-of-age film deals with a “group of young African American children and their mentor, and their various struggles as young black people in a culture where Africa is hardly talked about.” To watch the whole film, click here and the password is Select Review. Also, to learn more about Adeogun’s upcoming film project, The Griot, go to his kickstarter page and his tumblr.