Abbey Lincoln died today at the age of 80. She mattered in the world because she was a female jazz singer who stood up and became active in the civil rights struggle in the ‘60s when she could have remained neutral and safe.
She made great art. Nat Chinen wrote an excellent obit for her in the New York Times.
Yes, talk on the white Right about “camps” and “guns” should send a shiver up my spine as a Jew (whose father spent time in an immigration camp in post-WWII Palestine). But I hope I’m not the only one who thinks that this type of thing represents the fascinating last gasp of mainstream hegemonic white-identity politics. I have trust in the rest of this country’s people. Maybe I’m hopelessly naive.
We can follow what happened back in the ‘40s and 50s. I was just a little girl in Miami, and they filled camps with the people that snuck into the country because they were illegal. They put them in the camps and shipped them back. We can do that.
Of course, those camps held Cuban refugees who fled the repressive Machado and Batista regimes, which leased virtually all of the country’s resources, land, financial system, electric power production, and industry to US monopolies. But, history shmistory.
The Watts riots happened 45 years ago today. Sparked by the arrest and beating of young African-American Marquette Frye and the detention of objecting Frye family members, the 1965 unrest happened in a context of extreme racial tension in California.
Along with the growing poverty that accompanied the post-War closing of factories in South Central L.A., the riots also happened in a context West Coast segregationist politics. By funding the passage of Proposition 14, the California Real Estate Association had just successfully cancelled out the Mumford Act, which was the part of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that prevented housing discrimination on the basis of race.
After the jump: From Stacy Peralta’s 2008 documentary Crips and Bloods: Made in America, Kumasi, a former member of the street squad The Slausons, breaks down the strategy of dealing with the National Guard presence during the riots…
Vice online has a terrific piece on ‘Redsploitation’ movies.
Somewhere in the grey area between the noble savage and the savage-savage lies the Redsploitation film. These gems of schlock cinema feature Natives getting off their knees and kicking white ass all over the West.
For the whole scoop on really pissed off Indians in the movies check out the Vice website.
Starting with the history of black surfing from the 17th and 18th century in Polynesia and Africa and on into the US, the exhibit rolls through the African-American surf-skateboard-rollerskate continuum featuring photos by Glen E. Friedman, Grant Brittain, Jim Goodrich, Lance Dawes, Atiba Jefferson, Neftalie and more. Spotlights include the legacy of pioneering black female pro skateboarder Stephanie Person and the way that skateboarding has cross-pollinated with black music formats like Afropunk, hip-hop, jazz and reggae.
Get a preview of what the exhibit looks like here.
Here’s a piece of the black skateboarding story on the East Coast from Jeremiah Alexis via Current TV
Bonus clip after the jump: a tribute to the irrepressible black skater & actor Harold Hunter, R.I.P.
First: Hua Hsu wrote his piece “The End of White America?” for The Atlantic‘s January ‘08 issue, many months before the Tea Party crystallized white resentment. Launching from the refined racial paranoia in The Great Gatsby, Hsu delves into a high-level overview of whiteness and how whites are fleeing both from and into it. The core of it:
Today, the arrival of what [Pat] Buchanan derided as “Third World America” is all but inevitable. What will the new mainstream of America look like, and what ideas or values might it rally around? What will it mean to be white after “whiteness” no longer defines the mainstream? Will anyone mourn the end of white America? Will anyone try to preserve it?
Lots of food for thought, and still highly relevant. Please check it.
Second (and more rhetorically), check Pittsburgh MC Jasiri X‘s new video, based on Nashville anti-racist writer Tim Wise’s essay which asked the same trenchant question:
Today’s resurgence in black rock and Afro-punk has been accompanied by a boosted interest in obscure post-Hendrix black rock from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, as shown by the rediscovery of Detroit bands like Death and Black Merda.
Elsewhere in the heartland, Cleveland’s late-‘60s soul and R&B scene (a role-call of which can be found in this bio for the Imperial Wonders) also boasted a clutch of guitar-centered rock bands, including the excellently named Purple Image. Rising from the 105th St. & Superior area (which took a big hit during the unrest resulting from the 1968 Granville Shootout), PI traded on a thumping, harder-than-Parliament psychedelic sound fortified by powerful group vocals and the two-guitar attack of Ken Roberts and Frank Smith. Unfortunately Purple Image’s excellent self-titled 1970 debut would be their one and only, becoming a rare black-rock nugget before it was re-released by the UK’s Radioactive label in 2007.
It would take another Midwestern black rocker to pick up the
At the time of the doc, jungle is definitely posited as young, multicultural black music, and treated in classically analytical BBC style. DJs, producers, MCs, label people, academics—everybody seems to chime in on issues of roots, authenticity and commercialism. Not only do you get an intro to the basic ingredients of the music—the samples! the reggae! the soul!the basslines! the breakbeats! the speed!—but the producers even weave in some drama surrounding a club gig starring the legendary Shy FX and his crew.
Of course, this program fails to feature some of the genre’s giants, like Goldie, Roni Size or Dillinja. But the American Moonshine Music label sent journalists a VHS copy of this doc along with their compilation Law of the Jungle for good reason—it’s a quality document of a time now long gone. Check it!