American Promise


American Promise spans 13 years as Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, N.Y., turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through one of the most prestigious private schools in the country. Chronicling the boys’ divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation at Manhattan’s Dalton School, this provocative, intimate documentary presents complicated truths about America’s struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity. Winner, U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award, 2013 Sundance Film Festival. A co-production of Rada Film Group, ITVS and POV’s Diverse Voices Project, with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, made possible by CPB. Produced in association with American Documentary | POV. A co-presentation with the National Black Programming Consortium.

Before the premiere of American Promise on PBS on February 3rd, join @PromiseFilm and partners for the Black Male Achievement Week twitter chat at 9:00 p.m. Follow #BMAWeek.

30 Americans on Display at Milwaukee Art Museum


30 Americans logo

30 Americans on Display at Milwaukee Art Museum
June 14–September 8, 2013

(Remember 1st Thursdays are free at the MAM!!)

Milwaukee Art Museum Website http://mam.org/30-americans/

Taken from Milwaukee Art Museum description….
30 Americans is a dynamic exploration of contemporary American art. Paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, video, and more made by African American artists since 1970 raise questions of what it means to be a contemporary artist and an African American today. Whether addressing issues of race, gender, sexuality, politics, or history—or seemingly remaining silent about them—these works offer powerful interpretations of cultural identity and artistic legacy.

Artists from 30 Americans
30 Americans is drawn from the acclaimed holdings of the Rubell Family Foundation in Miami, Florida. New Yorkers Don and Mera Rubell began acquiring contemporary art in the late 1960s. Through their friendships with living artists, particularly young artists, the Rubells collected backwards and forwards, creating networks of intergenerational influence. As a result, the works that comprise the exhibition offer a stylistic conversation among artists of different decades and generations. Minimalism, abstraction, conceptualism, performance, new media, installation art, identity politics, deconstruction, street aesthetics, and the return of figuration—every major development in contemporary art over the past four decades is represented.
Provocative, beautiful, humorous, at times painful, and always deeply compelling, 30 Americans is a dazzling presentation of some of the best art made in the last forty years—and a captivating guide to some of the most exciting talent working today.

 
Wisconsin 30 Also on Display
In conjunction with 30 Americans, the Museum presents Wisconsin 30, a parallel exhibition featuring paintings, photographs, prints, drawings, and sculpture by thirty Wisconsin African American artists. This intergenerational exhibition presents a complementary overview of the themes of race and identity explored in 30 Americans, with a focused lens on Wisconsin.

Ras ‘Ammar Nsoroma (born Kevin Wayne Tate) is well known for his murals. After studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Nsoroma returned to Wisconsin as a freelance artist, designing three-dimensional murals on the Fond du Lac Avenue overpass. Since then, Nsoroma has painted over forty murals, including pieces in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC.

Ras ‘Ammar Nsoroma (born Kevin Wayne Tate) is well known for his murals. After studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Nsoroma returned to Wisconsin as a freelance artist, designing three-dimensional murals on the Fond du Lac Avenue overpass. Since then, Nsoroma has painted over forty murals, including pieces in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC.

Wisconsin 30 is organized by the Museum, in coordination with Sande Robinson, president, Milwaukee Art Museum’s African American Art Alliance, and Lynne Shumow, curator of education, Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University.

http://mam.org/30-americans/wisconsin-30.php

Programs & Events in Conjunction with the Display
http://mam.org/30-americans/programs.php
Express Talk: 30 Americans
Thursday, July 11, 2013, 12 PM
Explore 30 Americans in 30 minutes and discover the provocative work of some of the most important African American artists of the last three decades.
Baker/Rowland Galleries
Free with Museum admission
Panel Discussion: Why Here?
Thursday, July 11, 2013, 6:15 PM
Explore the TypeFace public art project, with artists Reginald Baylor and Adam Carr, whose installations in the Harambee, Sherman Park, Lindsay Heights, and Burnham Park neighborhoods will draw on community responses to the question, why here? And hear from artists represented in Wisconsin 30, the complementary exhibition to 30 Americans, as they discuss the question in reference to their choice to remain in Wisconsin.
Lubar Auditorium
Free with Museum admission

Gallery Talk: 30 Americans
Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 1:30 PM
Hear about the artists and the provocative works in the 30 Americans exhibition on a guided tour. This dynamic exploration of contemporary American art presents nearly eighty paintings, sculptures, photographs, installations, and videos by many of the most important African American artists of the last three decades. Whether addressing issues of race, gender, sexuality, or politics—or, in some instances, remaining silent about them—these works offer powerful interpretations of cultural identity and artistic legacy.
Baker/Rowland Galleries
Free with Museum admission

Express Talk: 30 Americans
Thursday, July 18, 2013, 12 PM
Explore 30 Americans in 30 minutes and discover the provocative work of some of the most important African American artists of the last three decades.
Baker/Rowland Galleries
Free with Museum admission

Book Salon: The Devil Finds Work
Saturday, July 20, 2013, 10:30 AM
Join other book enthusiasts this summer for lively discussions at the Milwaukee Art Museum. This series features books related to the 30 Americans exhibition.
July 20: The Devil Finds Work by James Baldwin
August 17: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
In The Devil Finds Work, James Baldwin challenges the underlying assumptions in such films as In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and The Exorcist, offering a vision of America’s self-delusions and deceptions. Here are our loves and hates, biases and cruelties, fears and ignorance, reflected by the films that have entertained us and shaped our consciousness. Here, too, is the stunning prose of a writer whose passion never diminished his struggle for equality, justice, and social change.
RSVP to adults@mam.org or 414-224-3826. Books are available from the Museum Store.
Quadracci Suite
Free with Museum admission
Kohl’s Art Generation Family Sundays: Art of the Now

30 Americans Website
http://www2.corcoran.org/30americans/home

The Black Conservative Town Hall 2013


FOX’s Sean Hannity Show hosted a Black Conservative Town hall and since then this video has spread like wild fire. It brought up issues many people liberal and conservative alike could relate to. Blacks began to find that there are not wide divisions between their conservative counterparts and themselves. This could be a great start for Blacks as we need to come together and start healing and talking to form the new Underground Railroad. Seeing that we really have more in common than differences will start to break down the walls of division and help us to start to focus on the true enemy that keeps us from moving forward.
This is a great video that needs to be shared in its entirety. Many people want to know about the elusive Black Conservative. Well here is a segment of us in a town hall answering questions and talking about issues and matters near and dear to our hearts.
I am sure if people listen to this with an open mind they will find some pieces where they can agree and find common bonds. The differences, well as I always say; We shall have to agree to disagree. However this video is very interesting and is great food for discussion.
Peace Family,
WW

Harry Belafonte Calls Out Jay-Z and Beyonce for Selfishness!


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In case you missed this article it is worth taking the time to read Brother Belafonte’s words and ingest his food for our starving souls. Although only two are mentioned by name, this article pertains to many of the Blacks that we patronize in the entertainment, athletic, and all money making communities. The next time we idolize and run to give our money to these people let’s think about how they support us. Their “little” foundations may help them sleep at night, but are they really helping us sleep at night? They have the access and ability to create true Black Economic Empowerment that would sustain us all but yet look where Blacks are in 2013 still with our hands out. These people should be creating lasting Black enterprises that build up our communities, schools, youth and family organizations, and churches so we too are self sufficient. That is what those how came before them did FOR THEM! Instead they are buying little pieces of teams, making “car” music that we certainly cannot afford and other silly materialistic things “N” in Paris? Really?  We should be investing into a sustainable future for the whole instead of the few. But without the community “sounding the alarm” they will continue to think their lifestyles are okay and we are in agreement. After all silence is complacence and we have been far too silent for too long. It is time we demand that our brothers and sisters who take so much from us give much more in these tough economic times. From whom much is given, much is required right?  

Peace Family,

WW

 

Harry Belafonte Calls Out Jay-Z and Beyonce for Selfishness

Originally published in

http://www.kulturekritic.com/2012/08/news/harry-belafonte-calls-out-jay-z-and-beyonce-for-selfishness/

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, KultureKritic.com

Harry Belafonte, who did a great deal of work for the black community during the Civil Rights Movement, is making no secret of the fact that he’s very disappointed in many young black celebrities when it comes to social activism.  Speaking this week with the Hollywood Reporter, Belafonte pointed out Jay-Z and Beyonce as prime examples of what he’s talking about.

THR: Back to the occasion of the award for your acting career. Are you happy with the image of members of minorities in Hollywood today?

Belafonte: Not at all. They have not told the history of our people, nothing of who we are. We are still looking. We are not determined. We are not driven by some technology that says you can kill Afghanistans, the Iraquis or the Spanish. It is all – excuse my French – s**t. It is sad. And I think one of the great abuses of this modern time is that we should have had such high-profile artists, powerful celebrities. But they have turned their back on social responsibility. That goes for Jay-Z and Beyoncé, for example. Give me Bruce Springsteen, and now you’re talking. I really think he is black.

My friend Alexis Stodghill at TheGrio makes the point (in a news piece where she carefully cites both sides of the issue) that perhaps Belafonte is off-base with his critique.  She notes that Beyonce has spoken up for her fellow recording artist Frank Ocean when he admitted that he was gay, and that Jay-Z has chumed it up with President Obama during his presidential campaign and supported him on the issue of gay marriage.

We must note that Beyonce and Jay-Z speaking up on gay marriage and homosexuality is little more than a political decision designed to remain in alignment with the Obama presidency.  If Barack had said nothing on the issue, Jay-Z would have said nothing.  So, we have to be sure not to mistake meaningful advocacy for elitist political shoulder-rubbing (wealthy famous people tend to take care of one another).

But when you look at the black aristocracy that is known as Jay-Z and Beyonce, one form of activism that is missing is anything that involves the words “poor black people.” Also, when it comes to issues that affect the least of us, including poverty, mass incarceration, urban violence, unequal educational systems and the like, it’s easy to say that Jay-Z and Beyonce have been effectively missing in action, unless it’s time to show up and utilize this audience to sell albums.

One exception noted by Kirsten West Savali at NewsOne.com is the Shawn Carter foundation, created by Jay-Z and the people who work for him.  According to the foundation’s website, “Since the Foundation’s inception, over 750 students have received awards totaling over $1.3 million dollars.”

<insert WW-$1.3 mil but a lunch outing for them? Come on. Let’s be real she bought him a jet and he bought her an island. Surely they can buy poor blacks fine arts programs, quality education, and clothes, foods, etc…>

Jay-Z should certainly be commended for doing something he didn’t have to do, but let’s really think about this for a second, shall we?  First, most corporations have some kind of foundation.  Even Wal-Mart can claim to have sent thousands of kids to college, as they simultaneously strip workers of their rights around the world, drive small companies out of business and refuse to pay a living wage to their employees.  Secondly, if you divide the $1.3 million given away by the foundation by 750 scholarship recipients, that’s about $1,733 per child.  Please tell me what college in America has a tuition bill of $1,733?  Of course Jay-Z gives away more than most of us can afford, but even the local drug dealer can also afford to use heroin money give away turkeys at Christmas.  The point here is that if I pillage half a billion dollars from the black community over a 10-year period, it’s pretty easy for me to give back $1.3 million of it.

I noticed a line in Jay-Z’s song “n****z in Paris,” where he says, “Can you see the private jets flying over you?”  This line is part of a consistent message of black elitism that has become all-too prevalent in the entertainment industry. It is a statement which says, “I’m better than you, and I am not one of you.  Your job is to either worship me or hate on me, I don’t care which one.”

Beyond the “extensive” efforts of his foundation, Jay-Z is also the man who earned over $63 million dollars last year and only gave $6,000 to charity.  Unfortunately, this has become par for the course in a world where poor black people are not nearly as fashionable of a cause as gay white kids from the suburbs.  Poor black kids can’t buy your records, rendering them effectively useless.

So, while Beyonce and Jay-Z speaking up on marriage equality is a politely cute form of activism, you have to agree with Belafonte that today’s artists are taught not to care about anyone other than themselves.  At best, we might get a photo op at a charity event, but the real pressure to sacrifice for those who are suffering is lost as millions of us forgive celebrities for being unwilling to use their power to make the world a better place.  The rule is simple:  If you’re rich, we love you.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a former crack dealer (Jay-Z), brag about murdering women and children (Lil Wayne) or sleep with middle school kids on the weekends (R. Kelly).  Money is used to wash away all sins, and people are quicker to disrespect an icon like Harry Belafonte than they are to challenge celebrities to do more than tweet pictures of their newborn baby.

By “social responsibility,” I don’t think that Belafonte is referring to charity concerts or speaking to Congress about saving dolphins.  He’s talking about the kind of activism that requires b***s.  He’s talking about the black men and women during the 1960s who used their voices loud and clear to state that things need to change in America soon, or else.

Those days are long gone.  In the 1960s, oppression was much more rampant, so nearly every black person was banging on the door of equality.  Today, those who’ve been allowed access to predominantly white institutions are asked to sign a “Good negro forever” card, and disavow any meaningful political stands that might get them into trouble with a corporate sponsor or record label.  As a result, we have a group of celebrities who are very quick to build their brands off the “street cred” granted to them by impoverished African Americans, but don’t feel compelled to use those brands to become anything other than corporate-sponsored slumlords.

So, a “gangsta rapper” can speak all day about his time in prison, but he dare not say anything about the fact that the United States incarcerates more of its citizens than any country in the world, earning billions on the backs of black men and women, destroying millions of families in the process. He can rap all about “all his homies that done passed away,” but he’s better off staying away from a conversation about how gun violence is fueled by manufacturers who are happy to build profitable corporate tools to fund black male genocide.

It is the lack of acknowledgement of the deep and piercing artifacts of black oppression that bother Belafonte and others the most.  It’s what bothers me too, for I’ve always been raised to believe that (to recite the words of Spiderman’s Uncle Ben) great power comes with great responsibility.

Perhaps when Jay-Z really understands what wealth is all about, he can take a note from Warren Buffett, Oprah and others, who’ve convinced several billionaires to give half of their wealth to charity when they die.  A billion dollars is far more than enough for one family so why not use the rest of save 1,000 families?   Is it nothing less than utterly shameful to have 10 houses, 15 cars, 200 expensive suits and several private planes?  Maybe there is a point where such gluttony should not be celebrated by the rest of us, and instead be called out as pathetic in a world where millions of children are going to die this year from starvation.

Anyone who disagrees with me might want to consider the fact that there is nothing consistent with the teachings of Jesus about letting innocent people starve while you’re burning money in your basement.  The principled stands by men like Muhammad Ali, who gave away nearly everything to stand up for his values, are virtually non-existence when our leading artists write songs about excessive materialism, getting high and drunk every day, killing other black men and unhealthy s****l promiscuity.  Belafonte is right on point and we should look to our elders to remind us of what it means to live a purposeful and righteous life.

Harry Belafonte, by speaking up at the age of 85, is effectively asking that young people pick up the baton that he’s been running since Dr. King was a teenager.  But instead of picking up the baton, we’ve thrown it at his feet and signed ourselves up for corporate slavery. I congratulate Harry for taking a stand on this important issue, and I am hopeful that his courage can spark the cultural revolution necessary to make our people stronger as a result.

Way to go Harry, I respect you.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition.

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Wonder Woman is a community activist and blogger.

She is a proud member of the JustUs League!

She has her own blog site at http://www/wonder2woman.blogspot.com

She also contributes to The Milwaukee Drum, the Black Convo Network, Insane Asylum Blog, and Black Bloggers Connect.

Contact info:

wonder2woman (Twitter)

411wonderwoman@gmail.com