My Kanye Ramblings…Why Because I?…For Reasons

Yesterday there was an interview in the NY Times featuring Kanye West. I had several thoughts about it but there were three that that stuck with me. The first, is that Kanye is one of the only Black men in pop culture who continues to evolve publicly, in real time, while remaining squarely in front of his narrative.

Second, a big part of Kanye’s public evolution has to do with his willingness to be vulnerable and emotional, publicly. He is willing to be vulnerable, honest and wrong. When I say emotional I don’t mean full of rage, there is space for Black men to do that in pop culture, in fact some folks expect it.  In fact way back in 2008, I wrote about his willingness to be vulnerable with the album 808’s and Heartbreak.

Last, I realized that a huge portion of the public sphere conversations about art don’t pivot around Black artists who put their craft first. On Twitter, we talk about Scandal (and Shonda Rhimes certainly puts her craft first but our conversations on Twitter aren’t about that dimension of her work), we talk about Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, we talk about rap music lyrics if they are inflammatory. But Black visual artists who are craft first!?!? But perhaps  one of the issues playing a role here is privilege, my own personal privilege that I need to own in this conversation. By privilege I mean the ability to know, study and read about Black artists who are craft first. When I think about Black artists who are craft first the folks who come to mind are Ava Duvernay, Wangechi Mutu, Sanford Biggers, Bradford Young,  Dee Rees, Aisha Simmons (who is on and engaged on Twitter). This list isn’t exhaustive, these are the folks who came to mind. I am not saying that they don’t have online presence, they do, what I am saying is that reading that Kanye article made me wonder, where are the artistic conversations by young(er) established and emerging artists in 2013? Or perhaps the conversations exist and I am slipping. If you are aware of such conversations, please link me, I’d Love to see them.

If a huge portion of the Black public sphere is happening on the internet, and this is MY observation, then what does it mean if we don’t see these artists in these spaces having conversations. Or is the issue also of one around time, space and labor. In other words, if you are too busy shooting documentaries, shooting photographs, writing novels, creating web series, creating multi-media work, then you simply may not have the time to be on Twitter.

Social media is labor.

Anyhoo, just some thoughts that the Kanye interview had me thinking about.

I guess also has me thinking that as I move forward with the book and the doc, one of the questions rattling around in my head is whether will the historic spaces that I have visited and participated in, will they feel the same? Will the internet conversations be enough?

New Posts at Race in DC.com and Black Girl Everything

The Closing of Lenox Lounge and Symbols of Blackness

Image via Harlem Bespoke

I remember when President Obama was elected and there was a lot of discourse on how symbolic the election was, and folks were right it was incredibly symbolic.

Symbols are powerful because they inspire people. Now, there is a picture on The Facebook of an empty Lenox Lounge. I have only been to the place twice and when I saw it, I wondered why I feel like I have lost something. Maybe it is a fear of an erasure, of certainly elements of Black people’s history being erased.

The Lenox Lounge backstory.

More

Here is the other post “Thinking About Andrew Sullivan’s Move to a Subscription Service and Wu Tang Clan.”

Enjoy!

 

New Model Minority: The Book Survey….Questions for Those Who Filled it Out in 2011:)

So. About 30 of you filled out the survey which is wonderful, but I don’t know who you are. Let’s remedy this.

Send me an e-mail to m.dotwrites dot gmail or you can fill out the Nmm labs form here to receive updates.

Thank you again for filling it out. When I have thought of giving up, I have kept you all in the back of my mind. There is really nothing like knowing that people actually give a shit about the words you write!!!

Oh, and if you are a new reader, and would like to tell me the topics you are most interested in me writing about in my book projects you can fill out the survey here as well.

I appreciate ya’ll and it is nice to have some traction moving into 2013 even though my wrist is hella stiff. Stiff but working. < New tag line. o.O

Oh, and here is a post from Black Girl Everything on “Scandal.” Check it out “Thinking About Black Women’s Sexuality on the Show “Scandal”: The Liv and Fitz Affair.”

~R

Big Announcement: New Blogs – Race in DC.com and BlackGirlEverything.com

As many of you know I fractured my wrist in a car accident earlier this year. In the above photo I am at breakfast, having been out of the hospital for about a week. The wrist fracture sucked not only because my wrist was broken, but because it set me back in terms of my projects.

Well, I am happy to announce that I have completed two of the projects that I have been working on, the blogs BlackGirlEverything.com and RaceinDC.com.

I created Black Girl Everything, because I wanted to see a space online for Black girls that looked good and had good content. I created RaceinDC because many of the spaces online that discuss race in the city leave me wanting.  I also think that there are not enough conversations that are archived publicly about race and the city. If we can’t name the issue we can’t change the issue, and so I see RaceinDC as a space for social change.

Lastly, I am self publishing two books next year. The first one will be The Miseducation of All City: Essays on Race, East Oakland and Prep School.  If you want to receive updates on my new projects, sign up to receive the NMM Labs updates newsletter. Needless to say, I am excited. Here is a preview of the book cover.

I am also putting together a set of essays of a book about Black women in popular culture. I haven’t decided on a title yet, but I will share that once it becomes available.

So thank you for your kind words and for telling me “I will not pay for blog  posts but I will buy whatever you sell.” I listened and I am producing and selling my work.

Let me know what you think about the blogs. I told myself that I would launch on 12.12.12 and I kept my word. Keeping my word to myself feels awesome.

You working on anything creative? Let me know. #blackgirlsarefromthefuture.

~Allcity