African American Culture
Confronting the legacy of J. Marion Sims.
Congratulations to Ward on winning the 2017 National Book Award for Sing, Unburied, Sing.
“Everything is equally treated.”
Experimental black poetry and visual art.
“I don’t want the kind of career where everything is sensible and safe; I’d rather suffer through the anxiety of wondering where I’m going next than suffer the boredom of dancing in the same safe square.”
“The reward is getting through the tough stuff. And that’s what’s perplexing about the art thing. When I was going to school there were kids that could draw their asses off. There were kids that were better draftsman than me, for certain. But no one was more determined than me.”
Early film, nineteenth-century science fiction, and experimental musical languages serve a young artist’s explorations of race and our political present.
“I don’t want to mention names, but there are several black artists that would like to shoot me today because they weren’t in that show. Some of them are dead, but the ones that aren’t dead still give me a lot of bullshit every time I see them.”
The celebrated choreographer of Bronx Gothic explores the embodiment of psychic space, the nature of memory, and who gets to write history.
For her residency at the New Museum, Leigh looks at the act of healing through the lens of black female caregivers, educators, and intellectuals.
“Life has a soundtrack. And certain music is a soundtrack to a certain type of identity or feeling. 50 Cent, the Game, and those kinds of guys—they made us feel like our lives were worth nothing, basically.”
“I’m fighting between control and letting nature take its course.”
“A thousand clinics could not cure the sense of unreality that haunts Harlem as Harlem haunts the world.”
“It turns out making art was the best idea [for me]. My mother’s idea was good because it got me started. She said, ‘Look, you are skinny; you are little. You can’t hang out with your daddy and them big guys.’”
A 1971 photograph by Jan van Raay shows artist Cliff Joseph leading a group of artist-activists—members of the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition (BECC)—in the dead of winter protesting the Whitney Museum’s controversial exhibition Contemporary Black Artists in America (months before its opening on April 7, 1971).
“I am an artist. I am a NEGROGOTHIC, devil-worshipping, free black man in the blues tradition. Those are the things I am now.”
“How does it feel to be a problem? they say, I know an excellent colored man in my town; or, I fought at Mechanicsville; or, Do not these Southern outrages make your blood boil? To the real question, How does it feel to be a problem? I answer seldom a word.