Colorlines

Demolition of Graffiti Mecca 5Pointz to Begin in August

Demolition of Graffiti Mecca 5Pointz to Begin in August

5Pointz, the graffiti mecca that was shockingly white-washed last year, will be demolished next month. Jeff Wolkoff, the owner of the building, told DNAInfo that the destruction will begin in mid-August.

Nearly a year ago, Wolkoff and his brother were granted permission by the New York City Planning Commission to turn the graffiti shrine into condos. Late last year, the building’s graffiti was completely painted over sending shockwaves through New York City’s vibrant hip-hop scene and sparking a big backlash online. 

The owners insist that the new condos will allow graffiti writers the freedom to create new masterpieces. “I’m going to bring the artists back,” Jerry Wolkoff said. “They’ll have walls, they’ll have a place for years and years to express themselves.” 

(h/t Complex)

Zendaya Says Aaliyah Decision ‘Had Nothing to Do With Haters’

Zendaya Says Aaliyah Decision 'Had Nothing to Do With Haters'

Zendaya Coleman, the 17-year-old Disney star who was criticized for agreeing to play Aaliyah in an upcoming biopic, says that her decision to leave the project was due to her concerns that the project was doomed before it began. 

The Lifetime biopic is based on Christopher Farley’s bestselling 2004 biography “Aaliyah: More Than a Woman.” Zendaya’s casting initially caused an uproar in part because critics said that the actress, who is biracial, wasn’t black enough for the role. 

The reason why I chose not to do the Aaliyah movie had nothing to do with the haters or people telling me that I couldn’t do it, I wasn’t talented enough, or I wasn’t black enough,” the performer said in an Instagram video. ”The main reasons were that the production value wasn’t there, there were complications with the music rights, and I just felt like it wasn’t being handled delicately considering the situation.”

Actress Alexandra Shipp has been cast to play the role instead, with Zendaya offering her some advice: “I only hope she does not have to deal with half the hate that I had to deal with. And remember that we are all human beings trying to do what we love to do. Let’s practice motivation and love — not discrimination and hate. All right?”

Asian-American Artists Celebrate Ai Wei Wei’s NYC Roots

Asian-American Artists Celebrate Ai Wei Wei's NYC Roots

Ai Wei Wei is often described as a Chinese artist which, technically, is true. He was born and raised in the country and has made an international name for himself with work that deals intimately with Chinese culture and politics. But an often forgotten part of his biography is the fact that he spent a big chunk of his formative years as a young adult in New York City.

A group of Asian-American artists are now out to explore that part of Ai Wei Wei’s career with a new spoken word mixed media performance called “Ai Wei Wei: The Seed.”

The show goes up Thursday, July 24 at the Brooklyn Museum. The creative behind the performance includes some of our friends, like Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai (Creative Direction, Spoken Word, Video), Jessica Chen (Choreography), Jason Kao Hwang (Music), Adriel Luis (Spoken Word, Video, Music), and Kit Yan (Spoken Word).

Here’s more:

Ai Wei Wei: The Seed

Thursday, July 24
7:00pm - 9:30 pm

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Pkwy
Brooklyn, New York 11238

AI WEI WEI: THE SEED is a live music, video, dance and spoken word performance mash-up about the early roots of political artist Ai Weiwei and his emergence as one of the world’s foremost artists and thinkers. The show tracks the artist’s life from his childhood in exile with his political poet father Ai Qing to his formative decade in NYC (1981-1993) as a street artist in Williamsburg and the East Village, where he also befriended poet Allen Ginsberg.

by Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai (Creative Direction, Spoken Word, Video), Jessica Chen (Choreography), Jason Kao Hwang (Music), Adriel Luis (Spoken Word, Video, Music), and Kit Yan (Spoken Word)

Tickets $18 available via Museum Tix (http://bit.ly/TBZTLK) or Visitor Center. Free for Museum Members.

Doors 6:30 PM. Show 7:30 PM. AI WEI WEI: THE SEED will be performed in the Iris B. & Gerald Cantor Auditorium.

Ticket includes admission to AI WEI WEI: THE SEED performance, Ai Wei Wei exhibit, and all Art Off the Wall events throughout the museum including Asian American Oral History Collective workshop, Wildcat! dance performance, and a calligraphy workshop. 

For more info, check out the event’s Facebook page and look for more at the Brooklyn Museum

aiweiweitheseed01.jpg

Here’s a Teenage Kanye West Rapping at Historic L.A. Record Store

Here's a Teenage Kanye West Rapping at Historic L.A. Record Store Play

Because it’s Friday, here’s a flashback video of Kanye West freestyling at Fat Beats in Los Angeles back in 1996. He was 19 years old.

(h/t Stereogum)

The New Captain America is a Black Man From Harlem

The New Captain America is a Black Man From Harlem

The wait for a new Captain America is finally over. Here’s Stephen A. Crockett Jr. at The Root:

On Wednesday, Marvel Comics announced just such a promotion as Falcon, the African-American character born and raised in Harlem, will become the new Captain America. (Comic book aficionado and The Root’s Grapevine editor, Yesha Callahan, does not believe that Falcon’s rise to Captain America makes him the first, since she notes that Isaiah Bradley, widely regarded as “Black Captain America,” held that position.)

“It’s about time,” Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort told the New York Daily News. “In 2014 this should be a thing that we shrug off. It shouldn’t be seen as revolutionary, but it still feels exciting.”

Seattle Revival of ‘The Mikado’ Insists on Bringing Yellowface Back With It

Seattle Revival of 'The Mikado' Insists on Bringing Yellowface Back With It

mikadoposter_071714.jpgYellowface is nothing new. But people seem unable to leave it behind as an embarrassment of the past. The Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year with a production of the operetta duo’s classic “The Mikado.” Except, writes Jeff Yang over at CNN

It is the most frequently staged of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas and a perennial favorite of the Society. Every time, they have done it the same way: As a photocopy of the Victorian original, with Caucasian actors wearing garish facepaint and outfits that cartoonishly approximate traditional Japanese garb.

[T]hese “traditional” productions — yellowface productions — of “The Mikado” have to end.

They are the deep-drilled root of the yellowface weed: the place from which the scourge keeps springing back, even when its surface expressions are plucked. There are older examples of yellowface in entertainment than “The Mikado,” but none so popular, and certainly none that have been as popular among mass audiences for as long — 129 years and counting.

I want to be clear that I’m not saying that “The Mikado” shouldn’t be performed at all.

Its biting satire and splendidly silly stage play make it quite possibly Gilbert and Sullivan’s greatest work. But when it is performed by an all-white troupe of actors dressed and made up as Asians, it shifts from a brilliant comedy of manners to, as Asian-American actress and blogger Erin Quill says, a “racist piece of crap.”

Read the rest of Yang’s piece at CNN.

TAGS: yellowface

Casting Call for ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Biopic is Really Racist

Casting Call for 'Straight Outta Compton' Biopic is Really Racist

The casting call for an N.W.A. biopic “Straight Outta Compton” was released yesterday, and it’s awful:

SAG OR NON UNION CASTING NOTICE FOR FEMALES-ALL ETHNICITIES- from the late 80’s. Shoots on “Straight Outta Compton”. Shoot date TBD. We are pulling photos for the director of featured extras. VERY IMPORTANT - You MUST live in the Los Angeles area (Orange County is fine too) to work on this show. DO NOT SUBMIT if you live out of the area. Nobody is going to be flying into LA to do extra work on this show - and don’t tell me you are willing to fly in.

SAG OR NON UNION FEMALES - PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR SPECIFIC BREAKDOWN. DO NOT EMAIL IN FOR MORE THAN ONE CATEGORY:

A GIRLS: These are the hottest of the hottest. Models. MUST have real hair - no extensions, very classy looking, great bodies. You can be black, white, asian, hispanic, mid eastern, or mixed race too. Age 18-30. Please email a current color photo, your name, Union status, height/weight, age, city in which you live and phone number to: SandeAlessiCasting@gmail.com subject line should read: A GIRLS

B GIRLS: These are fine girls, long natural hair, really nice bodies. Small waists, nice hips. You should be light-skinned. Beyonce is a prototype here. Age 18-30. Please email a current color photo, your name, Union status, height/weight, age, city in which you live and phone number to: SandeAlessiCasting@gmail.com subject line should read: B GIRLS

C GIRLS: These are African American girls, medium to light skinned with a weave. Age 18-30. Please email a current color photo, your name, Union status, height/weight, age, city in which you live and phone number to: SandeAlessiCasting@gmail.com subject line should read: C GIRLS

D GIRLS: These are African American girls. Poor, not in good shape. Medium to dark skin tone. Character types. Age 18-30. Please email a current color photo, your name, Union status, height/weight, age, city in which you live and phone number to: SandeAlessiCasting@gmail.com subject line should read: D GIRLS

This is how bad films are made. 

(h/t Gawker)

Dolores Huerta Talks About Becoming an Organizer

Dolores Huerta Talks About Becoming an Organizer

At 84 years old, Dolores Huerta has spent the better part of 50 years working and supporting community organizers. In this recent interview with a San Diego news station, the co-founder of the United Farm Workers shows that she’s still approaching life with the same strategic thinking that’s made her one of the most well-known labor leaders in the country.

Video: Bruce Lee Meets the Guy Who Got a Groupon for Karate Class

Video: Bruce Lee Meets the Guy Who Got a Groupon for Karate Class Play

Brooklyn 8th Grade Metal Band Lands $1.7 Million Record Deal

Brooklyn 8th Grade Metal Band Lands $1.7 Million Record Deal

Yes, you read that headline correctly. Three Brooklyn 8th graders — guitarist Malcolm Brickhouse, bassist Alec Atkins and drummer Jarad Dawkins — got together to form Unlocking the Truth, and  Sony has signed the tweens to a two-record deal worth $1.7 million. 

Here’s more from Consequence of Sound:

According to the NY Daily Newsthe group was discovered performing in Washington Square Park back in 2012 by Steve Jordan, drummer for Eric Clapton. That led to gigs playing across the country, including opening for Guns ‘N’ Roses in Vegas, a current spot on the Vans Warped Tour, a gig with Queens of the Stone Age next weekend, and even an opening slot on Coachella’s main stage. “What started out as play dates went to Times Square and now this,” said Dawkins’ mother, Tabatha. “It’s been one great thing after another.” For you concerned mothers out there, don’t worry; Dawkins said the boys are all solid students. “School work comes first. If their school work is not done, they don’t play.”

What makes this story unique is that these kids are young. Really young. But they’re also black musicians in a genre that’s long been seen as mostly white. Let’s just hope that the pressure to produce doesn’t get the best of them. 

 

 

TAGS: Kids music

‘Holler If Ya Hear Me’ Musical’s Broadway Run Cut Short

'Holler If Ya Hear Me' Musical's Broadway Run Cut Short

“Holler If Ya Hear Me,” the Broadway musical directed by Kenny Leon that is based on the life and music of 2pac, is ending its run on Sunday after lackluster sales.

From the New York Times:

In a statement on Monday night, one of the lead producers, Eric L. Gold, blamed the show’s closing on “the financial burdens of Broadway” and added, “I was unable to sustain this production longer in order to give it time to bloom on Broadway.” Mr. Gold also recently told Variety that he made a “rookie mistake” by underestimating the amount of capital necessary to keep the $8 million show running.

While some Broadway shows rely on budget reserves to muddle through slow weeks, “Holler” struggled from the outset. The production never brought in more than $175,000 a week in gross revenues, becoming one of the worst-selling musicals of recent years. Last week the show grossed $154,948, or 17 percent of the maximum possible amount, and only 45 percent of its seats were occupied.

It’s sad news, but especially troubling for what this could mean for the future of hip-hop on Broadway. “If we don’t succeed, it’s going to be difficult to do another rap or hip hop show on Broadway,” Gold said in an interview with Times. 

All-Star Game to Pay Tribute to Glenn Burke, First Openly Gay MLB Player

All-Star Game to Pay Tribute to Glenn Burke, First Openly Gay MLB Player

There are now enough openly gay professional athletes in America that the phrase “LGBT Sports Movement” has entered our cultural lexicon. Brittney Griner, Jason Collins, Michael Sam — they’re all pioneering black gay athletes whose bravery deserves attention. But so too does Glenn Burke, a Major League Baseball player who came out of the closet during the 1970s. Now, 40 years after Burke’s coming out and 20 years after his death from AIDS, Major League Baseball will publicly honor him at this year’s All-Star Game.

“He was a pioneer, and should be recognized,” said Major League Baseball spokesman Pat Courtney, speaking to the New York Times.

But that recognition was a long time coming.  Burke’s career was cut short by injury — and ignorance. “Deep inside, I know the Dodgers traded me because I was gay,” he said in a 1982 Inside Sports profile about being traded from Los Angeles to Oakland. 

Al Jazeera’s Gregg Levine noted:

Glenn Burke was also gay. He wasn’t “out” by any definition — certainly not a contemporary one — but he didn’t do some of the things other closeted players at the time would do. He didn’t go out “girl hunting” with teammates on road trips. He didn’t marry a woman for appearances (even though the Dodgers offered to help him financially if he did). He didn’t avoid the spotlight, though he once said, looking back, he thought it would be easier to be a mediocre player that few people recognized.

Burke, instead, wanted to excel. Beyond his natural competitive spirit, he reportedly hoped his success and fame would be big enough to allow him to live openly as a gay athlete.

The league has invited Burke’s family to this year’s All-Star game in Minneapolis, where they’ll witness the first official dedication to the movement that he started. 

(h/t The New York Times)

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Aaron McGruder and Adult Swim Team Up for ‘The Hooligans’

Aaron McGruder and Adult Swim Team Up for 'The Hooligans'

Aaron McGruder is one busy man. The creator of the hit comic and animated series “The Boondocks” announced this year that he’s also working on a new show on Adult Swim called “Black Jesus.” Now comes news that there’s another show in the works, this one the “Hooligan Squad” about an American insurgency in Japanese-occupied San Francisco.

“With ‘The Boondocks’ and the upcoming “Black Jesus” series we consider Aaron very instrumental in the success of Adult Swim and this deal is the continuation of a great partnership,” said Mike Lazzo, executive vice president/creative director of Adult Swim.

For his part, McGruder noted that “it’s a rare thing to have a network home. Even more rare is a home that wants to see you grow and expand as a creator. Adult Swim is headed to new horizons and I’m happy to be along for the ride.”

Earlier this year there was some talk of trouble between McGruder and the network after it was announced that he wouldn’t be involved in the last season of his signature show “The Boondocks.” But it looks like all is well. Get ready to laugh.

(h/t Shadow and Act)

New Video Series Honors Today’s ‘Queer Black Visionaries’

New Video Series Honors Today's 'Queer Black Visionaries' Play

We know our black queer heroes. They’re the Audre Lordes, Marsha P. Johnsons and Richard Bruce Nugents of the world. But filmmaker Katina Parker is on a mission to tell the stories of today’s queer black leaders with a new web series called “Truth.Be.Told.” The North Carolina-based filmmaker has launched an Indiegogo campaign to help raise money for the series, which has already featured powerfully told stories from poets, educators and filmmakers across the country.

Take a look:

Stacyann Chin, Tony Award-winning writer and mother

Kai M. Green, writer, filmmaker and transgender activist

Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, co-creator of the Mobile Homecoming Project

The fundraising campaign ends on August 9 at 11:59pm PST and is a truly refreshing take on the people who are fighting and living for justice in queer black bodies. To date, more than 50 people have committed to being interviewed for Seasons 1 and 2. Confirmed participants include the aforementioned in addition to Emil Wilbekin, editor-at-large for Essence magazine; Patrik-Ian Polk, creator of Logo TV’s Noah’s Arc; B. Slade, a singer formerly known as Tonéx; Toshi Reagon, singer/songwriter; Mia McKenzie, creator of the Black Girl Dangerous blog; Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler filmmaker/transgender rights activist; Karamo Brown, Oprah Winfrey Network host, model and actor and Justin Robinson, founding member of the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops.

TAGS: LGBT Queer video

Iggy Azalea’s Theft of Southern Black Women’s Culture

Iggy Azalea's Theft of Southern Black Women's Culture

What do you do with an artist like Iggy Azalea? She’s a white Australian emcee who’s currently got one of America’s most popular rap songs in “Fancy,” a swagger-packed ode to Southern crunk. But, as Brittney Cooper points out at Salon, white artists don’t have to appropriate black culture to be good rappers. And Cooper calls out black male rappers like T.I. for promoting a white female artist like Iggy Azalea over black women:

Forty years ago, Black male race leaders told us that race was the only thing that mattered, feminism be damned. Now in this political moment of My Brother’s Keeper, in the cultural arena, rap crews like Lil Wayne’s Young Money Cash Money and T.I.’s Grand Hustle Entertainment throw their weight behind white women rappers without a second thought. From this, Black women are supposed to conclude two things: 1) race does not matter, except if you are a Black man and 2) if Black men do anything for any woman, it’s the same as being hospitable and/or progressive to every woman.

By riding for white female rappers to the exclusion of Black women, Black men collude with the system against Black women, by demonstrating that our needs, aspirations and feelings do not matter and are not worthy of having a hearing.

Read more over at Salon

Native Baller Shoni Schimmel Has WNBA’s Top-Selling Jersey

Native Baller Shoni Schimmel Has WNBA's Top-Selling Jersey

Shoni Schimmel came to national prominence last year when she and her sister led Louisville to the NCAA Women’s Championship basketball game. Both sisters are members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Since going pro, Shoni has become one of the highest profile Native athletes in the country. Just how high profile? Enough that the Atlanta Dream rookie has the top selling replica jersey in the WNBA, beating out stars like Skylar Diggins and Brittney Griner. 

Schimmel has also been voted a starter for Saturday’s WNBA All-Star game. 

(h/t Oregon Live)

TAGS: Getty Images

Los Rakas Pays Tribute to Families Torn Apart by Deportation

Los Rakas Pays Tribute to Families Torn Apart by Deportation Play

Los Rakas, an Oakland-based Panamanian-American hip-hop duo, is out with a new video that looks at America’s broken immigration system. In “Chica de mi Corazon” directed by Nelson Navarrete, a boy makes the dangerous journey to the United States in search of his mother. The music is especially timely in light of the thousands of child migrants who’ve been thrust in the American media’s spotlight. 

The duo write:

“We see what can happen when people are forced from their homelands because of poverty and the dangerous risks they must face. Through the hardship and struggle, the videos celebrate these stories and the mothers around the world who risk it all for their families. This is just one immigrant romance and tragedy, a soundtrack for the world we are currently living in.”

The video is the second part of a cinematic series that focuses on the push-and-pull factors of immigration. The first one, “Sueño Americano”, was directed by the Perez Brothers. 

Here’s the English translation for “Chica de Mi Corazon”:

(Chorus)
Girl of my heart
I dedicate this song to you
Come back soon to my heart
Girl of my heart
I dedicate this song to you
Come back soon to my heart
To my heart
To my heart
Come back soon to my heart
To my heart
To my heart
Come back soon to my heart
This happened a few years ago
When I was in the land of PanamaShe was a very special girl
For me that was the most beautiful girl
I was coming over here
You could see the happiness in my face
But I was sad at the same time
Mami I love you without you I’m not happy
Mami I’m not lying or making up stories
I love you, I like you and I respect you
I want you at my side to fill you kisses
You’re the woman I always see in my dreams
(Chorus)
Girl of my heart
I dedicate this song to you
Come back soon to my heart
Girl of my heart
I dedicate this song to you
Come back soon to my heart
To my heart
To my heart
Come back soon to my heart
To my heart
To my heart
Come back soon to my heart
Remembering the past
And the moments when we were close
Girl I had you by my side when I was little
This distance has me exhausted
Looking at the moon
Girl if I could I’d leave
And only dedicate myself to your capture
You’re my soul, my queen without a doubt
Mama, it’s been 10 years that I can’t see you
I can’t kiss you
This distance is killing me
I miss you
(Chorus)
Girl of my heart
I dedicate this song to you
Come back soon to my heart
Girl of my heart
I dedicate this song to you
Come back soon to my heart
To my heartTo my heart
Come back soon to my heart
To my heart
To my heart
Come back soon to my heart

And for Sueño Americano:

Estos manes no conocen nada de mí
Ni saben lo que he tenido que hacer para vivir
La vida en América no es como creí
Ni menos como piensan
Los que no viven aquí
Es dura
Compa esto no es Panama
Que si no tienes algo
El vecino te lo da
Acá si quieres algo tú lo tienes que buscar
Y si no hay trabajo entonces tienes que pecar
Porque renta es cara la ley es mala
Sin papeles tú no eres nada
Ni como humano te tratan
Esto es un mensaje para toda mi raza
(coro)
Hey nada es como antes
Las cosas han cambiado
Pero hay que hechar para alante
Yo soy inmigrante y se me trata a mí
Como si soy maliante
(repeat)
Sueño americano
Es el sueño americano
Así es el sueño americano
Es el sueño americano
La circunstancia me limita
No puedo ir pa’ college
Porque no tengo mi green card
Ando sin trabajo y la mente negativa
Tramando lo que sea para llegar hacia la cima
Tú me entiendes?
Ya no soy el mismo joven inocente
America me convirtió en delincuenteParkiando con los manes que roban y venden
Tomando, fumando, actuando indecente
Y mi mama ‘ta cansada ayer me llamó
Dice que no puede más
Que a dios todo el día le resa
Para que me vaya bien
Y nunca me vaya mal
Y los ojos se me empiezan a aguar
Me necesita y ni la puedo ayudar
Perdoname mama
Pronto yo y Rico vamos a estar en la fama con lana
(coro)
Hey nada es como antes
Las cosas han cambiado
Pero hay que hechar para alante
Yo soy inmigrante y se me trata a mí
Como si soy maliante
(repeat)
Sueño americano
Es el sueño americano
Así es el sueño americano
Es el sueño americano

Are Black Men Really ‘Bigger?’

Are Black Men Really 'Bigger?' Play

The team behind “Dear White People” is back with another PSA to help everyone tackle their stereotypes about black folks. 

Junot Diaz on Success and Catastrophe

Junot Diaz on Success and Catastrophe

Junot Diaz is a widely popular writer, probably one of the most influential of our generation. So he should feel pretty settled, right? Wrong, according to a recent interview with the Financial Times in which the author sheds some light on the financial realities of the publishing world.

So has success liberated him? “I have that deep-seated fear of catastrophe that a lot of immigrants have,” he replies. In the 11 years between Drown and Oscar Wao, his after-tax income from book sales was just $50,000 in total. Things have improved but he continues to teach at MIT. He likes the students, who he says are better for not wanting to be novelists, unlike those in other creative writing classes. “If you think learning salsa is your future, you’re going to be pretty insufferable in salsa classes.”

The author goes on to talk about his MacArthur Genius Grant, the Pulitzer and being a slow writer. Read more

Aloe Blacc Uses Images of Detroit (And Lots of Product Placement) in New Video

Aloe Blacc Uses Images of Detroit (And Lots of Product Placement) in New Video

If there’s one thing that Aloe Blacc’s team knows how to do exceptionally well, it’s how wring corporate endorsements from his new album. The singer released the video for his song “Hello World (The World is Ours)”, which also happens to be the FIFA World Cup anthem. In it, director Shane Drake draws heavily on images of downtrodden Detroit, mixed in with a prominent image of Beats headphones. (Beats Music helped build anticipation for Blacc’s latest album when  his song “The Man” was featured in a commercial starring NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.) Take a look. 

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