Looking for Stoney Jackson by Michael A. Gonzales

ImageWhile I’ve read countless tales of Black women and their coming of age hair stories that deconstruct weaves, celebrate ’locs and recount the many hours getting slathered with harsh chemicals beside their moms in the beauty parlor, rarely do I come across any accounts of men reminiscing about their own boyhood hair issues.

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Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video

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Photo Credit: En Foco

“Carrie Mae Weems is a socially motivated artist whose works invite contemplation of race, gender, and class. Increasingly, she has broadened her view to include global struggles for equality and justice. Comprehensive in scope, this retrospective primarily features photographs, including the groundbreaking Kitchen Table Series (1990), but also presents written texts, audio recordings, and videos. The exhibition traces the evolution of Weems’s career over the last 30 years, from her early documentary and autobiographical photographic series to the more conceptual and philosophically complex works that have placed her at the forefront of contemporary art.”

Continue reading @ Guggenheim.Org

Rachel Jeantel

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Credit: Reuters/Jacob Langston/Pool

The last person to speak to Trayvon Martin alive may be the most talked about ‘colored girl’ of the week. The moment Rachel Jeantel took the stand in the murder trial of George Zimmerman, media and spectators weighed in on her intelligence and appearance.

Cultural critics Mychal Denzel Smith, Brittney Cooper and Jelani Cobb unpack the class, gender, racial, and aesthetic politics that underline many of the responses to Jeantel’s presence:

“Rachel’s testimony is an emotional reminder of just what happened. A teenage boy was killed. His family and friends were left to mourn. For some of them, the pain is still fresh. The man responsible walked free for more than a month. There’s a possibility he could be found not guilty.” Continue reading @ The Nation

“These kinds of terms – combat, aggression, anger – stalk Black women, especially Black women who are dark-skinned and plus-sized like Rachel, at every turn seeking to discredit the validity of our experiences and render invisible our traumas. By painting Rachel Jeantel as the aggressor, as the one prone to telling lies and spreading untruths, it became easy for the white male defense attorney to treat this 19 year old, working-class, Black girl, a witness to the murder of her friend, as hostile, as a threat, as the one who needed to be regulated and contained and put in her place.” Continue reading @ Salon.com

“Social-media commentary on Jeantel began nearly as soon as she began to testify. Crass assessments of her weight, looks, and intelligence from some white observers competed with a cocktail of vicarious shame, embarrassment, and disdain from some black ones. If the trial has become a referendum on racial attitudes, Jeantel’s testimony served as a reminder that none of us have the moral high ground. Of the abundant ironies that this case has generated, perhaps the most telling are the commonalities that emerged while she was in the courtroom: it brings out the worst in all of us.” Continue reading @ The New Yorker