This past week, the world lost a giant intellect and talent. Gil Noble, one of the architects of critical Black journalism, transitioned to the ancestors. I prepared this obituary for Ebony.com:
The media, the Black world, and the nation have lost one of our most powerful and fearless voices. Gil Noble passed away on April 5th at the age of 80. While his name may not be known by all, Noble’s programming was nothing short of genre redefining and revolutionary. His path through journalism and the mark that he left on media are indelible. With his passing we have lost more than a man, we have lost a cultural institution. Read more
I have also received more information on Elder Noble’s funeral arrangements and ways to contribute from the FB page of Dr. Leonard Jeffries:
Wake: Thursday, April 12th from 7-10pm
Funeral: Friday, April 13th at 10 am
Both will be held at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, West 138th St. between Malcolm X Blvd and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd in Harlem, NY
In lieu of flowers the family is asking that donations be made to the Gil Noble Archives
Gil Noble Archives Fund
PO Box 43138, Upper Montclair, NJ 07043
It is a not for profit set up to digitize his work for posterity. We urge everyone that realizes the importance of his rich legacy to contribute to the fund.
This Monday New York City is lucky to witness the new performance piece “Window Sex Project” by Sydnie Mosley.
The Window Sex Project addresses and tackles the every day practice in which women are “window shopped,” that is forced to bear unsolicited verbal harassment from men while walking on the street. Through community workshops and choreographed performance, The Window Sex Project will give voice to these concerns and restore agency to women by equipping them to manage street harassment, celebrating their bodies and creating a public artwork, specifically a dance performance which takes place in an art gallery.
This performance will be followed by a panel that I will be moderating. The performance and panel will be held at Barnard on Monday April 2nd at 6:30pm in the Diana Event Oval.
Hear Sydnie Mosley speak about the WSP and International Anti-Street Harassment Week.
I remember growing up and learning how to “holler” at girls. I’ll be honest, I’ve never found it particularly natural to stand in a group of other guys and whistle, catcall, or bark compliments to women, but somehow it was supposed to be a rite of passage. In my younger days, I thought of street harassment as bad, but shrugged it off a bit because there were a lot of worse things that I could do toward women and since I didn’t catcall, I wasn’t really an offender. However, each day I see greater connections between street harassment and violence against women.
“There’s a war going on outside no man is safe from, you could run but you can’t hide forever.” These words, by Mobb Deep, resonate as I think about the conditions facing Black males in 2012. While news story after story will talk about Black males as perpetrators or victims, the issue is still more complex than we typically let on. If we look carefully, Black folks will have to take a deep breath and examine not just the conditions of racist society but also the negative images we have internalized about Black males which ask us to determine our allegiance to Black males based on their perceived “guilt” or “innocence.” These two options slice like a razor forcing choice between brother or other, friend or foe, or other binaries. In reality, Black males, like all humans are complex and simple categorizations will never provide enough traction for justice work and community healing.
At the close of each Black History Month I often feel a profound sense of loss. This feeling is not because there will be less programming that deals with the plight of people of African descent on television, fewer commercials from multimillion dollar corporations claiming they “care” about our communities, or because the classrooms of America will once again settle into their predominantly White curricula. Instead, I feel the pain of a missed opportunity to engage how race continues to shape our lives today, not just historically. However, at the close of this Black History Month, I felt the prospect of hope come from a thirteen year old in Rochester, New York – Jada Williams.
Over the past few years it’s come in vogue to make the statement, “I’m not homophobic. I’m not afraid of gay people.” Without fail, a comment about disagreeing with “lifestyle,” “sin” or something similar follows. I’m not here to debate your faith, I’ll let others take that on. Instead, I simply wish to address why there is rampant insistence that homophobic comments, deeds, and thoughts are not homophobic. Just as the trend towards folks saying, “How can I be racist? I don’t see color!” is concern worthy, our collective tolerance of homophobia should be examined and changed.
I have a confession: I watch the Real Housewives of Atlanta. Religiously. Now, before you tune out, I watch and examine the show as a sociologist and scholar of the African Diaspora. These years of watching the shenanigans of RHOA have culminated in the glorious spectacle that was the cast visiting South Africa. When I heard about these infamous Atlanta socialites spending time on the continent I covered my eyes in fearful anticipation. Without fail, the last few episodes have delivered cringe worthy moments (like Marlo trying to buy children perm kits) but in the midst of my cringing, I realized that the cast’s (mis)conceptions of Africa were not much different than those shared by many folks in my life. If we uncover our eyes long enough to watch, we may see some all too common trends in the relationships between African-Americans and the continent of Africa. In watching RHOA, I was reminded that there is a lot of healing to be done between the Motherland and her Diasporic children.
If you watch the news, listen to friends, or click on links you’d think the only thing Black males have to offer is violence, incarceration, and failure. This is definitely not the case! Like all groups, Black men are diverse and we need to recognize what is going right as well as what is going wrong. Check out my latest on Ebony.com“Realizing Black Male Success.”
“Black male success”. These three words are elusive in the press and too rarely associated with the brothers in our everyday lives. A recent report, however, may prove to be the game changer we so desperately deserve.
Every Black History Month there are a slew of pieces on why the month is irrelevant, unnecessary, etc. This is not one of them! I think Black History Month remains an imperative but I hope that we will deepen our understandings of our ancestral past so that we pave way for a different understanding of our people and the future. Unfortunately, the rush to get our history into a 29 days (it’s a leap year) will lead to a lot of misinformation. Let’s see if we can disenroll ourselves from the Willie Lynch School of Social Research.
It’s Black History Month and as both a professor and a lover of Blackness, Black things and Black people, I want us all to study up. Just make sure you don’t enroll in The Willie Lynch School of Social Research. Now some of my pro-Black, head wrap rocking friends who are very passionate about Black history 28-29 days a year are nodding their heads right now because they’re familiar with Willie Lynch and think I’m about to berate folks for taking up his ways. These are the alumni of that school I so desperately want to shut down.
For those who are unfamiliar, there is a notorious letter- “How to Make a Slave”- that was said to have been read by a slaveholder named Willie Lynch on the bank of the James River in 1712. The document explains how slaveholders should keep the various enslaved Africans of their plantations at odds with one another to ensure that they are never able to revolt and to keep the psychological chains on their “property” as tight as the physical ones. The colloquialisms used and the improbability that someone would have ever presented such a plan that effectively predicted the long-term effects of slavery (for example, our issues with complexion) have long been used by scholars and researchers to refute the authenticity of the document. But you can still find copies of it and even films devoted to explaining how it manifested in Afrocentric bookstores across the country.
The Willie Lynch myth is just one example of the lazy “research” we tend to do online about our community, forward to others or, worse, try to convince our children of. If we want to Black history to be known, felt and understood, we as adults have some work to do! Read more
My twitter profile reads, “Scholar, author, hater of Drake.” Of all the things on that profile “hater of Drake” is the one that I most commonly get hit up about. While this post won’t tell you all of the many reasons I dislike Drake, it will tell you one reason why I’m disappointed in him and Common. When the beef started people immediately hit me up asking how happy I was that Common was going at Drake. If you want to know, check out what I wrote for Ebony.com.
First things first, I am a fan of Common and I am not a fan of Drake. With that being said, with each passing day I lose more respect for Drake and Common. No, not because their beef is faker than McDonald’s hamburgers; my gripes are with the ways in which their battle has reminded me that Hip-Hop and the Black community continue to carry fragile and narrow definitions of what it means to be a man. Read More.