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James Baldwin

To Pimp a Butterfly: Redefining Freedom and the American Dream

Julian Mitchell | Posted 03.18.2015 | Black Voices
Julian Mitchell

Channeling the revolutionary essence of the Harlem Renaisance, Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly is a gripping, soul-driven melodrama that masterfully depicts the story of a courageous young man fighting through the painful process of liberating himself.

Ne Me Quitte Pas

Diedre A. Ware | Posted 02.27.2015 | Fifty
Diedre A. Ware

Nina Simone's music stirs the soul. I liken it to one awash in the Holy Spirit in a Baptist church on a Sunday morning. Her classical piano finesse infused with her jazzy and bluesy gospel voice is heard in all of her music, especially in all of her civil rights protest songs.

Hope and Struggle

George C. Gardner III | Posted 02.10.2015 | Black Voices
George C. Gardner III

Only in the last few weeks has the temperature in New York City descended to consistently freezing lows, yet I've been numb since last summer. I am contemplating still the murder of Michael Brown.

These Photos of Shelter Dogs as Famous Authors Are Awesome

Jen Reeder | Posted 03.15.2015 | Impact
Jen Reeder

I'm an English major, member of the Dog Writers Association of America, and big fan of animal rescue, so my heart did cartwheels when I heard about "Poetic Dogs."

What Would James Baldwin Say About Ferguson?

Alain Mabanckou | Posted 03.09.2015 | Books
Alain Mabanckou

Today it is less about defining or redefining what it means to be "Black," as it is about how we will carry on the flame of freedom that inspired those who died for our right to express ourselves freely, to say along with the poet Langston Hughes, "I, too, am America."

10 Things You Should Know About Selma Before You See the Film

The Zinn Education Project | Posted 03.08.2015 | Politics
The Zinn Education Project

There is a "people's history" of Selma that we all can learn from -- one that is needed especially now.

The Special Quality That Makes James Baldwin So Great

Off The Shelf | Posted 02.28.2015 | Books
Off The Shelf

By Pronoy Sarkar for Off the Shelf There is something about him. What is it, what is it? Oh, I don't know. I can't put it into words. But I'm telling...

The Militarized Divide

Robert Koehler | Posted 02.10.2015 | Chicago
Robert Koehler

Either we're united by our common humanity or we live in a broken world, a nation hellishly divided against itself, a roiling stew of privilege and squalor. And no one in such a world is free -- that is to say, fully himself or herself, fully human.

American Impunity Abroad and at Home

Ethan Casey | Posted 02.09.2015 | Politics
Ethan Casey

It's human nature to want to believe in the rightness of our own actions and intentions. But it's precisely human nature that is the problem; the fact that human evil is predictable does not make it excusable. We must be willing to consider ourselves culpable, and to put ourselves at risk.

Restlessness or Respectability? A Spiritual Freedom to Be Dangerous After Ferguson

H. Adam Ackley, Ph.D. | Posted 01.26.2015 | Religion
H. Adam Ackley, Ph.D.

African American historians, womanists in particular, have long warned that "respectability" is an elite ideology that encourages the marginalized to conform to sociocultural standards and mannerisms defined only by those in power.

'Is it Time to Do a James Baldwin?'

Malek Mouzon | Posted 01.25.2015 | Black Voices
Malek Mouzon

Deep down, whether I want to admit or not, I know the truth. The racism that James Baldwin knew and ultimately made him leave the country isn't really gone. It's just changed its form.

Addicted's Bille Woodruff's 'Naked' Ambitions

Brandon Judell | Posted 12.15.2014 | Entertainment
Brandon Judell

A faithful adaptation of erotica queen Zane's million copy bestseller, the romancer showcases the posteriors of William Levy, Tyson Beckford, and Boris Kodjoe as they try to satisfy Sharon Leal's Zoe, who's suffering from a hardy case of sex addiction that's destroying both her marriage and career.

It's Time to Redefine Renaissance

Jason Foster | Posted 11.24.2014 | Impact
Jason Foster

The Harlem Renaissance period is an era that I wish that I could somehow experience in my life. The allure of it. The thought that if I was a black male and educated in a variety of things that I would be considered a "Renaissance Man."

Ferguson Crisis Is Symptomatic of Many Other Injustices

Elwood D. Watson | Posted 11.15.2014 | Black Voices
Elwood D. Watson

The stark and wildly diverse perceptions that white and black Americans have of the crisis in Ferguson (and on race in general) is crucial evidence that the racial divide in our nation is still considerable.

How The Notorious B.I.G. Turned Fear and Rage Into Genius

Timothy Cooper | Posted 11.12.2014 | Black Voices
Timothy Cooper

"Ready to Die" is a multifaceted masterpiece, but its driving force is Biggie's supplication for America to recognize a young black man wrought with the fear and rage of existing in a life rooted in continuing stagnation.

For Ferguson, We Need Less Niebuhr and More Baldwin

Edward J. Blum | Posted 10.20.2014 | Religion
Edward J. Blum

We need fewer sighs and more plans; we need less complacency of an immoral world and more actions of moral women and men. If we don't, then we won't have "the fire next time." We'll have the fire right now.

James Baldwin: My Uncle and His Love Life

T. Better Baldwin | Posted 09.29.2014 | Black Voices
T. Better Baldwin

Harlem wasn't just a regular setting in the corpus of his work; it was more like a pantomime Greek Chorus. For Uncle Jimmy, Harlem was a unique holy ground of sacrificial sensibility.

Boston LGBTQ Communities Divided on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Irene Monroe | Posted 09.27.2014 | Gay Voices
Irene Monroe

At a recent protest rally on the streets of Boston, just one of many that I've seen personally, watched on TV and read about, members of our community went at each other's throats, demonstrating not only how we're not monolithic when it comes to passion and politics but how LGBTQs are inextricably tied to world events.

The Magic Of Meshell Ndegeocello

Diriye Osman | Posted 07.14.2014 | Entertainment
Diriye Osman

It's fair to say that, in our age of digitized apathy and carefully-curated online inertia, you can add singer-songwriter and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello to that long line of creative polymaths who have not only injected vital energy into the culture but repeatedly spoken truth to power.

The Common Core: Disabling Compassion

T. Elijah Hawkes | Posted 08.19.2014 | Education
T. Elijah Hawkes

What would James Baldwin, one of America's greatest non-fiction writers, have to say about the Common Core expectation that a high school senior's reading diet be 70 percent non-fiction text?

On a Human Rights Attitude and Advocacy: The Gregory-Chappelle (or Angelou-Baldwin) Doctrine

Jack Healey | Posted 07.30.2014 | Impact
Jack Healey

Take Angelou's injunction seriously with regard to human rights and keep your anger to defend them and march it and vote it and let your representatives know that you intend to do so, wherever you may be.

Black and White in Gay Cape Town

Jeremy Helligar | Posted 07.29.2014 | Gay Voices
Jeremy Helligar

The implication: It was OK to kiss me in the hallway of a dark club on Saturday night, but he wasn't interested in me as a multi-dimensional human being or, presumably, being seen in public with me in the harsh, unforgiving light of day.

In Honor and Memory of Maya Angelou

Malika Saada Saar | Posted 07.28.2014 | Black Voices
Malika Saada Saar

Today, Maya Angelou, our larger than life poet, writer, storyteller has made her transition, and I think of the poem "When Great Trees Fall" and, especially, the last lines: "They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed."

Happy Graduation! Ten Books That Could Change Your Graduating Senior (and Their World)

Ru Freeman | Posted 07.27.2014 | Books
Ru Freeman

This is the book you place on top of those other nine-ish books you just bought or ordered. It is the book that communicates that you are a savvy aunt/uncle/grandparent/neighbor/parent.

Spite Your Face: Zoe As Nina

T. Better Baldwin | Posted 07.27.2014 | Black Voices
T. Better Baldwin

I like Zoe as an actress and as a person that I don't know. I admire her hutzpah as she defends her right to embody Ms. Simone. However, just because you can doesn't mean you should.