Iniva: The black arts space you may not know

On the heels of the black arts movement of the 1980s, Iniva (The Institute of International Visual Arts) was founded to create a space for black artists ignored by the mainstream art world.

The core of Iniva as an arts organisation is the Stuart Hall Library.

Named after the renowned British-Jamaican cultural theorist, the Stuart Hall Library is a specialist collection of more than 10,000 volumes relating to art by people of African, Asian, Caribbean and Latin American descent.

To mark 25 years since Iniva was founded, Iniva has moved to a new location in Pimlico, London.

Director Melanie Keen explains the origins of Iniva and how it continues to support black artists.

Video by Fatma Wardy

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

This should be Kamala Harris’s message

Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.), a Democratic presidential candidate, in Washington on Monday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Opinion writer

June 18 at 10:15 AM

Nine Democratic presidential candidates appeared on Monday at an event in Washington hosted by the Poor People’s Campaign, which is led by the Rev. William Barber II. The campaign focuses on the systemic and interconnected problems of racism (including voter suppression) and poverty.

It was a revealing event. Former vice president Joe Biden lambasted President Trump, ran through a demonstration of moneys that would be available for antipoverty programs and others if, for example, simply one tax loophole (the step up for capital gains) were to be removed. Biden touched on his experience as a single father (after his first wife and daughter were killed) when talking about health care, his success in persuading some lawmakers to support the stimulus plan (go into their districts and campaign against them, he declared) and, of course, his tenure at President Barack Obama’s right hand. You know me. I know how to get it done. You know my heart is in the right place. Pure Biden.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) unsurprisingly pushed her wealth tax, which she claims will pay for universal child care, universal pre-K, free technical, two-year and four-year college, provide $50 billion for historically black colleges and universities, lift student debt for 95 percent of those carrying it, and focus on opioid abuse. It was a lot of programs, and a lot of figures. She hit all the progressive notes (e.g., eliminate the filibuster, rein in corruption). For better or worse, she sounded an awful lot like she does when talking to mostly white audiences. I’m in this fight. Everything on my list is going to help the poor, especially people of color. You can see that her policy-laden, almost academic presentation might not quite reach this audience on an emotional level.

The surprise might have been Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.), who gave one of her best performances of the campaign. She began with the parable of the Good Samaritan, pointing out that the story is not so much about helping one’s neighbors but defining the most vulnerable as one’s neighbor, deserving of love and attention. Yes, she laid out some of her programs (e.g., a rent subsidy, a monthly credit for working people), but she also took the audience on a journey to understand how criminal justice issues become economic issues.

Drawing on her experience as a prosecutor, Harris explained how the cash bail system forces many people of color to plead guilty — even when they have a defensible case — so they don’t lose their children, their homes or their jobs. She explained how she and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) teamed up on the issue. When asked how his constituents liked it, she recalled that Paul said, “Kamala, Appalachia loves this!”

All in one story, she made use of her experience as a prosecutor and senator, and conveyed how these issues are not merely “black issues.” When she said a familiar line — “We have so much more in common than what separates us” — it had meaning and specificity.

She stressed (as Barber did) that suppression of African American votes helps elect Republicans whose policies disadvantage both whites and blacks (e.g., opposition to the Affordable Care Act).

In sum, Harris has the personal experience, has the details, has the ability to explain how it affects people’s lives and has the ability to build a coalition. She has not, to date, given enough of that rich detail — the stories that put her in the center of major policy issues which allow people to understand that her issues extend well beyond one community. In this outing on Monday, she connected her policies, her admonitions and her biography into an emotionally compelling message. That’s what she needs more of.

What Harris has lacked, so far, is a more personalized story of how she has helped ordinary people and how people’s lives can be transformed. Warren has the story of her Aunt Bee (who solved Warren’s child-care problem and allowed her to flourish as a professional). Harris needs the stories that make her agenda personal and that put her in the role of the insightful, empathetic healer. Do that, and Harris, with her raw political talent, has the ability to win the race. And then, boy, would she give Trump fits in the general election.

Read more:

Charles Lane: Democrats must figure out how to address Blue America’s housing crisis

Jonathan Capehart: Buttigieg’s approach to courting black voters appears to be working

Gary Abernathy: How rural America can grab a bigger megaphone

E.J. Dionne Jr.: We don’t usually put ‘moral’ and ‘economics’ in the same sentence. It’s time we started.

Art by black artists forces a new look at art history in a must-see show at the Smart Museum

Proceeding strategically, Joyner and Giuffrida have built a collection of approximately 400 works, beginning with African-American artists and eventually expanding to the entire African diaspora. They’ve stuck mainly with abstract painting but have made some exceptions along the way. They’ve focused on certain artists in depth, discovered affinities and personal connections between others, and decided to act as stewards of individual careers. What this sounds like is generous and wise, and what it looks like is knock-‘em-dead stunning to behold, though only a snapshot of it is on view at the Smart, where some 50 select works from the couple’s collection have been supplemented by a handful of loans and new site-specific commissions by a trio of Chicago artists. It’s humbling, too, especially for anyone schooled to believe in the canon, which traditionally has made precious little room for black artists, like the color field painter Sam Gilliam, who so obviously deserve major places there. The section devoted to Gilliam’s work includes the two most stirring pieces in the entire show — the symphonically effervescent “After Glow,” an enormous stained canvas from 1972, and “Stand,” a rainbow-hued swath of unstretched fabric bunched at the top and hung from a leather strap, one part drop cloth, one part laundry-hung-out-to-dry, one part sculpture.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Withdrawing life-support in critically-ill adults with brain injuries

Severe brain injury is the leading cause of disability among young Canadians. Many end up in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on life support. Their families often face the difficult decision to withdraw care, especially when they are otherwise healthy with no pre-existing conditions. Doctors too find these situations challenging, according to a study published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Acquired traumatic brain injury refers to the sudden damage that comes most commonly from a violent blow or jolt to the head. Typical causes include car or motorcycle collisions, falls, sports injuries, assaults as well as penetrating injuries from gunshot wounds. Drownings can lead to severe damage caused by lack of oxygen to the brain.

As shown recently on White Coat, Black Art, fentanyl and other opioid overdoses can also lead to brain injuries from lack of oxygen and possibly other related causes.

In general, the patients admitted to the ICU are older (in their 70s and 80s) and have chronic heart and other problems that contribute to a poor quality of life. The decision to withdraw life support in these patients is often based on their pre-existing health and quality of life.

The patients with severe traumatic brain injury are often young (most commonly children up to four years of age and adolescents ages 15 to 19 with a spike of cases age 60 and older) and otherwise healthy. The decision to withdraw life support is not based on their pre-existing condition but on their long-term prognosis from their injuries.

Previous studies by Dr. Alexis F. Turgeon and fellow researchers with the Canadian Traumatic Brain Injury Research Consortium and the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group showed large variations in the death rate and the timing of death among patients with traumatic brain injuries at ICUs across Canada. The patients generally arrive in the ICU on life support. Many of these patients die shortly after they’re taken off the ventilator.

In previous studies, the researchers also found large variations in the timing of the decision to withdraw life support, with half of all deaths following withdrawal of life support taking place during the first three days of ICU care.  As the authors of the study suggested, that may be too soon for family members (with advice from critical care doctors) to decide to withdraw life support because it’s far too soon to get an accurate long-term prognosis. At that stage, doctors tend to disagree on the prognosis.

The latest study was designed to explore what’s behind those disagreements.

The researchers interviewed 20 ICU physicians across Canada who care for patients with severe traumatic brain injuries. They looked for factors that helped explain why some physicians recommend withdrawing life support early on while others recommend waiting longer to decide.


The patients’ injuries and evidence of severe brain damage were important factors. Most of those interviewed said they were aware of published guidelines on when and how to withdraw care. All said they were influenced by the patient and their family.

Patients with severe brain injuries don’t usually speak for themselves, so any indication of the patient’s prior stated wishes was crucial. Other important factors that influenced the doctor’s decision was their experience in withdrawing life support.

Nearly all said they were influenced by what their colleagues would do in the same situation.

Difficult decisions

Some factors were identified that increase the stress that health professionals feel surrounding the withdrawal of life support. One is a difference of opinion between the doctor and the patient and family over the withdrawal of life support. Physician want to consider fully the previous wishes stated by the patient while weighing-in based on their knowledge and experience.

Another source of conflict and stress occurs when the family is decisive about withdrawal of life-support while the physician wants more time to think it over because of uncertainty regarding the prognosis.

Some of the doctors said they got anxious about getting the prognosis correct because of the stakes. Colleagues who chime in with extreme anecdotes of patients who woke up intact against all odds make some doctors second-guess themselves. If team members looking after the patient have conflicting opinions about what to do, that tends to delay the withdrawal of life-support until everyone is on board.

The authors say physicians involved in these challenging decisions need better evidence to predict accurately the quality of life that patients are likely to have should they recover enough to be discharged from the ICU. That would make recommendations on withdrawing life-prolonging care easier. They would also benefit from more experience during their training years so they’re less anxious when they graduate.

The system needs to find a way to create more time for doctors to make the most accurate prognosis possible, to discuss differences of opinion on the health-care team and to reach a consensus.

Finally, the first few hours and days in the ICU are mostly about treating severe injuries and dealing with medical complications. To make better recommendations, the study shows that critical care people need to learn more about the values and preferences of the patient.

That means not just knowing the medical details. It also means getting to know the person receiving life-support.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

This is the closest thing we’ve ever had to a Hillary Clinton political manifesto

First Lady Hillary Clinton promotes her new book “It Takes a Village” at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in January 1996. (Jeff Mitchell US/Reuters)
February 25, 2016

Hillary Clinton felt misunderstood.

It was late 1994, Republican revolutionaries had stormed the House, and the first lady worried that it was her fault. Had she pushed too hard on health-care reform? Did voters resent her influence in her husband’s administration? During a meeting with confidantes in the White House residence, Clinton held back tears and contemplated stepping back from a visible role in politics and policy.

Instead, she decided to reintroduce herself to America. “I realized I needed to tell my own story and define my own values in a format that could be evaluated directly by people without being distorted or mischaracterized,” she later explained. The result was her 1996 book, “It Takes a Village,” a meditation on the needs of children in the United States — and the closest thing we’ve ever had to a fully formed political manifesto from Hillary Clinton. After the humiliating failure of Hillarycare and her party’s midterm debacle, the book became a bestseller, her comeback.

In the decades since, it has also become her touchstone, the argument she still reaches for when explaining her vision. “I believe the idea of the village and its shared responsibility for our children is even more essential today than it was in 1996,” Clinton wrote in the book’s 10th anniversary edition. She drew on it again during her first run at the Democratic presidential nomination, in 2008. “After all these years, I still believe it takes a village to raise a child,” she said in remarks before the Urban League, where she pledged, “as your president, to build that village.” And Clinton returned to it in the speech launching her 2016 presidential campaign, calling for “an inclusive society” — or, she added, “what I once called ‘a village’ that has a place for everyone.” As if we didn’t remember.

In her debates with Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton has labeled herself “a progressive who likes to get things done,” suggesting ideology leavened by pragmatism. Though some of her views have no doubt shifted since she wrote the book — “evolved,” as politicians prefer to say — “It Takes a Village” shows Clinton striving, sometimes struggling, to reconcile those two impulses. The Clinton in these pages is a self-described moderate, but one who wants an activist government to drive social policy transformations. She is an advocate for equal rights, with a surprising streak of social conservatism. And in a preview of one of her current campaign’s big challenges, she dismisses cross-generational nostalgia for a bygone America yet fears that young Americans don’t recognize the sacrifices their elders once made for them.


Clinton today frequently hails the country’s economic performance during her husband’s presidency, but “It Takes a Village” begins with a bleak view of the 1990s. “Everywhere we look,” she writes, “children are under assault: from violence and neglect, from the breakup of families, from the temptations of alcohol, tobacco, sex, and drug abuse, from greed, materialism, and spiritual emptiness.”

Parents are the first line of defense for their kids — feeding, teaching, nurturing, encouraging — but children “exist in the world as well as in the family,” Clinton explains. They depend on grandparents, neighbors, teachers, ministers, doctors, employers and, yes, politicians. “It takes a village to raise a child,” she writes. “I chose that old African proverb to title this book because it offers a timeless reminder that children will thrive only if their families thrive and if the whole of society cares enough to provide for them.”

The whole of society — that’s where Clinton’s vision quickly expands. Although she highlights the importance of nonprofits, faith communities, businesses, and international nongovernmental groups, “it takes a village” often becomes code for “it takes Washington.” Clinton writes passionately about the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, the Brady Bill, immunization campaigns, and other federal initiatives, deeming them essential to village life. “Let us stop stereotyping government or individuals as absolute villains or absolute saviors, and recognize that each must be part of the solution,” she writes. “Let us use government, as we have in the past, to further the common good.”

So what is the proper role for that government? Clinton identifies competing strands in American history — a collective “gratitude” for a government that promotes the common good, alongside a deep skepticism of authority evident in constitutional checks and balances and the Bill of Rights — and then claims the center. “Most of us would describe ourselves as ‘middle of the road’ — liberal in some areas, conservative in others, moderate in most, neither exclusively pro- nor anti-government,” she writes. It may not be the vision of 2016 primary voters seduced by Sanders’s calls for political revolution, but it’s entirely consistent with Bill Clinton’s presidency, which, two weeks after the book’s publication, declared the era of big government over.

[The moment Obama knew he would defeat Hillary Clinton for the 2008 nomination]

On the economy, Hillary Clinton reflects the ambivalence that still dogs her as today’s Democratic voters consider her Wall Street ties. She emphasizes the importance of regulations for strong financial markets and job growth, yet she brags about how the Clinton administration eliminated 16,000 pages of them. She blasts companies that lay off workers in the name of efficiency but adds that, “to be fair, while corporate restructuring is eliminating many jobs, the economy is also creating millions of new jobs, with small businesses starting at a record pace.”

Still, centrist rhetoric doesn’t stop Clinton from continuing the fight for her recently defeated cause of universal health care. “Many people believe that we cannot guarantee health care to all because of cost,” she writes. “In fact, a sensible universal system would, as in other countries, end up costing us less.” But she laments the nation’s unwillingness to “commit ourselves to make affordable care available to every American.” Today Clinton looks back with pride on her battles with the insurance industry, telling audiences that she fought hard and has “the scars to prove it.” In her book, she appears defensive at times, the wounds still fresh.

Though her push for reform, like Obamacare after it, was assailed as a paternalistic, Washington-knows-best approach to social policy, in “It Takes a Village” Clinton also stresses the role of personal agency in staying healthy. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, she says. Teach kids to feel responsible for their own weight. Shut the refrigerator door and open the front door instead. “There’s probably no area of our lives that better illustrates the connection between the village and the individual and between mutual and personal responsibility than health care,” Clinton writes.

This emphasis on personal responsibility is consistent with one of the more unexpected aspects of “It Takes a Village” — its socially conservative views of family, sex and popular culture.

Though Clinton writes that children can thrive in multiple family structures, she argues that “the nuclear family, consisting of an adult mother and father and the children to whom they are biologically related, has proved to be the most durable and effective means of meeting children’s needs over time.” She endorses uniforms in schools, calls for stricter codes for violence in movies and praises Tipper Gore’s efforts on warning labels for explicit music. Clinton also encourages sexual abstinence and wishes that young people would postpone decisions about sex until age 21 — all views that may feel anachronistic in her party today but that placed Clinton near the center in the 1990s culture wars.

She laments abortion among young people and says it’s a “national shame that many Americans are more thoughtful about planning their weekend entertainment than they are about planning their families.” Clinton calls for more research into family planning and wider access to contraception, and she asserts that “women and men should have the right to make this most intimate of all decisions free of discrimination or coercion.” But then, in odd phrasing for the pro-abortion rights politician, she contends that “once a pregnancy occurs . . . we all have a stake in working to ensure that it turns out well.”

Perhaps most fraught in an America that has awakened to racial disparities in policing and criminal justice, “It Takes a Village” praises the 1994 crime bill for stopping “the revolving door for career criminals,” hails the presence of more cops on the streets and points approvingly to the rise of neighborhood watch groups. “It is realistic, not racist, to be cautious when walking through a high-crime neighborhood, or to want to avoid a corner where a drive-by shooting has taken place,” Clinton writes. “Such judgments become biased only when they are motivated by negative stereotypes rather than common sense.”

[Hillary Clinton reviewed Henry Kissinger’s latest book — and loved it]

Finally, Clinton decries widespread divorce, characterizing it as a personal failing of couples who don’t try hard enough. “For a high proportion of marriages,” she writes, “ ‘till death do us part’ means ‘until the going gets rough.’ ” Clinton mentions her own efforts to keep her marriage together: “My strong feelings about divorce and its effect on children have caused me to bite my tongue more than a few times during my own marriage and to think instead about what I could do to be a better wife and partner,” she acknowledges.


In her speech at the 1996 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Clinton drew heavily from “It Takes a Village,” linking its arguments to her family and, most important, to her husband’s reelection bid:

For Bill and me, there has been no experience more challenging, more rewarding and more humbling than raising our daughter. And we have learned that to raise a happy, healthy and hopeful child, it takes a family. It takes teachers. It takes clergy. It takes busi­ness­peo­ple. It takes community leaders. It takes those who protect our health and safety. It takes all of us.
Yes, it takes a village.
And it takes a president. . . . It takes Bill Clinton.

Today, she is making that case for a different Clinton, in a different time. It’s a tough balance, embracing elements of that past presidency, discarding others and casting herself forward as her own person.

Even in “It Takes a Village,” Clinton is conflicted about the past. She dismisses the “nostalgia merchants” who would like to take us back to a Norman Rockwell-style America, but she worries that young people don’t appreciate the hard-earned gains of those who came before. “When I look back on my childhood,” she writes, “I see how my mother and my girlfriends’ mothers worked to push open doors of opportunity for us.” By contrast, she notes, younger Americans “don’t remember that many of the most important advances grew out of controversy and were achieved only after great effort.”

But others do remember, and Clinton’s recitation of those who have benefited from the village almost resembles a Democratic electoral coalition. “Our children may not remember, but older African Americans who could not eat in restaurants or sleep in hotels or vote in elections surely do. Women who were not admitted into certain professions remember. . . . Asian Americans who were told not even to apply for some jobs and Jewish Americans who were prohibited from buying homes in certain neighborhoods remember. Hispanic Americans who had no legal recourse against exploitative employers remember. Native Americans who lacked access to medical services before the expansion of the Indian Health Service remember. Men who went off to fight in World War II and were welcomed home by a grateful nation and the GI Bill of Rights remember.”

The dust jacket of “It Takes a Village” features a smiling Clinton, bathed in sunlight, surrounded by adorable children. They look 6 or 7 years old. They’re of all different colors, and they’re all laughing. The message is clear: These are the children Clinton fights for; the village she is building is for them.

Two decades later, those kids are in their 20s. They’re the millennial generation. And they’re feeling the Bern.

Read more from Book Party, including:

Yes, Hillary Clinton barked like a dog on the campaign trail. But she has also endured ‘talking dog syndrome.’

I just binge-read eight books by Donald Trump. Here’s what I learned.

Ted Cruz’s top foreign policy adviser has written a book. It’s about art history.

The ‘racial procrastination’ of Barack Obama

President Obama sings “Amazing Grace” during services honoring the life of Rev. Clementa Pinckney on June 26, 2015, in Charleston, S.C. Pinckney was one of the nine victims of the shooting at Emanuel AME Church on June 17. (AP/David Goldman)
February 18, 2016

THE BLACK PRESIDENCY: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America

By Michael Eric Dyson

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 346 pp. $27

In April of last year, Michael Eric Dyson wrote a lengthy and brutal takedown of his old friend and mentor, Cornel West, labeling the black philosopher a narcissistic, washed-up scholar overcome by petty resentments. In a New Republic essay, Dyson was particularly critical of West’s attacks against President Obama, whom West had called “a Rockefeller Republican in blackface,” a president more interested in Wall Street and drone strikes than the needs of black America.

Now Dyson has published a book accusing Obama of similar betrayals — except Dyson levels the charges politely, at times fawningly. The result is an enlightening work but a perplexing one, too, in which Dyson’s incisive criticisms are clouded by the author’s need to make nice with his subject and emphasize his proximity to power. “The Black Presidency” spends much time distinguishing prophetic and political voices in America’s racial debates, but its author cannot decide which tradition to embrace.

Dyson organizes his book around the biggest racial controversies of the Obama years: the fiery sermons of Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s onetime pastor, which put race at the center of the 2008 campaign; the 2009 arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. at his Massachusetts home; the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the 2012 death of Trayvon Martin; the explosion in Ferguson, Mo., following the death of Michael Brown in the summer of 2014; and, finally, the massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., last year.

(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Parsing the president’s statements, proposals and reactions, Dyson accuses Obama of “racial procrastination” — a reluctance to address the subject except when absolutely forced to do so. “When he is boxed into a racial corner,” Dyson writes, “often as a result of black social unrest sparked by claims of police brutality, Obama has been mostly uninspiring: he has warned (black) citizens to obey the law and affirmed the status quo.” The result is a presidency of great “symbolic value” to black America but of little tangible use. “Obama’s presidency . . . has hardly put a dent in the forces that pulverize black life: high infant mortality rates, high unemployment, atrocious educational inequality, racial profiling, and deadly police brutality.”

Yet virtually every time he criticizes Obama, Dyson emphasizes that, if he had only set his mind to it, the president could have excelled at fixing this whole race thing. “His reluctance has kept the nation from his wisdom and starved black folk of the most visible interpreter of their story and plight,” Dyson writes in a typical passage. It’s like he’s worried Obama might get mad.

And well he might. Dyson attacks the president for focusing on the personal failings of black America (Obama has a “lust for black reproof,” as Dyson calls it) rather than emphasizing the structural inequalities besetting this community. He suggests that the president does this to keep tentative white voters on his side: “Obama is forced to exaggerate black responsibility because he must always underplay white responsibility,” Dyson writes. And he takes black Americans for granted, Dyson argues. “Obama has searched for the best way to talk about race without raising the ire of whites, but . . . he has worried little about losing black support.”

In a practical sense, Dyson argues, this is evident in Obama’s preference for universal programs — such as health-care reform or economic stimulus — over targeted ones aimed specifically at helping African Americans. But universal appeals, dating back to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, have failed black Americans, Dyson asserts; it is only targeted measures, such as the Civil Rights Act, that have secured rights  for African Americans and for other groups as well. Obama’s logic is backward, he explains. “It is not that in helping everybody he helps black folk; it is that in helping black folk he helps America. Tackling race and solving the problems of the black and the poor makes America a stronger nation.”

[How people convince themselves that the Confederate flag represents freedom, not slavery]

Dyson even reinterprets some soaring moments in the Obama race canon. The president’s unexpected and moving words in the White House press room following Zimmerman’s acquittal in July 2013 only came a few days after after a written statement from the president that “fell woefully short,” Dyson asserts, one calling for calm observance of the law. And Dyson criticizes Obama’s famous race speech in Philadelphia during the 2008 campaign, prompted by Rev. Wright’s infamous “God damn America!” sermons. In that speech, Dyson argues, Obama dismissed black anger as a “dysfunctional generational trait” of aging civil rights advocates unwilling to recognize true progress. “When Obama quarantines black anger to the sixties, he gives the impression that black folk today are not righteously angry about police brutality, racial profiling, a subprime mortgage scandal that unjustly bled black wealth, the over-incarceration of black folk, and a host of other ills that ravage black life,” Dyson writes. Anger, especially righteous anger, is alive today.

At a time when the Black Lives Matter movement has become a political and cultural force in America, it feels silly to remind us that, no, Obama’s election did not usher in a post-racial age. Nonetheless, Dyson reconsiders that debate in memorable terms and points to the pitfalls inherent in the concept. “One of the privileges of whiteness is the ability not to appear white at all, but to be seen simply as ‘human,’ ” the author writes, in as sharp a distillation of white privilege as you’ll ever read. “It is black folk who are made to look obsessed with race. It is black folk out to defend themselves against dominant whiteness who are made to appear racist. . . . Thus when most whites hear ‘race,’ they see black. Post-race is really black disappearance.”

It is a shame that Dyson mars such insights with frequent affirmations of his own relevance, tying himself to Obama and the civil rights leadership. So we find Dyson riding in a car with Obama in 2007, urging him to adopt “blacker” rhetoric in his primary debates. (“My bluntness sent a jolt of tension through the car,” he boasts.) At a 50th-anniversary celebration of the March on Washington, Dyson makes sure we know that he sat “in the VIP section a few rows behind Al Sharpton to listen to Obama talk.” And when civil rights legend Andrew Young tells a story about his time with Martin Luther King Jr., Dyson slips in a mention that he had heard the tale already.

[The radical chic of Ta-Nehisi Coates]

Though he dwells on the attacks Obama endures from those denouncing him as a traitor or a terrorist, as un-American or even non-American, Dyson minimizes the political constraints Obama has confronted in moving any agenda forward, let alone one focused on African Americans. “Even when one takes into account the unprecedented congressional obstruction Obama has faced,” Dyson writes, “the universal approach must be seen as a failure.” Oh yes, even when one does that! And when praising Michelle Obama’s candor on race, he acknowledges that it is “a candor, in all fairness, denied to Barack because of the position he holds.” That’s like saying that, in all fairness, this book is unfair.

In an interview with Dyson, Obama notes dryly that the congressional committees appropriating money for federal programs “are not dominated by folks who read Cornel West or listen to Michael Eric Dyson.” More broadly, he says, “I’ve found in this position that it’s not always true that an incident automatically triggers a useful dialogue. . . . As president that means I’ve got to pick and choose my spots.”

Dyson believes that Obama has better picked those spots over the past year, finally becoming “racially unshackled” from the presidency. He points to Obama’s speech at the annual convention of the NAACP last summer, where the guy Dyson had been longing for finally showed up. “By just about any measure, the life chances for black and Hispanic youth still lag far behind those of their white peers,” the president said, highlighting “a legacy of hundreds of years of slavery and segregation, and structural inequalities that compounded over generations. It did not happen by accident.”

But, by far, it was Obama’s June 2015 eulogy in Charleston for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney and eight other church members allegedly slain by a white supremacist that most moved Dyson and compelled him to reconsider this president — particularly when Obama concluded with an unexpected, emotional rendition of “Amazing Grace,” bringing the crowd to its feet.

“If in the past Obama lagged far behind in insisting on the dignity of black identity — in acknowledging his own blackness and how it might have anything to do with how he thought or behaved as president — in his eulogy Obama leaped cosmic dimensions to compassionately embrace a broader, bigger, blacker notion of blackness than ever before,” Dyson gushes. After hammering Obama for chapters on end, Dyson concludes that, in that moment, “the promise of his black presidency beamed as brightly as it ever had.”

This is a book about the Obama presidency that is written as if race is all that matters, and after a while, you start believing it. Obama held up a collapsing economy, remade American health care and has appointed two — now maybe three — Supreme Court justices. Even so, Dyson writes, “the cultural impact of Obama’s lean black presidential frame will be far more enduring than partisan debates about his political career.”

I can’t decide if it’s the highest praise or the harshest criticism, for Obama and for all of us, to conclude that the most consequential achievement of this first black presidency may be that it ever existed.

Read more from Book Party, including:

The whiniest, funniest, creepiest and most memorable books of 2015

17 years after Columbine, the mother of one of the killers finally tells her story

The book every new American citizen — and every new one — should read

Democratic Candidates Promise to Close Wealth Gap Between Blacks and Whites

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Four top Democratic presidential candidates promised black voters Saturday that, if elected, their administrations would help close the wealth gap between black and white Americans, continuing the growing trend of Democratic candidates and officials talking more explicitly about racial inequalities.

The candidates, former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., each asked a packed house of South Carolina Democrats to buy into a vision of how to lift up black communities, particularly regarding “work, wages and wealth,” the principal theme of the event.

[Sign up for our politics newsletter and join our conversation about the 2020 presidential race.]

“This isn’t just about African-American communities,” Mr. Booker said. “You cannot have a large segment of the population denied equal access to markets or capital or health care, and not think that is a cancer that affects the body as a whole.”

Mr. Booker and Ms. Warren, whose campaign has been on the rise in recent weeks, both received standing ovations at the forum hosted by the Black Economic Alliance, a group formed in 2017 by black civic and business leaders.

“Why do we have this black-white wealth gap?” Ms. Warren said. “Because, in part, of the discrimination that was actively fostered by the United States government.”

The forum, which will later be broadcast on Black Entertainment Television, comes a week before South Carolina’s state Democratic convention, which almost all of the party’s 23 presidential candidates are expected to attend. South Carolina is a key early-voting state in next year’s presidential cycle because the majority of its Democratic voters are African-American.

Four top Democratic presidential candidates promised black voters that, if elected, their administrations would help close the wealth gap between black and white Americans.CreditTravis Dove for The New York Times

Though black voters have long been an important Democratic primary constituency, issues like the racial wealth gap, reparations for black Americans and large-scale criminal justice reform have become inescapable for Democratic candidates in the early stages of the 2020 race.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the leader in early polls, has been especially buoyed by his strength among black voters, who are particularly important in South Carolina and other Southern primaries.

But in 2007, Hillary Clinton was the clear early leader among black voters, until they flipped to Barack Obama after he won the Iowa caucuses. Democratic candidates see black support as similarly up for grabs this cycle, despite Mr. Biden’s early lead.

[Check out our tracker of the 2020 Democratic candidate field.]

The crowded and unpredictable Democratic field has also allowed for groups like the Black Economic Alliance to highlight their preferred issues, as candidates have become increasingly desperate for ways to stand out from the crowd.

For Saturday’s forum, the alliance invited what it viewed as the top seven Democratic candidates based on early polls. Mr. Biden, Senator Kamala Harris of California and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont did not attend, but they sent video messages.

Ms. Warren announced a new policy proposal before the forum, which has become a signature of her candidacy. Cheers broke out in the audience when she mentioned what has become her trademark “I have a plan” line. She laid out details of how her administration would propose a small business equity fund, which would set aside $7 billion in seed money for entrepreneurs who are racial minorities.

Mr. O’Rourke also announced a policy, which would invest $500 million in small businesses, much of which would be targeted to owners who are women or minorities. Though Mr. O’Rourke did not receive a standing ovation, he was warmly received by the crowd, particularly when he said that white Americans have not understood the central role race plays in the country’s consciousness.

The candidates participating in the South Carolina event were, clockwise from top left, former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas, Mr. Buttigieg, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.CreditTravis Dove for The New York Times

“We have to talk about the foundational sin of this country,” Mr. O’Rourke said, referring to slavery. Racism “is systematic and foundational. And to those who say you only need to reform, you cannot reform a system that was fundamentally designed to produce these exact outcomes.”

The forum was moderated by the journalist Soledad O’Brien, who has been vocal in calling for presidential candidates and the news media to take issues of race more seriously. Ms. O’Brien pressed Mr. Buttigieg for specifics on how he would grow black wealth, and asked him why his campaign has struggled to secure support from black Americans.

In a recent poll of South Carolina voters, Mr. Buttigieg was among the leaders with white Democrats but was at 0 percent among black Democrats.

“We know it’s going to take extra work because I’m not from a community of color and also was not a famous person when this process began,” Mr. Buttigieg said. “We’re working very energetically, very actively, in order to invite more people and specifically black voters into this campaign.”

The forum came on the same day that striking McDonald’s workers called for a $15 minimum wage in Charleston; Mr. Buttigieg, Mr. Booker and Mr. O’Rourke joined their picket line to show support.

And it comes amid continued early emphasis on South Carolina. On Friday, all but one of the Democratic presidential candidates will attend a fish fry hosted by Representative James E. Clyburn, the majority whip and the state’s most powerful Democrat.

The only candidate not slated to attend the fish fry is Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana, who also did not make the stage for the first Democratic debates.

Dyana Williams, Frank Ski and More Named Living Legends Honorees

When the Living Legends Foundation convenes its Annual Awards Dinner and Gala on Oct. 4, the organization will salute 10 honorees.

This year’s honorees slate includes: Influence Entertainment CEO Dyana Williams (Lifetime Achievement Award), WVEE (V-103) Atlanta air personality Frank Ski and Core Communications president/CEO Steve Hegwood (both receiving the Jerry Boulding Radio Executive Award), eOne Entertainment Group vp of promotion Maurice White (Music Label Executive Award), BYB (Be Your Own Brand) founder/creator Sheila Coates (Entrepreneur Award), Unlimited Contacts president/CEO Dedra N. Tate (second recipient of the Mike Bernardo Executive Award), BRE (Black Radio Exclusive) founder/publisher Sidney Miller (A.D. Washington Chairman’s Award), Service Broadcasting Group (SBG) owner Hymen Childs (Broadcast Icon Award), RCA Inspiration senior vp/GM Phil Thornton (Gospel Music Executive Award) and W&W Public Relations senior vp Karen Lee (Media Executive Award).

The 2019 Living Legends Awards Dinner and Gala, chaired by Chew Entertainment partners/husband-and-wife team Ray Chew and Vivian Scott Chew, will be held at the Taglyan Cultural Complex in Hollywood. Radio personality DeDe McGuire of the syndicated DeDe in the Morning show returns as host.

Frank Ski

Frank SkiCourtesy of Living Legends Foundation

“The board of directors is proud to continue its tradition of recognizing the greatest in the music and record industries,” said Living Legends Foundation chairman David C. Linton in announcing the event. “We continue to raise the bar and celebrate the unsung heroes of our industry who have helped to lay the foundation for black music, black artists and black executives of the 20th and 21st century. We remain steadfast in our efforts to raise much-needed funds to assist the less fortunate among us.”

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

‘Black students don’t tip’: Texas restaurant says forcing African-American kids to pay gratuity is not racist

A restaurant in Cypress, Texas has come under fire after an employee allegedly said that black students “don’t tip.”

Brittany Blakney told KPRC that she and her friends went to Locatelli’s restaurant to celebrate graduating from Prairie View A&M University.

Blakney said that she was surprised to find out that the server had already added a 15% gratuity to her check.

“He said, ‘Black students from Prairie View don’t tip,’” she recalled.

Blakney said that the restaurant’s manager defended the server and told her to leave.

“It was definitely embarrassing because she even threatened to call the police. Nobody was belligerent. Nobody was loud … cursing at her … anything,” Blakney explained.


The restaurant’s manager, Kerrie Salazar, argued that the server had a right to add a gratuity to a party of six. But she admitted that the rule was not always enforced, but she insisted that it was not applied racially.

“It’s very frustrating for the servers because that’s the way that they make their income,” Salazar insisted. “I just realized that the situation was not going to be defused unless I asked her to simply leave the restaurant.”

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