Boy’s recovery from polio-like illness a long one

Rachelle Downton hoped her son Xavier, 4, would take a few steps with a walker for Christmas. That likely won’t happen, and doctors say his recovery from a frightening and mysterious ailment may take much longer.

Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a rare illness that resembles polio. It mainly hits children. Why isn’t known. The spinal cord is affected, which can cause arms and legs to go limp with stunning speed.

CBC Radio’s White Coat, Black Art host Dr. Brian Goldman wrote about the illness in October after he received an advisory asking front-line physicians to be on the lookout for children with sudden weakness in their limbs, particularly after a viral infection.

Xavier’s case is one of 37 confirmed occurrences of a broader illness called acute flaccid paralysis or AFP this year, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. Another 26 are under investigation, the agency said. On average, there are between 27 to 51 cases each year in this country.

The incidence of AFM is estimated at less than one to two in a million. So far this year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 158 confirmed cases of AFM.

Last month, Goldman visited the Downton family in Rockland, Ont., about 40 kilometres east of Ottawa, for a glimpse into Xavier’s arduous road to recovery. Specialists say people with AFM have roughly a year from when the illness starts to when deficits could become permanent.

Rachelle Downton was struck at how Xavier didn’t panic when his limbs were almost completely paralyzed. (Jacques Corriveau/Radio-Canada)

‘Within 3 to 4 hours, everything can go limp’

In August, Xavier suited up in full hockey gear, set to follow in his brother Caleb’s footsteps on the ice. Now Xavier’s right arm is paralyzed, and he can barely stand on his own for an instant. 

Xavier Downton, 4, suited up for hockey, prior to falling ill with AFP. (Submitted by Rachelle Downton)

Xavier’s illness began with a fever on the Friday night of Labour Day weekend. Aches and pains worsened over the holiday. Overnight, Xavier kept saying his right arm wasn’t working.

“It could be like your child is OK … and within three to four hours, everything can go limp,” his mother recalled.

By Tuesday morning, Xavier’s body was getting stiffer. When his arm went numb, Xavier’s parents took him to a clinic, where it recommended he go to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).

Doctors at CHEO initially said they were worried about meningitis. “I’m going, ‘Oh, no. This is going to be bad,'” Downton said. “There’s a sense of panic but keeping it inside of me, obviously.”

Xavier’s mother was amazed at how calm her son was, just crying a few times during a lumbar puncture or spinal tap. Nerve pain set in, and Xavier no longer wanted his parents’ touch except to turn him. His limbs were almost completely paralyzed.

“How come this kid is not panicking or crying because you’re stuck in your body?” his mother thought.

Mother suspected AFM

Downton suspected her son had the same mystery illness that she’d heard was affecting children in the United States.

Xavier’s doctors ruled out meningitis. Dr. Asif Doja, head of child neurology, said he and his colleagues at CHEO didn’t suspect AFM until they started hearing about cases across Canada and the U.S. They realized Xavier’s symptoms fit perfectly.

“The real worrisome aspect with these patients is that the weakness can sometimes affect their neck and their breathing muscles, and then some patients need to have a breathing tube and be put in the [intensive care unit],” Doja said.

Chris Downton helps his son do physiotherapy to sit up on his bed. (Brian Goldman/CBC)

Xavier’s parents stayed by his bedside 24 hours a day for three weeks. Dad Chris Downton returned to work when they realized Xavier was getting better.

“He’s a prankster,” his mother said, of how they knew Xavier was returning to his old self. “This is going to sound funny, but he always liked to … shake his butt like a little dance. ‘I’m shaking my booty.’ Well, he tried to do it lying down, and I’m going, ‘OK, you’re trying to move.'”

Long-lasting weakness

What are the prospects for recovery for Xavier and others affected by AFM? With a condition so rare, it’s tough to predict with any accuracy what their future will look like.

Researchers are only starting to get a handle on that. In 2014, doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado treated some of the first cases in the U.S.

Dr. Samuel Dominguez, a specialist in infectious diseases, helped to discover a link between AFM and a germ called enterovirus.

Dominguez and a team of neurologists, infectious disease physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and psychologists followed 12 children for a year.

Xavier’s mother helps hoist him up. (Jacques Corriveau/Radio-Canada)

Unfortunately, Dominguez said, most of the children still had lasting deficits after a year. Among those most severely affected, the “proximal” muscles closest to the trunk of body tended not to recover fully, and the kids had persistent weakness or paralysis.

The affected muscles include those in the thigh, hindquarters and pelvis, which are key to helping kids to stand up, chase and kick a ball.

“The good news, I think, was that the children through sort of extensive rehab programs did gain some functional improvements in terms of learning how to compensate for the weaknesses that persisted,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez said the hospital has seen more kids with AFM show upper arm weakness rather than the leg weakness that’s common with poliovirus.

Home again

Ten weeks after he was admitted, Xavier was discharged from CHEO on Nov. 13. He continues to do physiotherapy with his parents to get him to sit up on his bed and to stand on two legs.

Xavier’s mother has joined a social network of parents in the U.S. and Canada whose children have AFM to trade information and support each other through the many unknowns of the illness and recovery.

Xavier and his dad play Lego Batman on a gaming system. (Brian Goldman/CBC)

Xavier has returned to attending school a couple of half days a week. Born right-handed, he now colours and uses a game controller with his left hand.

For his mother, it is a sign of his enduring resilience.

“I couldn’t believe it. Even the OT’s like ‘What?'” she said. “It’s like he never changed hands. They’re four years old. Children at that age are very amazing that way. And that’s their hope at CHEO and what they see a lot in children at that age is the sky’s the limit.”

Written by Amina Zafar. Produced by Jeff Goodes.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

‘Oh, no. This is going to be bad’: Boy’s recovery from polio-like illness a long one

Rachelle Downton hoped her son Xavier, 4, would take a few steps with a walker for Christmas. That likely won’t happen, and doctors say his recovery from a frightening and mysterious ailment may take much longer.

Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a rare illness that resembles polio. It mainly hits children. Why isn’t known. The spinal cord is affected, which can cause arms and legs to go limp with stunning speed.

CBC Radio’s White Coat, Black Art host Dr. Brian Goldman wrote about the illness in October after he received an advisory asking front-line physicians to be on the lookout for children with sudden weakness in their limbs, particularly after a viral infection.

Xavier’s case is one of 37 confirmed occurrences of a broader illness called acute flaccid paralysis or AFP this year, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. Another 26 are under investigation, the agency said. On average, there are between 27 to 51 cases each year in this country.

The incidence of AFM is estimated at less than one to two in a million. So far this year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 158 confirmed cases of AFM.

Last month, Goldman visited the Downton family in Rockland, Ont., about 40 kilometres east of Ottawa, for a glimpse into Xavier’s arduous road to recovery. Specialists say people with AFM have roughly a year from when the illness starts to when deficits could become permanent.

Rachelle Downton was struck at how Xavier didn’t panic when his limbs were almost completely paralyzed. (Jacques Corriveau/Radio-Canada)

‘Within 3 to 4 hours, everything can go limp’

In August, Xavier suited up in full hockey gear, set to follow in his brother Caleb’s footsteps on the ice. Now Xavier’s right arm is paralyzed, and he can barely stand on his own for an instant. 

Xavier Downton, 4, suited up for hockey, prior to falling ill with AFP. (Submitted by Rachelle Downton)

Xavier’s illness began with a fever on the Friday night of Labour Day weekend. Aches and pains worsened over the holiday. Overnight, Xavier kept saying his right arm wasn’t working.

“It could be like your child is OK … and within three to four hours, everything can go limp,” his mother recalled.

By Tuesday morning, Xavier’s body was getting stiffer. When his arm went numb, Xavier’s parents took him to a clinic, where it recommended he go to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).

Doctors at CHEO initially said they were worried about meningitis. “I’m going, ‘Oh, no. This is going to be bad,'” Downton said. “There’s a sense of panic but keeping it inside of me, obviously.”

Xavier’s mother was amazed at how calm her son was, just crying a few times during a lumbar puncture or spinal tap. Nerve pain set in, and Xavier no longer wanted his parents’ touch except to turn him. His limbs were almost completely paralyzed.

“How come this kid is not panicking or crying because you’re stuck in your body?” his mother thought.

Mother suspected AFM

Downton suspected her son had the same mystery illness that she’d heard was affecting children in the United States.

Xavier’s doctors ruled out meningitis. Dr. Asif Doja, head of child neurology, said he and his colleagues at CHEO didn’t suspect AFM until they started hearing about cases across Canada and the U.S. They realized Xavier’s symptoms fit perfectly.

“The real worrisome aspect with these patients is that the weakness can sometimes affect their neck and their breathing muscles, and then some patients need to have a breathing tube and be put in the [intensive care unit],” Doja said.

Chris Downton helps his son do physiotherapy to sit up on his bed. (Brian Goldman/CBC)

Xavier’s parents stayed by his bedside 24 hours a day for three weeks. Dad Chris Downton returned to work when they realized Xavier was getting better.

“He’s a prankster,” his mother said, of how they knew Xavier was returning to his old self. “This is going to sound funny, but he always liked to … shake his butt like a little dance. ‘I’m shaking my booty.’ Well, he tried to do it lying down, and I’m going, ‘OK, you’re trying to move.'”

Long-lasting weakness

What are the prospects for recovery for Xavier and others affected by AFM? With a condition so rare, it’s tough to predict with any accuracy what their future will look like.

Researchers are only starting to get a handle on that. In 2014, doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado treated some of the first cases in the U.S.

Dr. Samuel Dominguez, a specialist in infectious diseases, helped to discover a link between AFM and a germ called enterovirus.

Dominguez and a team of neurologists, infectious disease physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and psychologists followed 12 children for a year.

Xavier’s mother helps hoist him up. (Jacques Corriveau/Radio-Canada)

Unfortunately, Dominguez said, most of the children still had lasting deficits after a year. Among those most severely affected, the “proximal” muscles closest to the trunk of body tended not to recover fully, and the kids had persistent weakness or paralysis.

The affected muscles include those in the thigh, hindquarters and pelvis, which are key to helping kids to stand up, chase and kick a ball.

“The good news, I think, was that the children through sort of extensive rehab programs did gain some functional improvements in terms of learning how to compensate for the weaknesses that persisted,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez said the hospital has seen more kids with AFM show upper arm weakness rather than the leg weakness that’s common with poliovirus.

Home again

Ten weeks after he was admitted, Xavier was discharged from CHEO on Nov. 13. He continues to do physiotherapy with his parents to get him to sit up on his bed and to stand on two legs.

Xavier’s mother has joined a social network of parents in the U.S. and Canada whose children have AFM to trade information and support each other through the many unknowns of the illness and recovery.

Xavier and his dad play Lego Batman on a gaming system. (Brian Goldman/CBC)

Xavier has returned to attending school a couple of half days a week. Born right-handed, he now colours and uses a game controller with his left hand.

For his mother, it is a sign of his enduring resilience.

“I couldn’t believe it. Even the OT’s like ‘What?'” she said. “It’s like he never changed hands. They’re four years old. Children at that age are very amazing that way. And that’s their hope at CHEO and what they see a lot in children at that age is the sky’s the limit.”

Written by Amina Zafar. Produced by Jeff Goodes.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

DO or DIE: Affect, Ritual, Resistance by Dr. Fahamu Pecou Opens at the Michael C. Carlos Museum

The Michael C. Carlos Museum presents DO or DIE: Affect, Ritual, and Resistance by Fahamu Pecou, an Atlanta-based artist and Emory University alumnus who earned his Ph.D. in 2018. The exhibition will be on view from January 19 through April 28, 2019.

DO or DIE: Affect, Ritual, Resistance explores the intersections between African-based spiritual traditions and the political and societal violence against black male bodies in the US. Pecou positions these bodies within Ifá, a diasporic religion of the Yoruba of southwest Nigeria; here, where spirits are infinite, a healing alternative exists for slain black men—Martin, Medgar, Emmitt, Trayvon, and Michael among them—and their communities. DO or DIE, notes Pecou, “considers affective power of art as a space of resistance. These works examine and incorporate the power of creative expression and ritual—particularly those found in Yoruba/ Ifá spirituality—interpreted through various art mediums.”

Centered around his Egungun mask, Pecou uses painting, drawing, photography, and video to depict the spirit’s journey, including its encounters with divinity and its invocation through the ceremonial Egungun dance. According to Curator of African Art Amanda Hellman, “African masking gives shape to that which cannot be seen. Wearing the Egungun, the dancer disappears and the ancestor is revealed.” Incarnate, the spirit upholds justice within the community. DO or DIE, Pecou suggests, “affirms life and life beyond. . . . It reclaims what was lost.” 

The Carlos Museum, the exhibition’s fourth stop on tour, will offer two unique opportunities for visitors. Four new works from Pecou—three drawings and one large painting—and the museum’s African galleries, in which historic Yoruba artwork such as two Egunguns from the permanent collection will be on view, will provide a wider look at both Pecou’s oeuvre and the culture from which DO or DIE has taken inspiration. 

Pecou acknowledges the importance of African and African American history and culture to his work. “African spirituality, concepts, and philosophies allow us space and freedom to think about and see ourselves as whole and human. These ideals contradict the broken, tortured, and oppressed images of blackness that we find in the context of Western visual culture. It’s imperative to realize and to know that our history and our culture predates the enslavement of our ancestors as well as the history of our oppressors,” he argues. “There is a freedom in acknowledging that our ancestors were not ‘slaves,’ but a people who were violently and forcefully enslaved. That they had cities and schools, art, and culture that predate the European enlightenment by millennia. THIS is who we can be. THIS is who we are. “

This exhibition has been organized by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charles, in collaboration with the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University.

Pecou is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar whose works combine observations on hip-hop, fine art, and popular culture. His paintings, performance art, and academic work addresses concerns around contemporary representations of black masculinity and how these images impact both the reading and performance of it.

Pecou received his BFA at the Atlanta College of Art in 1997 and an MA from Emory University in 2017. In 2018, he graduated with a PhD from Emory University’s Institute of Liberal Arts. Pecou maintains an active exhibition schedule as well as public lectures and speaking engagements at colleges and museums nationwide.

In 2017 Pecou was the subject of a retrospective exhibition “Miroirs de l’Homme” in Paris, France. He is a recipient of the 2016 Joan Mitchell Foundation “Painters and Sculptors” Award. His work is featured in noted private and public national and international collections including; Smithsonian National Museum of African American Art and Culture, Societe Generale (Paris), Nasher Museum at Duke University, The High Museum of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Seattle Art Museum, Paul R. Jones Collection, Clark Atlanta University Art Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia, and the Michael C. Carlos Museum.

Also On Atlanta Daily World:

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

African American Oil Industry Veterans Open the World of Oil & Gas Using Blockchain Technology

Donald Glover and Harold Thomas

Nationwide (Blacknews.com) — Oil industry veterans, Donald Glover and Harold Thomas, want black people to participate in the behind the scenes world of oil and gas by utilizing the power of Blockchain technology. African Americans are a large consumer of fossil fuels and low on the supply chain in terms of involvement and profit. Reserve Oil and Gas Coin (ROC) is an innovative project aimed to making an impact on that dynamic.

The Oil & Gas industry does over $1.7 trillion dollars in business every year. Oil and Gas production yields profits that are bigger than the raw metal markets and Gold markets combined. Some of those profits are tapped into by investors that go through traditional avenues of investments such as Oil and Gas Stocks, EFTs (Exchange Trade Funds), and Mutual Funds. However, your typical average African-American millennial or even baby boomer – knows very little about these investment avenues. Those that do know may have to rely on investment advisors to funnel their funds into these investments for them. Reserve Oil and Gas Coin has created an offering that allows disadvantaged markets, with limited access to investments, an opportunity to invest at the ground level and share in the profits of oil and gas for themselves.

ROC has a stellar team of Oil and Gas veterans that have come together to launch a project that will be a game changer in the Black community. They have successfully married this initiative into an ERC-20 (Ethereum) token as a fully compliant crypto-asset. Investors will gain access to a bird’s eye view into the production and supply process, as well as profit from such an involvement. With any investment there are risks, however making an investment in an established industry such as oil and gas, which is the most used commodity in the world, and utilizing Blockchain Technology, Internet of Things Technology and cryptocurrency, allows those risks to be more transparent and easily fungible in the crypto markets.

Mr. Donald Glover has over 31 years of oil and gas operating experience. During his tenor as COO of Trinity River Energy and Vice President of Chesapeake Energy Mid Con, Donald established a track record of building and managing teams across diverse disciplines to achieve high results. Donald is a US Army veteran (1st Lieutenant – ret) with an MBA from Rice University’s Jones School of Business and a Chemical Engineering degree from Oklahoma State University. His experience also includes both on and offshore drilling, completions, and production operations throughout the value chain which encompasses exploration, appraisal, development, harvest and abandonment.

Mr. Harold Thomas has over a decade of experience in the Energy Industry and is a Morehouse College alumnus. Harold experience also includes knowledge of production operations, sensing technology and the Blockchain. His personal mission is to bring more knowledge and education of the Energy Sector to black people because it will open up a greater involvement and tap into more sources of economic wealth for disadvantaged communities.

Reserve Oil and Gas Coin presale will begin on December 15th. The Security Token Offer (STO) will begin January 15,2019. Take advantage of early bonuses by getting involved today. To invest and learn more about this exciting project, that’s bringing the stability of the Oil and Gas Industry to the transparency of the blockchain, please visit www.reserveoilcoin.io

Chamber Music: About the Wu-Tang review – Engaging and edifying

 

Book Title:
Chamber Music: About the Wu-Tang (in 36 Pieces)

ISBN-13:
978-1783784035

Author:
Will Ashton

Publisher:
Granta

Guideline Price:
£14.99

I lost my hip-hop virginity one cold night in winter 2015. I was at the Ringsend home of some friends, lights were dimmed, ale was flowing, and I was given a choice: should we listen to Wu-Tang rapper Gza’s album Liquid Swords or to an album of John Dowland lute compositions? With apologies to the Elizabethans, I went for Door No 1. The needle hit the groove; a crackly kung-fu film sample started; and shortly after, to Rza and Gza’s rhymed interplay, I entered the house of Shaolin. From there I stepped into hip -hop’s wider demesne.

The Wu-Tang Clan, subject of Will Ashon’s Chamber Music, is a 10-member hip-hop group hailing mostly from Staten Island, New York. Each Wu-Tang Clan member has a distinct rapping style and persona. Method Man has a languorous delivery and pop-culture humour. Ghostface Killah has a manic style with modernist-incomprehensible allusions. Gza has dextrous flow and lithe similes. If this is beginning to sound like how the Beatles were sold (Paul, the cheery one; George, the brooding one), that’s no coincidence. If the Wu-Tang’s image is that of a gang straight out of The Warriors, that’s no coincidence. And neither is it incidental that the music of these incarceration-class African-American men comes filtered through a personal mythos, wherein deprived Staten Island is re-envisioned as mystical Shaolin.

Declan Kiberd has written of how “post-colonial artists, born as copies, were determined to die originals”. It’s not dissimilar to the situation of African slaves’ American descendants. The tradition of so-called Afro-Futurism, for example, from Sun Ra to Parliament and beyond, has seen African-American artists invent their own techno-futuristic personas in a playful critique of any externally imposed identity. The Wu-Tang Clan follow the same tack. Through inventing and living out their own mythic narrative, they attain through art a freedom that is otherwise – the freedom to name themselves.

Nation of Islam

Ashon shows how the Wu-Tang mythos derives not only from kung-fu films, which founding members watched at 42nd Street cinemas, but also from the Nation of Islam, which teaches that Earth’s original people were black people “who lived a civilised and enlightened life in the area around what is now Mecca and the Nile valley”. A belief system developed from this, wherein Harlem was renamed Mecca and the creed’s Supreme Alphabet reveals words’ hidden codes: “The almost universal use of ‘G’ (as in Wassup, G?),” Ashon writes, “didn’t originally refer to Gangsta but to God.” Versed in these “Five Percenter” ideas, the Wu-Tang members self-consciously invoke the Asiatic Black Man, “a state of being as well as a physical description”. Doesn’t this recall, in the Irish context, how an average Joe walking around Dublin becomes Odysseus?

Chamber Music focuses on the Wu-Tang’s debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), released 25 years ago. Over 36 chapters, Will Ashon does a bravura job at presenting an archaeology of the Wu-Tang Clan, digging around the group to situate it within the larger structures of American society and culture. At times you might prefer a more direct approach. The bald statement, “This book tells the story of the first album made by the Wu-Tang Clan,” for example, doesn’t come until page 24, three chapters in. But by and large Chamber Music is both engaging and edifying. Whether it’s tracing the heritage of Protect Ya Neck’s squealing saxophone sample, querying whether hip-hop appeals to white audiences in the same way as minstrel shows, or analysing Ghostface’s allure (exemplary, Ashon says, of Keats’s idea of negative capability), the prose flows like the blood at a murder scene.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

The Triumph of the Brooklyn Museum’s ‘Soul of a Nation’

In a famous essay published in the January 1971 issue of ARTnews, Linda Nochlin reiterated the question that was constantly thrown in the faces of women who dared to paint or sculpt: “Why have there been no great women artists?” For Nochlin, it seemed obvious that no effort to respond with a historical counterexample would serve. Not that Artemisia Gentileschi or Berthe Morisot shouldn’t be taken more seriously than male art historians had done thus far. But still: “The fact, dear sisters, is that there are no women equivalents for Michelangelo or Rembrandt, Delacroix or Cézanne, Picasso or Matisse, or even, in very recent times, for de Kooning or Warhol,” she wrote, adding for good measure, “any more than there are Black American equivalents for the same.” The art historian’s problem in her view was to show why.

The assumption that there were no great black American artists at the time was not Nochlin’s alone, nor one that existed only among whites. A couple of months after her essay was published, one of the best-known and most successful African-American artists of the day, Benny Andrews, wrote a long, troubled letter to a fellow painter, Reginald Gammon, reporting on an opening party at New York’s Museum of Modern Art for two exhibitions by black artists, the painter and collagist Romare Bearden and the sculptor Richard Hunt. It should have been “the kind of night that all of us had fought for individually and as groups,” Andrews acknowledged, but he was in no mood to celebrate. “The shows were good, no more no less, not spectacular or even moving, just good and everyday art work by two people that except for being Black probably won’t leave any imprint on the art world.” One might easily ascribe Andrews’s letdown to sour grapes, but in articulating the source of his anguish, he hardly let himself off the hook: “What I think most of us know and are hesitant to admit is the fact that in the graphic arts, painting and sculpture, the discrimination against Black people has proven to have pretty much guaranteed that we have not really created anything in a way that makes any of us truly creative. I do not know of anyone Black that as a painter or sculptor is truly creative like say Andy Warhol, Stella, Eakins, [de] Kooning or anyone that we can identify.”

More than four decades later, one might demur when it comes to Bearden, at least: The resonance of his work keeps growing with time. If accounts could ever be well and truly settled, I’m not sure that he would rank lower than de Kooning and Warhol, the two contemporaries that Nochlin and Andrews seemed to agree were incontrovertibly among the “truly creative.” In art, consensus on what counts as “creativity” or “greatness” is always in flux. Two hundred years ago, Raphael was a god and Caravaggio a nobody; today, Raphael mostly earns a cold respect, while Caravaggio wins our devotion. A strict conceptualist might have wanted to tell Nochlin that Picasso and Matisse were sideshows, that the truly great artist of their time was Duchamp. The arguments continue.

Andrews was painfully aware that there were structural impediments not only to the proper recognition of his achievement but to that achievement as such. Like any serious modern artist, he was fiercely ambitious, and his ambition was of the broadest scope: to be one of the “truly creative” who leave an imprint on their time and on the art of the future—an almost unattainable hope. But he also understood that such creativity has never simply been the product of what Nochlin mocked as “an atemporal and mysterious power somehow embedded in the person of the Great Artist.” It is sometimes nurtured, sometimes stymied, always channeled by history and social conditions. And it cannot exist without the unrelenting efforts of a multitude of practitioners producing what Andrews calls “just good and everyday art work.” Artists are made by other artists—by the effects they have on each other, whether through emulation, rivalry, or antagonism—so that the collective mass of respectable efforts enables a few to reach the stars.

Warren seeks to solidify backing of African Americans

WASHINGTON — Sen. Elizabeth Warren is seeking to solidify her connection with African-American voters as she prepares to launch a potential presidential campaign amid criticism of her approach to race and identity.

The Massachusetts Democrat visited Morgan State University in Baltimore Friday, marking her third trip this year to a historically black college or university. It follows her widely panned October release of a DNA test meant to bolster her claim to Native American heritage. Her speech Friday offered an opportunity to regain her footing.

“I’m not a person of colour,” Warren said. “And I haven’t lived your life or experienced anything like the subtle prejudice, or more overt harm, that you may have experienced just because of the colour of your skin. Rules matter, and our government — not just individuals within the government, but the government itself — has systematically discriminated against black people in this country.”

Some Democrats said Warren’s speech was a good effort to move past the DNA analysis, which sparked controversy for her use of a genetic test to prove her ethnicity. The findings showed Warren’s Native American ancestor likely lived 6 to 10 generations ago, but that it would be impossible to determine the ancestor’s tribal connection.

President Donald Trump has taunted Warren for discussing her heritage, dubbing her “Pocahontas,” which has been criticized as racist.

Warren could face additional pressure from Democrats to address race. Bakari Sellers, an attorney, Democratic political analyst and former South Carolina Democratic state representative, urged Warren to more publicly say that “you were wrong in the way that you interpret and address race.”

“Having that moment of ignorance — we all do, but we need to address the fact that we were wrong,” he said. “I love the fact that she’s making attempts to make inroads with the African-American community, but her path is very narrow.”

Mo Elleithee, a veteran Democratic strategist and founding executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service, described Warren’s outreach to African-American and other minority groups as even more vital to her potential campaign in light of the DNA test’s poor reception.

“I think it has sort of knocked her off balance a little bit when it comes to issues of identity and minority outreach, broadly,” Elleithee said, adding that “the stakes are a little bit higher when you are one of the more recognized candidates at this early part of the process.”

Warren’s work to spotlight racial as well as economic inequities is significantly more advanced than her fellow New England liberal icon, Sen. Bernie Sanders. The Vermont Independent is weighing his own 2020 Democratic campaign after struggling to break through with minority voters during his 2016 run.

The theme that Warren struck Friday — that minorities don’t get a level playing field in America — is one she’s long tackled. She drew acclaim from Black Lives Matter activists for a 2015 speech that acknowledged “we have not made enough progress” toward creating fairness and opportunity for African-Americans. She slammed the nation’s criminal justice system as “racist” in August during a Q&A with Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond, with whom she partnered again this week on affordable housing legislation backed by civil rights groups.

Democratic strategist Symone Sanders said Warren “does a good job of authentically and honestly speaking not just to communities of colour” but also “incorporating race into policy prescriptions.”

Sanders, a former campaign aide to the Vermont senator who is not currently working with any 2020 hopeful, said Warren’s “trip at the finish line” on her DNA analysis isn’t “indicative of Elizabeth’s Warren’s understanding of communities of colour, or of the type of presidential campaign she would run.”

In remarks last month to the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, Warren reiterated her critique of a justice system that research has shown gives black offenders stiffer punishment.

Warren has “proven that she has the skills to relate to an audience that is of colour,” Sharpton told The Associated Press. “Her image before was a New Englander, academia-type policy wonk. And she’s been able to, in her delivery, show some real passion toward things of concern like health care, criminal justice and the kinds of things that you don’t expect a New England professorial type to show passion and connection.”

Asked if Warren’s ancestry was a fight that he would have advised her to pursue, Sharpton said: “I might have fought it differently, but I would have fought it.”

Richmond described “the passion and the commitment” that Warren displayed in remarks to their members that led to “a natural relationship” working on issues. Four CBC members introduced the House counterpart to Warren’s housing legislation on Tuesday.

Richmond also took no issue with Warren’s presentation of the story of her past: “People are always going to look for the negative in no matter what you do. And I just think that she’s very authentic, very open, and sometimes that’s going to open you up for some criticism on how you did it, why you did it.”

DeJuana Thompson, a former DNC and Obama administration staffer and the founder of WokeVote, recalled that Warren was among the first people that she heard from following the work that her group did in Alabama to help turn out black voters in support of Democratic Sen. Doug Jones.

“She contacted us literally the day after we won and said, ‘I’m so proud, this is the kind of work that we need to be doing across the country,” said Thompson, who is not currently supporting any of the prospective candidates. “It felt genuine, it felt authentic, and it felt like she had been following and watching our work, and I had no idea.”

Aimee Allison, the founder of She The People, an advocacy group focused on political leadership for women of colour, called Warren’s efforts on race “authentic” but candidly described the DNA test release as “a big stumble,” adding that the senator’s challenge going forward is similar to the one facing other white presidential hopefuls.

“As a white candidate for president, the demographics and the politics and I think zeitgeist really calls for a difference kind of leader than before,” Allison said, adding that candidates who can’t deftly address race “I don’t believe will make it through at all.”

Elana Schor And Juana Summers, The Associated Press

Zadie Smith Declines to Comment

A recent short story of hers takes place in a world that resembles “woke Twitter” come to life. Dominique nabokov

Zadie Smith, the famous novelist and essayist, politely (and wisely) declined to be interviewed for this article.

Who could blame her? When I e-mailed her requesting an interview, I made the terrible mistake of being honest. What I should have said was that I was interested in talking about her work in advance of her appearance in Seattle (Wednesday, February 27, at Benaroya Hall). Instead, I wrote that I was interested in talking with her about call-out culture and the purity politics of the American left.

If you spend any time on social media, you know what I’m talking about with the term “call-out culture”: a teenage girl wears a culturally appropriated prom dress, a cis actor gets cast to play a trans character, a white poet publishes a poem from the point of view of a person of color—and Twitter is set aflame with righteous indignation. The offender must be reeducated, immediately. The online left increasingly runs on outrage like this, and the reason I wanted to talk to Zadie Smith about the phenomenon is because she’s written about it.

In a 2017 essay for Harper’s, Smith wrote about the controversy surrounding Dana Schutz’s Open Casket, an abstract painting of Emmett Till’s mutilated body that inspired a heated protest at the Whitney Biennial. At the time, a number of black artists and activists and their allies argued that Schutz, a white woman, was appropriating black pain for her own profit. They urged the museum to remove the painting from its walls and, what’s more, to destroy it. In a letter to the exhibit’s curators, the artist Hannah Black wrote: “The subject matter is not Schutz’s; white free speech and white creative freedom have been founded on the constraint of others, and are not natural rights. The painting must go.”

The painting remained on the wall, but Smith’s essay, which neither praised nor condemned Schutz’s work, wasn’t received much better than Open Casket itself. The essay was essentially about who is permitted to comment on what, and Smith’s status as a British and light-skinned biracial woman was seen by some critics as (to borrow a word) problematic—although, as Smith pointed out in her essay, Hannah Black is both biracial and British, too.

A critic of Smith’s piece, Candace McDuffie, wrote in Ploughshares: “While Smith acknowledges the complexities of being biracial, she doesn’t probe her privilege of having light skin nor does she pay the same attention to what cultural appropriation actually is.”

Other readers took issue with Smith’s use of the word “quadroon” to describe her own multiracial children. “Are my children too white to engage with black suffering?” she writes. “How black is black enough?” It’s a question she leaves unanswered.

Still, in some ways, Smith has insulated herself from criticism. She has been a major literary figure for more than a decade, ever since her generation-defining debut novel White Teeth. She isn’t online, where most of the yelling takes place, because she doesn’t need to be. Being inaccessible makes it harder for the public to bully a person out of their opinions.

But that doesn’t mean Smith isn’t aware of the backlash, and despite it, she’s continued to write and to speak about the pressure to be, or at least to appear to be, woke. It’s a trend that started to filter through the American left while Obama was still in office, and, post-Trump, has become a seemingly unstoppable force, drowning out the bad—the wrong, the unwoke, the impure—in its wake.

Smith explored this moment of shifting morality in a stunning piece of satire, “Now More Than Ever,” published as a short story in the New Yorker last July. “There is an urge to be good,” the story begins. “To be seen to be good. To be seen. Also to be.”

This piece of fiction takes place in a world that resembles “woke Twitter” come to life. In the evening, people stand at their windows, holding signs printed with large black arrows. They point their arrows at people condemned as problematic—people who are “beyond the pale.” Those sorry souls they’re pointing to have been canceled, disgraced, publicly shamed for offenses that aren’t immediately apparent.

Smith’s narrator, a professor, lives at an unnamed university—in real life, uiversities are the epicenter of call-out culture and illiberal activism—and Smith jumps around between slightly (but only slightly) absurdist scenarios that might take place on today’s woker campuses. All acts, people, and history are judged by the contemporary standards of what’s okay and what’s not, no matter what people may have thought 5 or 50 or 500 years ago, and while the narrator doesn’t quite understand all the new unwritten rules and regulations, she knows she must obey them or risk cancellation herself.

And so she follows along, pointing her arrow at a colleague named Eastman. The narrator says, in explaining why she’s shaming him: “Not only does he not believe the past is the present, but he has gone further and argued that the present, in the future, will be just as crazy-looking to us, in the present, as the past is, presently, to us, right now!”

Perhaps predictably, this story was not universally well received. The writer Isaac Chotiner, for instance, called it “an extremely reactionary piece of short fiction” on, naturally, Twitter. But for those who loved it, it was Smith at her best: observant, funny, full of character, and insightful, but also just a step removed from the tempest.

After I e-mailed her, telling her what I wanted to interview her about, she wrote back: “This e-mail should be filed under ‘being offered enough rope to hang yourself.'” It’s not hard to see why she would decline to open the particular can of worms on offer: The backlash to such an interview isn’t just a possibility, it’s almost a guarantee.

In her writing, though, she’s able to comment on what’s happening without, it seems, getting too bogged down in the muck. Is it because she’s a British national commenting on American life? No. It’s because she’s Zadie Smith.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Show Us Your Wall: Nights at the Museum: Good for Cultivating an Art Habit and Romance

When Ronald Ollie was an engineering student at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in the early 1970s, he would take dates to the St. Louis Art Museum. “The other engineers would say, ‘Why are you taking that woman to the art museum?”’ he recalled.

He would respond devilishly to his fraternity brothers, “You just don’t know!”

Today, Mr. Ollie, a retired mechanical engineer, and his wife, Monique, who has a doctorate in biomedical engineering, talked about their collection in their Newark apartment, which has a spectacular view of Manhattan and walls covered with abstract work by black artists.

The collecting compulsion was a pre-existing condition when Mr. Ollie met his future wife in 2003 at the National Black Fine Art Show. “I have picked out a few pieces, but mine are in the back,” Ms. Ollie, who is a project manager at Johnson & Johnson, said good-naturedly.

Image
Herbert Gentry’s “Masquerade” (1986) at the Ollie home in Newark. The couple collect abstract works by black artists.CreditDaniel Dorsa for The New York Times

Mr. Ollie, who was raised in St. Louis, visited the museum as a child with his mother, who also enrolled him in art classes. “I had no talent for drawing figuratively,” he said. But, as a sixth grader, he took the advice of a friend in class, who leaned over and suggested he try abstract art. “I thought, ‘Wow, this is free!’ That’s where I gravitated.”

By the late 1980s, when Mr. Ollie was living in New York, a love of looking at abstract art had evolved into a passion for acquiring it. An auction dealer who sold him a Terry Adkins pastel drawing and a lithograph by Herbert Gentry suggested he visit the Chelsea Hotel, where Mr. Gentry lived, to introduce himself.

“Herb became one of my great mentors and friends, and he opened the art world up to me,” said Mr. Ollie, who then met and began collecting the work of artists including Ed Clark, Al Loving, Frank Bowling, James Little and Stanley Whitney. “Word got around among black artists that I bought abstract art,” Mr. Ollie said. “At that time, there were not a lot of people buying.”

He would regularly meet with many black abstract artists at the Chelsea Square restaurant. “We used to say this was our Cedar Bar,” he said, referring to what became the Cedar Tavern (now defunct) in Greenwich Village, made famous by the Abstract Expressionists in the 1950s.

From left, Sam Gilliam’s “Through Circles” (2001) and Ed Clark’s “Untitled (Bastille Series)” (1991).CreditSam Gilliam/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Daniel Dorsa for The New York Times

Last year, the Ollies gave 81 of their 225 works to the St. Louis Art Museum in honor of Mr. Ollie’s parents. The Thelma and Bert Ollie Memorial Art Collection, including pieces by Norman Lewis, William T. Williams, Sam Gilliam and Jack Whitten, will go on view there next September.

These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

I imagine when you started, these artists were pretty affordable.

RONALD OLLIE Very affordable. I started buying directly from the artists, and I could negotiate with them. Ed Clark would take me to various studios, like Stanley Whitney’s or Frank Bowling’s. I was going to buy a piece, and Frank said, “I’m going to give you my landlord’s address and I want you to pay the rent every month.” I didn’t have to pay the painting all right off and I was helping him pay his rent in Dumbo.

The relationships seem as important to you as the artworks.

MR. OLLIE These artists trusted that I could talk to them about the art they did in a critical way. Ed would say: “I’m working on a piece. Go take a look and tell me what you think.” It did something to me in terms of my confidence in developing my eye and starting to know that this is something that is real for me.

Ed Clark’s “Untitled” above the Ollies’ mantel.CreditDaniel Dorsa for The New York Times

How did the gift to the museum come about?

MR. OLLIE I was interested in making a donation. The curators came and said, “If we take anything, it may just be a few pieces.” I said, “Anything you want.”

MONIQUE OLLIE The one exception was a piece by Richard Mayhew. It’s one of my favorites.

MR. OLLIE When they came back and said, “We want 81 pieces,” it was shocking, to say the least. They did not have a representative sampling of abstract art by black artists.

MS. OLLIE When we were in St. Louis and saw the art up, I just started bawling. These are pieces that now will be available to broad audiences.

Do you have a favorite piece in the apartment?

MR. OLLIE This Ed Clark was on loan to the Newark Museum when the curators came. I told them, “You missed out on a great painting.”

Are you glad it was held back?

MR. OLLIE Kind of. This is one of my favorites.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

TeamViewer 14.1.3399

TeamViewer

TeamViewer is the fast, simple and friendly solution for remote access over the Internet – all applications in one single, very affordable module.

Remote control of computers over the Internet, Instantly take control over a computer anywhere on the Internet, even through firewalls. No installation required, just use it fast and secure. Training, sales and teamwork, TeamViewer can also be used to present your desktop to a partner on the Internet. Show and share your software, PowerPoint presentations etc. File transfer, chat and more, Share your files, chat, switch the direction during a teamwork session, and a lot more is included in TeamViewer.

TeamViewer 14.1.3399 changelog:

  • After a script execution within the session is finished a server notification is now shown with an exit code as well as for failed executions.

  • Fixed a bug that caused the remote control window to show black artifacts after minimizing and maximizing it

  • Fixed a bug that caused screen artifacts in some cases while moving a video during the remote connection

  • Fixed a bug that prevents screen updates after minimizing the remote control windows

  • Solved some other issues which caused crashes

  • Minor improvements and fixes

Download: TeamViewer 14.1.3399 | Portable | ~30.0 MB (Free for personal use)
View: TeamViewer Home Page

Get alerted to all of our Software updates on Twitter at @NeowinSoftware

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment