President tweets Andrew Gillum is a ‘failed Socialist;’ mayor says Trump talk not helpful

James Call and Bill Cotterell, Tallahassee Democrat Published 9:56 a.m. ET Aug. 29, 2018 | Updated 10:15 a.m. ET Aug. 29, 2018

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One is backed by President Donald Trump, the other has Sen. Bernie Sanders’ support. Nate Chute, IndyStar

President Donald Trump has jumped with both feet into Florida’s 2018 governor’s race to call the Democratic nominee a “failed Socialist.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum scored a stunning upset Tuesday night when he became the first African-American to win the gubernatorial nomination of a major party in Florida.

Trump responded shortly after 8 a.m. with a tweet that Gillum is not what Florida wants or need.

“Not only did Congressman Ron DeSantis easily win the Republican Primary, but his opponent in November is his biggest dream….a failed Socialist Mayor named Andrew Gillum who has allowed crime & many other problems to flourish in his city. This is not what Florida wants or needs!, ” the president tweeted from the White House.

The president tweeted from the White House after Gillum made the rounds of cable morning talk shows on CNN and MSNBC.

Mayor Andrew Gillum said this morning President Trump “looms in the shadows” of Florida’s political campaigns, so Democrats must concentrate on winning the votes of disillusioned citizens who don’t trust politicians.

More: 2018 primary election coverage: Analysis of election results for Florida, Brevard

More: Brevard County primary election results for 2018

In an interview on “Morning Joe,” Gillum told former Pensacola Congressman Joe Scarborough he is not concerned about Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis having the president’s endorsement.

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The mayor said he won the Democratic nomination by convincing party members he can improve education, protect the environment and strengthen Florida’s economy — and predicted the same approach will work in the general election.

“We know that Donald Trump looms in the shadows here,” Gillum said. “I’ve got to be able to turn out those voters who are highly skeptical of the political process.”

DeSantis beat Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in the GOP primary largely on the strength of Trump’s endorsement. Gillum and other Democrats running for governor stressed their opposition to the president, who carried Florida’s 29 electoral votes two years ago.

In his 7 a.m. appearance on MSNBC, Gillum said continuing to attack Trump won’t do much to motivate voters who are struggling to feed their families and get ahead. 

“We believe that we have to talk to Floridians, and largely Floridians who have chosen not to participate in this political process,” he said. “Talking about Donald Trump and reminding folks about how bad he is, and how unqualified he is for the job he holds, doesn’t do anything to insure that they’re able to make ends meet, doesn’t do anything to assure that they have access to good health care, and a good education system and 21st century transportation, and a clean and good environment.

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Andrew Gillum celebrates his victory as he wins the Democratic nomination for Governor Tallahassee Democrat

 

 

 

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US Republican says vote for black opponent would ‘monkey this up’

By AFP
More by this Author

Accusations of racism flared up on Wednesday in the Florida governor’s race after the Republican candidate told voters they would “monkey this up” if they chose a liberal African-American Democrat backed by Senator Bernie Sanders.

The upset victory by Democrat Andrew Gillum, 39, in the Florida gubernatorial primary was the most notable of a slate of party primaries held on Tuesday to decide candidates for the midterm election.

Gillum’s opponent in November will be Representative Ron DeSantis, an enthusiastic backer of President Donald Trump who surged in the polls in Florida, America’s third-largest state, after earning the endorsement of the president.

DeSantis, also 39, landed in hot water within hours of his primary victory, however, with comments to Fox News which were interpreted by some as being racially charged.

Speaking of his opponent, who is seeking to become Florida’s first black governor, DeSantis said “the last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state.”

“That part wasn’t lost on me,” Gillum responded on Fox News when asked about the “monkey this up” comment.

“It’s very clear that Mr DeSantis is taking a page directly from the campaign manual of Donald Trump,” he said. “In the handbook of Donald Trump, they no longer do whistle calls. They are now using full bull horns.”

DeSantis spokesman Stephen Lawson rejected any racial overtones.

“Ron DeSantis was obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace the socialist policies that Andrew Gillum espouses,” Lawson said in a statement. “To characterize it as anything else is absurd.”

In other races, a former air force fighter pilot, Representative Martha McSally, won the Republican primary in Arizona to replace the retiring Republican Senator Jeff Flake, a vocal critic of Trump.

With 52 per cent of the vote, McSally easily defeated arch conservative Kelli Ward, a former state senator, and Joe Arpaio, an immigration hardliner who was convicted of criminal contempt and pardoned by Trump last year.

Trump had mostly stayed out of the race but he endorsed the 52-year-old McSally on Wednesday, saying she was “strong on crime” and “the border.”

McSally will take on Democrat Kyrsten Sinema as Republicans seek to hold on to their slim 51-49 majority in the Senate in November.

Democrats had been hoping for a victory by one of the right-wing candidates — Ward or Arpaio — in a bid to increase their chances of capturing the seat.

A replacement for the other senator from Arizona, the late John McCain, is to be named in the next few days by the southwestern state’s Republican governor and will be up for election in 2020.

Trump welcomed DeSantis’s victory in Florida and criticized Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, the Florida capital.

“Not only did Congressman Ron DeSantis easily win the Republican Primary, but his opponent in November is his biggest dream… a failed Socialist Mayor named Andrew Gillum who has allowed crime & many other problems to flourish in his city,” Trump tweeted. “This is not what Florida wants or needs!”

‘Build the wall’

DeSantis’s campaign featured an ad in which he encourages his toddler to use blocks to “build the wall” — a reference to Trump’s border wall with Mexico — and dresses his baby in a “Make America Great Again” outfit.

Gillum, who has called for Trump’s impeachment, is the first African-American to win Florida’s Democratic nomination for governor and his surprise win came against better-funded, more mainstream opponents.

“We were counted out every step of the way,” Gillum said. “My four opponents collectively spent over 90 million dollars. I think our total spending may have been six.”

If elected, Gillum promised to work for universal health care and “common sense” gun laws in a state where there has been a spate of mass shootings.

Sanders, who represents the left wing of the party and came up short in his 2016 challenge to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, welcomed his victory.

“Floridians joined Andrew in standing up and demanding real change and showed our nation what is possible when we stand together,” the Vermont senator tweeted.

Also in Florida, current governor Rick Scott won the Republican Senate nomination and is set to take on Democratic Senator Bill Nelson in November.

Nelson, 75, has represented Florida in the Senate since 2001 but the latest polls show Scott with a slight lead in what is expected to be one of the most expensive congressional races.

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives will be up for grabs in November along with 35 seats in the 100-member Senate.

The midterm elections in Arizona and Florida are being closely watched as harbingers of how the key states may vote in the 2020 presidential election.

Erin Christovale wraps up exhibition ‘Made in LA’ with Roski Talk

A graduate of the School of Cinematic Arts, Christovale is currently an assistant curator at the Hammer Museum at UCLA, finishing up her popular exhibition “Made in L.A. 2018.” Christovale has previously explored issues like black womanhood in her works. (Grace Steele | Daily Trojan)

In the first of a series of Roski Talks featuring artists, curators, historians and calligraphers sharing their stories, Erin Christovale, a Los Angeles-based curator at the Hammer Museum, spoke about creating spaces for black experiences, and her current exhibition “Made In L.A. 2018.”

Students sat patiently on the ground in front of the presentation room, while others stood crowded in the back.  As a prelude to her talk, Christovale projected playwright Bill Gunn’s letter to the editor, titled “To Be a Black Artist,” a work that has motivated her and influenced her curatorial style. Gunn wrote the letter in 1973, after a white critic from The New York Times wrote a scathing review of his movie “Ganja and Hess,” a black vampiric love story.

As Christovale read the letter, the room erupted with laughter at Gunn’s fiery responses, and his satiric suggestion that “the producers wait anxiously for the black reviewers’ opinions of ‘The Sound of Music’ or ‘A Clockwork Orange.’” The crowd nodded, too, as Gunn’s words resonated: “If I were white, I would probably be called fresh and different. If I were European, ‘Ganja and Hess’ might be ‘that little film you must see.’”

Christovale graduated from the School of Cinematic Arts in 2010, with a desire to create an artistic space for her lived experiences. Recently, she curated the Hammer’s “Made in L.A. 2018” show, a biennial exhibition that explores the contemporary tone of Los Angeles by showcasing local artists. This year’s show featured a wide variety of installations — from E.J. Hill’s endurance performance to Lauren Halsey’s “The Crenshaw District Hieroglyph Project,” which will become a part of the architecture of South Central L.A.

Titled, “Collectives, collaborations, and the thoughts that surround me,” Christovale’s Roski Talk began with a cheery picture of her and her friends, all but one alumni from different departments at USC. In 2010, the black creative group formed the collective “Native Thinghood,” a nod to Aldous Huxley’s book “Doors of Perception,” in which plants are described as having “been robbed of their thinghood or essence.” Like the plants, Christovale leveled, “[black people] have been commodified and named different things.”

In 2013, she was introduced to Amir George, a Chicago-based filmmaker, and  the pair formed “Black Radical Imagination,” a now-international program that provided a space for black filmmakers and visual artists to display their work. The name is an ode to the idea that there had to be some sort of black imagination in order to ever exist outside of racism and oppression and imagine a liberated future. While Christovale no longer curates the program, she praises it as a “rich point of dialogue that continues to grow.”

In 2014, she explored environmental racism with her show “a/wake in the water”; in 2016, the topic at hand was queer black womanhood with “Memoirs of a Watermelon Woman”; and in 2017, she explored black masculinity with “baby boy.” When asked why she settled down at the Hammer after so long, she joked “the first thing I thought was I need healthcare,” but became more serious when talking about her feelings toward working at a predominantly white museum.

“I’m not here to be a superhero, or be a person who changes an institution,” Christovale said. However, the audience’s unanimous smile made it clear that Christovale’s work continues to be eye-opening and perhaps even revolutionary.

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Ron DeSantis says vote for black opponent would ‘monkey this up’

By AFP
More by this Author

WASHINGTON,

Accusations of racism flared up on Wednesday in the Florida governor’s race after the Republican candidate told voters they would “monkey this up” if they chose a liberal African-American Democrat backed by Senator Bernie Sanders.

The upset victory by Democrat Andrew Gillum, 39, in the Florida gubernatorial primary was the most notable of a slate of party primaries held on Tuesday to decide candidates for the midterm election.

RACIALLY CHARGED

Gillum’s opponent in November will be Representative Ron DeSantis, an enthusiastic backer of President Donald Trump who surged in the polls in Florida, America’s third-largest state, after earning the endorsement of the president.

DeSantis, also 39, landed in hot water within hours of his primary victory, however, with comments to Fox News which were interpreted by some as being racially charged.

Speaking of his opponent, who is seeking to become Florida’s first black governor, DeSantis said “the last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state.”

“That part wasn’t lost on me,” Gillum responded on Fox News when asked about the “monkey this up” comment.

“It’s very clear that Mr DeSantis is taking a page directly from the campaign manual of Donald Trump,” he said. “In the handbook of Donald Trump, they no longer do whistle calls. They are now using full bull horns.”

DeSantis spokesman Stephen Lawson rejected any racial overtones.

“Ron DeSantis was obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace the socialist policies that Andrew Gillum espouses,” Lawson said in a statement. “To characterize it as anything else is absurd.”

In other races, a former air force fighter pilot, Representative Martha McSally, won the Republican primary in Arizona to replace the retiring Republican Senator Jeff Flake, a vocal critic of Trump.

With 52 percent of the vote, McSally easily defeated arch conservative Kelli Ward, a former state senator, and Joe Arpaio, an immigration hardliner who was convicted of criminal contempt and pardoned by Trump last year.

Trump had mostly stayed out of the race but he endorsed the 52-year-old McSally on Wednesday, saying she was “strong on crime” and “the border.”

VICTORY WELCOME

McSally will take on Democrat Kyrsten Sinema as Republicans seek to hold on to their slim 51-49 majority in the Senate in November.

Democrats had been hoping for a victory by one of the right-wing candidates — Ward or Arpaio — in a bid to increase their chances of capturing the seat.

A replacement for the other senator from Arizona, the late John McCain, is to be named in the next few days by the southwestern state’s Republican governor and will be up for election in 2020.

Trump welcomed DeSantis’s victory in Florida and criticized Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, the Florida capital.

“Not only did Congressman Ron DeSantis easily win the Republican Primary, but his opponent in November is his biggest dream… a failed Socialist Mayor named Andrew Gillum who has allowed crime & many other problems to flourish in his city,” Trump tweeted. “This is not what Florida wants or needs!”

‘BUILD THE WALL’

DeSantis’s campaign featured an ad in which he encourages his toddler to use blocks to “build the wall” — a reference to Trump’s border wall with Mexico — and dresses his baby in a “Make America Great Again” outfit.

Gillum, who has called for Trump’s impeachment, is the first African-American to win Florida’s Democratic nomination for governor and his surprise win came against better-funded, more mainstream opponents.

“We were counted out every step of the way,” Gillum said. “My four opponents collectively spent over 90 million dollars. I think our total spending may have been six.”

If elected, Gillum promised to work for universal health care and “common sense” gun laws in a state where there has been a spate of mass shootings.

Sanders, who represents the left wing of the party and came up short in his 2016 challenge to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, welcomed his victory.

“Floridians joined Andrew in standing up and demanding real change and showed our nation what is possible when we stand together,” the Vermont senator tweeted.

SCOTT’S LEAD

Also in Florida, current governor Rick Scott won the Republican Senate nomination and is set to take on Democratic Senator Bill Nelson in November.

Nelson, 75, has represented Florida in the Senate since 2001 but the latest polls show Scott with a slight lead in what is expected to be one of the most expensive congressional races.

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives will be up for grabs in November along with 35 seats in the 100-member Senate.

The midterm elections in Arizona and Florida are being closely watched as harbingers of how the key states may vote in the 2020 presidential election.

Republican Florida candidate: Vote for black opponent would ‘monkey this up’

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum gives two thumbs up as he walks on stage to deliver remarks on the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, in Philadelphia. — AFP pic
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum gives two thumbs up as he walks on stage to deliver remarks on the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, in Philadelphia. — AFP pic

FLORIDA, Aug 30 — Accusations of racism flared up yesterday in the Florida governor’s race after the Republican candidate told voters they would “monkey this up” if they chose a liberal African-American Democrat backed by Senator Bernie Sanders.

The upset victory by Democrat Andrew Gillum, 39, in the Florida gubernatorial primary was the most notable of a slate of party primaries held on Tuesday to decide candidates for the midterm election.

Gillum’s opponent in November will be Representative Ron DeSantis, an enthusiastic backer of President Donald Trump who surged in the polls in Florida, America’s third-largest state, after earning the endorsement of the president.

DeSantis, also 39, landed in hot water within hours of his primary victory, however, with comments to Fox News which were interpreted by some as being racially charged.

Speaking of his opponent, who is seeking to become Florida’s first black governor, DeSantis said “the last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state.”

“That part wasn’t lost on me,” Gillum responded on Fox News when asked about the “monkey this up” comment.

“It’s very clear that Mr DeSantis is taking a page directly from the campaign manual of Donald Trump,” he said. “In the handbook of Donald Trump, they no longer do whistle calls. They are now using full bull horns.”

DeSantis spokesman Stephen Lawson rejected any racial overtones.

“Ron DeSantis was obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace the socialist policies that Andrew Gillum espouses,” Lawson said in a statement.

“To characterise it as anything else is absurd.”

In other races, a former air force fighter pilot, Representative Martha McSally, won the Republican primary in Arizona to replace the retiring Republican Senator Jeff Flake, a vocal critic of Trump.

With 52 per cent of the vote, McSally easily defeated arch conservative Kelli Ward, a former state senator, and Joe Arpaio, an immigration hardliner who was convicted of criminal contempt and pardoned by Trump last year.

Trump had mostly stayed out of the race but he endorsed the 52-year-old McSally yesterday, saying she was “strong on crime” and “the border.”

‘We were counted out’

McSally will take on Democrat Kyrsten Sinema as Republicans seek to hold on to their slim 51-49 majority in the Senate in November.

Democrats had been hoping for a victory by one of the right-wing candidates — Ward or Arpaio — in a bid to increase their chances of capturing the seat.  

A replacement for the other senator from Arizona, the late John McCain, is to be named in the next few days by the southwestern state’s Republican governor and will be up for election in 2020.

Trump welcomed DeSantis’s victory in Florida and criticized Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, the Florida capital.

“Not only did Congressman Ron DeSantis easily win the Republican Primary, but his opponent in November is his biggest dream… a failed Socialist Mayor named Andrew Gillum who has allowed crime & many other problems to flourish in his city,” Trump tweeted. “This is not what Florida wants or needs!”

DeSantis’s campaign featured an ad in which he encourages his toddler to use blocks to “build the wall” — a reference to Trump’s border wall with Mexico — and dresses his baby in a “Make America Great Again” outfit.

Gillum, who has called for Trump’s impeachment, is the first African-American to win Florida’s Democratic nomination for governor and his surprise win came against better-funded, more mainstream opponents.

“We were counted out every step of the way,” Gillum said.

“My four opponents collectively spent over 90 million dollars. I think our total spending may have been six.”

If elected, Gillum promised to work for universal health care and “common sense” gun laws in a state where there has been a spate of mass shootings.

Sanders, who represents the left wing of the party and came up short in his 2016 challenge to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, welcomed his victory.

“Floridians joined Andrew in standing up and demanding real change and showed our nation what is possible when we stand together,” the Vermont senator tweeted.

Also in Florida, current governor Rick Scott won the Republican Senate nomination and is set to take on Democratic Senator Bill Nelson in November.

Nelson, 75, has represented Florida in the Senate since 2001 but the latest polls show Scott with a slight lead in what is expected to be one of the most expensive congressional races.

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives will be up for grabs in November along with 35 seats in the 100-member Senate.

The midterm elections in Arizona and Florida are being closely watched as harbingers of how the key states may vote in the 2020 presidential election. — AFP

Michael Jackson earns more after death

The singer passed away in 2009 after an allege­d overdo­se of prescr­ibed medici­ne

PHOTO: VARIETY

PHOTO: VARIETY

Late pop singer Michael Jackson made a whopping $75 million last year, making him the world’s highest earning dead celebrity, reported Hindustan Times. The amount is more than what he made while he was alive.

Scientists reveal secret behind Michael Jackson’s 45-degree tilt

Back in 2016, the Thriller artist made over $800 million which was the highest annual earning of any entertainer, whether dead or alive. Jackson also brings in millions through his Las Vegas show Cirque Du Soleil and his publishing catalog which features hits by other singers as well.

PHOTO: REPUBLICCA.IT

PHOTO: REPUBLICCA.IT

Forbes’ revealed that Jackson earned a total of over $3 billion throughout his career – including before and after his death – without paying tax. This amount came close to $4 billion when it was adjusted for inflation.

The Billie Jean singer passed away in 2009 after an alleged overdose of prescribed medicine. Later, his doctor was imprisoned for involuntary manslaughter.

PHOTO: BILLBOARD

PHOTO: BILLBOARD

Other high earning dead celebrities includes names such as golfer Arnold Palmer with $40 million, cartoonist Charles Schulz with $38 million, Elvis Presley with $35 million and Bob Marley with $23 million.

Jackson would have turned 60 years old on August 29, 2018 left behind three children, Prince aged 21, Paris, 20 and Blanket, 16. The three are not living like “vagabonds” like the Bad singer claimed they would before he passed away. During the time of his death, Jackson was under a debt of $500 million.

PHOTO: BBC

PHOTO: BBC

Michael Jackson stole songs, says producer

The Beat It singer made his recording debut at the age of nine. His song Billie Jean was the first video by an African-American artist to air on MTV and introduced his famous moonwalk in 1983. Some of Jackson’s famous hits include Smooth Criminal, They Don’t Care About Us, Black Or White and In The Closet.

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Full steam ahead for youngest UK locomotive crew

© The Write Image
Matthew Earnshaw (30) (right) is the newest and youngest steam train driver in the UK with 19-year-old Lewis Maclean the youngest steam train fireman in the UK take charge of the afternoon Jacobite for the first time.

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Representation Is More Than Skin Color

I remember the first time I fell in love with poetry.

I was in 10th grade, and my world literature teacher, Ms. Joe, had assigned us the poem “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden. I read the poem and at once found myself engrossed in my own memory. I, too, recalled the coldness of my childhood home and the “austere and lonely offices” of my father’s love.

In his verses, Hayden made me feel seen. The poem provided a kind of relief, to know that my childhood was not a complete anomaly, and that others had grown up in similar spaces where love was convoluted by anger and loneliness. That day Robert Hayden became my favorite poet. I held on to this particular poem for years, memorizing it not only for the comfort it provided, but also as a reminder of what good art could do.

Five years later, I discovered Robert Hayden was black. It was the first day of my African-American Literature seminar at Columbia, and I was skimming the syllabus while deciding whether or not to enroll in the course. There in italics, just beneath James Baldwin’s “Notes of a Native Son” read Words in the Mourning Time (1970) by Robert Hayden. I Googled a picture of my favorite poet and laughed aloud. “So he’s black,” I thought to myself.

Though admittedly it was a funny coincidence that we were both black, this hardly mattered at all. Hayden’s work had always felt like an apt representation of myself, but for reasons far beyond our shared complexion.

Over the past few years, the word “representation” has stormed popular discourse. It began in 2015 with April Reign’s hashtag campaign #OscarsSoWhite, which indicted the Academy Awards for a lack of nominations for actors of color. Since then, creative figures across industries — film producers, gallery curators, print advertisers — have been called upon to ramp up inclusivity in their respective fields in hopes of advancing popular culture away from white, male dominance toward gender and racial equality.

And who could argue with such a worthy goal? The need for representation of marginalized identities in art is evident, especially when considering a larger fight against racist patriarchal social and political institutions.

I, too, have relished this cultural progress. Just this week I rushed to the newsstand to grab a copy of Vogue’s historic September issue featuring Beyoncé on its cover and shot, for the first time ever, by a black photographer: Tyler Mitchell. Upon arriving, I was excited to see an unprecedented number of black women also gracing the covers of notable fashion magazines.

However, when considering our current fixation on representation, I have to wonder if we have overlooked other meaningful ways of being represented, those that can be pinpointed only in life experiences and emotional phenomena beyond the visible self.

When I think of all the “black art” being ushered in by this new era, I feel conflicted. As a black person, I enjoy seeing artists whose careers are finally being given due praise and whose voices are at last being amplified. However, a question arises of what it means to be truly represented. Is it enough to look like the artist if you do not recognize yourself in the art?

When the film “Black Panther” was released in theaters, it was regarded as a historic moment for black representation in the comic book world. During the premiere weekend and for months after, my social media feeds were flooded with family members, colleagues and strangers affirming the importance of the film. “I saw myself in this film,” many of them claimed.

When I finally saw the film, I did not recognize much of myself in it. Sure, I saw my old neighborhood in Oakland, Calif. I saw black people who looked like me, dressed like me and spoke like me. However, the film did not reflect my experience as a black American, my relationship to slavery or my interactions with other members of the African diaspora. I walked away feeling wholly unrepresented.

My father argued that I was “ungrateful,” and that the film was “historic” for black people, as it demanded Hollywood finally recognize the value of black talent. He asserted that this was a watershed moment in how “our” stories would be told, ones in which black people were allotted dignity and dimensionality. I shrugged in acquiescence, but in reality I knew the film was not my story. In fact, it was no one’s story. The film is wholly fiction. There is no Wakanda, no place on the African continent where slavery, colonialism or occupation did not occur, and no diasporic war between continental Africans and black people abroad. It was simply a story, told using black actors and black historical references.

And yet there is nothing simple about it. Representation is such a complicated issue because on the surface it presents itself as a politically correct, objective good for all of society. For those being represented, it plays to a collective sense of pride and personal vanity. It feels good to see ourselves and know that people in our communities are being paid to craft their own narratives. Representation also presents the opportunity for other communities, which might have otherwise stereotyped or discriminated against us, to see our humanity and acknowledge our worth in the art we produce.

However, while representation may be a praiseworthy standard for creative industries, it cannot be the benchmark against which we measure good art. Good art must do more than reflect our own images back at us. It must move us to a place beyond our obsession with identity, sense of tribalism and fear of others.

When I imagine the happy medium between representation and good art, I am reminded of my favorite author, James Baldwin, who once put it this way:

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me the most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”

I think of these words and am at once transported back into my high school literature class. I read Hayden’s verse, and at once I recognize myself — not in the poet but in the poem. Beyond my blackness, he sees me clearly for who I am. In this moment I am connected to him and all those ever engrossed in the “austere and lonely offices of love.”

Bianca Vivion-Brooks is a writer based in Harlem.

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A Mile-Long Outdoor Museum Will Honor South L.A.’s Black Community

In the not-too-distant future, the Metro Crenshaw Line will carry passengers from Westchester to West Adams, where it will link up with the Expo Line. Along the way, the rail line will run at grade through 1.1 miles of historically black L.A., from 60th Street to 48th Street along the Crenshaw Boulevard corridor. What might’ve been disastrous for those neighborhoods—particularly before Metro voted to approve a Leimert Park station in 2013—has become a chance to create something stunning.

District 7 City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson’s office, a crack team of local creatives, and several nationally renowned architects have set out to turn that 1.1 mile stretch of the Crenshaw Line into an outdoor museum that showcases the ways L.A.’s black community has shaped the the city and the world. Not to be confused with Metro’s planned Crenshaw Line station art, privately funded Destination Crenshaw will incorporate permanent and rotating public art, neighborhood history (recorded and newly unearthed), and existing businesses along the corridor to create what involved parties hope will be both a hub for locals and an essential stop for visitors heading to and from LAX. Says Joanne Kim, Harris-Dawson’s senior advisor, “The whole street is the canvas.”

[embedded content]

Following a meeting earlier in September at which artists local to South L.A. were invited to learn more about how they might participate in the project, the Destination Crenshaw team has put out an official call for artists on its website to reach South L.A. locals they hadn’t previously reached. The call for artists stipulates that applicants should be residents of Los Angeles County for a minimum of five years, be educated in or have worked in Los Angeles County for three years, and “have a strong cultural connection to the Black arts community in Los Angeles.” It adds that artists from or located in South L.A. are “strongly encouraged” to apply. The deadline for submissions is October 4; the project’s planned launch is fall 2019.

Gallerist, curator, historian, and Leimert Park resident Larry Earl, one of the community partners who’s signed on to Destination Crenshaw, stresses that it’s more than just an art project. Really, he says, “it’s a transformative, place-making project.” He envisions something that can affect change socially and culturally, and in terms of economic development, public housing, and environmental justice. “All of that,” he says, “is wrapped up in this idea of telling the history and visually narrating that through art. That’s pretty special.”

Besides Earl, community partners include California African American Museum lead curator Naima Keith, rapper Nipsey Hussle, “Gangsta Gardener” Ron Finley, and muralist Judith Baca, among others.

destination crenshaw los angeles leimert park crenshaw metro line

Destination Crenshaw

A team of architects from Perkins + Will—including Zena Howard, who designed the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C. and several other notable projects—has envisioned a concept that centers around four nodes with individual themes relevant to South L.A.’s past and present. At Slauson, “improvisation” represents “resourcefulness as the positive outcome of struggle.” At 54th Street, “firsts” honors both first-person stories and historical firsts in the black community. At 50th Street, “dreams” celebrates “aspirations free of constraints.” And at Leimert Park, “togetherness” celebrates bonds both ancestral and those that form out of necessity in the black community.

Togetherness is particularly important, given that locals had long expressed trepidation that the rail line would physically divide the community, not unlike the interstate highway system did during the middle of the last century. Kim, Harris-Dawson’s senior advisor, says, “This is the way to do, historically, what the black community has always done. Our council member talks about it—take something like this and turn it into an opportunity.”


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Art Sanctuary Celebrates 34th Anniversary With Black Arts Festival