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Culture Archives - Institute of the Black World 21st Century

Rapper YG, center in white, at a June 7 protest over the death of George Floyd.

Hip-hop is the soundtrack to Black Lives Matter protests

By Commentaries/Opinions

By Tyina Steptoe — The sound of Public Enemy’s 1989 song “Fight the Power” blared as face-masked protesters in Washington, D.C. broke into a spontaneous rendition of the electric slide dance near the White House. It was the morning of June 14, and an Instagram user captured the moment, commenting: “If Trump is in the White House this morning he’s being woken up by … a Public Enemy dance party.” View…

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Steven Perry as Henry Temple in “The Big Tall Wish,” a Season 1 episode of The Twilight Zone

Tele-visionary Blackness

By Commentaries/Opinions

By Brandy Monk-Payton, Public Books — I. CHANNELING FREEDOM DREAMS A Black boy presses his forehead and cheek against the television. He shuts his eyes, clasps his hands together, and mutters fervently. It is a scene from “The Big Tall Wish,” a Season 1 episode of The Twilight Zone. The episode, which was released in 1960, follows Bolie Jackson (Ivan Dixon), a washed-up prizefighter who has lost all confidence in his…

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atricia Stephens Due (L) with her siblings Easter Sunday, c.1940s

Easter’s Black Roots

By Commentaries/Opinions

By The History Makers — Easter, also referred to as Resurrection Sunday, is the oldest and arguably the most important of all Christian holidays. Like most holidays, its origins extend beyond Christianity. Easter was “derived from a combination of Jewish lore and pre-Christian and pagan practices. It is named after Eostre, the goddess of fertility and birth, worshiped by first-century pagans at the vernal equinox… Christian missionaries saw that this…

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Reggae brothers … from left: Ky-Mani, Damian and Julian Marley perform at Marley 75 in Kingston, Jamaica.

Bob Marley at 75: how a ghetto reggae star rebranded Jamaica

By Editors' Choice

Seeing fans and family gather in Kingston to celebrate the late musician’s 75th birthday, music writer Vivien Goldman reflects on his indelible legacy. By Vivien Goldman, The Guardian — At 7am on 6 February, on what would have been Bob Marley’s 75th birthday, the abeng conch shell blows at his old home at uptown Kingston’s 56 Hope Road – now the Bob Marley museum – as it did in the days…

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Screenshot: Andrew Johnson, a high school wrestler, was forced to cut dreads.

Hair Discrimination Is Alive And Well

By Dr. Julianne Malveaux

By Dr. Julianne Malveaux — Andrew Johnson, a high school wrestler, was forced to submit to the humiliating act of having his dreadlocks shorn or have his New Jersey team forfeit their match to the opposing team. A gleeful white woman seemed too pleased to invade the young man’s person, and his team won, but at what price? When this happened in December of 2018, there was a national outcry,…

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Modesta Irizarry, a community leader, in Loíza, Puerto Rico

In the Afro-Caribbean heart of Puerto Rico, locals fight erosion, government indifference

By News & Current Affairs

Loíza, Puerto Rico, is filled with palm trees, unassuming bars, bomba music, beautiful beaches — and strong-willed locals who refuse to be forgotten. LOÍZA, Puerto Rico — The waves crashed loudly on the collapsed ruins of the Paseo del Atlántico, a walkway that once partially protected residents here from the volatile ocean. Erosion along this northernmost coast of Puerto Rico, nearly 20 miles east of San Juan, precipitated the promenade’s destruction…

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Actor Aishe Keita plays the protagonist, Rory, in “Reparations.”

Play ‘Reparations’ explores what makes us whole

By Reparations

By Rick Hellman, The University of Kansas — Playwright Darren Canady shocks audiences by opening his new two-act drama, “Reparations,” with a scene of a lynching. But he leavens that tragedy with later scenes of the love and dedication that sustained African Americans through centuries of trial, even offering an Afro-Futuristic vision of hope. Seattle’s Sound Theatre Company opened “Reparations” Jan. 8 at the city’s Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. It…

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Collection of Helena Rubinstein

A Letter to President Macron: Reparations Before Restitution

By Editors' Choice, Reparations

In the wake of initiatives to repatriate Africa’s stolen property, the author of this letter asks the French President to repair what his ancestors have broken, before attempting to restore the war trophies of colonial conquest. By Manthia Diawara, Hyperallergic — “All of the elements for a solution to the major problems of humanity existed at one time or another in European thought. But the Europeans did not act on…

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Commentary, Articles and Essays by Dr. Maulana Karenga

Annual Founder’s Kwanzaa Message – 2019

By Dr. Maulana Karenga

Living Kwanzaa and the Seven Principles: An All-Seasons Celebration and Practice of the Good. By Dr. Maulana Karenga — Each year Kwanzaa provides us with a special and unique time to see and celebrate ourselves as African people in beautiful, uplifting and liberating ways. But it also offers us a set of principles which, if practiced throughout the year, ensure that Kwanzaa and the Nguzo Saba, the Seven Principles, are…

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Commentary, Articles and Essays by Dr. Maulana Karenga

Righteous Reflection On Being African: A Kwanzaa Meditation

By Dr. Maulana Karenga

Dr. Maulana Karenga — Kwanzaa is a time of celebration, remembrance, reflection and recommitment. It requires these practices throughout the holiday. But the last day of Kwanzaa is dedicated to deep reflection, meditation on the meaning and measure of being African and how this is understood and asserted for good in the world in essential, uplifting and transformative ways. During this Kwanzaa, as always and as our ancestors centuries before…

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