White Women, Black Hairstyles: A Candid Discussion on Race and Corporate Culture

Sometimes humor really is the best way to approach a touchy subject. Photographer Endia Beal chose to use art and humor to open a dialogue among people of different gender, race, and generations about the ways in which we express ourselves, specifically in a corporate environment.

“It almost sounds like the opening line to a joke: A young black woman takes a bunch of middle-aged white women who she doesn’t know in Woodstock, N.Y., to a black salon, gives them a new “black” hairdo, and then takes their portrait.

Although photographer Endia Beal laughs freely while discussing “Can I Touch It?” the point of the series that she worked on this summer during a five-week residency with the Center for Photography at Woodstock isn’t about getting laughs.

The rules were simple: After getting their new styles, the women had to agree to be photographed in a traditional corporate portrait, even if they weren’t happy with the result…”

Read more about Beal’s project here.

Hip Hop Remixes Science

You’re invited inside Bronx Compass High School to witness the first day of Science Genius, a revolutionary pilot program which uses hip hop culture to teach science.

Guided by hip hop educator Dr. Chris Emdin and his team, these ninth grader write raps based on their current science lesson. Will the marriage between hip hop and science be a success? Find out!

PRODIGIES is a bi-weekly series showcasing the youngest and brightest as they challenge themselves to reach new heights and the stories behind them.

Created and produced by @radical.media, THNKR gives you extraordinary access to the people, stories, places and thinking that will change your mind.

as seen on YouTube

MIXLY Reports: Craft and Folk Art Museum

Last week, the MIXLY team had the chance to take an after-hours tour of one of our new favorite spots – the Craft and Folk Art Museum here in Los Angeles. We came for a look at two specific exhibits, one featuring the work of acclaimed African American artist Sonya Clark, famous for exploring issues of history and identity in the black community through the motif of hair. The second exhibit we had the chance to check out, titled “This Is Not a Silent Movie: Four Contemporary Alaska Native Artists,” displays work by four Alaskan natives of indigenous descent – Sonya Kelliher-Combs, Susie Silook, Da-ka-xeen Mehner, and Nicholas Galanin. Their work explores the suppression and appropriation of American Indian culture, biracial identity, and a variety of other important topics. However, as much as those two exhibits spoke to everything we’re all about here, we stayed for the museum’s philosophy and mission both of which are undeniably, for lack of a better word, MIXLY.
 
They, like us, “believe that a peaceful, sustainable world community is possible, and that its possibility begins with the acknowledgement and celebration of our common humanity.” That inspiring message is more than just words in a press release – it’s reflected in the museum’s exhibits. Art that showcases the culture, history, and, indeed, humanity of various peoples illustrates not only how much we all have in common, but also how much we have to share with and learn from each other. In our opinion CAFAM is doing more than any other museum in Los Angeles right now to celebrate diversity and to prepare its visitors for a future that will, with any luck, be as beautifully diverse as the art CAFAM displays.
 
Click through to see more photos from our behind the scenes look at the Craft and Folk Art Museum, and to learn more about planning your own visit to the site!
 
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“I wanted to write the kind of novel about race that I wanted to read” Chimamanda Adichie via @Tin_House

Chat with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Via TinHouse.com  by Parul Sehgal

“Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the celebrated Nigerian author of Half of a Yellow Sunand The Thing Around Your Neck. Her new book, Americanah,  like its predecessors, it’s a thrilling and risky piece of writing that takes on taboos, shatters pieties, and combines forthright prose, subversive humor, and a ripping good story. The fifth of sixth children, Adichie grew up in Nsukka, a university town in Nigeria, in a house once occupied by the celebrated Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe, who became a great influence on her.

In Americanah, Adichie fearlessly takes on what is so euphemistically called “American race relations.” Our heroine, Ifemelu, a Nigerian transplant to the United States, writes a blog, the tartly titled “Raceteenth or Various Observations about American Blacks (Those Formerly Known as Negroes) by a Non-American Black,” in which she scrutinizes Obamamania, white privilege, the politics of black hair care, interracial relationships, and the allure and savagery of America.”

PS: Ifemelu is the “Americanah” of the title, yes? Can you unpack this term a bit?

CNA: It’s a Nigerian (actually, perhaps more regional than national, it’s more often used in the southeast, where I am from) way of referring to a person who affects Americanness in speech or manner, or a person who is (genuinely) Americanized, or a person who insists on her Americanness. It’s not exactly a polite word, but it isn’t derogatory either. It’s playful.

PS: Let’s stay on love a moment more. Ifemelu writes on her blog that the solution to the problem of race in America is romantic love: “real deep romantic love, the kind that twists you and wrings you out and makes you breathe through the nostrils of your beloved. And because that real deep romantic love is so rare, and because American society is set up to make it even rarer between American Black and American White, the problem of race in America will never be solved.” Now, I find Ifemelu utterly persuasive and charming and—sometimes, I must confess—a bit of a bully. For all these reasons, I’m inclined to agree with her. Do you?

CNA: I have been told that I am a benevolent bully, so I suppose Ifemelu gets that from me. I do agree with her, very much. I completely believe in the power of love. I think that race, as it has been constructed in America, makes it almost impossible for people of different races to have a real conversation about race, let alone understand how the other person feels. Storytelling helps. Storytelling can be an entry point.

PS: But why are we at such an impasse?

CNA: Race is, I think, the subject that Americans are most uncomfortable with. (Gender, class, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion are not as uncomfortable.) This is an American generation raised with the mantra: DO NOT OFFEND. And often honesty about race becomes synonymous with offending someone.

PS: You give Ifemelu a similar line: “How many other people had become black in America?” Was it a specific moment for you? Did you resent it? Embrace it?

CNA: At first I resented it. A few weeks into my stay in the U.S., an African American man in Brooklyn called me “sister,” and I recoiled. I did not want to be mistaken for African American. I hadn’t been long in the U.S., but I had already bought into the stereotypes associated with blackness. I didn’t want to be black. I didn’t yet realize that I really didn’t have a choice. Then my resentment turned to acceptance. I read a lot of African American history. And if I had to choose a group of people whose collective story I most admire today, then it would be African Americans. The resilience and grace that many African Americans brought to a brutal and dehumanizing history is very moving to me. Sometimes race enrages me, sometimes it amuses me, sometimes it puzzles me. I’m now happily black and now don’t mind being called a sister, but I do think that there are many ways of being black. And when I am in Nigeria, I never think of myself as black.

The book is out now, you can buy it on Amazon.

The Black Constellation: Ode to Octavia part 12 [video]

Last week there was no avoiding the discussion that was sparked around the dissemination and use of negative stereotypes associated with hip-hop artists and relayed by powerful brands like Pepsi-Co. Therefore what a better way to start this week than by watching this new video from The Black Constellation  — a creative entity comprised musically of Shabazz Palace and THEESatisfaction and director Maikoiyo Alley Barnes –  as a reminder that art also exists to challenge those stereotypical notions. Shout out to OkayPlayer for the find. You can watch the video after the jump, let us know what you think.

Sparkles is a gorgeous short piece of cinematography and sound, one that uses color and detail to craft a unique piece of art that defies categorization in either area. The Black Constellation explain that their work “combines the astral and the earthly; the gorgeous with the abjectly honest; the ancient with the as of yet unimagined… All the while remaining in constant communion with the Sacred.”

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Black History Month by Bonz Malone

“Hip-Hop is the dream and the freedom that the children of the ghetto inherited after the Civil Rights Movement died.”

This February, for Black History Month, MMXLII will be receiving posts from a very special guest contributor — Bonz Malone. As a writer, journalist, actor, poet, philosopher, and hip hop anthropologist, Bonz Malone has been called the “Hunter S. Thompson of Hip Hop.” Born in the Bronx, Bonz co-wrote and starred in the film Slam, which won the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Grand Jury Prize for a Dramatic Film at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. Below he breaks down his approach to celebrating Black History Month. 

“Ever since the 2nd grade, February’s been all about Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglass, Langston Hughes, Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King, Jr. But these aren’t the only names that deserve to be honored during “Black History Month” nor is the Civil Rights Movement the only one that has brought about change in the black community. For 28 days, I’m going to post the dopest hip hop records ever made, by the heroes who’s contributions are immortal in our culture. I’m tired of waiting for new names to be added to an ancient list. We have degrees, awards, been inducted into various Hall(s) of Fame – and through Graffiti, Breaking, Mcing & Djaying – have created the longest running renaissance in the history of the world. Whoever cannot recognize that, cannot celebrate the greatness that was once rap. #blackflyday”
- Bonz Malone

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Voice of Art – Iraq Veterans Against the War, Pt. 1 [VIDEO]

This is always interesting getting a side of the story from war veterans that are opposed to the conflicts.  We see so many depictions of war veterans that are so proud of fighting other countries.  A bit of background on this video below.

Meet the artists: members Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) Chicago chapter. Hear their stories of service and struggle. Learn why they now protest the wars they once participated in.i am OTHER

Jamie xx, Caribou + Four Tet Rock The Grand Palais [VIDEO]

The week-long Creators Project residency in Paris kicked off at Le Centquatre with a panel on the Art of Music with Philippe Zdar, Para One, and Canblaster, the same place that Chris Milk’s transformative, large-scale installation The Treachery of Sanctuary was on display all week.

We hosted Bal Blanc, the closing of Monumenta 2012, in collaboration with We Love Art, where Four Tet, Caribou, and Jamie xx played back-to-back-to-back DJ sets accentuated by Daniel Buren’s artwork with lighting by 1024 architecture.

We rounded out the week with film screenings of Laurence Anyways by Xavier Dolan and Wrong by Quentin Dupieux, plus panels with MEGAFORCE™ and Sébastien Tellier.The Creators Project

SITE OF THE DAY: SKATE UPTON

First there was Skate Moss.  A concept where Kate Moss was immortalized on skate decks…now we have Skate Upton.  Popular photos as well as interactive moments on skate decks.  Pretty cool.  A few examples below but you have to go to the site to see all the coolest stuff.