To top
Title Image

Sister From Another Planet

10 May

How Punk & Reggae Fought Back Against Racism in the 70s

RAR carnival against the nazis, leeds, 1981 I was just reminiscing about this movement; there's no real equivalent today, and it's needed more than ever here in the US and around the world. I'd like to help change that.   by Stuart Brumfitt | i-D Vice Syd Shelton’s photographs capture the Rock Against Racism movement that confronted racism in 70's and 80's Britain. When Syd Shelton returned to London in 1977 after fours years living in Australia, he was shocked at how much things had changed. "The recession...
Continue reading
13 Jan

Brother From Another Planet: Bowie & Black Music

by Greg Tate mtv news David Bowie ranks as high in our electric church’s Afrofuturist pantheon of demiurges as Jimi Hendrix, George Clinton, and Miles Davis. That’s for his outrageous aristocratic style, not-just-skin-deep soul, badass brinksmanship, and all-around Alter-Negrocity. Not to mention the Starman’s own sui generis take on The Funk. Bowie remains that rarity — a white rock artist whose appropriations of black kulcha never felt like a rip-off but more like a sharing of radical and bumptious ideations between like-minded...
Continue reading
27 Dec

A New Squad of Superheroes

by Paola Mathe Finding Paola THIS. In the dark shadows of the night where women’s screams were unheard, and evil crept silently through back alleyways and hidden streets, four super heroes emerge to fight injustice and crime against women.  I love long hot, steamy showers. That’s the place most of my ideas come from. A lot of the time, my ideas are very silly. I think of magic, being back in Haiti as a little girl, and creating random things either for work...
Continue reading
26 Nov

“The Prophecy”: Senegal’s Trash Transformed into Haute Couture & Art

Fabrice Monteiro, “The Prophecy #1” (2013) (image via Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, © Mariane Ibrahim) by Carey Dunne Hyperallergenic In The Prophecy, a striking series by Dakar-based photographer Fabrice Monteiro, majestic alien creatures wear hoop skirts and headdresses made from soda cans, garbage bags, fishing nets, tortoise shells, and the odd baby doll. It isn’t just fashion photography at its most theatrical and cinematic: There’s a vivid environmentalist message here, though it doesn’t look like any anti-pollution campaign you’ve ever seen. To visualize the pollution problem that plagues Senegal, Monteiro collaborated with fashion designer Doulsy and the Ecofund Organization to...
Continue reading
10 Feb

Black Like Basquat: Jean-Michel & the Black Kids Downtown

(This is an intimate piece written by one of my many prolific and famously unknown friends, Jennifer Jazz, about some of our soon-to-be-very-famous friends. She really captures the spirit of that magic time.) by Jennifer Jazz | AFROPUNK People are always coming and going to Felice’s. There are writers Luc Sante and Darryl Pinckney and filmmaker Jim Jarmusch. Felice Rosser is the Woman-in-the-scarf in Jim’s short film Permanent Vacation and obviously the inspiration behind the character Bargatta in Darryl Pinckney’s novel High Cotton. There’s...
Continue reading
9 Feb

“My Body Full of Stars”: Afrofuturism Project Explores ‘Black Mythocracy’ Through Essay & Music

by  Jennifer Sefa-Boakye | OkayAfrica Irish-Nigerian writer and sociologist Emma Dabiri recently reached out to us with a new project she’s been working on about Afrofuturism. The multi-media piece, My Body Full Of Stars, explores the use of Afrofuturist aesthetics in music as a tool for rewriting history and imagining the future. Consisting of an essay by Dabiri and an hour-long mixtape curated by music journalist and producer Ian McQuaid, the project presents a sonic framework that allows for Afrofuturist readings of music from the continent and across...
Continue reading
22 Jul

How Playing an Instrument Benefits Your Brain

Lesson Anita Collins, Animation Sharon Colman Graham | Ted-Ed When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. What’s going on? Anita Collins explains the fireworks that go off in musicians’ brains when they play, and examines some of the long-term positive effects of this mental workout. ...
Continue reading
21 Jul

Forgotten Black Women of Early Hollywood @ CAAM

The Blood of Jesus, 1941. USA. Directed by Spencer Williams | Courtesy Sack Amusement Enterprises/Photofest and California African American Museum by Nadra Nittle | KCET.org Hollywood has long had a problem with representation and diversity, especially concerning anyone female and nonwhite. In the first half of the 20th century, black women were largely relegated to playing mammy and jezebel roles. D.W. Griffith’s 1915 classic “Birth of a Nation” even depicted African Americans as rapists and imbeciles, leading to a resurgence of the...
Continue reading
20 Jul

Dub Music: A History of Jamaica’s Musical Artform

by Patricia Meschino | Billboard   On a balmy late May evening under the stars at Chris Blackwell’s stunning cliffside hotel The Caves in Negril, Jamaica, legendary producer Lee “Scratch” Perry strolls up to the DJ booth and takes the microphone. For the next 45 minutes Scratch, now 81, his hair and beard dyed cherry-red, freestyles lyrics as DJ (or selector, in Jamaican parlance). Kingston Dub Club owner Gabre Selassie tweaks his mixing console’s controls, manipulating the riddim track, transforming the bass line into a...
Continue reading
18 Jul

“Abu’s Homestyle” in B’klyn, Where the Bean Pie Is King

For customers, the pie is as much about history as it is about flavor. In the 1930s, the Nation of Islam founder, Elijah Muhammad, urged his followers to eat the navy bean. Credit: Chang W. Lee/The New York Times (I've been going here since they opened! Their pecan pie is also sick.) by Sam Kestenbaum | NY Times Toobaa Hinson, right, and her twin brother, Mueahhid, surveying the goods at Abu’s Homestyle Bakery in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. Credit: Chang W. Lee/The New York...
Continue reading
18 Jul

Junot Díaz’s New Picture Book “Island Born”

Islandborn is about a girl who lives in Washington Heights, learning more about the Dominican Republic, which she left when she was a baby. by Alexandra Alter | NY Times An illustration from Junot Díaz’s “Islandborn,” a picture book to be published next spring. Credit Illustrations by Leo Espinosa By his own admission, the novelist Junot Díaz is an agonizingly slow writer and a chronic procrastinator. Over the past two-plus decades, he has published just three books: two short-story collections and his 2007 novel, “The Brief...
Continue reading
18 Jul

On The Spectrum: The “Blue Ranger” as an Autistic Superhero

Getty Images by Joshua Adams | Medium People along the autistic spectrum are often defined by commonly displayed characteristics — taking speech and behavior literally, lack of eye contact, targeted focus with disinterest in things happening in the periphery, not wanting to be touched, and more. But the new Power Rangers film portrays the Blue Ranger as a superhero on the autism spectrum. In an interview with Screen Rant, actor RJ Cyler (played “Earl” in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) said he was excited...
Continue reading
16 Jul

Ava DuVernay’s “A Wrinkle in Time” Is the Ultimate Adaptation

by Angela Watercutter | Wired Book adaptation is fraught. There are longtime fans to please, imaginations to live up to, childhood memories to compete with. It’s nearly impossible to please all the people all the time. Director Ava DuVernay’s adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time is out to do just that—by making a movie that reflects all of them. In casting Wrinkle, DuVernay brought together one of the most diverse casts ever to appear in a Disney movie. Its Meg Murray is played by...
Continue reading
12 Jul

The B-52s’ Lost Recipe For Sweet Potato Cornbread

by Dangerous Minds Some principles are non-negotiable. I like talking to people whose views on religion, politics, food, the environment, hairdos and footwear differ from my own. But I stand firmly behind Dangerous Minds’ “zero tolerance” policy for anyone who doesn’t like the B-52s. Those jerks can wash down a plate of boiled shoe leather with a cold glass of splinters. The rest of us will be borne aloft on the angelic sounds of Ricky Wilson’s guitar and the subtle flavors...
Continue reading
11 Jul

Aneka & Ayo: My Dora Milaje Research Continues

It is unsurprising that we at Black Nerd Problems are here for Wakanda. We have well developed theories about it, have imagined our favorite barbershops and corner bodegas. Even those of us who aren’t walking comic book encyclopedias have a soft spot for it, not as it has always been portrayed — which, let’s be honest, has had a heavy dose of deepest darkest exotic AFRICA — but as it could be, as an imaginary place where the past and...
Continue reading
8 Jul

Honda Scooter Commercials w/ Devo, Lou Reed, Miles Davis, Grace Jones & Adam Ant

by Dangerous Minds In the mid-1980s Honda had a series of quite dauntingly cool musicians hawking their scooters. They had particularly playful, sexy commercial in which Adam Ant and Grace Jones flirt with each other and then presumably fuck because they are so preposterously vital and attractive. Others featured DEVO, Berlin, Lou Reed, and Miles fucking Davis. The Adam Ant/Grace Jones ad was “racy” enough that there was an edited version. In the full version Jones bites Ant’s ear, an act that...
Continue reading
8 Jul

NASA Sent Salutations & Music Into Space to Communicate w/Aliens

by Chris Coplan Consequence of Sound We already know that space generates its own deeply beautiful music. But back in 1977, as mankind thought about its place amongst the stars and the possibility of extraterrestrial life, NASA decided to add to the cosmic symphony with the launch of the Voyager I probe. There among all the radio gear and high-end cameras is The Golden Record, a disc containing a ginormous auditory archive representing our planet’s menagerie of sounds (via Death and Taxes). From music to greetings in every language and even sorted animal grunts,...
Continue reading
8 Jul

Nina Simone in Liberia

Nina Simone, left, at Wilhelmina "Coo Coo" Tubman's birthday party in Monrovia, 1974. Courtesy of the Parker family collection, Monrovia, Liberia  by Katherina Grace Thomas Guernica Someone who knew Nina Simone well—a Liberian friend of hers, I suppose a mutual friend now—told me a story. Liberia’s past is in pieces, he said, and here’s one of them. Maybe it’s the one you’re looking for. On a September night in 1974, the wet season was closing down and an encore of rain washed the streets...
Continue reading
8 Jul

Africa Now: The New Diasporic Renaissance

Wardrobe: Abasi Rosborough   by Stephanie Smith-Strickland | High Nobiety In 2005, London-born, Nigerian-Ghanaian novelist and essayist Taiye Selasi wrote an article for Lip Magazine titled, Bye-Bye Babar. The article, a reflection on the shifting nature of African identity, presented a new term for which to describe a generation of global professionals and creatives with strong ties to the continent: Afropolitan. Selasi defines Afropolitans as, “the newest generation of African emigrants, coming soon or collected already at a law firm/chem lab/jazz lounge near you. You’ll know us by...
Continue reading
8 Jul

More Dora Milaje…

(This article is from 2015, speculating about the second Avengers: Age of Ultron before it was released. So it doesn't refer to the HIGHLY anticipated Marvel Black Panther movie that's due out February 16, 2018.)   Everything You Need to Know About Black Panther's Dora Milaje by The Geek Twins   Who are the Dora Milaje? The second Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer features a black woman that looks an awful lot like the Wakandan warriors known as the Dora Milaje. It's customary for the Dora Milaje to...
Continue reading