In continuing with our Summertime Conversationson ‘Feeling Good’, Kaniqua and I dive into the culinary world to talk about the importance of Black culinary traditions and their relationship to happiness and and joy!! Now I will forewarn you, you will probably want to have a snack on hand, or immediately afterwards, when catching this episode!!
Inspired by Nina Simone’s 1965 classic song “Feelin’ Good”, Summertime Conversations on “Feelin’ Good”: Exploring the Lived Experience of Black Joy, is a freeform dialogue that foregrounds how people of African descent create communal agency and collective resilience via the cultivation of joy.
During this episode, Kaniqua and I will discuss and explore traditional Black foodways and how they contribute to the communal expression of collective Black joy and happiness.
Check out the video below:
For more Summertime Conversations, you can go here !!
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (In theaters September 3rd, 2021)
Eternals (In theaters November 5th, 2021)
Spider-Man: No Way Home (In theaters December 17th, 2021)
Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness (In theaters March 25th, 2022)
Thor: Love and Thunder (In theaters May 6th, 2022)
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (In theaters July 8th, 2022)
The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (In theaters November 11th, 2022)
Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania (In theaters February 17th, 2023)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (In theaters May 5th, 2023)
Looks like there is going to be a lot of interweaving of the MCU films and television shows, which should make things very interesting!! Definitely no shortage of engaging content for the next couple of years!!
In honor of #BlackMusicMonth, Dr. Robinson and I wanted to make sure we brought you all another episode of Summertime Conversations on “Feeling Good”: Exploring the Lived Experience of Black Joy!! Our latest episode is a dialogue on Black Music Month as well as a ‘Sonic Curation of Happiness via Black Music’!!
Check it out below…
And if you wanna check out our “Black Joy & Happiness” Soundtrack that was discussed on this episode, check it out below!!
“It’s an artist duty to reflect the times in which we live.”
“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” ~Toni Morrison
Today marks the 156th year since the message of freedom was delivered to those enslaved in Texas, also known as Juneteenth (portmanteau of June and nineteenth)!! A celebration of emancipation, liberation, and Black Joy!!
And what is Juneteenth? Juneteenth refers to June 19th, 1865 the day when Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas to inform the 250,000 enslaved Black people that they were free. Keep in mind the Emancipation Proclamation (which ended slavery) had went into effect January 1st, 1863 (also the start of watch night services), so Texas would not get this memo for almost two and half years later. And people wonder why Black people cannot wait for change! Why we are persistent about consistent upward and forward movement! Why are Black people not quick to trust, because of past failures and screw ups like what happened in Galveston, TX. Nevertheless, the chains are breaking and the truth is being revealed.
In a way there has been this sudden awakening regarding the Juneteenth holiday. Much like how the message of freedom was delayed in its delivery to those enslaved in Texas, one could say there is a delayed recognition (on a larger scale) of the Juneteenth holiday. With all of the the national protests, police violence, and continuous murder of Black and Brown bodies of last year the U.S. would be reminded of past moments of resistance and endurance. This acknowledgement rebirth is what I like to think of as a memory survival. As Isabel Wilkerson writes in her amazing book, The Warmth of Other Suns:The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, “The people from Texas took Juneteenth Day to Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle, and other places they went.” And thank goodness the memory of Juneteenth will always be present, because we cannot afford to have any more delays, these are moments that we need right now and always!
So when did I learn about Juneteenth, I remember it being brought up during one of my summer classes as an Upward Bound student, and in passing from one of my aunts who lives in Texas. But I would really learn about Juneteenth while attending Clark Atlanta University (Atlanta, GA) and while out grocery shopping and a young man handed me a flyer for a Juneteenth celebration that was set to take place. Outside of the above-mentioned instances, I did not have any previous knowledge. Now I am not surprised by this, nor am I surprised that many other Black folks are only just now aware of what Juneteenth is and its significance. Even though I may not be from Texas, I take Juneteenth as my Independence Day/Emancipation Day, because clearly July 4th is not!!
Juneteenth is not only a day to celebrate, but also another day to inform the masses, continue speaking out on injustices, and always a day to remember! It’s also another excuse for me to celebrate my Blackness and create more ways to express Black joy and agency. This holiday is also an opportunity to instill values of self-improvement, racial uplift, and reclamation of the family unit. These values were personified through religious sermons and the singing of negro spirituals, reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, rodeos, and the preservation of slave food traditions and delicacies (ex. BBQ and soul food). Juneteenth is another holiday that allows Black folks to commune and fellowship and just be free with ourselves!! This freedom has been further expressed with the creation of various websites and the Juneteenth flag:
Created in 1997 by activist and founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation (NJCF) Ben Haith, the flag consists of a star, burst, arc, and the colors red, white, and blue. According to the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF)the star is a nod to the Lone Star State (where Juneteenth was first celebrated in 1865), but also stands for the freedom of every Black American in all 50 states, the burst represents an outline surrounding the star meant to reflect a nova— or new star—this represents a new beginning for all, and the arc represents a new horizon, fresh opportunities and promising futures for Black Americans. The colors are also reminiscent of the United States flag, this was intentional to show that the enslaved African Americans and their descendants are also free Americans. Even in our symbols there is always a deep, layered meaning attached.
In 2021, Juneteenth has become more than just a holiday, but in many ways a movement!! Not only are school curriculums slowly changing, but we are also becoming more informed about the holiday through popular media. A few examples include:
High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America [Netflix]: Episode 4, ‘Freedom’
Atlanta (FX Network): Season 1, Episode 9, ‘Juneteenth’ [Television]
Black-ish (ABC): Season 4, Episode 1, ‘Juneteenth’ [Television]
And as of 2020, according to the Congressional Research Service all states, except Hawaii, North Dakota and South Dakota, recognize/celebrate Juneteenth in some sort of fashion. This personally became significant for me because upon moving to Virginia on last year Juneteenth became a permanent statewide holiday (following in the footsteps of Texas, New York, and Pennsylvania). The fact that Virginia made this a statewide holiday is truly significant considering the states past history and the fact that the state is known as being the capital of the Confederacy…Interesting how tides are beginning to change!!
In the end when I think about Juneteenth I am optimistic…I am hopeful…I am excited. Optimistic that one day it will become a national holiday, and that it will truly get the recognition that it deserves. Juneteenth is a holiday even worthy of being acknowledged internationally. Hopeful that the celebration of this holiday is not just for a moment or season, but for an infinity of lifetimes. Excited because with each passing day more and more people are learning about the importance and significance of Juneteenth!! Even if this is your first year, make sure it is not your last!!
And just in case you need a few references for later reading and viewing check out the following link!!
So I definitely wanted to make sure I share this webinar/forum that is happening today and tomorrow!!
BlackPlanet, AOL chats, archive, #BeforeBlackTwitter, Black enclaves, digital divide, Black blog-sphere, digital spaces these and many other topics will be discussed in this 2-day event!!
Archiving the Black Web National Forum
April 29-30th, 2021
The forum is funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and will focus on strategies for collecting and preserving Black history and culture online as well as developing a community of practice for Black cultural memory organizations and practitioners interested in web archiving. The culturally relevant yet highly ephemeral nature of web-published content by and about Black people is at risk of being lost forever and as part of this forum we plan to not only discuss preservation practices for Black web content but discuss the history and future of how Black people participate in online spaces.
The project is being led by the African American Research Library and Cultural Center, in partnership with Shift Collective, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Spelman College Archives, Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center, and the African American Museum and Library at Oakland.
Here are a couple of events happening tomorrow and Friday:
*April 22nd, 2021 (8pm/ET)– “Art, Politics, and Social Justice in Times of Crisis.”-Art History Graduate Studies Symposium (Virtual Keynote Speaker)…Art History program (Department of Art)[University of Memphis] (Memphis, TN)
*April 23rd, 2021 (3-3:20 pm/EST)– “Inclusive and Accessible Teaching Practices using Media and Popular Culture”-2021 Virtual Symposia-Inclusive Teaching Practices (Symposium Speaker)…VCU-Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence [Virginia Commonwealth University] (Richmond, VA)
Inclusive and Accessible Teaching Practices using Media and Popular Culture
In 2021, pop culture is not just for entertainment purposes. Classrooms are now prime spaces to facilitate and leverage ‘pop culture’ into open dialogues and discussions for students to engage with various classroom topics.
As I continue to dive into my new city, I am super excited to share this CFC (Call For Contributions) on “Imagining Black Futures in Richmond” in which I am serving as the lead editor!! It is open to all and you do not have to reside in Richmond to contribute! See below for more information!
VCU Publishing seeking contributions to ‘Imagining Black Futures in Richmond’* The online anthology aims to reveal legacies of harm and envision new futures.
VCU Publishing — which amplifies VCU scholarly and research findings and provides publishing opportunities for students and faculty — is seeking contributions for “Imagining Black Futures in Richmond,” a curated open access anthology that will imagine and explore futures for Richmond through an Afrofuturist lens.
VCU Publishing, part of VCU Libraries, is hoping to receive Afrofuturist works from diverse authors — both academic and community members — as well as diverse disciplines and perspectives. These contributions could include any discipline and in many forms, whether they be scholarly essays, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, visual media (for example, photo essays or comic or graphic art), or interviews.
Authors do not have to reside in the Richmond area, but the work in some way must address the city, which continues to grapple with past and present racism and inequality. And since VCU is woven into the fabric of Richmond, VCU Publishing is also interested in works that embrace or challenge the university’s position in the community. By taking a multidisciplinary approach, the project aims to reveal legacies of harm and envision new futures.
“I am excited to take part in this multidisciplinary anthology project with VCU Publishing,” said Gipson, whose research interests include Black popular culture, digital humanities, representations of race and gender within comic books, Afrofuturism, and race and new media. “As a new resident to Richmond and to VCU, I look forward to learning more about the city of Richmond and the many ways that it explores the Black imaginary space.”
Afrofuturism has been defined by journalist and filmmaker Ytasha Womack as “an intersection of imagination, technology, the future, and liberation” that “redefines culture and notions of blackness for today and the future” while combining “elements of science fiction, historical fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity and magic realism with non-Western beliefs.”
Building on the aspirations and explorations of W.E.B. Du Bois’ scholarly work as well as his speculative fiction, and moving forward to encompass popular culture in its broadest sense, Afrofuturism offers a conceptual springboard for an imagined future for the greater Richmond area that can be expressed through essays, scholarly studies and creative works. A future where, in the words of Du Bois, all are judged “by their souls and not by their skins.”
The idea for “Imagining Black Futures in Richmond” arose out of discussions on future directions for VCU Publishing following the publication of “The Politics of Annexation” alongside renewed calls for racial justice in summer 2020.
Jimmy Ghaphery, associate dean for scholarly communications and publishing at VCU Libraries, said he is excited to see how “Imagining Black Futures in Richmond” “can reflect a rich history of community activism in the city, and establish Richmond as a nexus for imagining and creating a new and more just future for the South and the United States.”
The project, he added, is expected to include a hands-on paid publishing experience for a VCU student.
Sam Byrd, scholarly publishing librarian at VCU Libraries, said the team is hoping to receive an array of materials that “amaze us, that we hadn’t dreamed of.”
“Richmond is a changing city,” he said. “The monuments starting to come down may be the most visible sign of that, but there has been so much more work going on before, during and after, from so many different voices. I hope this project can amplify that diversity and energy and give us some creative paths to move forward on.”
The deadline to contribute to “Imagining Black Futures in Richmond” is July 1. Authors will retain copyright for their work and must be willing to have the work shared and preserved by VCU Publishing.
Authors can contribute their work online (Gmail account required). Alternatively, they can attach their file in email to email@example.com, including their name and the title of their contribution. The book is projected to publish in late spring 2022. For more details or further inquiries, VCU Publishing can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.