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30 Jul

150 Records by African Women You Should Listen To

Muthoni the Drummer Queen. Image courtesy of the artist. by OKAYAFRICA Just like NPR and The Fader, the OkayAfrica team took a stab at listing 150 records made by amazing African for you to discover and rediscover. We hope you enjoy listening through as much as we enjoyed putting together this list of African women who’ve shaped African music from the continent and around the world. 1. Alsarah & The Nubatones (Sudan) – Manara 2. Angelique Kidjo (Benin) – Logozo 3. Asa (Nigeria) – Beautiful Imperfection 4....
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26 Jul

Esperanza Spalding is Writing & Recording “Exposure” Over 3 Day FB Livestream

by Winston Cook-Wilson | SPIN Esperanza Spalding, Grammy-award-winning singer-songwriter and jazz bassist extraordinaire (and now Harvard Professor!), has announced her new album, though she hasn’t written any songs. On September 12 at 12 p.m. Eastern, Spalding will begin writing and recording her next album, aptly titled Exposure–move over, Robert Fripp–limiting herself to a 77-hour timeframe and live-streaming the entire thing. (Yes, that includes the sleep breaks). The audience will be able to chat comments to Spalding during the process. There will be other...
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24 Jul

“In the Heart of the Overberg”

by Louzel Lombard Steyn | Traveller24 (I haven't been able to find much about this stunning film short; I question why it is narrated in Afrikaans.) Cape Town - A stunning new short film has captured the iconic Overberg in all its beauty from a refreshing, local perspective. The exquisite landscapes captured in the footage will give you all the feels...
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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. ...
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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 | 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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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