"Identity is an ever-unfinished conversation." - Stuart Hall
Chicago is finally getting a chance to view the latest distributed work from John Akomfrah. In brief, The Stuart Hall Project is “a documentary told through the ideas of Stuart Hall and heard through the sonic landscape of the music of Miles Davis.” The documentary will be screening at the Gene Siskel Film Center Friday, March 14th and Wednesday, March 19th. Click here for more details.
See our previous post on the film’s director, John Akomfrah.
A moment for your imagination:
The Black Ink Book Exchange is a pop up library open for the exchange of books by black authors and about black cultures. In addition to the book barter, the BIBE will serve as a reading lounge and space for creative workshops. The BIBE will begin this spring at the Arts Incubator in Washington Park, and with support, will move on to several other South Side locations through the end of the summer. You can support the Black Ink Book Exchange by dropping off books at the Arts Incubator (Monday, Wednesday, or Friday between 12p and 3pm) or by contributing to the IndieGoGo Campaign.
Let’s make this happen! The IndieGoGo campaign ends on March 11th, but if you’d like to donate your time or your old books and literary magazines, please email blackinkbe [at] gmail [dot] com.
Using the pen name Parker Bilal, Jamal Mahjoub began writing a series of crime fiction novels in 2012. In Who’s Calling, a short, dialogue-heavy narrative, Mahjoub shows us his mystery-writing skills:
She was sifting through the discount bins in the supermarket on her way home from the library, looking for something that was both affordable and edible, two qualities that seemed mutually exclusive, when she spotted the man smiling at her. Instinctively she looked away. Throwing something into her basket she headed for the check-out. She was halfway across the station concourse when he caught up with her.
- Excuse me? Would you mind?
She gave him her coldest look. Mid-forties, maybe older, greying hair, puffy face.
- I have a proposition for you.
Why was there never a policeman around when you needed one? A conductor, porter, whatever, someone in uniform? It was as if the whole world had been handed over to machines. Press this, pull that. No wonder people were losing their social skills.
- I’m not that kind of girl.
- No, no.
- I didn’t mean… I just thought…
He nodded at her carrier bag,
-You could use some extra cash. A hundred pounds?
- You were looking for someone short of money?
Either he was a devious maniac, or he was pretty sad.
- What’s the catch?
- No catch. All you have to do is make a call.
Continue reading on The Chimurenga Chronic.
CPL Throwback Thursday - Langston Hughes And Gwendolyn Brooks In Bronzeville. Circa 1949.
Hughes and Brooks celebrated the publication of an award-winning anthology, The Poetry of the Negro, at the George Cleveland Hall branch, Chicago Public Library. This “definitive anthology, ” co-authored by Hughes and Arna Bontemps, included works by such Chicago Renaissance poets as Gwendolyn Brooks, Fenton Johnson, Margaret Walker, Frank Marshall Davis, and Frank London Brown.
Kima Jones, writing for The Rumpus, interviewed Edwidge Danticat about her latest release Claire of the Sea Light, the recent persecutions of Haitians in the Dominican Republic, and Danticat’s writing process. For a relatively short interview, the line of questioning is extremely thorough. Take a look at the excerpts below:
About Danticat’s portrayal of two men loving each other in Claire of the Sea Light:
Rumpus: I want to talk about the heart of this book without giving away its secrets. I was dispirited by the narrative around same-gender-loving people. There are already so many tragically gay characters in literature; what was new for you in the story between these two men?
Danticat: If you are writing about same-gender-loving people in an environment that is hostile to their relationship, I think the dilemma is, do you reflect that reality? For those two characters, their class issue would actually trump their homosexuality within their community. Class is the first strike and the issue of their love is second. To portray their situation honestly, the overwhelming odds against them has to be written in. I tried very hard to validate them, and I imagined them as everyday love relationships. In reality, they would be Romeo and Juliet times two. Everyone in the book suffers for their love, but I agree with you about tragic portrayals. I agree with you, and I’ll try to do better.
Rumpus: Maxim’s decisions work for the plot but not toward self-actualization. Why don’t we ever see the lovers together in the way that we see their straight counterparts? I want to juxtapose this question in relation to a quote from your novel, The Dew Breaker: “Life was neither something you defended by hiding nor surrendered calmly on other people’s terms, but something you lived bravely, out in the open, and that if you had to lose it, you should lose it on your own terms.”
Danticat: Really, they were hiding. They don’t live in a place where either one of them feels like they can be fully who they are. Their entire struggle was to try to be together, but in this town, based on where my mother grew up, the only type of homosexuality that people would be willing to see unhidden is a caricature: a cross-dresser at Carnivale that everyone can laugh at. But the more honest, loving, everyday homosexual love, they would have to hide much more.
And here, speaking more broadly to Danticat’s identity as a storyteller: