african american documentary

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Trailer for The United States of Hoodoo

A spiritual road trip to the sources of African-American culture. Turntable wizardry, mind-blowing artwork and fascinating rituals - the old African gods have taken on new forms since their arrival on North America’s shores.

[Watch documentary in its entirety.]

About the cornrows thing...

It really was never about the hair.

Originally posted by mtv

The core of Amandla’s discussion about cultural appropriation had barely settled on America’s consciousness, much less our subconsciousness before this happened…..

and then swiftly this happened.

This “conversation” between 16 year old Stenberg and the now 18 year old Jenner caused a huge uproar. Immediately Amandla not only was accused of being a race baiter and of being the stereotypical “angry black girl” she also became Andy Cohen’s “jackhole of the day” for her counter of Kylie’s cornrows. Many people were astounded that this situation was all about hair. Anyone should be allowed to wear their hair in any fashion they want. Even the styles that have been traditionally worn by black women and girls for decades. The styles that have been worn traditionally by black women and girls for decades, primarily for function, secondarily for fashion. The styles didn’t seem to be on anyones radar or worthy of praise until Miley,or Iggy, Kendall Jenner started wearing them.

 When Amandla Stenberg called out Kylie Jenner’s cultural appropriation many came to her defense. Cries of: shes young (she had allegedly been in a relationship with a now 25 year old man since she was 16), “shes just trying to figure it out” the words of Justin Bieber, and that shes can do whatever she wants flooded the interwebs as the dispute between the girls became the highest trending hashtag.

I agree everyone should be allowed to wear their hair the way they want. A London boy in 2011 shouldn’t have been sent home because his cornrows were believed to be too closely associated with London’s gang culture. White children were also prevented from shaving their heads for fear of its association to skinheads.  

7 year old Tiana Parker should not have had to leave school because of her hair in 2013. She had attended her school for a year before her dreadlocks caused an issue.12 year old Vanessa VanDyke should not have been threatened with expulsion for wearing her hair in the natural form that grew out of her head. 

A Native American boy, 5 years old, was sent home on his first day of kindergarten because his traditional braids did not meet the required dress code for little boys. 

Okay…clearly the issue also lies in the school dress code policies. Policies that seem to make it very difficult for children of color or of other cultures to wear their hair in anyway that is different from their straight haired counterparts.  So no, Amandla’s comment was not a jab at Kylie but instead were the actions of a young woman trying to inform a privileged, young, soon to be adult celebrity with a massive fan base of impresionable individuals, to not be so careless and ignorant to the value that has historically been placed on hair and hairstyles by other cultures. It is possible to appreciate that culture without appropriating it.

  After these events I imagine that amandla would have had one last question:

What would America be like if we, as a society, defended the freedom of children of any and all color to be who they are the same way we defend  young girls/women, like Kylie Jenner, to do what they want? 

UPDATE

Vanessa was featured on the real 11/13/2015 and her Afro still looks amazing.

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African American Lives (part 1)

A series hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr. where he helps well-known African Americans trace their ancestry, as well as their genetics back to Africa. 

I just re-watched this series and gathered some things from this viewing that i hadn’t the first time i watched it. what i really appreciate about this series is how it is a lesson in African American history - in that it speaks and informs about different situations and experiences of African Americans throughout American history - and that it also connects these experiences with people; we aren’t just learning about facts whereby one can easily feel disconnected…you’re learning about the racism that murdered family members, that broke up families, that forced grandparents and great-grandparents to migrate hundreds of miles from their hometowns. 

not too long ago, a facebook friend of mine shared an experience she had in which she was in a room, for some academic/work event, wherein there were a number of international students along with 3-4 African Americans. one of their “break the ice” exercises entailed them sharing where their names came from. she said that when she and the other African Americans shared where/how they acquired their last names, there was shock and confusion and she realized that many had not learned the extent to which slavery had effected African Americans. i think this series is definitely a must-see for those who don’t know all the ugly details about our past (and how it effects our present). 

African American Lives (part 2, part 3, part 4)
African American Lives: The Road Home (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4)

If you only know the legend, you don’t know the man. Meet Jackie Robinson in Ken Burns, Sarah Burns & David McMahon’s new film, JACKIE ROBINSON, premiering April 11 & 12 at 9/8c on PBS.

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Here’s a fantastic looking trailer for Floyd Norman: An Animated Life, a documentary exploring the life of Disney animator Floyd Norman.

An intimate journey through the celebrated life and career of the ‘Forrest Gump’ of the animation industry: Disney legend Floyd Norman. Hired as the first African-American at Disney in 1956, Floyd worked on such classics as SLEEPING BEAUTY and 101 DALMATIANS before being handpicked by Walt Disney to join the story team on THE JUNGLE BOOK. After Walt Disney’s death in 1966, Norman left Disney to found Vignette Films, where he developed the original FAT ALBERT TV special and produced segments for SESAME STREET. He would later work at Hanna-Barbera on many classic cartoons, including SCOOBY DOO.  After Hanna-Barbera, Floyd’s talents took him to Pixar to work on TOY STORY 2 and MONSTERS INC. On Mr. Norman’s 65th birthday in 2000, Disney HR forced Floyd to retire. Refusing to leave his “home,” Floyd has “hijacked” a cubicle at Disney Publishing, unpaid, for the past 16 years, picking up freelance work when he can.  At 81 he continues to have an impact as both an artist and a mentor. Mr. Norman plans to “die at the drawing board.”

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I Ain’t Lying: Folktales from Mississippi

“1975 documentary based on fieldwork William Ferris conducted with African American storytellers and bluesmen in the communities of Leland and Rose Hill, Mississippi. The stories include include folk and religious tales, jokes, toast telling sessions, and characters from African American oral tradition." 

Paris Is Burning is a 1990 American documentary film directed by Jennie Livingston. Filmed in the mid-to-late 1980s, it chronicles the ball culture of New York City and the African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender communities involved in it. Many members of the ball culture community consider Paris Is Burning to be an invaluable documentary of the end of the “Golden Age” of New York City drag balls, as well as a thoughtful exploration of race, class, gender, and sexuality in America.

More at Wikipedia

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I dare you not to cry.

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The Rules of Racism.

Exclusive Clip: Nas and David Banner On Hidden Colors 3

Learn about Jackie Robinson, who in 1947 lifted a nation and an entire race on his shoulders when he crossed baseball’s color line.

JACKIE ROBINSON, Ken Burns’s newest documentary, premieres April 11 & 12 at 9/8c on PBS

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Black Farmers of CaliforniaBlack

Documentary photo essay following the life and challenges of Black Farmers in California.

Hello everyone. I have started a kickstarter campaign to help out with a project that revolves around Black Farmers in California and need help making this project in this happen. Any help that you can do will be greatly appreciated. If you can’t donate then please share this with as many people as you can. If a person can make $50 Thousand to make a potato salad then I should have no problem reaching my goal in this very important subject. Thank you and I look forward for any help that I can receive.

vimeo

AfroNative Narratives: Dual Identities

Mahealani Uchiyama, Shamir Kali Griffin, Linda Cousins-Newton and Grant Perryman discuss their experiences with dual identities.