Black America Web

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Slack, an Upstart in Messaging, Now Faces Giant Tech Rivals

Microsoft and Facebook have rolled out competing tools. But Slack?s chief executive says small tech companies with new ideas have a history of defeating the big guys.
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Car Chases, Cute Newcomers and Familiar Faces: Plotting a Turnaround at Sony Pictures

The studio?s movie chairman, Thomas Rothman, has several promising films scheduled for release, but whether one will be the megahit he needs is uncertain.
Hacking Group Claims N.S.A. Infiltr...

Hacking Group Claims N.S.A. Infiltrated Mideast Banking System

The group, which calls itself the Shadow Brokers, said the agency had broken into the international bank messaging system called Swift.
BP Struggles to Control Damaged Wel...

BP Struggles to Control Damaged Well in Alaskan Arctic

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Vanguard Is Growing Faster Than Eve...

Vanguard Is Growing Faster Than Everybody Else Combined

Thanks to the power of its index funds, Vanguard is pulling in more money than all of the other fund companies in the business.
Is American Retail at a Historic Ti...

Is American Retail at a Historic Tipping Point?

The profound reordering of New York?s shopping scene reflects a broad restructuring in the American retail industry.

NY Times - Movies

Review: ?I Feel Pretty? Doesn?t Eve...

Review: ?I Feel Pretty? Doesn?t Even Go Skin Deep

In her latest comedy, Amy Schumer plays an insecure woman who, after an accident, decides she?s a knockout. Laughs ensue, but the movie is a bummer.
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Robert De Niro?s Top Picks for the Tribeca Film Festival

The actor who played Robert Mueller on ?S.N.L.? leans toward the political in his choices for what you should go see.
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Review: If You Love Godard, You?ll Hate-Watch ?Godard Mon Amour?

A portrait of a filmmaker in crisis that might have worked better as a comedy sketch.
Anatomy of a Scene | ?Rampage?

Anatomy of a Scene | ?Rampage?

The director Brad Peyton narrates an action sequence from ?Rampage,? featuring Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
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He Won $1 Million to Make a Movie. Then the Problems Set in.

With the prize Faraday Okoro won at the Tribeca Film Festival came enormous pressure. But he was able to finish his project, ?Nigerian Prince.?
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Critic?s Notebook: 17 Movies to Enjoy for the Tribeca Film Festival?s 17th Edition

Interested in going but not sure where to start? Our film critic watched dozens of movies and came up with this list of titles worth your time.

Trinidad Guardian

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Nassau Guardian

We lost two cultures that day

We lost two cultures that day

It?s easy to think of culture as being purely in the hands of the people: it?s in our mother tongues, our food, our dance and architecture. And, in many ways, it is. But it also leaves a residue, it sticks to our spaces and buildings and trees and forests and oceans, so that when our elders pass on, they leave just a tiny bit of themselves around for us to remember what we come from and we build upon that. With this in mind, and with heavy heart, we must look to the implications of Irma and her aftermath. Ragged Island was deemed uninhabitable this week and it is important to look at the full extent of what that means.

We lost two cultures.

They lost the towns they grew up in and so have we, as Bahamians. It is easy to think that we were blessed, spared the full wrath of Irma because our more populated New Providence and Grand Bahama were spared, along with so many other islands in the central and northern Bahamas and, my God, aren?t we grateful.

But we lost two cultures this week.

And others so much more. One death is one too many and we, in the Caribbean, experienced over 40, with another couple dozen more in Florida, with the final count still to come. As a country we very rarely take time to process the grief of hurricanes from these more personal losses and we certainly don?t take the time necessary to process the material losses we encounter. It is easy to say that material loss ?isn?t so bad? compared to a life, and that we should thank our lucky stars. And that we do, we give thanks on Saturdays and Sundays and in the various beliefs and ways we deem fit. But after the praying is done and our knees and souls are bruised, we never take into account how much it means that this material loss isn?t just a material loss.

We lose the home we grew up in, the home we first moved to with our partner, the place down the street where we first got cussed out for tiefing mango. These things are everyday but they are not insignificant, every little thread of a memory ties into the bigger weaving of our culture and history. It is the way we live our lives, as much as the knowledge of our history, that produce the particularities of this space and our idiosyncrasies as a people. We have characters (both good and bad), and these characters are set against the landscape in this sometimes strange spectacle that is Caribbean life - when we lose our set, we lose part of our story. This is why the act of archiving, curating (which literally comes from the latin ?curare? which means ?to care), and preserving our culture as much as possible is so valuable not just to people working in museums and art galleries and the like, but for those who come after us.

In all the rubble of our physical space, our lives, and our selves, it is a very small comfort to think of what we do have and what we can preserve. We are used to reading about great people in the region after-the-fact?the ?fact? here being the posthumous recognition of our brightest Caribbean beacons of light?only after they have been extinguished. So, with this in mind, we at the NAGB invite those of you who are busy rebuilding, sharing your resources, and generally trying to make sense of things, after thinking about these great losses, to hold space with us in our Project Space Room and view the series of short docs ?Those From Shallow Waters?. Far from a shallow plug of ?what?s on? at the gallery, this series of truly touching short films highlights Bahamians in our everyday, our ordinary folks doing extraordinary things: whether it?s being called to some greater purpose, being gifted in sports or music, or just simply surviving when your body wants you to do anything but, everyone in this series will touch your heart and remind you of what you come from.

It is too easy to say that as a region Caribbean people are strong, that Bahamian people are strong. Of course we are! Look at what we?ve gone through as a people! But we are also soft, kind, determined, disciplined, hopeful, and in some cases, calmly and contentedly accepting of our circumstances and learning how to make the most of it. These people are our people, they are us, they are our cousins, just as everyone affected by this storm is. It does the soul good to find yourself on screen in a way that reminds you of your own brilliance, when you feel there is so little light left in this place right now.

?Those From Shallow Waters? is the growing series of short documentaries from the Settler?s Cove Productions studio and will be showing in the Project Space (The PS) at the NAGB from Tuesday, September 19th, to Sunday, October 8th, during the regular gallery hours from Tuesday to Saturday at 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., as well as free showings on Sundays for all Bahamians and Residents from 12:00pm to 5:00pm. We would also like to note that any of our brothers and sisters and cousins, who are still displaced from the storm and staying in Nassau, are invited to view the films for free any day of the week. Far from part of our individual relief efforts as people working here, this is merely a way to offer a sense of welcome and refuge, and to show care.


The art of survival

The art of survival

When I moved to The Bahamas in 2013, I knew that it was possible to encounter one of them. Like the unspeakable name of a villain in a famous children?s book turned film series, I talked about the storms that originated on the shores of West Africa in a low voice, as if I?d awaken them if spoken at a regular volume. Most Nassau residents I encountered were largely unbothered, and I was amazed at how casual most were when it came to the conversation of hurricanes. Then, in 2015 Joaquin hit the southern islands and I realized how incredibly close they could be. I ached for those who had lost nearly everything and for their family members who watched from their screens in New Providence.

Then, there was Matthew. We always speak of them, hurricanes, by a single name with contempt, as if they are estranged friends or lovers ? the family member no one wants to see at the annual reunion. ?He? levelled settlements in Andros, ripping homes, forest and lives to pieces in Freeport and New Providence. During Matthew, I bottled up the agony and hid it behind my lungs. That way, I could breathe for the sake of my tender one-year old that I held in my arms. When she slept, I would sneak into the one room, where there was still a small bit of light showing through a window and watch palm trees dance. They moved to the cadence of wind. Matthew?s call. His invitation. His command. He walked slowly and painfully across the backs of our neighbors like Haiti and Cuba, nearly breaking them.

Then came Irma and it would permanently change the way that I saw wind and rain swirling in the ocean and hammering against the shores of islands and states, nullifying countries. How does a nation become uninhabitable? Then, I considered my hometown, not just because of its recent bouts with near obliteration, but also because I was there, evacuated by the U.S. Embassy, a luxury my foreignness allowed me. Watching from hundreds of miles away, I agonized over my friends, neighbors and family that I had left behind as the Category 5 barreled towards Nassau, just a day or so after destroying Barbuda. There?s a saying about making something out of nothing, but how does one make a life out of ash and rubble, the vestiges of one?s actual former home? This is the question that now faces much of the Caribbean and our southern family Islands are included in that deeply affected number.

I was overwhelmed by the size of the storm and my worry over everything that I could not control: would there be a home to return to; would my entire family, left behind, survive; would those evacuated from the most vulnerable areas ultimately lose both their homes and their loved ones. The news updated us hourly, sometimes by the minute while I sat in my mother?s living room. Nassau was spared. Florida was her next target. I turned to art, a thing I could understand, an object that could move me, but only figuratively.

Standing in places I knew well ? museums, and in them, I found solace even if I didn?t find answers.

I am a woman whose core identity has been shaped by spaces, both lived and imagined. But none have been more impactful than the city of my birth: Detroit. We are the home of the automobile, Afro-futurism and Motown. We are also home to one of the most historically significant occurrences of 1960s American history and urban lore. It was a storm of sorts, which started, like every hurricane, as a strong wave. In hindsight, the 1967 Rebellion was inevitable. At that time, America was in ?riot? season. The weather was ripe and the air was rife with institutional terror and singular fearlessness. Eight days became a decades? old nightmare, from which the city of Detroit has yet to fully recover.

However, I didn?t grow up in a city that operated as if it had been marred. We lived. Family cookouts and slow riding down Jefferson Avenue, the city?s southerly most thoroughfare. We sang songs from windows as we celebrated high school graduations and wedding proposals. No one was safe from spontaneous Hustle competitions. In the Caribbean, it?s called the Electric Slide. Both have official anthems.

Then, there was the Great Recession (which operated more like a depression for Detroit). Neighborhoods I?d known my entire life, streets I?d run down and friends? homes at which I?d played were barren. Some houses were missing from the block as if they?d been intentionally plucked; others - with roofs and doors removed. These were no longer communities. They were ghosts, of the very real and incredibly frightening kind. Businesses that had once provided services to families just yards away were boarded, open signs replaced with splintered wood and chains with heavy locks hanging from them. Some likened the scene to a war zone. Others, the effects of a natural disaster.

Art, perhaps considered a luxury by most (especially when considering the carnage of hurricanes and economic downturns), became a source of hope and clarity for the trauma of the ?67 Rebellion in Detroit and also of the continued economic distress the city would face for an enormity of reasons. The people of that time and of the times since, created. Telling the stories, breaking the chains, and constructing new ways for city natives to see themselves and their evolving Detroit landscape.

Abandoned spaces were adopted by street artists, who saw through broken windows and into the future. 50 years after fire and bullets filled many communities in Detroit, three regional museums decided to uncover and express what that moment meant, through art. In two pieces, a woman who was a young artist in 1967 , went about finding objects in the directly affected areas shortly after the smoke had cleared: charred wood; torn tires; ripped fabric and bent signs. With paint and canvas, she constructed disturbing mixed media works that wore both figuratively and literally the scars of the city. In a time when art was being cut from schoolrooms, in these exhibition galleries, it served as the primary means to speak of a painful history, that for some was too difficult to discuss otherwise.

When looking at the results of an Irma from overhead, driving through Nassau after Matthew, I wonder how art will tell this story. How will arts and cultural institutions, like the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, venture to discuss the seemingly unspeakable but so critical and necessary? How will we build away from coasts when our entire island is coastal, constructing for a new world where seas are higher and warmer and angrier. In Detroit, there are many structures, seen and unseen that have been forgotten, while others are being revitalized. What will The Bahamas choose to remember and which will it choose to forget? Through which broken windows will the next generation of artists see the future? Although our country and the Caribbean region to which it belongs are inextricably tied to the decisions of countries far afield, we still have the power to determine our destiny and choose our memories, setting a course for a different and verdant tomorrow. In an ever-changing world, we intend to be present and accounted for. Art will also be there.

The clapboard house

The clapboard house

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma?s devastation, as the Caribbean recovers and rebuilds, it would be remiss not to pause and reflect. In moving forward, there is much to be considered from our survival and journey as an island people. Our social and physical landscapes have and will continue to weave the rich cultural fabric of our existence once we continue to value and preserve them.

Following the most powerful storm seen in the Caribbean, desecrating islands and leaving many homeless, much debate concerning our built environments has emerged. Largely influenced by environmental factors, Caribbean architecture, dating back to the Lucayans, has responded pragmatically to geography and climate considerations. Even when modelling after the early European trends, which often proved less appropriate to the tropics our structures have still withstood hurricane and storms for decades.

According to Bahamian Architect and Partner at TDG Architects Marcus Laing, ?Building codes and standards in The Bahamas ensure that structures are designed to take wind speeds of at 150mph. The house I grew up in Englerston was a modest two-bedroom home that survived many hurricanes because it was built up two feet from the ground and followed this building code. In fact, clapboard or wood framed house could be just as strong as a concrete block structure. It?s just a matter of the quality and frequency of wood used.?

Although deemed structurally comparable to concrete, clapboard construction is at an all-time low. The once-revered Bahamian clapboard house emerged as an architectural style in the 19th century as one of the most commonly-used styles in the region. Ship-builders turned their woodworking skills to home construction and developed a style that has reached as far as the South Florida area. Sadly, the charming landscape of brightly-coloured clusters that framed our residential communities has left our social and patriotic consciousness. Bulldozed, burned down and belittled has been the fate of the remnants of the clapboard house legacy. Their scarcity is heartbreaking. We?ve abandoned them for concrete floors and drywalls, sometimes carrying over colonial accents like decorative shutters, an understated architectural snub.

As the Southern Bahamas prepares to rebuild our lost communities, we are presented with a unique opportunity to help reclaim and restore cultural, environmental and possibly economic balance through architecture. Considering the degree and frequency of the threats with which we are faced, it calls for the re-thinking of design, construction and urban planning. This doesn?t mean that we must simply abandon models that have worked for our country for so long, but we should consider realising a blend of preservation, creativity and sustainability that will allow the tradition of the clapboard and similar regional architectural styles to evolve.

According to Assistant Professor in Architecture at University of The Bahamas Valeria Pintard-Flax, ?Drawing a link to our past to the materials and methods used and realising the benefit to a ?common sense? approach to building, is essential to moving us toward a more sustainable future for our built environment. I feel that there is a direct correlation of how we build, with an ?authentic? traditional lifestyle. This translates not only to the aesthetics of our surroundings but affects how we live. The purpose of architecture is to help people experience the person, the culture and the surroundings; to give a feeling of ?authenticity? and ?belonging,? a familiarity with the culture and the environment.?

Growing up, I have always had a deep appreciation for the endearing and welcoming sense of belonging of tight-knit neighbourhoods in The Bahamas. A community is woven together like a string of clapboard houses, whose landscape appear as a continuance playground, hangout, clothesline and communal space. In 2012, I created a watercolour painting, ?Jook Jook Corner,? after returning home having lived abroad for several years, as a way to express this longing that I had for a space I never really experienced. Like myself, many Bahamians will never have the opportunity to know and appreciate the charm of such a space and a time. Thankfully, there is a saving grace. The memory of the architecture and dynamics of the community that lives through the work of visual artists.

Eddie Minnis, many of whose works are in the National Collection, is known for his life?s work of oil paintings that focus on everyday Bahamians in their environment. As a trained architect, there is no surprise that his style is meticulous in capturing the details of the architectural elements. In ?Out Island Scene? Minnis offers a glimpse of island life in and around the home with children playing and mothers soaking in the sun as they carry out domestic chores.

Holston Bain and Nastassia Pratt?s work is less about social stereotypes in the Caribbean and are more concerned with architecture and the landscape. The connection between homes and the natural environment not only offer visual references but insightful technical and archival gems. Collectively, these works belong to an anthology of art that can be archived and studied to reference an island people and their habitat.



Internationalizing The Bahamas and ...

Internationalizing The Bahamas and its Orange Economy

According to the governor of the Central Bank of The Bahamas, John A. Rolle:

?The Concept of Orange Economy been around for 20 years. All sectors whose goods and services are based on [Intellectual Property], Architecture, Art... [this is the] [e]volving space of creativity. . . 4.3 trillion dollars [are spent in it] 2/12 times military expenditure?.

London, New York, Miami, all bring in millions a year from the Creative Industries. This is where the growth is in the economy; it is not in the imports that drain the cash from the national coffers. Shakespeare in Paradise is a tremendous example of the local Orange Economy. As the world advances into a service-oriented economy, where more people enjoy entertainment outside of their homes, or entertainment that they can access through the World Wide Web, we also stand to gain access to untapped markets. However, we, as the people of The Bahamas, have to be there. Currently, we are not. We hardly see the importance of creativity, or how it can and should be developed, promoted and protected. We do, though, as a nation, allow much of our resources to be squandered by international owners of industry and not by local owners of businesses. Theatre is one of the top attractions, along with cultural or heritage, and festival tourism.

Cat Island, San Salvador and Crooked Island provide unique points for cultural and creative industries.

The Orange Economy or the Creative Industries are not new, yet we treat them as if they were untested and untried avenues to success. The former government often chatted about the importance of creativity, yet it promoted foreign-owned business taking advantage of locally-produced resources and talent. We can be the space of ingenuity and creation, but it is not usually produced by the systemic, ordered, or stymieing state-run space. Creativity usually happens in spaces that have socio-spatial permission to create, where individuality is recognized and promoted, not a dark, closed-in basement or corridor without collective gathering spaces.

The Webinar produced by Creative Nassau in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank and the Central Bank of The Bahamas, at the Central Bank?s Training Room on Wednesday 30th August brought together international presenters, their audiences and the local organizers, attendees and discussants. Speakers included Felipe Buitrago Restrepo, from Colombia, Keith Nurse from Trinidad who currently lives in Barbados, and Peter Ives, from Santa Fe, New Mexico. All of the above partners have a stake in the local economy and in local creativity. Ironically, notwithstanding all the action and traction we get from these endeavours, the government as an institution remains, (in)agilely stuck in the late 19th-century early 20th-century mechanism of development through colonial visioning. As so many small economies like to look at Singapore as a model for change, it has to be said that their model is not an outdated, outmoded economic model that allowed people in government to continue to function as they did when we were all still controlled by external powers. Singapore reinvented itself, ridding itself of the dated ideas of governance. At the same time, it became somewhat of a police state.

Government seemed poised to support the arts and their development when the country was beginning its journey into Independence, but seems to have since pulled back. Support for Creative Industries is essential for development because there is a need for multi and plural vision and action or multiple levels of productivity in any country, especially a country that is as gifted to have such a rich and diversely talented population. Supporting the arts in the 70s the government was perhaps more focused on the productive genius of people like Winston Saunders, Clement Bethel, Edmund Moxey, because it saw the need for them and their incredible talent and ability. They were mined for what they could give the nation and in turn they gave more and more.

Another example of a visionary is H. G. Christie, land developer and founder of H.G. Christie Real Estate who sold land to foreign concerns, a great friend of Sir Harry Oakes, and a founder of The Chelsea Pottery, another institution that helped put The Bahamas on the creative maps. The Pottery once stood where the National Post-Office Building crumbles in the 21st century; and this is not political but factual. When our prized tourists venture off the cruise ships, much against the warnings from the floating hotels which bring them here, they leave with great trepidation.. If we look closely, we may see the shadows of a very interesting space that remains controlled by the past and shows no sign of moving into the future.


How then do we change this?

A creative centre could attract more tourists. As they emerge from ships, they would encounter art, music, food and agreeable surroundings, both, what can be referred to as, high and low culture. Straw work can be made publicly, as can real local woodwork, not cheap imported ?Bahamian? handcrafts.


New Education

We need investment in education, but not the education of rote and rhyme, but the education of the future where we learn how to do things and how to empower our people. Why would employers from abroad not look to the country for employees and the next generation of thinkers, doers and creators? Perhaps they do, but we wash our hands of them before they even get to the point where they can be great at anything. This requires some unpacking.

Many extremely successful Bahamians have left the country early in life because they faced huge hurdles and great obstacles to their development, perhaps because they were not linear thinkers, perhaps because they were imaginary-visionary, had another kind of gift, had different ideas, they sought out other opportunities. For sure, The Bahamas produces great thinkers, but many of them leave. They become top thinkers and doers in world-renown spaces, but when asked to return, they are often stifled, and leave once more.


The Past and The future:

In the World?s Fair of 1851, the world was duly impressed by Britain?s ingenuity and design capacity when they unveiled the Crystal Palace, produced for the Great Exhibition of that year. Today, The Bahamas has the opportunity to use its ingenuity and creativity, design thinking and orange capacity to work towards the World Fair Expo 2020 to be held in Dubai, UAE. This is an opportunity unlike any other for the country to foreground the talent of the youth; it is not about old, established paradigms or models. We need new, and the new must be able to face the ?new? and shifting challenges of the new world reality, of which the floods and awful damages in Texas, USA are just a reminder or a sad, absolutely catastrophic example. Expo 2020 is a funded project to showcase Bahamian talent and youth and how The Bahamas holds promise for the future.

If we look to a local yet international development of changing paradigms we can use the example created at Albany in southwestern New Providence. A private community, Albany has created a new model, for The Bahamas, of high school education that promotes access to a world of opportunities. This offers a different type of space and time to what we see in local education, for the most part.

From a general standpoint, in a society like ours heterotopias and heterochronies are structured and distributed in a relatively complex fashion.

First of all, there are heterotopias of indefinitely accumulating time, for example museums and libraries, Museums and libraries have become heterotopias in which time never stops building up and topping its own summit, whereas in the seventeenth century, even at the end of the century, museums and libraries were the expression of an individual choice. By contrast, the idea of accumulating everything, of establishing a sort of general archive, the will to enclose in one place all times, all epochs, all forms, all tastes, the idea of constituting a place of all times that is itself outside of time and inaccessible to its ravages, the project of organizing in this way a sort of perpetual and indefinite accumulation of time in an immobile place, this whole idea belongs to our modernity. The museum And the library are heterotopias that are proper to western culture of the nineteenth century. (Michel Foucault, ?Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias?, Architecture /Mouvement/ Continuité

October, 1984; (?Des Espace Autres,? March 1967, Translated from the French by Jay Miskowiec)

The Bahamas seems caught in the museum of out-dated models. Colonialism has left us with a lasting legacy that disallows a great deal of progress outside of formalistic processes which, in reality, stunts, retards and diminishes creativity, design and creative expression, and progress. In most schools and universities, like the new institution created by Albany, people come to find talent. Engineering schools at state-run institutions like The University of Puerto Rico are examples of this. Art and design programmes at the Royal College, small state-run schools, and small high schools, where teachers not only allow, but coax students to think outside the institutional box, not hem them into thinking that is limited and outmoded, those places with lawns, light, open windows and no barracks-like buildings, promote design and creativity that bring fame and recognition.

The University of The Bahamas could be the regional focal point for a programme and institute in Small Island Sustainability. It is important to think of the Creative Industries/Orange Economy as a productive way of seeing creativity, local culture and talent and removing the old constraints around professions set by traditional thought processes. We see that Modernism has given way to postmodernism, though modernism is still a thriving possibility for those who find its thinking and modes of expression useful; the advent of postmodernism did not kill modernism nor did it present its end.

Postmodernism as a multifaceted school of thought has allowed a different type of wealth accumulation and artistic expression that can no longer be easily challenged as being high or centre or in the margins. So, as much as postcolonialism has supposedly marked the end of colonialism, it in fact, has not. It can come after colonialism, but we also see now that while the time of colonialism may have ended officially, it was not ended really, rooted out and the thinking processes changed. Have we changed the way we view our creative industries, economy and potential to be a creative and sustainable hub in the region?



Max/Amos bids farewell in Exuma

Max/Amos bids farewell in Exuma

After a two-year journey that took this iconic exhibition to three islands - Grand Bahama, Eleuthera and Abaco- it is only fitting that the Max/Amos traveling exhibition bids us farewell in Exuma, the hometown of Bahamian folk and master artist, Amos Ferguson.

The National Art Gallery of the Bahamas developed the Max/Amos exhibition in response to the call to share Bahamian art with every citizen in our archipelagic nation. While our geography is responsible for the wonderful flavor of this country, which is grounded in the diverse cultural microcosms on our 17 inhabited islands, it is this feature that makes access to spaces like the NAGB challenging for persons living on the islands, especially those who do not travel frequently to the capital.

Family Island access to the national collection is a critical component of the NAGB?s mission and by taking our collection to off-site locations on the islands we have garnered community support and participation and facilitated a creative initiative that is truly for all Bahamians.

Featuring the works of the masters Maxwell Taylor and Ferguson, this exhibition delves into the multiple dynamics of Bahamian society in relation to our global identification as a ?paradise?. Both Taylor and Ferguson go to the heart of the Bahamian experience with honesty and integrity, and an abundant respect for their fellow Bahamians, whose lives they represent in their work.

Taylor, a son of Grants Town, New Providence, first honed his practice at the ?fabled? Chelsea Pottery, although his path would lead him abroad. Taylor?s experiences during his more than 20-year journey throughout the U.S. and Europe still shapes the lens through which he views his work and the world around him.

Hailing from the Forest, Exuma, Ferguson began his professional life as a commercial painter. Spiritual revelation compelled him instead, to paint the visions of his mind and community. The most famous and beloved outsider artist, Ferguson had no formal artistic training, choosing house paint over that of oil and acrylic - his canvas, cardboard.

It is no wonder then that these two great artists were selected to represent the brilliant diversity and passion of Bahamian art and artists. However, Max/Amos is about more than presenting work. The exhibitions have been displayed in local galleries and community spaces easily accessible to residents and have been accompanied by free workshops on the practices of both artists; public talks; school visits; and donations of museum literature to art teachers, schools and public libraries. Understanding that sufficient art materials in schools on the out islands are a concern, the gallery has also donated remaining workshop materials to schools that have demonstrated need.

?The exhibition has been well received on all the islands. The kids have appreciated the opportunity to work and interact with art professionals and people have been excited about having the work of Max Taylor and Amos Ferguson in their communities. They have had lots of questions about the artists and have been truly supportive of this initiative,? says Jackson Petit, NAGB Digital Media Administrator and technical assistant for the Max/Amos exhibition.

Representing the NAGB with Petit is Community Outreach Officer Abby Smith; they will install and open the exhibition in addition to facilitating all other activities. In preparation for the upcoming exhibition, staff at the NAGB have been working hard to reframe, pack and ship 31 paintings, many of them familiar staples in art classrooms, ensuring that Max/Amos is given a phenomenal send off for its final presentation. A week of workshops for children and adults, public talks and scheduled school visits have all been planned and the Exuma community has been incredibly welcoming and enthusiastic.

The opening reception for Max/Amos will be held on Monday, September 11th at Wenshua Art Gallery in Georgetown, Exuma, from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. It will be on display September 11th to November 15th, 2017. To keep up-to-date with the Max/Amos exhibition?s final journey follow us on Facebook and Instagram!

Living in the Shadows of Empire

Living in the Shadows of Empire

Bahamian history and memory are often trumped by the Empire and the identity it imposed on its subjects. Last month marked the 70th anniversary of India?s independence from Britain, most of which was negotiated by Lord Mountbatten, the second cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, who was sadly killed by an Irish Republican Army bomb. These are facts independent of his role in negotiating the end of British imperial presence in India, but at the same time, the establishment of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and an Independent India during a troubling period called ?Partition?. In August 1947, when, after 300 years in India, the British left, they left a deeply divided and fractured country. Independence was one positive, but the legacy of Empire and the lasting impact of colonialism were deeply felt. Imperialism and colonialism have divided great swaths of land, usually from under the very people who inhabited those spaces.

In other words, the invention of tradition was a practice very much used by authorities as an instrument of rule in mass societies when the bonds of small social units like village and family were dissolving and authorities needed to find other ways of connecting a large number of people to each other. The invention of tradition is a method for using collective memory selectively by manipulating certain bits of the national past, suppressing others, elevating still others in an entirely functional way. Thus memory is not necessarily authentic, but rather useful. (Edward Said ?Invention, Memory, and Place? Critical Inquiry Vol.26, No 2 (Winter 2000) p. 179)

The pain and loss, or torture and gain of independence and partition are concisely discussed in The New Yorker (2015) by William Dalrymple. The nationalist project in fractured post-colonial states is alive and well in defining how we see our traditions. It is interesting that, as Said points out, the small and unified communities began to disappear through the island to capital or rural to urban migration, we see the creation of a unified Bahamian tradition that attempts to erase the individuality of all the island communities and their unique experiences. Usually, we are cast under a deeply problematic Victorian shadow that never allowed individual identity, but insisted on a strict moral code that continued to exclude non-whites. E.M Forster?s A Passage to India so splendidly captures the shadows.

Much like the partition of India into Bangladesh and Pakistan as it received its independence from Britain, the territories went on to live through decades of violence and tradition making that justified and promoted further ethnic and religious violence. Postcolonial nations are built on a feeling of loss and trauma without understanding why because so little is discussed. The idea is to silence opposition to and awareness of the events. Both BBC and Al Jazeera provide excellent histories of the partition and the independence event. However, the former seems to eclipse the latter, but they create an interesting if not comfortable coexistence of countries that were once regions governed under the Crown.

It must also be remembered that colonization was not about being a benevolent and loving patron of a people but a company ready and happy to extract all the wealth it can from the space it sets up shop in. Such was the case in India, where the Royal East India company began business as a private trading company. The BBC has provided excellent coverage of this before it becomes a ?national? interest. It must also be remembered that tradition was formed or create India, and that was the creation of tea, of hunting, of spices but also of controlled savagery or an interesting term from Homi Bhabha ?Sly civility?. Without India, Africa and the colonies in the Pacific, there would be no tea, something that has become so quintessentially British. Many of the images that we still identify with because we understand that it was better in the old days are imposed or created traditions, such as sugarcane processing. There would not have been sugarcane here albeit on a small scale compared to the other (former) colonies; the photo of the ?Native Sugar Mill? is a tradition imposed on the space by colonization, imperialism and slavery.

As the two outlived the latter, it is not unthinkable that the impact of the former will be that much more in depth in the psyche of people. The trauma of living under the whip and of facing unjust laws that made one less than human in what would be considered one?s place of origin speak loudly to this reality. Living in the shadow of Empire is in great part all of that. The images of civilized colonial tropical living as presented from the gaze of colonial history would always entrap one?s ability to be. There would be no tea without British colonization, as much as there is far more coffee in the rest of the Caribbean islands colonized by Spain is instructive of a past that has never ended and has continued to inform the traditions of today.

While it is important to understand and remember the reality of the past, as bell hooks notes, living in the margin as a site of resistance, not as a site of limitation, as so many colonizers may consider it to be. In The Bahamas, the margin created by segregation has all but vanished, though the legacy and the weight of the segregation and the demarcation of space has not. In fact, the weight of the margin and the marginalization of particular groups who inhabit those areas once seen as exclusively black is now even more pronounced. Though we no longer see it as racialized, in fact, the class and race of it go hand in hand. The racialization is far more nuanced and subtle as was evidenced in 2016 with the Paradise Beach Protest that was dismissed because it was carried out by a group of violent young black males who could not ?manage themselves and so needed to be treated violently as the photos on the front page of the Tribune attest.

Fast forward to the protest over the fire at the one time Harold Road dump, now known euphemistically as the landfill, earlier this year during the IDB conference at a yet unopened Baha Mar, where the scathing criticism of light-skinned and white people who could obviously not be from here. These vestiges of knowing one?s place deeply entrenched and long lasting from colonialism and imperialism allow people to be othered in very interesting and disturbing ways. Both criticisms challenged the group's? national belonging, of not knowing their place and of being out of order.

These are huge legacies of colonialism that we do not see or hear because they have been normalized by the shadow of oppression. It is not coincidental that most of the population will not understand how to challenge the discourse that posits them as non-nationalistic when they try to speak up for themselves. This is when the common space and spatial justice is denied to people. While many will not notice this subtly deployed message of social control and order, it is clear: light-skinned people are non-nationalist and black people are violent and disorderly, all threaten the national fabric of the country; all must be controlled. We know better than they. The superior attitude of those who rule through ascent, and legacy, but who have never thrown off the colonial vestiges.

We do not understand the weight of history and the legacy of imperialism. It is clear that most do not know or have never read Bahamian history where control was maintained through seriously destructive and divisive laws and policies like the Vagrancy Act, and ?A Modified Form of Slavery: The Credit and Truck Systems in The Bahamas in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries? as Howard Johnson notes.

History and its knowledge are essential to a real sense of self. It is also necessary for a population to be able to read and write, count and think in a manner befitting of citizens, not subjects. When names of historical landmarks are changed, and spaces shifted, land sold off and erased, burial sites excavated and living memory erased, we become a history less place and people.

Said states it well when he writes about the erasure of Palestine for the creation of Israel.

?These territories were renamed Judea and Samaria; they were onomastically transformed from "Palestinian" to "Jewish" territory, and settlements-whose object from the beginning had been nothing less than the transformation of the landscape by the forcible introduction of European-style mass housing with neither precedent nor basis in the local topography-gradually spread all over the Palestinian areas, starkly challenging the natural and human setting with rude Jewish-only segregations. In my opinion, these settlements, whose number included a huge ring of fortress like housing projects around the city of Jerusalem, were intended visibly to illustrate Israeli power, additions to the gentle landscape that signified aggression, not accommodation and acculturation?. (Said, p. 189)

The shadows are very dark spaces where it is extremely difficult to become one?s self. The shadows always cover any individuality and identity that does not fit with the imperial project. Art continues to provide an excellent window into the past, in the shadow and what imperialism and colonialism looked like in the Caribbean or so often called the West Indies. It is also interesting to note that those who were intricately involved in the creation of the new India through partition, with the influence of Lord Mountbatten who is also so much involved in the early development of Bahamian land, as he and many of the Royals received handsome land grants, to which we still pin our identities. Eleuthera and Harbour Island are spaces specifically spatialized in this way because of their history of settlement. This resonates with what Catherine Palmer (1994) sees as tourism in The Bahamas depending so much on colonialism and its landmarks. When land grants were handed out, and as the special on Slavery produced by the BBC underscores boldly after slavery ended those slave owners who suffered loss were handsomely compensated for their losses. They gained exponentially through a change in the law that never ended the impact or the shadow of slavery. When the policies and laws remain rather similar or unchanged more than one hundred years after emancipation, how can we truly believe that we do not inhabit the shadows of Empire?

India and Pakistan, as well as Bangladesh now exist as independent countries, but their spatial identity and their social occupation of those spaces now rest heavily in the aftermath of partition and the violence it imposed. The creation of independent countries and identities is fabulous, but the legacy of violence and distrust is even deeper, heavier and more long-lasting. Here I quote from Dalrymple?s story where he cites a book by Nisid Hajari: ?Nisid Hajari ends his book by pointing out that the rivalry between India and Pakistan ?is getting more, rather than less, dangerous: the two countries? nuclear arsenals are growing, militant groups are becoming more capable, and rabid media outlets on both sides are shrinking the scope for moderate voices.? Further, the power of nostalgia to block the possibility of true post-colonialism is amazing.

When nostalgia rules the day and England or some parts thereof still think of the colonies as quaint places where uncivilized plebeians remain and should be civilized, and this is a glorious moment for us to retake our position of leadership, then we understand that Empire holds tightly clenched fists around the potential for development free of its shadows. Dalrymple states it thus:

The current picture is not encouraging. In Delhi, a hard-line right-wing government rejects dialogue with Islamabad. Both countries find themselves more vulnerable than ever to religious extremism. In a sense, 1947 has yet to come to an end.

Shadows are usually dark and frightening places/spaces of deep-seated fears, insecurities, anger, hatreds and often trauma. The shadows seem to be poised to consume all potential, unless and until we can deconstruct the legacy and remove the lack of speaking across foreign-created boundaries and barriers that have scarred peoples and places for millennia.





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Brian Tyree Henry On His Friendship With Sterling K. Brown, 'Atlanta', And Reviving Freaknik

Brian Tyree Henry is on the path to becoming a household name. With projects on Broadway and the big screen, the Atlanta actor is having the kind of year that's sure to earn him more attention and praise. A new trailer for Hotel Artemis, a heist film he co-stars in with best friend Sterling K. Brown, dropped on Monday and Henry currently stars in Broadway's Lobby Hero, which has received tons of praise. He's also set to appear in the Barry Jenkins adaptation of James Baldwin's If Beale Street Could Talk.  [brightcove id=5127061571001] ESSENCE caught up with the actor to talk about current and upcoming projects, working with Brown and possibly reviving Freaknik. You have so many exciting things happening right now.  Yeah, a lot. It's been a very busy year for me. Great year all around. No complaints at all. You're working with your best friend, Sterling K. Brown, in Hotel Artemis, a heist movie. This is what we've all been waiting for. I mean, right? Come on, now! When I got that script, I was like, ?Give it to me now. Like right now!? So I think you'll be very happy and surprised at how this movie turns out. What's it like working with your best friend?  We're just jackasses. We like to be goofballs. There was nothing more fun than watching him run around with a donut, saying half his lines like Bruce Willis, and looking for the camera. It was unlike anything in the world. It was absolutely amazing, and, you know, I would do it over and over and over again if I could. Did you both do your own stunts? Yeah, we did. For the most part. There was actually one stunt in the movie that I laugh about. Not giving anything away, we're having a gunfight back and forth between these soldiers and he and I get hit and [Sterling] has to drag my body for the entire length of an alley. I was like, 'Perfect! Carry me now! You gotta carry me. I got shot.' I've got about 150 pounds on him, so I was like, 'Yeah, let's use these muscles now, son. Carry me to the end of the alley. Take my support, my body weight on you, brother. Support!' It was great. Do you think in real life you guys would be able to pull off a heist? Oh yeah. I mean, with my tech-savvy, my communications savvy, and his charm, we could totally do it. Okay, then who would be the brains of the operation? I'm the brains. He will definitely tell you that he's the brains. But I know that I'm the brains of the operation.  If I ever speak to Sterling, I'm asking him about this. I already know. That's why I was like, I'll take the tech-savvy one because he has no idea how to use technology whatsoever. Let me deal with the logistics of where all the passwords and stuff are, man, and [Sterling can] go in there and just flex a little bit. I'll be out here to make sure the getaway car is good to go. You pick good projects. How do you know when a project's right for you? I have to say that my team, Creative Artists Agency, and my manager? they kind of know my flavor. They know the best use of my time. They know that if I get a project, I want to give a 110 percent; I want to be challenged. At the same time, I want to tell stories that are relevant and pertinent to me. They don't like to waste my time with things that they feel I can't give my all to. I'm fortunate to have people who understand my tone and the things I want to do. When I get these projects, I can usually tell within five pages or so if this is something I really want to give my time to.  Of the characters you've played, which would you say is similar to you? [Atlanta's] Alfred. I know Alfred. I wouldn't necessarily hang out with Alfred all the time because then I wouldn't get shit done, but I like him. He's very near and dear to my heart. I went to college in Atlanta and I still have friends [there] that are in my life right now. When we had our premiere in Atlanta, I brought them all to the premiere. [That city] is where I discovered I wanted to do this job and where the same people showed me what real friendships are.  I do want to touch on Alfred because this season of Atlanta has really shown everyone's progression so well. For Alfred, I feel like his progression, especially with fame, is kind of a struggle. He's trying to be authentic; he's trying to be everything to his fans and those around him. It's not really the career he envisioned for himself or at least the way he thought it would turn out. Wait until you see an episode called "Woods??it's all about Alfred. You're going to see a completely different side of him because I think that the one thing we miss with Alfred is what he lost to get to where he is. Before any of this stuff happened there was a life that he had. There's not a lot about Alfred's personal life that you know. You know he lost his mom, but you don't know anything really about the structure of who Alfred is. It makes it easier for us not to feel like he can't lose anything. This was one of the hardest episodes I filmed this season. It forced me to confront a lot of my own things. It's a doozy.     Whenever the series comes to a close, where would you like Alfred?s story to end? Wherever it ends, I just hope that he has Earn (Donald Glover) beside him. I want it to be a thing where Earn doesn't need something from me all the time. I want his needs to change and for us both to make it together. I always feel sorry for those people who don't have anyone in their life that they can just tell the truth to all the time...I just hope that Alfred has that one person who knows every single thing about him and will do anything to protect that. To protect his well-being. And, I do believe it's Earn. I'm hoping that wherever this goes that Earn is right next to him because that to me is the truest definition of family and brotherhood. I quickly want to talk about If Beale Street Could Talk. Have you finished shooting that? We filmed that. It was so great because this was another project where I got to be home. It was literally shot four blocks from my house. It was perfect. And Barry Jenkins, man... First of all, I'm a James Baldwin enthusiast. I got to play James Baldwin a few years ago with Anna Deavere Smith. I literally got to transcribe his words, sound like him, move like him. I keep a copy of The Fire Next Time in my backpack. And, it was so nice, so great, filming in Harlem. It was cool. I think it's been time for some of James Baldwin's best to be put on screen. Barry Jenkins is an absolute genius. And everyone I worked with on this was absolutely amazing so I am excited to see how everything turns out. You've worked in film, television and theater. Which has been the easiest as a Black man to navigate and which is still a bit more challenging? There's never really an ease, but there's a way you can change how you think about it and the way you let it affect you. It's so easy to think, No one will ever see me being able to play that part. No one will give me the chance to do that." I had to stop thinking that way. I was like, You know what? Maybe what I offer ain't for you, but I know that somebody out there is going to create this thing, or I will create this thing, that can completely change your mind. I'm glad, this past year, to have people be so unafraid to give me a shot to show these characters to them in a completely different way. I hate [the word expectations]. I cannot stand it when people say, "I expect you to..." I'm like, "You should expect no expectations, actually." That kind of limits you. People already have their own kind of design and their own kind of idea when they put expectations on you. I like to be the one that comes in to counter expectations. I just want to continue to do projects where there are no [set] expectations. Let me shock you or surprise you and show you that there may be a flavor over here that you didn't know about. How do you see your career trajectory? What do you want your legacy to be? It's still being written. Though, I do want people to know that there was somebody out there that literally just had his own flavor...I've said flavor like nine times, I was watching Living Single all day, so please forgive me. I just want to continue to do things that I can cultivate for the people. I want to see and do things that I want to do. I want to reinvent and reinvigorate. Hopefully, that's what's going on. I hope that's what I'm doing. Is there anything you're hoping to accomplish this year? I'd like to take three weeks off and just sleep in at some resort somewhere... To know that I don't have to set an alarm one day is great. Also, one thing on my bucket list is to bring back Freaknik. That's something I really think should happen. I really hate that I missed that experience.  
The End Of An Era: 'Scandal' Change...

The End Of An Era: 'Scandal' Changed The Way The World Watched Television, And How The World Viewed Black Women

Last night was the end of an era. After seven seasons, Olivia Pope donned the white hat for the last time and we said goodbye to Scandal. When it premiered, Shonda Rhimes gave us a high paced, political drama with more twists and turns that should have been legal for an hour-long program. The world fell in love with Scandal; ratings and reviews quickly proved that it would be a cult favorite. But, while everyone fell in love with Liv, there was so much more to Scandal that showed Rhimes created it with us in mind. Kerry Washington amazed us weekly as Olivia. The first Black female lead in a primetime show in over 40 years, we were introduced to a Black woman who was a force. She takes no prisoners and wields a power that we don?t get to see many Black women have. Though the character is modeled after real-life ?fixer? Judy Smith, Rhimes was able to take Olivia in directions that allowed us to imagine what it would be like to see a Black woman as the most powerful woman in America. And we needed it. Those last moments of the first episode when we learned that Liv was having an affair with the President of the United States? We needed that, too. It became crystal clear that, as much as we had begun to fall in love with her, Olivia Pope was no Claire Huxtable. While many were angry that the show was largely centered around this powerful Black woman having an affair with a powerful, married white man, Black women deserved to see themselves as complex and messy. Because we are. No ? all of us aren?t having affairs, rigging elections or orchestrating the murders of world leaders, but we all have deeply hidden parts of us that we?ve had to pretend don?t exist because we?ve never seen Black women publicly admit they were there. Olivia Pope did that for us. Every time we cheered when she was a boss at work, rolled our eyes every time she took Fitz back, screamed when she didn?t make things work with Edison or all the times we side-eyed that strange brother-sister-lover relationship she had with Jake, we were celebrating the ways in which we could be honest with ourselves about our own messiness. She showed that Black women don?t have to be perfect to wear the white hat. We didn?t have it all together and that was okay. But while we were glad to see Liv with all of her complications, we missed that she didn?t have any homegirls. She needed them; she needed the voice of a reason to reel her in when she was too far gone because she couldn?t hear us screaming at her through television. When we were introduced to her parents, it became clear why she was such a mess. To be raised by Papa and Mama Pope, the world?s most lethal assassins, would cause any child to need a good therapist. Yet, there was a power in that family dynamic that couldn?t be ignored. While we were celebrating our first Black presidential family, we were also cheering on our Black family that could take down the Republic at a moment?s notice. Black people didn?t have to just see themselves as upholding the respect and the dignity of the White House and America?s quest for our respectability. Papa Pope made every Black man proud when he called the President of the United States a ?boy? and Mama Pope, Public Enemy #1, read the world for filth when she talked about the Black woman?s pain. This family presented a new way to envision how Black people could be portrayed. They didn?t have to be supportive characters, popping up every other episode to do the powerful White folk?s bidding. They could also be the ones who instilled great fear and could make America crumble. It was amazing to see. When Liv checked white women, we hadn?t seen sisters throw that much shade since Dominique Deveraux got Alexis Colby all the way together on Dynasty. Olivia didn?t play and we needed her to be vicious on our behalf. As the country wrestled with the reality of our first Black President, Black women worked to close the ranks around Michelle Obama. She was brutally picked apart in the public eye and it was as if Rhimes and Kerry felt the exact same way the rest of us did. They allowed our frustrations and angst to be channeled through Kerry's performances. Liv said everything we couldn?t say to those white women, our coworkers and our supervisors. If white women were going to lose their minds because a Black family was leading the country, Olivia Pope was going to help them find it. And we all watched her do it, saying amen to her every word, together. That is the power of Scandal. It completely transformed how we watch television. For one hour every Thursday night, everything stopped and revolved around Olivia Pope and Associates. We trended a television show before we really even knew what it meant to be trending. Black Twitter was at its best on Thursday nights. Our witty banter, the way we talked to Liv like she was right there in our living room, all of it was hilarious. We made friends with people we may never meet because of our time together through those tweets and retweets. There was something magical about the community Scandal formed online. It offered an escape, gave us a high energy primetime show that we enjoyed together and provided a much needed energy to get us to the weekend. Other shows began to use Scandal?s success as the blueprint for their marketing campaigns, in their attempt to build a cult following. And while many shows have been able to replicate aspects of its social media phenomenon, there is so much about Scandal devoted to us and that?s why we supported it. Aside from a Black female lead and episodes that spoke to issues affecting our community, there was the music. For seven seasons, we watched a primetime television show that was sound-tracked by R&B and soul. By using our music, Scandal included us in the narration of America?s current political story. Every Thursday night, Scandal told us that we are important to American history because we are American history. I don?t know if we are ready to say goodbye to Liv and those iconic speeches from Papa Pope. I want Scandal to sustain us through this current presidency in the same way it did in the age of Obama. In a time when networks are reviving shows that normalize Trump?s agenda and support, we lose much when Scandal is gone. But the reality is that Scandal owes us nothing. Its mark on entertainment history has been made, and the fact that it is a cultural force is clear. Scandal doesn?t have to stay. It did its job in showing us that the way forward is with complicated stories and soulful melodies that allow us to see parts of ourselves, making good friends along the way.
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Senate Democratic Leader To Introduce Legislation To Decriminalize Marijuana

Just in time for 4/20, an annual celebration for marijuana users, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer announced he would introduce legislation to decriminalize the substance at the federal level. ?The time has come to decriminalize marijuana,? Leader Schumer said in a press release. ?My thinking ? as well as the general population?s views ? on the issue has evolved, and so I believe there?s no better time than the present to get this done. It?s simply the right thing to do.? In addition to the public?s changing views on weed, Schumer also cited the unfair ways communities of color have been prosecuted for drug-related crimes as one reason he?s now in favor of decriminalizing the substance. ?A staggering number of American citizens, a disproportionate number of whom are African-American and Latino, continue to be arrested every day for something that most Americans agree should not be a crime,? he wrote on Medium. ?Meanwhile, those who are entering into the marijuana market in states that have legalized are set to make a fortune. This is not only misguided, but it undermines the basic principles of fairness and equal opportunity that are foundational to the American way of life.? Recreational marijuana is currently legal in nine states and the District of Columbia, while 29 states have laws allowing the drug for medicinal use. However, despite the growing number of jurisdictions that permit some form of marijuana use, back in January, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama-era memo that allowed states to legalize the substance without federal involvement. According to CBS News, Session made ?it clear that marijuana possession and distribution is against federal law? and directed U.S. attorneys to prosecute it accordingly. The change injected uncertainty into the growing push to decriminalize marijuana, and Schumer said his bill would remove the threat of imprisonment while also benefiting minority entrepreneurs. ?This legislation would let the states be the laboratories that they should be, ensure that woman and minority owned business have a fair shot in the marijuana industry, invests in critical research on THC, and ensures that advertisers can?t target children ? it?s a balanced approach,? he said.
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EXCLUSIVE: 'Black Panther' Director Ryan Coogler Returns To ABFF To Headline Talk Series

Black Panther director Ryan Coogler is returning to the American Black Film Festival.  ESSENCE has learned that Coogler will return to ABFF to headline the festival's "ABFF Talk Series," where he will discuss his journey to success and the path he created to become one of Hollywood's biggest talents during "A Conversation with Ryan Coogler." The A-list director will also touch on the role the festival played at the beginning of his career.  Jeff Friday, ABFF Ventures Founder & CEO, said in a statement, "Ryan is a tremendous talent, but more importantly a humble and thoughtful human being. It is because of people like him that the ABFF continues its mission of supporting inclusion in film and television." [brightcove id=5716141378001] Coogler directed the Marvel hit Black Panther, which shattered box office records. In a heartfelt letter penned to fans, the director wrote, "Never in a million years did we imagine that you all would come out this strong. It still humbles me to think that people care enough to spend their money and time watching our film?But to see people of all backgrounds wearing clothing that celebrates their heritage, taking pictures next to our posters with their friends and family, and sometimes dancing in the lobbies of theaters?often moved me and my wife to tears." "Thank you for giving our team of filmmakers the greatest gift: The opportunity to share this film, that we poured our hearts and souls into, with you." Friday's statement added, "What he?s accomplished after just three feature films is unprecedented and proves that it is in Hollywood?s own best interest that it continues to focus on diversity." The annual festival will take place in Miami from June 13-17.
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Michael B. Jordan?s Mom Hates To See Him Die On Screen, So He Switched It Up

Michael B. Jordan loves his mama. In fact, he loves his parents, Donna and Michael A. Jordan, so much that they live with him in Los Angeles, though things can sometimes get a little awkward. "You get home-cooked meals, but then you also have random trips to the kitchen in the middle of the night," Jordan told Ellen DeGeneres back in February. "Just the random run-ins that just might be a little uncomfortable from time to time." [brightcove id=5716141378001] Still, there?s not much the doting son wouldn?t do for his parents, which is why he started pursuing roles where his character did not die in the end. According to Jordan, it all started because of how his mother reacted when his character, Wallace, was killed off HBO?s The Wire in season one. ?It started with my mom, who?s super emotional. When I shot my death scene in The Wire, she was on set. And the P.A.?s kept coming to me and saying: 'You may want to check on your mom.' I go see her, and she?s sitting there bawling,? Jordan said in an interview with The New York Times. Back then, Jordan was just 15, and had to console his mother after the moving scene. ?I?m just a kid. I?m going, ?Come on, Ma. You?re embarrassing me.? And after Fruitvale Station, I was like, ?Man, this is really affecting her.?? His mom?s reaction wasn?t the only thing that made Jordan want to make it to the end of his films. He also wanted to be the hero. ?Look at Denzel?s career. I want people to see me win,? he said. ?I want audiences to see me ending up on top ? not dying. I want to be the leading man.? In recent years, Jordan has realized that dream. In addition to starring in this year?s megahit, Black Panther, he?s currently working on the sequel to Creed while preparing for his next project, Fahrenheit 451, to premiere on HBO in May.


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Avicii, Swedish electronic dance music artist and DJ, dead at 28

(Reuters) - Swedish DJ and record producer Avicii, one of the biggest stars of electronic dance music (EDM) in Europe, was found dead on Friday at the age of 28, his U.S. publicist said.
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'Smallville' actress charged in self-help guru's sex traffic case

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York actress Allison Mack was arrested Friday on charges that she recruited women into a secret society led by self-help guru Keith Raniere in which they were forced to have sex with Raniere and were branded with his initials.
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Harvey Weinstein goes to court to retrieve personal emails

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Judge delays ruling on deposition b...

Judge delays ruling on deposition by Cosby accuser's friend

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (Reuters) - The judge in Bill Cosby's sex assault retrial on Friday delayed a decision on whether defense attorneys can introduce testimony from a woman they say could undercut his accuser's claim that she was unaware of the entertainer's physical interest in her.
Probe into Prince's opioid death br...

Probe into Prince's opioid death brings no criminal charges

CHASKA, Minn. (Reuters) - A two-year investigation into the death of "Purple Rain" singer Prince failed to determine where he obtained a counterfeit painkiller laced with fentanyl, resulting in no criminal charges, a Minnesota prosecutor said on Thursday.
Natalie Portman snubs Israeli award...

Natalie Portman snubs Israeli award ceremony over "distressing" events

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman has refused to attend a ceremony in Israel to accept a million-dollar prize because of "distressing" events in the country, the organizers said, announcing the prize-giving had been canceled.


R. Kelly Dropped By His Publicist A...

R. Kelly Dropped By His Publicist And Lawyer

His assistant also quit.
Memphis Teacher Caught On Video Dra...

Memphis Teacher Caught On Video Dragging 7-Year-Old Boy Off School Bus By His Feet

The child's mother plans to press criminal charges.
Governors Ball 2018: Performance Sc...

Governors Ball 2018: Performance Schedule & Food Vendors Announced

Enjoy Goldlink on Friday and rage out with Eminem on Sunday.
Sen. Chuck Schumer To Introduce Wee...

Sen. Chuck Schumer To Introduce Weed Decriminalization Bill

“It’s time to allow states, once and for all, to have the power to decide what works best for them.” 
Rapper Bohan Phoenix Recruits Dumbf...

Rapper Bohan Phoenix Recruits Dumbfoundead For His ?Overseas? Remix

L.A., Toronto and China collide in Bohan Phoenix's rare remix of "Overseas."
Zaytoven Dissects His Journey In Re...

Zaytoven Dissects His Journey In Redbull Documentary ?The Note: Zaytoven?

Zaytoven like you've never seen him.

Jamaica Observer

Babylon business!

Babylon business!

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the One Love Peace Concert. The Jamaica Observer presents a series of stories leading up to its April 22 staging. 
Corry Dip has the Right Vibes

Corry Dip has the Right Vibes

EMERGING deejay Corry Dip is upbeat about his recent recognition from the Akademia Company in Los Angeles, California. His single Right Vibes was named Best Dancehall/Reggae Song.“I am overwhelmed by this recognition because this is my first physical achievement in music,” he told the Jamaica Observer earlier this week.Produced by S91 Records, Right lists Kisko Hype and Gaza Prince as producers.
Kisko Amari ready to lead way

Kisko Amari ready to lead way

St Ann -based deejay Kisko Amari is gearing up to release a five-track EP titled Lead the Way in early June. The project is being spearheaded by Street People Entertainment.His first full-length album is also in the making.“I think that a good album is crucial to the development of a successful long-term career in music,” said the budding dancehall artiste.
Freddie, Etana live up to billing

Freddie, Etana live up to billing

HEADLINERS Freddie McGregor and Etana as well as Ashe Ensemble delivered sparkling performances in front of a capacity audience at Jammin' on the Lawns — Evening of Excellence held at Shortwood Teacher's College's Cherry Gardens campus in St Andrew on Saturday.
Finding Savannah a home

Finding Savannah a home

Jamaican film-makers have found it tough over the years pitching their projects to local television stations, but Mykal Cushnie is hoping for a change of luck with Savannah, the half-hour drama he began production on last year.Last week, its pilot trailer was released on DSE Shorts, a YouTube channel. It stars Donisha Prendergast in the title role, and Joel Young Sang as Georgie, the childhood friend she rediscovers as an adult, who becomes her lover.
Javada feels brand new

Javada feels brand new

JAVADA has high expectations for his latest project Feel Brand New EP.Released on March 30 via Austria-based Irievibrations Records, the nine-track set features songs, including Always on My Mind, Shuda Neva, Searching, On & On and Love the Irie Vibes.

NY Times - Music

Avicii, Electronic Dance Music Prod...

Avicii, Electronic Dance Music Producer and D.J., Is Dead at 28

Tim Bergling, who worked with pop stars like Madonna and Coldplay under the stage name Avicii, was found dead in Muscat, Oman.
Prince?s Overdose Death Results in ...

Prince?s Overdose Death Results in No Criminal Charges

The authorities in Minnesota said that no one would be prosecuted in the musician?s 2016 death from a fentanyl overdose, though a doctor will pay a civil settlement.
That Decisive Moment: Bristling Ene...

That Decisive Moment: Bristling Energy: The Best Classical Music Moments of the Week

Mozart, ?Candide? and the music Pulitzer were among the highlights.
A Room-Size Painting Becomes a Cell...

A Room-Size Painting Becomes a Cello Concerto About Versailles

An 18th-century panoramic vision of Versailles at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the inspiration for a new work by the composer Timo Andres.
Prince?s Friends Fiercely Guarded H...

Prince?s Friends Fiercely Guarded His Privacy, Complicating Overdose Investigation

The musician?s close associates, who were fiercely protective of him, said they had no inkling of his painkiller addiction until just before he died of an overdose in 2016.
Popcast: Pop?s Category Killers, Fr...

Popcast: Pop?s Category Killers, From Live Nation to Spotify, Under the Microscope

In recent weeks, the businesses that present music to the public have undergone major shifts.


Avicii Remembered by Shermanology'...

Avicii Remembered by Shermanology's Andy Sherman: Exclusive

As the dance world tries to make heads or tails of iconic producer Avicii's sudden death, we keep in our thoughts those closest to the man who...
Justin Timberlake Plays a Tune on ...

Justin Timberlake Plays a Tune on His Son's Ukulele: Watch

Justin Timberlake is taking his musical talent from arena stages to the comfort of his home. Timberlake took some time to jam out on his son Silas...
Tiesto, Steve Aoki, Kaskade & More...

Tiesto, Steve Aoki, Kaskade & More Pay Tribute to Avicii on SiriusXM BPM: Listen

It was announced Friday (April 20) that iconic DJ and producer Avicii had died at age 28. Artists from all genres have taken to social media to...
Mac Miller Shows Support For Arian...

Mac Miller Shows Support For Ariana Grande's 'No Tears Left to Cry': 'Welcome Back. We Missed You.'

Get you a man who supports you like Mac Miller supports Ariana Grande. The songstress released her first single since 2016, “No Tears Left to...
Kanye West Amasses 4.2 Million Twe...

Kanye West Amasses 4.2 Million Tweets About Him Since Reactivating His Account

Kanye West shook the social media world on Friday (April 13) by reactivating his Twitter account after a yearlong hiatus. Since then, he’s been...
ASCAP Names Nicholas Lehman Chief ...

ASCAP Names Nicholas Lehman Chief Strategy & Digital Officer

ASCAP, the American Society of Composer, Authors and Publishers, announced on Friday (April 20) it has appointed Nick Lehman as executive vice...


Uncle Luke Performs With Rick Ross,...

Uncle Luke Performs With Rick Ross, Trick Daddy and More at 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards

He tore it down. Continue reading…
Uncle Luke Receives Lifetime Achiev...

Uncle Luke Receives Lifetime Achievement Award at 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards

Salute to the great Uncle Luke! Continue reading…
Tee Grizzley, 6lack and More Spit f...

Tee Grizzley, 6lack and More Spit for 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards Cypher

6LACK bodied this. Continue reading…
Cardi B Performs "Bodak Yellow" at ...

Cardi B Performs "Bodak Yellow" at 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards

Cardi B hits the stage at the 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards. Continue reading…
Kendrick Lamar Wins Album of the Ye...

Kendrick Lamar Wins Album of the Year for 'DAMN.' and More at 2017 BET Hip-Hop Awards

This is another big win for Kendrick Lamar. Continue reading…
Eminem Disses Donald Trump for 2017...

Eminem Disses Donald Trump for 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards Freestyle

He didn't hold anything back. Continue reading…

NY Times - Art & Design

She Won the Turner Prize. Now She?s...

She Won the Turner Prize. Now She?s Using Her Clout to Help Others.

Lubaina Himid is using her enhanced influence to make galleries that show her work reach out and involve black artists around them.
Art Review: Adrian Piper: The Think...

Art Review: Adrian Piper: The Thinking Canvas

She?s an artist and scholar, and at ?A Synthesis of Intuitions? you see thinking ? about gender, racism, art ? happening before your eyes.
Design Review: At This Museum Show,...

Design Review: At This Museum Show, You?re Encouraged to Follow Your Nose

?The Senses: Design Beyond Vision? at the Cooper Hewitt asks visitors to consider sound, taste and smell.
With Choice of New Director, the Me...

With Choice of New Director, the Met Gets a Scholar and a Showman

For all his Old World qualities, Max Hollein has an individualistic streak that promises to disrupt some of the Met?s traditional ways.
Art Review: How Latin America Was B...

Art Review: How Latin America Was Built, Before Modernism Came Along

?The Metropolis in Latin America,? at the Americas Society, is a tale of ambition, nationalism, violence, technical innovation and economic transformation.
Show Us Your Wall: You Know Her Fro...

Show Us Your Wall: You Know Her From ?Mr. Robot.? Did You Know She Could Paint?

The actress Carly Chaikin, known for playing Darlene on the USA Network drama, has her own artwork at home, along with some other treasured pieces.


Nelly?s Rape Accuser Subpoenas His ...

Nelly?s Rape Accuser Subpoenas His Girlfriend Shantel Jackson

*The woman accusing Nelly of raping her has reportedly subpoenaed his girlfriend Shantel Jackson after accusing her of lying for the rapper. Monique Greene, 25, claims Nelly forced himself upon her on his tour bus following a concert in Washington ? accusations he has vehemently denied. Nelly, 43, was arrested in October, but the criminal […]

The post Nelly?s Rape Accuser Subpoenas His Girlfriend Shantel Jackson appeared first on EURweb.

Beyoncé?s Second Coachella Performa...

Beyoncé?s Second Coachella Performance Won?t Be Streamed

*After a history-making performance at Coachella last weekend, Beyoncé will once again take the stage this Saturday, but this set will not be livestreamed, a spokesperson for YouTube confirmed to CNN. In fact, none of this weekend’s performances will. YouTube has exclusively streamed the first weekend of Coachella since 2011. ?It was a one-time livestream,? a rep […]

The post Beyoncé?s Second Coachella Performance Won?t Be Streamed appeared first on EURweb.

New On Netflix Now (Watch)

New On Netflix Now (Watch)

*April is almost over… Have you caught the new shows and films on Netflix? There’s OG faves like “Bad Boys” and “The Queen of the Damned” (RIP, Baby Girl), to a never-before-seen interview with Jay-Z on the latest episode of “My Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman,” and Michael Rainey (Tariq from “Power”) has […]

The post New On Netflix Now (Watch) appeared first on EURweb.

Anita Baker?s Past Legal Battle wit...

Anita Baker?s Past Legal Battle with Her Ex Husband Revealed

*R&B songstress Anita Baker once faced a potential stint in jail for contempt over her divorce settlement with ex-husband Walter Bridgforth, Jr. Baker and Bridgforth married in 1988 but separated by 2005 and were officially divorced in 2007. They share two sons, both of whom look exactly like their mother?and also share her passion for […]

The post Anita Baker’s Past Legal Battle with Her Ex Husband Revealed appeared first on EURweb.

#MeToo Founder Tarana Burke Covers ...

#MeToo Founder Tarana Burke Covers Time?s ?100 Most Influential People? Issue

*Activist Tarana Burke began using the phrase “Me Too” in 2016 to raise awareness of the rampant sexual abuse and assault in society. The phrase has since developed into an international movement following the 2017 use of #MeToo as a hashtag related to the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations. Time magazine named Burke, among a group of […]

The post #MeToo Founder Tarana Burke Covers Time’s ‘100 Most Influential People? Issue appeared first on EURweb.

Houston 911 Operator Jailed For Han...

Houston 911 Operator Jailed For Hanging Up On Thousands Of Emergency Calls

*A Houston 911 operator accused of hanging up on thousands of people was sentenced to 10 days in jail and 18 months on probation after she was convicted of interfering with emergency calls during the 18 months that she worked as a dispatcher for the city. According to the NYDN, 44-year-old Crenshanda Williams spent a […]

The post Houston 911 Operator Jailed For Hanging Up On Thousands Of Emergency Calls appeared first on EURweb.

Sister 2 Sister

Even Canadians are skipping trips t...

Even Canadians are skipping trips to the U.S. after Trump travel ban

One tourism industry expert pegs the estimated lost revenue this year at $7.4 billion.
Murder mystery subscription box cha...

Murder mystery subscription box challenges players to ?Hunt a Killer?

An interactive game produced monthly allows members to investigate different ?cases.?
California regulator cites Uber, al...

California regulator cites Uber, alleging lax handing of drunk drivers

The company violated the state?s ?zero-tolerance? rules, officials say.
Nothing says National Archives like...

Nothing says National Archives like a Trump shot glass: ?The eighth-grade boys seem to love those?

Some museum shops opt out, but others cash in on Trump merchandise.
Facebook fights fake news online wi...

Facebook fights fake news online with full-page print newspaper ads

Facebook wants to warn people about fake news, both on- and offline.
These pictures tell the sad tale of...

These pictures tell the sad tale of Japan's potato chip shortage

?I heard they would be gone so I bought them together.?

Essence - Celebrities

Toddler With Brain Cancer Gets Post...

Toddler With Brain Cancer Gets Postcards From Across the Globe

Ellie Walton was diagnosed with a brain tumor at 4 months old.
Asking Siri May Not Be Best Idea in...

Asking Siri May Not Be Best Idea in Health, Safety Emergency, Study Finds

Researchers studied the response of four popular digital personal assistants.
ADHD Diagnosis More Likely for Kids...

ADHD Diagnosis More Likely for Kids Young for Their Grade

Rates of ADHD diagnoses have been rising in recent years.
Family Posts 1st Picture of Teen Su...

Family Posts 1st Picture of Teen Survivor in Kalamazoo Shooting

Abigail Kopf, 14, was seriously wounded in last month's shooting.
How Raising California Smoking Age ...

How Raising California Smoking Age Could Save Lives

Experts discuss how changing law could save lives.
Birth of a Sibling Could Mean Healt...

Birth of a Sibling Could Mean Healthier BMI for First-Born

Gaining a sibling before age 4 may be linked with lower body weight later on.
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