A black novelist was so sick of the portrayal by his fellow writers of the Negro as fundamentally different from other homo sapiens that he wrote a satire, Black No More, starring a doctor who invents a procedure to lighten skin pigment.
A white champion of the new black lit himself penned a novel called Nigger Heaven, featuring sexual promiscuity; it sold well, and he was accused of exploitation.
And one of Langston Hughes‘s earliest blues-inspired poems was called “Fine Clothes to de Jew”; it broke new ground but its subject infuriated the black middle class — and, yes, there already was one in the Harlem of the 1920s and 1930s.
There was no featured artist, and it had already been raining for two days straight, but that didn’t keep a small group of devotees from showing up at the Outer Space on Wednesday night for what could be the longest-running open mic in the New Haven area. For good reason.
For jazz musician and professor Willie Ruff, the Langston Hughes Projectshow on Friday — with spoken-word poet Kenyon Adams and the Ron McCurdy Quartet — echoes back to another time in his life in New Haven, when Langston Hughes himself came to town.
The first time performance artist Kenyon Adams read Langston Hughes’ epic, emotional Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz, he was young and not totally floored by the poetry of each word, the urgency and grace in every line, every verse, every mood. He let the poem languish for a few years. And then something happened that would change the way he thought about it forever.
City Wide Open Studios (CWOS) Weekend at the Goffe Street Armory was not just for gigantic, interactive games and eclectic visual art. A “Literary Happy Hour” tour was also in the offing as spoken word, story telling and poetry performances occupied spaces in the Armory alongside sculptures, paintings and installations.
When Hanifa Washington stepped to the front of 101 Threads to deliver her poem “Beneath the Sea,” still inky on paper and new on her tongue, she didn’t have any idea what Literary Happy Hour was, or exactly what she was getting herself into.
by David Yaffe-Bellany | Jul 18, 2016 6:27 am | Comments (2)
George Edwards was an Air Force instructor working at a base in Ohio when he realized he was “a voluntary slave.”
On Memorial Day 1960, Edwards — an intense, sharp-eyed man who served in the New Haven branch of the Black Panthers Party — heard a recording of a speech by Malcolm X that made him question his service to the United States.
“I had a serious confrontation with history, politics, racism. I was becoming conscious of the world,” he said. “This man had shown a light to the darkness of my brain.”
Michael Bethune and Kejuan Simmons, a.k.a. young rap duo N-Finity Muzik, paced energetically back and forth in the grass in front of the stage, closing the distance between them and their audience. Multicolored dashikis, hanging in a vendor’s tent, flapped in the breeze. Community members and staff in purple T-shirts circled the sunny park.
Today’s episodes on WNHH radio dive headfirst into the world of contemporary poetry, teach listeners a few new camera tricks, explore interracial dating, and debate the merits of drinking on and off the job.