African Americans


Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Mindy Kaling isn’t Responsible for Being Your Diversity Councillor

I got together with Nadia Misir and Derica Shields for an AIAC Roundtable to discuss why Mindy Kaling went batshit when she was asked, at the recent SXSW, why there are no other characters of colour in senior positions of authority (ie. other doctors) on her show, The Mindy Project. After saying that such inquiries about diversity...

Monday, January 20th, 2014

France is no longer needed

Pratt Institute professor Ellery Washington writing in The New York Times: In the spring of 1984, during an interview for The Paris Review, a nearly 60-year-old Baldwin was asked why he had chosen to live in France,...

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Malitia Malimob, rap music and the less glamorous stories of African migration to the United States

The new “Africa Rising” narrative propagated largely by a globally-connected middle and upper class diaspora, often obscures the grittier stories of the African immigrant experience. This is partly due to an instinct among African immigrants to want to counter...

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Marcus Garvey’s Africa

Late last year I had the opportunity to review College of William and Mary History Professor Robert Vinson’s remarkable new book, The Americans Are Coming! Dreams of African American Liberation in Segregationist South Africa. Vinson details both...

Monday, October 29th, 2012

McDonald’s Baobab Tree

These days, it’s not uncommon to see Western fast food chains alongside local favorites in the post-colony. Lagos, for example, has its Nigerian fast food chains (Mr. Biggs, Chicken Republic, etcetera) but also a brand-new, shiny KFC...

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Film / Africans in America

Beautifully shot vignette of life among the mostly poor residents of The Fred Factory Gardens Project Houses in the majority African-American town of Spencer, Oklahoma. Filmed by Trevor Tweeten and Richard Mosse.

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Liberator Magazine

Here. Photo Credit: Cedric Miles.

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Street Photographer

Charlie Ahearn’s new documentary of Brooklyn photographer Jamal Shabazz screening on June 26 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

The Motherland

The documentary film, Blacks Without Borders: Chasing the American Dream on Foreign Soil (2008, directed and produced by Stafford U. Bailey. Co-produced by Judy Thayer-Bailey)–which tells the story of a group of African-American professionals who immigrate to South...

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

Manning Marable

On Monday a new book on Malcolm X by the American intellectual and historian Manning Marable will come out. On Friday night Marable passed away. Though Marable, based until his passing at Columbia University, is less well-known...

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Dakar Modern

I’ve been wanting to post for a while now about the Digital Diaspora Family Reunion.  Primarily the work of the filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris; remember Harris film, “The Twelve Apostles of Nelson Mandela,” about his South African step father. The DDFR...

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Branding “The New Black’

Andre Pinard is a friend and a neighbor. He works for Alloy ACCESS, “… the nation’s preeminent agency for global brands and organizations looking to understand and effectively reach multicultural millennials.” Their areas of expertise “… are African...

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

‘First Time in Sudan Africa’

Another one of those videos I was forwarded over the break. It’s become something of a rite of passage for rappers to visit Africa. For example this video of Busta Rhymes refusing to let go of an...

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love

On the “sponsored” section of my Facebook wall, an Amazon advert for a “stunning book for those who love Africa, travel or prayer. “… ‘Like Breath & Water’ inspires with stories of tears and hopes across Africa.”...

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

The World of Tyler Perry

Whatever The New Yorker’s rationale for commissioning a piece on Tyler Perry, the “critic-proof” producer and director of black popular theater and television (he is a darling of the mainstream), but it is good take on the...

Friday, October 30th, 2009


The New York Times has a depressing story about the tense relationship between Muslim immigrants from West Africa and African-American in a poor section of the Bronx. Resentment, mistrust, post-9/11 Islamophobia and just plain ignorance, are some...

Friday, October 9th, 2009


The Chicago-based literary theorist Walter Ben Michaels has been going on about why we privilege race over class. His right to a point. But that’s it: Race … has been a more successful technology of mystification. In...

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009


Hip hop meets twentieth century black Atlantic identity politics.

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009


The full film, about a Black Panther who fled Kansas City in the American Midwest in 1970 for a new life in Tanzania (by director Aaron Matthews), is now online.

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

South Africa: “The whites are pretending it didn’t happen. The blacks are pretending to forgive”

One of the most clearheaded assessments of the new South Africa that I’ve read in a while. It’s a line from an article by The Guardian’s South Africa correspondent, David Smith. It’s what a cynic told him about...

Monday, August 24th, 2009


I was anticipating that sooner or later someone would organize a conference on this theme. The Department of African and African American Studies at George Mason University in Virginia is organizing such a conference in early October....