During his time, labels such as "octoroon" or "quadroon" or "mulatto" were used in abundance, even though it was difficult to exactly determine these qualities simply by looking at skin. Motley's portraits embodied this message, along with other piercing critics regarding race in the United States of America. Ashe and I were so moved by this exhibition that we decided to base Castle of our Skins's next Call for Proposals on works of visual art by Black artists.
Other suggestions (just to mention a few out of many, including the Helen Walker-Hill books mentioned in the previous post) were the music of Akin Euba and Fred Onovwerosuoke. Both still living, these composers represent their native African countries very well in their clever, moving music. The suggestion of these composers has lead me to look into the music of other African composers, like Fela Sowande and Samuel Ekpe Akpabot and Halim El-Dabh. So much good music to discover!
(Stay tuned for part 3!, and We'd like to hear from YOU!)
This line of research also lead me quickly to believe that I was grossly unware of about 90% of the Black women composers about whom I read. Consequently, I constructed a list of names in a word document, along with (very light) notes and birth/death dates. This list includes over 200 names. My favorite part of this list is that some of the names I added to it were names I came across before Ms. Walker-Hill had her chance. Ms. Walker-Hill left this earth suddenly on August 8, 2013. At this time, however, there was not any update to any of her books or research to include composers like Renee’ Baker, SerenaCreary, Pamela Z, and Nailah Nombeko, to name a few. It is good to know that her line of work will continue to have a need, and her legacy will continue as this scholarship develops.
(Stay tuned for part 2!, and We'd like to hear from YOU!)
Writings, musings, photos, links, and videos about Black Artistry of ALL varieties!
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