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for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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Physically disabled, she used a wheel chair when need be. She

was openly bisexual and of Indigenous, Spanish, and Jewish

ancestry. An accomplished artist and a member of the communist

party she voiced her opinions often in demonstrations.

 

 

Homage to Frida Kahlo 1907 to 2007

 By Claire Carew

Frida Kahlo showing us all that suffering could not wither, nor sickness stale her infinite variety.

Carlos Fuentes The Diary of Frida Kahlo.

I paint myself because I am alone. I am the subject I know best.Frida Kahlo

 

A woman of strength and courage graced this earth and lives through her art and photographs today. That woman we know as Frida Kahlo.

Over 400 thousand people attended the exhibition Homage to Frida Kahlo at the Museo Palcio de Bellas Artes [Mexico City] from June to August 2007. The long lines of people waiting 2, 3 hours and up to 5 hours to enter Bellas Artes was history making and confirmed Frida’s rightful place as an artist of  great recognition. On the last day August 19th Bellas Artes extended its hour of closing to midnight and still people were turned away. Snaking, double and triple snaking around Bellas Artes and along city blocks we quietly waited, purchasing treats from vendors who constantly worked the lines beckoning us to eat a little and save our strength to view Frida’s work.

As a visual artist who is often globe trotting and gallery hopping; these were undeniably the longest lines I have seen anywhere for an art exhibition. Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh have not had lines like this. Art exhibitions do not often attract this many people.

Reflecting on this phenomenon I began to conduct informal interviews.  “Tell me why you like Frida’s work.  Why did you come”? The answers were often vague.  Some went to see her art work, others because they couldn’t get enough of her life story and some, because they heard so much about the exhibition from the media and knew it was history making, attended the show.

Ricardo and his wife Alejandra both lawyers were visiting the Bellas Artes for the first time even though they work within walking distance. They, like most people, are not gallery goers. “We came because we like her work and her life story.”

On entering Bellas Artes it was “stop and go” we slowly made our way to each painting each letter, each photograph with the reverence you would pay to someone who had just died.

We marched often silently reading the analysis by historians and art critics below each painting. On occasion tears flowed readily from the eyes of those who identified with her pain and her art.

With 65 well executed oil paintings, 45 drawings, water colors, and etchings; this retrospective clearly established that Frida Kahlo was a talented artist who understood the principles and elements of design, composition and had a thorough knowledge of oil painting techniques.

Taking a closer look at her biographical paintings I took note of the intricate details of her work.

For example in the painting Two Fridas 1939 the prominent display of the hearts speak of sacrifice and reminded one of the Aztecs sacrificing human beings. In many of her paintings the hands dance, gesture and direct the viewer’s eye to another aspect of the painting. 

One of the paintings that I was quite impressed is titled Autorretrato con medallion 1948. Self portrait with medallion. Frida painstakingly painted the intricate details of the lace head dress the folds of the fabric and the flowers and once again her eyes confront the viewer straight on. Her expression is serious.

There were also more than 50 letters and over 100 photographs of Frida that exemplified the depth and strength of this woman.  I don’t recall seeing any photos of Frida smiling. She was always serious and dressed in a dignified regal manner.  However there is one photo that showed the tenderness of the woman. It is a black and white photograph by Paul Juley of her sitting with her shoulders revealed.

She commanded respect and ensured that we the public took her seriously and learned of the various groups of indigenous people living in Mexico by the type of clothing she chose to wear.

 Frida consciously decided against the norm of wearing sensuous frivolous uncomfortable clothing that so many women are encouraged and feel obliged to wear.

In a world of clear class distinctions, arrogance, race and often disparaging dismissal of all that is Indigenous, Frida stood and continues to stand  above all in demonstrating her love and respect for the Indigenous peoples of Mexico. 

Her forthrightness, strength and portrayal of herself proudly dressed in indigenous traditional clothing were truly a statement of courage. Not too many would risk the ridicule and the stares she faced in Mexico, USA and France as she walked down the street wearing colorful indigenous clothing distinctly different from European style of dress.

Frida Kahlo suffered a terrible bus accident as a teenager that resulted in over 32 operations and her inability to conceive children. She lived a tumultuous life with Diego Rivera the famous muralist and they were married twice. Frida Kahlo appeals to many of us as her life and art represents the diverse people we are today.

Physically disabled, she used a wheel chair when need be. She was openly bisexual and of Indigenous, Spanish, and Jewish ancestry.  An accomplished artist and a member of the communist party she voiced her opinions often in demonstrations. One of her last photographed public demonstrations was in support of the people of Guatemala.

Today she would be considered an environmentalist as her work often depicts landscapes animals and flowers. Her emotional and physical pain many of us know of personally. She gives meaning to our vulnerabilities.   Her struggles are ours, her beliefs and values we share and support.

Long Live Frida is indeed true. She continues to live in the hearts and minds of many people.  She is a part of us and will continue to live as long as we continue to identify with her trials and triumphs. Frida the artist. Frida the communist.  Frida the feminist. Frida the naturalist.

Frida we will never forget you.

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photo top left--Claire Carew and her Cuban translator.

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Capitalism and the Ideal State: Marcus Garvey  / Negroes and the Crisis of Capitalism (Du Bois)  / Economic Emancipation of Africa

Liberty and Empire  /  Money is Speech   /  On Capitalism: Noam Chomsky

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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The Price of Civilization

Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity

By Jeffrey D. Sachs

The Price of Civilization is a book that is essential reading for every American. In a forceful, impassioned, and personal voice, he offers not only a searing and incisive diagnosis of our country’s economic ills but also an urgent call for Americans to restore the virtues of fairness, honesty, and foresight as the foundations of national prosperity. Sachs finds that both political parties—and many leading economists—have missed the big picture, offering shortsighted solutions such as stimulus spending or tax cuts to address complex economic problems that require deeper solutions. Sachs argues that we have profoundly underestimated globalization’s long-term effects on our country, which create deep and largely unmet challenges with regard to jobs, incomes, poverty, and the environment. America’s single biggest economic failure, Sachs argues, is its inability to come to grips with the new global economic realities. Sachs describes a political system that has lost its ethical moorings, in which ever-rising campaign contributions and lobbying outlays overpower the voice of the citizenry. . . . Sachs offers a plan to turn the crisis around. He argues persuasively that the problem is not America’s abiding values, which remain generous and pragmatic, but the ease with which political spin and consumerism run circles around those values. He bids the reader to reclaim the virtues of good citizenship and mindfulness toward the economy and one another.

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice.

"Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."Lisa Adkins, University of London

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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posted 6 December 2007

 

 

 

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