‘An American riddle’: the black music trailblazer who died a white man

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-07-15 15:14Z by Steven

‘An American riddle’: the black music trailblazer who died a white man

The Guardian

Ammar Kalia

Harry Pace, lawyer and cultural entrepreneur, thought by his family to have been Italian. Photograph: Courtesy of Peter Pace

A fascinating new podcast delves into the life of Harry Pace, forgotten founder of the first black-owned major record label in the US – and unlocks a shocking and prescient story about race

There are, according to the academic Emmett Price, “six degrees of Harry Pace”. He is referring to the man born in 1884 who founded America’s first black-owned major record label; desegregated part of Chicago; mentored the founder of Ebony and Jet magazines and spearheaded the career of blues singer Ethel Waters. Pace is a figure who is seemingly everywhere at once, yet his name has been suspiciously absent from the history books.

“This story encapsulates how progress comes about in America – and it is never in a straight line,” says Jad Abumrad. “It is often a cycle – one that contains hope and despair, smashed together.”

Best known for their work on Radiolab and its hit spin-off, Dolly Parton’s America, Abumrad and his co-producer Shima Oliaee are speaking from New York about their latest podcast, The Vanishing of Harry Pace. The six-part series examines the life and legacy of its titular character – the founder of Black Swan records, who had a hand in coining the term “rock ‘n’ roll”. Pace was also a civil rights lawyer, a collaborator of WEB Du Bois, and, you might think, a pioneering black American erased from history because of his race…

Read the entire article here.

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For Some Adopted Kids, There’s a Danger in Erasing Racial Lines

Posted in Audio, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2017-07-18 20:16Z by Steven

For Some Adopted Kids, There’s a Danger in Erasing Racial Lines

The Takeaway
WNYC Radio
New York, New York

Todd Zwillich, Host

Rebecca Carroll (upper left) with her siblings, circa 1974. (Courtesy of Guest)

The Takeaway has been presenting conversations about race and identity through our original series, “Uncomfortable Truths: Confronting Racism in America.”

Last week, we featured a conversation with Takeaway listener Rechelle Schimke and her brother, Gerritt. Rechelle is white; Gerritt, who was adopted, is black.

Rebecca Carroll, editor of special projects at WNYC Radio, heard echoes of her own story in that conversation. Rebecca, like Gerritt, is black, and was also adopted by a white family.

But while Gerritt’s experience resulted in a seeming erasure of racial lines, Rebecca insists on the importance of recognizing the different identities that have shaped the history of race in America.

Listen to the interview (00:08:00) here.

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Heidi Durrow discusses her novel “The Girl Who Fell From the Sky”

Posted in Audio, Barack Obama, Interviews, Live Events, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2013-08-27 04:04Z by Steven

Heidi Durrow discusses her novel “The Girl Who Fell From the Sky”

The Leonard Lopate Show
WNYC Radio (93.9 FM or 820 AM)
Friday, 2010-05-14, 12:00-14:00 EDT (16:00-18:00Z)

Leonard Lopate, Host

Heidi W. Durrow, Author

Destruction, Restoration

We’ll look into how Europe’s economic problems are creating political problems—we’ll check in on the state of the euro and on Greece’s ongoing debt woes. Then, Iranian artist Shirin Neshat talks about her debut feature film “Women Without Men.” Plus Heidi Durow discusses her novel The Girl Who Fell From the Sky. And Please Explain is all about art restoration!

Listen to the interview here. The audio stream is here. Download the audio clip (00:13:26, 5.4MB) to your computer here.

00:05:36 Leonard Lopate: The Bellwether Prize is for works that issues of social justice. You’ve attended law schools as well. Did you write this novel as social commentary?

00:05:47 Heidi Durrow: I wanted to explore this story ’cause I don’t think we talk about it often enough… about multiracial families and biracial identity. We had this great moment during President Obama’s candidacy when we got to talk about ‘biracial’ and the fact that his grandmother was white and his mother was white. And then on Inauguration Day he became our first black African American president. And we lost that opportunity to talk about biracial identity I think.

00:06:13 LL: Well, often when someone is biracial, the decision of the rest of the world is that they’re ‘black’.

00:06:21 HD: Yes. That was my experience.

00:06:21 LL: So Tiger Woods, who saw himself as very much being Asian—we don’t want to talk about his other problems.  But anyway, he was automatically ‘black’ and Barack Obama… he’s automatically ‘black’.

00:06:34 HD: And I think that’s fine. I do believe in self-identification. So that when people who are mixed-race decide to be one or the other, I’m absolutely for that. I just feel like, we lose stories when we don’t tell our whole selves.

00:06:48: LL: So what happens when someone like Rachel goes to school and is in classes where pretty much all of her classmates are black?

00:06:57 HD: They don’t understand her in the book.  And it’s the same thing for me, they just didn’t understand where I fit… at all. I remember being at home speaking Danish with my mother, having Danish food and then as soon as we opened the door and went outside, I was a black girl and it erased that whole story, that whole existence that was me…

00:10:54 LL: In addition to writing, you also write a blog with Fanshen Cox called ‘Mixed Girls Chat’.

00:11:00 HD: ‘Mixed Chicks Chat’.

00:11:01 LL: ‘Mixed Chicks’… Okay.

00:11:03 HD: Yeah, and it’s weekly podcast we do every Wednesday. And we talk about being racially and culturally mixed. So we interview people who are in blended families, parents. We had a Harvard scholar on, which is exciting.

00:11:15 LL: I would assume—from what I know—that something like at least 90 percent of all African Americans—maybe 100 percent—are of mixed race.

00:11:26 HD: I think probably we’re all mixed in some way. And that’s what I’m so excited about with this book. ‘Cause I’ve been doing some readings around.  And I find that people are sharing the fact that their families are blended… suddenly.

00:11:39 LL: So this is something that would not have been discussed in the past? People would have been forced to just make a choice… say I’m ‘white’ or ‘black’?

00:11:44 HD: I think that’s right… Yeah, I mean, remember the controversy with Michelle Obama’s—I think—great-great grandfather and they discovered that he was biracial. And there was a little bit of controversy about that… I think, because people wanted to say ‘this our first African American First Lady’ and wanted to really hold on to that as opposed to actually sharing the real true story of this man in her past who was biracial as well…

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Richard Pryor’s Daughter on Growing Up Biracial

Posted in Articles, Audio, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2013-04-12 20:00Z by Steven

Richard Pryor’s Daughter on Growing Up Biracial

WNYC Radio
New York, New York

Soterios Johnson

April 7, 2013 – Richard Pryor, one of the most influential comedians of all-time, gained pop star status in the 1970’s with his incisive storytelling about issues including race.  Now, his daughter Rain is sharing her take on growing up biracial in ’70s and ’80s Los Angeles, the child of the African-American comic genius and a Jewish go-go dancer.

In her one-woman show, “Fried Chicken and Latkes,” Pryor brings to life the family members, societal pressures and personal experiences that forged her identity at a time when attitudes about race in the U.S. were rapidly changing.

“I really wanted to tell a story about me, so people would get to know who I am,” Pryor said.  “But at the same time really talk about things that were important to me.  And, race was always such a big issue for me, and still is, especially in our country.”…

Read the entire article here. Download the interview here.

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