BOOK: Fleetwood on Troubling Vision and Black Visuality

Fleetwood, Nicole R. Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 2011.

“Troubling Vision addresses American culture’s fixation on black visibility, exploring how blackness is persistently seen as a problem in public culture and even in black scholarship that challenges racist discourse. Through trenchant analysis, Nicole R. Fleetwood reorients the problem of black visibility by turning attention to what it means to see blackness and to the performative codes that reinforce, resignify, and disrupt its meaning. Working across visual theory and performance studies, Fleetwood asks, How is the black body visualized as both familiar and disruptive? How might we investigate the black body as a troubling presence to the scopic regimes that define it as such? How is value assessed based on visible blackness?

“Fleetwood documents multiple forms of engagement with the visual, even as she meticulously underscores how the terms of engagement change in various performative contexts. Examining a range of practices from the documentary photography of Charles “Teenie” Harris to the “excess flesh” performances of black female artists and pop stars to the media art of Fatimah Tuggar to the iconicity of Michael Jackson, Fleetwood reveals and reconfigures the mechanics, codes, and metaphors of blackness in visual culture.“Troubling Vision is a path-breaking book that examines the problem of seeing blackness—the simultaneous hyper-visibility and invisibility of African Americans—in US visual culture in the last half century. Weaving together critical modes and methodologies from performance studies, art history, critical race studies, visual culture analysis, and gender theory, Fleetwood expands Du Bois’s idea of double vision into a broad questioning of whether ‘representation itself will resolve the problem of the black body in the field of vision.’ With skilled attention to historical contexts, documentary practices, and media forms, she takes up the works of a broad variety of cultural producers, from photographers and playwrights to musicians and visual artists and examines black spectatorship as well as black spectacle. In chapters on the trope of ‘non-iconicity’ in the photographs of Charles (Teenie) Harris, the ‘visible seams’ in the digital images of the artist Fatimah Tuggar, and a coda on the un-dead Michael Jackson, Fleetwood’s close analyses soar. Troubling Vision is a beautifully written, original, and important addition to the field of American Studies.”

—Announcement of the American Studies Association for the 2012 Lora Romero First Book Publication Prize

Source: Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness, Fleetwood

Filed under: Nicole R. Fleetwood Tagged: #adphd, african diaspora, book, history, theory, visual

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George Clooney Worked With Harvey Weinstein For 20 Years And Condemns His ‘Indefensible’ Behavior

George Clooney knows Harvey Weinstein better than most. The two men’s careers have been intertwined for decades and, as Clooney will even admit, Weinstein is largely responsible for his success in the industry, giving him an acting breakthrough with “From Dusk Till Dawn” in 1996 and a directorial breakthrough with “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” in 2002. But not even Clooney will be coming to Weinstein’s defense in light of The New York Times article which revealed decades worth of sexual harassment accusations and coverups.

“It’s indefensible. That’s the only word you can start with,” Clooney said to The Daily Beast in an extensive interview in which he reacts to the Weinstein scandal. “I’ve known Harvey for 20 years…We’ve had dinners, we’ve been on location together, we’ve had arguments. But I can tell you that I’ve never seen any of this behavior—ever.”

Clooney’s statement echoes Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, and Jennifer Lawrence, three actresses who won Oscars for their involvement in films produced and/or distributed by The Weinstein Company. None of these actors were aware of Weinstein’s behavior during their time working with him, but that doesn’t mean they’re taking the accusations with a grain of salt. Clooney is “disturbed” by the reports he read, especially the one from TV reporter Lauren Sivan that alleges Weinstein exposed himself and masturbated into a potted plant in front of her.

“I feel very bad for all of the victims,” he said. “I mean, cornering a young anchorwoman in the kitchen and jerking off into a potted plant? That’s not just some rumor about Harvey hitting on a woman; it’s disturbing on a whole lot of levels, because there had to be a lot of people involved in covering that up. That’s frustrating.”

Clooney also gets brutally honest when trying to figure out why the industry never stood up to Weinstein before. One reason he finds is because “a lecherous guy with money picking up younger girls is unfortunately not a news story in our society.” But he gave a more detailed response when he remembered his own history with Weinstein: 

I had knock-down, drag-out fights with him over the years, but he was also making films that other studios weren’t willing to make, and he was making films that everybody loved, so you just put up with certain bad behavior because you felt like, well, if he yells and screams but he gets made, who cares if he yells and screams? But it’s a very different conversation when you say, it’s not that he yells and screams but that he’s cornering a young, scared lady in a restaurant and telling her to stand there and be quiet while he jerks off. That’s a very different kind of behavior, and had that been a public thing, I think there would have been some different results. I hope there would be.

“This isn’t a right or a left issue,” Clooney concluded. “We’re all going to have to be more diligent about it and look for any warning signs. Before, people weren’t paying enough attention to it. Now we have to. This is the moment to start scaring people like this into not acting this way anymore.”

Clooney’s latest directorial effort, “Suburbicon,” opens in theaters October 27 from Paramount Pictures. Head over to The Daily Beast for Clooney’s complete interview.

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BLOGROLL: Johnson on Slavery, History, Afrxlatinidad, and Solidarity in Trumplandia | @BitchMedia

Johnson writes:

“It would take a spectacle of Black death—including massacres such as the 1866 Mechanic’s Hall riot in New Orleans, where local police opened fire on Republicans of both races, or the Memphis Race Riot that same year, which left some 40 to 50 Black residents dead—to push congress to implement a decisive Reconstruction plan that offered protection and citizenship to former slaves. This ”Radical Reconstruction” forced freedom’s gates wide open again—or at least wide enough for some Black men, women, and children to punch their way through. But riots and vigilante violence did not end. In 1873, at least 40 Black voters and three whites were killed by members of the Ku Klux Klan and the White League in Colfax, Louisiana. The Colfax Massacre and those elsewhere, including Mississippi and South Carolina, joined everyday attacks on individuals and families as instances of racial terror. And these excessive and constant expressions of state violence, mainly coordinated by white-nationalist vigilante groups against former slaves and their white allies, eventually forced federal troops to withdraw from the South. White southerners fought for this withdrawal, described the abandonment of formerly enslaved women, children, and men to the mercy of their former owners as a “Redemption,” and made it clear in words and arms that white (manhood) politics had returned to rule the South. If Black folks didn’t like it they could leave. Or die.

“Today, identity politics has come to mean people of color rallying other people of color as though white people have not done the same for centuries. As though “white” is not a race or an identity. When DuBois described the history of the white worker, he obliterated arguments that might favor their inclinations towards antislavery. White identity, in fact, was central to why white workers with no slaves or need for slave labor, particularly those recently arrived to the country, chose to vote for pro-slavery, immigration- and tariff-friendly Democrats over Republicans. Identity suffuses American history, wraps itself around layered and charged terms like labor, liberty, and citizenship….”

Read it all: The Fragility of Solidarity | Bitch Media

Filed under: Jessica Marie Johnson Tagged: #adphd, african diaspora, blogroll, caribbean, featured, history, politics, slave trade, slavery, theory

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BLOGROLL: Gumbs on ‘Keep Your Sorry’: On Slavery, Marriage and the Possibility of Love – @TheFeministWire

From 2011, Gumbs writes:

“Obviously, to suggest that a child born into slavery, who can be sold away at any time and whose parents can also be sold, has more stability and richer family ties than a child who may, for example, be raised in a mother-ful household or by unmarried teams of parents reveals a nostalgia for slavery that goes beyond any fidelity to facts.  The fact that the authors of this statement chose to actively wish for a time more like those of chattel slavery and to reveal a desire to return marriage to those terms is not a random racist outburst.  It is actually a clarifying and fundamental element of their agenda.  Simply put, they want the function of marriage today to be (even) more like the function of slavery in 1860…”

Read it all: ‘Keep Your Sorry’: On Slavery, Marriage and the Possibility of Love – The Feminist Wire

Filed under: Alexis Pauline Gumbs Tagged: #adphd, african american, blogroll, gender, history, intimacy, love, marriage, memory, politics, sexuality, slavery, united states

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A Day in the Life of Harvey Weinstein: Meryl Streep’s Wrath, Another Accuser, and Pleading With Hollywood CEOs

Post-firing, the worst week of Harvey Weinstein’s career continues.

Once The Weinstein Co.’s co-chairman took a leave of absence in response to New York Times revelations that he’d settled at least eight sexual harassment cases, on Oct. 6 TWC’s dwindling board hired outside investigator John Kiernan, a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. However, a source told Variety that Weinstein then attempted to bully his staff into hindering Kiernan’s inquiry.

Two days later, Weinstein reportedly emailed entertainment CEOs soliciting same-day endorsements — sent to his private Gmail address — that he could show the board. Weinstein believed the board members would effectively “destroy the company” by terminating him, which they did within hours.

Read More:  Harvey Weinstein: His Career Timeline of Sexual Harassment Allegations

Janice Min, co-president and chief creative officer of The Hollywood Reporter, shared the email with her Twitter followers this afternoon. “Allow me to resurrect myself with a second chance,” read the email. “A lot of the allegations are false as you know but given therapy and counseling as other people have done, I think I’d be able to get there.” The email continued, “I am desperate for your help… Do not let me be fired. If the industry supports me, that is all I need.”

The Hollywood Reporter’s Janice Min shared this email on Twitter today, claiming Harvey Weinstein as its sender.

An hour after Min posted the email — the same day both Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet called Weinstein “disgraceful” — The Guardian published an exclusive with “Atonement” co-star Romola Garai, who said she felt “violated” during an encounter with Weinstein in London around 2000.

“Like every other woman in the industry, I’ve had an ‘audition’ with Harvey Weinstein, where I’d actually already had the audition but you had to be personally approved by him,” she said. “I had to go to his hotel room in the Savoy, and he answered the door in his bathrobe. I was only 18.” They discussed a film and Garai left. She eventually acted in “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights,” a Lionsgate and Miramax co-release.

“The point was that he could get a young woman to do that, that I didn’t have a choice, that it was humiliating for me and that he had the power,” she said. “It was an abuse of power.” Garai joins fellow actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, who’ve each come forward about uncomfortable hotel-room interactions with Weinstein.

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‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Trailer: Spoilers Revealed in Epic New Look at Rian Johnson’s Sequel

Rian Johnson doesn’t want you to watch the trailer below. “I am legitimately torn,” he said over telling fans they should watch the new “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” trailer and risk being somewhat spoiled. “If you want to come in clean, absolutely avoid it. But it’s gooooood…..” To watch the trailer or not to watch the trailer? That is the question.

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” opens two years after J.J. Abrams’ “The Force Awakens” and picks up with Daisy Ridley’s Rey as she trains in the ways of the Jedi under the guidance of Luke Skywalker. Her skills will be needed against the growing threat of The First Order, led by Kylo Ren and Supreme Leader Snoke. Fan favorites John Boyega and Oscar Isaac will be key figures in the Resistance as Finn and Poe Dameron, respectively. Carrie Fisher reprises her role of Princess Leia one last time, while newcomer Kelly Marie Tran plays the Resistance maintenance worker Rose Tico.

Johnson hasn’t directed a feature since “Looper” in 2012, and “The Last Jedi” is set to raise his profile significantly to mainstream audiences. Disney opens “The Last Jedi” nationwide on December 15. Watch the trailer below if you aren’t concerned with spoilers of any kind.

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