Watch Sariah Bunker’s full performance of her poem ‘Washing’ from last Spring’s Race, Racism and Xenophobia in a Global Context ‘Teach-In’
By Amanda Gelbart, NYU Florence Student, Major in Mechanical Engineering, NYU Tandon School of Engineering
Throughout the 2016 Spring semester, the La Pietra Dialogues program has hosted a series of dialogues that focused on the issue of race in a global context. The events ranged from regular dialogues to an all-day conference that was held on March 24, which hosted people such as lawyers, musicians, and photographers.
One of the most impressive aspects of this series was the realization of how race affects every field of study in some manner. The particular dialogue that struck me the most was “Representing Race in Opera: Text and Performance, Past and Present” with Professor Emanuele Senici on April 27. Within his dialogue, he exposed the evolution of opera as it includes racial issues. At first, he explained that operas had people of different races within them, as described by the words in the libretto, but the music gave no indication of differences. However, as operas continued to be written into the colonial and imperial ages, race became a central theme of the words and the music of many operas. Composers, such as Puccini, began inserting culturally important musical themes into the overall score in order to signify the “diversity” of the others, and in operas like Madama Butterfly, the naivety of the non-European was emphasized.
Misan Sagay is a British screenwriter whose credits include the screenplay for the ABC television movie based up Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, starring Halle Berry, and the 2013 film Belle. Sagay’s work on Belle won her the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture.
Belle is a period drama inspired by a painting of Dido Elizabeth Belle, a woman who was born to a slave mother and British naval officer father, and raised by her grand-uncle William Murray, First Earl of Mansfield.
Read a Huffington Post article Sagay wrote about the process of bringing Belle to the screen: http://huff.to/1j0e8Ad
Read a Q&A on the film with Sagay and The Riveter’s Kaylen Ralph: http://bit.ly/1k64vnb
Jason King is currently an associate professor and academic director of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music in New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Read King’s bio from the Tisch department webpage:
“Jason King is a cultural critic & journalist, musician (performer, vocal arranger, producer, musical supervisor), manager, strategist & consultant to artists and labels, and live event producer. Founding full-time faculty member of the department; served as interim chair in 2002; and associate chair from 2003-2006, and Artistic Director from 2006-2012. He teaches classes on: record producing, music entrepreneurship, branding, rock music, hip-hop, r&b, soul, jazz, Asian American and African American culture.
Pamela Newkirk is a professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the New York University College of Arts and Science’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.
Read Professor Newkirk’s bio from the NYU Journalism webpage:
Elliott Brown Jr. is currently a senior at NYU Tisch and a visual artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York.
Here’s how he introduces his work:
“My name is Elliott Brown Jr. and I’m a visual artist. My photography attests to the breadth and complexity of Blackness by explicating the internal and external forces that create it. My work specifically considers the intersection between Blackness and homosexuality. With an understanding of how identities are socialized and performed, my work grapples with notions of privacy as they are informed by public and political discourses. Using self-portraiture as my foremost medium, I create a point of entry for the queer identity into historical and contemporary productions of Blackness. My current series visualizes a racial discourse within interracial intimacies. Focusing on my relationships with white men, I’m looking at the space where desire becomes political; what social parameters inform desire? In what ways have I sought to be fulfilled and validated by these relationships? Likewise, how have I been desired by these men? By subverting traditional understandings of power dynamics, this work communicates the disturbances that can appear in these relationships. ” – Black Punk, see article here. Read more