It’s no secret that the Academy Awards have historically been less than diverse. Last year, frustrations overflowed after all 20 of the nominees for Best Acting awards were white for the second year in a row. Widespread dissatisfaction with this state of affairs manifested online in the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, coined by activist April Reign.
In response to this criticism, Reign led the Academy in taking some steps to diversify itself. In 2016, the Academy invited 683 new members to its highly secretive roster of approximately 6,000. Of this new class, nearly half were women and people of color: 46% women and 41% POC. (Compare that to the previous year’s class, which was 25% women and 8% POC.) While the Academy remains disproportionately white and male, it has committed to doubling the number of women and minorities in its roster by 2020.
Shockingly, it would almost seem that increasing the number women and people of color in the Academy leads to having more women and people of color nominated in the Academy Awards! Although there is a long way to go before parity is achieved, this year’s Oscars are some of the most diverse yet, and have marked a historic level of achievement for Black performers, directors, writers, and filmmakers. Some of the history-making nominations at the 2017 Oscars include:
The following guest post was written by David Tenenholtz, the 2015-2017 UNC-CH Music Library CALA. Celebrating African-American Music
June is African American Music Appreciation Month, as officially proclaimed by President Barack Obama. The Stone Center Library and the UNC Music Library are excited to take on President Obama’s described mission to “raise awareness and foster appreciation of music that is composed, arranged, or performed by African Americans” during this month. With resources available both at the Stone Center Library and the Music Library (located at Wilson Library’s lowest level, East entrance), you will be able to learn about the varied styles and rich history of African American music. If you visit the Music Library, please take note of the visual display in the front entrance highlighting some hallmarks of this topic. You will notice albums showcasing the legendary pianistic skill of Art Tatum, the artistry of composers like Duke Ellington and T.J. Anderson, the showmanship of Sammy Davis, Jr. and Carmen McRae, and the vocal finesse of opera singer Jessye Norman, to name only a few.
As you can tell from reading this post, this subject may have nearly limitless avenues to explore and research. As an entry-point, please consult with one of the librarians at either the Stone Center Library or the Music Library. To get a quick start, here are introductions to four “firsts” in the history of African American music, and some links to resources that may inspire you to visit us and learn more! 1903: In Dahomey, the first Broadway musical written by African American composers, and starring an entirely African American cast, premieres in New York. You can find the sheet music and biographical information on Will Marion Cook (1869-1944), one of the major African American composers at that time at the Music Library. 1935: Jazz pianist Teddy Wilson (1912-1986) joins the Benny Goodman Trio, earning them the distinction of being the first known interracial jazz group. Wilson, deemed the “Jackie Robinson of Jazz,” would go on to record many hit jazz songs with Goodman, vocalist Billie Holiday, and as a soloist. 1962: Bandleader and composer Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington scored the soundtrack to the film Paris Blues, starring Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman, and Louis Armstrong. With this score, Ellington earned the first nomination by an African American composer for an Academy Award for Best Musical Score. 1968: Henry Lewis (1932-1996), a virtuoso on the double-bass who joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic before the age of eighteen, is appointed to lead the New Jersey Symphony, making him the first African American symphony conductor. Within another few years, Lewis went on to be the first African American to conduct the Metropolitan Opera.
As we conclude our tripartite series highlighting new arrivals currently up on display at the Stone Center Library, today’s list should especially appeal to religious scholars. Click on the links below for more information on each title, including summaries and current availability, or check out our previous posts in this series here and here.
Last week, we posted a partial listing of new books currently on display here at the Library. Today, we continue with a quick posting on new arrivals covering a wide range of topics in education – in the U.S. and abroad, secondary and post-secondary pedagogy and experiences, and other recent research. Check out what’s new @the SCL, part 2:
Featuring titles newly available here at the Stone Center Library, current highlights include topics such as religion, genealogy, education, women’s studies and more. We encourage you to come on by and check them out, and will be introducing these titles in a weekly three-part series, starting today with a variety of resources pertaining to family:
Are you a fan of superhero movies? Then today’s SCL Pick is for you! One of our latest arrivals is Super black : American pop culture and black superheroes, by Adilifu Nama (University of Texas Press, 2011). Check out an excerpt from the publisher’s review below: “Nama examines seminal black comic book superheroes such as Black Panther, Black Lightning, Storm, Luke Cage, Blade, the Falcon, Nubia, and others, some of whom also appear on the small and large screens, as well as how the imaginary black superhero has come to life in the image of President Barack Obama. Super Black explores how black superheroes are a powerful source of racial meaning, narrative, and imagination in American society that express a myriad of racial assumptions, political perspectives, and fantastic (re)imaginings of black identity.The book also demonstrates how these figures overtly represent or implicitly signify social discourse and accepted wisdom concerning notions of racial reciprocity, equality, forgiveness, and ultimately, racial justice.” (Source: http://www.utexas.edu/utpress/books/namsue.html)
Looking for more on the topic? Professor Nama has also written Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film, which is available at Davis Library. If you’re looking to broaden your search, subject headings that may be of use include “African Americans in motion pictures” and “Blacks in motion pictures.” There’s also the Stone Center Library’s Guide to the Web, which features sections on Films and Documentaries, as well as Film Festivals. And, as always, we’re happy to provide reference assistance – whether it’s in person, via email, or through chat reference (StoneCenterRef) – come on by for a consultation!
Did you know that May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month? This celebration was established in 1978, and recognizes the contributions of Asian and Pacific Islanders in the United States. “The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869.” (Source: http://asianpacificheritage.gov/about.html)
With this in mind, today’s SCL Pick is the newly-acquired Interracial Encounters : Reciprocal Representations in African American and Asian American Literatures, 1896-1937. Written by Julia H. Lee (2011, New York University Press), this book “explores the diverse ways in which Asian American and African American texts represented racial relations and racial others in an era dominated by a national racial philosophy that presumed, as W.E.B. Du Bois put it, the ‘high civilization of the whites, the lack of culture among the blacks, the apparent incapacity for self-rule in many non-Europeans, and the stagnation of Asia’” (Source: Syndetic Solutions).
Interested in this area of study? Come by the SCL! Today’s pick is but one of several volumes on Afro-Asian topics available here at the Library. For instance, check out last year’s selections here and here. And stay tuned for more SCL Picks this week and next, as we highlight some fabulous new titles that have recently been added to the collection. Happy reading!
In addition, today – April 30th – also marks the inaugural observation of International Jazz Day! Whether you’ve been celebrating all month, all year, or just for today, here’s a sampling of related books available here at the SCL: