Black Culture

Princeville, Hurricane Matthew, African Americans
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

The tiny town of Princeville, North Carolina is still feeling the effects of Hurricane Matthew, which flooded this historic African-American town in October.

Michelle Lanier

Note: This program is a rebroadcast. It originally aired May 2, 2016.  

Michelle Lanier’s roots in North Carolina are so deep that she describes “every branch of her family tree having at least a sapling that crosses into the state.” She has a great-grandparent who preached at the oldest black Episcopal church in the state, one who was salesmen on Durham’s Black Wall Street, and one who helped establish the state’s first black high school.  

Durham students wearing the gele in celebration of Black History Month.
Jamaica Gilmer / The Beautiful Project

On the first day of Black History Month, Durham School of Creative Studies (SCS) students Natalia Artigas, Assata Goff and Naima Harrell showed up to school with their heads wrapped in geles, a colorful fabric many black women wind around their hair as a sign of cultural pride.

There were no actors of color nominated for an Oscar this year. Chris Rock, however, will host the show.
David Shankbone / Flickr Creative Commons

Bill Cosby has entertained audiences for more than half a century as a stand-up comedian and Emmy-winning actor. But as his fame has grown over the years, so have the number of women who have come forward accusing Cosby of sexual misconduct. He faces felony charges of sexual assault.

And the Oscar nominations were announced last week, but none of the acting categories featured people of color. Some Hollywood stars are calling for a boycott of the awards show.

There are more than 70,000 missing black men in North Carolina.
Nicolas Alejandro / Flickr Creative Commons

Note: This is a rebroadcast from earlier this year.

Young African-American men are dying and being incarcerated at higher rates than African-American women and white men and women.

Gabrielle Union stars in 'Being Mary Jane,' a BET show that challenges the portrayal of the black female.
Gina Hughes / Wikimedia Commons

News outlets across the country played a cell phone video this week of a white sheriff’s deputy in South Carolina violently arresting a black female student. The officer was fired, but public dialogue continues about the video and the alarming questions it raises about how school authorities discipline students.

In pop culture, television programs like Being Mary Jane are challenging media's portrayal of black women.

Stock photo of a book
Horia Varlan / Flickr Creative Commons

When producer Sonja Williams began researching for the radio series, Black Radio: Telling It Like It Was, she found very little African-American radio drama from the 1940s. What little she found reinforced negative stereotypes.

A colleague eventually suggested she look into Destination Freedom, a series of weekly broadcasts created by journalist and activist Richard Durham that featured African-American leaders and heroes of the day.

Serena Williams won the first three Grand Slams of the tennis season and is considered one of the top female tennis players ever but is often scrutinized for her demeanor.
Yann Caradec / Flickr Creative Commons

A new season of television launches this week with hit shows Empire and Black-ish. The shows are breaking records and barriers with audiences, showcasing narratives of black life in America. 

Meanwhile, Viola Davis won an Emmy this weekend for "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series," becoming the first woman of color to win the award. 

'Hashtags are the new protest signs'
Mark Dixon / https://www.flickr.com/photos/9602574@N02/15770344667

There are all kinds of conversations happening in the multiverse that is social media.

From discussions about Ta-Nehisi Coates’ new book to police brutality, social media takes a look at a wide array of issues in the headlines.

Missing Men
Pixabay

As a teenager in Maryland, Dwayne Betts showed promise. The high school student made the honor roll and demonstrated sharp wit.

But Betts grew up in an environment not conducive to success. He recalls three of his classmates being killed. Others went to prison.

“The expectation wasn’t necessarily that we would go to prison,” Betts said. “But we lived in a climate and an environment in which these things were happening every day and nobody was confronting what it meant.”

A selection of images and poems by husband and wife artist team Michael Platt and Carol Beane. Their  exhibit “Ritual + Time Travel=Rebirth” is on view at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History.
Michael Platt and Carol Beane

Husband and wife artist team Michael Platt and Carol Beane co-create work that explores rites, rituals and the lives of people living on the margins of history.