Highlighting Black Intellectuals and Artists Around the World: Maryse Condé

Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are celebrating Maryse Condé @maryseconde, an iconic author of over ten novels, short stories, essays, and articles on African and Caribbean literature. Maryse Boucolon (later Condé) was born in Guadeloupe in 1937. Her parents were among the first black instructors in Guadeloupe. Her mother, Jeanne Quidal, directed her own school for girls, and her father, who had been an educator, founded the small bank “Le Caisse Coopérative des prêts” which was later renamed as “La Banque Antillaise.” Condé began writing at an early age. Before the age of 12 she had written a one-act, one-person play, as a gift for her mother’s birthday. She did not publish her first novel, Hérémakhonon until she was nearly 40 because, as she said: “I didn’t have confidence in myself and did not dare present my writing to the outside world.” Condé would not reach her current prominence as a contemporary Caribbean writer until the publication of her third novel, Ségou (1984). Following the success of Ségou, in 1985 Condé was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to teach in the US and became a professor of French and Francophone literature at Columbia University in New York City in 1995. Condé has taught at various universities, including the University of California, Berkeley; UCLA, the Sorbonne, The University of Virginia, and the University of Nanterre. She retired from teaching in 2005. Condé’s novels explore racial, gender, and cultural issues in a variety of historical eras and locales, including the Salem witch trials in I, Tituba: Black Witch of Salem (1986); the 19th-century Bambara Empire of Mali in Ségou (1984-1985); and the 20th-century building of the Panama Canal and its influence on increasing the West Indian middle class in Tree of Life (1987). Her novels trace the relationships between African peoples and the diaspora, especially the Caribbean. Her first novel Hérémakhonon, was published in 1976. A radical activist in her work as well as in her personal life, Condé has admitted: “I could not write anything… unless it has a certain political significance. I have nothing else to offer that remains important.”

Highlighting Black Intellectuals and Artists Around the World: Arturo Alfonso Schomburg

Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are celebrating Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, one of the best antidotes to the erasure of Afro-Latinx figures from African American and “mainstream” American history. Arturo Alfonso Schomburg co-founded the Negro Society for Historical Research and became president of the American Negro Academy in D.C. He was also active in the Harlem Renaissance and is known for his publication of the inspirational essay “The Negro Digs Up His Past.” Arturo Alfonso Schomburg researched and raised awareness of the great contributions that Afro-Latin Americans and African Americans have made to society and Schomburg was the curator of the Schomburg Collection of Negro Literature and Art at the 135th Street branch of the New York Public Library. Schomburg used the money from the sale of his collection to add more artifacts of African history to the collection and traveled to Spain, France, Germany, England, and Cuba.

Highlighting Black Intellectuals and Artists Around the World: Kobe Bryant

Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are celebrating the legendary Kobe Bryant, one of the best basketball players in the history of the NBA!
You can learn about Kobe Bryant on Instagram @kobebryant
Kobe Bean Bryant was an American professional basketball player. A shooting guard, he spent his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association Kobe Bryant earned his Oscar in 2018 for “Dear Basketball,” a nearly five-and-a-half-minute short illustrating the poem that the Los Angeles Laker wrote for “The Players’ Tribune” to announce his retirement in November 2015.

Highlighting Black Intellectuals and Artists Around the World: Larry Amponsah

Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are introducing Larry Amponsah, an iconic Ghanian artist who lives in London.
Learn more about Larry Amponsah on Twitter @11LCLArry11 and on Instagram @larry.collections.
Larry Amponsah (b. 1989, Accra-Ghana) is a multi-media artist whose practice investigates traditional modes of image-making whilst employing unconventional strategies of production to look at the contemporary politics of imagery. Larry Amponsah is currently a Trustee of The Kuenyehia Art Trust in Ghana, shortlisted for the 2019 Dentons Art Prize, and recently won the Be Smart About Art Award in 2019.

Highlighting Black Intellectuals and Artists Around the World: Kimberle Crenshaw

Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are introducing Kimberle Crenshaw, the iconic black feminist author who coined the term and concept of “intersectional.” Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw is an American lawyer, civil rights advocate, philosopher, and a leading scholar of critical race theory who developed the theory of intersectionality.
Learn more about Kimberle Crenshaw on her Twitter and Instagram @kimberlecrenshaw
Crenshaw has also worked extensively on a variety of issues pertaining to gender and race in the domestic arena including violence against women, structural racial inequality, and affirmative action.

Highlighting Black Intellectuals and Artists Around the World: Ibram X. Kendi

Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are introducing Ibram X. Kendi, an American author and historian. Ibram X. Kendi is one of America’s foremost historians and leading antiracist scholars. He is a National Book Award-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling author.
Learn more about Ibram X. Kendi on his website ibramxkendi.com, Instagram @ibramxk, and Twitter @DrIbram.
Kendi is also the author of #1 New York Times best sellers, HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST, one of the most famous modern works about racism in today’s society, and describes how to always evaluate and question one’s self.

Highlighting Black Intellectuals and Artists Around the World: John Murillo

Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are introducing John Murillo, an American poet. John Murillo is the author of the poetry collections, Up Jump the Boogie (Cypher 2010, Four Way 2020), finalist for both the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Pen Open Book Award, and Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry (forthcoming from Four Way Books 2020).
Learn more about John Murillo on his website https://www.johnmurillo.com/
John Murillo’s poetry works to bring awareness to the realities of African American life. His poetry is written in a very accessible and narrative style. The descriptive imagery and passionate writing in his poems are captivating.

We would like to feature a poem by John Murillo, titled Enter the Dragon.

Enter the Dragon

                                 —Los Angeles, California, 1976
For me, the movie starts with a black man
Leaping into an orbit of badges, tiny moons Catching the sheen of his perfect black afro.
Arc kicks, karate chops, and thirty cops On their backs. It starts with the swagger,
The cool lean into the leather front seat Of the black and white he takes off in.
Deep hallelujahs of moviegoers drown Out the wah wah guitar. Salt & butter
High-fives, Right on, brother! and Daddy Glowing so bright he can light the screen
All by himself. This is how it goes down. Friday night and my father drives us
Home from the late show, two heroes Cadillacking across King Boulevard.
In the car‟s dark cab, we jab and clutch, Jim Kelly and Bruce Lee with popcorn
Breath, and almost miss the lights flashing In the cracked side mirror. I know what’s
Under the seat, but when the uniforms Approach from the rear quarter panel,
When the fat one leans so far into my father’s Window I can smell his long day’s work,
When my father—this John Henry of a man— Hides his hammer, doesn’t buck, tucks away
His baritone, license and registration shaking as if Showing a bathroom pass to a grade school
Principal, I learn the difference between cinema And city, between the moviehouse cheers
Of old men and the silence that gets us home.

Source

Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world: Domingo Edjang Moreno aka El Chojin

Learn more about Domingo Edjang Moreno @el_chojin_oficial on Instagram and @ElChojin_net on Twitter.
Domingo Edjang Moreno, known by his stage name El Chojin is a Spanish rapper known for his profanity-free music style and tendency to espouse non-violence and antiracism in his lyrics. He also holds a world record for the most syllables wrapped in one minute! https://www.elchojin.net

Virtual Worlds and VR at CMU

Last week we were proud to be featured in CMU’s popular Across the Cut series which features some of the innovative and interesting projects that faculty and students have been engaged with in the past year.
Our Director, Stephan Caspar, and his Multicultural Pittsburgh class were featured with an article and accompanying video highlighting some of the recent sessions taught using in VR using headsets that we distributed to students or already had access to. Students reported positive experiences, enjoyed meeting up and as Stephan says in the article, he is certainly looking forward to running more sessions in VR.

Highlighting Black Intellectuals and Artists Around the World: Desirée Ndjambo

Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are introducing Desirée Ndjambo, a Spanish journalist and presenter.
Learn more about Desirée Ndjambo @desirendjambo on Instagram and @DesireeNdjambo on Twitter
Desirée Ndjambo is a Spanish journalist and presenter. She presented the sports section of the morning edition of Telediario on La 1 channel and the Moto GP World Championship for TVE. She now presents La 2 Noticias, which focuses on human rights, the environment, and international issues in addition to other topics.

Highlighting Black Intellectuals and Artists Around the World: Barry Jenkins

Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are introducing Barry Jenkins, an American filmmaker.
Barry Jenkins is a film director, writer, producer, and screenwriter. In 2016, he won the Academy Award for Best Picture for Moonlight as well as the Golden Globe Award. His screen adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel If Beale Street Could Talk received critical acclaim and won a best-supporting actress award for Regina King at the 2019 89th Academy Awards.

Highlighting Black Intellectuals and Artists Around the World: Sonia Sanchez

Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are introducing Sonia Sanchez, a leading figure in the Black Arts movement.
Sonia Sanchez is an American poet, writer, and professor. She was a leading figure in the Black Arts Movement and has authored over a dozen books of poetry, as well as short stories, critical essays, plays, and children’s books. She is also the recipient of both the Robert Frost Medal for distinguished lifetime service to American poetry and the Langston Hughes Poetry Award. Her works aim to educate and advocate for the black community through writing.
Learn more about Sonia Sanchez on https://soniasanchez.net/ and on Twitter @PoetSanchez.

Artist Micro-commissions – Gallery

To support local artists and designers during COVID-19, the Askwith Kenner Global Languages and Cultures Room created the Micro-Commissions Project. We invited eight CMU students and local Pittsburgh artists to create artworks to be displayed within the room and on a new digital projection installation on the glass wall near the front of the room. Artists were inspired by our themes of language, culture, identity, and personal stories. Each artist had the freedom to choose any medium.

Please enjoy the artwork and designs from the eight wonderful artists. Click on the link below each artwork to learn about the artists’ inspirations and thoughts behind each piece,

1) “Reflections” by Langston Wells

2) “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” by Jennifer Shin

3) “The Fruits of our Culture” by Nancy Zuo

4) “Opening the Door of Opportunity” by Alyssa Song

5) “As I Search for the Word” by Daniel Noh

6) “Idioms Around The World” by Jubbies

7) “The Korean-American Dictionary” by Eileen Lee

8) “Working Together, Apart” by Sanna

We would like to thank all of the artists for creating these beautiful pieces of artwork! We look forward to displaying them in the Kenner room.

Artist Micro-commissions – “Working Together, Apart” by Sanna

To support local artists and designers during COVID-19, the Askwith Kenner Global Languages and Cultures Room created the Micro-Commissions Project. We invited eight CMU students and local Pittsburgh artists to create artworks to be displayed within the room and on a new digital projection installation on the glass wall near the front of the room. Artists were inspired by our themes of language, culture, identity, and personal stories. Each artist had the freedom to choose any medium.


“Working Together, Apart” by Sanna Legan

Today, we would like to introduce “Working Together, Apart” by Sanna Legan. Sanna was inspired by her life in quarantine.

“Being in quarantine, it is very easy to feel isolated. However, I wanted to remember the very reason I love CMU. Being able to connect and meet people from all around the world, as passionate as I am.”

Sanna’s artworked was created in Adobe Photoshop.

“This piece is about how Carnegie Mellon is a hub for passion, knowledge, and learning. To create this work I put out a call for CMU students to submit a picture of themselves doing what they were passionate about. CMU is a unique place, where students from all different fields and interests are put together. I got submissions of people singing, swimming, studying, talking, drawing, play instruments, snowboarding, and more. This is what connects us. Being able to share our creations.”

About the Artist

You can find more of Sanna’s work on Instagram: @sannalegan and on her Website/Portfolio: www.sannalegan.com

Artist Micro-commissions – “The Korean-American Dictionary” by Eileen

To support local artists and designers during COVID-19, the Askwith Kenner Global Languages and Cultures Room created the Micro-Commissions Project. We invited eight CMU students and local Pittsburgh artists to create artworks to be displayed within the room and on a new digital projection installation on the glass wall near the front of the room. Artists were inspired by our themes of language, culture, identity, and personal stories. Each artist had the freedom to choose any medium.


“The Korean-American Dictionary” by Eileen Lee

Today we would like to showcase “The Korean-American Dictionary” by Eileen Lee. Eileen was inspired by Bilingualism and Asian-American identity.

Eileen’s artwork was created using Procreate.

“As an Asian-American living and growing up in the United States, I learned and used the Korean and English language interchangeably. I wanted to highlight specific vocabulary that I found was important to learn in order to describe my identity and sometimes my guilt in forgetting my native language. At the same time, I also wanted to show the free-flowing thoughts and connections as a result of bilingualism.”

About the Artist

You can find more of Eileen’s work on IG: @eileen_loves_cheesecake and on her portfolio website: https://www.eileenlee.me/