All That’s Black: Willi Ninja

Willi Ninja model, choreographer vogue legend: Photo Credit: Paul Hawthorn “Child, you are FIERCE!” Known as the godfather of voguing, Willi Ninja was born in 1961 in New Hyde Park, New York. Willi is perhaps most famous for his appearance in Jennie Livingston’s 1990 documentary: “Paris is Burning.” Although Willi did not create the style…

Advertisements

All That’s Black: Richard Bruce Nugent

Richard Bruce Nugent- artist, writer, actor, dancer, dilettante, and bohemian: Photo Credit: Tom Wirth “Silhouette. On the face of the moon. Am I. A dark shadow in the light.” Icon of the 1920s Harlem, Bruce Nugent, was born to middle class, Washington D.C. socialites. Upon his father’s death, Nugent, his mother and brothers moved to…

How ‘The Farewell’ Portrays Home In All Its Abstract Glory

Something about Lulu Wang's The Farewell feels familiar to me. This strikes me early on in the film, when we find ourselves in Changchun, the Chinese city in which much of the film takes place, via a series of wide-angle shots of various apartment buildings, endlessly tall and taking up much of the city's landscape.…

All That’s Black: Esther Jones

Esther Jones, singer and entertainer: Known by her stage name “Baby Esther,” she was an American singer and entertainer known for her “baby” voice singing. She was a performer at the Cotton Club in Harlem. In the late 1920s, another singer named Helen Kane, saw Esther’s performance and, noting the audience appeal, stole Esther’s scat…

All That’s Black: James West

James West, innovator: “My father introduced me to three black men who had earned doctorates in chemistry and physics. The best jobs they could find were at the post office. My father said I was taking the long road toward working at the post office.” With over 250 patents to his name, James West is…