Sign in

Momentum
A blog from Medium about the fight against anti-Black racism.

Laughter Will Save Your Soul

Photo by Siviwe Kapteyn on Unsplash

The rebellion will come with a laugh. A full-throated, hearty, goose-honk of a laugh. Snorts and all. Laughter is defiant. More obstinate than a fist. Reminds us why we’d raise a fist in the first place.

The first place I went after my vaccination was a ‘Black-and-Asian-Solidarity’ event in the thick of the city. Stories were told, tears were shed, plans were made. I left feeling lighter than I had in weeks. The next day, I went to a park where a group of black friends had dressed as fairies-actual, mythological fairies with wings and horns and crowns-and laughed until…


Black Art Matters

Travel down memory lane with one of the greatest photographers of all time

Photo from Gordon Parks’ exhibit “Hope in the Wilderness.”

In photographer Gordon Parks’ 1971 book Born Black, members of the Black Panther Party pose at their headquarters in Berkley, California; the Fontenelle family battles poverty; and men from the Fruit of Islam run drills with their arms outstretched in powerful black and white photos. The collection of images and essays commissioned by Life magazine, where Parks was the first African American staff photographer, covers critical moments and figures from 1960–1970, including Muhammad Ali’s 1966 fight with Londoner Henry Cooper and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 funeral.

The late Parks was a celebrated filmmaker, musician, and artist. Much of…


Countless spaces are labeled as ‘Black’ but they’re not entirely ours. How do we reclaim them?

Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

“Why is the African collection on the lowest floor?” I ask a security guard at the British Museum. Every other collection gets sunlight, but Africa is buried underground, hidden beneath the fire exits, accessible only if you want to look for it. The guard tells me it’s probably because the museum acquired this collection last, so instead of building a fourth floor, they dug deeper.

When I visit the National Museum of Scotland I wait for my group of friends to wander off so I can take a picture of the Art of African Metalwork exhibition. As the picture snaps…


When it comes to rethinking casting, ‘Bridgerton’ was only the beginning

Photo: Parisa Taghizadeh/Fable/ViacomCBS

Reactions to “color-blind” casting tend to run the gamut. Remember when Hamilton first caused a stir? And now, well — who actually pictures Thomas Jefferson as not Daveed Diggs anymore? More recently, Netflix’s regency drama Bridgerton struck some viewers as being fun and empowering… and struck others as still centering and idealizing Whiteness.

Now, a new miniseries for British television promises to reimagine the story of Henry VIII’s second wife Anne Boleyn. Deadline describes the project thus: “Penned by newcomer Eve Hedderwick Turner, the drama shines a feminist light on the final months of Boleyn’s life, re-imagining her struggle with…


The carefree aesthetic is appealing for many, but the inclusion also is full of political purpose

“Most of the time, Instagram’s professional mermaids infuse the digital world with beauty and magic. The average person can’t extract a service or buy a product from them (unless they’re…


Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

In a presidential inauguration ceremony that solidified the end of a bitter four years, and that saw the swearing in of America’s first Black — and female and South Asian and non-White, period—vice president, it was the Black 22-year-old poet Amanda Gorman who stole the show.

Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in history, offered an invocation to optimism that skirted patriotic revisionism. Instead, her words called upon the nation to summon hope amid darkness and, above all, to put in the work required for repair: “There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. …


Steven John Irby’s ‘41 to ’99: A Photo Essay’ sets the stage for Ava DuVernay’s LEAP

Before George Floyd and the many others we marched for this year, there was Amadou Diallo, who was shot 19 times in the doorway of his Bronx, New York, apartment by plainclothed officers 21 years ago. The four officers involved were acquitted. One of them, officer Kenneth Boss, was eventually promoted.

Photographer Steven John Irby’s latest project, 41 to ’99: A Photo Essay, centers Diallo’s murder — the tragic killing of an unarmed Black man by police. The officers fired 41 bullets at Diallo, who they mistook for a rape suspect and claimed was reaching for a gun. …


An artist’s series asks us to consider the color and the culture

Photos courtesy of courtesy of Rhona Hoffman Gallery and Amanda Williams

The Instagram post started with a question.

“What black is this you say?”

“‘Apparently even Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s Lives Matter now’–black’”

The inquiry, and the answers, became part of an art installation that celebrates Black culture and identity while also highlighting the moments of 2020 that America will not soon forget. Chicago-based artist Amanda Williams kicked off the multiplatform series in June 2020, not long after George Floyd’s death. She would post an inky image; sometimes with form, sometimes without, and then type in her ask. The answer always merged color with culture.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CHVL2_aFkZN/?igshid=1sz96xfx2gprq

The response on June…


Election 2020

Kara Walker, Glenn Ligon, Nick Cave, and more give us the election art we need

Images courtesy of W Magazine

Glenn Ligon, Kara Walker, and Nick Cave are amongst the 18 modern artists — all people of color — who reimagined the political poster for a new W Magazine feature.

Cave, a Chicago-based artist and professor at the Art Institute of Chicago who is known for his spectacular Sound Suits, says now is the time.

“Political posters have always been a way to share points of view or contention,” Cave tells Momentum. “They are powerful because they can infiltrate the mainstream being part art, part design, and 100% human. I made this poster for W as a collaboration, to allow…

Momentum

A blog from Medium about the fight against anti-Black racism.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store