Friday 31 December 2021

Happy 2022

Dearest friends of Diversity is beautiful, it is time again to wish you all the best for the coming year... have a wonderful, interesting (but perhaps a bit less interesting than the past two years), sparkling, sunny, bright, friendly, pandemic-free, joyful, fabulous, fun, warm, relaxing, adventerous, and marvellous year. Buon anno!

photograph via

Sunday 26 December 2021

Desmond Tutu (1931-2021)

"Be nice to whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity."
Desmond Tutu

photograph (by Jane Bown, 1993) of the wonderful Desmond Tutu who shall always be missed via

Saturday 25 December 2021

F***ing Nerve (Lamont Humphrey, 2000)

When I'm born I'm black 
When I grow up I'm even more black 
When I'm in the sun I'm still black 
When I'm cold, guess what: I'm black 
And when I die I'm f*cking black too 

But you: When you are born you're pink 
When you grow up you are white 
When you're sick, man look at yourself, you're green 
When you go in the sun you turn red 
When you are cold you turn blue 
And when you die you look purple 

And you got the f*ing nerv to call me colored (...)
(lyrics via)

::: Tongue Forest ft. Lamont Humphrey on YouTube: LISTEN/WATCH

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photograph by John Vachon (1938) via

Tuesday 21 December 2021

The Ageless John Forsythe and the "Old" Ladies

"Well, I think this shows how ageism in Hollywood is. I was in my forties when I got that role, and Linda was in her thirties. John was 62. Do you think any of the press ever mentioned that he was 62? It was always "the older women, Linda and Joan, you know, in their thirties and their fourties". Never mentioned it. And I would bring this up in interviews because I don't like ageist people. And Mr Forsythe didn't like it. And he would say, "Why do you have to mention my age?" I say, "because our is mentioned, Linda's and ours is mentioned all the time and we want equality, you know. They are mentioning ours and we are mentioning yours." Joan Collins

photograph via

Monday 20 December 2021

The Afrozensus

Every year, the Afrozensus is carried out, a survey among people of African origin living in Germany. The findings show that they have very diverse backgrounds since they come from 144 countries. At the same time, they do share some experiences, such as other people touching their hair without consent, an experience 90% of black people living in Germany make or have made. 80% get sexualised comments regarding their look or skin colour on dating apps, More than 56% have been asked whether they sell drugs and more than 56% say they have been stopped by the police without any obvious reason. Exotisised, sexualised, criminalised... but also homogenised and deindividualised. 

More than 90% say that people do not believe them when they talk about their encounters with racism. And when they express criticism they are accused of being angry (86%). Most of the people taking part in the survey (74.9%) call themselves "black" (via)

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photograph by Neil Libbert via

Saturday 18 December 2021

On Photographing the Far Right

In 1977, Chris Steele-Perkins photographed the "Battle of Lewisham", i.e. members of the far right National Front planning to march to London's city centre, the 4.000 counter-protestors and many police officers.

Steele-Perkins kept photographing the far right supporters in the following decades... shaved heads, White Power t-shirts and Nazi salutes. However, they only tell part of the story, as he points out:

"The far right is depicted in photographs as the burly boys because it's easy to do it that way. Skinheads shouting perhaps looks more intimindating than people with long hair shouting."

“The real problem is the people who don’t talk – the political classes behind it are really to blame. The others are just foot soldiers, some of whom are not too bright and just want to get into a rumble. […] This is where photography and representation have a problem, The message is maybe not carried in the picture in same way [if it doesn’t show a skinhead].” 

photographs by Chris Steele-Perkins via

Monday 13 December 2021

... an absurd parody of our former life.

"There is only one solution if old age is not to be an absurd parody of our former life, and that is to go on pursuing ends that give our existence a meaning – devotion to individuals, to groups or to causes, social, political, intellectual or creative work."

photograph by David Godlis via

Saturday 11 December 2021

Quoting Damon Albarn III

“I was brought up an internationalist and my dad’s dad was a conscientious objector. Both my parents were very much part of the sixties in their mindsets. I didn’t feel any sort of nationalism. I didn’t really understand what it was. I remember when I first went to comprehensive school, Scotland had been in the World Cup in ’78. I bought a Scotland top and went into school, and I got the s*** kicked out of me. I soon learnt about nationalism after that one.” That’s a true story. I didn’t know you weren’t allowed to support other teams. Literally, because it had never been part of my upbringing.”
Damon Albarn

YouTube Selection

::: Hollow Ponds: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Polaris: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Out of Time: LISTEN/WATCH
::: The Universal (Matera, 2019): LISTEN/WATCH
::: Everyday Robots: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Royal Morning Blue: LISTEN/WATCH
::: On Melancholy Hill: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Lonely Press Play: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Hostiles: LISTEN/WATCH

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photograph via

Friday 10 December 2021

The Grandmother Stereotype and the Fog of Irrelevance

A grandmother is seen as a one-dimensional being since becoming one "subsumes everything else in your life under a fog of irrelevance". When Hillary Clinton, for instance, became a grandmother she was asked when she would "please go quietly into the night" (via). This attitude is there despite the fact that grandparents represent a bigger chunk of the population than ever before and despite many of them being in the labour force. Let's face it: "The idea of Grandma baking the occasional batch of cookies doesn't match today's realities." (via).

There's nothing new about grandmother stereotypes. Remember Little Red Riding Hood? A wolf swallows up sickly granny in her cap and nightgown and climbs into her bed to wait for the dutiful child to appear so he can gobble her up too, along with her basket of goodies. In the more benign resolutions of the tale, a friendly woodcutter cuts open the wolf, and grandmother and child emerge unscathed. Presumably granny then retires to her rocking chair and is transformed into another common stereotype – the plump, kindly old woman in her dotage, sitting with her knitting in an isolated corner of the room. Sandra Martin

photograph by David Godlis via

Thursday 9 December 2021

Elfriede Jelinek says...

"Eroding solidarity paradoxically makes a society more susceptible to the construction of substitute collectives and fascisms of all kinds."

photograph by Leonard Freed (The March on Washington, 1963) via

Tuesday 7 December 2021

Narrative images: More interested in the people, in their hands

Leonard Freed was “never interested in photographing celebrities; I was interested in people. Take the Martin Luther King Photo. He is an icon, people want to touch him, he is not a human being anymore, he is totally surrounded by the arms, he is protected. Look at the eyes. I was more interested in the people, in their hands, than I was in Martin Luther King himself.” Freed’s picture of Dr King shows him being greeted on his return to the U.S. after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, mobbed by the public as he travelled through Baltimore in a motorcade. The photographer documented the civil rights movement extensively and was a pioneer of socially conscious photography. (literally via)

photograph by Leonard Freed via

Sunday 5 December 2021

Giovanni and Roberto in Sardinia

Photographer Giovanni Corabi and creative director Roberto Ortu spent two weeks in Sardinia capturing "the rebellious youth" living on an island where the "traditions are strong and can sometimes feel heavy" making many people decide to leave and for those who stay hard to find their own voice. Corabi and Ortu celebrate "the rebellious youth that lives on the island but is an active part of where the culture is headed, somewhere between tradition and modernity" including migration (via).

photographs via

Saturday 4 December 2021

Define Gender: Unboxing

“Gender isn't as black and white as I grew up believing. While some people are fluid and others decisive in their identification, both are of equal value. The social labels of the male and the female feel irrelevant and restrictive today. I wanted to express this through dance ...

... because, energetically, it can call upon the masculine and feminine but also exist outside those stereotypes. With the box structure of the set—and the dancer's liberation from it—I wanted to show that we do not have to exist within the binary limitations society inflicts on us. This film presents a space where gender can be more fluid than fixed definitions allow.”
Kate Cox

image via

Friday 3 December 2021

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Some facts... There are one billion persons with disabilities, 80% of them living in developing countries, 46% of people aged 60 years and over are people with disabilities, one in five women is likely to experience disability in her life, one in ten children is a child with disability. No matter where and what gender, people with disabilities are among the hardest hit by the pandemic (via).

"I urge all countries to fully implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, increase accessibility, and dismantle legal, social, economic and other barriers with the active involvement of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations."
Antonio Guterres

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photograph via

Thursday 2 December 2021

80% Experiencing Everyday Ageism

According to a poll (n = 2.048 adults aged 50 to 80) carried out in the United States by the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Poliy and Innovation shortly before the pandemic started, more than 80% commonly experience at least one form of ageism in everyday life... the usual remarks about using a smartphone, jokes about losing one's memory or hearing, magazine ads focusing on wrinkles and grey hair... a never-ending and sociall accepted list (via).

The new poll asked older adults about nine forms of everyday ageism, and analyzed the results based on respondents’ age, income, media consumption habits, residence, work status, and self-reported health and appearance.
In all, 65% said they’re commonly exposed to ageist messages in materials they watch or read, and 45% said they sometimes or often experience ageism in interactions with other people. More than one-third of older adults have internalized stereotypes to the extent that they agreed or strongly agreed that feeling lonely or depressed were inherent parts of growing older.
Older and lower income older adults were more likely to report that they commonly experienced three or more forms of everyday ageism. Women, those who had retired and those who lived in rural areas were also more likely than men to experience it, as well as those still working and those living in suburban or urban areas.
“Everyday ageism is part of American culture and one of the most common and socially condoned forms of prejudice and discrimination. There is no doubt that it harms the health and wellbeing of older adults (...). In addition to addressing everyday ageism in general, we as a society should be especially careful about how ageist prejudices and stereotypes affect our response to the massive public health challenges of the ongoing pandemic.”
Julie Ober Allen, research fellow at the Institute for Social Research

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photograph by Leon Levinstein (Fifth Avenue, 1969) via

Tuesday 30 November 2021

Do Butterflies Remember Being Caterpillars?

Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli is the breakdancing star at the heart of this film. Born with a neuromuscular disorder, he has spent decades finding new and innovative ways to participate in dance. Usually incorporating scrutches into his routines, Patuelli invents adapts breakdancing moves that harness his upper body strength.

Caraz is a rising director based in Montreal. With a background in photography, he explores striking, powerful characters set in diverse worlds. Her ability to create highly crafted aesthetics with an emotional approach gives her films not only a sense of style but also personality.

Born in Italy, Alessandro Giaquinto is this movie’s choreographer and a dancer for The Stuttgart Ballet. (literally via).

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image via

Monday 29 November 2021

Saul Steinberg. A Genius Facing Antisemitism.

Romania is an anti-Semitic country, as Saul finds out when he moves to the capital with his family. His scholastic career in the Liceu Matei Basarab in Bucharest would be made difficult by this climate. After enrolling in the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, in 1933 he decides to study architecture but is not admitted: there is a limit to the number of Jewish students. Years later he would write: "My childhood, my adoslescence in Romania were a bit like being a Negro in the State of Mississippi" (Reflections and shadows, 2001). (literally from the exhibition at the Triennale Milano currently showing Saul Steinberg's works)

Saul Steinberg was born on 15th June 1914 in Ramnicu Sarat, a small town north of Bucharest, in Romania. His parents, Moritz Steinberg and Rosa Iacobson, belonged to the Jewish middle class. In 1915 the family moved to Bucharest and Moritz set up a bookbinding shop and then began to produce decorative boxes. Some of the family had already emigrated to America in the late nineteenth century. In 1925, Saul enrolled in the Liceu Matei Basarab and three years later graduated to its upper school. Having gained his diploma in 1932, he enrolled in the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters at the University of Bucharest. He received good grades but the university's anti-Semitic atmosphere kept him from regularly attending courses. (text from exhibition, Triennale Milano)

In 1933, he applied for admission to the Faculty of Architecture but was denied entrance because a quota system limited the number of Jewish students who could be accepted. Instead, he went to Milan and enrolled in the Faculty of Architecture of the Regio Politecnico, arriving in the city in November. (...) But in 1938 the Fascist regime promulgated racial laws and Steinberg risked expulsion from Italy. He was able, however, to complete his studies in 1940, but his efforts to leave Italy for the US failed. After various ups and downs, including being arrested and confined in an internment camp, he managed to leave for Santo Domingo, where he spent a year waiting for a US visa. He finally arrived in New Yorsk in July 1942. (...) (text from exhibition, Triennale Milano)

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photographs via and via

Sunday 28 November 2021

Quoting Gilberto Gil

"I think that the global consciousness concerning all those elements that produce tension, fractions of societies, is changing in the sense that we all tend to understand a little more the needs for harmonizing the process and integrating races and cultures and producing multiculturalism and different melting-pot situations. That affects global things, tolerating the Arab, the African, the Eastern civilizations, getting rid of this hegemonic dominance by the West. That's all comprehensive now in terms both of understanding and approaching the whole planet."
Gilberto Gil

"Sometimes, from outside, and from America especially, where the racial tension is so intense, you tend to understand Brazil as a kind of ideal situation, but it's not. There are a lot of problems. Historically, we have been in struggle, in real struggle to protect and defend the natural leaning towards absorbing the African and the Indian heritage that our society has." 
Gilberto Gil

"We are sufficiently conscious of this dimension or quality of Brazil as a melting pot, as a culture and a nation that is being subjected to an amalgamating process. More than just a mixing process, it is an amalgamation where the fragments, the parts in collision, really interact profoundly. They become another thing after the contact." 
Gilberto Gil

photographs via and via

Friday 26 November 2021

What I am, what you force me to be is what you are. By Gordon Parks.

For I am you, staring back from a mirror of poverty and despair, of revolt and freedom. Look at me and know that to destroy me is to destroy yourself. You are weary of the long hot summers. I am tired of the long hungered winters. We are not so far apart as it might seem. There is something about both of us that goes deeper than blood or black or white. It is our common search for a better life, a better world. I march now over the same ground you onced marched. I fight for the same things you still fight for. My children's needs are the same as your children's. I too am America. America is me. It gave me the only life I know - so I must share in its survival. Look at me. Listen to me. Try to understand my struggle against your racism. There is yet a chance for us to live in peace beneath these restless skies. Gordon Parks

photograph of Norman Fontenelle by Gordon Parks (1967) via

Thursday 25 November 2021

The Art World. Sharing the Same Prejudices We Face in the Real World.

"When one thinks of the art world, one thinks of a place of openness and tolerance -- yet that is hardly the case. The ‘art world’ shares the same prejudice we face in the real world. That said, the illusion of togetherness that has been constructed around the art world makes said reality even more toxic. Forms of sexism, racism, and ageism dominate art culture just under the surface -- which dictates our collective knowledge of art history. This is a topic that few gallery owners want to discuss -- because it is a topic that, more often than not, reveals a world of bigotry and unnecessary challenges placed before artists." Brian Sherwin

photograph of Silvana Mangano by Eve Arnold (1956) via

Wednesday 24 November 2021

Ageism. Prevalent. Unrecognised. Unchallenged.

 ... also widespread and accepted. Ageism is there, everywhere. Age determines who receives medical procedures, treatments, lifesaving therapies, who is disadvantaged in the workplace, who has access to specialised training and education. Ageism leads to poorer health and earlier deaths, it causes social isolation, reduces quality of life and costs economies billions. Nevertheless, every second person in the world holds ageist attitudes (United Nations, 2021).

Ageism is also costly:

Ageism costs our societies billions of dollars. In the United States of America (USA), a 2020 study showed ageism in the form of negative age stereotypes and self-perceptions led to excess annual costs of US$63 billion for the eight most expensive health conditions. This amounts to US$1 in every US$7 spent on these conditions for all Americans over the age of 60 for one year (see note to editors). 

Estimates in Australia suggest that if 5 per cent more people aged 55 or older were employed, there would be a positive impact of AUD$48 billion on the national economy annually. There are currently limited data and information on the economic costs of ageism and more research is needed to better understand its economic impact, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. (United Nations, 2021)

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photograph by Diane Arbus via

Tuesday 23 November 2021

Television Portrayals, Ethnic Stereotypes and Guilt Ratings

Abstract: An experiment was conducted to test the hypothesis that stereotypical television portrayals of African-Americans increase the likelihood that whites will make negative social perception judgments of an African-American (but not a white) target person. Forty white subjects were exposed to comedy skits featuring stereotypical or netural portrayals of African-American characters. Subjects then read a vignette describing an incident in which a college student was allegedly assaulted by his rommate. In half of the conditions, the alleged offender was assumed to be white; in the other half he was assumed to be African-American. 

Subjects rated the likelihood that the alleged offender was guilty of the assault. Guilt ratings of the white target did not differ significantly between the stereotypical and the neutral comedy skit conditions. In contrast, guilt ratings of the African-American target were higher in the stereotypical comedy skit condition than in the neutral comedy skit condition. (Ford, 1997)

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- Ford, T. E. (1997). Effects of Stereotypical Television Portrayals of African-Americans on Person Perception. Social Psychology Quarterly, 60(3), 266-275.
- photograph by Pierre Verger via

Monday 22 November 2021

Gazing up at the poorest of the poor. Pierre Verger

“I started traveling, not so much driven by a desire to do ethnographic research or journalistic reports, but rather as a result of the need to distance myself, to free myself and escape the environment in which I had been living until then, whose prejudices and rules of conduct did not make me happy.” 
Pierre Verger, 1982

Pierre Edouard Leopold Verger (1902-1996) was a French photographer and researcher born in Paris into a bourgeois family. In 1932, he discovered photography and travelling, a combination that changed his life. Verger travelled around the world and, after disembarking in Brazil, decided to stay there (via) 

Verger traveled extensively during his long career, but his central focus was the exploration and visual depiction of the enduring continuities linking peoples and cultures of West Africa and the African Diaspora. Over the course of five decades, he took an estimated 65,000 black-and-white photographs with his Rolleiflex camera, depicting individuals and groups in humanistic, light-drenched portraits. In his approach to photography, he placed great emphasis on documenting the beauty of the human form as encountered in scenes of everyday life. In large part, his intention was to counter racism and all-too-prevalent derogatory representations of Africans and peoples of African-descent in the Americas. (via)

Verger turned toward his subjects, his photographs differed from etchnographical approaches "based on measured gestures and the obscene gaze directed at the object being photographed". In fact, he had an aversion to voyeurism and made sure that even when photographing the poorest of the poor, they maintained their personality and dignity. He captured them from an ascending camera angle which reflected his own gaze, i.e. gazing up at them and giving them a heroic aura (via).

Unlike the friends also ethnologists from the Musée de l’Homme in Paris, Roger Bastide and Alfred Métraux, who often gave him their texts to correct, Verger’s approach was deliberately undetached. He was the opposite of an aloof observer; he never used the lens of his camera as a partition between the observed object and the subject being interpreted. Moreover, his almost obsessive attempts to escape the middle-class milieu, and to subject himself to extreme situations, prompted him to always see himself as a part of his own experimental arrangement. There was method in his empathy. He never saw sympathy and shock as obstacles; they were the motivating forces of his understanding that enabled him to place himself in the position of the other; to overcome ethnic, social and epistemological barriers, and to experience in this way – recalling Rimbaud – oneself as the other: “To be honest, I’m only marginally interested in ethnography. I don’t want to study people as if they were just beetles or exotic plants. On my journeys, what I like is living with people and learning their different lifestyles. That’s because I’ve always been interested in what I never was, or in what I could be with others.” (via)

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photographs via and via and via

Sunday 21 November 2021

The Gendered Nature of Divorce

Abstract: Contrary to previous studies treating divorce as a couple's decision, we make a distinction between 'his', 'her', and 'their' divorce by using information about who initiated divorce. Using competing risk analysis, we re-examine four well-known determinants of divorce: (i) the wife's employment, (ii) the financial situation of the household, (iii) the presence of children, and (iv) the quality of the match. Because existing arguments on the underlying mechanisms focus on the relative costs and benefits of a divorce for the wife, the husband and/or the couple, this approach offers new insights into the validity of competing theories.

Our results confirm some theoretical interpretations, but they refute others. Furthermore, our findings shed light on the gendered nature of divorce. We not only find that women more often take the initiative to divorce, we also find that many social and economic determinants have stronger effects on 'her' divorce than on 'his' divorce. The one exception is children, which seem to affect men's decision to (not) divorce more strongly than women's decision. (Kalmijn & Poortman, 2006)

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- Kalmijn, M. & Poortman, A.-R. (2006). His or Her Divorce? The Gendered Nature of Divorce. European Social Review, 22(2), 201-214.
- photograph by Diane Arbus via

Saturday 20 November 2021

Black Awareness Day

On 20th of November, Black Awareness Day is celebrated in Brazil in order to make sure the journey and cirumstances of the black community's ancestors are not forgotten and their contribution to both the country and society are recognised. 20th of November was chosen because it marks the death of Zumbi dos Palmares (born 1655), a Brazilian of Kongo origin and one of the pioneers fighting slavery (via).

After more than 300 years of slavery, Brazil abolished slavery only in 1888, it was the last country in the Western Hemisphere to do so despite its mostly black and mixed population which again was and is a result of Portuguese settlers having been primarily male and often seeking out African or indigenous femals as mates. Brazil was also the largest importer of African slaves "bringing in seven times as many African slaves to the country, compared to the United States" (via).

"Miscegenation and intermarriage suggest fluid race relations and, unlike the United States or South Africa, there were no racially-specific laws or policies, such as on segregation or apartheid, throughout the twentieth century. For these reasons, Brazilians thought of their country as a "racial democracy" from as early as the 1930s until recent years. They believed that racism and racial discrimination were minimal or non-existent in Brazilian society in contrast to the other multiracial societies in the world. A relatively narrow view of discrimination previously recognized only explicit manifestations of racism or race-based laws as discriminatory, thus only countries like South Africa and the United States were seen as truly racist. Moreover, there was little formal discussion of race in Brazilian society, while other societies were thought to be obsessed with race and racial difference." (via)

"At the time of the abolition, Brazil's population was mostly black or mixed race until the 1930s, when Brazil encouraged and received a large number of European immigrants as it sought to find new sources of labour. In the context of the scientific racism of the time, which deemed a non-white population as problematic to its future development, Brazilian officials explicitly encouraged European immigration while blocking Chinese and African immigrants. The growing population of European origin was also expected to mix with the non-white, further "whitening" the Brazilian population." (via)

"More than just a celebration, it is a day to think about the position that Black people have in society then and now. The past generations who have suffered (and still suffer) through racist acts, despite the abolition of slavery in 1888, discrimination still continues. It’s a day dedicated to fight racism and defend Black people’s rights and respect in society." (via).

photographs by Pierre Verger via and via and via and via and via

Thursday 18 November 2021

Feeling nostalgic for a time we didn't even have

"We are on red alert when it comes to how we are perceiving ourselves as a species. There's no desire to be an adult. Adulthood is not a goal. It's not seen as a gift. Something happened culturally: No one is supposed to age past 45 — sartorially, cosmetically, attitudinally. Everybody dresses like a teenager. Everybody dyes their hair. Everybody is concerned about a smooth face. I feel nostalgic for a time I didn't even have. The time before we regarded ourselves with such criticism."
Frances McDormand

photograph (Vogue) via

Wednesday 17 November 2021


"One's own identity is what we would all like to be clear today, but the economic and political crises and the current state of culture make identities and definitions of our age increasingly distorted. 
Through weapons i want to express the feeling of fear that one's identity is threatened by stranger and by the unknown.

The defense of your identity and the fear of losing it, that i show in my work, are the core nucleus of the new global values: the fear that raises the barriers and calls to arms, is the same fear that ends up becoming the only stable reference to identify yourself or try to get away from it.

I want to specify that people portrayed in my pictures are holding their own weapons, used for the purposes of sport only.

The whole project was shot on medium format film."

Francesco Pizzo

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photographs by Francesco Pizzo via

Tuesday 16 November 2021

The Intersection of Stuttering and Blackness

"I have an ongoing practice of spelling my name JJJJJerome Ellis in certain circumstances. I do this because the word I stutter on most frequently is my name. You can choose which spelling you prefer." 
JJJJJerome Ellis

JJJJJerome Ellis is a black stutterer and artist based in New York. He is interested in how ableism disadvantages people with a stutter since they do not adhere to the flows of time. This disfluency, to him, becomes "a means to exist outside of ordinary time, as defined by a white-dominated world." His work is an approach to experimenting with freedom and to depathologising disfluency (via)

I was interested in the role that clocks and watches played o-o-on plantations in the antebellum south. How slave masters deliberately did not let enslaved people own [them], as a way o-o-of domination and control.

"On the album, I feel safe stuttering because it's just me. I have the opportunity to score my own stutter. That felt very liberating." JJJJJerome Ellis

This article argues that dysfluency, music and Blackness, because of their distinct relationships to time, have the power to forge alternative temporalities and help us heal from ‘temporal subjection’. As a Black composer who stutters, I write from first-hand experience. With reference to my own recordings and scores, I examine the ways I use musical techniques like loops and rubato to create these alternative temporalities. Stuttering (especially in the form I present with, the glottal block) creates unpredictable, silent gaps in speech. I call these gaps ‘clearings’. Slaves sang in the fields, and whites heard them; but they also sang (and danced) in the woods at night, out of earshot. Undergirding the clearing created by my stutter is that other clearing, in the woods, where my enslaved ancestors stole away to keep healing, resisting and liberating through music ‐ work that I continue today.
"Sometimes people just walk away. Perhaps because I didn’t adhere to t-t-the choreography t-t-that we are often used to. So much of the pain comes from not feeling fully human. Not feeling intelligent. People thinking that I might be evading a question. I don’t want my Blackness to come off as a threat and I don’t want my stuttering to come off as evidence of lying.”

YouTube Selection:
::: Loops of Retreat: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Stepney: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Dysfluent Waters: LISTEN/WATCH

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photograph via

Monday 15 November 2021

Somewhere along the line, music and photography picked me up.

People experiencing homelessness are often invisible, pitied, turned into "the other". In order to start new conversations, bring change, and let those struggling know that they are not alone, the CALM  1854 Homeless Truths commission was launched by the UK-based charity Campaign Against Living Miserably inviting homeless people to shoot how they feel and share these authentic views. Wayne - who started taking pictures eight years ago - is one of the participants. To him, taking pictures meant "a nicer view" and a way to escape himself. 80% of the homeless report struggling with mental health problems, suicide is the second most common cause of death. Wayne has been battling depression and anxiety for years, at times he feels suicidal (via).

"I just want my images out there. Being homeless and not having a family unit, or people to help you, can create depression and push people further away from society. Perhaps people might see this and recognise a friend experiencing something similar and reach out to them." Wayne

"Lots of things were not going well for me at the time but it helped to take out a camera. Some of the pictures remind me that I need to ignite the fire within me to survive. Mentally, I am in a very nervous and scared place right now. No day is ever easy." Wayne

"I guess my interest in photography comes from not being able to communicate." Wayne

"When I take photographs, I think about something other than being homeless or wanting to use.” Wayne

"I was trying to show survival, whatever that looks like. The struggle and how I get by day-to-day; how I maintain my humanity." Wayne

"I look just like a normal person, so in a way that brings a normality to it. It makes it easy for people to forget. But I want people to know – especially those living in London – that these are the problems that people are facing. It is very real.” Wayne

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photographs via

Sunday 14 November 2021

Just ready to start

"And now, I feel at 85, I really feel that I'm just ready to start."
Gordon Parks

photograph via

Saturday 13 November 2021

World Kindness Day + Two Abstracts

This article discusses how loving-kindness can be used to treat traumatized refugees and minority groups, focusing on examples from our treatment, culturally adapted cognitive-behavioral therapy (CA-CBT). To show how we integrate loving-kindness with other mindfulness interventions and why loving-kindness should be an effective therapeutic technique, we present a typology of mindfulness states and the Nodal Network Model (NNM) of Affect and Affect Regulation. We argue that mindfulness techniques such as loving-kindness are therapeutic for refugees and minority populations because of their potential for increasing emotional flexibility, decreasing rumination, serving as emotional regulation techniques, and forming part of a new adaptive processing mode centered on psychological flexibility. We present a case to illustrate the clinical use of loving-kindness within the context of CA-CBT. (Hinton et al., 2013)

Respect and kindness are core principles of nursing practice, yet little is known about how they are experienced by nursing home (NH) residents at the end of life. The aim of this study was to examine the factors associated with being treated with respect and kindness in the last month of life as an NH resident. A retrospective survey of 208 bereaved family members was conducted in 21 NHs located in a city in central Canada. The majority of participants indicated that the resident had always been treated with respect or kindness. However, significant differences emerged, with not all family members believing that their loved one had always been treated with respect or kindness. The apparent lapses in care practices are troubling and indicate that steps must be taken to address them.​ (Thompson et al., 2011)

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- Hinton, D. E, Ojserkis, R. A., Jalal, B., Peou, S. & Hofmann, S. G. (2013). Loving-kindness in the treatment of traumatized refugees and minority groups: a typology of mindfulness and the nodal network model of affect and affect regulation. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69(8), 817-828.
- Thompson, G. N., McClement, S. E. & Chochinov, H. M. (2011). How respect and kindness are experienced at the end of life by nursing home residents. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research, 43(3), 96-118.
- photograph (Steve McQueen with his son Chad on the set of Le Mans, 1971) via

Friday 12 November 2021

The "long, hot summer" of 1967 (2)

On the evening of July 12, 1967, I was driving a carload of people back from a black power conference in Philadelphia, switching stations, trying to find some good music to keep me awake on the New Jersey Turnpike. A news flash caught my attention, loud and clear: 
“There has been a confrontation between police and a large number of people in the city of Newark…Police have declared a curfew…Police are out in force.”

I didn’t need music to keep me focused. We just had to get home. 

Fifty years later, I ask myself why I was in such a hurry to get back to Newark. At the time, I was a 22-year-old student at Yale Law School, spending my third summer as a community organizer and law-student advocate in Newark. I was raised in Richmond, Virginia, but Newark felt like my new home. Now my home was about to fulfill a prophecy.  

For weeks, black people had been saying the community was ready to explode. I heard it in bars and at neighborhood meetings. I heard it from speakers protesting the two hot issues of the day: Mayor Hugh Addonizio’s plan to build a medical and dental school on 150 acres in the Central Ward that would displace 20,000 mostly black and Puerto Rican residents; and the mayor’s decision to place James Callaghan, a white man with a high school diploma, in the position of board secretary (business administrator) for the Newark public schools, instead of Wilbur Parker, the first black CPA in New Jersey. “Keep this shit up and there’s gonna be a riot in Newark!” was the word on the street. (Applause meter off the charts; everybody agreed.) 

Most people didn’t want a riot, and even fewer had a sense of what to do if one broke out. But they knew it was coming. They knew about Birmingham in 1963, Harlem in 1964 and Watts in 1965. They knew about the death and destruction. Many wondered: Was it worth it? Some were too mad to care. 

So here I was, driving back into Newark late at night. I had no intention of burning or looting, or shooting police—not even the cops whose racism I had seen in action. I was totally committed to nonviolent resistance, by training if not by disposition. (...)

Most accounts of the Newark Rebellion—and I call it a rebellion—say the arrest and beating of John Smith, a black cab driver, triggered the outbreak of violence. Hundreds witnessed Smith being dragged into the 4th Precinct police station in front of the Hayes Homes, a high-rise housing project. Rumors spread that Smith had been killed while in custody. Local civil rights leaders tried to form a march downtown in protest. But as the crowd grew in front of the Hayes Homes, someone lit a bottle filled with gasoline and threw it at the police station. Cops poured out of the station in riot gear to drive off the protesters. As the crowd dispersed, looting broke out on nearby streets. The Rebellion was on. 

Why do I call the events of July 12 to 17 a rebellion rather than a riot? Riots are mindless, aimless, spontaneous outbursts triggered by some immediate event. But rebellions, like those waged by Thomas Jefferson and Nat Turner, are the result of long-simmering hurts with no other ways to redress grievances. Looking at the evidence, this was a rebellion. 

The situation in Newark at the time can be explained in two words: racial polarization. Whites held a virtual monopoly on power in Newark, despite token representation of blacks—what are sometimes called “house Negroes”—on the city and county levels. Racial polarization was entrenched. This in a city that, at the time, was 52 percent black and 10 percent Spanish speaking. 

The increasingly angry black community raised a growing chorus of demands for better opportunities. Repressive measures by the police force (which was 90 percent white) and government agencies like the Board of Education and the Welfare Department increased the hunger for self-determination in the black community. Blacks were the victims of unscrupulous landlords and crooked retailers, and of misguided development programs that turned into land grabs, destroying communities in the name of urban renewal. 

The white population had been flowing steadily out of Newark since the 1950s. Jobs were leaving, too. (...) 

On the second night of the Rebellion, I was driving around with three guys in my car. (...)

I was climbing up the hill on Court Street, heading west toward the Scudder Homes, when I heard the siren. It was a hot night; the windows of my white Ford Fairlane 500 were down. We neared the corner of High Street—now Martin Luther King Boulevard—when I picked up the whirling lights of a Newark police car in my rearview mirror. The siren was getting closer. They were coming for us.  

I pulled over to the grassy divider in the middle of Court Street. The squad car sped forward, angling in front of me, presumably to prevent our escape. Four cops jumped out, guns drawn, and ordered us out of the car with our hands up. One of them had a shotgun. 

We stepped from the car as directed. One of the cops yelled, “Up against the car, motherfuckers.” The street was deserted. We knew we were in big trouble. 

I had never before looked down the wrong end of a shotgun. It seemed like it was looking back at me. I turned and assumed the position, hands on the roof of my car, legs spread wide. 

The pat-down produced no weapons. Still, these guys were scary. One cop ordered me to open my trunk, which I did without hesitation. I thought about my Virginia plates. It was popularly held in government and law-enforcement circles that, when unrest came to Newark, it would be fueled by “outside agitators,” who would supply guns and ammunition. (...) 

It is hard to explain to anyone who was not there the climate of resistance in the streets during the 1960s. People organized to withhold rent from landlords who overcharged for slum properties; they demonstrated against welfare bureaucrats who punished their clients for violating the “man in the house” rule, which said families could not get public assistance if there was an able-bodied man in the household. People boycotted retail merchants who sold bad meat and schools that failed to properly educate children. People demonstrated against poorly managed, overcrowded public housing, and against rampant urban renewal that gobbled up residential neighborhoods without providing adequate replacement housing. And of course, they spoke out against police brutality.  

The ordinary democratic processes didn’t work for black people. All that was left was the politics of confrontation. Up to 1967, those confrontations had been nonviolent. (...)  

On another corner, across from the Morton Street School, Central Ward Democratic leader Eulis “Honey” Ward and I watched as local residents ran into the furniture stores on Springfield Avenue. Out they came with sofas, chairs, lamps—whatever they could carry. They hauled their goods up flights of stairs and came back down with worn-out, dilapidated furniture, leaving it on the sidewalks for the trash collector. What Ward and I couldn’t see was the deliberate removal of credit records from the filing cabinets in these stores. Without these records, the merchants wouldn’t be able to find people who had bought on credit. 

Not all white merchants were targeted. Those with a reputation for fairness were spared—although this message was not always easy to communicate to passing looters. The few black merchants wrote “soul brother” on their windows or doors to avoid the riotous invasion or the torch. On South Orange Avenue, neighbors wrote those words outside a shop owned by a Chinese merchant they wanted to protect from looters. But they couldn’t protect him from the police. The next morning, the merchant discovered bullet holes in his shop. Law-enforcement officers were singling out stores that appeared to be black owned for their own brand of retaliation and lawlessness. (...) Junius Williams

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photographs via