Black Perspectives Now:
Explore Black Perspectives Now for the stories, events, people and voices of black New England. Watch for new entries as our catalogue grows daily! Please visit our About page for information on our Contributors (Team) and to learn about becoming a contributor (FAQs).
Black Perspectives Now
Basic Black discussed Muslim identity in America through the lens of Pulitzer Prize winning writer Ayad Akhtar's play, Disgraced. Disgraced tackles issues regarding relationships and identity, both through family and professional circles.
We sat down with Rajesh Bose and Mohit Gautam, to find out what Disgraced means to them, and how identity impacts the lives of everyone.
Science Fiction in Black and White
Star Wars: The Force Awakens created uproar with casting John Boyega, a Black man as the lead actor. In a galaxy with droids, ewoks and other creatures of fantasy, what role does race play? Nettrice Gaskins, PhD., director of Boston Arts Academy’s STEAM Lab and researcher of cultural paradigms in Afrofuturism, Science Fiction and Fantasy discusses with Basic Black the reasons for such a backlash from fans of science fiction, and the Hollywood typecasting of ethnic groups in science-fiction films.more
Matters of Race in the Courtroom
By Virginia DePina
Timothy Tyrone Foster, a Black man, was charged and convicted of the murder of an elderly white woman. Upon recent discovery, the prosecutor's notes in the case revealed markings indicating the race on four potential jurors who were dismissed through peremptory strikes. Foster was sentenced to death by an all white jury.
Dehlia Umunna, Clinical Professor of Law from Harvard Law School explains the impact of race in a courtroom, particularly in jury selection.more
Opioid Crisis: A New Approach to Addiction
Heroin overdose deaths nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013. Opioid painkillers have a direct link to heroin addiction. Although not mentioned enough, opiate abuse is widespread among communities of color. Dr. Myechia Minter-Jordan, President and CEO of the Dimock Center; and Emily Stweart, Executive Director of Casa Esperanza tell us why the new approach to addiction is more effective for communities of color.more
Black on Campus at Boston College
Afua Laast of Boston College organized a 'Blackout' in solidarity with the students protesting the University of Missouri campus culture. she reflects on why campuses like Boston College need to show support to other colleges and universities struggling with race on campus.more
The Women of Boston's City Council
For the first time in nearly 20 years, the Boston City Council has four women serving simultaneously. The election victories of Annissa Essaibi-George and Andrea Campbell have ushered in a new era of Boston politics.more
Haley House Bakery Café: Building Connections Through Food
For ten years the Haley House Bakery Café has been a meeting place for Roxbury residents to enjoy great food, gather as a community and build unlikely friendships and connections.more
Wally's Café: The Soundtrack of the South End
By Virginia DePina
For nearly 70 years, Wally's Café has provided the South End with live jazz performances. The café is now a training ground for aspiring jazz musicians from various colleges and universities in the Boston area.more
Remembering Julian Bond
Marita Rivero discusses her childhood friend, civil rights activist Julian Bond.more
The Discriminating Road of Predatory Auto Lending
By Virginia DePina
Nonbank auto lenders have targeted subprime borrowers of color into purchasing cars at higher interest rates than white borrowers with similar credit history. Is your race a factor when you purchase a car? Black Perspectives Now takes a look at predatory loans and what makes people of color vulnerable to predatory lenders.more
Restricted Liquor Licenses: The Restaurant Jump-Start In Your Neighborhood
75 restricted liquor licenses will available to restaurants in underserved neighborhoods including Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan. What does this mean for the small business owner? How will it affect the local economy?more
Breast Cancer Among Black Women in Boston
The disparity of breast cancer mortality has increased between Black and White women. What factors contribute to the increase of breast cancer among African American women? Do African American women in Boston have any specific advantages or disadvantages in terms of health care for breast cancer?more
Basic Black: Ebola and Race | Policing Communities of Color
October 10, 2014
This week on Basic Black: perceptions and realities on two fronts. First, we take a look at Ebola and race. With the death of Thomas Duncan attention has focused even more closely on his initial and subsequent contact with Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas; although Mr. Duncan received round-the-clock care once admitted to the hospital, his case has raised questions about the relationship of communities of color, the poor, and the uninsured to the US health care system. Also, the ACLU of Massachusetts released a report charging the Boston Police Department with racial bias, a charge the Department vigorously rejects, pointing to advances made in the last few years under the leadership of Commissioner William Evans. But beyond the report, which only uses data from 2007-2010, how should we look at Boston's policing of communities of color in the context of the national conversation that sprung from events in Ferguson?
Photo: Licensed clinician Roseda Marshall, of Liberia, disrobes after a simulated training session on Monday, Oct. 6, 2014, in Anniston, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Basic Black: Voting Matters in Black and White
October 17, 2014
Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Charlie Baker are in a dead heat in the Massachusetts governor's race. The margin of error in the polls for both candidates is slim, but can voters in communities of color fill the margin with a victory, sending one of them to the governor's office? Are the campaigns of the independent candidates resonating with black, Latino, or Asian voters? This week on Basic Black, we look at how the candidates for governor are delivering their message to communities of color in the race to the finish line on November 4.
Basic Black After the Broadcast: Moving the masses to the polls
October 17, 2014
After the broadcast, the panel wrestled with the following question: with so much at stake in the Massachusetts governor's race, what would it take to move the masses of voters of color to the voting booth?
Young Black Men & Lives Lost Too Soon
August 25, 2014
The death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown of Ferguson, MO has regenerated conversations about police brutality and violence in . To hear a local perspective of the lessons Boston can learn from Ferguson, we sat with Rev. Ronald and Kim Odom. In 2007, the Odoms lost their son, Steven to violence at the age of 13.
Music: Simple Soft Jam, Martijn de Boer featuring Stefan Kartenberg (Source: ccMixter.org)
Frederick Douglass & The 4th of July: Community Readings
At the monument of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment on the Boston Common, more than 60 people gathered together to participate in a community reading of “The Meaning of the Fourth of July For The Negro” a speech written by Frederick Douglass in 1852.more
A Conversation with International Marathoner, Jaulik Watkins
May 5, 2014
Being stopped at mile 25.5 in the 2013 Boston Marathon, Jaulik Watkins returned to Boston this year to complete what she started. Watkins, a Dallas native, never considered herself an athlete. As an unemployed college student in 2008, she took up running to keep herself busy. After her first marathon, she was hooked on the thrill of long distance racing. As a member of the National Black Marathoners Association, Watkins has completed seven marathons throughout the U.S., Europe, and will pursue the Mt. Kilimanjaro marathon in 2015. She joined us to discuss her experiences as a black woman running marathons, and being part of a network of other black marathon runners.
(Music: Reverie (small theme) by _ghost)
A Conversation with Andre Slay: Amputee, Pilot, and MarathonerApril 18, 2014
Andre Slay is a native of Arkansas. However, his southern charm and easy manner belie a grit and determination that pushed him to enter the Boston Mararthon for the first time this year. It’s Andre’s third full marathon despite having lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident eight years ago. Andre sat down to talk with Basic Black about losing his leg, how becoming a vegan dramatically changed his health for the better, and why he’s running the Boston Marathon.
(Music: Reverie (small theme) by _ghost)
A Conversation with U-Meleni Mhlaba-Adebo: Marathoner and Fitness AdvocateApril 18, 2014
U-Meleni Mhlaba-Adebo has been running since she was a school girl in Zimbabwe and South Africa. She continued to run when she came to Massachusetts for college. U-Meleni is not unlike an evangelist when it comes to encouraging people of color (folks of all walks) to run and experience the benefits of working out. In fact, her son can boast of winning medals in his own right at the tender age of three. In 2012, U-Meleni ran the Boston Marathon as a way of processing her feelings upon learning that her mother had cancer and to raise money for a local school. This year, U-Meleni is thankful that her mother is cancer-free, and she’ll be on the side-lines to cheer her brother-in-law as he runs the 118th Boston Marathon.
(Music: Reverie (small theme) by _ghost)
A Conversation with Professor Griff on the Legacy of Malcolm XBy Talia Whyte
Professor Griff of the legendary hip-hop group Public Enemy gave a lecture on Malcolm X's influence in today's black culture at Northeastern University's John D. O'Bryant African-American Institute February 12.
London Bridgez and TEDx Roxbury Women 2013By Talia Whyte
The second annual TEDxRoxburyWomen conference was held at UMASS Boston on December 6, with a fabulous roster of local, up and coming women speakers sharing their big ideas.
Cecile Musanase and the Akilah InstituteOctober 25, 2013
By Talia Whyte
Cecile Musanase and fellow student Julian Kankunda were speakers at the Akilah Institute’s Metropolitan Safari fundraiser held at the Museum of African American History Oct. 10. The Akilah Institute for Women is a college that offers market-relevant education with campuses in Kigali, Rwanda and Bujumbura, Burundi. Since it’s opening in 2010, it has made an important impact on education and training for women in Africa.
Julian Kankunda and the Akilah InstituteOctober 25, 2013
By Talia Whyte
Julian Kankunda and fellow student Cecile Musanase were speakers at the Akilah Institute’s Metropolitan Safari fundraiser held at the Museum of African American History Oct. 10. I was very impressed with
both young ladies and the work of the Institute. Kankunda and Musanase are both from Rwanda, a country that has come a long way since the genocide that plagued it 20 years ago. During the Rwandan
genocide, women were targets for rape, mutilation of reproductive capabilities and other forms of sexual violence.
Michelle Wu: Making Her Mark On Boston
October 11, 2013
If Michelle Wu is elected, she would become the first Asian American woman to sit on the Boston City Council.
History Restored: The African Meeting House | Boston, MA (part 3)The third in a five part series on the restoration of the African Meeting House on Beacon Hill in Boston, MA.
History Restored: The African Meeting House | Boston, MA (part 2)The second in a five part series on the restoration of the African Meeting House on Beacon Hill in Boston, MA.
History Restored: The African Meeting House | Boston, MA (part 1)The first in a five part web series chronicling the restoration of The African Meeting House on Beacon Hill in Boston, MA.
Rev. Jonathan Walton on civil rights and social justiceby Talia Whyte
Dr. Jonathan L. Walton was the keynote speaker at the 43th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast on January 21. The holiday celebrating the life of the slain civil rights leader also just so happened to fall on the same day as the second inauguration of President Barack Obama. Walton was quick to point out this coincidence as well. However, he mentioned to the crowd that while Obama’s reelection demonstrates the racial progress made in America, he said there are still many other social and economic inequalities that need the same amount of attention.
Empowering Women & Girls: Nicole Roberts Jonesby Talia Whyte
Nicole Roberts Jones was the mistress of ceremonies at Boston's 43rd annual Martin Luther King Day Breakfast. As the old adage goes, behind every great man is an even greater woman. Coretta Scott King played a vital role as Dr. King’s wife and organizing partner. There were many other women who had participated in the civil rights movement, but unlike Mrs. King, Betty Shabazz and Rosa Parks, their accomplishments have been given little attention.
Ella Baker, Septima Poinsette Clark, Fannie Lou Hamer and Vivian Malone Jones are all unsung heroines from that era. Baker was a longtime organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) who worked behind the scenes. Because she was neither a man nor a minister, she was not seriously considered to become the head of the organization. Clark, better known as the “queen mother” of the civil rights movement, was an educator who played a role in a legal victory that would allow blacks to become principals in public schools in Charleston, South Carolina. Hamer was a Mississippi sharecropper, who was beaten and jailed in 1962 for trying to register to vote. She co-founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and spoke at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. Jones defied Gov. George Wallace by becoming one of the first black students to enroll at the University of Alabama in 1963.
And there were countless other women, who are unknown, but worked tirelessly cooking meals and cleaning up after rallies. These women should be the main role models for today’s black women, not stars on reality shows.
While no woman gave a speech at the 1963 March on Washington, it seems like their accomplishments are now being recognized. Myrlie Evers-Williams delivered the invocation at President Obama’s inauguration – the first ever done by a woman and layperson.
“There’s a Chinese saying, ’Women hold up half the world,” said former NAACP chairman Julian Bond. “In the case of the civil rights movement it’s probably three-quarters of the world.”
A Conversation with James Rucker, Co-Founder of Color of Changemore
The Boston NAACP Opens Its New DoorsThe Boston branch of the NAACP reopened its offices in the Mall of Roxbury May 19, 2012 before a crowd of elected officials and longtime supporters.
A Conversation with Issa Rae: The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black GirlContributor Talia Whyte comments on the web series, The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl: "The sudden success of “Awkward Black Girl” says a lot about not only the potential of viral video and good old-fashioned word of mouth, but also a growing desire among people of color to see better portrayals of their communities in the media" She caught a few minutes with the series creator, Issa Rae. more
That's A Fact: Young, Gifted, and BlackBunker Hill Community College held the opening reception Feb. 9 for its latest exhibit “That’s a Fact: Young, Gifted and Black.” Many of the area’s best and brightest artists, filmmakers, musicians, writers and photographers were invited to display and celebrate their art.
Toure: Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?
Touré, writer, cultural critic, and TV personality discussed his newest book Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness: What it Means to be Black Now, at the African Meeting House in Boston on January 26, 2012.
Anonymous: When Words Become WeaponsBasic Black contributor Bridgit Brown spoke to families whose lives have been scarred by both violence and the careless language of the media.
Revisiting Race at Emerson CollegeBlack Perspectives Now contributor Talia Whyte visits her alma mater to investigate the climate of race relations on campus.
"We Saved A Community"by Talia Whyte
State Rep. Byron Rushing joined local community activists at Hibernian Hall Oct. 19 to discuss the history of the 45-year-old Madison Park Development Corporation, as well as highlight the roots of black activism in Boston.
A Conversation with Roslyn Brock, Chairman of the Board, NAACPRoslyn McCallister Brock is chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) national board more
A Conversation with Randal Pinkett: Raising Black BoysDr. Randal Pinkett on the best way to prepare black boys for adulthood.
A Boston Poet: Mignon Ariel King
An interview with Boston poet Mignon Ariel King.
A Conversation with Author and Activist Angela Davisby Bridgit Brown
On February 16, 2011, Emerson College hosted activist and Civil Rights icon Angela Davis as part of February’s theme “Definition: BLACK” in celebration of African American Heritage Month. more
Boston: Perceptions Beyond Race (Nat’l Urban League 2011)Talia Whyte spoke to out of town visitors at National Urban League conference about their perceptions of Boston.
Voices From "The State of Black Boston"Talia Whyte spoke to attendees at the release of "The State of Black Boston" report during the kickoff to the National Urban League Convention 2011.
Hip Hop Activist Rosa ClementeRosa Clemente was one of many presenters at the 2011 National Conference on Media Reform (NCMR) held in Boston April 8-10. Clemente, who considers herself a proud “black Puerto Rican radical,” made it clear to other NCMR attendees that she dances to her own beat and doesn’t care who likes it.
Elon James White at the 2011 National Conference on Media Reformby Talia Whyte
Elon James White was a presenter on a panel on satire and its role in progressive media at the 2011 National Conference on Media Reform (NCMR) held in Boston April 8-10. He also spoke about the importance and responsibility of progressives and people of color to take control of their own messaging.
Roxbury's "Living Legends": A Women's History TourArtist Susan Thompson participated as a “living legend” in a trolley tour March 19, examining the contributions of Roxbury women to Boston history. The tour was hosted by Discover Roxbury as part of their women’s history month celebrations.
A Conversation with Environmental Activist Van JonesBasic Black contributor Talia Whyte talks with environmental activist Van Jones.
Slideshow: A Candidate Forum for Boston City Council District 7Photos by Phillip Martin, senior investigative reporter fro WGBH Radio, 89.7.
Boston City Council and The Race For District 7
by Talia Whyte
A look at the candidates vying for the Boston City Council seat in District 7.
Project 351: Answering The Call To ServiceBy Talia Whyte
Gov. Deval Patrick joined over 400 8th graders representing every city and town in Massachusetts Jan. 15 to commence his administration’s ambitious youth service day – Project 351.
Basic Black Online Exclusive: Political Speech and The Tragedy in Arizona(Originally streamed January 14, 2011) After the broadcast, our panel discussed whether political speech and rhetoric had any connection to the horrific shooting rampage in Tuscon, Arizona, leaving 6 dead and U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords fighting for her life.
Voices From the Somalian Community in BostonBasic Black contributor Talia Whyte attended the 2010 Somali Youth Conference in Boston.
A Decade of Daring: Access Strategies Fund Celebrates 10 YearsAccess Strategies Fund celebrated its tenth anniversary at Villa Victoria in Boston's South End.
Books Behind Bars: Literacy and Incarceration in MassachusettsA look at an effort to combat illiteracy in America's prisons.
Black Women Working Out: Being Fit and Fabulous
Mass Decision 2010: Voter Expectations of Deval PatrickWhat do voters expect from the governor of Massachusetts?
Mass Decision 2010: The Greater Boston Interfaith Organization Hosts Massachusetts' Gubernatorial CandidatesIn his opening remarks to audience, Rev. Hurmon Hamilton declared, "in God's political calculation, God takes the poor, those at the bottom, and raises them..." more
Mass Decision 2010: Jill Stein Supporters Speak Out
Supporters for Jill Stein on the problems with the Democrat and Republican parties.more
Mass Decision 2010: President Obama Rallies Massachusetts Voters
Basic Black contributor Talia Whyte talks to voters attending a rally with President Obama.more
Mass Decision 2010: Voices From The Community
Basic Black contributor Talia Whyte listens to voters in Massachusetts.more
Beyond Measure Productions: Making Films in Boston
Basic Black contributor Alesha Gunn goes behind the scenes with Beyond Measure Productions. Their latest feature film, The Last Shot, explores the violence in Boston's urban communities.more
Continuing A Season of Peace: The Unity March for Mattapan (conclusion)more
Continuing A Season of Peace: The Unity Walk for Mattapan
Rev. Jeffrey Brown leads a rally in support of the Mattapan community which was shocked by the brutal murders of four people including a toddler who died in his mother's arms.more
Talking To Massachusetts Voters
Basic Black contributor Talia Whyte speaks with Massachusetts voters.more
A Solid Foundation for Building A Healthy Community
Basic Black contributor Talia Whyte covered the groundbreaking for new health centers in Boston's Mattapan and Roxbury neighborhoods.more
Youth Fighting Fat (Part Three): Empowered Youth, Empowered Communities
The last video of a three-part series by Talia Whytemore
Youth Fighting Fat (Part Two): "Soda-Free Kids"
Part two of a three-part series by Talia Whytemore
Youth Fighting Fat (Part One): Growing A Healthy Community
Part one of a three-part series by Talia Whytemore
Transforming the Roxbury Communitymore
Open Call For Videosmore
The World Cup and Soccer in the US
Basic Black contributor Talia Whyte caught up with Alex Scott of the Boston Breakers to get a few thoughts on soccer in the US...more
Looking at the 2010 World Cup from Bostonmore
A Conversation with Ayanna Pressley, Boston City Council At-Largemore
The Casino Debate & Communities of Color
The recent controversy around NFL player Michael Vick's participation in dog fighting put a spotlight on the many gambling habits happening within high risk communities around the country. According to those who are against the Massachusetts casino proposal, they say casinos would only exacerbate problem gambling among those mostly affected, namely people of color and low income communities.
Facing Africa, Facing Ourselves
Lou Jones: The Eye of the Photographer
Boston-based photographer Lou Jones has captured incredible images and historic events from all over the world.more
A Conversation with Lee Daniels, Director of "Precious"more
Bruce George: A Poet For the Stagemore
A Conversation with Tito Jackson
Basic Black contributor Talia Whyte talks with community activist Tito Jackson.more
A Boston Poet: Mignon Ariel King
An interview with Boston poet Mignon Ariel King.
Boston Responds To The Crisis in Haiti
Haiti Relief Efforts
By Talia Whyte
Hibernian Hall in Roxbury, MA served as the community's organizing platform for relief efforts in response to the earthquake in Haiti.more
Rolling With Nia, Chatting with Dana: Honoring a Friend, Colleague, and Mentor
A profile of activist and children's book author Dana Wrightmore
A Conversation with Kai Wright
An interview with journalist and AIDS activist Kai Wright.more
A profile of Roxbury Presbyterian Church's Adopt-A-School program.more
The Food Problem (Eating Green - part 2 of 3)
Basic Black contributor Talia Whyte delves into the mission of the Boston Collaborative on Food and Fitness.more
Boston: Election Day 2009
Contributor Talia Whyte with a thoughtful essay on covering election day in Boston, MA.more
Art For The People
Bridgit Brown talks with sculptor Fern Cunningham.more
Tours of Roxbury reveal its front-row seat to history, from the Revolutionary War to Malcolm X.more
Keith Morris Washington on Lynching
Artist Keith Morris Washington talks about his series of paintings on lynchings.more
Don West, Boston's Photographer
Don West has documented some of the most signigicant events and people in Boston's black community for over 25 years.more
Blogging While Brown
Basic Black contributor Talia Whyte reports on the second annual Blogging While Brown conference held in Chicago last June.more
Hill Harper, Actor & Author
Equal Education was the topic when Basic Black contributor Talia Whyte spoke with actor and author Hill Harper at the recent town hall meeting celebrating the Lincoln Centennial.more
Reading Frederick Douglass
Basic Black contributor Bridgit Brown captured the importance of Frederick Douglass during a reading sponsored by Harvard's Charles Hamilton Houston Institute outside the Massachusetts state house.more
Rosalyn Elder, On Bookstores in the Age of the Internetmore
Villages Without Walls
Basic Black contributor Alesha Gunn sat down with Talia Rivera, Executive Director of Villages Without Walls, for a very candid conversation about intervening in the lives of Boston's at-risk youth.more
African Liberation Day, 2009
Basic Black contributor Uchenna Ikonne took in the sights and sounds of African Liberation Day 2009, the first time the organizers have held the event in Boston since the conception of the celebration in 1963.more
Denise Simmons, Mayor of Cambridge, MA
Before the controversial arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Basic Black contributor Talia Whyte sat down for a conversation with Mayor E. Denise Simmons about her thoughts on the gay rights movement. The former city council member is the first openly lesbian African American to serve as mayor of Cambridge. She recently married her long-time partner Mattie Hayes.more
Close To Home
Basic Black contributor Sheena Quintyne sat down with Priscilla Rorie to talk about empowering young people to combat domestic violence.more
Khalid Kodi - Artist
Khalid Kodi is an adjunct professor at Boston College. His art chronicles the people and culture of the Sudan; his work is on exhibit at the African American Master Artists-in-Residence Program at Northeastern University.more
Barbara Lewis, Dir. of the William Monroe Trotter Institute on the 100th Anniversary of the NAACP
Barbara Lewis, the director of the William Monroe Trotter Institute at UMass Boston, talks about the 100th anniversary of the founding of the NAACP.more
Keith Morris Washington on Iraq
In 2005, landscape painter Keith Morris Washington was inspired to paint flowers in a war zone as a metaphor for peace.more
Karen B. McLean Dade
Author and educator Karen B. McLean Dade led a "call & response" during her book signing at Frugal's Bookstore in Roxbury (Massachusetts).more
The 11th Annual Roxbury Film Festival
Basic Black contributor Bridgit Brown attended the Roxbury Film festival, now in its 11th year.more
A Conversation with Nelson George
An interview with author Nelson George.more
In April of 2007, the Boston Redevelopment Authority approved a proposed plan to develop the space into a project that would house the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, a theater, a school, office space, shops, restaurants, a parking garage, and housing.more
Basic Black contributor Alesha Gunn visits a neighborhood institution, the skating rink Chez Vous.more
Black and Meatless - sort of... (Eating Green - part 3 of 3)
Basic Black contributor Talia Whyte breaks down the differences between carnivores, and everyone else. This is the final installment of the three-part series, Eating Green: Food and Environmental Justice in Boston.more
Food Justice (Eating Green - part 1 of 3)
Eating Green: Food and Environmental Justice in Boston (part 1 of a 3-part series)more