The Remix with Dr. James Peterson
By The Remix with Dr. James Peterson
To listen to an audio podcast, mouse over the title and click Play. Open iTunes to download and subscribe to podcasts.
“The Remix” is a weekly podcast from WHYY that takes a fresh look at how race, culture and politics intersect. Dr. James Peterson, director of Africana Studies and associate professor of English at Lehigh University, talks to people who are not necessarily in the mainstream news cycle, but who are driving opinions, news and movements through media platforms new and old.
||‘Imagine Wanting Only This’ a graphic memoir of love, loss and architecture||On this episode of The Remix, host Dr. James Peterson talks with author Kristen Radtke.||10/20/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Heritage or hate? The personal and public side in the debate over Confederate monuments||On this episode of “The Remix” we respond to the incidents that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, by asking how we, as a nation, should think about and commemorate the history of the Confederacy and of slavery. Our first guest is Kelley Libby from Richmond, Virginia. She is the producer of the multi-platform audio project, UnMonumental, part of Finding America, a national initiative produced by the Association of Independents in Radio. It aired on Virginia Public Radio, WVTF. (Note: WHYY also participated Finding America with its EveryZip Philadelphia project.) With UnMonumental, Libbey explores how the residents of Richmond think about and remember their past and how the city’s monuments reflect that past. She brings her personal, family history to the project as well. Our second guest is Paul Farber, co-founder and artistic director of the Monument Lab project in Philadelphia. Monument Lab invites artists and citizens to engage with and explore Philadelphia’s “historical landscape.” Below is an edited transcript of the conversation with “Remix” host Dr. James Peterson, Kelley Libby, and Paul Farber. Dr. James Peterson: So Kelley, welcome to the program. Kelley Libby: Thank you for having me. JP: Can you talk to us a little bit about the UnMonumental project, when you started it, and what’s the sort of mission of it? KL: UnMonumental started in the fall of 2015. It’s part of an initiative called Localore: Finding America, which placed 15 producers at public media stations across the country from Alaska to Baltimore to even Philadelphia to work with and for communities, to bring public media to places where it doesn’t typically reach. And so UnMonumental was what started to address this issue of the commemorative landscape in Richmond, Virginia. JP: I mean, obviously Virginia has been a little bit of a flashpoint over the last week or more. Can you talk to us a little bit about how Richmond, Virginia, is sort of set up in terms of the ways in which it commemorates the Civil War and the Confederacy? KL: Richmond, Virginia, is the former capital of the Confederacy. And so history is everywhere you look. The most prominent and perhaps biggest draw for tourists in this respect is Monument Avenue. It’s this broad thoroughfare that crosses the city through a wealthy neighborhood, and it’s lined with Confederate monuments to generals mostly — but also Arthur Ashe is one of the statues on that. JP: Wow! Talk about irony and anomalies. I wonder how Arthur Ashe feels about being situated there. So Monument Avenue, it’s a big tourist piece for Richmond. Because you studied this a little bit, where do you think the debate needs to go for a spot like Monument Avenue? I mean obviously there are lots of folks calling for taking down these Confederate statues. There are lots of folks who refer to this as the erasure of history. It seems to me that Richmond presents a special case because one, it was the historic capital of the Confederacy, but also that’s a part of the Richmond economy, that folks can go there and tour and experience and learn about that history in places like Monument Avenue. So how do you think the debate that people are having around these Confederate commemorations applies to a place like Richmond Virginia? KL: Well, I think one thing that’s being left out of the conversation at this point is there’s a part of town called Shockoe Bottom, and it’s the site of a burial ground. Shockoe Bottom is also the site where many thousands of people were bought and sold. It’s the slave market district. And at this point it’s not fully commemorated. Not in a way that is effective and that tourists or school children riding by on the bus can recognize that this is a part of our history, too. I-95 crosses it; train tracks cross it. It’s a very noisy part of town. And at this||8/24/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||The Watts riots: listening to ‘the language of the unheard’||This year marked the 25th anniversary of the L.A. riot and the 50th anniversary of the Newark and Detroit riots — all sparked by incidents of racially biased police actions against blacks, combined with a long history of biased policing and lack of economical and educational opportunities. The Remix looks back at the 1965 Watts riot, one of the first major uprisings to draw the public’s attention to racial discrimination and police bias. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that “a riot is the language of the unheard.” King wasn’t condoning the violence of a riot, but he was condemning the legacy of racially based injustice that led to riots. And he was acknowledging how “violent rebellions” were a response to continued abuse of power from those forced to live under a system where equality and justice were systematically denied. This year marked the 25th anniversary of the L.A. riot and the 50th anniversary of both the Newark and Detroit riots. All of the uprisings were sparked by incidents of racially biased police actions against members of the black community, combined with a long history of biased policing and lack of economical and educational opportunities. In 2015, The Remix looked back at the1965 Watts riot, one of the first major uprisings to draw the public’s attention to racial discrimination and police bias.||8/10/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||The Lucas brothers ‘on drugs’, politics and comedy||Kenny and Keith Lucas have been around for a few years, but their recent Netflix comedy special “Lucas Brothers: On Drugs” will probably help expand their growing audience. The identical twins dropped out of law school together to perform their smart, quirky, stoner standup routines together. On this episode of The Remix they talk about developing their act, respecting the intelligence of the audience, and their personal philosophy of joke writing.||7/21/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||The Philando Castile verdict and why incrementalism isn’t working||It’s a familiar story by now: A black man is pulled over by a police officer for a minor traffic infraction and winds up dead. The officers involved are either not charged or acquitted in court. On this episode of The Remix, we talk with Associated Press journalist Errin Whack, who reports on race and urban affairs. incrementalism||6/22/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||The L.A. riots remembered with a new batch of TV documentaries||Twenty-five years after the acquittal of the four LAPD officers accused of beating Rodney King led to five days of riots in Los Angeles, host James Peterson and producer Jeanette Woods discuss how new television productions are bringing the event to a new generation, and how little the narrative of police violence against unarmed black men has changed. (This episode contains expletives.) This episode contains expletives. — April 29 marked the 25th anniversary of the riots in Los Angeles that followed the acquittal of the four LAPD officers accused of beating Rodney King. Host James Peterson and podcast producer Jeanette Woods discuss how five new TV documentaries and a one-man show restaged for Netflix are bringing the event to a new generation. We also get a little gloomy about how the narrative of police violence against unarmed black men looks pretty much the same as it did back then. You can find Eric Deggans’ review of the television programs discussed on The Remix at NPR.org. CNN has a comprehensive timeline of the riots at CNN.com. FIND THE REMIX ON STITCHER OR SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNES.||5/11/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Artist Danny Simmons, a tribute to ‘The Funky Drummer,’ and Trump’s black history blunders||On this episode we talk to artist Danny Simmons about creating opportunities for artists of color. We celebrate the late great Clyde “Funky Drummer” Stubblefield, and we give serious side-eye to the Trump administration’s Black History Month antics. We’ve just survived the first Black History Month under President Trump. It was a mess from beginning to end. Vox journalist German Lopez rounded up some of the worst moments, but there were so many, it was difficult to count. The month opened with the president managing to turn remarks aimed at honoring black history into a denouncement of the hostile press. In that same opening day speech he seemed not to know that Frederick Douglass, an historic icon on par with Abraham Lincoln, was, like the 16th president, long dead. “I am very proud now that we have a museum on the National Mall where people can learn about Rev. King, so many other things,” he said. “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice.“ The month ended with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos calling historically black colleges and universities “real pioneers” of school choice. Her statement either ignored the fact that many HBCUs were founded because segregation barred black students from higher education, or bizarrely equated segregation with the creation of school choice. In a tweet, Congresswoman Barbara Lee schooled Devos, explaining that “#HBCUs weren’t ‘more options’ for black students — for many years, they were the ONLY option”. Not to be outdone in Black History Month offenses, Attorney General Jeff Sessions held his first press conference on Feb. 28. He indicated that he would end monitoring of polices forces suspected of systemic civil rights violations and brutality. We wonder what the administration has in store for next year. FIND THE REMIX ON STITCHER OR SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNES.||3/16/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||If you think your approach to race is ‘colorblind,’ you’re wrong||This week we talk to Dr. Sheena Howard about her film, “Remixing Colorblind.” The documentary examines perceptions about race on college campuses through discussions with students and educators. The film looks at how the educational system shapes students’ understanding of race and race relations. Howard is an associate professor of communication at Rider University andan award-winning author who received the 2014 Eisner Award for her first book, “Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation.” Howard will take part in a panel discussion of the film on Feb. 22 at the Free Library of Philadelphia. Dr. James Peterson will moderate. For information on film screenings and discussions of the film, visit the “Remixing Colorblind” website, remixingcolorblind.com. FIND THE REMIX ON STITCHER OR SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNES.||2/17/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Election Day special: The new reality of a divided nation||It’s been a campaign like nothing in recent memory. Today, it’s all in the hands of the voters. Most of us can’t wait for the whole thing to be over, but Dr. James Peterson is looking past today and thinking about the work ahead — dealing with the reality of a very divided nation.||11/8/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Senator Bob Casey on the Clinton and Trump debate and the road to justice for African Americans||We’re dropping a special pre-debate episode of The Remix with host Dr. James Peterson. As the presidential candidates prepare to square off, Senator Bob Casey, Democrat from Pennsylvania, stops by to talk debates, justice reform and the honor of public service.||9/26/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Big Daddy Kane on music, politics and the secret to a long career||Big Daddy Kane had his first big hit in 1987 when he did a rap single with Biz Markie, “Just Rhymin’ with Biz“. He was soon headlining on his own music and the rest is history. Kane sat down with host James Peterson to discuss everything from rappers he admires, to the presidential campaign, to Black Lives Matter. Besides music Kane has acted in movies and has worked on a line of hip hop inspired fashion. In the fall he will launch his own wine, a Cabernet-petit sirah called A. Monterio, taken from his real name, Anotonio Monterio Hardy. Kane says that his long career is due to always being honest and real with his fans. ” I didn’t give you what the record company thought you should see, I didn’t give you what the manger thought you should see. I gave you what came from the heart. You know, the heart always speaks the truth. “ The interview took place at a Heineken Green Room Insider Session live event in Philadelphia. You can see a video of the full interview on YouTube at https://youtu.be/Ug6j5RnB5CI. FIND THE REMIX ON STITCHER OR SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNES.||8/8/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||‘Another Round’s’ Tracy Clayton on Hillary Clinton, BLM and intersectionality||Tracy Clayton co-hosts BuzzFeed Audio’s podcast “Another Round”. On their hit podcast Clayton and co-host Heben Nigatu discuss everything from evil squirrels to micro-agressions in the workplace to self care in the face of violent media images. During the Democratic National Convention Tracy Clayton talked to us about her interview with Hillary Clinton, feminism and racism. FIND THE REMIX ON STITCHER OR SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNES.||7/29/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Beyoncé, Black feminism and sisterhood||We’re taking a few weeks off this summer and posting some of our favorite pieces from the archives. And what’s better in summer than Lemonade! Feminism, infidelity, alt rock, country music, and the gliteratti rumor mill all peek from the corners of Beyoncé’s newest visual album, “Lemonade.” Host Dr. James Peterson discusses the music and imagery with film critic Miriam Bale. Bale wrote about the album for the Hollywood Reporter. FIND THE REMIX ON STITCHER OR SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNES.||7/8/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||From the archives: Donald Trump and the Black vote||With the Republican National Convention upon us, we revisit a discussion from April 2016 with Republican political analyst Joe Watkins.||6/30/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Comedian Felonious Monk on using the N-word, comedy and politcs||If you saw the most recent White House Correspondents Dinner, you probably have an opinion about host Larry Wilmore’s performance and his use of the N-word. We talk to comedian Felonious Munk, a contributor to The Nightly Show about the N-word incident and the tensions circulating around comedy, politics and performing while Black. You can find information about Felonious Munk and his comedy tour dates at www.munkcomedy.com and watch videos of his performances on YouTube. FIND THE REMIX ON STITCHER OR SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNES.||5/16/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||MSNBC correspondent Joy-Ann Reid on the politics of attracting Black votes||This week we continue the conversation about how the presidential candidates are winning or losing Black voters. Host Dr. James Peterson speaks with MSNBC National Correspondent Joy-Ann Reid about her recent book “Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons, and the Racial Divide.” FIND THE REMIX ON STITCHER OR SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNES.||4/21/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||A personal take on the debate over referring to Ph.D.s as ‘doctor’||On this bonus episode of The Remix, Dr. James Peterson considers an unexpected “doctoral dilemma.” When we originally started this program, I used the tag line “Dr. James Peterson” and we had conversations with my producer and other folks here at WHYY about changing that to “James Peterson” or “James Braxton Peterson.” At the time, I was wrestling with the tensions around using certain titles at certain times in certain contexts. I have a long history of people in my family and people in the community wanting others to refer to me as “doctor” — when I’m introduced publicly or introduced on TV. That’s a complicated tension, because within the academy, there are lots of professors who do not use the title “doctor.” They might use the title “Professor,” but they don’t often refer to themselves as “doctor.” And there are folks who feel that Ph.D.s aren’t “real doctors.” For those keeping score at home, I was in school for about 10 years after college to complete my degree at the University of Pennsylvania. It’s a Ph.D. in English, a pretty solid degree. But I’ve always been trapped in the middle, because I’ll appear on TV, someone will introduce me as “James Peterson,” and I’ll get calls from black fans and from older black folks saying “Hey, why didn’t they refer to you as Dr. Peterson? Why aren’t they using your title? Why are they disrespecting you?” There is a tension between what people in the community want me to represent and how the academy has a different sense about the use of honorifics and titles. The same tension has manifested itself in the classroom and in school and obviously a little bit here at WHYY. So I’ve often thought about it and tried to revisit it and wondered: “Is there anything more to it? Is there anything more to the issue than black folks — especially older black folks, and especially my family — wanting me to be representative? Is there anything more to their request that people refer to me as Dr. Peterson?” I have been following the emergence of Nate Parker’s film “The Birth of a Nation” over the last few weeks. It actually set a record for acquisitions this year at Sundance Film Festival when Fox Searchlight paid $17.5 million for the rights. This is an important and phenomenal moment in Hollywood, because “The Birth of a Nation” (not to be confused with D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation”), is a film that tells the story of Nat Turner’s rebellion in Virginia in 1831. It is a film that, for a long time, pundits in and around Hollywood said could not be made. I’m using Kyle Baker’s “Nat Turner-Revolution” graphic novel this semester in the Black Lives Matter class that I am teaching at Lehigh University. I’ve been reading up on Turner because of Sundance and because of my own interest in the topic. In my research I found something that helps me to better understand the historical reasons why black folks embrace titles, and especially why they want my Ph.D. title acknowledged. I learned that Nat Turner was called different names by different people. Some historical reports, written at the time of the rebellion, refer to him as “General Nat Turner” or “Captain Nat Turner.” The military titles were used in jest, as a way to mock and degrade him and belittle the rebellion. But records also show there were a number of enslaved Africans who were called to testify against him who would also refer to him as “General Nat” or “Captain Nat.” Historians suggest that the ascription of that title to Nat Turner by blacks was one of respect — respect, in a subtle way, for what he had accomplished through that violent insurrection back in 1831. As you dig a bit deeper into that history, you see that the importance of titles in some communities is higher, the st||2/9/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Filmmaker Stanley Nelson discusses new documentary on the Black Panther Party||“Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” is a the new documentary from Stanley Nelson. Nelson is the Emmy nominated, Peabody Award, and MacArthur Foundation Award winning director of a body of work that includes films on Emmett Till, Marcus Garvey and the Freedom Riders. When Nelson and his production team started working on the project 7 years their goal was to create a film that told the complete history of the Black Panther movement because it was a story that “people really didn’t know”. They felt that the ideas represented by the Black Panthers were relevant but they could not have foreseen the development of the Black Lives Matter movement and the ongoing protests over police violence. “Little did we know that it would be as relevant as it is, at this historical moment that we find ourselves in now”, says Nelson. Using the voices of former Black Panther members and police, music and archival footage the documentary weaves together a story of a group that was, in many ways, a logical follow up to the non-violent civil rights protests of the 1960’s. “There would have been no Black Panthers without the traditional civil rights movement of Martin Luther King,” says Nelson. The documentary focuses on events that took place nearly 50 years ago, but Nelson says that the same issues of inequality that the Black Panthers organized to confront still exist today. “The Black Panthers began in Oakland as a result of police brutality. And here we are today with Black Lives Matter and other movements around the country, as we see African Americans being murdered by the police”. The new documentary opens in Philadelphia on Friday, September 18 at Landmark Cinemas theater, Ritz at The Bourse. On Sunday, September 20 at 7pm James Peterson will host a screening which will be followed by a question and answer session with the filmmaker.||9/14/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||We revisit a conversation with Adolph Reed on ‘idiocracy’, reparations and Azealia Banks||For these last few weeks of summer we’re bringing back some of our favorites and our audience’s favorites. Last winter, when Adolph Reed weighed in on the beef between Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks our listeners loved it. We did too. A transcript of host James Peterson’s interview with Reed appears below: James Peterson: I wonder if we can start off by talking about the year of 2014 in politics. I’m interested in your sense of politics and political movements, and also in some of your specific reactions to the anti-police brutality movement that we’ve seen emerge. And then maybe we can talk a little about presidential politics as we think through the year. Adolph Reed: On the domestic front, I guess I’d say, it was the best of years, it was the worst of years — except for the “best” part. JP: What was the best of the year and what was the worst of the year? AR: I’m trying to think of what the best was, to tell you the truth. I’m not even sure what the worst was. The thing that strikes me most about this past year is the extent to which … it just seems like we’ve taken a qualitatively greater step towards idiocracy. JP: What do you mean by “idiocracy”? AR: It’s actually the name of an extraordinary movie that came out a number of years ago that projects 400 or 500 years into the future, where the whole population has become stupid. So people are buying law degrees at Costco and all that kind of stuff. It’s been a kind of dumbing down and a conflation of domains. For instance, in popular culture, manufactured controversy between Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks. JP: You think that’s manufactured? AR: I think it’s part of the culture industry. But what happens is that following popular culture has come to be considered a political act. And debates within popular culture have come to be seen much more as carrying a political significance of their own that has never been the case previously. And it’s happened at the time that the economic conditions and the conditions of everyday life, of more and more of the population, are becoming more and more vulnerable. It just feels like a classic form of bread and circuses, basically. JP: Meaning that the discourses that we’re seeing around popular culture are displacing or obscuring some of the more important conversations we need to be having in reality? AR: Yes. The job insecurity, wage insecurity, the continuing crisis of affordable housing, the complete destruction of public education — like in many cities, with New Orleans being one, and Philly following close behind. This is the kind of stuff that doesn’t fit neatly into sound bites… JP: …Or tweets. AR: Or tweets — tweets especially. And in a funny way, I think that the continuing expanse of the blogosphere has undermined both political perspective and focus and just kind of fills the airwaves and the time with controversies that are ephemeral and don’t add up to very much. And what passes for commentary is this axis of Fox on the one side and MSNBC on the other. There’s a term of art in pro wrestling that I stumbled across: “kayfabe.” JP: Which means what? AR: It captures the phenomenon of a participating audience coming together around what everyone knows on some level is the fictional quality of the sport, but coming together around a shared commitment to treat it as though it were real, because it feels so good to the fans to do so. When you think about it, in a way, that’s the tea party, that’s the birthers, that’s all the rest of it. But I suspect there’s also a variant of that on what calls itself the Left or progressive politics. JP: I have so many questions about this. I will concede the point that news has become more news-entertainment than just pure news, and obviously the proliferation of networks reflects that, and the quality of n||8/27/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||A look back at the Watts riots and how the community is looking ahead||50 years ago this week an uprising that became known as the Watts Riots began in a black neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles. A white motorcycle officer pulled over a car with two black men, brothers, for reckless driving. Twenty-one year old Marquette Frye was behind the wheel, his brother Ronald, 22 was in the passenger seat. As a crowd gathered to watch, the mother of one of the men arrived on the scene. More police were called in. As officers tried to take Frye into custody, Mrs Frye became hostile and tensions increased. Someone in the crowd spit on the officers. Two people were arrested for inciting the crowd to violence. Anger continued to fester after officers left the scene and rumors flew that one of the bystanders arrested for incitement was pregnant. The crowd did not dispense, it grew, and later that night groups began stoning cars and harassing white drivers. This was the beginning of a 6 days of violence. In the end 34 people were dead. An investigation found that 26 of the deaths were caused by Los Angeles police and the National Guard and ruled justifiable homicide by a Coroner’s inquest. A fireman, a deputy sheriff and police officer were killed in the line of duty. One death was ruled accidental. There were over 1,000 reported injuries. 3,438 adults and 514 juveniles were arrested, mostly for looting. The riots left over 200 buildings destroyed and 600 damaged by looting or fire. It was estimated that there was some $40 million in property damage. In the aftermath of the 1965 riots, Ted Watkins founded the Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC) with the sponsorship of more than a dozen labor unions in an effort to create housing, jobs and a better life for African Americans in South-Central Los Angeles. The group began operating small businesses and buying land to build low-cost housing. Founder Ted Watkins’ son, Timothy, is now the president and CEO of the WLCAC. On this episode of The Remix, host James Peterson interviews Timothy Watkins on how the organization has continued to work for social justice and promote fair housing in the neighborhood.||8/14/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||Cosby’s downfall, Trump’s racism and why Rihanna’s ‘BBHMM’ might be about reparations||Duke University professor Mark Anthony Neal calls in to The Remix to consider why we are still talking about Bill Cosby, why anybody takes Donald Trump seriously as a presidential candidate, and how Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money” video can be read as a call for reparations. And because we manage to mention the brilliance of Kendrick Lamar in nearly every episode, James Peterson and Neal discuss his “To Pimp a Butterfly.” Mark Anthony Neal specializes in cultural studies and African-American literature at Duke University. His most recent scholarly work, “Looking for Leroy: Illegible Black Masculinities” (2013), explores how American popular culture has both synthesized and distorted the identities of black men. Neal is the host of Left of Black, a podcast produced by The Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary and International Studies at Duke University. He also curates the blog New Black Man (in Exhile).||7/9/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||This Fourth of July, reflect on national identity with the help of Frederick Douglass||Fellow citizens, at about this time of year, at least since the rise of that ancient form of mass communication – the chain/forwarded email – black folks are strongly encouraged to revisit Frederick Douglass’ classic 1852 speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” In the 163 years since Douglass delivered this shining example of oratorical mastery, the speech’s compelling argumentation has lost none of its luster. In it, Douglass reveals the inherent contradiction in our independence holiday – that the American project is plagued by the legacy of slavery. As we celebrate the 239th anniversary of this great nation’s independence, I am more and more convinced of the imperative for all Americans to read Douglass’ speech. Note well here that I am not interested in raining on anyone’s well-branded celebration of American independence. I enjoy fireworks and cookouts as much as the next man/woman. I am also not interested in reducing Douglass’ call to reflect on the meaning of independence to some sense that black folks should reject their natural and national heritage. On the contrary, I am a firm believer in our nation’s history — its dark sides as well as its bright ones. To paraphrase a famous rock lyric, “we built this city …” well — not on rock ‘n’ roll, but on the blood sweat and tears of black folks. In many ways, it makes perfect sense to center our annual celebrations of independence on the black experience in America. What other people’s history better reflects the interlocking struggles for this nation’s pursuit of liberation, freedom, and independence? The earliest conceptualization of freedom in this nation was defined by not being enslaved. The earliest casualty in the battle for independence was Crispus Attucks. And the first liberation movement was founded in the brilliance of the Underground Railroad. Freedom, liberation and independence are related but distinct American ideals, and the meaning of each should not be lost on us in the commemoration of these concepts during our national celebration. This is not just a history lesson. Think of our contemporary headlines. These ideas continue to inform them. Douglass was suspicious of holidays. And maybe we should all be. He believed they were a distraction from the harsh reality of slavery. How many Americans pause on July Fourth to actually consider the meaning of independence in our current moment? Independence Day doesn’t have to be a distraction for us – just take the time to read Douglass’ speech. By asking what does the Fourth of July mean to the slave, Douglass continues to challenge us to reflect on our national identity. Who are we? And what does it mean to be an American citizen today? Ultimately, Douglass compels us to define our lofty concepts of nation and independence not by who has persecuted and oppressed us, but by whom we have persecuted and oppressed.||6/26/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
Love the work of Dr. Peterson! He's a brillian scholar and academic and is one of (if not, the only) premier Hip Hop scholar. I love his poignant and timely podcasts which allow us to engage with society today in the so-called "post-racial" America. I await to listen the series each week and enjoy the insight he gives along with his guests. Bravo.
Relevant and provocative
Dr. James Peterson puts his definition of what it means to be a hip hop scholar to work in his always relevant always thought-provoking podcast, The Remix. If you want example of how a gifted and critical mind breaks down popular trends, major media events, and coded messages rooted in the African Diaspora, look no further than this podcast. Dr. Peterson is a consummate podcast host and modern Africana/literature/media scholar. ENJOY!
I can’t get enough of these conversations. I recently spent most of 6 hours of a plane ride binge listening to the archives of the Remix and each episode opens up new perspectives on life in America. I have lists of books to read and music to listen to, movies to view and questions to ask myself as I move through the world. Dr. Peterson’s elegant, intimate and joyful approach as he engages his guests on the topics of race, class, money, politics, art, music, culture, Feminism, violence, young people, social icons, history and more, is an education in the most digestible form, without any sacrifice of depth and nuance. I love these podcasts and look forward to more!