Friday, March 30, 2012

On Stage

Rhapsodic blackness/
Entertaining the masses/
Onstage in Harlem.

Lafayette Theatre, by Van Vechten, 1940.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pearlie Mae

Art of Africa/
Artist in America/
I idolize both.

Pearl Bailey (1918-1990), by Van Vechten, 1946.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Red Hot

The cabaret queen/
Legendary woman, this/
Redbone in Paris.

“Bricktop,” Ada Smith DuConge (1894-1984), by Van Vechten, 1939.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Grace and Form

Oblate of black dance/
And prima ballerina/
Artistry distilled.

Janet Collins (1917-2003), by Van Vechten, 1949.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Justice for Trayvon Martin

Sometimes, we just have to look at the country as it is.

All best,


Illustrious Blackness

Distinguished career/
Othello, Douglass, and more/
But loved “Blacula.”

 William Marshall (1924-2003), by Van Vechten, 1951.

Below is a YouTube link to 1972's Blacula. Colonialism and slavery play a part in this film, as African prince Maamuwalde is turned into a vampire by Count Dracula. This film also starred Denise Nicholas, Thalmus Rasulala (1939-1991), and the luminous Vonetta McGee (1945-2010).

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Salt Peanuts

Brilliant dizziness/
With syncopated coolness/
Makes me tap my foot.

 John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie (1917-1993), by Van Vechten, 1955.