Cuba 2016

In May, I was honored to accompany a delegation from the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) to Hominis 2016, organized by the Cuban Psychological Society in Havana.

The trip was an amazing! We wandered the streets of Old Havana, marveling at the art, architecture, and music; we drank mojitos and Cuba-libres and rode in classic cars; we learned about the Cuban experience from Cubans, not from the media spin that dominates American understanding of this embargoed community.

But this was not a vacation. We visited a community center that caters to Afro-Cuban women and learned of their unique plight in a country that often claims to be past racism (as does much of the Caribbean); we attended several talks at the conference that addressed international psychology and the changing needs of a majority world perspective, a phrase that I learned at the conference. Majority world “defines the community in terms of what it is, rather than what it lacks” (The Masalai Blog, 2009; Shallwani, 2015), and reminds us of the fact that the majority of the world is of color, “developing,” or in an even more outdated term, “third world.”

The trip was life changing and I am grateful to my former PI, Cheryl Grills, who has bestowed upon me more knowledge than I can even begin to quantify. On my flight back, I sat next to a woman who said that she was excited to visit Cuba, but was waiting for it to get more “touristy.” My immediate response (which I kept to myself : ) was, “You don’t want to go to Cuba, you want to go to Sandals.”

Cuba is “touristy.” Although Americans do not visit and are told that the country is backward, there are tourists from the rest of the world, including Europeans, Asians, Africans, and South Americans. The ethnocentrism of Americans (i.e., United States) has impeded us from increasing our global awareness. The Cuban people were gracious, welcoming, and excited to share their culture with anyone who was willing to visit. Estoy deseando que llegue mi próximo viaje a Cuba!

Click here to see more pictures!

 

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Inside the Label on BET

Last night, I made my national television debut as an expert on BET’s Inside the Label: “Grand Hustle.” I was tapped to talk about the intersection of race, gender, technology, and business. It was a delight to be part of such an amazing project.

I was particularly amazed by the fan responses via Twitter, many of which expressed excitement at learning the history of Grand Hustle. Documenting a story is the first step to “making history” (Interview with Harry Allen, 2016). The episode will be broadcast again on Wednesday (7:58pm) and Thursday (10pm).

insidethelabel

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Erika Green Swafford: 15th Annual Conversation on Race and Entertainment Media

Last night, I interviewed Erika Green Swafford, writer and producer on ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium at the S.I. School for Public Communications at Syracuse University for the 15th Annual Conversations on Race and Entertainment Media. We discussed Erika’s career through media, the content she wants to produce, and the unique diversity behind the writers room on #HTGAWM.

Erika Green won an NAACP Image Award for writing the episode “Let’s Get to Scooping,” which featured the now famous vanity scene where Viola Davis removes all of her makeup and her wig. You read a summary of the importance of the scene by Franchesca Ramsey and watch it at the link below…

http://www.upworthy.com/her-character-was-only-supposed-to-remove-her-makeup-before-bed-then-viola-davis-made-it-real

You can also watch Davis’ interview about the scene on The Wrap.

Green was also nominated for the episode “Mama’s Here Now” with the renowned actress, Cicely Tyson.

Clips coming soon!

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Branded Content with Alex Otto

Alex Otto, Director of Branded Entertainment at TLC joins my COM107 class to talk about the unique intersection of content and advertising. Alex has worked at NBC Universal and CBS Paramount Television. She talks about what she does on a daily basis and how students without media degrees can make a career in the industry.

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