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Tristan A. Smith is an actor, writer, and comedian born in Chicago, Illinois. He grew up on the city's South Side in the Bronzeville neighborhood. It's a known fact amongst performers that great art comes through Chicago. Tristan has spent more than enough time in the city to provide all the evidence you need of just how special the homegrown talent is. A lot of elements have had a hand in crafting Tristan's artistry both in Chicago and in his travels. From his time in Atlanta at Morehouse College, to his improv and writing training at Act One Studios and Second City, to his everyday experiences. All of it makes an impact. He is honored to be working with Chirp Radio for the first time and happy you are listening.
produced by Brian Heath and Dan Epstein
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It’s long been said that perception becomes reality, and for much of our nation’s history, mass media has not been kind to minorities — in particular, the African-American community. From Birth of a Nation (where the Ku Klux Klan were portrayed as crusading heroes) to the bumbling, shiftless TV characters of Mantan Moreland and Stepin Fetchit, early film and television did much to portray black America as an underclass deserving of pity and ridicule.
But images were also used as weapons to advance the cause of civil rights, as evidenced by the power of photos of the horrifically-beaten Emmit Till to news coverage of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C.
Today we’ll be talking about landmark TV shows and films that have inspired discussions on race — from All in the Family to The Cosby Show to Spike Lee’s Bamboozled — as well as look at how race has been used in the political arena.
My guest is Maurice Berger, senior research scholar at the Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and senior fellow at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics of The New School. He’s also the author and curator of the new book and exhibit titled For All the World To See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights.You can access the online portion of the exhibit here, while the actual project is currently stationed at the International Center of Photography in New York City.
For more information and archived shows, visit kevinfullam.net.
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