The Black Lives Matter movement has become a talking point in the media, politics and psychology circles. Now, Ta-Nehisi Coates wants artists to weigh in.
Coates is curating at the third annual Festival Albertine, a free, five-day literary gathering taking place Nov. 2-6 at Albertine Books inside the French embassy in New York City. While the history of black people in the U.S. and France couldn’t be more different, their current struggle for tolerance, equality and identity are the same, and Coates has invited an panel of his influential friends to discuss how black identity is changing in the wake of Black Lives Matter, as well as other issues affecting both countries like the worrying rise of the populist right and how they’ve been dealing with immigration.
“Our vehicle for this understanding will be the arts — dance, music, literature, film and the visual arts,” says Coates, the author of “Between the World and Me” and the new Marvel comics series starring Black Panther. “[Art] art shapes the imagination and outlines the sense of what is possible. It is art that attacks and interrogates our labels and chosen names, and reduces us to our common humanity.”
Speakers will include the acclaimed portraitist Kehinde Wiley, director Ryan Coogler of “Creed” and the upcoming Marvel film “Black Panther,” American poet Claudia Rankine whose National Book Critics Circle Award-winning “Citizen” also took on racism, filmmaker and reporter Jelani Cobb (“Policing the Police”) and many more.
All Festival Albertine talks are free (and will be livestreamed). They will take place at the embassy’s Cultural Services center at 972 Fifth Ave. Participants are still being added, so check the event website for up-to-date details.