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 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. The history of immigration, whether voluntary, forced or refugees fleeing violence, couldn't be more different in the U.S. and France, the countries' current struggles with tolerance, equality and identity are the same.
To explore these issues, Coates has invited an panel of his influential friends to discuss Black Lives Matter, as well as other issues affecting both countries like the worrying rise of the populist right and the influx of Syrians and others in the Middle East affected by violence.
“Our vehicle for this understanding will be the arts — dance, music, literature, film and the visual arts,” says Coates, the author of the influential memoir “Between the World and Me.” “[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 Marvel film “Black Panther” — Coates is the writer behind Marvel's latest title in the franchise. Also contributing to the conversation will be 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) at the embassy’s Cultural Services center at 972 Fifth Ave.