06-18-2018  12:38 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

CareOregon Awards $250,000 for Housing Projects

Recipients include Rogue Retreat, Bridges to Change, Luke Dorf, Transition Projects and Bridge Meadows ...

The Honorable Willie L. Brown to Receive NAACP Spingarn Medal

The award recognizes Brown’s lifelong commitment to the community, equality and civil rights ...

Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture

New Smithsonian exhibit looks at how Oprah Winfrey shaped American culture and vice versa ...

Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Black Pioneers Host ‘Celebrate History and Make a Difference Now!’ Event June 9

Representatives from local organizations will talk about how individuals can get involved in promoting social change ...

Grants Pass man, 39, drowns in Rogue River

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — The Josephine County sheriff says a Grants Pass man drowned in the Rogue River.Sheriff Dave Daniel says it happened Saturday afternoon when 39-year-old James Dawson tried to swim to shore after his watercraft quit working. He was not wearing a life jacket.Crews...

Some forest trails remain closed long after 2017 wildfire

IDAHHA, Ore. (AP) — Some trails in Oregon's Willamette National Forest remain closed due to damage from a wildfire that ripped through the area last year.The Register-Guard reports the Whitewater Trail into the Jefferson Park area remains closed. Other trails, including some in the Fall...

UW to pay 7K to settle Republicans' free-speech lawsuit

SEATTLE (AP) — The University of Washington will pay 7,000 to settle a lawsuit filed after the college billed a Republican club security fees for a rally.The UW College Republicans sued, saying the bill for ,000 to cover security costs for the campus event violated free-speech and...

Old farm warehouse may be saved as part of Hanford history

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — One of Washington state's most endangered historic places is located on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland. That's according to the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.The long warehouse along the Columbia River was once owned by farmers Paul and Mary...

OPINION

What Happened? Assessing the Singapore Summit

For all its weaknesses, we are better off having had the summit than not ...

Redlining Settlement Fails to Provide Strong Penalties

A recent settlement of a federal redlining lawsuit is yet another sign that justice is still being denied ...

5 Lessons on Peace I Learned from My Cat Soleil

Dr. Jasmine Streeter takes some cues on comfort from her cat ...

Research Suggests Suicides By Racial and Ethnic Minorities are Undercounted

Sociologist Dr. Kimya Dennis describes barriers to culturally-specific suicide research and treatment ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Greece: 2 face racism charges over beatings of immigrants

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek police say they have arrested one suspected extreme nationalist and are seeking a second as suspects in a pair of attacks on immigrants in Athens.A police statement issued Monday said the suspects allegedly attacked two Pakistanis on Friday, stole a mobile phone...

Redistricting changes headed to the ballot in several states

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday on redistricting lawsuits in Wisconsin and Maryland comes as several states already are considering changes to the criteria and processes that will be used to draw legislative districts after the 2020 Census.In most places, the state legislature and governor are...

States' redistricting plans facing challenges in court

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to block the use of legislative districts in Wisconsin and Maryland in separate cases that had alleged unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering. Instead, the high court allowed lower courts to continue considering the claims.The cases are among several that...

ENTERTAINMENT

Review: 'Jurassic World 2' leans on nostalgia, contrivances

Here's the good news: "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom " is more fun than "Jurassic World." It's not exactly a high bar, but still a welcome surprise. In the hands of a new director, J.A. Bayona, with Chris Pratt's high-wattage charisma on full blast and a fair amount of self-aware humor intact,...

'Incredibles 2' crushes animation record with 0 million

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The combined powers of superheroes, the Pixar brand and a drought of family-friendly films helped "Incredibles 2" become the best animated opening of all time, the biggest PG-rated launch ever and the 8th highest film launch overall.Disney estimated Sunday that the film...

AFI highlights Clooney's life of acting, activism and pranks

LOS ANGELES (AP) — George Clooney's Hollywood career spans more than three decades, with memorable roles including fighting vampires, playing Batman and drifting through space in "Gravity." But Clooney's other accomplishments, including directing, screenwriting and activism, led to him...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Puerto Rico struggles with jump in asthma cases post-Maria

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Shortly after he turned 2, Yadriel Hernandez started struggling to breathe....

Apple sets up iPhones to relay location for 911 calls

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is trying to drag the U.S.'s antiquated system for handling 911 calls into the...

Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

GENEVA (AP) — Obsessive video gamers know how to anticipate dangers in virtual worlds. The World Health...

Israel PM, Jordan king meet after months of strained ties

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Jordan's King Abdullah II that he is...

Geraldine McCaughrean wins Carnegie children's book prize

LONDON (AP) — British writer Geraldine McCaughrean has won the prestigious Carnegie Medal for children's...

Greek far-right lawmaker arrested on treason-linked charges

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek anti-terrorism police arrested an extreme far-right lawmaker on treason-linked...

By Donovan M. Smith | The Skanner News

Portlander Kalimah Abioto describes herself as a filmmaker, writer, and transmedia artist. Her latest work is a series of video portraits lasting no longer than 30 seconds, dedicated to exploring the bounds of Black beauty.

The Skanner spoke with Abioto to discuss the origins of her latest project, which she started working on this summer in New York. This interview has been edited for space and clarity.

The Skanner News: What is the Ace Book?

Kalimah Abioto: The Ace Book is a series of video portraits of people. It’s just been a way for me to connect with people and share ideas about life, about beauty, about fashion, the way people express themselves visually. Film is my background and film is a big part of how I express myself and that being a way to express what’s unconscious, as opposed to what’s always consciously felt. And it’s a way of documenting what may be not always seen.

TSN: This didn’t start in Portland, did it?

KA: It started at Afropunk [an annual arts festival] in New York, but I didn’t go there with that intent. I started doing videos with people, almost like a mini-documentary with video portraits of people. Generally they range from 30 seconds to eight seconds. And in it, I feel like so much can be described about the person, about a situation, a story.

It’s interesting, because I’m still developing it. It’s not -- and maybe this is how experimental film works -- you’re developing something, you’re not always sure where it’s going to go.

TSN: There’s no blueprint.

KA: Yeah exactly. But you keep moving.

TSN: Tell me more about the girl with the dead crow [in the video – see photo].

KA: That’s what made me realize [I should do] short documentaries. Of course it was the day of the shooting in South Carolina, and I had gone to an event at Bethel A.M.E. and I had seen her during the service and she looked really interesting. And, then afterwards, she was walking ahead of me, and I saw her pick something up. Then I saw that it was a crow. Then I was like, “What are you doing with that crow in your hand?” And she was like, “Well, I feel like every time I see a dead animal, I need to make preparations for it, I need to bury it, I need to cover it with a cloth.” And she was from, she might have said, the Ivory Coast. And so that just really struck me right there, that she felt she needed to take care of these dead animals. And somehow to me that connected with what was happening, like that we need to take care of each other.  Not just on this plane, but in another plane -- in doing these things, we are connected to each other. No matter the distance, no matter what dimension we are on, it matters. Her story just touched me.

Sometimes it’s just about reaching out to people. I think that’s why I started doing the videos anyway, was to reach out to people, to just make connections with people. To know what they’re feeling, to know what they’re doing and share that with other people. [The woman with the crow is] a really interesting woman. She’s a drummer, and she was also saying different things about forgiveness. I know a lot of people that are still angry about that shooting, and the guy who did it -- but she was saying we still need to forgive and all these other things. It was just interesting.

TSN: Do you feel like you’ve had any realizations about Black beauty as you’ve been doing this?

KA: Realizations -- not really. I already knew it was vast, I already knew it was wide. You always have to remind yourself of it. Sometimes that’s hard to do geographically, but sometimes you have to fight for it. Which is what’s happening here [in Portland], people are galvanizing around the idea that you have to fight for this community -- which isn’t quite just yet apparent across the U.S. But because it’s been so heightened here, because people have been so moved from their communities, [people] realize it’s extreme, it can get extreme. We do have to fight for our communities because we’re beautiful, we’re a beautiful people—so varied. It just reminded me of our beauty, and that’s what I wanted to capture.

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