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These Fantastical, Futuristic Black Dolls Will Make You Rethink the Toy Aisle

Since 1978, artists have created inspiring representations of black culture in doll form that are sorely lacking in the conventional toy industry

In the now infamous Doll Experiments, psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark presented two dolls, one black and one white, to young black children and asked them questions about which they preferred. The test found that students who attended segregated schools overwhelmingly preferred the white doll and revealed how students internalized the racism that structured their everyday lives. The Clarks not only served as expert witnesses in the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education, their research findings also inspired what is now the longest-running black doll show in the United States. The Annual Black Doll Show, now in its 34th year, takes place at the William Grant Still Arts Center in the historically black Los Angeles neighborhood of West Adams. The show was founded in 1978, by the legendary L.A.-based artist and curator Cecil Fergerson, who served as the Los Angeles County Museum of Arts’ (LACMA) first black curator.

“Everybody calls him the godfather of the black community. The black artists know Cecil. He started as a janitor at [LACMA] and then he came on up to be a curator,” says Bobbie Campbell, one of the center’s founders.


This year’s black doll show, titled A League Supreme: Jazz Superheroes, was curated by Keisa Davis, the center’s education coordinator. Davis conceptualized the entire show around the fictional uncolonized African country of Wakanda, from Marvel’s The Black Panther, the first comic book featuring a black superhero. In the Center’s call for pieces, they asked artists to contribute dolls inspired by the fantastical world imagined in the comic book or by musical jazz legends like Billie Holiday or Alice Coltrane, “superheroes who use music to transcend injustice.”

“The whole point is to have a platform for young people of color, young children of color, for them to see dolls or images they’re not going to see often in the mainstream,” says Davis.

Amitis Motavelli, director of the William Grant Still Art Center, said that the annual show draws on a history in which black dolls were banned because they were once considered idols of satanic worship or idols of heterodox relgious practices. Even if this year’s show is set in a mythical future, this dark past is still a pervasive theme.

“Although a lot of [the dolls] are based in this fantasy-based future, there’s always some connection that each doll or each piece has with history too,” says Motevalli. “It’s not a futurism that is mindless of history.”

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via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

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Politics
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.

Culture

In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

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Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

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