Tribeca Talks X Blackhouse: Black Critics on the State of Representation Onscreen

Tribeca Talks

60 MINUTES |

TRIBECA TALKS X BLACKHOUSE: BLACK CRITICS ON THE STATE OF REPRESENTATION ONSCREEN

A powerhouse panel of Black critics, all Pulitizer prize winners, convene to discuss current and historical Black representation onscreen and beyond. Panelists include Robin Givhan, Margo Jefferson, Wesley Morris, and Salamishah Tillet. Moderated by returning Tribeca collaborator Jelani Cobb.

This year Tribeca is working with the Blackhouse Foundation to provide space for POC storytelling and have thought provoking conversations with creators in the Indeed Lounge and with Critical Minded to build the resources and visibility of cultural critics of color.

The Blackhouse Foundation was founded in 2007 to expand career opportunities for Black multi-platform content creators and executives within film, television, digital, and emerging platforms. Founded by the Nathan Cummings Foundation and Ford Foundation, Critical Minded is a grantmaking and learning initiative that supports cultural critics of color in the United States. It emerged from the belief that engaging critically with the ideas and images that surround us is a prerequisite for transforming our cultural landscape and preserving democracy.

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PANELISTS

Wesley Morris

Wesley Morris

Wesley Morris is a critic at large and the co-host, with Jenna Wortham, of the culture podcast “Still Processing.” Since coming to The New York Times in 2015, Mr. Morris has written about the moral force of civilian cellphone videos, Hollywood's addiction to racial reconciliation fantasies, and the endangerment of romantic comedies. Mr. Morris previously worked at Grantland as a staff writer and the Sportstorialist columnist, and was a National Magazine Award finalist for Columns and Commentary in 2015. At Grantland, he was also a host of the podcast “Do You Like Prince Movies?” From 2002 to 2013, Mr. Morris was a film critic at The Boston Globe, where he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2012. Before that, he wrote for The San Francisco Chronicle and The San Francisco Examiner. He won a second Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2021, for a set of searing essays that explored the intersection of race and pop culture with insight, acuity and urgency. Mr. Morris was born in Philadelphia and lives in Brooklyn.

Salamishah Tillet

Salamishah Tillet

Salamishah Tillet is the Henry Rutgers Professor of Africana Studies and Creative Writing at Rutgers University - Newark and the Director of Express Newark, a center for socially engaged art and design. She is a contributing critic-at-large at the New York Times and the author of Sites of Slavery: Citizenship and Racial Democracy in the Post-Civil Rights Imagination (2012) and In Search of the Color Purple: The Story of An American Masterpiece (2021). She was awarded the 2020 Whiting Foundation Creative Nonfiction fellowship for her cultural memoir, All The Rage: Mississippi Goddam and The World Nina Simone Made. In May, she was named a 2021 Andrew Carnegie Fellow by the Carnegie Corporation of New York for her next project, In Lieu of the Law: “Me Too’ and The Politics of Justice, a cultural history of the world’s largest social media movement. That same year, she co-hosted and co-produced, with Cindi Leive, the “Because of Anita” podcast which examined the 30-year legacy of Anita Hill’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991. In 2022, “Because of Anita” won a Webby Award and Gracie Award. In 2003, she founded, with her sister, Scheherazade Tillet, A Long Walk Home, an art organization that empowers young people to end violence against girls and women. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English and African American Studies and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, her Masters of Art in Teaching in English from Brown University, and her Masters of Art in English and American Literature and her Ph.D. in American Studies from Harvard University. In 2022, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for criticism. She lives in Newark with her partner and two children.

Margo Jefferson

Margo Jefferson

The winner of a Pulitzer Prize for criticism, Margo Jefferson has been a staff book, theater and arts critic for The New York Times and Newsweek. She has written for The Washington Post, New York Magazine, VOGUE, O, The Believer, Guernica, Bookforum, The Washington Post and The Nation. Her essays have been anthologized in The Best American Essays; The Inevitable: Contemporary Writers Confront Death; The Best African American Essays; The Jazz Cadence of American Culture; The Mrs. Dalloway Reader and elsewhere. She has written three books: On Michael Jackson (2005), Negroland (2015), and Constructing a Nervous System. (2022). Negroland, received the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography, The Heartland Prize and The Bridge International Prize. Recently, she received the 2022 Windham Campbell Prize for Nonfiction. She lives in New York and teaches writing at Columbia University.

Robin Givhan

Robin Givhan

Since 2020, Robin Givhan has been senior critic-at-large for the Washington Post where she focuses on politics, race and the arts. During her time at the Post, she has also covered the news, trends and business of the international fashion industry. She wrote a weekly culture column. In 2009, she began covering Michelle Obama and the cultural and social shifts stirred by the first African American family in the White House. Givhan’s work has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, American Vogue, Vogue Italia, British Vogue, Essence, Elle UK, New York and the New Yorker. She has contributed to several books including “Runway Madness,” “No Sweat: Fashion, Free Trade and the Rights of Garment Workers,” and “Thirty Ways of Looking at Hillary: Reflections by Women Writers.” She is the author, along with the Washington Post photo staff, of “Michelle: Her First Year as First Lady.” Her first solo book, “The Battle of Versailles: The Night American Fashion Stumbled Into The Spotlight And Made History,” was published in March 2015. It is a cultural history of the 1973 Franco-American runway extravaganza that altered the trajectory of the fashion industry. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Princeton University and a Master of Science in journalism from the University of Michigan. In 2006, she won the Pulitzer Prize in criticism for her fashion coverage. She lives in Washington, DC.

Jelani Cobb

Jelani Cobb

Jelani Cobb is the Director of the Lipman Center for Journalism in Civil and Human Rights at Columbia University and a professor at Columbia Journalism School. He has been a Staff Writer at the New Yorker since 2015 and in 2018 was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Commentary. He is the author and editor of six books, including The Matter of Black Lives: Writing from the New Yorker. His 2020 film Whose Vote Counts? received the Peabody Award for News Documentary.