Tonight’s rehearsal conversation about reporter Tom Blackman brought to mind Paul Laurence Dunbar‘s famous poem, We Wear The Mask… which then made us think of Kehinde Wiley‘s video project called “Smile.” (We shared some other works by Wiley in a previous post.) Both pieces speak to the social masks Black men and boys are forced to carry with them, and we’re interested in how these artworks may resonate with Tom, Tramarion, Flat Joe, Coach Brackett, and characters across the world of the play. We offer a glimpse of these two artworks, below.
Smile by Kehinde Wiley
“Smile is a four-channel video artwork Kehinde Wiley began while completing his MFA at Yale University in 2001. The artist revisited the project 15 years later, once again asking young men he found on the streets of New York to smile unceasingly in front of a camera for one hour. Within the video, the young men can be seen stoically submitting to discomfort and humiliation as their expressions distort under the pain and duress of the pursuit to appear happy.” — Curatorial Notes from Roberts Projects (emphasis mine)
Yesterday we dropped a post about Know Your Heritage, and we wanted to offer some more resources for how Black History Trivia Bowl’s nationwide events feel, look, and sound. Check out the video clips below, as well as sample question sets.
After a pandemic-forced break, Kennesaw Teen Center returned to live in-person competition in January 2022.
The Black History Bowl is a fun, competitive and educational event for middle school students. Teams will have an opportunity to compete in three rounds of competition that begin on January 15 , 2022 and end with the Championship Series on February 5, 2022. Teams compete by answering a variety of black history-related questions in science, the arts, education, sports, entertainment, civil rights, politics and more in a fast-paced game show format. The Bowl seeks to raise and deepen the awareness of the vital role played by African-Americans in the rich history of our country. • 87,000 students invited to participate • All schools, churches and youth groups are eligible. • Competition division: Middle school aged (grades 6-8), • Teams composed of a minimum of four players and a maximum of six players, with two advisers.
Here’s a selection of study questions for 2011-2021 Black History Bowl competitions. To see the full 27 page document, click here.
Middle school and high school quiz bowls are common across the country. Here in Boston, WGBH has produced and aired the popular High School Quiz Show for the past 13 seasons — an academic general-topics competition which is, in many ways, typical of the form. But the Know Your Heritage quiz bowl featured in Black Super Hero Magic Mama is specific to the version that existed for decades in Chicago, focused primarily on African American history.
Here’s how Know Your Heritage works…
Two teams consisting of four students (each team from one high school in Chicago) competed in a yearly tournament to win $1,000 college scholarships as well as trips to Walt Disney World as rewards for their knowledge of black history.
Questions were presented in multiple choice format with four possible answers, with point values in varying amounts. The team that rang in first would have the chance to answer it and had to give the letter and answer; giving the letter alone was not acceptable.
The questions ranged from primarily ethnic history, with a few grab-bag categories thrown in.
Next was the huddle up round where a question was asked and up to 10 answers were shown and the teams would have one minute to pick which of the answers were correct and were awarded based on number of correct guesses.
The final round consisted of how many points each team was willing to wager. They would do so during the second-to-last commercial break. One player from each team would walk up to the host’s podium and the question was presented. They would have a time limit in which to put the answer down; when time expired, both players would close their notebooks (laptops in newer episodes).
This series is broken into different sections like most quiz bowls:
• “Chicago Challenge” (Introduced 2008) – All the high schools competed in 10 minute intervals, usually two matches per episode, until 16 teams remained. • “Chicago Survivors” – The 16 high schools competed against each other until eight were left. • “Chicago’s Elite” – Quarterfinals match, in which the remaining eight competed until four winning teams were left. • “Chicago’s Noble Four” – Semifinals match, where the two winning teams advanced to the finals. • “Who’s Who in Chicago” – The finals round where the two winning teams competed for the grand prize stated above. • Special “All Star” episodes aired at the end of each season. Versions included the losing two teams from the final four, students versus faculty from the high school of the winning team, or two teams of Chicago celebrities.