It’s A Wrap

Black Panther Party member Assata Shakur and July 26th Movement member Che Guevara

Black Panther Party member Assata Shakur and July 26th Movement member Che Guevara

Progressive Pupil is happy to announce that thanks to your support the feature-length documentary Black and Cuba is complete! The production team has incorporated community feedback from work-in-progress screenings over the past few months in San Juan, East Harlem, San Diego, Greenwich Village and other locations. We’re currently working on bringing Black and Cuba to a film festival near you. To keep in touch with the film’s progress, like its Facebook page, follow us on twitter and subscribe to this blog.

Juan Almeida, a Cuban Revolutionary


The stylized monochromatic features of Argentinian Ernesto “Che” Guevara have become the face of the Cuban revolution. It’s a face you will find on clothing, murals, lunchboxes, and never more than a mile from any college campus. As a mascot Guevara has become a fashionable and easy way for the world to simplify and often dismiss Cuba’s politics and much of her modern history. It is romantic to imagine Che and Fidel Castro storming down from the mountainside waging a two-man war on capitalism and oppression but it is not the truth. Countless Cubans died and fought for the nation that they have today and premier among them was Juan Almeida Bosque.

Bosque was born in Havana on February 17th, 1927, into a world of poverty and racism. His desire to succeed and improve economic and social plight lead him to study law at the University of Havana where he met fellow classmate Fidel Castro in 1952 and became an active member of what we would come to know as the Cuban Revolution.  A year later Almeida was arrested with Fidel and his brother Raúl  for participating in an assault on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba. They were all granted amnesty in 1955 and exiled to Mexico.


I Like it Like That

Students from the New School are trying to shed some light on 100 Hispanic Women, Inc. through dialog with 90s cinema. Darnell Martin’s 1994 dramedy  “I Like it Like That” details the seemingly insurmountable hardships facing Latina women in New York that hope to achieve anything and it is 100 Hispanic Women’s mission and business to see that Spanish speaking women from all walks of life succeed in politics, medicine and any field that will shape their own destiny and those of the communities around them.

by Samantha Eskine and Alexis Posey


Highlights from AfroPunk 2013

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Thanks to everybody who made it out to the 9th Annual AfroPunk Festival! We’re already looking forward to next year’s festivities!

On August 24th and August 25th, an estimated 30,000 people from all walks of life united at Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn to celebrate “the other black experience.”

Progressive Pupil tabled on Activism Row during both days. We made new friends while discussing Black studies with festival-goers, sold Progressive Pupil tees, tanks and totes and promoted our film Black and Cuba. Many people also took advantage of our invitation to ask Principal Organizer Dr. Robin Hayes any Black studies question!

According to Joselyn Cooper, festival organizer, “We describe AfroPunk as a free space for African Americans — and anyone else who wants to come onto that space — to just be who they are, and not being defined by monolithic definition of what, sort of, the outside culture puts on us as African American people.”

So, what does AfroPunk mean to you?

By Claudie Mabry

Photographs by Dr. Robin Hayes and Alexis Handcock

Remembering AfroCuban Filmmaker Sara Gomez

Sara Gomez filming on location. Image Courtesy of

Sara Gomez filming on location. Image Courtesy of

(Afro)Latino Heritage Month is an ideal time to remember and celebrate the work of a true trailblazer, Sara Gomez. During her career as a filmmaker and community advocate, Gomez captured the culture and traditions of AfroCuban life. In an industry dominated by men, Gomez’s presence was a brazen challenge to the status quo. Female directors in Cuba, especially those of African descent, were often marginalized and their films were not taken as seriously as those of male counterparts. Sara Gomez was one of the visionaries who started the movement to change this. Gomez was the first female Cuban filmmaker in the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC), and her intimate portrayals of women in Cuban society sparked an important cinematic dialogue which continues to this day.


Capoeira: Artful Resistance

Historical Rendition of Capoeira. Image courtesy of

Historical Rendition of Capoeira. Image courtesy of

The history of slavery in the U.S. is taught nationwide; however, slavery elsewhere in the world is barely touched upon in school curriculum. Yet, the resilience and ingenuity that enslaved Africans displayed during and after the Trans-Atlantic slave trade extends beyond U.S. borders. From the 16th to 19th centuries, Brazil was the main destination for Africans sold across the Atlantic and contained the largest slave population in the world. Just as slaves in the U.S. used music, poetry and dance to preserve their heritage and subtly organize against oppressors, African slaves in Brazil also created new forms of art and defense. One of the most influential creations to come from this period is a type of martial arts called Capoeira.


What We Did on Summer Vacation

Principal Organizer Robin Hayes and Community Outreach Intern Shannon Shird at BedStuy Pride. Image Courtesy of

Principal Organizer Robin Hayes and Community Outreach Intern Shannon Shird at Bed-Stuy Pride. Image Courtesy of Laurabeth Lima

Thanks to your support and participation we had a great summer here at Progressive Pupil! If you were in New York, you may have seen us at the Brooklyn Artistry and Company Bazaar, Audre Lorde Project’s Bed-Stuy Pride or AfroPunk 2013. We always enjoy partnering with community-based organizations that celebrate artists of color and the diversity of the Black community. Although we recognize the significance and necessity of our social media work, nothing beats having the opportunity to meet you and chat about our work face to face. At these kinds of events, we also learn so much about inspiring grassroots organizations working to address racism.

To everyone who signed up for our mailing list, picked up a Progressive Pupil tote, t-shirt or tank top and generously gave us a donation, thank you!   We will be expanding our face-to-face outreach and look forward to meeting you outside of New York. If you know of an event in your area we don’t want to miss, let us know in the comments of this post, Facebook or See you before next September.

The Queen of Latin Soul

La Lupe. Image courtesy of BeingLatino.Us

La Lupe.
Image courtesy of BeingLatino.Us

Guadalupe Victoria “Yoli” Raymond was born in Santiago de Cuba two days before Christmas, 1936. Soon the world would come to know her as ‘La Lupe’, or ‘La YiYiYi’ (pr. GeeGeeGee). Her music touched millions, and La Lupe paved the way for other AfroCuban artists like Celia Cruz. Described by her older sister Norma Yoli as “just another Black girl from Santiago,” to Latin@ communities around the world, she was so much more. La Lupe remains an icon and a legend, the Queen of Latin Soul! In 1971, La Lupe told Look magazine, “I think people like me because I do what they like to but can’t get free enough to do.

To learn more about La Lupe’s life, music and legacy, check out this free documentary:

by Joanne Bermudez

Chávez, Salsa and AfroVenezolanos

AfroVenezuelan group "Eleggua." Photo courtesy of

AfroVenezuelan group “Eleggua.” Photo courtesy of

In honor of AfroLatin@ Heritage Month, I want to pay tribute to two of my great loves: Salsa music and racial justice! Two dynamic personalities empowered a nation of AfroVenezolanos (AfroVenezuelans): Oscar D’León, one of my favorite salseros, and Hugo Chávez, the late president of Venezuela, who died at age 58 in March 2013.



Image Courtey of

Image courtesy of

October marks the 76th anniversary of the Haitian Massacre, in which more than 20,000 Haitians were killed near the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, ordered the national army to kill anyone that could not pronounce the letter “r” in the word “perejil” (parsley). Creole speakers were known to have trouble pronouncing this sound. As a result of this test, the massacre is sometimes referred to as the Parsley Massacre. Many of the Haitians killed were actually Haitian-Dominicans, Dominican citizens that lived in well-established Haitian communities in the Dominican Republic.