Home Nightlife Race and Humor at the Atlantic Magazine. Tre chic.

Race and Humor at the Atlantic Magazine. Tre chic.

Photography by James Palmer.

This Wednesday night found this scoundrel sitting in the abode of another scoundrel- specifically that of Justin SMITH- publisher of the Atlantic amongst a bevy of smart, literati  and discerning sort that one often finds straddling theater intermission halls or gallery foyers discussing the meaning of life and of course society. That said Justin’s house was filled to the brim and all that was missing was Justin himself and in my opinion that sort of makes him one of the most impeccable publishers and hosts that one can ever hope to meet (assuming he is in town). That said no one was disappointed as we all were treated to a debonair discussion on the dialectics of race and humor. A dodgy subject to ingratiate oneself with but nevertheless as it turned into a riveting one…

Hosted by one of the Atlantic’s most talented writers and voices – Ta- Nehisi Coates (who hails from Baltimore but with no apparent criminal history or a largesse to be a hood, the typified standard of particular lotharios to date…) as well as the very talented and immensely funny and perceptive (I’ve come to believe humor and perception go hand in hand…) Larry Wilmore-producer actor and writer whose work has been featured behind the shows – ‘In Living color,’ and ‘the Bernie Mac show,’ to name a few.

The issues at hand involved the appreciation of cultural vanguards and the stereo typing of those vanguards or perhaps the polarized representations of certain segments of society. It was a provocative discussion which had the audience wondering why some black humor of late is only perceived to be legitimate as long as it comes from a down and out scenario and the main protagonist is a drug dealer or some other loveable thug.

It also drew reference to post comedians such as Chris Rock and Richard Pryor, Dave Chapelle that legitimized certain African American experiences which until then were not being addressed. In the end it was agreed that special attention needs to be addressed as to what passes as the dominant idea of the African American experience and how that world is absorbed and legitimized in a very polarized world.

Once the discussion was over we all settled for some intimate discussions, fabulous dinner and I believe there were a couple of journalists looking for drug dealers…(well if only that were real)…as the high brow crowd contemplated the meaning of life, race, humor and that scoundrel Justin Smith who was absent…

Larry Wilmore and Ta Nehisi Coates.


Radha Mimi and Scallywag.