U.S. Embassy Ankara’s Public Affairs Section, together with Pink Life Queer Fest team, organized the event “Tracing the Legacy of James Baldwin” at the U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, where two James Baldwin documentaries were screened; Sedat Pakay’s “Başka Bir Yerden – From Another Place” and Aykan Safoğlu’s “Kırık Beyaz Laleler – Off-White Tulips”. Both documentaries reflected upon Baldwin’s time in Istanbul.
Bilge Taş, from Pink Life Queer Fest, said “Baldwin is someone with whom I always have mental conversations – I hang on his every word and sentence, such as when he said ‘The world is our home so we carry the right to be ourselves wherever we go’”.
The U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John Bass said in his opening remarks “Thank you all for joining us this evening to celebrate the life and the work of James Baldwin. 50 years later, the results of his work, the results of the work of people like him – to persistently work for change, to not accept divisions in society, to not accept inequality… that persistence, that determination, moved a nation and moved the culture.”
Following the screening, guests enjoyed James Baldwin`s favorite jazz pieces performed by musicians from Hacettepe University’s Jazz Department.
James (Arthur) Baldwin (Harlem, 1924 – Saint-Paul-de-Vence, 1987)
James Baldwin is a well-known activist and American writer, whose works played a significant role in the African American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. He explored Americans as inflected by race, class, gender, sexuality, and nationhood, both within and outside U.S. borders. His works resound with a powerful mixes of voices, while his complex sentences and emotions make his style inimitable. His bibliography, which includes Notes of a Native Son (1955), Giovanni’s Room (1956), Another Country (1962), Fire Next Time (1963), and Tell Me How Long the Train Has Benn Gone (1968), influenced generations of writers, from Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, Audrey Lorde, and Tony Morrison, through Susan Lori-Parks, Edward P. Jones, Essex Hemphill, Melvin Dickson, and Randall Kenan.