Arts and culture

On Tuesday, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced its newest class of National Heritage fellows: 9 individuals and groups who represent the richness and breadth of America's folk and traditional arts.

This year's class of fellows includes artists and creators from African-American, Mexican-American, Native, Filipino, Irish-American and Puerto Rican backgrounds, whose array of mediums span many kinds of music, ribbon and lace work, tap dance and filmmaking.

Ashley C. Ford was a baby when her father went to prison, and for many years no one in her family told her what his crime was. As a teenager, she was shocked to learn he had been convicted of rape.

"It was terrible to try to process it," she says. "With rape, there's no mistake about the intention to harm. You intended to harm someone and you intended to harm someone in a way that I understand intimately."

In a Twitter post, In The Heights co-creator Lin-Manuel Miranda publicly addressed criticisms of the film's casting that noted only light-skinned actors had roles as the musical's main Latinx characters.

Miranda apologized, writing Monday evening: "I hear that, without sufficient dark-skinned Afro-Latino representation, the world feels extractive of the community we wanted so much to represent with pride and joy. In trying to paint a mosaic of this community, we fell short. I'm truly sorry."

The language we use to talk about the act of giving birth to a child is highly gendered. We speak of pregnant women, we speak of mothers, we speak of motherhood.

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