Stanley Nelson’s Crack: Cocaine, Conspiracy, & Corruption
A conversation with Stanley Nelson and Elizabeth Hinton, moderated by Vanessa K. Valdés
Acclaimed documentarian and CCNY alum Stanley Nelson will discuss his latest film, Crack: Cocaine, Conspiracy, & Corruption, which tells the history of the 1980s crack epidemic and its disproportionate effects on Black communities. The film situates the crack epidemic within broader social, political, and economic forces, allowing us to better understand how it led to mass incarceration. Stanley Nelson will be in conversation with Elizabeth Hinton, Associate Professor of History and African American Studies and Professor of Law at Yale University, and a scholar on mass incarceration. Vanessa K. Valdés, Director of CCNY’s Black Studies Program and a Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, will moderate the discussion.
This event is co-sponsored by the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership, the Black Studies Program, the Department of Media and Communication Arts, the Documentary Forum, and Third World Newsreel. It is part of the recently-launched Racial Justice Fellows program, which trains and supports students to become deeply involved in antiracist movements.
Watch the documentary on Netflix! Take a look at the trailer at the bottom of this page.
Meeting ID: 847 8933 1044 I Passcode: 546739
Stanley Nelson is today’s leading documentarian of the African American experience. His films combine compelling narratives with rich historical detail to shine new light on the under-explored American past. Awards received over the course of his career include a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, five Primetime Emmy Awards, and lifetime achievement awards from the Emmys and IDA. In 2013, Nelson received the National Medal in the Humanities from President Obama. In 2019, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool was nominated by the GRAMMYs for Best Music Film. Nelson’s latest documentary, Crack: Cocaine, Conspiracy, & Corruption debuted on Netflix in 2021. In 2000, Mr. Nelson, and his wife, Marcia Smith, co-founded Firelight Media, a non-profit production company dedicated to advancing contemporary social justice issues, amplifying underrepresented narratives, and fostering a new generation of diverse filmmakers. Nelson received his BFA from CCNY, where his mother worked as a librarian.
Elizabeth Hinton is a historian of American inequality who is considered one of the nation’s leading experts on policing and mass incarceration. Hinton’s past and current scholarship provides a deeper grasp of the persistence of poverty, urban violence, and racial inequality in the United States. She is Associate Professor of History and African American Studies at Yale University and Professor of Law at Yale Law School and the author of the award-winning book From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America and the forthcoming America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s, which will be released in May. Hinton's articles and op-eds can be found in the pages of The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Boston Review, and Time.
Vanessa K. Valdés is the director of the Black Studies Program at CCNY. A graduate of Yale and Vanderbilt Universities, and a Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, her research interests focus on the cultural production of Black peoples throughout the Americas: the United States and Latin America, including Brazil, and the Caribbean. She is the editor of The Future Is Now: A New Look at African Diaspora Studies (2012) and Let Spirit Speak! Cultural Journeys through the African Diaspora (2012). She is the author of Oshun's Daughters: The Search for Womanhood in the Americas (2014) and Diasporic Blackness: The Life and Times of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg (2017). Her latest book, Racialized Visions: Haiti and the Hispanic Caribbean (2020) is an edited collection that re-centers Haiti in the disciplines of Caribbean, and more broadly, Latin American Studies.