A few shorter op-eds, magazine and Web essays.

Reform That Works Only for White Children is Not Really Working

This Urban Institute blog post by Kristin Blagg and Matt Chingos is the latest example of DC schools data being used to perpetuate a narrative of progress, while masking growing race and class inequities. In this study, “Does Gentrification Explain Rising Test Scores,” the authors’ definitive answer is probably not: “The bottom line is that gentrification alone cannot explain why student scores improved in Washington, DC, a conclusion that echoes previous analyses using publicly available data,” they write. Keep Reading

Tortured Data and DC Schools

              Update April 26, 2016: Thanks to WPFW’s David Whettstone for having me on for an hour to talk about this subject. Update: March 31,  2016: Thanks to Washington Post education columnist Valerie Strauss for crossposting this piece on her blog, The Answer Sheet.   They say if you torture numbers long enough, they’ll tell you whatever you want. Today, I had three minutes to distill 15 years of frustration as Keep Reading

2015 Year in Review

2015 was year of loss, travel and growth. TERRENCE FITZGERALD HOPKINSON April 28, 1948-April 8, 2015 I lost my dad just a few weeks before his 67th birthday. My mom and I wrote his obituary through laughter and tears and plenty of rum and coke. It gave the basic trajectory of his life from poverty in Guyana, traveling the Caribbean as a pioneering computer guy with IBM in Keep Reading

Natalie’s 2014 Year in Review

2014 was another year of stretching, juggling, creating, wife-ing and mommy-ing. It was also a year to accept when it is time to let go, even to the things you really love…


In 2014, I signed a publishing contract with The New Press to write a book of profiles of artists and how they reflect and affect social change given trends in globalization, technology and Keep Reading

No Harmony in Our Corporate Neighborhood Takeover

In addition to being a DC parent, I also sometimes speak and write about education policy issues. I have some grave concerns about what I learned at a meeting this Tuesday 6/3/2014  at St. Martin’s Catholic church to “welcome” Harmony Public Charter schools (the largest charter operator in Texas) to our neighborhood. A couple years ago, I published an essay in the New York Times that pointed to a confluence of bad education policy Keep Reading

Natalie’s 2013 Year in Review

2013 has been an amazing year. I met new collaborators and stumbled upon new ways to think out loud, from live storytelling on stage, to community conversations about art and education in Miami, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Atlanta and New Orleans.  My book Go-Go Live was recognized by the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award nomination and I published essays and interviews in The Root, The Washington Post and Essence Magazine. I taught a graduate seminar Keep Reading

Future of the Arts & Society Project is now LIVE

My project with the Interactivity Foundation has now been sent to the printers! It is a FREE  download for schools and communities to frame conversations about the arts and public policy. Big shoutout to Art Director Calida Rawles for her work on the design of the glossy mag. Free printed copies are available by request. Email arts@interactivityfoundation.org    

Nola & DC: A Musical Tale of Two Gentrified Cities

My family spent Christmas break in New Orleans. We were in the French Quarter on New Year’s Eve. We’d just dined at Mr. B’s, wandering among the daiquiri-clutching revelers competing for Mardi Gras beads along Bourbon Street when we ran into one of our favorite street dancers. His face was covered in metallic gold paint matching a metallic outfit and mechanical robot dance moves. He has a small battery-powered speakers blasting popular radio hits. He accepted small Keep Reading

No Congas, No Go-Go

  Every year for Howard University’s Homecoming, my husband and I open our home not far from the school’s Washington D.C. campus to our fellow alumni from all over the country for food, drink and fellowship until the wee hours. Last homecoming, in honor of the publication of my book Go-Go Live, our friend, Dan Cooper, decided to up the ante. He hired a go-go band to play. I was skeptical they would fit Keep Reading

Nods from SPIN magazine and the Washington Post

  What an amazing way to start the new year. SPIN magazine named Go-Go Live in the 10 Best Music Books of 2012. (Number 7!) “Go-Go Live” was included in a roundup in Washington Post editors’ and critics’ literary guide to Washington. I absolutely loved the Washington Post illustration of the Jefferson Memorial-like monument built of books propped up by columns.