Thursday, February 28, 2013

As Black History Month Comes to a Close, The Education Must Continue

It's often a joke that Black History Month takes place during the shortest month of the year. However, the lack of history -- especially cinematic history of African Americans -- taught in schools is no laughing matter. This lack of teaching can often be reflected in embarrassing displays of ignorance, despite the best intentions.

I remember one night during my sophomore year of college heading to the video section of the on campus library to rent a movie for a class project. It was February and so there were a few things going on in regards to Black History Month. As I'm walking towards the video department, I notice a display case with a sign above it that reads something along the lines of "Black History Month Films." I took a peek at what films were in the display case and after seeing the selection of movies, I was ready to slap somebody. Stepin' Fetchit, "Gone With the Wind," "The Amos n' Andy Show," and, drum roll please . . . "Booty Call." These were the names and films chosen to 'honor' Black History Month.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Root Talks With Louis Gossett Jr. on Post Oscar Blues

A very good interview with Louis Gossett Jr. on the triumphs and challenges of winning an Oscar and then struggling to find work in the aftermath. Gossett speaks glowingly of working on the groundbreaking TV mini-series "Roots," how he started out, battling alcoholism, and his current work with his foundation Eracism. Definitely worth the read.

Check it out here.

                                        Image courtesy of The Root

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Nelson George Looks at the Development and Prominent Role Black Characters Play at this Year's Oscars

In a in-depth and well written article, author and filmmaker Nelson George looks at the significance of black male characters in some of 2012's most heralded films. George gives a hard look at "Lincoln," "Flight," "Beasts of the Southern Wild,"and Quentin Tarantino's "Django," and the role the men in these movies play and their importance in overarching themes. I definitely suggest sitting down, having a cup of coffee, and taking a look at this NY Times piece.

You can read it here.

                                    Image courtesy of the New York Times

Thursday, February 21, 2013

48 Years After His Death, Malcolm's Legacy Lives On in Media

When we talk about the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, there are a few names that stand above the rest. Dr. Martin Luther King. Rosa Parks. Jesse Jackson. All very important and influential people. However, it could be said that the legacy of Malcolm X -- perhaps not as clean cut as those other Civil Rights icons -- is no less important and should not be treated as such. Fortunately for Malcolm, on this day 48 years after his assassination, his legacy is more than just a man known as a fire-and-brimstone orator, but as a man whose rise and conversion later in life was nothing short of remarkable.

In 1992, the biographical film "Malcolm X" was released starring Denzel Washington as Malcolm X and directed by Spike Lee. The film portrayed a man far deeper than just the angry dude pointing his finger in most textbooks. In the film we see a young Malcolm terrified as the Ku Klux Klan burns a cross on his lawn at his home in Nebraska. We see Malcolm's maturation from a young hustler, to an educated prisoner, and eventually into one of the key leaders for the nation of Islam. Along the way we watch Malcolm become transformed with a pilgrimage to Mecca. Finally, there's the dramatic scene of Malcolm's death.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Looking Back 20 Years Later at "Just Another Girl on the I.R.T."

Last month I had the opportunity to catch a screening of the profound and powerful film "Just Another Girl on the I.R.T.," marking the film's 20th anniversary. Even now, 20 years later, the film's themes remain as strong as ever as it continues to educate, inspire, and enlighten.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Gregory Hines on Entertainment

"The best entertainment speaks to the human condition in an honest way."

                           - Gregory Hines, Parade, May 31, 1992