Sunday, July 28, 2013

Looking Back at "To Sir, With Love 2"

When I think back to some of the more inspiring and intriguing movies that I've seen these last 10-15 years, they've all left me wondering to some degree. It could be about the characters, plot development, scene structure, or any other particular overarching themes. "To Sir, With Love 2" left me thinking about not only the importance of teaching, but the type of person depicted to lead a classroom.

"To Sir, With Love 2" was a former Movie of the Month of mine back in July 2003. It stars one of the legendary names in Hollywood cinema, one Sidney Poitier. Poitier was also the star of the original "To Sir, With Love," which took place in an inner-city London school in the mid-1960s. While the first "To Sir, With Love" was released in 1967, the sequel would not come out until 1996. I can't recall another series of movies where the sequel came out nearly 30 years following the original. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What Happens When the Cameras and Attention Goes Away

"I knew something was wrong when I saw a pretty little white girl jump into a black man's arms."

"Ain't nobody got time for that."

"Hide your wife, hide your kids, hide your husbands, cause they raping everybody out here."

In the last couple of years these phrases have spread across the vast corners of the internet and into Hall-of-Fame of memes. They're the words Charles Ramsey, Sweet Brown and Antoine Dodson.

Photo by Lucian Perkins of the Washington Post

Saturday, July 20, 2013

President Obama Speaks on Race and Trayvon Martin

Last Saturday a Florida jury determined that George Zimmerman was not guilty in the death of Trayvon Martin. For those of you reading this who may not be aware, in February of 2012, Trayvon Martin was walking home from the store when he was approached by Mr. Zimmerman. A fight ensues and Trayvon is left dead. It turns out George Zimmerman had been following Trayvon in his vehicle, and when he asked a 911 operator whether or not he should go after Trayvon, he was told, "we don't need you to do that." Despite this, he ignored the operator and pursued him anyway. So what exactly was that suspicious looking man in the neighborhood armed with that Zimmerman decided to pursue? A pack of Skittles and an Arizona Ice Tea. I gave my thoughts about this case last year.

In the following days across the United States there were protests in cities from New York to L.A. In New York's Time Square, protesters halted traffic dead in its tracks with the streets swelling with thousands of hurt, angry and disappointed people. It wasn't just the fact that George Zimmerman was found not guilty, but that he wasn't even initially arrested until people started protesting. Many talking heads on the news networks stated their opinions on the verdict, but it seemed everyone (well, many black folks at least) was waiting on the thoughts of one man in particular.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Fannie Lou Hamer Speaks Out on Voting Rights and Police Brutality

Fannie Lou Hamer is often one of the forgotten names of the Civil Rights Movement.

Mrs. Hamer was from the small community of Ruleville, Mississippi, where she spent most of her early life working as a sharecropper. It was at the the age of 37 that she joined SNCC (the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee). Seeing that the only way people of color were ever going to have a voice was through politics, she became an organizer and lead voter registration drives for the people of her community. For this, Fannie Lou Hamer caught hell. Her life was threatened, she was the target of multiple murder attempts, and she suffered brutal beatings at the hands of the local Mississippi police. In the following 7 minute audio clip recorded on June 9th, 1963, Mrs. Hamer speaks of the struggle for the right to vote and the horrific consequences that followed.

This clip is courtesy of the Black Media Archive Podcast

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Best Man is Back

"The Best Man" is definitely one of my favorite movies of the 1990s. It revolves around a group of college friends who get together one weekend to celebrate one of their own getting married. What ensues are some long held college secrets, drama, laughs and romance. A film that I definitely recommend viewing.

Photo by Jet Magazine

Coming to theaters this November is the followup to "The Best Man," entitled "The Best Man Holiday." So far, I'm really digging this trailer. Check it out below.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

University of Kentucky Investing in Oral History

We all have a story. Storytelling has been an essential element throughout human history and has allowed us to entertain, educate, inspire and enlighten.

Last week it was announced that the University of Kentucky is investing in its oral history program as a way to make sure that stories, interviews and experiences of the past, continue to have a voice for years to come. The project is part of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at UK.

So far there have been more than 9,000 interviews logged, with features ranging from black farmers, to WWII veterans, to Kentucky legislators.