Aug 24, 2016

Racist Relations: I Don't Have The Time...



It seems like since Trump decided to throw his hat into the ring of politics, as a person of color (POC) we were forcefully designated to do two things. It seems that Trump has been the perfect catalyst in racist relations, and it leaves POC in the position to be historians, and geneticists to prove that we deserve to be treated as human beings, and to educate white people on their own racism and how they benefit from it today, as they did many years ago. Neither of these things benefit POC in any way, but it seems online racists make taunting posts exercising their newfound bravado as if they were breaking out of an eggshell meeting the daylight.


Dear people of color, this is NOT your purpose or job to teach white people that you are of value and matter in this life. They know you are human, but they would rather hold on to the archaic teachings of their forefathers who were uneducated, fearful of anyone other than their own, and used violence to appease their fear. If you engage in conversation that touches on race, and you drop factual information only to be met with baseless claims in rebuttal, conclude the conversation and keep it moving. 


They can research and read (for the most part) just as you did to find the truth. But it also takes someone with compassion and hunger for knowledge to not only seek this knowledge, but also make actions that correct the wrongs they find after gaining knowledge. That is where you see the disconnect. Even when many learn of the mistreatment of people of color, they rarely make an effort to change the injustice, or just do so in voice alone. 


Use your time to educate your young, work towards engaging only in ways that benefit the bottom line, empowerment of people of all races who are here to unite and work towards strengthening everyone. Life is too short to sit here talking in circles to people who only engage you to cause chaos and confusion. In many cases, they know the mistreatment of POC is wrong, they just don't care. They often just argue with you to keep you distracted. Don't be. There is enough to do in this life than to argue with those whose only goal is to see more pain from people they consider less than human. Don't give them that gratification.




Jun 4, 2016

Post Review: Barbershop The Next Cut (2016)



Here we are on a third installment of the movie "Barbershop" starring NWA rapper turned actor, O'Shea "Ice Cube" Jackson. The previous movies were really entertaining, and we are always happy to see black star power as part of a franchise. This movie uses two hugely successful rappers , the Oscar Award winning rapper Common along with fan fave Nicki Minaj, also added in are star comedians Anthony Anderson, and Cedric the Entertainer plus many others to round out the cast of talented actors! 


Ice Cube also added cameos from previous actors from the other "Barbershop" movies, which allow keeps the latest instalment familiar being that the last "Barbershop" move was 12 years ago.  It was also nice to see the progression of the characters and their lives in a realistic manner. It is hard to continue to believe a movie when they make the characters progress in a way that makes the previous seem as though they were not a part of the next one. Barbershop does not waste time adding in feel good moments of truth, timeless classic music, and family. THAT is what makes this movie one of the ones you add to your DVD library as soon as possible.


Although there were some awkward moments, missed comedic timing, and forced or too fast conclusions to parts of the movie, it is understandable when you are playing a part and not being able to be yourselves. This movie could have been way more powerful if they could have given a real peek into the lives of an African American business owner and his family and the people they encounter and interact with daily. We understand that these are fictitious characters, but adding a little more reality would have really made this movie better overall. Using current civil rights issues between blacks and the police, while a great platform to a larger audience, seemed to feel disjointed with it peppered in between jokes, and other scattered scenarios in the movie.


Now with that point being made, there are things we need to see when it comes to black cinema, but many seem to follow the same formula and that never seems to change. Movies that boast an all black or majority black cast always end up with one of two themes, Relationships and Activism. It would really be nice to see a movie from a black person's point of view to not portray what white Hollyweird thinks black people like and what they are like. I wish they would let the "Barbershop" franchise grow like "Fast and Furious" franchise does by growing the players and pushing authentic character building, as to make the barbershop aspect of the movie be like the car racing aspect of the Fast movies, just the icing on the cake.

But for now, it was nice to see another movie from Ice Cube supporting issues that affect us. But for the next one, let it be more fluid and take it to different places rather than boxed in the barbershop and its surrounding vicinity. We have to not be afraid to grow past limitations that often plagues our businesses. Feeling that leaving his Pop's shop means he is abandoning his people is stifling and gives the impression that once you get something you cannot leave it. A tree grows past its roots even to let go of seeds that pollinate far away, but the original tree does not die as a result, but creates a forest, oxygen and beauty as a result. That is one aspect of this movie they need to change.  Pop's shop needs to branch out. 

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May 23, 2016

Double Standards: From Males II Men



I often see males and females alike putting down other women for their personal lifestyle choices. With all that is going on in the dating arena, it seems that women often have to pay for their mistakes and are often judged by a harsher penalty than the males for some of the same actions. If we would hold both men and women to the same level of accountability for their actions within our relating to one another, there would be a lot more understanding between us on certain issues. 

I have a big problem with how men/males are allowed to be as promiscuous as they please and be praised for it. There is nothing wise in these days and times about sleeping around from woman to woman, and in some cases men as well and it be looked at as a "notch" on your belt. It is tacky and in many cases dangerous because anyone who cares for themselves would be more discretionary as to who they lay with. But in feeling it is okay to be loose and free with your sexual process there are some things that you males need to realise. 


Promiscuity breeds mistrust. The lifestyle warrants some level of deceit to allow it to continue. Just because society says it is okay to be loose in your lifestyle, does not mean you will not pay the consequences of doing so. When you bring another person into the equation, if you are not truly taking the time to get to know if the other person is on the same page as you are, you may run into problems that can affect you both in a unpredictable way. 

Just because you have no discretion in the females you will have sex with, don't assume that all women will allow you that indiscretion with her. The sense of entitlement many men have when it comes to women is the reason we have so many males willing to be overly aggressive when encountering women, move from woman to woman, and in some cases as extreme as rape. (I know it is hard to face this, and it is not something that one wants to discuss, but the facts show this to be true.)


There is more to choosing who you have sex with than simple attraction. The woman being clean, and sexually attractive to you is only scraping the surface as to what you should require before intermingling your spirits/bodies/lives. Childish minds do these things without vetting who you are about to be with intimately, even if you don't plan on sticking around after you do the deed. You may abandon the person, but you will often take with you the negative spirits she possessed after she is nothing more than a memory. Many may fail to recognize the aftereffects of such a lifestyle until they are ready to settle down, and for some reason you can't get it right. 

Too many males try to treat all the women that they encounter like they are just a "John" ( a prostitute's client) throughout your whole dating lives. It is sad that you cannot get to the next level because you lack the capacity to make real choices and leadership decisions. Don't blame the woman for that. Any woman that will let you hit without accountability sees your low value, because it matches hers. So whereas you may feel that hey I got the pannies as a win, but when you end up burnt out, bitter, and sick in the end what did you really win? Have you ever seen a man that can never keep a woman no matter how hard he tries? His skeletons cannot reside in the confines of a positive place. Either he will heal himself or continue to leave destruction in his path coming and going.


There is also a big misconception that males cannot exhibit the traits that they blame women for having. Males can be bitter, emotional, messy just like females, and often are hyper-violent as a result. Releasing emotions are not something society allows males to do without being labeled negatively. However being violent is considered manly because it is expected from males. So you will have a lot of males when they feel they are losing control of something they want, use intimidation and violence to keep hold of it. It is neither healthy or a happy place for those involved. 

There is a level of maturity that many males avoid, yet men embrace. Taking shortcuts, but wanting the full benefits is idiotic and naive. Seeing the faults in women, but ignoring your own is juvenile and pretentious. You want functional, fun and full of the things that feel good to you, how about you dump all your baggage. There is no way around it. Sometimes it is not easy, it may even take time, but don't ruin the lives of the unsuspecting while you are getting yourself in order. Doing so adds to your baggage, and prolongs the forward motion into being with someone you can stop putting up a facade for. Trying to guard your heart is a heavy burden. Nothing wrong with allowing yourself to be free of dysfunction and just be.


Apr 20, 2016

Casting Correctly: Fixing Hollyweird Mishaps



When it comes to biopics, Hollyweird has consistently found ways to either offend people with their casting choices, or offend people by allowing the script to be written by someone who doesn't have a clue about what they are writing about. It is a money game, not a talent game, so we often end up with hysterics rather than historical. 

As to not have another Nina Simone fiasco, I have compiled a list to show Hollywood how to cast an actor to play someone where there is no need for prosthetics, paint jobs, or over the top graphics to make it believable. So to make things a little bit easier, I would like to show Hollyweird how to at least cast a biopic if you are going to be attempting to chronicle the life of some great African American. You can thank me later. 


Bianca Jagger
-A Nicaraguan-born social and human rights advocate and a former actress. She was formerly married to Mick Jagger, lead singer of The Rolling Stones.



WHO CAN PLAY HER?? 

ROSARIO DAWSON




********

Joe Louis
-Was an American professional boxer. He held the world heavyweight championship from 1937 to 1949, and is considered to be one of the greatest heavyweights of all time.




WHO CAN PLAY HIM?? 
Robert Ri'chard



*******

Eartha Kitt 
-was an American actress, singer, cabaret star, dancer, stand-up comedian, activist and voice artist, known for her highly distinctive singing style and her 1953 recordings of "C'est Si Bon" and the enduring Christmas novelty smash "Santa Baby", which were both US Top 10 hits. She starred in 1967 as Catwoman, in the third and final season of the television series Batman.


WHO CAN PLAY HER?? 

Naomie Harris


Honorable Mention
Rihanna


Phyllis Hyman 
- was an American singer-songwriter and actress. She is best known for her singles from the late 1970s to the early 1990s: "You Know How to Love Me", "Living All Alone" and "Don't Wanna Change the World". Hyman also performed on Broadway in the 1981 musical based on the music of Duke Ellington, Sophisticated Ladies, which ran from 1981 to 1983. The musical earned her a Theatre World Award and a Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical.


WHO CAN PLAY HER?? 
Chrisette Michele 

Honorable Mention
Keri Hilson

******

Debbie Allen
- is an American actress, dancer, choreographer, television director, television producer, and a member of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. She is perhaps best known for her work on the 1982 musical-drama television series Fame, where she portrayed dance teacher Lydia Grant, and served as the series' principal choreographer. She currently portrays Catherine Avery on Grey's Anatomy. She is the younger sister of actress/director/singer Phylicia Rashad.





WHO CAN PLAY HER?? 

Misty Copeland



Now these are just a few casting choices that can be made where you do not have to do too much to make the character believable. Many of which already have the acting or musical chops to carry their character depiction over without costing money to make it so. This is just to show that another horrible representation of a person who is alive or dead does not have to be repeated. We NEVER need a repeat of....




Mar 2, 2016

Hollyweird: Next Up for Misrepresentation: Nina Simone


With the recent release of the movie "Gods of Egypt" being met with harsh criticism due to the director casting a majority white cast as Egyptians who are in reality African, Ridley Scott's inaccurate movie was met with a big flop at the movie theaters. The movie only brought in about 14 million of the $140 million used to make the movie. Even Egypt has banned the movie for being, "inaccurate." 



Casting can often mean the difference between a movie being a big hit, or a big flop. Gods of Egypt has shown this to be also a powerful example of misappropriation of color and culture in America especially. Which brings me to the newest example of bad casting for a movie.  The Nina Simone biopic, which was due in December of of 2015, but after the uproar over choosing Zoe Saldana to play the part of the iconic singer, songwriter, activist, it seemed to disappear from public view by way of any promotion. 


Conveniently promotion for the movie re-appeared one day outside of black history month of February even with a leap year day attached to it. This shows that RLJ Entertainment, the company that acquired the rights to the movie, is not concerned with Nina's legacy on film, but rather making the movie palatable to an audience who is the very reason Nina Simone had to become so outspoken about the rights of her people.



With the backlash of the people ignored, and the movie back on the route for release, it is more important to RLJ Entertainment to appease those who are touting how astute Zoe's acting skills are but still failing to realize that it is more important than just if you can carry a role through some words, facial expressions and taking long deep breaths for flavoring. It is that something that is always missed by a people who will never understand an experience they will never be privy to or burdened by. That is why it is easy for Hollywood to put someone in a place they are not qualified for. Casting Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone is not an insult to Zoe, but an insult to Nina in that have missed the importance of the transference of power between an actor and a real life person who is no longer with us. 



Her acting chops is not the issue here. It is a blatant example of Hollyweird's inability to see us for who we really are. They are ignorant to the soulful, brooding power that Nina Simone was, that they interpreted Nina as a Latina actress who they felt was palatable for them. THAT is one of the things Nina often spoke about, the degradation of true blackness by a white supremacist society that ridiculed her for her blackness, our blackness. Which shows that not much has changed in that they went and got a fair skinned afro-latina that would not have to suffer one day being called a big lipped nigger. 


Diana Ross played the part of Billie Holiday very well even though she was darker and looked nothing like the singer. Diana Ross was perfect because she could relate to what Billie went through as a struggling singer herself, as a member of the Supremes. She also had to deal with racism as an everyday occurrence to pull from. Getting inspiration from dealing with life on the road, allowed Diana to portray the drug addicted Billie Holiday making it so riveting to watch. Hollywood does not get that. 


When you have to alter a person's looks, in the way that they had to in order to make Zoe appear believable, it is not effective when it is to the point they make her look racist in her own skin. Zoe does not look comfortable in the makeup required to make her skin close to the complexion of Nina, moreso to the point that she looks like a white woman in blackface.  They have failed to understand the person she is portraying, and makes the character look comically ridiculous. That is the problem with this film.


So I have decided to add some actresses who could have easily fell into place and portrayed Nina Simone to perfection without her even having to use makeup. So Hopefully a casting crew reads this and picks up on the importance of not skating around the issue of how inept they are in dealing with characters and actors of color. It is unacceptable. If this helps you cast your next film correctly, you're welcome. 

1. India Arie - Not only is she a singer, songwriter, and vocally is a match to Nina Simone, she often has to justify her blackness to others. She would have been perfect along with a possible magical moment comparable to the breathtaking performance of Jennifer Hudson's "And I am Telling You" in the movie remake of Dreamgirls!


2. Adepero Oduye - Visually she is powerful as Nina Simone was. As an actor she can easily fall into the role without having to attach a prosthetic nose, or spending hours in the makeup chair to achieve it. Her past roles can show you how her portrayal would be way more authentic than Zoe struggling to speak with the deep tenor speaking voice when Adepero has one naturally. 



3. Uzoamaka Nwanneka "Uzo" Aduba- I am not explaining anything else... I am just going to let her singing help you understand.






Mar 1, 2016

Bama Of the Week: The Government and Lauren Englett



Now I can sit here and go down the line as to how wrong this young woman was in taking drugs around her child, but I am not. This is nothing new in a world that glamorizes the things that destroys us. Facts are that this world is awash in death, deviance, and defiance, and our country is doing nothing to make things right. This country's people are too busy fighting over the same circulated crumbs that the top wealthiest families haven't hoarded. 



But there are some things I want to point out. 

While drug use is comparable amongst whites and blacks, minorities are often carted off to prison at a higher rate than whites, and given lengthier sentences than whites as well. (source) So while the "hood" is full of cops carting these drug dealers and users off to jail to pay for their crimes, these "affluenza" sufferers are often going to rehab, being pardoned, or given way lighter sentences than minorities. 



It does not matter how much you ignore a problem, that does not mean it goes away. At some point life is going to make you pay the piper.  Lauren put a face on what is happening in the white community whether rich or poor. They are still suffering at younger and younger ages, and facing the same issues that the minorities are demonized for. 

If you opt to take away affordable education , health care, make needed programs disappear, abandon a healthy infrastructure that supports family in ALL communities and walks of life, you will see a community that is sick. Demonizing the minorities is not a solution and just know that the hush hush manner in which you hide your own drug using families will come to light.



The children are suffering. The families are crumbling, and there is nothing a skin color can do to change that. Throwing money at your problems is often not always the remedy, but just know that the heroin epidemic in your community is the flip side of the crack epidemic that you fought by putting a large percentage of the black male community behind bars. Instead of you getting them the help they needed as you do your strung out trust fund babies, you turned the minority community into a bunch of unproductive citizens who will not disappear only to reproduce more.

So government lackeys, here is your day of reckoning where your children are just as strung out as those you call "niggers" behind closed doors, or sometimes in email or text to your friends and coworkers. They have no escaped life. Life has a way of evening the playing field no matter how much you try to #whiteprivilege you way through it. 




What you hide, Facebook and our obsession with social media's ability to make everyone feel like they are in their own "reality show" will bring to light that you are all no better than the ones you discriminate against. So I cannot sit here and blame Lauren Englett for poisoning herself and forcing her child to witness in fear. I blame society and these corrupt governments that won't take its foot off the scales and let there be a fair measure in dealing with our demons that plague us all no matter what race or economic standing. Drugs are not just an epidemic when it is your children, it is an epidemic when ANYONE'S children and families in large numbers are dying from it.