Greenwood, Oklahoma aka “Black Wall Street,” dubbed so by Booker T. Washington, was a once thriving Black community. Thoroughly segregated from the rest of white Tulsa, nevertheless it boasted entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, entertainment venues, and markets, everything a town would need to sustain itself. To be happy and self-sufficient. That is until 1921 when a mob of deputized whites burned the town to the ground. Not only were the murderous white mob deputized to engage in the massacre, they were given weapons by officials of the city government. The even used an aerial bomb.Continue reading “A Review of ‘Across the Tracks’”
While the details of Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of Jesus Christ are debated, Judas goes down in history as one of the most infamous traitors — all over 30 pieces of silver. Maybe Judas didn’t like the fact that the people hailed Christ as a “Messiah” — a title the FBI used as code names for Black radical liberators in the 1960s to the late 1970s. One such “Messiah” is the young Black Panther activist and Chicago native Fred Hampton, mercilessly killed thanks to Black a panther Party (BPP) infiltrator and informant William O’Neal, FBI Agent Roy Mitchell, and J. Edgar Hoover.
Directed Shaka King, Judas and the Black Messiah tells the story of Fred Hampton’s betrayal in great detail. As an activist, Hampton aimed to unite people from all walks of life against systemic oppression. Still, the counter intelligence program (COINTELPRO) FBI death squad stopped all. Can’t have people of color and poor whites thinking they have any power.Continue reading “NOC Sundance Review: ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’”
With regard to director Shaka King’s masterpiece, the aforementioned sentiment goes double for Kaluuya’s fellow cast members Dominique Fishback, Ashton Sanders, Algee Smith, Dominique Thorne, and Jesse Plemons. Judas and the Black Messiah follows the life and times, and tragic end, of Fred Hampton (played by Kaluuya), the Black Panther Party Chairman of the Illinois chapter in the late 1960s. Most importantly, the film lays bare the attempts of the FBI to infiltrate and destabilize Hampton’s civil rights campaigns through the aid of petty criminal William O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield) after applying enough pressure on O’Neal to force him into working as their informant.Continue reading “Give Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield Their Roses for ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’”
With his bold and multifaceted Small Axe anthology, Steve McQueen has made the films of the moment. Three of the five films — Lovers Rock, Mangrove, and Red, White and Blue — have premiered to a great reception at the NYFF. The films capture vividly the lives of London’s West Indian community in the 1970s and ’80s and their force of will against systemic racism and discrimination. “I dedicate these films to George Floyd, and all the other black people that have been murdered, seen or unseen, because of who they are, in the U.S., U.K. and elsewhere,” the director said in May.Continue reading “NOC Interview: ‘Small Axe’ Star Sheyi Cole Talks ‘Alex Wheatle’”
The past few days have been a whirlwind, to say the least.
As we have all seen or heard at this point in time, George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police when former officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on Floyd’s neck. Chauvin has since been arrested — initially on the charge of third-three murder, but the charge has since been raised to second-degree murder. The other three former officers, Thomas Kiernan Lane, Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao, have also been arrested on aiding and abetting Floyd’s murder.
The escalation of charges, however, didn’t come without a fight. For an entire week, people marched in Minneapolis, around the country, and around the world, for Floyd’s killer and accomplices to be brought to justice. Part of those protests included a riot that ended with Minneapolis’ third precinct police station being burned down.
Throughout the riots, protests, and general unrest, I went through a myriad of emotions, to the point where I felt unable to write for this site. I still haven’t watched the video of Floyd’s death because for me, reading about the details, including Floyd calling for his deceased mother, was enough. If I watched the video, I knew I would be haunted by it for the rest of my life. I am already haunted by the lives of so many Black people who have been needlessly killed, and their stories were already compelling me without having to see them get killed on camera. I didn’t want to see the video that would only add insult to injury — the insult being that no one would care.
Or so I thought.
It’s no secret that the justice system in the United States is a mess like no other. However, the odds of navigating it and coming out unscathed — if at all — are worse for the Black community. Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer and founder/executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, witnessed just how brutal it is, as he worked tirelessly to free Walter McMillian from death row, after being arrested for a murder he did not commit. Just Mercy tells that story.
Bryan Stevenson is a busy man. He’s a widely acclaimed public interests lawyer and prison reform advocate. He is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a human rights organization in Montgomery, Alabama. He’s a motivational speaker, … Continue reading Bryan Stevenson Hopes ‘Just Mercy’ Will Lead to Conversation and Action
In a scene in Hidden Figures that is all too familiar for Black women viewers, or really anyone from a historically marginalized group, Taraji P. Henson’s character Katherine Johnson rushes to enter the NASA control room where she has just handed off crucial calculations for astronaut John Glenn’s safe return from orbit, and has the door summarily slammed in her face. The camera lingers on Henson’s profile, as she grapples yet again with the devastating knowledge that although she may be a useful “computer” for spitting out numbers that may make missions successful and even save lives, she is still not seen as fully human in the eyes of her peers and superiors. Indeed, in Henson’s capable hands, viewers ourselves experience the physical and emotional pain of being barred from entering the halls of power for absurd reasons beyond one’s control — in this case, race and gender.
President-elect Donald Trump has decided to go after Civil Rights movement icon — and national hero — Congressman John Lewis. The attack comes after Rep. Lewis told NBC’s Chuck Todd that he didn’t view Trump as a legitimate president due to Russia’s interference with the 2016 election. Lewis isn’t wrong, and it is more than hypocritical for the PEOTUS to lash out at people questioning his legitimacy since that’s what he has done to President Obama for the last five years. In the meantime, Twitter has clapped back at Trump, and many of Lewis’ colleagues in congress have pledged to boycott the inauguration. We want to help out by pointing our readers to Lewis’ award-winning graphic memoir trilogy, March. Let’s all pitch in to make his books #1 bestsellers on Amazon this Martin Luther King Day weekend.
[Note: minor spoilers throughout.]
Let me be upfront and get this out of the way, I love Marvel and Netflix’s Luke Cage. I love it for the way it is shot. I love it for the unparalleled beauty of the soundtrack. I love it for its color palette. I love it for its hesitancy and awkwardness. I love it for some of the struggle-performances. But what I love the most about it is how black it is.