‘Yasuke’ is a Beautiful and Bloody Love Letter to the First Black Samurai

Yasuke. A real life folktale. Not so much in the sense that he never existed. It’s more like there isn’t much known about his mysterious life, aside from how challenging it must have been.

All that’s known about history’s first Black samurai is that he was likely born around 1540 in Africa, around the Mozambique area. At some point in his life he came in contact with Oda Nobunaga, a feudal lord of Japan, and became a member of his samurai guard.

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NOC Sundance Review: ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’

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.

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NOC Review: Rian Johnson Slays with ‘Knives Out’

On the morning after his 85th birthday party, acclaimed mystery writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead in his study, a cut carotid and blood splashed everywhere. His family, a classic Christiean cast of characters, are all waiting to find out the contents of his will. It’s with this well-known whodunit premise that Rian Johnson’s uproariously hilarious Knives Out begins.

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Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi’ Movie Has a Director

Hot off of Captain Marvel’s $500 million box office domination, Marvel Studios is already hard at work assembling the future phases of their Cinematic Universe. After announcing Shang-Chi as the next hero to get a feature, Marvel Studios has tapped director Destin Daniel Cretton to helm their first ever Asian American-led superhero film.

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Hard NOC Life: Mystery Science Theater Oakland

This week on Hard NOC Life, Shawn and Keith recap the week in Nerd Pop, by running down what happened at Comic-Con and diving into the rise of the Black Auteur and Afro-Surrealism.

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‘Sorry to Bother You’: An Endorsement

It has been an experience watching people twist and bend, trying to slot Sorry to Bother You into some kind of familiar category. “It’s Michel Gondry married to Spike Jonze,” or “Wes Anderson by way of Charlie Kaufman.” Not only do these comparisons try to position this flawed masterpiece in a white filmmaker pantheon, but it also disrespects Boots Riley’s vision and execution. Let Riley live. 

Oh yeah, let’s stop it with the Get Out comparisons. Lazy.  Continue reading “‘Sorry to Bother You’: An Endorsement”