CategoryMovies/Documentaries

These posts comment on the motion picture medium

Get Out made me laugh at my pain

“Get Out” validated my innate suspicion of white women dating Black men. But that’s not the only reason I was disappointed with the movie. With an initial 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and the movie being deemed “a new genre of horror film,” I expected an extraordinary movie. Instead, I left the theater feeling that “Get Out” had been overhyped.

Don’t get me wrong, I think”Get Out’s” director, Jordan Peele, brilliantly displays what it’s like to be Black in a post-racial America. From racial profiling to off putting comments about Black physical traits, Peele skillfully captures the real stresses I experience as a Black individual in the U.S.

I racked my brain for the longest, trying to figure out what I was missing – what was it that made people marvel at this movie? And then I thought about the white guy who kept turning around trying to laugh with me and my friends. No, our laughter was not meant to be shared with you. We were laughing at our pain because what you found entertaining, was a reality for us.

Get Out photo from movie

The concept of racism disguised as white liberalism is not new to me and it is not something I want to laugh about with a white stranger. I navigate a matrix of micro-aggressions on a daily basis. So much so that in 2017, Merriam-Webster added it as a new word in the dictionary. For some, this was their first time being exposed to the social critiques that “Get Out” depicts. For me, I found the movie to be an uncomfortable accurate reflection of my life.

“Funny, scary, and thought-provoking, Get Out seamlessly weaves its trenchant social critiques into a brilliantly effective and entertaining horror/comedy thrill ride.”

–Rotten Tomatoes

Yes, this movie was horrifying. But not because of hypnotism, missing Black bodies, or unorthodox neurosurgery. This movie was scary as hell because it hyperbolized micro-aggressions, cultural appropriation and modern-day slave auctions that eerily reminded me of the NBA and NFL drafts.

Although I feel “Get Out” was overhyped by white liberals overcompensating for their whiteness, I highly recommend going to see the movie. As you watch, remember that art imitates life. Recognize “Get Out’s” imitations and think about how the issues raised in the movie affect real people’s lives. That’s just some food for thought that I would have loved to pour into the random white guy’s popcorn bowl.

Lastly, laugh. There are some really funny parts in this movie that keep it from being too dark. But don’t be so quick to laugh with strangers. Their laughter may have a different meaning, a different purpose.

How to be a Hidden Figure in a white space

The first time I saw the trailer for “Hidden Figures,” I stared at my T.V. screen, wide-eyed. Thirteen Black History Months had passed me by, and not once were the names Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan or Mary Jackson uttered during my public education. I felt bamboozled.

Hidden Figures poster

“Hidden Figures” unearthed a piece of buried Black history, and for that, I’m grateful. Not only did I leave the theater with new African American history points on my Black card, but I also left equipped with five ways to be bold, Black and bomb in a predominately white office.

1. Improvise

One of the most memorable scenes from the movie is when Katherine holds documents up to the ceiling light in order to see information that has been blacked out. Katherine’s white counterparts, feeling threatened by her Blackness, had purposely obscured information to make her seem incompetent. Instead of dwelling on the fact that she was being sabotaged, Katherine improvised.

2. Speak up

Hidden Figures depicted Jim Crow at its finest. When Katherine’s boss questions where she runs off to for 40 minutes each day, Katherine passionately explains that there are no colored bathrooms in the building where she works. In fact, the nearest colored bathroom is half a mile away.

The bathrooms were quickly integrated following Katherine’s eloquent soliloquy that outlined the numerous ways institutionalized racism inhibited her ability to do her job efficiently.

3. Stick together

Katherine, Dorothy and Mary’s relationship demonstrated the importance of having a support system on the job. They car pooled to make sure each other had reliable transportation to work. They vouched for the quality of each other’s competence. They celebrated each other’s triumphs.

Hidden Figures cast photo

Although I’m the only Black person in my office, I’m not the only female. My female co-workers and I have found commonality in dodging gendered micro-aggressions and have found strength in lifting each other up.

4. Educate yourself

Dorothy showed she was a true leader when she took the initiative to learn and teach her girls how to work the new computer – a machine that would eventually put her and her team of “human computers” out of work. This smart move paved the way for Dorothy to become NASA’s first African-American manager.

Mary also sought out education to further her career but ran into a road block. She needed special classes to qualify for an engineering promotion. However, the classes she needed were taught at a local segregated high school. After successfully appealing to the self-interest of a white judge, Mary won her right to take night classes at the school. In 1958, Mary became NASA’s first Black female engineer.

5. Let your actions speak

You can’t fight ignorance with logic. Katherine, Dorothy and Mary all let their work speak for itself. In a race to beat the Russians into space, NASA had no choice but to allow these Black hidden figures to thrive in a white space.


If you haven’t gone to see “Hidden Figures” yet, I guarantee you it will be two hours and seven minutes well spent. Watching  Katherine, Dorothy and Mary thrive as Black women in a white space made me swell with pride. And if a slightly secure young, Black professional can find inspiration in “Hidden Figures,” imagine the impact this film has had on little girls…or you can read these tweets ??

 

2016: What a time to be alive

What can I say, it’s been a tough year, but these top 10 Black media moments made 2016 worth reminiscing.

10. Kanye proved not to be as liberal-minded as we thought ??

Donald Trump & Kanye West

Black Twitter and liberal news outlets lost their minds when Kanye West confessed to not voting, but if he had, he would have voted for Trump. Not long afterwards, Kanye was spotted at Trump Towers with Donald discussing “life.”

In 2017, let’s accept that Kanye is that family member you love but no one likes to claim. Let’s acknowledge that Black celebrities are not obligated to support democratic candidates. Lastly, let’s not judge our people for networking with president elects in hopes of fueling their own political ambitions.

9. Beyonce put up two middle fingers to the world?

In 2016, the world discovered Beyonce was unapologetically Black when she released her single, “Formation.” Then she blessed us with her visual album, “Lemonade.” I never took the time to write about it  because this video said it all :

Combine “Lemonade” with Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance salute to the Black Panthers and appearance at the Country Music Awards (CMAs), and you get a boiling pot of #BlackGirlMagic that exploded in 2016.

8. #OscarsSoWhite…but its host wasn’t ?

At the 2016 Oscars, Chris Rock hovered a magnifying glass over white privilege in front of 34.4M viewers.

7. Moonlight shed light on Black masculinity?

With very little words and amazing cinematography, “Moonlight” explored Black masculinity and identity. It has received high praise, alluding that #OscarsSoWhite may not be as white in 2017 #WishfulThinking?

6. Colin Kaepernick got down on his knees?

America is all for having black athletes make it money until black athletes use their sports platform to make a statement. This year, Colin Kaepernick outraged America when he had the audacity to protest unjust police killings of black folks. He kneeled instead of standing during the National Anthem and all media hell broke loose.

5. A history lesson you won’t find in the books?

In the documentary 13th, Ava Duvernay schooled us on mass incarceration in the United States, which dates back to 1789’s 13th amendment.

4. Netflix showed us how being Black is superhuman??

In a time when one in three Black men are incarcerated and countless others are murdered by police bullets, “Luke Cage” gave me a breath of fresh air. He fought to serve justice in his community that was governed corruptly and policed unjustly.

Beyond Marvel’s fictional world, in reality, Luke Cage interrupted the constant mediated stream of negative Black male stereotypes and inserted a powerful, positive image of a superhuman Black man.

3. BET said farewell to Obama ??

Love and Happiness poster

Although I missed this televised celebration – I didn’t have the endurance to sit through 15 minute commercial breaks – from the clips I saw,  BET gave Obama one hell of a going away party at the White House this year. 

2. Black Television reflected my reality ?

What a year for Black television! “Black-ish” brilliantly addressed several touchy subjects. From police brutality and racial profiling to color-ism and interracial dating, the show stepped up its political commentary in 2016.

“Atlanta FX,” arguably one of 2016’s realest Black television shows, effortlessly addressed the affects of hip hop in the Black community, concepts of race and gender as human constructions, the criminalization of social issues and much more!  

Issa Rae’s “Insecure” shoved self-doubt down our throats and I loved every minute of it. She reminded us all that the path to self-discovery is no smooth ride, especially if you are black. In a smart marketing move, Issa universally presented  the insecurities associated with adulting in a way that anyone, no matter their race, could identify with.

  1. National Museum of African American History and Culture ✊?

National African American Museum

In September, after more than a century of Blacks petitioning for a federally owned museum showcasing Black history, President Obama led the opening ceremony of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). This display of Black history, culture and accomplishments was long overdue, and I felt an overwhelming sense of pride in my culture as soon as I walked through the museum’s doors. With rich multimedia at every turn and six floors of history to explore, it’s worth carving out a day to visit. 

Cheers to 2016! ?

Beyonce flipping the bird

P.S. I’m still waiting on my Harriet Tubman $20 bills ?

#MediaQuickies 9

I’m a little late with last week’s media quickie post, but I couldn’t let last week’s juicy news cycle pass by unrefereed. So here goes:


1. #HomeIMG_6528

Last weekend, DreamWorks hit the big screen  with a double whammy. We saw their first 3-D animated movie with a black lead character, AND she had natural hair!

Without giving too much of the movie away, the storyline goes as follows: There is an alien invasion, and all the humans are relocated to a specific part of the world. The aliens’ intentions are to civilize the humans, but after one alien befriends the movie’s female heroine, Tip, he realizes it’s not the humans that need civilizing, it’s the aliens. The moral of the story?  Just because someone is different from you doesn’t mean that they need to be fixed; it means there’s something you can learn from them. And if you happen to be a social outcast, that doesn’t mean something is wrong with you; it means you should embrace what makes you different.

This DreamWorks picture couldn’t have come at a better time.  When racial tensions in our society are reaching old heights, DreamWorks gives us “Home,” a movie about two social outcasts from two different races (people and aliens) who join together in an unusual union to save the world. Kudos to DreamWorks for a job well done.the-prince-of-egypt

SN: It’s worth noting that DreamWorks’ first animated movie was “The Prince of Egypt” in 1998. Unlike the white washed cast in “Exodus: God’s and Kings” (released in 2014), DreamWorks chose to give its animated characters some color.

2. #Indiana

indiana copy

Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act has been in the headlines for the past two weeks and has the LGBTQIA community up in arms. The Act is intended to ensure Americans have the right to exercise their religious freedom, thus allowing millions of “courageous conservatives” to act on their conscience when it comes to deciding whether or not they want their business/organization to serve gays and lesbians. For a clear, cut explanation of the law and the politics behind it, check out this NPR article.

Religion is tricky. Who am I to tell someone what they should believe? If, for instance, a Christian fundamentally believes gay and lesbian couples should not be married, should their food company be forced to cater a gay/lesbian wedding? With that said, at what point would Indianan’s discrimination law override its Religious Freedom Restoration Act?

The more I delve into this law, the more blue and red perspectives become a gray area of politics.

3. #UVA April Fools

satire?Last week, UVA’s student newspaper, Cavalier Daily, thought it could get away with  publishing a pair of stories for April Fools’ Day titled “ABC officers tackle Native American student outside Bodo’s Bagels” and “Zeta Psi hosts ‘Rosa Parks’ party.” The backlash that followed this poor editorial decision lead to the paper issuing this apology the same day and removing the satirical stories from their website.

According to the Cavalier Daily, it was attempting to “provide satirical commentary on important issues.”

confused_black_girl_vector_by_flyingsandwich-d84igqaThis is why diversity is so crucial in the newsroom. I highly doubt there was a colored person represented when the decision was made to print these two stories.

By making fun of Martese Johnson’s misfortune, Cavalier Daily poured salt on an open wound that had not yet scabbed over. If  Cavalier Daily wanted to contribute constructively to the conversation of race, the satirical articles should have been accompanied by a story that provided context behind the satire.

4. #DukeNoosenoose

So while UVA’s student newspaper made fun of Native Americans and racist frat parties, a Duke student was busy hanging a noose from a tree in one of Duke’s plazas.

I’m not sure what is going on these days, but  neo-racists are getting bolder by the minute.

#MediaQuickies 8

Geez this week flew by, and so will these three #mediaquickies.


1. George Zimmerman

This guy’s 15 minutes of fame should have ended an hour ago. This week, George Zimmerman accused Barack Obama of fueling racial tensions following the Trayvon Martin shooting, as if the act of a self-proclaimed neighborhood watchman killing an unarmed black teenager wasn’t grounds enough for speculated foul play.

 If you’re interested, here’s a link to the  full interview: bit.ly/1HQlIdM. If not, here’s a quote that pretty much sums up Zimmerman’s BS.

 “I think that throughout the process, the president should have done what he said he was going to do and not interject himself in a local law enforcement matter or a state matter and waited until the facts came out, instead of rushing to judgment, making racially charged comments and pitting American against American.” – George Zimmerman

Some people share Zimmerman’s sentiments, while others expected Obama to comment on the situation simply because he knows, first hand, the plight of being a Black man in America. But, hey, using Obama as a scapegoat for the racial tensions in America is way easier than admitting you benefited from a racially tainted justice system.

2. G.O.M.D.

G.O.M.D.  is my favorite song on J.Cole’s newest album, “Forest Hills Drive.” In this song, J.Cole tells haters to put their differences aside, get off his d*ck, and appreciate the fact that one of us made it, but earlier this week, J.Cole’s music video for G.O.M.D debuted a house nigga (played by J.Cole) leading a slave uprising from within the big house.

After viewing this video, initial confusion prompted me to do some research. Here’s what I found.

“The video is really more of a commentary on the need for unity and togetherness more so than it is a comment on racism, because [the black community] knows—we all know about oppression. We’re all aware of that. What we’re not aware of is the dysfunction within our own community. You know what I mean? The fact that there are levels to us economically and because of the different skin colors within our own race. We’re not aware of that. We’re aware of the other shit.” J.Cole in his interview with Saint Heron

I think black people are aware of the “dysfunction”  in our community, we simply choose not to address it as readily as we do discrimination coming from the outside in. But I’mma have to give it to J.Cole for thinking outside the box on this one. With this music video (coupled with the song) J.Cole successfully connects the dots between our enslaved past and today’s mental chains that continue to enslave some members of the Black community. J.Cole reminds us that history repeats itself and reincarnates. He reminds us that color-ism and class-ism continue to divide the black community just as Willie Lynch had intended.

3. Riri

It’s women’s history month, so its only right that Rihanna gets a shout out from mediawhistle.com. Rhianna is the voice behind DreamWorks’ first black lead of a 3-D animated film, “Home,” which drops in theaters on Friday, March 27.

home

Other firsts from Riri? According to this  MSNBC article,  Rihanna is “the first woman to be featured on the cover of GQ’s “Men of the Year” issue in 2012, the most streamed female artist in the world on Spotify, and potentially the first black woman to be the face of Christian Dior.”

Rhianna’s many firsts are further proof that @BadGirlRiri really is a bad mama jama.

 

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