CategoryMovies/Documentaries

These posts comment on the motion picture medium

#MediaQuickies 3

I’m a little late with last week’s installment of #MediaQuickies, but better late than never, right?


#SOTU Address (1/20)

Last week, President Obama reminded us all of this fact:

Not only did the State of The Union (#SOTU) address make the #MediaQuickie list because my President straight shitted on his haters, but also because, for the first time in the history of the #SOTU address (according to this Huffpost article), Transgendered individuals were directly recognized.

“As Americans, we respect human dignity, even when we’re threatened…That’s why we…condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or TRANSGENDER. We do these things not only because they’re right, but because they make us safer.” –Barack Obama

#AngelaTaughtMe (1/19) IMG_5317

I was first introduced to Angela Davis when my mother hosted a documentary screening of “Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners.” I was inspired by her intellect, her drive, her passion; these things lit a fire in me that encouraged me to speak up, speak out, and take action on issues I care about. So when I heard Angel Davis was going to be the keynote speaker for UNC’s annual MLK lecture, I was beyond excited.

But not everyone was excited for Angela’s speech entitled: “Racism, Militarism, Poverty: From Ferguson to Palestine.” Being that the U.S. is butt buddies with Israel, this title did not sit well with the Jewish community and other pro-Israel groups. This lead to the omission of Angela’s speech title  in The Daily Tar Heel, UNC’s college newspaper, and the University’s announcements concerning Angela’s lecture. As people waited in line for the doors to open the night of her lecture, protestors passed out flyers for an upcoming speaker who would lecture on Dr. Martin Luther King’s Pro-Israel Legacy.

Needless to say, some people were salty about Angela coming to speak, so she opened her speech by defending its title, which she says was chosen simply to acknowledge the global intersectionality of social justice issues. Angela ended her speech with a call to action, encouraging the audience to attack the institutions that make up the structuralized racism in America,  instead of seeking individual indictments.

american sniper

 #AmericanSniper (1/16)

I went to see “American Sniper” on its opening weekend (contributing to the January box-office record it set), and I’m not gonna lie, it was a pretty good movie. I definitely gained a greater appreciation for the women and men who defend this country with their lives.  But this movie was troubling as well. It was oozing with American propaganda, perpetuating anti-Muslim and Middle Eastern sentiments.

A friend of mine sent me this article after we went to see the movie together: thewrap.com.  This article addresses the recent controversy over the film’s subject, Chris Kyle (the American Sniper), which I think is  great because it asks movie goers to think critically about how the movie portrays Chris Kyle, the war, and Iraqi people. After seeing the movie and reading this article, my friend wrote to me:

“I just felt bad that I never once thought about the effect that [the war] must have had on innocent Iraqis at any point during the movie. I started seeing them all as bad too and that’s kinda scary…,” –My anonymous “American Sniper” movie date 😉

With this said, #AmericanSniper made this media quickie list because it’s a great example of pro-American media propaganda and how easy it is to fall for the hype.

#SororitySisters (1/16)

I didn’t find out about this coonery until after VH1 pulled the show only one month after its debut. “Sorority Sisters” follows the post-collegiate lives of sorors who are alumni of historically black colleges and universities. The black Greek community went up in arms over the mockery this show made out of its organizations. Threats of advertising boycotts quickly followed the “Sorority Sisters” debut, undoubtedly resulting in VH1 quietly airing the last three episodes of the show on Friday, Jan. 16, and the AKA’s and Deltas not so quietly suspending their members featured on the show.

But my question is, how can the black community allow reality shows such as “Housewives of Atlanta” and “Love and Hip Hop” to exist, but not this one. kermit


 Okay,  #ImDone.

#MediaQuickies 2

Welcome to the second installment of #MediaQuickies. Let’s get right to it.


The Golden Globesbuzzfeed

S/O to the award recipients at the Golden Globes who took the time to draw attention to some of the many social justice issues plaguing this country. From diversity issues to trans issues to freedom of speech, there were some remarkable speeches that made America go “hmmmm…”

Take for example Gina Rodriguez’s speech. Rodriguez won Best Performance By An Actress In A Television Series for her role on CW’s “Jane The Virgin.” Rodriguez is the first actor from CW to be nominated for a Golden Globe and is now the first to win. The fact that a Latina made history for the CW network is not to be taken lightly. Check out this heartwarming acceptance speech Rodriguez gave, acknowledging the significance of her accomplishment and what it means for the Latino community.

*Note: Fast forward to about 20 sec. It takes her a while to walk to the stage. They still have us colored folk sitting in the back of rooms. *sips tea.

“This award is so much more than myself. It represents a culture that wants to see themselves as heroes.” – Gina Rodriguez

Other awards that warranted the Golden Globes a spot on this week’s #MediaQuickies list include Best Original Song awarded to Common and John Legend’s song “Glory” from the movie “Selma.” Best Television Series was awarded to “Transparent,” an Amazon series about a dysfunctional family who finds out their dad is a transgendered person.

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#OscarsSoWhite

Even though the Golden Globes did a good job of showcasing a diverse set of talent in showbiz, the Oscars’ recent  nomination list reminded us all who still runs Hollywood- white men. In a swift and ruthless fashion, true to the nature of disgruntled tweeters, #OscarsSoWhite began to trend hours after the release of the Oscar nominees. #OscarsSoWhite questioned why this year’s nominees lacked color and estrogen. Besides two nominees, no people of color were nominated for acting and directing roles, and outside of acting, no women were recognized.

Side Note: @CrushTheCFR: nooo, we should be honored cause our shit is dope. It’s just kinda of hard to navigate the industry’s hurdles that your white privilege prevents you from having to acknowledge.

Fresh Off The Boat

In 2014, ABC splashed some color on our TV screens, featuring a Black and Hispanic family in  “Black-ish”  and “Cristela.” I was thrilled to see some people of color during primetime, but where were my Asian brothers and sisters? So when I saw the promo video for ABC’s new sitcom, “Fresh Off The Boat,” my interest was peeked. “Fresh Off The Boat” is loosely based off of celebrity chef and food personality Eddie Huang and his book Fresh Off The Boat: A Memoir.

This is the first show to center around an Asian American family since Margaret Cho’s All American Girl’s one hit season wonder in 1994. “Fresh Off The Boat” premiers on Tuesday, Feb. 10 at 8|7c. Check out the promo video below.


That’s all for this week folks. If I missed something, which I’m sure I did, leave your comments in the section below!

#MediaQuickies 1

Happy New Year media whistle blowers! I thought I’d try something new this year and provide ya’ll with quick comentary each week on the media moments I found most interesting. Enjoy!


#NAACPBombing

bombing

The lack of news coverage of the NAACP bombing ignited a flame on Black Twitter this week that resulted in the birth of a tredning hashtag: #NAACPBombing. While people slowly found out (via social media) about the bomb that exploded in front of the NAACP office outside of Colorado Springs, mainstream media was up in arms about the shooting and hostage situations in Paris. Now people, I understand your frustration, but let me explain something to you from a journalist’s perspective. No one was harmed in the NAACP bombing. The bomb barely did any damage to the building. On the other hand, you had a situation where several white people had been murdered (Europeans to be specific) and many more whose lives were in danger. Of course that’s going to be a bigger news story. Add a few Muslim antagonists to the equation, and you have the formula for a story that warrents 24 hour news coverage.

This media moment left many people questioning who decides which stories receive mainstream media coverage and how much. According to USA Today, #NAACPBombing also reflected the black community’s growing frustration of the “glaring disparity in how news outlets cover violence against blacks.”

#SelmaMovie

selma

I was slightly disappointed #UnpopularOpinion? Granted, the movie did an amazing job at humanzing Dr. King, depicting black suffrage during the Civil Rights movement,  and mediating extreme relevance considering the recent heightened racial tension in this country. However, the storyline was slow, the climax brief, and the ending abrupt. I left the theater wanting to know more…but maybe that was the point?  We all know Dr. King, but what about the men who surrounded him and helped to lead the march from Selma to Montgomery? Men like Andrew Young, Ralph Abernathy and James Bevel? No introductions to these characters were made, leaving ignorant movie goers to assume these men were simply King’s entourage.

On the flip side, I learned a side of Lyndon B. Johnson that no public school history book would ever depict. Although he signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ensuring blacks the right to vote was initially low on Johnson’s priority list. His explanation as to why consisted of laying out the difference between a politician and an activist.

“You do your job,” Johnson told King, “and I’ll do mine.”

#EmpireFox

empire

My grownup life is not conducive to keeping up with shows that air after 8 p.m. With that said, I had to watch “Empire” after its original air date; however, I’ll definitely be staying up to watch this show on Wednesdays.

“Empire” is about a black family competing for the top spot in the family’s music business empire. This show made  this week’s quickie because of several reasons, but the main reason being its gay character, Jamal Lyon. I plan to pay close attention to Jamal’s character because the show’s writers have made it a point to shed light on the homophobia that exisit within the black community. I’m curious to see how not only Jamal Lyon’s character develops throughout the series, but also how his relationship with his family and in the music industry plays out.


Those were just three of the major media moments I wanted to share with ya’ll this week. Want to add to the list. Drop a line…or two…in the comment section below!

2014’s Best and Worst Media Moments

As this year comes to an end, I wanted to share with you all my top best and worst media moments for minorities in 2014. A lot has happened this year, so if something didn’t make my list, add to it in the comment section!

Here goes!


The Best

5. Forest Hills Drive

2014ForestHillsDrive

I wasn’t a fan of “Born Sinner,” but since receiving J.Cole’s newest album for Christmas, (S/O to Smitty <3) I’ve fallen in love with his music all over again. What I love most about this album is the very clear message bumping through the speakers: “the grass is not always greener on the other side.” Jermaine encourages us to appreciate what we have. He warns us to filter what’s mediated to us and  to limit our feening for what glitters and gleams on tv and the radio.

On his track “Fire Squad,” J. Cole’s jab at white artists like Elvis, Iggy, Slim, and Macklemore, brings to the forefront the issue of black cultural appropriation. J kindly reminds us that white people are making money off of our sound, our culture, our bodies, so do we really own our own image…hmmm, now that’s deep.

lupita

4. Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita made us all go “awwww” with her very heart-felt acceptance speech at this year’s Oscar Awards. She won Best Supporting Actress for the movie “12 Years a Slave” (the first film from a black director to win the Academy Award for Best Picture). No doubt, the beauty exuded from her award speech and that gorgeous blue dress, lead to Lupita being deemed “Most Beautiful” by People magazine.

3. “The Colbert Report” Coverage of Mike Brown and Eric Garner

Colbert was almost taken out by twitter this year when #CancelColbert started trending, but thank god he wasn’t because “The Colbert Report” writers seem to be the only ones who get it [racsim].  Colbert landed this #3 spot when he slammed conservative news outlets for complaining about people turning the shooting of Michael Brown into a “race issue.”

“You’re tired of hearing about it [race]? Imagine how exhausting it is living it,” Colbert said, ending his segment.

Here’s the clip if you are interested in watching it:

2. Dear White People

Dear White People was my favorite 2014 movie hands down! The fact this movie, that addresses white privilege, systematic racism,  and the black experience on a PWI campus, made it to the big screen, warms my heart.

1. FCC Cracks Down on White-washed TV

csbj3

Under the leadership of Congresswoman Maxine Waters and other law makers, the FCC was pressured into increasing media diversity in programming, ownership and executive leadership roles. This resulted in an outpour of fall TV shows debuting minority families. This year we were introduced to the Johnsons from “Blackish,” Cristela y su familia, and “Jane the Virgin,” just to name a few.


The Worst

5. Exodusexodus

This year we were blessed with yet another biblical story on the big screen. This one recounts the life of Egyption Prince Moses and his brother Ramses. This was the perfect opportunity for a nice brown or black actor to make a debut, but instead, the movie casted all white actors to play the main characters. Now why is this a problem? Geography lesson #1: Egypt is in Africa where black and brown people live. But no worries, some blackies appeared as slave extras in a few background scenes.

4. Elevator Videos

If there is one thing we learned this year, it’s that what happens in the elevator does not always stay in the elevator. From Ray Rice knocking out his fiancé, to Solange throwing hands at Jay-Z,  these videos made for a nice discussion about domestic violence and family counseling.

3. Sony…SMDH

interview

North Korea was not happy about Sony’s The Interview,” a movie with a plot based on killing North Korea’s president Kim Jong-un. So how did North Korea retaliate? They hacked into Sony’s executives’ emails and exposed all their dirty laundry. From racially insensitive comments about my President, to slandering several different actors and actresses, let’s just save Sony’s execs may be establishing new email policies for 2015.

2. Angry black People

At least that’s how we were depicted in the media. There were riots and protests in response to the recent police killings of  Mike Brown and Eric Garner. However, these national and local, peaceful protests were strangely under reported when compared to the numerous stories I saw about rioting, looting black people… -____-

1. Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby is on the verge of losing everything he has built his career on…that is,  if he hasn’t already. After a slew of rape allegations from women from his past, Bill has probably had the worst year out of everyone.


bill2Now, if you read my top five best and worst media moments of 2014 and are disappointed because something didn’t make the list, add it in the comments below. I look forward to reading what you all come up with 🙂

Cheers to 2014!

Dear Black People: Stop Complaining

These last few months of 2014 have been an “interesting” time for black people in the media.  I anxiously waited for the premier of  “Blackish,” the first major broadcast network comedy in almost a decade to revolve solely around a black family. The documentary series,  Hidden Colors, came out with its third installment, and Shonda Rhimes apparently challenged beauty standards when she chose Viola Davis to play the main character in her new series, “How To Get Away With Murder.” Dear White People was everything I had hoped for, and I’m hoping MLK’s biopic, Selma, will deliver on the big screen as well.

Then there were the not so happy moments for black people in the news. Police killings of young black men have prompted a number of celebrities to speak out on this issue, including Charles Barkley, who we will get to near the end of this post.

Despite these awesome media moments (excluding the riot news and police killings), black people still found something to complain about!

1. “Blackish” isn’t black enough.

MARSAI MARTIN, MARCUS SCRIBNER, YARA SHAHIDI, ANTHONY ANDERSON, MILES BROWN, TRACEE ELLIS ROSS

For some Black people, “Blackish” was not “black enough,” meaning it did not depict the “average” black American family. Can we just bask (for a moment) in the fact that we have a TV show that depicts us doing well for ourselves? Can we get a church clap for the fact there is a TV show airing during prime-time that explores blackness and how three generations experience it differently? Nah, we are too busy being mad because apparently low-income black people can not identify with a middle class black man experiencing racism in the work place or having the “sex talk” with his son.

2.1 All the actors in  Dear White People are light skinned.

dear white ppl

So… the Dear White People cast didn’t have enough skin tone variation, and this somehow took away from the effectiveness of the movie? Then there were those upset that the darker light skinned people  in the movie were stereotypically casted in militant roles, leading the black student union’s protest against the randomization of student housing. Yes, let’s completely overlook the fact that this movie, that calls out white privilege and explores blackness on a PWI’s (Predominately White Institution) campus, even made it to the big screen.

2.2 How dare Dear White People show a black gay man on the big screen?!

lionel

Lord forbid there’s a movie that not only calls out systematic racism, but also sheds light on an issue in our (black people’s) community– homophobia. Tyler James Williams from “Everybody Hates Chris” played a gay black student juggling his blackness and homosexuality– two identities that don’t always mix well.  So it didn’t come as a surprise when a fair share of black people complained about his character in the movie. But why? I think Tyler put it best in an Huffington Post interview when he said:

“For so long there was so little, I guess, portrayals of the average black American, that the average black American male associated himself with whoever was on TV,” he said. “So in this way, there’s still this mentality of, ‘Okay, you’re a black male on TV. I am you. Wait, you’re gay? I’m not gay! No, no never mind, we’re not the same thing. Forget you. We shun you now.'” -Tyler James Williams

3. Charles Barkley should just stick to sports. 

Charles Barkley has a history of having controversial opinions, and he had no problem voicing his opinion about the recent police killings of young black men and riots in Ferguson; however, no matter how controversial Charles’s opinion is, he is entitled to it. I’m not saying Kenny Smith was right or wrong for telling Charles to stick to sports in his open letter to his co-host, all I’m saying is… I’ll let Stephen A. Smith take it from here:

P.S. The fact that we have black men in positions of media power that allow them to openly express their opinion on racial issues is a plus in my book.

And so I end this blog with a simple request: Dear black people, stop complaining. We’ve had some great media moments. Not saying that your concerns or qualms are not valid or that you shouldn’t voice these, I’m just saying in the midst of pointing out where things can improve, show some appreciation for the great media plays we’ve had this year!

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