Thursday, February 25, 2010

Welcome To The Colored Section: My Black History Tribute

Out of ALL the videos I've actually produced and posted on my YouTube Channel, this one ranks the highest, over 9,000 hits. And it's also one of the most personal ones because it was born out of frustration. I couldn't find a Black history screensaver that I liked, so after several hours of searching I deciding to create my own. This video is a result of that effort.

It's gained a lot of comments and interesting responses over the years. One dear friend was moved to tears while watching it while others have requested to purchase copies to share with their kids. I don't own the imagery so I've never sold it but just the fact that people were willing to buy it spoke volumes to me. Some years ago, a teacher contacted me via YouTube request it for her high school's Black history program. And to date, people still complement it while others disrespect it. All of which speaks more to it's relevance than to my creativity.

The artist is national recording artist, Donnie. The song is from his first album, "Welcome To The Colored Section". It's a wonderful album of empowerment and enlightenment. Listen to clips of the song and others. Truly, it's a great album!




Sade Shares Sense of Humor In Wanda Sykes Skit

As a fan of Sade and a lover of Wanda Sykes brand of humor I had to post this! It's funny as (BEEP)! Mad props to Wanda and the powers that be for getting the elusive singer to show her funny side. She's so good in this skit, I wonder if she's really acting. See the "Soldier of Love" do her thing!


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Louis Gossett Jr. Produces, Halle Berry Hosts "For The Love of Liberty": A Salute to Black Patriots

When you think of American patriotism what comes to mind? George Washington? Patrick Henry or maybe even Paul Revere? It appears some important names have been omitted so try googling "famous patriots" or "American patriotism" and see what you get. Better yet what images pop up in your search results?

Ever heard of Crispus Attucks, Dorie Miller, or the Tuskegee Airman? It's interesting how these AMERICAN PATRIOTS aren't mentioned on page one of your Google search results considering their loyalty to a country that denied them basic human rights. But in this new documentary project "For The Love Of Liberty: The Story of American's Black Patriots" the image and meaning of patriotism has been redefined.

"Let it be said that the Negro soldier did his duty under the flag, whether that flag protected him or not."--Edward A. Johnson, Spanish-American War Historian.

Executive Produced by Academy Award winner, Louis Gossett Jr., and hosted by Oscar winner, Halle Berry , "For The Love of Liberty" honors the sacrifices and accomplishments of African-American sevicemen AND WOMEN since the start of this country.

Lending their talents to this pivotal project are Ossie Davis, Avery Brooks, Mel Gibson, Angela Bassett, Morgan Freeman, Charles Dutton, and Alfre Woodard just to name a few. Purchase the DVD through the online store and see a different perspective on American history and American war stories. Watch this clip!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Blood Done Sign My Name: An Important Historical Film

"Blood Done Sign My Name" is an important story not just in Black history but American history. So this is not a review. This is an earnest request to support this film in theaters this opening weekend. Films like this are just as relevant today as they would have been 30 years ago or more! And if WE don't support them FINANCIALLY at the THEATERS, they'll stop being made.

So my readers from North Carolina, support your filmmakers! This film is written and directed by Jeb Stuart ("Die Hsrd", "The Fugitive") a North Carolinian, and based on a book of the same name by local author, Dr. Tim Tyson. My exclusive interview Jeb Stuart, I'll post soon! And even more interesting, "Blood Done Sig My Name" is the true account of how NC native Dr. Ben Chavis, former Exec. Director of the NAACP, impacted civil rights there in the state. In the meantime, North Carolina come on a raise up and head to your local theaters to see this film!


See the official trailer below! Actors Nate Parker, Lela Rochon, and Ricky Schroeder star in the film. Then after seeing the trailer do some research in honor of Black Heritage/Histoy Month, get the book, or just take a few moments to learn even more about unsung Civil Rights heroes or Dr. Ben Chavis who is currently the Co-Founder and President of the Hip Hop Summit.

Friday, February 12, 2010

We Are The World 25 For Haiti Premieres

Well, let the comparisons between "25 for Haiti" and the original "We Are The World" begin! This 2010 version definitely has more ups than downs is my two cents. But while we're choosing our favorite parts and trying to see which artists participated, LET'S NOT FORGET this was done for a great cause! Haiti still needs our help so purchase the song by clicking "DONATE" or texting "5055". You can also visit the official 25 for Haiti website for more info.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

John Mayer Apologies, Says No More Media

Just to be fair I'm posting this and moving on! Apparently, after some folks--maybe those few black people that love him--enlightened him on the error of his ways musician John Mayer took to social media to apologize, Twitter to be exact!


And while I'm using today for looking at myself under harsh light, I think it's time to stop trying to be so raw in interviews...

I just wanted to play the guitar for people. Everything else just sort of popped up and I improvised, and kept doubling down on it ..


And then according to various internet reports he apologized again Wednesday on stage at a concert in Nashville, saying, "I quit the media game. I'm out. I'm done...I just want to play my guitar."

John Mayer Stop Talking, Stick To Singing...

Right in the middle of Black History Month John Mayer's recent interview with Playboy presents a perfect opportunity to address some things concerning race. However, I'm not on the "he's a racist" band wagon as many bloggers seem to be. He's just not as smart as I gave him credit for being. Here's the first quote from the article that proves it:
MAYER: I am a very…I’m just very. V-E-R-Y. And if you can’t handle very, then I’m a douche bag. But I think the world needs a little very. That’s why black people love me.
Really? John just because you've collaborated musically with a couple of black entertainers doesn't mean black people love you. Dude, don't get it twisted! Jay-Z, Common, Alicia Keys, etc don't represent ALL black people. Thanks to your work with them, you now may get some attention in black entertainment circles, but check the demographics on your record sells. Who's financially supporting you and who's pimping you to obtain more crossover appeal? I'm NOT saying the black artists you've worked with have used you, but in the business of show things aren't always what they seem.

That said, until YOU hit the top of the R&B charts, earn the cover of a black magazine (Ebony, Essence, Jet), get invited to perform at The Apollo, receive a high honor from a historical black organization, help pass some Civil Rights legislation, see your face on bootleg t-shirts for sell in "the hood" as you put it next to Obama, Malcolm, Martin, Biggie, or Tupac our love is ON HOLD and so is your invitation to any black family reunion.

PLAYBOY: Do black women throw themselves at you?

MAYER: I don’t think I open myself to it. My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a fuckin’ David Duke cock. I’m going to start dating separately from my dick.
READ CAREFULLY PEOPLE! HE DID NOT SAY, "YES!". He responded to the question, not answered it. So don't let the wording of the article fool you into thinking Mayer got it like that with black women, despite how much he THINKS we love him.

In regards to his penis, just a few years ago he was quoted in Rolling Stone saying his "'Lil' John" was a Dominican that wore "shoes with no socks", but now it's David Duke and only screams "Yeyah!" at white women. Well, as a Grammy winning musician when your penis and where it's been becomes more of a talking point than your music, there's a problem unless you're vying for porn job.

And if white women is what his 'Lil' John is attracted to so damn what, people! Aren't most black women attracted to black men? Is that a surprise to any damn body? Yet despite our proclivities, we will share our ho-clivities (that's my word) to anyone of any race we choose anytime, anyplace. I'm willing to bet Mayer will do the same.

Without argue, his reference to white supremacy was just damn stupid! However, to Mayer's credit he seemingly wants to follow his heart despite what his penis says. I say, "Go 'head then, Monster's Ball!"


MAYER: I always thought Holly Robinson Peete was gorgeous. Every white dude loved Hilary from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And Kerry Washington. She’s superhot, and she’s also white-girl crazy. Kerry Washington would break your heart like a white girl. Just all of a sudden she’d be like, “Yeah, I sucked his dick. Whatever.” And you’d be like, “What? We weren’t talking about that.” That’s what “Heartbreak Warfare” is all about, when a girl uses jealousy as a tactic.
And just how well does Mayer REALLY know Washington to speak about her that way publicly? That ain't right! Did they even date?
MAYER: Someone asked me the other day, “What does it feel like now to have a hood pass?” And by the way, it’s sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a nigger pass. Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass if you really have a hood pass? But I said, “I can’t really have a hood pass. I’ve never walked into a restaurant, asked for a table and been told, ‘We’re full.’"

PLAYBOY: It is true; a lot of rappers love you. You recorded with Common and Kanye West, played live with Jay-Z.

MAYER: What is being black? It’s making the most of your life, not taking a single moment for granted. Taking something that’s seen as a struggle and making it work for you, or you’ll die inside. Not to say that my struggle is like the collective struggle of black America. But maybe my struggle is similar to one black dude’s.

It seems to me an edit has been made in this part. When asked about working with rappers, he responds with "What is being black?" Why is there nothing in the response that corresponds directly to the question like "working with Common was", or "I love Hip Hop?" Have pieces of this interview been put together like a puzzle to make things sound worse? Ponder that!

Regardless, I THINK I get what Mayer is saying. To him a "hood pass" would allow him to be treated like a "nigger"--discriminated against based purely on his race. And a REAL hood pass would give him the permission to refer to us or himself as a "nigger" when amongst us. If so, then Mayer is probably just saying what he's seen us do and what we know to be true amongst us culturally, and especially in the Hip Hop community. He was just dumb enough to say it publicly.

However, being black is NOT synonymous with being "ghetto" nor "hood". Every black person in this country didn't grow up poor or come from the ghetto, catch a case, or come from a struggling single parent home. And certainly NOT every black person sees himself or herself as a "nigger" despite what you may see and hear.

That last quote of Mayer's seems to make him understand that just a little. It's what people attach to being black is the problem not being black itself. So that quote is what keeps me from saying, "He's a racist!". He's misguided if anything, especially by those black people he claims love him so much. They didn't school him properly and let him think saying the "N" word in any forum was okay.

Monday, February 08, 2010

The February Vanity Fair Cover! Who Asked For White Out?

At the risk of me pointing out AGAIN how African-American--and actors/actresses of color in general--are often left out of the Hollywood big picture, Vanity Fair's new cover proves how right I am.

So instead of me saying "I told you so," I'm going to let Doug Melville do it. Melville is President of Red Carpet Runway and has some interesting points on why Vanity Fair's "New Decade, New Hollywood" magazine cover is just plain "out of order". We've never met but I'm about to send him a virtual "high-five" via the internet. This in an excerpt from the article originally printed on Adage.com's website.

Vanity Fair's annual Hollywood Issue has always been on the cutting edge of what's next or what's hot in Tinsel Town. The 2010 edition, boldly titled "A New Decade, A New Hollywood," hits newsstands Feb. 9. But there is already an uproar brewing about the issue's cover. Outlets such as USA Today , E! Online, Huffington Post, and others are taking the magazine to task for a cover that features only white women. This is the second time this year that Vanity Fair finds itself in hot water for its very narrow -- and white -- view of reality.

I hate to tell Vanity Fair this, but nothing about the cover is in line with current trends, or at all an accurate portrayal of the next decade of talent, or even Hollywood's current makeup. Not one mixed person, tan person or Asian person? No one from Bollywood? No one from Latin America? I thought the cover reflected more of an "Old Hollywood" throwback issue. In the 15 years of the Hollywood Issue, never has there been one that has been so one dimensional, or covered such a narrow scope.

During this past decade, Hollywood has actually trended toward more inclusion. The results: record box office numbers. That is a trend that I would expect to continue into the next decade. Diversity is good for audiences and good for business. Even on TV, the formula has worked very well for shows such as "The View" and "Extra," and become part of the programming formula for networks such as TBS.

Which is why this cover is so confusing. Nothing about it screams Hollywood's next decade.

Unfortunately in America, people carry very negative connotations when it comes to discussing or exploring race. Magazine covers have digitally altered black people to help tell the story. They make them appear darker when they commit a crime, or make them look lighter when they're selling make-up and even insert them falsely into photos to make everything look politically correct...

The argument that Ebony, Jet and BET have hot lists with only African Americans on the cover doesn't fly with me as a substitute for having no one recognized by Vanity Fair. Niche magazines that focus on cultural inclusion were started because of situations such as this.


Read the entire article on Adage.com.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Janet Jackson Wants To Kick Ass But She's Not Alone

Images: Wonderlandmagazine.com, Imdb.com

In a recent interview with Wonderland Magazine, the petite singer, producer, and actress expressed her desire to do more movies, but not your typical pretty teacher or poetic girl next door. From the interview:

Would you like to do more serious acting?
I do. Because that's my first job and love. But I really want to do some action stuff. I want to kick somebody's ass.

Whose?

Anybody's. Anybody's as long as I get to kick somebody's ass. Kick a new hole in their butt. Rip them a new butt hole. I'd love to do that... Growing up I was such a tomboy and very active with my brothers. I'd also love to do a real independent film.


She also stated in the interview she missed out on a prime role in "Matrix" due to scheduling conflicts. So I'm willing to bet Janet's not alone in wanting to open a can of "whup-ass" in a film. There are very few African-American actresses that get to star in action movies--by "star" I mean has more than a few scant scenes in the flick, isn't so disguised we don't recognize her, and she gets to have her face on all marketing materials.

And how do I define action movie? Any film that involves not only fighting and other stunts, but pyrotechnics, green screen special effects, and some sort of physical training is an action film. We see the actress do everything the boys do even better if their ego can stand it!

However, for the purposes of this list I may have to stretch the definition seeing as how Hollywood is selectively color-conscious when it comes to this genre of filmmaking. So let's go back! When you think of action flicks what black actresses or even Latino come to mind?

1. Pam Grier as Foxy Brown, may qualify! She got to kick some ass in the 70s black exploitation flicks.

2. Angela Basset in "Strange Days". Her role as "Mace" definitely qualifies.

3. Jada Pinkett in Matrix Reloaded as Niobe. Sci-fi is where it's at!

4. Alicia Keys possibly in "Smokin' Aces" as the assassin. Add Taraji P. too 'cause I'm sure both of them had to do some gun training.

5. Halle Berry as "Catwoman". You may not consider this feline friendly flick as an action movie but her role did require training, fighting, and other stunts.

6. Zoe Saldana, the new kid on the block, in "Avatar" as Neytiri. She was no "bad ass" but the role did require lots of green screen action sequences and maybe some training. The closer she sticks to director, James Cameron, publicly hopefully the more it will get her more action roles where actually get to see her real face.

7. Vivica A. Fox, short lived as it was, Viv's role in Kill Bill definitely required some kick ass action!

Who have I missed? Shouldn't there be more considering the number of action films that exist and are in production right now. I think Janet and a number of other actresses would be great--Regina King, Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington, Paula Patton, Thandie Newton, Nia Long, Queen Latifah, Rosario Dawson--just to name a few.

So Hollywood what's the deal? What's a sista got to do to get a couple of those action packed, sci-fi, take no prisoners, hand-your-ass-to-you lead roles in a major studio film? Audition! They can't do that unless you ask them!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Hollywood Black History: Della Reese, TV Host Pioneer

It's African-American Heritage Month aka Black History Month. So for the next couple of weeks I'm going to do some posts concerning African-Americans and our contributions to the entertainment industry. First up award-winning singer, actress, and ordained minister, Della Reese!

Most of us--70s, 80s kids--know Della Reese best from the hit tv show "Touched By An Angel" or from those oh so funny scenes in "Harlem Knights" with the legendary comedian, Red Foxx. But she holds a higher distinctive honor beyond those memorable roles on the big and small screen. And if you take the time to do a little research, you'll discover she actually began her long career--nearly 60 years in fact--as a singer, NOT an actress. Her first hit record was "And That Reminds Me Of You" on Jubilee Records in 1953.

But that isn't the special distinction I'm referring to. Born Deloreese Patricia Early, she is actually the first African-American to host her own television show, paving the way for Oprah, Tyra, Mo'Nique and others. The self-titled show, "Della", debuted in 1969. Listen to some of what she had to overcome to do the show and have such longevity in this business of show.



Hear the FULL interview of her trail-blazing career in this interview with Tavis Smiley by clicking HERE.

Several years ago I read Della Reese's autobiography. It was a GREAT read! I especially adored the wedding vows she and her husband shared in the book as well as learning about how she triumphed over racism, illness, and other life trials. If you love good biographies get it!


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