We are in the midst of another case of police brutality, it has become a part of the national discourse, like Trump, unfortunately. As per course, we are taking to the streets to argue the case of justice for......fill in the blank. Whenever the conversation comes to brutality, it is always seen through the experience of the black man. There can be no argument that black man are seen as the main target of police violence. The image of the hooded black man is part of the consciousness and if I was a mother, who had a son, there would no end to my worry. Concurrently, as a black queer woman, defined by femaleness and not by male privilege the perspective of my lens is slightly different. . My love for my brothas includes the physical and the spiritually while also painfully aware of the rampant misogyny that is alive and well in our community. The front lines of this #blacklivesmatter movement ( and practically every movement of civil rights) are women. It was founded by women, we are the majority of every march and every meeting. We are also dying in the streets not just to police but to our men. Tiarah Poyau, 22 a young woman who recently killed at the Jouvert festival in Brooklyn, was shot in the eye because she refused a dance with a man. This is not a new story, as there have several stories of the women who have stabbed, shot or beaten for the refusal of men. The stories of Janay Palmer ( Ray Rice now -wife), Cassandra Palmer ( who was killed by Jovan Belcher), and others where the sympathy is for their abusers but rarely for them. There has been a new term "misogoynoir' to describe this but it's actually just good ol' fashion male violence. A recent blog (written by a black female writer, sexuality unknown) has been circulating through social media describing the "fragility of black men" in regards to the systemic racism that permeates our society causing them to not be in control their anger. Well...I just may be a bitchy feminist but that iscomplete shite to me. This again brings me to my queerness, living in Boston surrounded by over-educated , underpaid black women. (If you threw an incense stick in the middle of the road there would be 10 dreaded women with PH.D's to light it for a drum circle to support their own personal development.)
There are times I believe that straight/ and or hetro-norm black women will let their loyalty to the "cause" eat their ever living sanity?
On Demand, I viewed the imperfect film "Perfect Man" which was your typical date night thriller. What struck me was the underlying message to particularly successful black woman of a "certain age". Not to give any "spoilers" but suffice it to say the Sanaa Lathan character (Leah) has been strung along for 2 years with a man (Dave played by Morris Chestnut) who will not make a commitment to her, she then meets this man (Carter played by Michael Ealy) who is respectful to her parents by refusing to engage in sexual relations, listens to her, supports her ambition and approaches her in a respectful way. He turns out to be a violent maniac, her affections then return to the Dave who strung her along and she apologizes for her core values in return for his continued affections. I sat there in absolute shock that this was depicting love in the present age?
So between Black women being told to lower their standards, now we are being told to write off our core values. When we speak about our concerns we are "the petty Black Feminist" bringing down our brothas. The dilemma of being a black man in America is mirrored by being a woke, black women in our own community. The presence of our First Lady Michelle Obama is so important, a reminder that you can be a an intelligent, successful and opinionated black women while defining your womaness, how you please.
Whether its wearing an amazing outfit ( as she always does), kickboxing, doing push-ups or loving on your man. She doesn't have to lower her shine to make Pres. B feel like a man. He is a real black man who loves his real black woman.
I have no resolve for this but to hope for all my Sistas that our ambitions, opinions, sexual expressions are valued at the same level of that to our to commitment to black men's liberty. #blacklivesmatter #feminism #womanist #blackmen #blackwomen #misogynynoir #misogyny
I was fortunate to see Southside with You last week. It is well known among my friends I am HUGE Obamas fan, it could have been crap and I would have been overjoyed just to see their love unfold on screen. How pleasantly was I surprised by the humanity and intelligence that came through in this very deceptively simple film by the talented writer/director Richard Tanne.
The film all takes place in 24hrs. during the time they are getting dressed for the date and when they arrive home. The magic of the film is, this could have been any couple. Initially your hyped on the fact , your seeing the Obamas but 30m into the film you are watching a typically awkward date and all the geekiness that entails. The actors are wonderful, its great to see Tikka Sumpter in a this role, she does remind you of Michelle but its not the physical that is as compelling as the clear intelligence that she is communicating. Combined with the fear and the growing attraction that happens over this several hours of this epic date. Newcomer Parker Sawyer does a lovely job of inhabiting Pres.Obama but making him very human. It is the humanity of the two that removes it from a typical bio-pic to a lovely telling of budding love.
The only problem I have with the film i, I already admire President Obama so deeply and this just adds to my mania. I came away really respecting him as a man, in the beginning of the film he comes over as your intelligent but cocky, young lawyer who is clearly going places. It is the stripping away of the facade and the revealing of hurt, slightly angry and sometimes arrogant man that makes you appreciate him even more. Michelle comes away as one of the fully realized female protagonist I have seen in a long time. Her ambition is so explicit with the combination of her youth and arrogance that makes you realize ( whether its true or ficition) that he had to work to get her. She personified what it means to know your worth.
The ending kiss is sensual but unlike many films that feature a love scene, its well earned. Its not your typical " run through the park montage" romantic film, even though you know how it ends there are still times during the screening I was worried for them. There were two individuals who both seemed exceptional and trying to make that exception compatible.
Well, I have finally finished the whole #Roots2016 ( 3 times already) and I say..bravo. Now, I will admit there are some moments which seem to wallow into melodrama, a couple of which I thought are ripe for a Key&Peele satirical skit. Overall, for me the strongest episodes are Part 1 & 2. Okay, with all that said, I am a still a fan of this remake. The remaining 2 episodes focused on Kizzy after being sold away and her son Chicken George.
I am distressed with the number of foreign actors who are cast in roles that are intrinsic to our experience in this country. As if we are not able to tell our own stories but with that said, the actor who portrayed Chicken George was wonderful. I completely fell inlove with that character, he presented him as a complex but interesting man. He made him a guy you would totally want to swipe right on Tinder. Rose was a powerful Kizzy, she was sensual, intelligent and vulnerable. Meyers as always was fantastic, Lea was not an admirable man but you could understand the conflict that George felt for him. The scene where he looks at Kizzy dancing is quite repugnant and sad at the same time. The relationship I just fell swooned over was between George and his wife Matilda. In the midst of all this horror was this lovely, romantic pairing and everytime he called her Morning Dove the big, pink romantic in me just melted. There are so few moments of them sharing tendernes but when they do it's lovely. The scene of him kissing her as he travels to Charleston was as romantic as any B&W film of yesteryear.
Of course, the practical person in me questions, he really wasnt with another woman in London for over 20 years, did she never sleep with another man knowing he may be dead..but I had to put those all to the side to take in what was Part 4. It is the older, more seasoned George that I really enjoyed and the actor did a wonderful job of inhabiting the pain of delusion and the power of being woke. I loved this George he was grown and wise, not in the corny, sterotypical way but translating into power. As he waits for Maltilda on the Murray farm, its humilating yet tender and there embrace subtle but sensual. We are introduced to whole new extension of the family and while the writing doesnt feel as strong in Part 4, there are some wonderful moments. My personal favorite is when George's uses his father's gun in the most appropiate way possible. It makes me giggle and clap everytime.
I dont mean to wax poetic for a mini-series that is about the longest, most brutal institution this country has ever known but I applaud that even in the ugliest of circumstances, Love is never absent. How beautiful is that?
An Actor/Director sharing her thoughts on creativity in this crazy metropolis, New Yawk Citay.