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BN-W eNewsletter #76

Posted in: eNews 2007
By BN-W
Feb 23, 2007 - 2:21:11 PM

FILM(S) MONITORED

NORBIT

DADDY’S LITTLE GIRLS


 

The monitor of the film(s) listed above is farther down in this eNewsletter.   As mostly everyone probably knows already, Norbit was #1 its opening weekend and to date has grossed nearly $64 million, while Daddy’s Little Girls had a Valentine’s Day opening and came in at #5 for the weekend with a total gross of about $20 million to date, making this not only the lowest box office opening weekend for a Tyler Perry film, but it also lost its #1 ranking for opening weekend streak.   Norbit was totally disappointing, especially from the angle of Eddie and his brother, Charles Murphy, writing such unjustifiably stereotypical nonsense – from the undesirable, big, fat, loud, unpleasant lady to the desirable, petite, thin, soft-spoken, pleasant lady.   Daddy’s Little Girl was very good although we felt it ended without real or official closure for the couple and the statement that “you’re going to need God and two more White people” left us flabbergasted, but if you can manage to get past that senseless quote, overall it was pretty good.  

After seeing Norbit, we had a flashback to an Essence magazine article in which Eddie Murphy’s ex-wife Nicole Mitchell was interviewed.   It turned out to be the April 2006 edition (with Denzel Washington on the cover).   In it Mitchell states the following:   “We have five beautiful, healthy Black children who are in a position to see the world.   I wanted them to see Egypt, go to the pyramids, go all across Africa.   He didn’t.   ‘It’s too far,’ he’d say.   This was a major clash – it just didn’t work for me anymore, and I was becoming miserable.”   She also talks about her realization on the importance of being happy during her attendance at Oprah Winfrey’s Legends Ball, the ultimate meaning of material things, and more.   Here’s the full article:   Nicole Essence Interview.   She even talks about the transvestite incident that Murphy had in 1997.   The purpose in even including this perspective from his significant other of nearly 20 years is that it gives us a clearer understanding of why a middle-aged Black man (along with his Black brother) who’s been in the entertainment business for at least 25 years, who’s wealthy, and who has box office clout would write and put out a film like this that shows such stark contrasts not only in the portrayal of Black women but also playing up Black men as pimps, shady, and brutes.   In this attempt to be funny at the expense of those who look like him, Murphy shows a form of self-contempt and self-hate that confirms the continued legacy of the conditioning that many Blacks still suffer from today because we’ve never properly healed – and it certainly explains why Murphy would consider Kemet (the original name of Egypt before the Greeks renamed it) and all of the other African countries “too far” a place to travel with his kids and wife.

In our last eNewsletter (#75), we provided YouTube links on Drs. Amos Wilson and Cheikh Anta Diop.   As those who log onto the site in-between eNewsletters may already know, those links were suddenly removed by YouTube and are no longer available.   But we found replacements, so the new links are on the site and they are also below:

Dr. Amos Wilson:
Lectures (Audio)         
Books (AALBC)
Afrikan World Info Station [audio/video links at bottom]

Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop:   Origins of Humanity

We’ve also permanently added some video links from the wonderful Dr. Adelaide Sanford to our site.   The name of her lecture is The State of Education in the Black Community.   If you’ve never seen her speak, then you’ll really appreciate this video, it’s just really all that!   And you’ll also know why the New York City Board of Education made sure she didn’t get the chancellorship – she takes a solid stand on issues of importance and will fight for it.   Here are the links to this dynamite lady who, by the way, is about 80 years old now – and still looks fabulous and still speaks with truth, passion, grace, and strength:

Sanford – Part A       Sanford – Part B

We mentioned Harriet Washington’s Medical Apartheid:   The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present in our last eNewsletter.   We’ve decided to also permanently link it on our site, so here it is again:    Medical Apartheid.

INTERESTING WEB SITES/LINKS/ARTICLES OF THE DAY :

Along with New York City Councilmember Leroy Comrie, Vice Chairman Clinton I. Young, Jr. of Mt. Vernon, New York, and the Westchester County Board of Legislators passed a symbolic resolution eliminating the use of the N-word in the county in honor of Black History Month.   Here’s the press release:   Westchester County N-Word Resolution.   Although the work of keeping this word’s usage to its historical context is just beginning, these are good starts because of the many connections these city offices have.   Aside from those parents who use the word and/or don’t discourage their kids from using it, the biggest hurdles are dealing with educators who don’t say anything when this word is used as well as entertainment/media conglomerates that want to mass market this word.   Getting those kids who use it to stop doing so isn’t the problem – the problem is the non-stop intentional international MARKETING of this one particular word through music, song, dance, and comedy to the youth.   That’s the problem!

Fortunately, Councilmember Comrie is forging straight ahead with this issue and has contacted the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS), aka the Grammy organization, and asked them to cease nominating and honoring artists who use the N-word.   At the recent Grammy awards show held on February 11th, artists Ludacris, T.I., and Chamillionaire were all winners for songs that used this derogatory word.   Nominees Yung Joc, Busta Rhymes, and Pharrell Williams also had songs on their albums that use this word.   Yes, we definitely realize that this is nothing new to the industry or the BN-W readers because our music monitors have documented the N-word use, violence, and misogyny for a long time.   But the fact remains that more people must get involved, complain verbally and in writing to the recording industry heads, and – if the proper action is not taken – stop supporting not only artists who perform for a dollar, but the executives and owners that control the short-term chump change they pay these artists to sell their souls, integrity, and better judgment.   The Councilman has also contacted Black Entertainment Television (BET) about eliminating the airing of the N-word on its newly acquired show, The Wire.   Apparently the curse words are edited out but the N-word is not.   While BET is not Black-owned, it’s very disturbing that the Black executives there, including Reginald Hudlin and Debra Lee, are just fine with the use of this word, its history, and all of its current-day controversy on display for the world to see.   And this is how our so-called executives and professionals handle business and look out for their viewers and the community, which is why they have no real power – because they don’t understand the importance of knowing how to use the media for empowerment.   And that explains why the Black image in the media is in tatters with them at the media helm.   Why won’t they try – just try – putting on something or someone that teaches.   Consider a show with Dr. Adelaide Sanford or Dr. Asa Hilliard or Dr. Molefi Asante – just try it for one hour a week and see what happens.  Well, the request about the N-word use on BET’s oh-so very empowering The Wire has been made and will surely continue to be made, so let’s hope the viewers start to zone in on their critical thinking and viewing skills and voice their opposition.

On February 26th at 10:00am, please come out and show support for the Councilman’s Resolution (Int. No. 693-A) for a symbolic moratorium on the use of the N-word in New York City.   The NYC Committee on Civil Rights is holding this hearing in the Council Chambers of City Hall located at 43 City Hall Park off Broadway in downtown Manhattan.  

Since we’re still celebrating the spirit of Black History Month 2007, here’s a repeat of the links from our last eNewsletter:   BN-W #10; BN-W #42; BN-W #43; and Playahata's Figures in Black History Directory.   Also, the assassination of Malcolm X occurred on February 21, 1965, so here are two very good links that provide quite an assortment of audio/video from this powerful, intelligent, and charismatic leader who exemplifies what empowering a people is all about:

Malcolm X Video Revolution                    
Malcolm X Speeches (Audio)

We just received this interactive CD named Africa the Birthplace of Humanity from Origenes.   It’s a fun game for kids (and adults) that explores the concept that Africa is the birthplace of humanity, acquaints players with Africa’s geography, teaches facts about African nations, and much more.   This is a great learning tool for all.   Check out the Origenes site or call 1-877-669-6996.

Hip-Hop:   Beyond Beats and Rhymes aired on PBS on February 20th focusing primarily on the misguided projection of so-called manhood within the hip-hop world through misogyny and violence.   This film, while it sparingly dipped into the corporate marketing of this image, can have a big and positive impact on the many young women and men who are easily influenced and perhaps even trying to imitate what they see, listen to, and dance to through videos and songs.   Unfortunately, the N-word is freely used and unedited in this film, but that word’s been successfully marketed to go along with the image of the film’s topics – misogyny, violence, homophobia.   Whether intentional or not, the film also shows a deep lack of knowledge and intellect – not just historically, but also financially and business wise – amongst these entertainers and their followers that’s just sad and distressing.   In a nutshell, most of these hip-hoppers clearly show their powerlessness and the fact that they are being exploited, controlled, and manipulated by their “owners.”   Amos Wilson described a situation like this perfectly; he called it manipulation by rewards.   And in the case of many in the music business, the “rewards” amount to very little.   As previously mentioned, we at BN-W have complained about the lyrics and images in many popular songs/videos throughout all of our music monitors, so we’re hoping many – especially parents – will see this film, get more involved, and do what’s necessary to know what’s pumping in their children’s ears and being played at parties on a regular basis and get out of this corporate marketing and image manipulation trap.   Following are three links on this topic, which include a preview of this film (and a link to purchase the DVD), a WPIX (Channel 11 in NYC) story about the results of a survey on [rap] music lyrics and sex that aired on February 12th, and the actual article on this survey entitled Exposure to Degrading Versus Nondegrading Music Lyrics and Sexual Behavior Among Youth that appeared in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.   In this survey, one example of degrading sexual lyrics come from rap artist Ja Rule; an example of nondegrading sexual lyrics come from pop boy band Ninety-Eight Degrees; and one example of “sex expressed” lyrics come from Lil Kim.

Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes
WPIX (Channel 11 NYC) Rap Lyrics Story
Survey – Music Lyrics and Sexual Behavior Among Youth

In closing on the above topic, here’s an article by Cash Michaels that was in The Wilmington Journal last month about the Duke lacrosse player case:   “Boys Called Dancers the N and B Words.”   While it’s a mystery WHAT happened at that party, there’s no doubt something happened.   Even in the Ed Bradley 60 Minutes interview, there were pictures of men in their underwear, so something definitely occurred.   What’s interesting about this article though is the language that was used – which the mainstream media never mentions – and how that language use correlates with the hip-hop film.

Bamako is another African film that takes a much needed and long overdue detour from the usual White-man-as-savior mode of most films of this type.   Anybody who does just a little bit of studying on the history and politics of Africa will clearly know why Africa is in such disarray, which immediately debunks that “savior” theory.   So, why films keep getting made depicting such a falsehood is not surprising in this world of the “superior” and “the chosen” mindsets, but it, nevertheless, remains very laughable.   Bamako, however, is a film that at least incriminates the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Trade Organization (WTO), and G8 for the many dirty tactics commonly used in accessing and privatizing Africa’s massive land wealth and rich supply of natural resources, resulting in the paradox of financial bondage for much of Africa and affluence for many in the Western world off of Africa’s riches – and even the “vultures” who are getting paid for debt (see more about this issue below with the funds story).   This film speaks for itself and the quality of its major content is superior to Blood Diamond, Catch A Fire, and Last King of Scotland.   Danny Glover is one of the executive producers and he also has a cameo in the film.   It is scheduled for a two-week run at NYC’s Film Forum (through February 27th).   Here is more information on the film:

Film Forum
New York Times Review
Danny Glover – Democracy Now!

Now, we go on to a perfect example of one kind of financial bondage and trickery – VULTURE FUNDS – that’s happening to some of the poorest countries in Africa as well as some other countries, including Peru, Panama, Ecuador, Poland, and Turkmenistan.   Vulture fund companies do whatever and pay whatever’s necessary to cover their tracks legally through the U.S. court system (even if it means lobbying to get laws changed).   They “circle round very poor countries at a time when they are renegotiating unpayable debts, often run up by a previous, corrupt regime” and these vulture capitalists then buy up the debt “at cheap prices, and then demand payments [debt plus interest] much higher than the original amount of the debt, often taking poor countries to court when they cannot afford to repay.”   Some examples include buying the debt for $3 million and then demanding $42 million; buy for $4 million then demand $40 million; buy for $11 million then demand $58 million; buy for $10 million then demand $400 million.  

Companies that operate this type of hedge fund profit hugely through scheming on weak economies to gain exorbitant amounts of money by seemingly any means necessary.   These companies know the dubiously inflated funds they’re demanding are usually earmarked for education, healthcare, and clean water – but apparently they simply don’t care.   These vulture capitalists have been doing these socially immoral tactics for years, Jubilee 2000 was organized for the purpose of cancelling the unpayable debt of poor countries and in October 2000 a news piece   went out that included a link to a letter that was sent to Hillary Clinton expressing concern for Peru and the fact that Paul E. Singer, founder and general partner of Elliott Associates L.P., stated the company’s policy was:   “Peru would either…pay us in full or be sued.”   In 1996, Singer bought $11 million of the country’s debt (which had a face value of $20 million) and then tried to collect $58 million on that amount.   After taking legal action in New York to get a preferred creditor status, the company then took legal action in several countries (Canada, Belgium, Germany, and others) to prevent any part payment on Peru’s other debt until Elliott Associates was paid.   The Peru government didn’t want to default on the scheduled payment plan because it would have a severe impact on the country getting on solid ground financially, so they were forced to pay the vultures – Paul Singer and Elliott Associates – and in October 2000, these predators received that uncompromisingly pursued and unearned check for $58 million from a poor country.   Billionaire Paul Elliott Singer is also the largest campaign donor to the Bush administration and donates heavily to the Republican party.   Is this how those donation funds are obtained?   Singer is also the policy advisor and primary fundraiser for Rudolph Giuliani.   More on Singer farther down.

Throughout the documents on this gouging-for-profit scheme, there are numerous words that keep coming up to describe these vulture characteristics and they are:   dogged, relentless, greedy, ruthless, nightmare, anonymity, rogue, slick, loophole, immoral, undeterred, combative, secretive, pugnacious – and usury!   The latest case that was reported by BBC Newsnight investigative and documentary reporter Greg Palast involves Zambia and a company named Donegal International Ltd. that paid about $3 million for debt that it’s now demanding full payment at $42 million.   What’s eye-opening about this whole maze is that Donegal is primarily owned by Debt Advisory International LLC (DAI), whose owner is Michael Francis Sheehan.   DAI was using the lobbying firm Greenberg Traurig, which came under scrutiny after one of its lobbyists, Jack Abramoff, who was friends with former House Majority Leader Tom Delay, pled guilty and admitted to conspiracy, mail fraud, tax evasion, and (political) bribery; he is now serving five years in prison for the bribery charge.   Here is more on the Zambia story:
 
“Vulture” Company Seeks $40M Payment on $4M Debt From Zambia
Greg Palast – BBC

Following are four stories on Abramoff that take you into the life of a lobbyist and how cutthroat, self-serving, and deceptive that business really is.   These articles include details on Abramoff defrauding Native American tribes of tens of millions of dollars; ensuring that sweatshop and immigrant labor would not be subject to minimum wage laws; wooing politicians with expensive gifts and travel; conservative think tank connections; casinos and a gangland-style slaying; quietly working with one client who’s against what your other client is doing; secretly diverting funds for personal projects such as an Orthodox Jewish academy and an Israeli sniper school; sending emails that describe Native American tribal members as “trogdolytes,” “morons,” and “monkeys”; taking the Fifth when asked by Native American and former Senator of Colorado Ben Nighthorse Campbell how he could take advantage of another people who have gone through their own “400-year holocaust” that continues today; wanting to take out life insurance policies on Native Americans that were above 75 years of age; secret dealings with South Africa during its apartheid reign; forced abortions on workers; and there’s even a reference to designer Ralph Lauren.

Abramoff #1
Abramoff #2
Abramoff #3
Abramoff #4

In BN-W #69 we mentioned a Whiteness Study done by the University of Minnesota that was supposed to be “available upon request” but it was never available.   We requested a copy of it again earlier this month and finally got it.   We can only assume that the interest in it has died down, so they’ve decided it’s safe to disseminate.   There’s a warning on the cover page that states:   “Please do not cite or distribute without permission of authors.”   Also, it’s sent in PDF format, but there’s no Web link.   This is a very interesting study, which is why someone stopped it from getting out, so if you want it, try sending emails (separate is probably best) to:  cro10004@umn.edu; hartm021@umn.edu; gerte004@umn.edu; druth@umn.edu.

In preparation for our upcoming music monitor and a breather from the “vultures,” this is just a quick music break.   Over the last couple months, we saw Kem and Lizz Wright at Newark’s New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), which is a very nice place to see live shows, and they sang and performed very well.   Here are some links we found; Kem’s is only about a minute but it’s an impressive minute and Lizz Wright’s is in full.   Enjoy!

Kem – Find Your Way (Back In My Life)

Lizz Wright – I'm Confessin'

As we mentioned in BN-W #54 the conclusion of Part II:   Black-Jewish Relations will be included with our new bi-monthly Music Monitor.   As we also stated, we’ve got a lot of information, and, for that reason, until Part II comes out, we’ll be filtering stuff to you so it won’t be too overwhelming in the buildup to Part II’s conclusions.   Refer to BN-W #53/54 if you need a repeat of our feelings on the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).  

Paul Elliott Singer started Elliott Associates L.P. in 1977, which makes it one of the oldest hedge fund companies.   Singer is also a trustee of the conservative think tank Manhattan Institute, an organization that believes “money and marketing are essential for ideas to have consequences in the post-modern world.”   Following are two stories written about Singer and his company.   The New York Times takes a real softball approach in this article dated January 25th with no mention of the vulture aspect of his business as it relates to his personal and company profits.   He’s described as quiet, reserved, and a private man who would only answers questions through email because he “does all that he can to keep his picture from appearing in the media and does virtually no marketing for his fund.”   Based on the hedge “vulture” funds history, do you blame him?   What’s notable about this article is that Singer states he is “wary about United States involvement in ‘international organizations and alliances.’”   Oh really?   The Institutional Investor Magazine article is dated October 2001 but it gives a fairly detailed account of some of Singer’s (and his son Gordon) aggressive tactics to win and control various business ventures from which it’s difficult to see that “reserved” quality pushed by the NYT.   [NOTE:   After the first page or two, it focuses on the Singer dealings.]

Hedge Fund Chiefs, With Cash, Join Political Fray        
[AT NYT Synopsis]
Elliott Associates/Telecom Italia

More follow-up on the Jimmy Carter book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid:   Brandeis Donors Exact Revenge For Carter Visit.   What’s interesting from our perspective about this book is that Carter has stated in interviews that the Israeli Arabs are treated the same as Israeli-born Jews and the Jewish settlers (including those who just arrived last year from Brooklyn, New York, with families in tow) – that’s not true, Israeli Arabs are not treated the same.   They’re treated only a little better than the Palestinians.   Although we ran this article – Israeli Apartheid by Bruce Dixon – in BN-W #66 it’s worth a repeat.   And on February 12th, Law and Disorder Radio (WBAI – 99.5 FM) aired this piece by Jamil Dakwar – It’s Simple Apartheid.   For more on the diamonds, South Africa, and Israel link mentioned in Dakwar’s piece, go to the permanent links on the BN-W site for “Diamonds/Africa.”   [NOTE:   Bruce Dixon is now with the Black Agenda Report and he’s still writing these well-written and factual pieces that are not afraid to go beyond the safety zone of neutrality.]

If you missed any other BN-W monitors, just send an e-mail to bannword2@yahoo.com and request that it be sent to you.   As always, we highly encourage you to see these films for yourself and, if applicable, make your own judgment call on the N-word usage – appropriate/inappropriate? necessary/unnecessary? sensible/nonsensical? does it add to or take away from the film’s concept? does the N-word have to be used at all? is there a valid reason for doing so? is it mandatory for the scene(s) to be effective? what are the circumstances/situation that necessitate any use of the word? is it just thrown in for humor, fear, crime, insult? are other culturally insulting slang terms used as much as the N-word in the film?   Lots of questions and a whole lot of reasons to wonder what’s the real purpose and thought process behind why these entertainers, writers, directors, producers, executive producers, distributors, and studios/studio heads and executives give the “greenlight” for these crews to liberally use (or allow to be used) the N-word.

FEATURE FILM(S) :

N O R B I T

[Release Date:   2/9/07]

Starring Eddie Murphy, Thandie Newton, Cuba Gooding, Jr.; screenplay written by Eddie Murphy, Charles Murphy, Jay Scherick, David Ronn; directed by Brian Robbins; produced by John Davis, Eddie Murphy; executive produced by Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins, David Householter; studio – DreamWorks Pictures
 

NONE [0]

LOW TO EXCESSIVE [1+]

XXXXX

 

NOTE :   Not much on this film other than there being nothing redeeming about the Rasputia character.   She was written from someone’s mind as a character with no depth who’s fat, abusive, controlling (yet out of control), insensitive, bossy, unfaithful, and oversexed.   Women are bitches and hos and Black men are pimps, thugs, manipulators, wimps, pushovers, and users.

D A D D Y ‘ S   L I T T L E   G I R L S

[Release Date:   2/14/07]

Starring Gabrielle Union, Idris Elba, Louis Gossett Jr.; screenplay written by Tyler Perry; directed by Tyler Perry; produced by Reuben Cannon; executive produced by Michael Paseornek; studio – Lionsgate
 

NONE [0]

LOW TO EXCESSIVE [1+]

XXXXX

 

NOTE :   The chemistry between Gabrielle Union and Idris Elba was good, but it just left no real screen closure to their relationship.   The “God and two more White people” comment was just baffling.   Madea wasn’t in the film and the preachy religious angle was reduced substantially, which we thought was a plus.

 

BN-W Monitor Coming Soon:  “Black Snake Moan” [Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci, S. Epatha Merkerson]; “Wild Hogs” [Martin Lawrence, John Travolta]; “Pride” [Terrence Howard, Bernie Mac, Kimberly Elise]; “I Think I Love My Wife [Chris Rock, Kerry Washington, Gina Torres]; “Reign Over Me” [Don Cheadle, Adam Sandler, Jada Pinkett Smith]; “The Kingdom” [Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner]; “Are We Done Yet? [Ice Cube]; “Perfect Stranger” [ Halle Berry, Bruce Willis]

Also Coming:  Part II:  Black-Jewish Relations; Bi-Monthly Music Monitors

 

 

 

 

 

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