The monitor of the film(s) listed above is farther down in this eNewsletter. We saw the new Michael Moore film –Sicko – which was overall a very good film that everyone should see. There’s more below on this film as well. If you had an opportunity to visit our site recently you know that we’ve updated it to a more research-friendly site as well as added email forwarding and print capabilities for the eNewsletters and Essays section. We’re continuing to input information and links from our past film/music monitors as well as for the educators and activists into the BN-WResource Directory . We’re also regularly adding new material on our heritage, legacy, health, and more that is not in our eNewsletters. If there are any sites or links you want to share with our readers, just use the recommend a link feature within the directory.
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture has exhibitions that are online and two current exhibitions that started May 12, 2007 and will run through October 28, 2007. The current ones are Stereotypes vs. Humantypes: Images of Blacks in the 19th and 20th Centuries and Black Art: Treasures from the Schomburg. Past exhibits that are online are Malcolm X: A Search for Truth; In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience; African Burial Ground; Lest We Forget: The Triumph Over Slavery; Selected Clips from the Louis Armstrong Jazz Oral History Project; Harlem 1900-1940: An African-American Community; The Schomburg Legacy: Documenting the Global Black Experience for the 21st Century; and The African Presence in the Americas, 1492-1992.
The Detroit and Youth Council Philadelphia branches of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) are moving along with mock funeral processions and burial plans for the N-word. And while we have the youth leading themselves to do better, we have many adults, including entertainers such as Ice T and Mo’Nique, who through – truth be told – lack of basic historical knowledge about American history and complete ignorance on the great legacy of our ancient African heritage continue to perpetuate the myth that it’s okay to call themselves and accept being called the N-word. In this Ice T SOHH interview , he tries to rationalize using the N-word. In this Mo’Nique Essence magazine interview, she says the following: “ I love that word because that is who our ancestors are. When we get to heaven and we meet those group of people they won’t know to call us African-Americans, they won’t know to call us the Blacks, they going to know to call us N—–. And when they say, ‘Hey N—–,’ I’m going to respond, ‘Hey N—–. Look at all the great things the n—— did.’ Her name is Oprah Winfrey; his name is Jay-Z. C’mon let’s take pride in our accomplishments. If the White people say, ‘Hey n—–,’ say ‘Hey!’ We have to learn how to take the power back just like the word fat. When someone says, ‘Mo’Nique you’re fat,’ I simply reply ‘You’re right, now what?’” Fortunately, the interviewer challenged her by pointing out that it was “slave owners who addressed our ancestors with such derogatory names” and asked her if she thought Oprah would appreciate her addressing her as such, to which Mo’Nique pulled the old tactic of it’s in “nothing but love.” Weak!
If Ice T, Mo’Nique, Damon Wayans, Dave Chappelle, and the many other unenlightened Blacks (entertainers and otherwise) who try to justify the use of this word by attempting to invoke history and our ancestors then they should be able to answer these – Do You Know? and Black Consciousness IQ Test . If they can answer these, then we can take them a little more seriously because more than likely they’d know better than to call or even think of themselves in terms of a derogatory racial slur. Until then, they’re just regular folks who’ve got to keep an open mind to self-educate and learn as much as they can so we can all empower ourselves and our youth. At this point, they’re doing us all a disservice.
A lot’s been happening since our last official film monitor. We’re on the East coast and one of the biggest controversies for the past month or so has been the Sonny Abubadika Carson street renaming in Brooklyn, New York. This issue has caused a huge rift along racial lines within the NYC Council with a majority of Whites banning together to vote against it and a split with Blacks voting for it. This is historical because a community’s decision to name a street after whomever they consider to be their hero has never ever been challenged – until now; and thus many are saying this never-before-done move is considered a White power play to show who’s “boss” and who’s really in control. Even Leroy Comrie, the Black Councilmember who was heading the recent symbolic resolution to ban the N-word, along with a few other Black members decided to abstain for whatever reason – some say they played into the fear and sold out big time and proved how easy it can still be to divide and conquer Blacks, while the Whites stick together no matter what (wrong or right).
While the Council President Christine Quinn tried to claim Sonny Carson was anti-White and a divider, community members would say he was pro-Black empowerment and did a lot to improve the community. Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and many other Whites who owned slaves, endorsed enslavement, and/or were pedophiles (just to name a few vices) have streets, buildings, schools, and more named after them – were they anti-Black and should those names be changed? While Quinn did a never-before-done removal of a name, she fully endorsed the recent Midtown Manhattan streetname change of racist entertainer Al Jolson , a Jewish entertainer who made millions by ridiculing Black people, performing in blackface, and doing “Mammy” routines. Why the insistence on removing Carson and not Jolson? Did Mayor Michael Bloomberg have some influence on this decision process? Some say there’s been an ongoing silent battle between Bloomberg and Councilmember Charles Barron over this issue for some time. Quinn is also looking to run for Mayor and some say she does a lot of kowtowing to Bloomberg. Whatever the reason for this unprecedented move, it only continues to show the very basic level of racism and White supremacy that continues to permeate this society. And racial tension will continue and get worse as long as this country’s long history of enslavement is not properly acknowledged.
Along those same lines, we have the Duke lacrosse case again and how they bumrushed Michael Nifong out of office to set an example on how to treat allegations of rape by a Black female. Compare the Duke case to the Central Parkjogger case and the multitude of others where the falsely accused were Black men and no prosecutor’s been disbarred or even suspended for false charges or inappropriate behavior. At every opportunity within the media, the fact that the charges were dropped against the lacrosse players is mentioned, but has that been the case with theCentral Park jogger men? In fact, on the rare occasions when they’re mentioned, they still get doubted. Has Donald Trump apologized for the ad he took out demonizing the young teens back then? Money is being thrown at the lacrosse players’ feet, while the Central Park jogger men have to fight for every dime. Is that not racism and prejudice? Is that not White supremacy, White privilege, White entitlement, White preference? The interesting thing is, we still don’t know what happened in that house. Local news reporter Ann Tripp of the only Black-owned radio station in the New York City area WBLS had this June 18th editorial comment on Michael Nifong and the first batch of the undisclosed amount of money handed over to the lacrosse players by Duke University. Attorney Alton Maddox (the only attorney to win his client’s case during the Central Park jogger trial) also has several powerfulAmsterdam News editorials on this issue and others.
There’s also the Genarlow Wilson case in Georgia. Wilson, now 21, had consensual oral sex at 17 years old with a 15-year-old female. Even though a judge recently threw out the prison sentence of 10 years, the prosecutor appealed and Wilson’s now fighting to get bail. In the meantime, he’s sitting in jail based on a law that was put in place in a country that suddenly had a moral and legal “cleansing” after a very extensive history that involved centuries of White men raping, impregnating, and sexually abusing Black enslaved little girls and women.
While we generally avoid following the media’s lead on entertainment overkill, we’ve mentioned Paris Hilton’s racist mindset in the past with the N-word usage, her class categorization for people living in “Compton,” and her put-down of those attending a “public school,” so here’s a compilation that includes a photo of the naturally brown-haired and brown-eyed Hilton who’s sadly transformed herself into what she clearly deems as “beautiful” as well as text and video (previously removed by her attorneys) of her comments because we feel this privilege attitude fits in with America’s pathology of racism: Paris’ Makeover Smoking Gun Text/Video Faggot/N-Word/Bitch
In line with all of the above and America’s history of negative portrayals of Blacks in America, here is a link for the video to the infamous film The Birth of A Nation by D.W. Griffith. For more information on this film, go to the BN-W Historical Timeline.
INTERESTING WEB SITES/LINKS/ARTICLES OF THE DAY :
In BN-W #78 , we provided a video link to the Loose Change video. Since then we’ve come across another excellent video on the many questions about the events of 9/11 and it’s called 911 Mysteries: Demolition . Will Smith also has a song called Tell Me Why with Mary J. Blige about 9/11 that hasn’t gotten much, if any, radio play. Here is the link for the impressive Smith/Blige lyrics and video .
Michael Moore’s new documentary on the healthcare industry starts nationwide today and we highly recommend you see it. It starts out giving you a few laughs and chuckling, but it quickly turns to sadness and then outright disgust at the greed and profit motive of the paid government officials and health care industry. We’ve long been tuned out to the medical industry and how it not only markets prescription drugs to the public but how relentless and blatant these ads are in getting people to think they should pop a pill for any little thing that ails them (sore from working out, get a pill). But that’s the purpose of marketing and advertising and, unfortunately, it works on a lot of people, which is how both the government and the health industry have been able to keep people in line via debt and fear. Following are three links from AlterNet and Democracy Now! on this film:
The Nation Review: Best and Most Powerful Documentary
In a 5-4 decision that borders on officially bringing back segregation (which never really left), the United States Supreme Court “ told local school districts that they cannot take even modest steps to overcome residential segregation and ensure that schools within their diverse cities themselves remain racially mixed unless they can prove that such classifications are narrowly tailored to achieve specific educational benefits.” New justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito are doing what they were brought in for and Clarence Thomas remains steadfast in his mission to act as if “color” is not an issue in the U.S.A. Perhaps this will also inspire more Black teachers who know these schools are miseducating and misinforming our youth to get out of that lifestyle comfort zone, take a chance, and open their own schools. That’s what was done before desegregation in 1954 and our students did well in school. Yes, it’s true that there were unequal facilities and all that (e.g., White schools got pencils with erasers, Black schools got pencils without erasers), but our parents and grandparents still beat the odds. So today’s educators who’ve been taught how to work with and for others through this racist system should know how to legally and skillfully maneuver some of those obstacles in the 21st century. Educators and parents can no longer sit back and go with the flow – it’s not working. Here’s the full Alternet article (“The Supreme Court Just Took Us Back to the Days of Segregation”) by Adam Bonin, which also includes a link to the court’s 185-page opinion.
As usual, the media’s at it already and have decided to market the image of Isaiah Washington as an angry Black man who’s speaking his mind – and then plants the question in the unsuspecting reader’s mind “Is that a good thing for him to do?” Probably not according to America’s standards because the focus must always be on making money, keeping a job, and getting paid in America, right? In this Newsweek magazine article by Allison Samuels, Washington says the following: “‘ Well, it didn’t help me on the set that I was a Black man who wasn’t a mush-mouth Negro walking around with his head in his hands all the time. I didn’t speak like I’d just left the plantation and that can be a problem for people sometime,’ he says. ‘I had a person in human resources tell me after this thing played out that ‘some people’ were afraid of me around the studio. I asked her why, because I’m a 6-foot-1, Black man with dark skin and who doesn’t go around saying ‘Yessah, massa sir’ and ‘No sir, massa’ to everyone? It’s nuts when your presence alone can just scare people, and that made me a prime candidate to take the heat in a dysfunctional family.’’’ Good friends T.R. Knight (passive) and Katherine Heigl (aggressive) must be laughing all the way to the bank at how nicely this has all played out. At this point, however, Washington needs to just move on and create his own projects.
World Wide Renaissance wants “to raise public awareness at the local level about what is happening in the world today and how it affects our personal lives. The working and poor people, especially those who can’t do their own research, need to know what is really happening in our country and around the globe. The truth is not on TV; the truth must be brought to the people.”
Frederick Douglass’ July 4, 1852 speech on the fourth of July and what it means to a slave: “ What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour. [ G]o where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival…” Here’s the full speech.
Manumission Day – also known as New York’s own “Juneteenth” – is celebrated on July 5th. Although African Americans were enslaved (and had been since about 1619) during the founding of America’s so-called “independence” in 1776, slavery didn’t actually end in the United States until 1865 (after 246 years of legal American enslavement). Brief facts about New York’s Manumission Day: “slavery was officially abolished in New York State on July 4, 1827. Because enslaved African-Americans in New York City were warned not to celebrate their manumission on the American Independence Day, Blacks waited until the following day [July 5] to celebrate.”
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 toBN-W #53/54 if you need a repeat of our feelings on the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
Rupert Murdoch made an unsolicited $5 billion bid by News Corp. to purchase Dow Jones & Company, publisher ofThe Wall Street Journal. If you’re aware of the New York Post, Fox News, and other News Corp. holdings you’d know there’s a need to be concerned about not only the editorial content and quality but also the domination and consolidation of how news is distributed. In a July 2nd article (“Promises, Promises”) by Ken Auletta in The New Yorker magazine, he writes the following: “ What Murdoch didn’t volunteer is other reasons he has for wanting to own the Journal. Whatever his commercial successes, he has never produced a great newspaper, and he seems to value even a trophy property like the Times of London less for its prestige than for its influence—its power to help sway elections, to promote his political ideas, and to protect his corporate interests. ‘I wonder how many even of his admirers would argue that Mr. Murdoch, for all his successes, has created even one serious, authoritative and truly independent newspaper,’ the columnist Martin Wolf wrote recently in the Financial Times, alluding to Murdoch’s ownership of four national newspapers. ‘Mr. Murdoch can take substantial credit for the tide of vulgarity that now floods the U.K.’” The deal is not final yet and while there may be some slight division amongst family members about the big risk in editorial compromise and change in selling it to Murdoch, the usual key – MONEY – is having its effect on swaying many of the controlling board members.
If you missed any other BN-W monitors, just send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org 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) :
1 4 0 8
[Release Date: 6/22/07]
Starring Samuel L. Jackson, John Cusack; screenplay written by Matt Greenberg, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski; directed by Mikael Hafstrom; produced by Lorenzo diBonaventura; executive produced by Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Richard Saperstein, Jake Myers; studio – Dimension Films
|NONE ||LOW TO EXCESSIVE [1+]|
NOTE : Fairly entertaining film with Sam Jackson acting smooth and looking rather handsome in this film although his scenes are very minimal. He also loses that walk he has in every film, which is a plus. John Cusack also plays an atypical abrasive role convincingly as compared to the usually mild mannered roles he plays. There are a few holes in the movie, including the continued mythical association of relating “13” with negativity (1408=13).
E V A N A L M I G H T Y
[Release Date: 6/22/07]
Starring Morgan Freeman, Steve Carell, Wanda Sykes; screenplay written by Steve Oedekerk; directed by Tom Shadyac; produced by Tom Shadyac, Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Neal H. Moritz, Michael Bostick; executive produced by Ilona Herzberg, Dave Phillips, Matt Luber; studio – Universal Pictures
|NONE ||LOW TO EXCESSIVE [1+]|
NOTE : In a nutshell, nothing special about this film: another film showing male insecurity with one too many penis references, even a dog sniffing a man’s crotch area more than once; America’s #1 preoccupation with getting fired, losing a job, keeping a job, keeping up with an image; America’s hypocritically superficial #2 preoccupation with religion and morals, yet instantly classifying and dismissing someone as laughably crazy or insane if he or she claims to have a direct connect with God or the Creator; an implied reference to Abraham Lincoln as someone who was a great man; Wanda Sykes in her standard typecast mode with the usual and predictable one liners and soundbytes, such as “what the hel…” (she’s up there with Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek in terms of actresses who get stereotyped into roles with no diversity in dialects); and Morgan Freeman is, once again, typecast – while he’s supposed to be “God,” he’s really just in his typical advisory role.
BN-W Monitor Coming Soon : “Home of the Brave” [Samuel L. Jackson, Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson, Victoria Rowell]; The Kingdom” [Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner]; “Rush Hour 3” [Chris Tucker, Jackie Chan]; “Talk to Me” [Don Cheadle, Chiwetel Ejiofor]; “Hairspray” [Queen Latifah, John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer]; “The Invasion” [Jeffrey Wright, Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig]; “Resurrecting the Champ” [Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Hartnett]; “The Comebacks” [Carl Weathers]
Also Coming : Part II: Black-Jewish Relations; Bi-Monthly Music Monitors