MADE OF HONOR
The monitor of the film(s) listed above is farther down in this eNewsletter. It’s May and finally there’s a film that’s pure entertainment and worth filmgoers’ time and money. And that’s “ Iron Man.” Some in the BN-W camp have even seen this film twice, which only recently happened with two films high on the BN-W must-see, must-buy DVD list – The Great Debaters and Why Did I Get Married? As always, Robert Downey Jr. is an excellent actor and you can always count on him to bring a unique perspective to any role he plays. He brings a real life faults-and-all quality (“a man who has everything and nothing”) to a superhero that makes the fictional comic book storyline not so unrealistically super. Like many people, we’re no superhero or comic book buffs, and this film makes it possible for practically everybody to relate in one way or another. Is it perfect? Of course not! It starts out a little shaky – womanizing, boozing, Arab stereotypes, and more – but fortunately the script’s scope widens rather quickly and delves into topics that aren’t often covered in escapist big budget production films. There’s also the typical good superhero vs. bad superhero mechanical fight scene that could have been ideally deleted – but at the very least modified.
One highlight of the film is that you see a character who’s very hands-on and trial-and-error with his passion to create and perfect something. We all know people who master their craft by constantly working to make it right and learning from mistakes. They stay up late, they fail and try again – but they keep at it until it’s right. And it’s not a burden to them, it’s simply because of their natural intellect, desire, passion, interest, curiosity, and ability. This film gives the Downey character that drive, which allows the audience to go along with Downey as he finds his way through faltering and stumbling (and crashing) on the journey to the desired outcome – and we can all relate to that personally or vicariously. Unlike most films of this genre, the process of becoming a superhero – or in this case, an iron man – is shared with the audience.
The film also touches on the relationship of greed, government, war, and the weapons industry (“zero accountability”) and the difficulty of trying to stand up and fight against a mindset of warmongering and the massive profits produced by it. It also stirs up the same old 9/11 questions we’ve written about previously and makes you wonder with all the advanced technology the American military has (identifying a “bogey” or doing a “training exercise”), how could multiple “terrorist” commercial planes so easily crash into prominent, high profile buildings on U.S. soil without being intercepted. And if that’s not questionable enough, how could the steel-framed World Trade Center Towers ( WTC #1 and #2 ) fall like a deck of cards into their own perfect bases and then hours later another building – WTC #7 – that wasn’t even hit by a plane fall in the exact same manner after its owner Larry Silverstein says to “pull it.” No steel-framed structure has ever totally collapsed due to fire with or without diesel fuel – even after burning for many hours. Never. How long will it take for the truth to come out? Five, ten, twenty, thirty, fifty years? Will Americans be ready for the truth? How long will the manipulation of the media-created “conspiracy theory” theme continue to rule and keep people afraid to even ask questions?
INTERESTING WEB SITES/LINKS/ARTICLES OF THE DAY :
The Kemetamorphosis Conference (Return to the Black Land in Mind and Spirit) is taking place at the IKG CulturalResource Center in Washington, DC, from September 26-28. Anthony Browder (who runs IKG), Marimba Ani, Patricia Newton, and Nuraddan Mannan are scheduled to present. Some highlights include a 3-hour workshop on African philosophy and spiritual traditions by Dr. Ani (author of Yurugu), a cruise down the Potomac River with Dr. Newton discussing the psychological and sociological impact of the Maafa and how to heal and empower ourselves, Saturday evening’s “Party with a Purpose,” and much more. We plan to be there and hopefully you will too. Get details here or call 301-853-2465.
Principal Baruti Kafele has added this new video clip to his site: Motivating African and Latino Boys to Excel in the Classroom and Beyond . Principal Kafele currently heads the flourishing Newark Tech High School in Newark, New Jersey, and offers motivational lectures/speeches to parents, educators, and students on weekends and evenings at no cost simply because it needs to be done. We’ve seen him on numerous occasions and highly recommend reaching out to Principal Kafele if you’re a parent or educator that’s looking to improve the conditions in your classroom and school. Principal Kafele also offers a superb list of must-read books for educators of children of African descent, which is also posted on the BN-W site.
In BN-W #86, we provided the predictable law enforcement sponsored Rand analytical report on the racial discrepancies in the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) Stop & Frisk procedures, in which 508,540 individuals were stopped, most were Black and Hispanic men with more than 250,000 of them being Black. There’s now a new report by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) on marijuana arrests by the NYPD that has been released. This report is the “first ever in-depth study of misdemeanor marijuana arrests in New York City during the [Rudy] Giuliani and [Michael] Bloomberg administrations.” The NYCLU Report (The Marijuana Arrest Crusade in New York City: Racial Bias in Police Policy 1997-2007) showed the continued racial bias in arrests where even though government surveys consistently show Whites use marijuana (as well as other drugs) more than Blacks and Hispanics, they remain the least likely to get arrested. The report shows that over a 10-year period, “police arrested and jailed about 205,000 Blacks, 122,000 Latinos and 59,000 Whites for possessing small amounts of marijuana.” Marijuana possession is normally considered a violation (i.e., speeding, stop light), but if an officer gets an individual to show marijuana in the open through manipulative police tactics (entrapment/coercion/intimidation), then that possession can be classified as a misdemeanor, which then makes the arrest possible. Many of these arrests are not only racially biased and bring a criminal record to the individuals, but they also bring new fingerprints and photos to the NYPD’s database as well as overtime pay to officers and present a false picture of departmental productivity for the supervisors. Read the full report here.
Now, onto presidential Politics 2008…
Recently there was a lot of talk and jokes about Barack Obama’s bowling abilities. While there are plenty of Blacks who bowl well and win many trophies, we bet most of the jokesters had no knowledge of the Orangeburg Massacre, which occurred at South Carolina State University in 1968. Three students were killed and at least 30 others were wounded when police officers opened fire on unarmed students protesting the segregation of Orangeburg’s only bowling alley. Just 40 years ago! In an eerie reminder of the Sean Bell 50-shot and Amadou Diallo 41-shot cases, the nine officers who opened fire were all acquitted. Read transcript, view video or hear audio at this link: Orangeburg Massacre.
Hillary Clinton is obviously very reminiscent of those times, hence her racially motivated comments that only she can bring “White Americans” out in November: “’I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on,’ she said in an interview with USA Today. As evidence, Clinton cited an Associated Press article ‘that found how Sen. Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, White Americans, is weakening again, and how Whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me.’” She reminds the world that only blue-collar White Americans are hard working – forget about the other “races” who have blue-collar jobs and definitely rule out all the other people who run the gamut from the poor to unemployed to students to working poor to middle class to upper middle class to rich to ultra-rich and everyone else in between. Read the article and/or listen to the audio byClinton. CNN commentator Roland Martin writes: “… the reality is that hard-working White Americans alone will not put Clinton or Obama in the White House. Neither will African-Americans alone or young voters, senior citizens, the college-educated, the ‘no-working’ Americans, gays and lesbians, nonreligious voters, veterans, Hispanics, women, etc. In fact, Democrats alone won’t do it. You also must take a good portion of independents.” Read Martin’s entirearticle. Saturday Night Live aired a very funny skit that premiered on 5/10/08 in which actress Amy Poehler as Hillary states “my supporters are racist” and “I will be happy to play the gender card,” which Hillary’s already done on numerous occasions. Imagine the media frenzy if Obama asked for votes because he’s of African descent or said Blacks will only vote him. View the SNL Hillary skit.
Back in 1991 when Bill Clinton was first running for president against George H.W. Bush, he described blue-collar Whites’ situation this way: “ When their [Bush administration] economic policies fail, when the country’s coming apart rather than coming together, what do they do? They find the most economically insecure White men and scare the living daylights out of them. They know if they can keep us looking at each other across a racial divide, if I can look at Bobby Rush and think, Bobby wants my job, my promotion, then neither of us can look at George Bush and say, ‘What happened to everybody’s job? What happened to everybody’s income?’” Here’s the complete Bill article. Bill and Hillary also had a “screw ‘em” moment about working class Whites in 1995. So, yes, the Clintons are playing the race game, which is what they’ve always done. Their actions continue to prove that they’re prime examples of the White skin privilege and entitlement mindset.
As of this writing, a big win is predicted for Hillary in West Virginia. Based on the Clinton tactics just mentioned above and the fact that West Virginia is the state where six White men and women raped, tortured, and kidnappedMegan Williams, a young Black woman, it’s easy to see why she’s expected to win big. Let the Clintons have their waiting to exhale moment with this “win.” They’ve certainly earned this entitlement.
In comparison, here’s the audio for Obama’s “bitter” remark which the media ran with – along with the constant coverage and repeat footage of Jeremiah Wright – and the Clintons and John McCain jumped on in hopes it would erode Obama’s chances in the April 22nd and May 6th primaries. What’s funny about this speech is hearing the residue of the person doing the undercover recording, especially at the end when this individual is finally safely out and clicks off the recorder. With the subtle help of the media, the Clintons and McCain also pulled the old White supremacist elitism rule when it came to a Black man with goals – it’s what’s known as an uppity Negro aka “uppity nigger.” Meanwhile, Obama ranks with the lower income Senators while Clinton and McCain (with their spouses) are ranked amongst the higher income Senators. Under the year 1877 in the BN-W Historical Timeline: “ The positive progress and quick advances that had been made by the Blacks in such a short period of time since the 1865 end of enslavement were despised by the White Southerners and they were determined to bring the Blacks back under their control – by any means necessary.”
“What had alarmed the White South during Reconstruction was not evidence of Black failure but evidence of Black success, evidence of Black assertion, independence, and advancement, evidence of Black men learning the uses of political power. The closer the Black man got to the ballot box, one observer noted, the more he looked like a rapist. That suggests the magnitude of the problem. Even as Whites scorned Black incompetence, they feared evidence of Black competence and independence. Even as Whites derided Blacks for their ignorance, they resented educated, literate, ambitious, and successful Blacks. The Negro as a buffoon, a menial, a servant, was acceptable; that kind of Negro threatened no one. The violence inflicted on Black people was often selective, aimed at educated and successful Blacks, those in positions of leadership, those determined to improve themselves, those who owned farms and stores, those suspected of having saved their earnings, those who had just made a crop – that is, Black men and women perceived by Whites as having stepped out of their place, ‘trying to be White.’”
A blatant example today of an acceptable type of Negro is Flavor Flav. Give him all the prime time airings – a cable show depicting women negatively that ran for several years and now another show on a regular network channel during prime time (8:00pm). No problem. He’s no threat to the establishment of institutionalized racism. In fact, he’ll help keep it thriving. For the record, frequent lynchings happened in America for at least 70 consistent years and many of the successful Blacks who were seen as “elite/uppity” were lynched on a regular basis.
In a quick follow-up to the 4/29/08 BN-W Special Announcement on Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Bill Moyers gave an interesting perspective on Wright, the National Press Club event, and the ever-present double standard when it comes to politicians and White reverends (John Hagee, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham). View the video and transcript: Beware the Terrible Simplifiers. Moyers also recently appeared on Democracy Now! When discussing the presidential race, he describes the difficulty of a Clinton win this way: “ …barring lightning striking him [Obama]. You know, that’s what she keeps hoping for every day, is that lightning will strike him, and she’ll have a—some October surprise in May will happen. That’s not going to happen. She can only win in a way that would leave the Democratic Party in shambles.” For more chuckles, view, read and/or listen to the entire interview: DN – Moyers.
For a very long time, the New York Times has been a major player in escalating race issues as well as aiding, abetting, supporting, and promoting institutionalized racism – and masterful at media manipulation – which is why we know to be skeptical about its contents and to always take note of the tone within the writings. Frank Rich, however, wrote an excellent article that’s atypical for much of the mainstream media because he acknowledges that there’s a one-sided litmus test given to only one candidate – and that’s the Black candidate. Read the full article: The All-White Elephant in the Room. FOX News is also extremely adroit and manipulative at propaganda and in its pseudo-journalism techniques, which is really just paying people to spout their personal opinions as if it’s based on sound facts and reason. Most of its so-called anchors usually follow the memo without fail – especially Sean Hannity. In fact, the Obama bashing on his show is groundbreaking. View this Outfoxed video and see how Rupert Murdoch keeps his employees in line.
Writer Alice Walker, who’s an Obama supporter, recently wrote an interesting article entitled White People Have a Racial History Too, in which she writes about history, politics, and the candidates. On her memories of segregated libraries: “ To this day knowing my presence was not wanted in the public library when I was a child, I am highly uncomfortable in libraries and will rarely, unless I am there to help build, repair, refurbish or raise money to keep them open, enter their doors.” That’s quite astounding since it’s coming from a person who loves reading and writing. She writes about some of her differences with Obama, which we are in agreement with in the BN-W camp regarding him on this issue: “I want the Israeli government to be made accountable for its behavior towards the Palestinians, and I want the people of the United States to cease acting like they don’t understand what is going on. All colonization, all occupation, all repression basically looks the same, whoever is doing it. Here our heads cannot remain stuck in the sand; our future depends on our ability to study, to learn, to understand what is in the records and what is before our eyes.” Continue reading here.
As previously mentioned, the media is going all out to gather any information on Obama and anyone associated with him. FOX News has been digging into Michelle Obama’s background and recently started pushing the propaganda of portraying her as sending negative energy to constituents while she’s out on the campaign trail for her husband. In preparation for the possible nomination of Obama, following are some documents that are bound to get more scrutinized as time goes on. It’s recommended that you print these documents out and keep a hard copy for your files because if he’s the nominee, they’re bound to be a topic of interest down the line.
Michelle Obama wrote her Princeton University senior thesis on race, society, and education in 1985 (under her maiden name of Michelle LaVaughn Robinson). Here are links to the thesis – Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community – in four parts:
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).
Somebody please tell Barbara Walters that she doesn’t have to “protect” Black people as she claims she was trying to do with Star Jones. Jones and the rest of us Black folks will be just fine without her protection. That’s been one of the biggest obstacles in the relationship between Blacks and Jews. Somebody also tell her that promoting her book by telling the world she got laid by a married Black senator doesn’t give her street cred. And then claiming to justify that promotion in an effort to show how interracial relationships have “changed” so much since then is bogus. Black women have been dodging and avoiding White men’s sexual advances which often resulted in rapes for centuries. Black men have also been dodging White women’s sexual aggression for centuries – because very often their lives depended on it. The fact that miscegenation only became legal a little more than 40 years ago doesn’t negate or discount all the legally documented children born to enslaved African women from centuries of rapes. Barbara Walters, an octogenarian who can’t let go of the spotlight.
Israel is celebrating its 60th anniversary this month on what some called occupied and stolen land that’s very often compared to South Africa’s apartheid. Many Palestinians describe this annual event as the the Nakba, an Arabic word for “catastrophe,” which in this case is referencing the birth of Israel in 1948 that Palestinians feel came about due to ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. Following are two perspectives on this “anniversary”: Israeli Apartheid: An Interview With Ali Abunimah and After 60 Years, Arabs in Israel Are Outsiders. Jimmy Carter also weighs in on this topic in this article: A Human Rights Crime.
In one of her many grandstanding moments, Hillary Clinton recently spoke about “obliterating” Iran if they were to do a nuclear attack on Israel. First and foremost, Israel gets billions of hard-working American taxpayers dollars annually, it has plenty of weaponry (including nuclear), and it can defend itself quite effectively. And in an act described as “hypocrisy,” it’s been reported that “ ” Israel imports Iranian oil on a large scale even though contacts with Iran and purchasing of its products are officially boycotted by Israel. Israel gets around the boycott by having the oil delivered via Europe….According to EnergiaNews the Iranian oil is liked in Israel because its quality is better than other crude oils….[E]ditor Moshe Shalev states that the Iranian oil reaches various European ports, mainly in Rotterdam. It is [then]bought by Israelis and the necessary European bill of lading and insurance papers are supplied. Then it is transported to Haifa in Israel. The importer is the Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Co (EAPC), which keeps its oil sources secret.” Continue reading here.
If you missed any other BN-W monitors, just send an e-mail to email@example.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) :
S T R E E T K I N G S
[Release Date: 4/11/08]
Starring Forest Whitaker, Keanu Reeves, Hugh Laurie, Cedric the Entertainer, Terry Crews, Common, The Game; screenplay written by James Ellroy, Kurt Wimmer, Jamie Moss; directed by David Ayer; produced by Alexander Milchan, Erwin Stoff, Lucas Foster; executive produced by Arnon Milchan, Michele Weisler; studio – Fox Searchlight
|NONE||LOW TO EXCESSIVE [1+]|
NOTE : The N-word was used at least 10 times in this film – once by an Asian, numerous times by “conscious” rapper Common, and it was even used to refer to a White – these variations on the use of the word is supposed to represent its diversity. Clearly, it doesn’t work. So, writers, directors, producers, actors, it’s time to give it up; you don’t promote any other racial slang – so why the N-word. This film was also a cheap knockoff of Training Day that was ineffective. Being Black, we know there’s a whole lot of bad policing out there then and now, but this film was just ridiculous. Overall Black men were also portrayed horribly – street criminals, law enforcement criminals, The Game’s character using beer as the milk for his cereal and having a “40” tattoo on his forehead, and more ridiculous stereotypes. Forest, Cedric, Terry, Common, The Game – you’re no threat to the establishment of institutionalized racism. Ya’ll are rolling with Flavor Flav.
P R O M N I G H T
[Release Date: 4/11/08]
Starring Idris Elba, Brittany Snow, Dana Davis, Collins Pennie; screenplay written by J.S. Cardone; directed by Nelson McCormick; produced by Neal H. Moritz, Toby Jaffe; executive produced by Glenn S. Gainor, Marc Forby, J.S. Cardone, Bruce Mellon, William Tyrer, Chris J. Ball; studio – Screen Gems
|NONE||LOW TO EXCESSIVE [1+]|
NOTE : All that can be said about this film is – why was it made? Black girl conforming yet again to White standards of beauty; the promotion of prescription drugs (Klonapin, Midol); very adult looking actors playing teenage roles; and a script that makes no sense with cops doing nonsensical things to catch a criminally insane killer. Idris Elba is a good actor, but he had nothing to work with in this film. One plus is that at least the psycho killer actually had a face and wasn’t a knife-wielding masked figure.
I R O N M A N
[Release Date: 5/2/08]
Starring Terrence Howard, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow; screenplay written by Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway; directed by Jon Favreau; produced by Avi Arad, Kevin Feige; executive produced by Louis D’Esposito, Peter Billingsley, Jon Favreau, Avi Arad; studio – Paramount Pictures/Marvel Entertainment
|NONE||LOW TO EXCESSIVE [1+]|
NOTE : As indicated above, this was a very entertaining and enjoyable film. Robert Downey Jr. and Jeff Bridges were standouts in their roles. Terrence Howard was also good but he’s becoming that best friend sidekick, so now’s the time he should start selecting independent films that’ll give him more opportunity to standout before he’s officially stereotyped. Since this film has been box office gold (nearly $300 million worldwide in three weeks),Downey will now go to the upper echelon of the “A-list” categorization. He’ll get the Johnny Depp transformation – a respected thespian who then gets that blockbuster sequel.
M A D E OF H O N O R
[Release Date: 5/2/08]
Starring Kadeem Hardison, Patrick Dempsey, Michelle Monaghan; screenplay written by Adam Sztykiel, Deborah Kaplan, Harry Elfont; directed by Paul Weiland; produced by Neal H. Moritz; executive produced by Callum Greene, Tania Landau, Amanda Lewis, Marty Adelstein, Aaron Kaplan, Sean Perrone, Ryan Kavanaugh; studio – Columbia Pictures
|NONE||LOW TO EXCESSIVE [1+]|
NOTE : A very weak film with a weak script – and another case of actors being too old for the roles they’re playing. These characters are supposed to be 10 years out of undergraduate school, yet they really are – and it shows – closer to being 20 years out. Doubly insulting to Blacks – and certainly many others – is the use of the N-word through a rap song (“Gold Digger” by Kanye West) with not only the party-over-here dancing but a Black disc jockey with locs bopping his head and doing the spinning on the turntable. Under the guise of being family friendly, this film prominently endorses White supremacy within the first fifteen minutes in a subtle manner by cleverly using Blacks to do it – rapper Kanye West singing his own “Gold Digger” song where he’s saying the N-word multiple times and then having a Black actor being the one spinning the song as the disc jockey to the mostly White wedding party attendees. West gave them the ammunition and all they had to do was aim, shoot, and fire. And that, they did. When will our Black artists learn to stop giving the ammunition that will ultimately be used against you? As for “McDreamy,” only in America could this guy be promoted as every woman’s dream man. Get real!
R E D B E L T
[Release Date: 5/2/08]
Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alice Braga, Emily Mortimer, Tim Allen, Joe Mantegna; screenplay written by David Mamet; directed by David Mamet; produced by Chrisann Verges; executive produced by [Not Listed]; studio – Sony Pictures Classics
|NONE||LOW TO EXCESSIVE [1+]|
NOTE : This is another “why was it made?” film. Ejiofor is excellent as usual, but the purpose of this film remains a mystery. The one concept that’s noteworthy is once again the subtle message being sent about black and white. In this film, the selection of a white marble represented getting a pass (no restraints) whereas the selection of a black marble represented getting a handicap (in some way the fighter is physically restrained). Even in play, this black-white imbalance is always at play.
BN-W Monitor Coming Soon : “Sex and the City” [Jennifer Hudson, Sarah Jessica Parker]; “Wanted” [Morgan Freeman, Angelina Jolie]; “Hancock” [Will Smith]; and more…
Also Coming : Part II: Black-Jewish Relations; Music Monitors