Friday, November 28, 2014

"Beyond the Lights Movie" - The Perfect Thanksgiving Weekend Movie

"Beyond the Lights" Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nate Parker

I fell into a nice little movie this Thanksgiving weekend.  

"Beyond the Lights," which was released on November 14th has enjoyed great reviews but seems to be getting very little press.

So, here's my take on it.  Sort of "The Bodyguard" meets "Love and Basketball" meets hip-hop.

Great storyline, good acting and thought-provoking life lessons.  The PG-13 rating made me kind of wonder what 13 year olds are doing these days, but then I realized it was my age showing itself again.

Please support this movie.

"Beyond the Lights" - Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw ("Belle"), Nate Parker ("Red Tails")

Also Starring:  Minnie Driver, Machine Gun Kelly and Danny Glover.  


"The pressures of fame have superstar singer Noni on the edge, until she meets Kaz, a young cop who works to help her find the courage to develop her own voice and break free to become the artist she was meant to be."

Sunday, November 23, 2014

DC's Legendary Former Mayor Marion Barry Passes Away

Marion Shepilov Barry, Jr. (March 6, 1936 – November 23, 2014)
Marion Barry was not a perfect man.  He did not profess to be.  He had his faults.  We all do.  But I'm not alone when I say that news of his death today saddened me.

Just last week, his name came up in conversation.  In fact, one of the people I was talking to, thought he had already died.  Whenever his name comes up, the first remark is usually, "Hey, wasn't he the guy who. . .?"

And while he never was able to live down his infamous hotel room "bust," he boomeranged and continued to do more good work for the citizens of the District of Columbia.  He was even re-elected Mayor.

Yes, there were a few "hiccups" in between, but no one can argue that Marion Barry was a man for the people.  Which is why he continued to win public office after a scandal that others, not as great, could not have overcome.

When I think of Marion Barry, I think of the large, imposing, outspoken, no-holds barred husband of the beautiful ex-wife, the late, Effi Barry.  This was in his "heyday."  

Before Barack and Michelle, there was Marion and Effi.  The DC power couple.

And while Barry obviously never reached the oval office, he left his imprint all over DC politics. And he helped a lot of Black folks along the way.

Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.

Rest, in Peace Mr. Barry.  Your good deeds shall speak for you.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Dear Black, People, Please See and Support "Dear White People" Movie


"The unexpected election of activist Samantha White (Tessa Thompson) as head of a traditionally black residence hall sets up a college campus culture war that challenges conventional notions of what it means to be black. While Sam leverages her notoriety as host of the provocative and polarizing radio show 'Dear White People' to try to prevent the college from diversifying Armstrong Parker House, outgoing head-of-house Troy Fairbanks (Brandon P. Bell), son of the university's dean (Dennis Haysbert), defies his father's lofty expectations by applying to join the staff of Pastiche, the college's influential humor magazine. Lionel Higgins (Tyler James Williams), an Afro-sporting sci-fi geek, is recruited by the otherwise all-white student newspaper to go undercover and write about black culture--a subject he knows little about--while the aggressively assimilated Coco Conners (Teyonah Parris) tries to use the controversy on campus to carve out a career in reality TV. But no one at Winchester University is prepared for Pastiche's outrageous, ill-conceived annual Halloween party, with its 'unleash your inner Negro' theme throwing oil on an already smoldering fire of resentment and misunderstanding. When the party descends into riotous mayhem, everyone must choose a side."

It's been a long time since we had a movie to talk about in the same vein as Spike Lee's early works.  But the indiegogo film, "Dear White People," from Justin Simien has brought it back full circle to Lee's "Do the Right Thing," and "She's Gotta Have It."

I'm not sure if Simien realizes just how much of what's new is old.  

I was reminded after seeing the movie last weekend, that the more things change the more they stay the same.  I invited my daughter to see it with me and she did.  And then I told her to be sure to get on social media (instagram, twitter, Facebook) and tell all her friends, who hadn't seen it, to make sure they do.  Movies like this don't come around often.

And while there is definitely a comedic side to the film, it tackles head-on a very serious subject - racism in the echelons of higher education  - in particular - Ivy League (and other) predominately White colleges.

I hope that it not only encourages dialogue (and keeps it going), but also opens up the eyes of young people to the importance of activism and involvement in our communities.

Don't miss it.