Entertainment

‘Free State of Jones’ | Review | Habari Gani, America!

Free State of Jones is one of the most overlooked films featured this summer. Matthew McConaughey as Newton Knight, an AWOL Confederate soldier and Mahershala Ali as Moses, an escaped enslaved African lead the tensions in this Civil War period piece. I viewed this film once for the overall story line and a second time for the details. Sorry, no spoilers here.

Historians and film producers often lean towards either the burdens of old slave narratives or the glorious Civil Rights Era when depicting the African quest for true freedom in America. Besides John Singleton and Gregory Poirier‘s Rosewoodfew mainstream films have touched in detail on the post-Civil War/Reconstruction Black Lives timeline as Director/Writer Gary Ross and Writer Leonard Hartman in the Free State of Jones.

The film juxtapositions the strong presence of self-determined ‘free’ Black lives amidst slavery and segregation against the sub-civil war between wealthy Confederates and poor families, black and white.

The films weakest transitions are forward flashes to a future trial determining the racial identity of Davis Knight, Newton Knight’s second son. The outcome would determine the legality of Davis’s marriage to a White woman according to post-war segregation laws.

Other considerations are the relationship shifts as Blacks are legally free in 1865. Jones County, Mississippi grapples with Military Reconstruction in response to the South’s attempt to re-enslave Blacks through indentured servitude, Blacks gaining voting rights through the 15th Amendment and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan.

The Free State of Jones is a worthy film for any historian or film buff to have in their quiver. Below is an excerpt from author Richard Grant’s Smithsonian Institute article regarding the film’s historical value and present day Jones County’s varying sentiments toward Newton Knight and the film.

“ [Professor Wyatt Moulds] described Jones County as the most conservative place in Mississippi, but he noted that race relations were improving and that you could see it clearly in the changing attitudes toward Newt Knight. ‘It’s generational,’ he said. ‘A lot of older people see Newt as a traitor and a reprobate, and they don’t understand why anyone would want to make a movie about him. If you point out that Newt distributed food to starving people, and was known as the Robin Hood of the Piney Woods, they’ll tell you he married a black, like that trumps everything. And they won’t use the word ‘black.’”
[Moulds’s] current crop of students, on the other hand, are “fired up” about Newt and the movie. ‘Blacks and whites date each other in high school now, and they don’t think it’s a big deal,’ said Moulds. ‘That’s a huge change. Some of the young guys are really identifying with Newt now, as a symbol of Jones County pride. It doesn’t hurt that he was such a badass.’ “

“In the Lost Cause mythology, the South was united, and secession had nothing to do with slavery,” said Moulds. “What happened in Jones County puts the lie to that, so the Lost Causers have to paint Newt as a common outlaw, and above all else, deny all traces of Unionism. With the movie coming out, they’re at it harder than ever.”

Source: The True Story of the ‘Free State of Jones’ | History | Smithsonian

16 Impactful Movies & Documentaries Every Black American Should See on July 4th Weekend | blackcinemadb

[BlackCinemadb.com] compiled a list of movies from the BlackCinemadb.com database and found some powerful movies and films that make us rethink the notion of freedom from a social, political and psychological perspective (some of which are currently streaming on Netflix). 

Take a look: 16 Impactful Movies & Documentaries Every Black American Should See on July 4th Weekend | blackcinemadb

How Jesse Williams Stole BET Awards With Speech on Racism | The New York Times

The most talked about experience Post-BET Awards 2016 is Jesse Williams acceptance speech for the Humanitarian Award. Black America will never forget this one.

The BET Awards Sunday featured tributes to Prince and Muhammad Ali, and a performance by Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar. But this year, the actor Jesse Williams commanded the spotlight with an impassioned speech calling for an end to police killings, racial inequality and cultural appropriation.

Please click here to view Jesse Williams’s speech in its entirety: JW BET Awards 2016

Source: How Jesse Williams Stole BET Awards With Speech on Racism – The New York Times

Jesse Williams Wants You To ‘Stay Woke’ In New Film On Black Lives Matter | HuffPost, Black Voices

STAY WOKE: The Black Lives Matter Movement, a Jesse Williams production.

“Black Lives Matter is in many ways, in its adolescence,” Williams told The Huffington Post about his involvement in the film and his thoughts on various aspects about the movement. He discussed with HuffPost the birth of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, how it subsequently swept the Internet by storm and how the hashtag helped to bring about real change. He also highlighted the daunting feat the movement’s participants have in figuring out how to create lasting change. 

Catch the rest of the article here: STAY WOKE

Source: Jesse Williams Wants You To ‘Stay Woke’ In New Film On Black Lives Matter

#MLKNOW Brings Out Chris Rock, Harry Belafonte, & More To Honor MLK | News One

2016 MLK Now

Blackout for Human Rights, Riverside Church

Click on the Link Below for the performances in the entirety.

Blackout for Human Rights and The Campaign for Black Male Achievement

On the week that would have marked the late leader’s 87th birthday, social justice groups Blackout for Human Rights and The Campaign for Black Male Achievement celebrated Dr. King’s legacy and more with MLK Now at the legendary Riverside Church in Harlem, New York. Monday night’s event highlighted historic speeches by civil rights heroes like MLK, Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, Sojourner Truth, and Shirley Chisholm, recited by Lin Miranda-Manuel, Andre Holland, Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, and civil rights icon Harry Belafonte.

Source: #MLKNOW Brings Out Chris Rock, Harry Belafonte, & More To Honor MLK | News One

Trevor Noah, The Daily Show, Salon Reviewer Gets It Right | Habari Gani, America!

Salon published a spot on critique of The Daily Show’s new host, Trevor Noah, written by Matt Carotenuto. The article, “Trevor Noah schools racists: “The Daily Show” has an essential new mission and comic voice” should not be taken lightly by any reader. Carotenuto explains the relevance of one who is African and in a power-filled American position. Noah has the ability to have a far-reaching impact on our culture with his comedic voice.

Noah, a South African native, now holds one of the most powerful seats – American main media. He cued his audience in the video advertisement previous to his first show. Social media posted various comments to this video, but the actual symbolism seemed to be lost on the average viewer.

Trevor Noah’s first week as host of the Daily Show showed the promise of someone who will educate America, not only about Africa – but about who we are as Americans beyond the punchlines. I pictured some avid Daily Show viewer in their living room shouting, “Who does he think he is?” This was most evident in Noah’s interview with Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie.

In Daily Show style, Noah began to interview Christie about the politics of his state. Christie tried the “Be careful, I can get to you Black Boy,” inference only to be met with the “Annndd???” gaze. So Noah is the man to maintain his static professionalism and self-awareness in the face of what we in America denote as White Privilege and political might, characteristics he might pass on to the American viewer.

As a Daily Show correspondent, Noah’s brief segments on Africa were palatable only because those who were not culturally educated could yawn their way through it. As the host, Noah sits center stage formulating material for a culture starved and resistant American audience as well as the culturally aware. This tight high profile comedic balance was first achieved by Bert Williams in the early 1900’s, where Williams’ crafty monologues and scenes with his partner George Walker spoke to white and black audiences simultaneous and apart. It was said that at some shows, it was noticeable that whites would roar with laughter in some instances, while Blacks at others; each drawing their own coded messages from the verse. Noah would be smart to study this design.

In reading this article, I found a kindred spirit in Matt Carotenuto. We will both sit on the edge of our seats each night pulling threads, shaking our fist, and hopefully formulating more articles – Noah worthy.


Excerpt:

As a teacher/scholar of African studies, I was delighted when South African Trevor Noah was announced as the replacement for Jon Stewart. Drawing from his complex mixed-race heritage and experience growing up in apartheid era South Africa, Noah is a great candidate to critique America’s single stereotypical story of Africa as a place of merely violence, disease and poverty.

Source: Trevor Noah schools racists: “The Daily Show” has an essential new mission and comic voice – Salon.com

Killer Mike Talks The Origins Of Hip-Hop As A Culture! | YouTube

Killer Mike On Real Time With Bill Maher

Bill Maher has the habit of placing rap artists in the idiot chair. Jay Z (video included) is a Maher favorite, yet even Jay Z grows visibly disturbed at some of the Maher character’s comments. Few, however, rise to the challenge as did Killer Mike.

Bill: “What do you say to people who link crime and violence to Hip Hop?”

The lesson began.

Published on May 16, 2015

Killer Mike rose to the challenge in the most glorious fashion possible. He educated, leaving Maher without his usual closing jab.  It is about educating liberals that championing selected causes, highlighting African American representation, familiarizing themselves with the African American discourse does not validate their “I am not a racist” card. Their slips are showing.

It is also about educating African American conservatives that Hip Hop has a history, methodology, and civil reason for being that they should embrace or quietly slink away.

Watch Killer Mike takes over Maher’s spotlight. We need more Killer Mikes.

Jay Z interview on Real Time with Bill Maher

Published on Jan 9, 2014

20 Rare Photos You Need to See from Black Broadway: African Americans on the Great White Way | The Daily Scoop

Continuing our coverage of Black History Month, BroadwayBox brings you a preview of some of the 300 rare photos that appear in Stewart F. Lane’s Black Broadway: African Americans on The Great White Way. The new book by the six-time Tony winner chronicles the journey of black theatre in America, alongside a running timeline of African-American history, and celebrates the performers, playwrights, songwriters, directors, choreographers and designers who changed theatre throughout America and the world. Scroll on to marvel at 20 rare photos that appear in the book, and pick up your edition of Black Broadway: African Americans on The Great White Way to see all 300.

via 20 Rare Photos You Need to See from Black Broadway: African Americans on the Great White Way | The Daily Scoop.

Ernestine Johnson Performs ‘The Average Black Girl’ on Arsenio Hall Show – YouTube

Published on Apr 14, 2014

Ernestine Johnson kicks off the show with an amazing and moving performance of “The Average Black Girl.” You will get chills from this performance. Booking: Aris@xceltalent.com

Website: http://www.ernestinejohnson.com

via Ernestine Johnson Performs ‘The Average Black Girl’ on Arsenio Hall Show – YouTube.

After backlash over slavery remarks, Steve Harvey says this….(podcast) | Your Black World


Steve Harvey after backlash:

“Become skilled at deflecting negative energy. Keep your focus and attention on your own dreams. Refuse to be influenced by a hater’s opinion of you. #ActLikeaSuccess”

Dr. Boyce Watkins:

I should say that as a big fan of Steve Harvey, I am not happy having this conversation. However, I suggest that all of us ensure that we protect the memory of our ancestors and realize that the words “I don’t give a damn about slavery” being stated by a prominent black man in front of millions of people does a horrific disservice to those who came before us.

via After backlash over slavery remarks, Steve Harvey says this….(podcast) – Your Black World.