Media

‘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

Advertisements

Were Alton Sterling and Philando Castile Victims of Domestic Violence Syndrome? | Habari Gani, America!

One writer, Miriam Axel-Lute, clearly gets what even some in the African American community do not. Domestic Violence perpetrators always – always give you parameters that will prevent them from abusing you, which change over time and situation.

Axel-Lute and the Albany, New York community are stunned by the latest Albany Police Department and area attorney’s presentation given before teenagers this week. I could only imagine how some concerned parents accepted the frank admittance by both entities that we are going to run your life into the ground, given the opportunity.

Lute’s article,Albany Cops Sound Like Abusive Spouses in Teen Workshop states: 

“There’s this pattern that happens with abusive spouses. They often explain to their victims how to behave so they won’t get beaten up again. All the victim needs to do is give them proper respect, not burn their dinner, remember to leave out their slippers at the right place, never buy the wrong brand of toothpaste, never make them feel like they are being laughed at, never give them attitude or make them mad. And then, supposedly, they’ll be safe.”

One female teenager, quoted in the Time Union journalist Paul Grondahl‘s article, “Albany teens hear raw talk about police stops” asks, “Are all cops hot heads? … They all seem so aggressive in the videos.”

According to Grondahl’s article (complete with video segments), the aggression and confusing commentary championed by attorneys and law enforcement, one of which was whether to comply or ask for an attorney, only frustrated the young audience further. We must understand that confusion is how the domestic abuser wins every time — until he kills you.  Axel-Lute may have hit on something politicians, pundits, and communities side step in their attempts to stop our national “domestic violence.”

Read both articles by Axel-Lute and Grondahl following the links below:

Source: Albany Cops Sound Like Abusive Spouses in Teen WorkshopAlbany teens hear raw talk about police stops

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

Black Men Rally In D.C. For 20th Anniversary Of Million Man March

WASHINGTON (AP) — Black men from around the nation are gathering on the National Mall to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March and call for policing reforms and changes in black communities.

The original march on Oct. 16, 1995, brought hundreds of thousands to Washington to pledge to improve their lives, their families and their communities. Women, whites and other minorities were not invited to the original march, but organizers say all are welcome Saturday and that they expect to get hundreds of thousands of participants.

Source: Black Men Rally In D.C. For 20th Anniversary Of Million Man March

Dear white progressives: Stop telling black people how to vote – Salon.com

Janessa Robinson‘s article explicates the angst that many conscious Black voters have faced each election cycle since they have been allowed to vote. Mind you I said conscious. Conversations on social media have been dripping with Black and White Democrats urgently proclaiming, pre-general election, that any Democrat is better than a Republican politician. Considering the overt racist bent of the Republican Party, I do not argue this point. What Robinson and informed voters argue is that while we are still riffling through our picks in the Primary elections, why not consider just who is best to champion the already late unpacking of a racist system.

Candidatess 2016

 

The short excerpt of a concise history and present mirror of Black voter manipulation below offers a glimpse of the disregard for Black intelligence. But reading the article to completion will embolden those who genuinely seek leadership willing to take on the most overlooked egregious politicking committed by both White Liberals and some of our own Black leaders. Good job, Janessa Robinson. Read on:

White liberals generally do not want to be racist, although not many truly understand systemic racism, but they fear how they will protect their white and class privilege in the event that the blatantly racist political party takes power. How will they sustain policies that benefit the white middle class without the black voting base? Will they need to shift their racial attitudes to align with the repugnant right in an attempt to infiltrate the Republican Party? Either way, they are surely not concerned with the opinions or experiences of black people, as they chastise and attempt to bully us into supporting their candidates. Black people are lambasted for daring to vocalize our disillusionment with the political system — and it doesn’t take long for the white liberal who once posed as an ally to employ the “black people don’t vote” negative stereotype to back us into the corner of choosing to either refute the trope or investing time into invalidating it.

via Dear white progressives: Stop telling black people how to vote – Salon.com.

Spelling Race | Colorlines

… the narrative of cultural exceptionalism is misleading and harmful. It’s safe to say that all families place an emphasis on education and want their children to succeed. However, not all families have access to resources and institutions that enable their children to do well. When we rely on culture as the reason for success, we ignore the structural realities that prevent many children of color or poor children from reaching their goals. We also end up placing the onus on families to ensure academic achievement, rather than compelling the public and private sectors to also provide valuable services and benefits that can help all children succeed.

via Spelling Race | Colorlines.

Baltimore violence follows in tragic pattern | Rachel Maddow – MSNBC

Baltimore violence follows in tragic pattern

Rachel Maddow reviews the recent history of civil unrest in response to police violence against people of color, exposed to the public by a series of mostly civilian sourced videos.

via Baltimore violence follows in tragic pattern | MSNBC.

Where race relations stand in America – Opinion – The Boston Globe | #OYRchallenge

White response to Police killing Blacks

Ward Sutton is a New York-based cartoonist and illustrator.

via Where race relations stand in America – Opinion – The Boston Globe.