Hate is powerful. It turns us away from the humanity of our fellow mortals and only shows us the negative stereotypes we want to see.
This past weekend was the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. It is one of the worst episodes of racial violence in American history. The Greenwood District of Tulsa, in Oklahoma was known locally as Black Wall Street. Outside of the Greenwood District, the residents knew that they would be treated as second class citizens. But inside of the district was another story. It was a vibrant and thriving community that disproved the racist ideas about African-Americans. Unfortunately, some Caucasian members of the community had their minds blown by this success and used the accusation (which has not been verified) that a black man attacked a white teenage girl.
By the time the dust settled, hundreds were dead and the neighborhood looked like a war zone. To make matters worse, it was not spoken of until recently. In light of the fact that this disgusting event has been buried, both WNYC and CNN told the story of the destruction. The new six part podcast, Blindspot: Tulsa Burning, and TV movie, Dreamland: The Burning of Black Wall Street, told the compelling and heartbreaking story of those horrific days. I highly recommend both.
This was a pogrom. The actors and the location have changed, but the reason (if you want to call it that) and the results were the same. I wish that it had not taken a century for this country to remember and honor the memories of those who were killed. But it has. The only thing we can do is talk about it and educate our children so this never happens again.
For many of us, our day ends with a late night talk show.
The new six part CNN series, The Story of Late Night, takes viewers through the history of late night television. It started as a way to fill the air time after the primetime shows and turned into a completely new genre. Initially headlined by television legends Steve Allen, Jack Paar, and Johnny Carson, these programs have kept the country laughing for 70+ years. While being introduced (or re-introduced, depending on your age) to these television personalities, the audience is given back stage tour to the places and people that were not in front of the camera.
I enjoyed the first episode. It was educational, but not in a stuffy or academic way. It was both a learning experience and a good laugh. One of the hosts I was surprised to learn about is Faye Emerson. My impression of the era was that men were the face of the genre, women worked behind the scenes or were part of the act. Knowing that she led her own show was a lovely surprise.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
The Story of Late Night airs on CNN on Sunday nights at 9PM.
We can learn a lot about a specific group of people and their culture by their food. Without stepping into a lecture hall, we receive a history lesson, learn about their traditions, and hopefully begin to see them beyond the stereotypes.
So far, I enjoyed both programs. Tucci approach to his family’s native land is that of love, respect, and curiosity. Like many Americans whose family came from elsewhere, he uses food to introduce viewers to an Italy that only the locals know. Instead of lionizing Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln: Divided We Stand introduces the viewer to the man behind the myths.
There comes a time when we can look back on the past with a clarity that does not appear until after the fact.
The CNN miniseries, The Eighties, premiered in 2016. Breaking down the political, cultural, and technological changes of the era, interviews and media clips illustrate how transformational the decade was.
I loved this series. It was illuminating, educational, and entertaining.
It is easy to make assumptions about a person or a community based on a brief glance or what one sees in the media. It is harder to keep that assumption once you have had the opportunity to get to know that person or community.
United Shades of America has aired on CNN since 2016. Hosted by stand up comic W. Kamau Bell, the series delves into serious issues via the lens of different cultures and people within America.
What I love about the series is that Bell uses humor to diffuse what could be some very dangerous situations. In introducing the viewers to the various sub-groups that exist within the country, he is opening the door to communication, understanding, and perhaps the diverse nation that our founders envisioned more than 200 years ago
When facing a challenge, knowing when to push forward and knowing when you cannot go any further is a decision that sometimes has to be made.
With Covid-19 ravaging the nation, it has become the most important issue within this Presidential election cycle. The assumption would be that both candidates and parties would take the virus and the damages it has caused seriously.
The Democrats and Joe Biden have taken it seriously. The Republicans and you know who seem to think that it is a mere cold. We all remember earlier this year he stepped back from taking responsibility.
“We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics, and other mitigation areas,”
Since March, 225,000 Americans have succumbed to the disease. As of late, Vice President Pence, his wife, and several aids have been exposed to Covid-19. Anyone with a mere shred of intelligence would be listening to the doctors and quarantine themselves. But instead, he goes out on the campaign trail, potentially spreading the virus further.
The question is, has the White House handed Joe Biden the election? Only time will tell, but it is clear to me that this may be the tipping point that brings us back to a state of semi-normalcy.
Sometimes, we can only see what has happened when we are fully able to look back at the past.
The Seventies was a documentary miniseries that aired on CNN in 2015. Throughout the eight episodes of the series, viewers were taken back in time and were able to explore how politics, pop culture and history combined into a decade that helped to shape the decades to come.
I enjoyed this series. It was entertaining, informative and provided a window into a time that some of us only know of via those who lived during the period.
Mental health, like any disease does not discriminate between rich and poor, black and white, celebrity and non-celebrity.
Five years ago today, mental health took the life of one of our most beloved performers: Robin Williams.
He was more than a comic who could do impressions. He could play drama, he could play comedy and everything in between. Underneath all of his performances was a huge heart that was evident to anyone in the audience.
This past week, his eldest son, Zak, spoke to CNN about his father.
When it comes to those who are no longer with us because of suicide, there are always questions that start with what if. While the question is certainly valid, at a certain point, we need to ask other questions. I firmly believe that we need to not only accept mental health issues as a valid disease, but treat it as a valid disease.
When confronting a problem, the first and hardest step is to ask for help. The issue with mental health is that many are afraid to ask for help because of the backlash they may receive.
Mental health and the diseases that fall under the categories of mental illness are real. The sooner we accept that, stop stigmatizing mental illness and open the doors to treatment, the better our country and our world will be.
When a President or any political leader refers to someone or something as “enemy of the people”, one probably thinks that this person is not democratically elected. They probably think that this person is a dictator or autocrat, ruling a country in which human rights and the rights of the average citizen barely exist or don’t exist at all.
This phrase was uttered by you know who, who somehow was elected as President of the United States in 2016.
The thing that struck about Mr. Acosta’s story is that it is eerily reminiscent of the early years of a dictatorship. My hope is that this book inspires the reader to think for themselves and make a decision about their political future. Do they want to live in a thriving and growing democracy? Or do they want to continue to let you know who take us to h*ll in a handbasket?
We all make mistakes, that is part and parcel of being human. But what happens when that mistake leads us to jail and years later, we have to look at the people who were affected by that mistake?
That is the concept of the CNN program, The Redemption Project with Van Jones. The premise of the program is as follows: host Van Jones tells the story of a victim (and/or their family), the perpetrator who was jailed for their crime and their face to face meeting years after the crime was committed.
I have watched the first two episodes and I have found the program to be compelling and worthy of an hour of watching television. When we make a mistake, the first step is to admit that we made it. First steps are often the hardest to make, especially when that mistake leads one person jailed and another person (or their family) forever affected by that mistake.
The theme of the show is restorative justice, leading to a conversation with the person convicted of the crime and the person and/or their loved ones who were affected by the crime In the two episodes that I have watched, I have seen a spark of hope. While there is no way to go back in time and undo what has been done, both parties walk away with a sense of peace, perhaps a little understanding and a human connection that goes beyond the general idea of a victim and a perpetrator.
I recommend it.
The Redemption Project with Van Jones airs on Sunday night at 9pm.