We are all born with talent, ambition, and the desire to succeed. The problem is that while some of us are allowed to see that success come to fruition, others are denied simply based on the fact that we are born with certain skin colors or sex organs.
Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America by Ijeoma Oluo, was published last December. In the book, Ms. Oluo looks at how white and male supremacy is bringing us all down. Using examples from history, pop culture, sports, politics, and other aspects of our culture, she tells the story of how we are all being dragged down by the idea of who is superior and who is inferior.
I loved this book. The author is able to talk about these very delicate topics in a way that is provocative and eye opening without getting her soapbox. Sometimes, all it takes is one conversation to change the world. This book is the conversation starter we desperately need right now.
There is something about the power of music. A beloved song has a way of making it’s way into the listeners brain, conscious, and perhaps helping to change things for the better.
Billie Holiday is one of the most beloved singers of the 20th century. Though it has been six decades since her physical form left this Earth, her performances and songs continue to leave a mark on fans. The new biopic about her life, The United States vs. Billie Holiday dropped yesterday on Hulu.
The film stars singer/actress Andra Day as Holiday, Garrett Hedlund as Harry J. Anslinger, and Trevante Rhodes as Jimmy Fletcher. The audience follows Holiday as she battles drug addiction, racism, and gets involved with FBI agent Jimmy Fletcher. Woven into the narrative is the iconic and dark song Strange Fruit, which sadly is as potent today as it was during Holiday’s life time.
I really wanted to like this film. Day’s performance is worthy of the accolades she is receiving. Unfortunately, that is where I have to draw the line. Frankly, I was bored. I wanted to be hooked, but I was not. Whatever tension and drama I anticipated was sadly lacking. Especially with Anslinger’s obsession and persecution of Billie Holiday. That should have been more exciting that it was actually was.
Dr. King was one of many who fought for equality. Though his ultimate goal was equality for African-Americans, it spread to the rest of the country. Women, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, and other Americans of color who have been disenfranchised heard his message and understood exactly what he was saying.
Though we can proudly say that we have made progress in the multiple decades since he was taken from us, it is more than clear that true equality is still too far off for many. I remember a cartoon in a book when I was in school. The image was of a tree had been cut at its base, but the roots were untouched. The analogy about racism and prejudice was obvious.
The fact is that we have a long way to do. Between the riot in DC almost two weeks ago and the murders of multiple African Americans last year, the dark side of the United States revealed itself in a way that was opening.
What Dr. King started almost a century ago, we have to finish. It is the only way to make his dream a reality.
For most of history, men have both written history and have worn the crown. Only a small handful of women can have done the same. One of these women is Cleopatra.
Her story has been told time and again across the generations. The 1963 epic starring the late Elizabeth Taylor is the film that most people think of when it comes to Cleopatra. Over the weekend, it was announced that Israeli actress Gal Gadot will step into the Egyptian Queen’s shoes. The film is to be directed by Patty Jenkins, who was at the helm of the Wonder Woman, which starred Gadot as the title character.
Not surprisingly, some have already questioned if casting Gadot is another example of whitewashing.
From a certain point of view, Gadot could be seen as a good choice for the role because she is from that part of the world. However, there is a question of Cleopatra’s skin color, which historians don’t quite agree on.
Only time will if Gal Gadot is the right choice and if the movie succeeds or fails.
Either way, it is a reminder that issues of race and racism have not yet been fully dealt with in this country.
On March 13th of this year, Breonna Taylor was an ordinary woman, sleeping in her bed. Then the police barged into her home and she became another icon of racism and police brutality.
The outcome of the trial against the police officers who killed her was announced today. The grand jury in Kentucky declined to charge the officers for her murder.
Once again, the message is clear. Americans of color are unimportant and their lives are disposable. The police can do whatever they want, without fear of the justice system catching up to them. I wish I could say that in 2020, things have changed. But nothing has changed and another life was needlessly lost.
Between Covid-19 and the protests against racial injustice this summer, I think it is safe to say that most places in the US are drained in every sense of the word.
Earlier this week, the DOJ (who are working for the President and not for the people) claimed that New York City is an “anarchist state“. The official statement is the following:
New York City is one of three places that “have permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities,” leading to its designation as an “anarchist jurisdiction,” the Justice Department said Monday.
I don’t how how they describe anarchy, but this is what I think of when someone says anarchy.
From my perspective, it looks like they think that protests against racism and racial injustice are the work of so-called “anarchists”. If that is the case, this country is in deep trouble. While there will always be crimes and the need for police, there is also the right to protest. If that is what they deem “anarchy”, I will take that over the autocratic police state that is the vision of the current administration.
There are some topics that are hard to talk about, regardless of how the conversation is couched. Race is one of them.
Ijeoma Oluo‘s new non-fiction book was published last year. Entitled So You Want to Talk about Race, the book takes on a subject that is necessary to talk about, but not easy. Speaking to both Caucasian readers and readers of color, the book helps to pave the way to open doors, open minds, and most of all, create necessary change.
This is one of those books that I think we all should read. We all know that in 2020, we are at a precipice when it comes to race and race relations. This book allows us as a society to finally do what we must and move forward from our racist and ugly past.
Since we were children, Americans have been taught that we are a nation made up different people. But the one thing that binds us all together is that we are American.
As pretty as that statement is, it is a pipe dream, even in 2020. Racism and xenophobia still rule the day. It does not help when we have a President whose policies and beliefs essentially come down to one statement “whites only“.
Though he may deny it or walk about what he has said, there is no denying that his man is a racist.
The question is do we want a President for another four years who believes in “whites only?”
If nothing else, the summer of 2020 will be known for the murders of innocent African-American men and women. It is not a distinction to be proud of. Though this is nothing new for Americans of color, the difference is that the country is waking up and taking notice.
Back in March, Daniel Prude was found naked on the streets of Rochester in upstate New York. As the story usually goes, Mr. Prude was restrained by the police to the point of where he lost consciousness. He died a week later.
But there is more to this story that the standard accusation of police brutality. The issue of mental illness also comes into play. The police were initially called because Joe Prude, Daniel’s brother called 911, worried about his brother who had just walked out of the house.
I wish I could say that this will be the last incident of this kind. But we all know that until we deal with racism as a whole, Mr. Prude will be just another name on a long list of Americans of color killed by police.
Whether we know it or not, we often look to celebrities as examples of how to behave or not behave.
Since May, when George Floyd was murdered, protests have exploded all over the country. Across Hollywood and the sports world, celebrities have stepped up in the name of justice and equality.
With the shooting of Jacob Blake last weekend, America was again reminded that police still single out Americans of color. In response, several NBA teams have chosen to strike. Jared Kusher, sticking his nose in where it did not belong, claimed that they were “taking the night off“.
The full quote is as follows:
“The NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially.”
While it is true that they will still earn their salaries, this strike is not about money. It is about racial inequity and violence that still exists in the United States. These players are using their platform to take a stand and send a message.
Not that Kushner or anyone around him would be able to understand that message.
This hobby blog is dedicated to movie nerdom, nostalgia, and the occasional escape. In the late 90s, I worked at Blockbuster Video where they let me take home two free movies a day. I caught up on the classics and wrote movie reviews for Denver 'burbs newspapers and magazines. Today, I continue to revisit the old and discover the new on the screen. Comments and dialogue are highly encouraged. This year, I'm excited to collaborate with other writers via SLICETHELIFE, in which we will share our movie genre favorites in our 2021 Movie Draft!