“Summer, summer, summertime / Time to sit back and unwind”
— DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
I can’t believe it’s almost July. I am currently visiting family in the south during these summer months. So, I will be hella busy. However, before I truly bounce for a summer break… I wanted to peek in and share my summer plans.
1) Television-I am normally not a big television watcher. I think it’s too time consuming. However, being back in my hometown I have found myself doing a lot of TV watching. It’s too damn hot/humid to be running around outside. I am looking forward to CBS’s “Zoo” movie. I was shocked by the movie’s declaration “there are 7 billion humans, but over 100 billion animals.” Wow, we are screwed.
2) Books- This summer I have decided to be practical and not bog myself down with a huge reading list. I am going to take my time and focus on one book only. I have decided to read Dolen Perkins-Valdez’s “Balm.” I became an immediate fan of Perkins-Valdez after reading her debut novel “Wench.” The book was a fascinating read about Black women’s lives during slavery. I believe the author is in current talks to have the book made into a movie. I can’t wait!
3) Music-No she didn’t! Only Janet Jackson (JJ) can disappear for almost 8 years and drop a nice tune out of the blue. I watched some clips from the BET Music Awards show and Ms. JJ still looks great. I wish her well with her new release and tour. While Madonna often gets labeled the queen/ icon of pop music, I believe this title really belongs to JJ. Her music stands the test of time and she’s not as annoying as Madonna with her culture vulture/blackface mugging…yeah, I said it.
4) Politics– Ho, hum. It’s the summer of election campaigns. Bush? Clinton? Is this 1995 again? I thought the selection of President Obama was supposed to bring about change. The candidates are richer, whiter, and boring as ever. At this point, I am more interested in third-party contenders. Both the Republicans and Democrats have pretty become the same party. I want to hear/see new radical voices/faces…particularly women of color candidates (I nominate Bree Newsome:) I advise folks to stay away from these draining campaigns until early January. Majority of these folks aren’t going to last until the end of the year anyway. And they are just going to ruin your summer fun…
I wish everyone a happy and safe summer. I will return in late September :)
Recently, I was at a relative’s house flipping TV stations and came across Mad Max 2: Road Warrior. Despite the movie being over 30 years old, despite the fact I’ve watched it a million times and despite the fact we’ve come to learn that Mel Gibson is a racist/sexist/homophobic privileged white dude…I still found myself sucked into the action and drama. Of course, there’s renewed interest in this iconic film with the release of Mad Max: Fury Road.
I have no interest in seeing this film at the theater. I will wait until it hits Netflix or Redbox. I don’t even know the guy playing the main character and I tend to be meh towards Charlize Theron. And once again, a film about the future not predominantly featuring folks of color wrecks my nerves. I can give a pass to the original 30-year-old film, but in 2015 there should have been more of an effort to have a diverse cast. It’s a known fact folks of color will dominate within a matter of 5-10 years, so contemporary sci-films that gloss over that fact usually get the side eye from me.
Remember the video by 2pac giving homage to the Mad Max tale? It was fun to see all those black folks getting their warrior style on. I will leave you with this classic jam. Happy Friday!! :)
Wow, this film looks pretty bad. And cliché. Let’s see (1) crackhead black mama (2) menacing thug brother **watch Jason’s Lyric for the epitome of this**(3) black boy student depending on basketball career/scholarship to give him a better life (4) light-skinned love interest…although for a change it’s a guy this time and (5) someone seeking fame/pop stardom. Maybe I am just getting old, but you would think films for young black folks would have progressed from these storylines by now. I was watching these type of films when I was a teen back in the late 80’s/90’s. The only difference now is characters are cussing each other out via smartphones/social media. KeKe Palmer tends to be underused as a young actress so good luck to her and her film. But I will pass. :)
Y’all know I love a good Do It Yourself (DIY) project. Check out this fascinating Indiegogo campaign…
“Citizen of the world, Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor changed the way we talk about women, race and food. VERTAMAE is a self-described, “6-foot-tall Geechee girl with dark skin, a flat nose, and full lips.” She is the author of four books, including the groundbreaking 1970 autobiographical cookbook, Vibration Cooking or the Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl, which inspired the emerging critical studies movement of Food as Cultural Memory.” https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/travel-notes-of-a-geechee-girl–2
The project is being led by director/writer Julie Dash. I’m sure folks remember Dash for her groundbreaking movie “DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST.” I actually got to see Dash a few years ago when she visited my campus to talk about her work on “Daughters…” and the ongoing struggle of Black women filmmakers. Especially those who want to go outside the box of romantic comedies/Tyler Perry type films.
The other day I decided to treat myself to a movie. Life’s been throwing me a few curves lately, so I just wanted to relax and let buttery/greasy popcorn take me away. Imagine my dismay to only find repeat offender Fast and Furious 7 (7? Really?!), a kids flick (“Home”), and the boring looking “Longest Ride Home” (I loathe romantic films) playing at mainstream cinemas. I turned to a local indie theater to find something decent. My curiosity got the best of me when I saw the ad for “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter.”
“A jaded Japanese woman discovers a hidden copy of FARGO on VHS, believing it to be a treasure map indicating the location of a large case of money.”http://kumikothetreasurehunter.com/
The film was very good. I was surprised to learn upon further research that the movie was inspired by the true story of Japanese office worker, Takako Konish. See, I would’ve never learned about this if I had watched Vin Diesel screeching another car down the highway.
Check out “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter…” it’s worth your dollars.
Lilada Gee founded the day as a way for Black women to address sexual violence/other issues that have impacted our lives. In a society that is very hostile to Black women…how can we stay emotionally/mentally/physically healthy. Gee was inspired by her own life experiences.
“Lilada Gee was 6 years old the first time an adult family member sexually abused her. Throughout the ensuing years, she struggled with issues related to the abuse; including clinical depression, post-traumatic stress and low self-esteem. Now, as an adult, she is committed to helping girls and women who are victims of child sexual abuse, heal. Lilada’s Livingroom began in the living room of Lilada’s home, after she publicly shared her tumultuous journey of healing from childhood sexual abuse. Girls and women who were in the audience started showing up at her home, in her living room to find a safe place to heal. Since that time, Lilada has traveled from coast-to-coast and abroad, creating safe places for women and girls to rid themselves of the shame, secrets and stigmatism of abuse.”
The organizers at my event provided a creative space so that attendees could express themselves any way they needed to. Whether it was making cute African dolls (with just fabric/wire!!) or painting our hopes/dreams…it was a cathartic event. And of course there was lots of food. You always have to have food ;) Gee Skyped in. She was lovely, of course. I could tell she was moved by our participation.
Ack! I hate it when I find out about good DIY campaigns just as the deadline is closing in… :(
“Ashley Williams is an accomplished local actor in Portland, Oregon. She is in the last weeks of an Indiegogo campaign with her mom, G.G. Williams. They are raising funds to film and produce a film about sexual assault. They are seeking to raise $10,000 by April 9th.” —http://theblackportlanders.com/
If you don’t know (but should) April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Black women often have to deal with issues of sexual violence/harassment/stalking on their own. There tends to be racist/sexist stereotypes around Black women’s sexuality. A lot of it has to do with our culture needing to justify sanctioned/historical abuse of Black women’s bodies in this country.
“The U.S. is one of the few places in the world where mass rapes have occurred systematically against an entire race of people (African-American women) and there has been no outcry from human rights communities, no processes for justice, no acknowledgement or recognition of such violations and its impact on the culture of violence against Black women today.” –http://www.blackwomensblueprint.org/sexual-violence/