Poetry in Motion

On the anniversary of James Baldwin’s death (November 30th), I watched “The James Baldwin Anthology” (presented by Claire Burch). His speech at UC Berkeley in 1979 makes up the greater portion of the film. After a charming introduction by Angela Davis, Baldwin demonstrates his own charm and insight into human nature. Of the Black people, he notes “our presence here in this country terrifies every white man walking.” Alas, all too true.

Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown, Ezell Ford and Eric Garner – the madness continues.

No News

The grand jury in Ferguson performed as expected. Too many people have a siege mentality that protects the police at all costs. Too many municipalities would rather pay out a multi-million dollar settlement, later, than contradict the heated, prejudicial, deadly decisions made by a police officer.

More massacres to follow.



Puddin’ Pop

As I heard the allegations about Bill Cosby this week, I realized with a sinking feeling that aside from a few films I saw over 20 years ago, I have never watched his performances. Without conscious thought, I find that I do not want to support male artists who abuse women. All this time, I thought I didn’t watch him because his projects are so cornball.

If you build an icon, you must take down a façade. We must resist the temptation to idolize mere humans. Ben Franklin was a sexual sleaze. Thomas Jefferson had several children with Sally Hemings, despite his derogatory comments about “negroes.” Rich, powerful men frequently indulge their worst sexual quirks. If we deny this is possible, the stories of the victims are suppressed, and the behavior is repeated.

I rejoice in the fact that Cosby is still alive to face these allegations. He should stay home, repent his sins, and donate money to set up a help center for victims of sexual assault.

Whoopi Goldberg should STFU.



Dear White People: Where’s the Beef?

“Dear White People” features young, beautiful, largely unknown actors, the controversial topic of white people imitating black people, and a typical white people’s party, with no dancing.

The action is disjointed, which might be fortunate, since the message is as heavy as a dump truck: White People Should Not Imitate Black People, Annoy Black People, Assume Anything About Black People, or Have Sex with Black People . . . oh, wait a minute, that’s ok.

Recommendation: Wait for DVD/streaming, or broadcast.

The Suge and Katt Show: Happy Hallowe’en!

The front runner for Dumbest Man of the Week is Katt Williams, arrested and charged with stealing a camera from a celebrity photographer. Suge Knight was also charged, as his alleged partner in crime.

Suge’s bail is set at $1 million; curiously, the amount he paid on behalf of the late, lamented Tupac Shakur, to get him out of jail. As no one can forget, Tupac later died as Suge’s passenger.

Does Katt think he’s strong enough to avoid disaster in Suge’s shadow? Think again, ya’ big dummy! (Long Live Redd Foxx!)

It is certainly entertaining to watch the local news. In a time when we have to worry about Ebola, ISIS, and never-ending political commercials, we need something to laugh about.

This week, Katt, we’re laughing at you. Not with you, at you.

Unjustified Homicide

The recent shootings of Michael Brown and Ezell Ford have caused much controversy. Sadly, these incidents are not new. Those of us who remember Tyisha Miller and Anthony Dwaine Lee, among countless others, may wonder if this conduct will ever cease.

It is not sufficient to refer to the post-Reconstruction South or post-World War II discrimination as the basis for unjustified police shootings of unarmed Black Americans. Both North and South in the colonial era passed restrictive laws which encompassed free blacks, slaves, Indians, and bond servants. These laws assumed that all such persons were a menace to society unless firmly controlled.

Black Americans must prove their acceptability day by day. While the extent of white privilege may be in doubt, Paul Mooney is not wrong when he refers to “the complexion for protection.” Any white adult who pretends otherwise, is in denial.

Film Review: “The Most Wanted Man” – Least Wanted

I saw this film to watch Philip Seymour Hoffman in his last role. His performance was not up to his usual standard. None of the cast could get their German accents right. Hoffman’s drinking and smoking, the shots of him lying on his bed, evoked some of the atmosphere of his last days. The plot is simply unbelievable. If you want to see some nice shots of Hamburg, a place you might never want to visit, this is a good film. Otherwise, one star only, for Philip Seymour Hoffman.