This film is written and directed by Matt Ruskin, distributed by Amazon Studios. The production entities are: Iam21 Entertainment, Washington Square Films and Black Maple Films. Lakeith Stanfield stars as Colin Warner, the Trinidadian youth who is falsely accused and...

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On Cutting Arts Education

One of my early pivotal experiences was a family trip to Puerto Rico where a relative was a professor at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. On the trip, my relative chaperoned me around the island, educating me on the island, the culture, the people, the history. One of his favorite stops was an Art Gallery. His significant other was an artist who had paintings there. Lucky for me! I was stunned by the beauty of the paintings, the environment, the color, the approach to reality through a different lens. My relative must’ve had a streak of Guru-itis or a bit of Henry Higgens in his DNA as my next new exposure was to sit and listen to Mascagni’s CAVALERIA RUSTICANA. I’m grateful for the education.

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“FREEDOM SUMMER” Project Update

Back at work on the Freedom Summer play with Ricardo Khan and Sibu Mamba. Of course, since my first and only novel (thus far, anyway) is about Freedom Summer, I’ve been spinning around in my brain to come up with NEW STUFF that I didn’t use in “Freshwater Road.” We’ve covering the same history so I absolutely wanted to find or try to remember any and everything that I did not use in “Freshwater Road.” This is challenging. I’ve had to open a new research vein going into a different part of the state of Mississippi with a slightly different geography and a slightly different history. I’m writing about the Delta now, an area of the state I did NOT touch in “Freshwater Road.”

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“I Am Not Your Negro.” features Samuel L. Jackson delivering one of most nuanced and vulnerable narrations I’ve ever heard. Baldwin’s words for sure but Jackson’s reading of them is intimate, personal and heartfelt. This is a “story” that Baldwin began but unfortunately for us, did not complete before his death. It’s an examination of his responses to the deaths of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King…

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It felt like looking for love and love can’t be found… what a sadness envelopes this poetic and beautiful film.

The first film I’ve seen about the development of romantic love between two black men – from school age to adulthood. This is part coming of age story in a general sense and part very specifically; a coming of age story about a black gay boy/man whose circumstances are so difficult, survival with any sexuality at all is a triumph. It is raw and urgent. Especially for “straight” black folks who have a difficult relationship with homosexuality for many reasons.

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Happy I am to report that watching “Hidden Figures” lifted the pall and had me cheering at the screen in my nice empty house! Talking to the walls or talking back to the screen is common around here. But “Hidden Figures” had me in a jolly mood, a mood of triumph and dare I say, JOY – as it fits neatly into my dream discussion of black folks on the silver screen. This is a FEEL GOOD movie based on facts and our precious history, our journey. BRILLIANT BLACK WOMEN press against the racism and sexism of the the time (early 1960’s) to achieve incredible respect for themselves and success in an area that few really understand. So here we have three (actually an entire team!) of brainiacs pushing through the dumb stuff to the “promised land” of respect inherent in the success of the American Space program in the 1960’s.

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