The underlying theme that runs through this section is that we should support our stories – the serious, the silly and the substantial… we own our history, our culture, the ebb & flow of our journey…. and it’s not one thing.. it’s as much a rainbow of themes as we are a rainbow of people.

“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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A black man has dreams that are ignored by a cold and more often than not, racist society. He carries his pain home and inflicts his agony on his family, eventually seeking solace in the bed of a younger woman, whom he impregnates and in the process, nearly destroys his wife, his younger son and his long-standing relationships with others. He wants to win something that he dreamt of winning. This is the best he can do.

“Good” black women know this dance, spend lifetimes trying to assuage the pain of their men (a fool’s errand) and trying to not be destroyed in the process. This, my dears, is what racism is really about: destroying people, trampling on dreams, cutting out hearts AND DEMANDING THAT WE BE OK WITH IT. We’re not. It’s a sorry state of affairs. We walk on tight ropes. And every character in “Fences” is on a tight rope.

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“LOVING” Starring Ruth Negga & Joel Edgerton

A Film Written & Directed by Jeff Nichols This Oscar season has nearly been obliterated in MY mind by the recent election. My mood has been dark and fearful, like so many others. I love movies and don’t appreciate the intrusion of this wacky turn of events in MY...

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