Movie Night Friday – REVIVAL with Harry Lennix


Movie Night Friday is back!

I come from a movie family. My aunt used to collect VHS tapes and then later, DVDs. I am sure if she was still alive, she would have every movie streaming app there is and collect Fire Sticks. We are a family who walks around quoting movie lines and seeing if people can guess what movie it’s from. It’s only right that I feature a series on this blog about movies. Movie Night Friday is nothing new. It is a segment I started on this blog years ago (2015) to feature my favorite movies and why I love them. My favorites are broken down into different categories though so Malcolm X could be number one in one category Lean on Me in the next, Boyz N Tha Hood in the next and The Great Debaters in the next.


Revival! features a star-studded, mostly black cast in the retelling of the book of John, featuring the resurrection, life, and ministry of the Messiah. Viewers will watch the bible play out through some of their favorite actors and musicians in a mixture of onstage performances, gospel songs, and spirituals so that Revival! becomes more than just a movie, but an experience. With Michelle Williams playing Mary Magdalen, Chaka Khan as Herodias, Wendy Raquel Robinson as the woman with the blood issue, Kenny Lattimore as Lazarus, Harry Lennix as Pontius Pilate and Mali Music as Jesus (who I will refer to by his name Yahoshua throughout this review), Revival! is a part short film, part musical, and part broadway play.

What attracted me to Revival?

When TriCoast Entertainment reached out to me for a review, my first impulse was to watch the trailer. As a spiritual person who believes in the bible, but who is not a Christian, I wanted to make sure this was the kind of film I can stand behind, support, and promote. When I watched the trailer, the first thing that piqued my interest immediately was the almost all-black cast and even more, the black Messiah.

Many African Americans do not see themselves in scripture and are thus convinced they are not there and have nothing to do with this powerful historical text. Further, few films reveal the true physical appearance of the people of the bible. Where are we? It is a question I hear often from black people when discussing scripture. Some of us don’t think we were there at all. But the truth is many of the nationalities of the people in the bible including the Israelites, Egyptians, Babylonians, and Assyrians were black-skinned people.

Best Scenes

I think the Pharisees did a wonderful job of being hypocrites (haha) and they were in some of my favorite scenes, but my most favorite part was the scenes where Yahoshua is fighting off the temptation of the devil. Taken from Matthew 4:1-11, the creativity of the temptations had a modern touch but did not take away the reality of the devil’s persistence in his attacks and how we must be just as persistent in our resistance to those attacks. In the movie, these attacks take various forms such as Satan as a man sitting at the beautiful dining spread to tempt Yahoshua to eat during his fast and command the stones to become bread (Matt. 4:1-4), a little boy, and a seducing woman trying to entice him with her body. The best of these scenes for me was when the devil transformed himself into that of a little boy on top of the Hollywood sign and there tempted Yahoshua to jump.

We live in a world where Hollywood is a place everyone strives to be apart of. It represents the epitome of success for some, and the place everyone wants to be. Here, celebrities are worshiped as gods and most people aren’t taken seriously or acknowledged for their art whether music, writing, or theater until they have become promoted on a mainstream level.  Therefore, inspired by the scripture where the devil takes the Messiah on a high mountain and tells him to throw himself down (Matt. 4:6), Mali and the little boy sitting on top of the Hollywood mountain was a brilliant idea. It was also a good idea to portray the devil as an innocent young boy since we know that he can transform himself into an angel of light (2 Co 11:14).

Least Favorite Scenes

I enjoyed some of the songs but the combination of several mediums was my least favorite part. I would have liked to see the film part as a consistent thread throughout (like a movie) without being jolted from the narrative for someone to sing for three minutes or to return to the stage. At times it did work but there were also times I was immersed in the story and then snatched out of it. I think the musical/stage play part could be a separate production of itself so that it doesn’t disturb the transition between scenes and distracts from the core story.

The lady with the flow of blood was also my least favorite scene because the scripture doesn’t mention anything about the woman’s flow of blood coming from bruises. Based on Lev. 15:25-33, it was my understanding this flow of blood was a literal flow of blood as in a menstrual cycle. Wendy Raquel Robinson’s acting was excellent though, as usual.

Mostly All Black Cast

I have to bring it back to the mostly all-black cast! This is hands down my favorite part of the film and I’d like to end this review with a bit more context to explain why I think this is so important for African Americans to see.

According to the book of Revelations chapter one, verses 14-15, the messiah is described by John as having hair like white wool and feet like burnished brass, as if refined in a furnace. So, when he shows up in this film dark-skinned with full lips and a full beard, it is refreshing. If Yahoshua was to walk the earth today, he would do so as a black man, so we are not only looking at ourselves, but we are looking at the truth. Originally, the descendants of both Shem and Ham were black people. Gerald Massey, English writer and author of the book, Egypt the Light of the World, wrote:

“The dignity is so ancient that the insignia of the Pharaoh evidently belonged to the time when Egyptians wore nothing but the girdle of the Negro.”

Sir Richard Francis Burton, a 19th-century English explorer, writer, and linguist in 1883 wrote to Gerald Massey:

“You are quite right about the ‘AFRICAN’ origin of the Egyptians. I have 100 human skulls to prove it.” 

Scientist, R. T. Pritchett, states in his book, The Natural History of Man:

“In their complex and many of the complexions and in physical peculiarities the Egyptians were an ‘AFRICAN’ race.”

And finally, the ancient Greek historian, Herodotus, who visited Egypt in the 5th century B.C.E., saw the Egyptians face to face and described them as black-skinned with woolly hair. Consider also that the word Ham in Hebrew is Khwam, and it means “hot, burnt, and black.”

If it is true that the Egyptians were black, and we know that they were, then it is also true that the Israelites were black. Not only did the Israelites become a nation in Egypt, the land of Ham, the sons of Jacob arriving 70 in number (Gen. 46:27, Ex. 1:5) because of the famine, but as Joseph ruled Egypt (Gen. 41) his brothers did not at first recognize their Israelite brother among the black Egyptians. (Gen. 42:8) Additionally, Moses passed as the grandson of the Egyptian Pharaoh for forty-years. (Acts 7:23) How could this have happened if he didn’t look like him?

“Moses had to be of the black race because he spent 40 years in Pharaoh’s place. He passed as the Pharaoh’s grandson, so he had to look just like him.”  – KRS One, “Why is That”

For this, Harry Lennix’s mostly black cast is important because while the world has come to accept, in part, that Ham’s descendants were black, the world has not come to fully embrace the black origin of the descendants of Shem, the original Hebrews.

Moses, Abraham, The Prophets, and even the Messiah, would have looked like African Americans had they walked the earth today. I believe that Lennix’s decision to make Yahoshua and most of his disciplines black is not just a form of creative expression but a powerful re-education of black biblical history.

I give Revival! four out of five stars.

I want to extend a thank you to TriCoast Entertainment for the opportunity to review the film REVIVAL starring Harry Lennix (The Blacklist, The Five Heartbeats, Love & Basketball, Ray), Wendy Raquel Robinson, Chaka Khan, Michelle Williams, Mali Music, and other musical legends.

*TriCoast Entertainment has released REVIVAL onto various digital & DVD platforms (Amazon, iTunes, FLIXFLING, Vimeo on Demand, Vudu, FANDANGO, Google Play), Walmart, Target and Best Buy.

**Direct Amazon link: https://amzn.to/3aRERRv

***For more information, please visit: https://revivalthemovie.com/

***Image Stills (including blog cover image featuring Harry Lennix) used with permission.


Can’t get enough of Black History? Don’t forget that book one of my novella series Stella: Between Slavery and Freedom is now available.

Get it here in ebook

Get a signed paperback copy here

My Soul is a Witness

Annndd here she is!

My next collection of poetry releases this year and I have decided on the title, “My Soul is a Witness.” I want to thank the members of my email list for helping me to choose the perfect image (we had a contest featuring several images. If you are not subscribed for exclusive first-looks and sneak peeks, you may click here).

This book releases in the fall and will be available for preorder soon. Exact date to be announced.

Haven’t read I am Soul yet? Get it here.

 

One of my favorite movies (I have lots of favorites lol) is The Great Debaters. I love the use of language, history, and education, and it also feels like to me they are doing performance poetry, not just debating. When the movie comes on, the Negro Spiritual song, “Witness,” is being sung as the people dance.

Just as with I am Soul, My Soul is a Witness jumped out at me and I felt it in my spirit that this was the appropriate title for the book. The soulful, sacred, and riveting Negro Spiritual songs taught of freedom, of hope, of redemption, and biblical justice and righteousness. I hope these poems do the same for you. I hope that they are liberating, restoring, and reinvigorating. “My Soul is a Witness,” is poetry that reminds us that in our darkest moments, there is still hope. It reminds us that our scars do not cripple us but prepare us for a work, and that our greatest weaknesses make us strong. Here, I give you my ache and my praise. This is a love letter to our overcoming, of yours and mine. My Soul is a Witness.

 

Why My Blog Name is Weird

PBS is short for Pearls Before Swine and is a term that comes from Matthew 7:6 of the bible:

Mat 7:6  “Do not give what is set-apart to the dogs, nor throw your pearls before the pigs, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

In this context, pearls are symbolic of the word, truth. It’s precious, delicate, and priceless. A pig, on the other hand, is a filthy and unclean animal. Anything you put in front of a pig he will either eat it or step over it. When you give a pair of pearls to someone who wants it they will accept it, protect it, and value it.

But, if you give a pair of pearls to a pig he will tear it apart. Some people are pigs and will not accept what you have to offer. When you give people the truth not everyone will value it or take care of it. Some people will take their disagreements and turn their anger on you. When this happens, it’s important to step back and not allow yourself to be put in a situation in which a pig will trample your pearls.

If people don’t want the truth, don’t force it on them because the truth is precious and should be protected. Thus, “don’t cast your pearls before swine.”

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My views are controversial to some so it gets a bit heated on this blog! I don’t follow trends or jump on bandwagons. I am my own person. If the majority says the sky is blue, I will probably say the sky is really black. Maybe the sky is only blue because of the sun’s light reflecting off the water and when the sun sets, maybe that’s when we see the sky for what it really is, black.

I don’t do a lot of talking but what I am passionate about I will speak upon. I don’t shy away from the truth or bite my tongue when the spirit compels me to speak just because it makes people uncomfortable. As Malcolm would say, “I don’t scratch my head unless it itches and I don’t dance unless I hear music.” I believe a person can be both humble and firm in their beliefs at the same time without forcing those beliefs on others.

The truth should never be forced. There’s no reason for it. The truth defends itself by just being.

“You can’t help it. An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.”

– Nina Simone

Because of the controversial nature of some of my topics, I need to remember not to “cast my pearls before swine.” Not to force-feed or argue back and forth with people who have already rejected what I offer. You can’t make people believe anything so I am not here to force anyone to agree with me or to see my point of view. I am not here for praise or applause. I am here to tell the truth, and to build with those who are in agreement with that truth.

I am not for everyone and everyone is not for me.

PBS is a reminder of that, of why I am here and what I must do and that’s why I stuck by the name.

The Tagline

“Because Truth is Stranger Than Fiction”

When I first started this blog someone reached out to me. They said that I had made a mistake. They thought I had meant to say that truth is stronger than fiction. No. I did not mean stronger. I meant stranger.

“Truth is Stranger Than Fiction” isn’t just a fancy tagline put together by a writer of fiction; not something I dug up between the inspirations of Mark Twain. What it seeks to communicate is the notion that nothing we can create can be as unusual as what we find in actual life, and speaks metaphorically of the unsettling realness of truth. The “strangeness” of reality. You think something is weird until you find out just how deep the rabbit hole goes. You think my blog name is weird until you understand what it means.

Mission, Purpose Goal

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My mission for this blog is to spread truth through the written and spoken word. Whether we are talking biblical truths, historical truths, writer/authorly truths, or my personal truths. To paint poetic justice against the backdrop of heavy keystrokes is my motto.

To paint poetic justice means to use my writing as an underground railroad to freedom. If people can’t be liberated in their own lives, I hope that my writing can provide a road-map. Of course, this isn’t easy to do considering the heavy misinformation, deception, and religious ideologies that have enslaved us for so long. These are the heavy keystrokes.

Here you will find:

  • Poetry
  • Articles (various topics)
  • Creative Writing
  • Indie Author / Self-Publishing Tips
  • Blog Tips
  • Inspirational Quotes
  • Biblical Analysis
  • Black History
  • Music / Throwback Jams

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So there you have it. Doesn’t sound so weird now does it? Tell the truth 😁.

Misrepresentation

I know we are all still on a high from The Black Panther movie. It’s a great film. While we are in this space–this feeling of pride and empowerment– I’d like those who choose to do so to not let something else go over our heads. If you think about it, it is easy to miss. There’s so much happening around Black Panther, no one has said anything about the misrepresentation of ourselves (Blacks) happening right before our eyes. The misrepresentation I am referring to is The Samson Movie.

If you don’t believe in the bible you may exit now. I don’t expect this to have any significance to you. If you believe in the bible however then there is one thing we must realize about two things that have taken place before our eyes, overshadowed by the excitement surrounding Wakanda and T’Challa.

Both Samson and Nefertiti have been misrepresented. They have both been portrayed as Europeans when this is not the case.

(See my thoughts on Nefertiti Here.)

On February 16, 2018, The Samson movie came out. I don’t believe in coincidences so it’s no coincidence to me that this movie came out on the same day that Panther came out. Naturally, Black people will be excited about seeing themselves represented, for once, on screen. Naturally, we would support Black Panther over The Samson Movie. Naturally, we are tired of seeing white heroes. Naturally, we would miss this. I am asking you not to miss it. I am asking you to pay attention. Now, I am not asking you to go see Samson. Do not misunderstand me. I am asking you to realize that Samson was one of our heroes and he is being misrepresented in this movie. I am saying that Wakanda has got Blacks searching and talking about identity for once, which is great. Interestingly enough, Samson is our identity. The Israelites were black. The Philistines were black. The Egyptians were black.

As we are being represented in Black Panther, we are being misrepresented in Samson. Showing Israelites and Egyptians as Europeans is disrespectful. Do not lose sight of this. It is not a small matter. Samson was a very powerful man, a superhero with great strength. Black Panther is a great film with powerful symbolism and messages (that I hope to address soon. In the meantime, see my recent post on 6 Reasons Black Panther is Popular (and it’s not even out yet) I wrote before the movie released.) In short, Samson’s portrayal as a white man is just as offensive to me as Nefertiti being portrayed as a white woman and no one’s talking about it.

Beta Readers Needed

“Beta reader has been adopted from the software industry where programmers release a ‘beta’ version of a new program to people who will test it. The beta version comes after the Alpha version (a writer’s first draft). Beta Reader means someone who evaluates a manuscript. Beta testers find the bugs and improve the software’s usability before the final “release” version goes on sale. A beta reader tests your manuscript (by reading it), and tells you about the ‘bugs’ so you can improve its readability, its usefulness and even its sales ability.”  

– Belinda Pollard of “Write & Publish Like a Pro”

I am looking for people willing to “Test Drive” Keep Yourself Fulla short inspiring reminder that self-care nourishes the quality of our life and makes us fit to be of service to others.

Keep Yourself Full is perfect for:

  • Bible Believers
  • Inspirational / Motivational Readers
  • Poets / Creatives
  • Life Coaches

Having a few of you Beta read before the edit would be enormously helpful.

You’ll get a copy of the book in exchange for constructive feedback. You will also get to leave your Honest Review of the read once it goes up for preorder. 

As a reminder, the rules are as follows:

  • Download the book when it’s emailed to you.

 

  • Read the book and email me your feedback / suggested changes.

 

  • When the book is up for preorder, in return for the free book, you are to leave an Honest Review* on Amazon and any other retailer of your choice when it’s available.

*You can leave a review anywhere the book is available but to get credit a review must be left on Amazon*

About Book Reviews:

  • The review doesn’t have to be an essay, college paper or thesis. You are not required to be the smartest person in the room.

 

  • You are only required to leave your Honest thoughts on the book no matter how short or long, whether you liked it or didn’t like it.

 

  • Please leave a disclaimer at the front end of the review that you received the book as an ARC or gift from the author. Example: “I received a copy of this book as an ARC (or gift) from the author.”

 

  • Be sure that you notify me of the review in some way (tag me on social media, link to this blog, email me) when it’s posted so that you are given credit and remain part of the program.

This book is short so it won’t take up much time and is perfect if you fall into the following categories:

  • Bible Believers
  • Inspirational / Motivational Readers
  • Poets / Creatives
  • Life Coaches

Interested?

CLICK HERE SO THAT YOU GET A COPY WHEN IT’S EMAILED OUT.

I am looking for readers who are interested in something inspirational and motivational but also biblical and poetic with a touch of self-help and life lessons.

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Characteristics of a Proverb 31 Woman

Proverbs 31:10-31

Image Credit Compliance: Designed by Freepik

Who does find a capable wife? For she is worth far more than rubies.

= Capable, Precious, Rare 

The heart of her husband shall trust her, and he has no lack of gain.

She shall do him good, and not evil, all the days of her life.

= Kind, Trustworthy

She shall seek wool and flax, and with delight she works with her hands.

= Works Joyfully

She shall be as the ships of Tarshish, she brings in her food from afar.

= Goes the Extra Mile

She also rises while it is still night, and provides food for her household, and portions for her girls.

= Disciplined

She shall consider a field and buy it; from her profits she shall plant a vineyard.

= Enterprising, Sensible, Prudent w/ money

She shall gird herself with strength, and strengthen her arms.

= Energetic

She shall taste when her gain is good; Her lamp does not go out by night.

= Good Steward

She shall stretch out her hands to the distaff, and her hand shall hold the spindle.

= Diligent, Attentive

She shall extend her hand to the poor, and she shall reach out her hands to the needy.

= Generous, Compassionate

She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is dressed in scarlet.

= Provident

She shall make tapestry for herself; she is dressed in fine linen and purple.

= Elegant

Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.

= Influential

She shall make fine linen and sell them, and shall give girdles for the merchants.

= Industrial, Hardworking

Strength and splendour are her garments, and she rejoices in time to come.

= Poised, Balanced

She shall open her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.

= Wise

She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.

= Manages Her Home

Her children shall rise up and call her blessed; her husband too, and he praises her.

= Praiseworthy

Many daughters have done nobly, but you have risen over them all.

= Distinguished

Loveliness is deceptive and prettiness is vain, a woman who fears Yah is to be praised.

= Yah Fearing

Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

= Honorable

The Bible and Black History

4b97bb3247922b8da36c3838cca7ffdbSpeaking of Black History month, one of the primary concerns I hear among African Americans about the bible is: “Where am I?” With movies like Noah, Exodus Gods and Kings, and The Ten Commandments it is difficult for most black people to have faith in a book that rarely include them. In fact, many of them have been told that the bible is a white man’s book (which is not just insulting to black people but other nations as well). For centuries we’ve been taught that we’re non existent in this book or that we have small rather than significant contributions. But is this true? Were there any black people in the bible at all?

Fun Facts:

  • Location of The Garden of Eden:
    Pishon surrounding Hawilah > East Africa
    Gihon, surrounding Kush > Southern Egypt
    Hideqel, East of Assyria, Euphrates
A skull of Mitochondrial Eve was discovered, and through digitally reconstructing her features, this image was constructed.
A skull of Mitochondrial Eve was discovered, and through digitally
reconstructing her features, this image was constructed.

The Garden of Eden stretched from East Africa to the Euphrates River

  • Ham: Means Burnt Black
  • Moses, the Israelite, passes as the Grandson of the black, Egyptian, pharaoh for 40 years – Acts 7:22-23 (This means that he had to look just like him)
  • Kush > Ham’s first born son. Traced back to the Ethiopians and Nubians
  • Moses Hand Turns White – Conveniently left out of every 10 commandment movie is the second miracle. The one where Moses puts his hand in his bosom and it comes out white as snow. Wouldn’t be much of a miracle if it was already white- Ex. 4:1-7

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  • Paul mistaken for a black Egyptian – Acts 21:37-38
  • The Kushites lived south of Egypt in what is called the Sudan today.
  • The Israelites with dred locs: Numb. 6:5, Ezk 8:3, Samson, etc
  • The messiah’s feet compared to burnt brass, hair like wool – Rev. 1:14-15
  • Ethiopian comes from the Greek word Atheops meaning burnt face
  • Joseph looked like the Egyptians – Gen. 42:7-8
  • Egypt: Ham’s second born son < Blood brothers to the Ethiopians
  • Ethiopian > Burnt Face
  • Egypt > Burnt Black
  • Phut: The Somalians – According to the ancient record of Egypt, Phut has been traced back to the Somalians
  • Shem: Means Name
  • Elymites – Descendants of Shem, black men with Afros and full Beards