Native Son is a movie based on one of my favorite books out of High School, back when I first started college and began my journey of literally devouring Black Literature. So, the first thing I noticed about this trailer is that it’s a modern adaptation. If you’ve read the book, you know the story was written in 1940 and takes place in the 1930s. Bigger Thomas is a young black man of only 20-years-old and is living in extreme poverty on Chicago’s South Side. The movie appears to have a modern spin and Thomas doesn’t appear to be as poor as he was in the book.
I won‘t lie. In the first three seconds of seeing the trailer, I was surprised to see the military look of the jacket and beret bigger wears because that is not the persona of the Bigger in the book. Bigger in the book is more so laid back (at least that’s how I pictured him). Like all book adapted films, I am expecting everything not to be exactly the same while hoping the plot resembles the book and that things aren’t too modern even with the modern adaptation. I admit I kinda hoped it did take place in the 1930s. I’m a Historical Fiction writer after all so of course I think they could have left the timeline alone. I guess I fear the whole “black revolutionary” thing is becoming too much of a trend. Like he’s gotta be militant because being “black” is cool now and everybody’s “woke” or whatever.
Anywho, excited to see this though!
Apparently, it has already aired so I’ll be looking for it. I might just reread the book before I do and of course, I’ll be sure to blog my thoughts.
In the meantime, have you seen this? Looks like it premiered two days ago (4/6). How was it?
Langston Hughes fans check it out! A documentary is on the horizon. Click through to the original article below. And for a fun, fictionalized sneak peek into the life of Langston based on real historical events, be sure to check out Renaissance: The Nora White Story book one, now just 99cents on Amazon.
Because Eric Killmonger is a reflection of many Black American’s on a much deeper level than T’Challa. In fact, many Black American’s do not know T’Challa. They know Eric. This is why most Black Americans, more so than sympathize with him, empathize with him. They can put their lives into his shoes.
Saying this, I have only read two articles that brought up the real concerning the conflict between T’Challa and Killmonger (cited below). I liked that they put this conflict in the movie because (as I believe one of the actors pointed out) there is a private conversation among Black Americans concerning the relationship between those who have been taken captive and those who have not. As I’ve stated on this blog time and time again, Africa is a continent with over 50 countries and even more nationalities of people. That said it’s impossible for a people to be called African as nationality because it does not specifically point to a place of origin. Which country in Africa are we talking about? Where in Africa can you claim? Who in Africa would claim you? Herein lies the conflict between Eric and T’Challa.
Here’s the phrase that has captured our hearts:
Killmonger was left behind, left out and rejected from among his people. He was locked out of the greatness of Wakanda and forced to grow up in the gritty streets of Oakland. His struggle and longing for a place of belonging and nationhood is the exact sentiment of the Black American. This statement (“…bury me in the ocean with my ancestors that jumped from the ships…”) is proof that he is a descendant of those who have been taken captive via The Transatlantic Slave Trade; a Wakandian by blood but rejected. Not privy to the knowledge and advancement of his homeland, Killmonger attended instead American Universities and studied his culture from a distance. Having grown up in America, not even Killmonger’s name is a reflection of his identity. His name is Eric which is not as exotic as T’Challa. It does not signify or denote any kind of place of origin. Eric also does not speak with an accent and uses language common to any Black American male growing up in the hood.
Eric is angry but rightfully so. He has had to watch his people suffer while Wakanda has thrived with resources that could have helped them. Eric wears his rage concerning the mistreatment of his people like a garment and does not understand how to direct that energy in a way that is less destructive. He reminds me of the young black men standing on the corners, full of rage, but without a way to release it in a way that is productive. Given the proper guidance, education, and resources, I believe these are some of the most powerful men the so-called Black community has. While many of us drive by them, shaking our heads and sighing, these boys are absolutely fearless and, like I said, given the proper direction can be the warriors they are descendant from.
While Killmonger’s temper gets the best of him, his desire to use the wealth of Wakanda as a way to help his people in America is a noble one (just don’t weaponize the vibranium by putting it into the hands of black people with no training in how to use it Killmonger. Train your people first lol.) For all of these reasons, and many more, I believe many Black Americans empathize and connect more so with Michael B. Jordan’s character than Boseman’s T’Challa. For many of us, Killmonger is the hero, choosing to die (symbolically and literally) with his people than to serve among those who have rejected him.
“Every time a Wakandan referred to Killmonger in the film, he was called an “outsider.” Even though he proved he was of Wakandan blood, he still wasn’t one of them. Killmonger grew up hearing stories about a home he’d never been to. He had knowledge of Wakanda’s wealth and culture but he had no access to it himself. While T’Challa was able to visit a lush, African landscape surrounded by his ancestors, Killmonger’s trip to his own ancestral plane led him back to an apartment complex, where he was mostly alone.”
“I refuse to see Killmonger as a super-villain. I see him as a super-victim of systemically oppressive forces, forces that forced him into a hyper-awareness of his dueled unwanted status in Wakanda and in America, due to having the blood of his mother, who was a descendant of black folks forced into the United States via the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. This two-pronged othering serves as the source of his super-power. His super-power did not derive from radioactive spider bites like Spider Man, or mythological alien strength like that of Superman. Killmonger’s character harbors a super-power more potent than the fictive mineral Vibranium, housed exclusively in Wakanda: Killmonger is the possessor of un-tempered black rage….Killmonger’s black rage is my black reality, and I cannot see Erik Killmonger Stevens as a villain because it would mean seeing myself as a villain as well (and as a black man in America, I have been vilified enough.)
T’Challa and Huey next to Yoruba Tribal ruler in West Nigeria sitting on throne surrounded by elephant tusks.
Personally, I liked both T’Challa and Killmonger for different reasons and enjoyed the Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X undertones embodied in the characters. Marvel’s Black Panther came out around the same time Huey Newton and Bobby Seale founded The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and it is believed that X-Men is based on The Civil Rights Movement. Created in 1963, fans allege that Stan Lee wanted to create a comic that showed bigotry and racism via fantasy and that Magneto and Professor X are direct correlations of Martin and Malcolm. In Black Panther, T’Challa and Killmonger also seem to have the same correlation. Those who were fans of Malcolm will definitely be a fan of Killmonger.
Furthermore, prior to Stan Lee’s comic and the organizing of The Black Panther Party, the term “Black Panther” existed already. The 761st Tank Battalion was an independent tank battalion of the United States Army during World War II. The 761st was made up primarily of African-American soldiers, who by federal law were not permitted to serve alongside white troops. They were known as the “Black Panthers” after their unit’s distinctive insignia; their motto was “Come out fighting.”
This is probably the most powerful movie out right now, specifically for the African American and I highly recommend it. This is not conspiracy theory, political, militant, or a religious type deal here and its even a step deeper than racism itself. This is real. I won’t go into it now because I want to give you a chance to go and see it. I’ll just say this: the movie is symbolic of the traumatic experience that black people have been subjected to in America since we got here. Your mind has been put into subjection since the moment you stepped foot into this land and the exposure of such high-level witchcraft is present in this movie. You have been under a spell since stepping foot on these shores. Or from the movie’s perspective, since you’ve stepped foot into that house.
Carter G. Woodson said that once you control a man’s mind you do not have to worry about his actions. You don’t have to tell him to go to the backdoor. Control his mind enough and he will carve one out for his special benefit. Why? Because his education makes it necessary.
The silent auction itself was very powerful. What is a silent auction and what is it symbolic of? Where do modern auctions of today descend from? Oh, so you think there just happens to be people bidding on paintings and furniture and that just came from, what? And what is silence? Silence is representative of a secret, something being done without someone else knowledge. Something hidden. What are they trying to tell you is still going on? Why did Martin Luther King Jr., say that he ran into people who had never seen money? Farming, but have never seen money? This thing is real. Watch the movie.
If you have not already read The Willie Lynch Letter, I recommend that too. Read that and then watch this movie and we’ll talk about it later.
I won’t say anymore, I’ll wait. Go see it. It’s worth the money.
“Black people are viewed as pawns in an international game of control and manipulation, and our worldwide misuse is an accepted by-product of business as usual.”
– Haki R. Madhubuti The Psychological Racial Personality, Bobby E. Wright
Welcome back to another Movie Night Friday. It’s obvious you guys don’t like the movies I like but nonetheless lol, here’s another EC Fav: Cooley High.
Cooley High is a classic! First, its set in my home town of Chicago and I have a cousin whose name is on the bathroom wall in one of the scenes. In fact, everyone from Chicago probably has a relative who was in this movie. That’s because while the starring actors were pros, the extras were recruited right from the projects. Yup, many of these kids lived right over there in the Cabrini Green Projects.
Now, what is the movie about anyway?
Richard “Cochise” Morris (Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs), a local basketball hero, and Leroy “Preach” Jackson (Glynn Turman), who dreams of a career in writing, are likable Chicago high school students in 1960s Chicago. They’re into hanging out with friends, pretty girls and the Motown sounds so popular during the era. Each wants to make it big in his own way, but not everybody they meet is looking out for them, as they learn when a seemingly harmless outing goes awry.- Google
A simple film, Cooley High captured our hearts because of its realness. Though I wasn’t born in 1975 when it released, I too once lived in the projects on the city streets of the Chi. I too can remember growing up poor with a single mom. Movies like this are relatable and showcase the realness and often the struggle of inner city youth. The history behind the movie is also interesting:
The story behind “Cooley High” is even more dramatic than the comedy-drama that unspooled on the screen. It’s the story of Kenneth Williams, who, like protagonist Preach, left Chicago’s Cabrini-Green projects with dreams of becoming a Hollywood screenwriter. Having dropped out of high school, he hitchhiked from the Windy City to Hollywood with $5 in his pocket and no connections, and for a while he supported himself selling drugs. But the aspiring writer, who renamed himself Eric Monte, also befriended actor Mike Evans, who’d been cast as neighbor Lionel Jefferson on the groundbreaking sitcom “All in the Family.” Through Evans, Monte pitched the show’s producer, Norman Lear, a script introducing the characters of Lionel’s parents, George and Louise Jefferson. Lear bought the script and eventually spun off George, Weezy, and Lionel into their own hit sitcom, “The Jeffersons,” but Monte was neither hired as a staff writer nor given credit or residuals for “The Jeffersons,” which ran from 1975 to 1985.
Monte and Evans would go on to produce the sitcom hit Good Times.
Since the movie is 41 years old, it was hard to find a Trailer that was clear enough and also interesting enough (Didn’t want to show scenes that made it look like a boring movie! It definitely is not). The one I found isn’t a trailer but just an excerpt from the movie. The only other option was from the old VHS and I didn’t enjoy that trailer. It wasn’t showing any interesting parts.
Yall know what this is, we’ve reached another Friday where I present some of my favorite movies and why I love them. Now, since I love Friday’s, today’s theme is Love and what better way to celebrate love than with a little brown sugar?
This is one of my most favorite movies. From the beginning until the end I was hooked. One reason is because the narration is so poetic. Sidney (Sanaa Lathan) is using her love for Hip Hop as a metaphor for her love for Dre (Taye Diggs), even though she would probably initially disagree with me. You see, Sidney’s got issues confessing her heart.
A Coming of Age Love Story, the spark was kindled between Sidney and Dre in the Bronx, on the corner of a New York Street corner, where together they witnessed the birth of hip hop. As time goes on music would bind them into a friendship that picks up some 15 years later. We see that Sidney is the successful editor of XXL magazine, a music critic, and Dre’s a successful music executive. As you can see, their love for music has driven them into their respective careers, but that’s not all. Their love for music has also driven them in love….with each other.
But, Dre has just proposed to this new honey, the beloved brown sugar of his dreams, sending Sidney into a wave of emotions. Though she has feelings toward Dre they have never actually been in a relationship. However, this new love in his life causes Sidney to reexamine her heart. Stubborn that she is, Sidney gets romantically involved with a professional basketball player and it seems the prospect of a little brown sugar with Dre is obsolete.
Will Sidney and Dre ever cross the line between friendship and romance? It is up to the music to teach them.
Funny Movie Mistakes
During the scene where Sidney and Dre are walking through The Mall in Central Park, you can hear someone giving set directions.
Welcome back to another week of Movie Night Friday, where I present some of my favorite movies and why I love them. Next up on our list is Malcolm X:
I still don’t understand why Denzel Washington could win an Oscar for Training Day and not Malcolm X, it is in my opinion one of his best roles (Washington did win the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor). Directed and co-written by Spike Lee, Malcolm X released in November of ’92 and is based on the life of Malcolm X from his Biography. It was a time where, after the crack epidemic of the 80’s, Black people had begun to pick up some inkling of consciousness. You’ll notice many movies in the early 90s where blacks wore Kufi’s, and Dashiki’s as an indication of awareness (even though not completely, there is always stepping stones that take place in our lives that start us on the right path). Needless to say Malcolm X was a hit.
The movie takes us through the life of Malcolm Little, his early life as a gangster and as a criminal and his transformation as the controversial Islamic, Black Nationalist leader Malcolm X. For the record, I am not a Muslim, but I love how Denzel showed Malcolm’s passion and anyone with access to YouTube can verify this in the eyes of the real Malcolm. It’s one thing to make a speech or stand for something, but it’s a completely different thing when you are sincere about it, when you have passion that comes from the depths of your very heart and Malcolm had this. He had this and it lit a fire under those who wished to be apart of change for the so called Black people. And because of the traumatic experiences of America, we more than our brothers and sisters in any other country worldwide, need the kind of discipline that Malcolm brought forward; a tough love if you will. I also love the outreach programs catered to the community and the re-instilling of a love of self; the teaching of black people to embrace, as Malcolm put it, “their beautiful black selves”. Of course today I have a different perspective on the whole black thing (as I do not believe our nationality is defined by a color, that we are from the lost tribe of shabbaz or that white people are devils, for the record), but this movie was a great first step for many young people, such as myself, to dig deeper into the question of nationhood. The movie even portrayed Malcolm’s awareness that the Hebrews, was (are) Black Skinned:
Yea Yea, ignore the title of the video because this isn’t about religion and it’s deeper than color, but the point is that scenes such as this is a great introduction to full understanding for someone who otherwise does not know.
Additionally, I loved the way Malcolm explained things because not everyone can do that. Yes, you say that you believe in something but what is that belief based on? And what do you mean? Malcolm spoke to understanding, he was precise, knowledgeable, and aware on a level that made your head spin. Just watching this movie alone makes me excited and compelled to do something. But of all this, the most important part of the movie, in which it was careful not to go into much detail, was the end, Malcolm’s split from the NOI (Nation of Islam)
You see, I cannot judge neither Malcolm X or Martin Luther King Dr., for what they were for the first part of their lives. For me, what’s important is how they ended their lives. Malcolm X left this world with a different outlook on life and I do believe he understood the truth completely. He discovered the lies and attempted to expose the truth when he was murdered, as did Dr. King (whose entire jaw was blown off as symbolism that you keep your mouth shut). You see, men of this caliber, who spark this much power among black people, they aren’t just killed by random acts of violence, they are murdered and this is not political mumbo jumbo nor is it conspiracy theory; this is conspiracy fact.
In 2010, Malcolm X the film, was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
Funny Movie Mistakes:
When Malcolm is talking on the telephone in an extreme close up, you can see the connector on the phone is one of the modern snap-in modular jacks. Telephones in the 1960’s did not have those.