Black History Fun Fact Friday – UNDERGROUND TV Show

Since the TV show I want to feature today as part of our “Movie” Night Friday was Underground anyway, I decided to combine it with Black History Fun Fact Friday since it is on the same lines.

Today, we are discussing Underground, one of the most powerful TV shows on right now. (One of the deepest movies is GET OUT. You must check into it if you have not gone to see it).

First, let’s catch you up:

Wikipedia: About Underground

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Photo Credit: WGN America – Underground

“Driven by the dreams of a courageous blacksmith named Noah, some plantation slaves in 1850s Georgia band together to attempt a daring escape. The fight for their lives, their futures and their freedom leads to Noah’s risk-filled plan to travel hundreds of miles away via the Underground Railroad. The landmark 10-episode anthology is created by Misha Green (“Sons of Anarchy”) and Joe Pokaski (“Daredevil”) and co-executive produced by John Legend, who also oversees the series’ score, soundtrack and musical elements.”

Trailer of Season One:

We are now in Season Two and it is already off to a blood racing start. One of the reasons I love this show is because it is well-written, something that does not happen often on television. What I mean by well-written is that the history is accurate. While there are plenty of sad parts (as slavery was not pretty) it is well balanced with factual information. The creators (and actors) of this show didn’t just throw something together. They did their research.

Who Ran the Railroad – The Underground Railroad is often portrayed as being ran mostly by white abolitionists with lots of people. While white abolitionists and Quakers surely helped, a lot of the people running the show were free blacks from the North too and I love how the program shows this (though subtly) by having Rosalee and the others front and center of the operation and not in the background just being “carried” by the helping whites. “…very few people, relatively speaking, engaged in its activities. After all, it was illegal to assist slaves escaping to their freedom. Violating the 1850 Act could lead to charges of “constructive treason.” Being an abolitionist or a conductor on the Underground Railroad, the historian Donald Yacovone related in an email to me, “was about as popular and as dangerous as being a member of the Communist Party in 1955.”

– Henry Louis Gates Jr.

The most noted black man who helped to run The Underground Railroad is William Still who operated with the assistance of white abolitionists. William Still, a free-born Black, became an abolitionist movement leader and writer and was also one of the most successful Black businessmen in the history of the City of Philadelphia. Next week, I’ll do a Black History Fun Fact on him with more details.

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Humanizing Harriet Tubman – Another thing I see is that the writers and directors of Underground humanizes Harriet Tubman. As much as we complain about too many “slave stories” we really don’t know as much about slavery as we think we do, first because we weren’t there and second because we don’t study history. All we really know about Harriet are the quotes we read but in this show she is brought to life and has feelings. She is brave but also fearful. She is fierce but also concerned. She’s a warrior but still a woman; a gentle mother-like figure to Rosalee (The Black Rose) as she takes her under her wing. One of the ways to which Harriet is humanized in addition to these emotions is the calling of her by her nickname: Moses.

Female Moses – Also, called “General Tubman” people began to call Harriet Tubman Moses because of her leading her people out of slavery like Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt. The powerful thing about this to me is that we are the same people. There is countless evidence of the physical appearance of the ancient Israelites but not just the physical appearance but also the culture of the people. After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 c.e. by the Roman Emperor Titus and his general Vespasian, we fled into East Africa (Ethiopia, Egypt, the Sudan, etc.) and from there migrated to other parts of the African continent, widely settling on the West Coast to the extent that some tribal African nations still observe Hebrew customs and traditions. Tribes such as the Yoruba, Congo, and Ashanti can still be found keeping laws that can also be found in the Old Testament.

Upon The Transatlantic Slave Trade and our enslavement in the U.S. and pretty much everywhere else (we did not just come into America but were spread across the four corners) we sang many songs (spirituals) that told the history of who we were as a people before slavery. These songs, like “Go down Moses” and “Wade in the Water” (for which a lyric is, “Who’s that dressed in white, must be the Israelites”) was not just the symbolism of a spiritual people but the history of a people who lived the lyrics. Thus, Harriet’s nickname is powerful not just because her leadership in freeing her people from America is symbolic of Moses freeing us from Egypt, but also because she is his ancestor. In the words of Malcolm X, “You are the people of the book. You are the lost sheep.”

Harriet Tubman’s Spells – Speaking of Moses, I was excited to see that they put this in the show because it is a fact we don’t hear often. Harriet Tubman suffered from severe headaches, and seizures. She also had a form of narcolepsy where she would fall asleep without notice. Her condition caused her to have visions believed to have helped her in her missions. They showed this in Wednesday’s episode when she fell asleep at the table.

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Aldis Hodge as “Noah”

Full Beards – I love the full beards and the masculine image of the black man. It was a subtle thing but present. I imagine Moses, David, or Gideon wore beards like that. Nonetheless, this is how men grew their beards back then, very thick and covering the whole lower face. Sometimes you couldn’t even see their mouths.

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Photo Credit: WGN America: Underground

Slave Examinations / NFL Combine Evaluations – Speaking of black men, they showed you how enslaved blacks were inspected when they were looking at Noah’s teeth and body when he was in jail. (Speaking of jail, such physical examinations also happen there.) Enslaved blacks were naked and examined before they were bought to show potential buyers that they were of good stock and to determine how useful that person would be based on age, size and health. With the NFL combine, evaluators try to project the player’s longevity. Players strip down to bare minimums to have their bodies pricked and prodded for size and strength in an eerily similar way as their ancestors were pricked and prodded by slave buyers. The more they can get out of a player, the better. Enslaved Blacks worth was similarly judged by what the plantation owners believed they could get out of the enslaved long term.

Moss on the Tree – Another subtly, it is a testament to the story’s attention to historic detail. As Noah is trying to escape his captors, he notices the moss on the tree. This told him which direction he was going because there’s a tendency for moss to grow on the north side of the tree in the Northern Hemisphere.

Sweet-grass Baskets – The baskets the women carried on their heads are sweet-grass baskets, one of the oldest handcrafts of African origin used to separate the rice seed from its chaff. Speaking of women, we didn’t even talk about how fearless they were. I loved the part when Elizabeth thought they were going to pull out sewing items but they pulled out guns but I will stop here.

I hope I’ve sparked enough curiosity for you to go ahead and watch the show! Or at the very least get some young people you know to watch it as a History lesson. It airs every Wednesday @ 9:00a CST on WGN. (No one paid me to say this. Maybe I should ask for a check).

Underground Season Two Trailer

Movie Night Friday – After Earth

Welcome back to Movie Night Friday. Doggie, say hi.

The Dog EC Hired to Help Host Movie Night Friday.

I know what you’re thinking “That movie was whack”. Which is exactly why we are reviewing it today! This movie has so many messages it’s not even funny. And as a box office disappointment worldwide, I am sure that many of us missed them.

About.

From Wikipedia:

In the 21st century, an environmental cataclysm forces the human race to abandon Earth and to settle on a new world, Nova Prime. One thousand years later, the Ranger Corps, a peacekeeping organization commanded by General Cypher Raige (Will Smith), comes into conflict with the S’krell, alien creatures who intend to conquer Nova Prime. Their secret weapons are the Ursas, large predatory creatures that hunt by “sensing” fear. The Rangers struggle against the Ursas until Cypher learns how to completely suppress his fear, a technique called “ghosting”. After teaching this technique to the other Rangers, he leads the Ranger Corps to victory. Meanwhile, Cypher’s son Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) blames himself for the death of his sister Senshi (Zoë Kravitz) at the hands of an Ursa. Kitai trains to become a Ranger like Cypher, but his application is rejected due to his recklessness. Kitai’s mother Faia (Sophie Okonedo) convinces Cypher to take Kitai on his last voyage before retirement.

The movie gets going after their spaceship crashes due to an asteroid shower. The crash kills everyone on board except for Cypher and Kitai but Cypher’s leg is broken. It is then up to Kitai to move across the dangerous planet to where the other part of the ship landed to retrieve the instrument that will allow them to access the help they need. The planet is dangerous and filled with animals and aliens that kill humans. Welcome to earth.

As stated, there’s a lot in this movie but I am drafting this late and so I’m kinda tired. Buuutt, I like you. (Kinda …lol)  So I still managed to choose five of the key lessons that stuck out to me:

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#1. You’re Not Ready

In the beginning of the movie, Kitai is rejected from being a ranger which makes him upset. However, sometimes we think we’re ready for something that we have no idea we’re not ready for. We can feel ready but without the experience of enduring the necessary hardships it takes to get to that level, we will not actually be ready. Without falling and getting back up babies do not learn to walk. Kitai is a baby and still has a lot of fear in his heart.

#2. Fear is not real

This leads me to the next, most prominent message. The most popular quote from the movie:

“You have to remember, fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real, but fear is a choice.”

Cypher explains this to Kitai after explaining how he Ghost for the first time and even though it’s a movie, I do believe it is true. We choose to be afraid and we choose what fear makes us do. Danger is real and it is only foolish not to prepare for danger but the act of being afraid is something we choose to do. Why? Because we limit ourselves to physical limitations but faith? Faith is limitless and where there is faith, there is no fear. Where there is fear, there is no faith. The two cannot coexist.

#3. Ghosting

Speaking of fear, one of the dominant messages in the movie, the thing that Kitai set out to perfect is Ghosting. It is when the soldiers can rid themselves of fear. When this happens, the aliens cannot see them, thus they Ghost. This gives them an upper hand and they can now defeat the enemy. Throughout the movie Kitai’s goal is to be like his dad and Cypher is known for Ghosting. It is what makes him strong. (There’s another part to this. Masking his emotions makes Cypher stronger but it also makes him weak in a way because by coming across emotionless and cold he is unable to connect emotionally with his son).

To fight your demons, you must rid yourself of the fear of them because fear is the power they have over you. I remember watching Nightmare on Elmstreet. At the end, Nancy turned her back on Freddy and he disappeared. Once she let go of her fear of him, he could not exist. Maya Angelou said the greatest of all virtues is courage because you can’t practice anything consistently without courage. Fear will always hold you back.

#4. Your Father Knows Your Heart / Leads, Guides You

One powerful scene is when Kitai lied about his number of breathing elements. Since humans are no longer in tuned with the earth, the air has changed and can kill them so they have to take breathing fluids. Long story short, while Cypher can’t accompany Kiati on his mission because of his leg, he can see him, monitor him and guide him along the way. Kitai can’t see his father physically but he’s there watching over him. Anywho, Cypher asks Kitai how many breathing fluids he has left and he lies about it. When he lies the heart monitor goes off. Cypher asks him to repeat his answer. His father knows he’s lying. The message is that a father (Like YAH our father, the creator) knows our hearts. He also watches over us and guides us. Even though we cannot physically see him, he’s there.

#5. Endure Trial

Once Kitai spent time in an environment that tested his faith and forced him to move passed the fear, by the end of the movie he was actually ready to be a ranger. Not that he wanted to after what he and his father had been through but in essence he was ready. When you ask for strength be ready to receive it. It is not something that will fall into your lap “Wilily Nilly”. It is something that comes only as a result of overcoming. Truth is, Kitai couldn’t be made Ranger at the beginning because he had never been through anything. (By the end Cypher also learns to be vulnerable with his son).

You see, the reason many people disliked this movie is because the movie itself is spiritual and packed with symbolism when most people just want to be entertained. Not only did Will and Jaden carry the entire movie but they did so well.

Movie Trailer

Next week, I will speak about the TV show Underground and why I love it. Stay tuned!

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HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!

 

Movie Night Friday – The Best Man

As promised, welcome to the resurgence of Movie Night Friday. Whoop Whoop! If you’re new to this blog, please visit the Movie Night Friday Page HERE and then take a look at last week’s post HERE.

The Dog EC Hired to Help Host Movie Night Friday.
The Dog EC Hired to Help Host Movie Night Friday.

 

Since this is the first week of our return, I decided I won’t go in hard. For our welcome back I decided to choose a movie that’s light and fun. One that is entertaining but also has many lessons that we can learn from. It’s been a minute since I’ve seen it but don’t worry, doggie and me was more than happy to re-watch it for you. To be transparent, I am watching it as I am writing this.

There aren’t many movies I watch just for entertainment but I do love this one (I’m a sucker for all black casts! Gotta love my people).  Probably one of Terrance Howard’s funniest roles, let’s jump right in shall we?

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From Wikepedia:

“Harper Stewart (Diggs) is a young man living in Chicago with his beautiful and devoted girlfriend, Robyn (Lathan). However, Harper has a professional life as an author and is on the verge of a major breakthrough. He is hesitant about committing to a woman. Harper’s debut novel, Unfinished Business, has been selected by Oprah’s Book Club, pretty much guaranteeing him a bestseller.

Harper travels to New York City, where his best friend, Lance (Chestnut), who is a running back for the New York Giants, is getting married to a young lady named Mia (Calhoun), who is also an old friend of Harper’s. Harper is picked up at the airport by his friend, Murch (Perrineau), and they catch up in the car. Eventually, they meet up with Jordan (Long), Harper’s old what-could-have-been female friend who has obtained an advanced copy of his book and has been passing it around their inner circle of friends. Due to its autobiographical nature, Harper never intended for any of them to read “Unfinished Business” prior to the wedding.”

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A romantic comedy, the movie surrounds the friendship between Harper and Lance leading up to his wedding. Harper is Lance’s Best Man and the movie deals with the tension building up to the point where Lance reads the book written by Harper and the truth concerning his perfect little Mia. Stupidly, Harper has laid out all the juicy details in his book.

What I love about this movie is that it has laughs, drama, and a message. It is not a movie I watch all the time anymore but whenever I need to relax to a laugh I put it on. Here are some bullet points and dear authors, don’t be Harper.

#1. Never write a fictional book based on real life events that you don’t want to get out.

This was by far the stupidest thing ever. First off, everyone knew who was who in the book, so even though Harper tried disguising the individuals, it was still apparent who they were. Harper, these are your college friends you still keep in touch with. They know you well. Did you really think they wouldn’t know who they were? People, if you want to air your dirty laundry then just do it. Don’t write a book about it.

#2. Ladies, don’t be controlling!

Murch and Shelby’s relationship is annoying. It’s annoying because the woman is controlling and the man is too weak to call her on it. We are supposed to be there to support our men, to stand by them, and to help them, not to control their every move. Men are natural leaders. Let them lead!

#3. Don’t Judge

Candy was a stripper yes but she ended up being the perfect match for Murch.

#4.  Don’t be a hypocrite

One minute Lance is quoting the bible and the next he’s giving Harper permission to cheat.

#4. You are not in control

The more we try to control what is beyond our reach, the more mistakes we are bound to make. Everything also happens for a reason. If Lance would have never found out, maybe Harper would not have appreciated Robyn the way he did in the end and the information could have come up later in Lance marriage and destroyed it.

#6. Be forgiving

Lastly, no matter what you go through in your relationship, be forgiving. Robyn could have walked out on Harper and Lance could have walked out on Mia.

Forgiveness is powerful not just because of how it changes the individual but how it changes everyone involved. You are not forgiving just for their sake, but for yours. Forgiveness is powerful because what goes around, comes around. The energy you put out will come back. It’s inevitable. If you want to be forgiven of your mistakes, then you must be willing to forgive others. It’s the only way.

As I did before, here’s the trailer to The Best Man and no, I do not recommend Best Man Holiday. As much as I love this movie I did not like the sequel. Not only do I not celebrate holidays but part two was just …whack. Some movies cannot be remade.

The Best Man Movie Trailer

Movie Night Friday is Back

One day, a couple weeks ago after posting the Underground Trailer, some ladies and me were talking and joking in the comments about movies. I mentioned that I should do movie reviews. But, I realized I was doing a version of this already. It was two years ago in a PBS Blog segment called “Movie Night Friday”.

If you’ve really been exploring this blog, you may have noticed the Movie Night Friday page in the sidebar. I have decided (while watching Lean on Me the other day for the 1,000th time) that I’d like to start this back up again. This is my second attempt at re-starting this feature so I am really going to try sticking to it. I am not sure why I am making more work for myself.

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The purpose of Movie Night Friday is simple:

To help you to get to know more about me through the kinds of movies / TV shows I watch.

There is little that I do just for the sake of doing it. That said, the movies / TV shows that I watch I do so for a reason as I stopped watching TV for pure entertainment a long time ago. I will start this segment up again next week. I will also now include TV shows.

Pop Quiz: What movie does this line come from?

“No matter how hard it gets we haven’t finished yeeet…don’t leave me with regrets cause we haven’t finished yet. Oh, no no no no nooo.” Lol.

The Dog EC Hired to Help Host Movie Night Friday.
The Dog EC Hired to Help Host Movie Night Friday.

Ya’ll like my sidekick? He says he will help me keep up with Movie Night Fridays.

Step y’all movie game up! Lol. Enjoy your weekend, we’ll see you next week.

Everything Must Move – What Watching Movies Taught Me About Writing

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This post was conceived while watching one of my favorite movies. Thus, as usual, it is based on my personal experience. So anyway, to the point…

I found myself paying attention to what was going on in the background of this particular scene in this movie instead of what the leading characters were doing. To better understand this, I challenge you to do the same. Choose one of your favorite movies, what’s going on in the backdrop? An old man is laughing with his wife. The waiter is walking away from a table, she looks down at the notepad before walking away. Behind her, the bartender throws a bottle into the air before catching it with his other hand and pouring the liquor into the long line of glasses in front of him. The waiter walks up to the bar, picks up two of the many glasses and walks them over to her table. The old man and his wife smile while nodding thank you.

What just happened? What happened is that there’s an entire event taking place in the backdrop of what’s happening in the forefront. Though not the center of attention, everyone in the scene moves. Though not the primary characters, everyone in the scene is doing something.

While working on my next project, I’ve found it helpful to make sure  that everyone in the scene from the smallest to the greatest has something to do, or has a goal they want to achieve (despite how small). There shouldn’t be any stick men and women. If we are at dinner, the people behind Nora’s table should be laughing or talking. Not so that it’s overwhelming, she is the leading lady after all, but they shouldn’t just be sitting there. There should be movement. For instance, in A Beautiful Mind, John Nash sits on a bench in front of the University. With him is his old roommate and together they sit there and talk. As they are speaking, there are people walking by, students, professors, and faculty members. And as the camera zooms in and pans around, we notice the people  are looking at John oddly.

For those of you who’ve seen the movie or who are familiar with the man John (this movie is based on a true story, Nash just passed recently matter of fact) you know that John Nash suffered from a severe case of schizophrenia. His college friend does not really exist. From the first time viewer’s perspective, John is just sitting there talking to an old friend. But if you notice the people in the backdrop, they are not just walking by, they are walking by and staring.  Why? You assume its because John has always been a little, well, off kilter. Weird. Odd. By the end of the movie however, you realize that the people are staring because John is sitting on a bench  talking to himself. They are staring because there is really no one there. Though not the center of attention, even these people have a purpose for being. In this case, they are hints that help lead up to the end of the movie so that it all makes sense.

I’m not saying writing fiction and writing a movie script is the same thing because its not. What I am saying is that everything around us can be useful to help us in our writing. Who says we can’t use non-conventional means to build on creativity? After all, that’s what creativity is anyway, inventing new ways to do things.

Since working on The Renaissance (my 2017 novel project) I’ve been using this technique (making sure everyone in the scene has a purpose) and its really been helping in my development of the story. It helps me to ensure that everything is accounted for and that there are no loose ends. From the protagonist, to the lady swatting at a fly standing behind her, everyone has a goal or a reason for being. Everyone and everything moves.

7 Thoughts on the New Roots

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When I first heard they were remaking Roots, I was skeptical. I thought, “Some movies do not need to be remade.” I admit, I was looking on the physical and thinking, “Maybe it won’t be as powerful as the first.” But after watching it I must say it remains one of the most powerful series on TV, followed by Underground.  But first, here’s a little History:

What is Roots?

Roots: The Saga of an American Family is a book published by Alex Haley in 1976 with a miniseries of the book that first premiered on television in 1977. During this post-civil rights era the show is about the ancestors of Alex Haley, particularly Kunta Kinte, who was kidnapped from his life in Africa and sold as a slave on the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. The Show was put out in a series of eight episodes to try and get it out the way as the networks didn’t think it would do well. However, the show proved them wrong, airing over the course of eight days and helping to galvanize a nation. See, to understand why Roots the remake is important in this day and time is to understand the history behind it and what it did to America. The TV series led to a renewed interest in genealogy from blacks who, due to slavery, felt robbed of their identity and cultural heritage:

If you weren’t there—if you’ve only known television in its post-Big Three networks era—it’s hard to understand the impact of the original Roots. Based on Alex Haley’s book of “faction,” the ABC miniseries’ 12 hours (with commercials) were spread across eight consecutive nights in January 1977, an unprecedented programming move that consolidated the show’s status as an event. The subsequent audience ratings were also unprecedented: 85% of television households, or 130 to 140 million Americans (more than half the U.S. population) saw at least part of the series; an estimated 100 million viewers tuned in for the two-hour finale on Sunday, January 30. – http://www.biography.com/news/alex-haley-roots-tv-show

1. Our Culture

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In the remake, it well represented the ancient culture of the African American. For centuries they have taught us we were animals running around naked with large hoops in our ears and swinging from trees. Taught that we were just Africans. While no TV show has gone as deep as to proclaim the unadulterated truth concerning our roots (not even Roots), I enjoyed the pieces of it sprinkled in the opening village scenes in the beginning because its an accurate portrayal of some of our culture. I loved that they showed the ancient garments, the head wraps and the midwives. Even the spreading of the palms to the heavens to pray. This is what we did and how we did it.

2. Stripped

By the time Kunta was on the slave ships he’s naked. Now we’ve seen this before in other shows, but what does it mean? This is highly significant of being stripped of your entire way of life. Gone is the beautiful blue garb, gone is the honor and the esteem, gone is the culture, and gone is the name that defines who you are.

3. Names

I don’t want y’all to sleep on the name part. Kizzy told Chicken George, “Your name is who you are. My daddy took beatings to protect his name”. Very powerful. People like to take names for granted. Often we look at them and they don’t hold any real significance but names are very important. Take away a persons name and you strip their entire identity. Your name is your character, and your persona. Your name is who you are. When we were stripped of our name, we were stripped of everything.
“People say what’s in a name? There’s a whole lot in a name. The African gets respect because he has an identity and cultural roots.” – Malcolm X

4. Biblical Insight

One of my most favorite scenes is when Chicken George introduced his mother Kizzy to his future wife and father-in-law and she said to him: “Massa don’t want you teaching about Exodus. About how the children of Israel walked across the red sea to freedom. He tore that right out the book.” Very powerful scene. Why? Because it’s the whole reason we weren’t allowed to read and write. Massa just didn’t say you couldn’t read because he thought you were an animal, an inhumane being. That’s only part of it. He didn’t want you to read because he didn’t want you to read the bible. Now why is that? Because the bible is black history.

5. Whites Persecuted

Another powerful thing this show portrayed is the persecution of Europeans who help blacks. This is also something they showed in the TV series Underground and I think its something that African Americans cannot sleep on. There are, and have always been, those of other nationalities who were wiling to help blacks to their deaths. Blacks were not the only ones lynched and maimed and murdered but also those who helped them.

6. Less is More

I didn’t like that they cut the series in half. I think it was too short. I also found it funny initially that Kunta’s character wasn’t switched out like in the first one so he looked the same throughout the series. However, I noticed that instead of going verbatim to the original they filled in those parts of the story that were missing from the first part. This was smart I think of the directors because this version has its own original feel. I thought this new Roots wasn’t going to be good compared to the first one but in truth they each are separate shows. While they tell the same story, the new Roots has a modern feel to it. Lawrence Fishburne, T.I. and Mekhi Phifer make their appearance and Kunta is a beast!

7. Now or Then?

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I don’t think the new roots can compare to the original. To me, the 1977 version will always stand as a classic. I also do not think the original could speak to today’s youth like the new one can, which makes it an original of its own.

We have to consider that 2016 is not 1977. It’s a different world and the new roots is a fresh way of introducing to new generations the legacy of Roots.

Movie Night Friday – Dead Presidents

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This is not my absolute favorite movie (It’s not say, Lean On Me or Malcolm X) but its one of those I can watch over and over again nonetheless. Not to mention the sound track is off the chain.

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I love movies that have a little bit of everything in it: Action, Drama, and Romance (well, kinda). I could be partial to this one since my husband is, after all, a veteran.  But, I will say it sheds some light on how Veterans are treated in this country. You go over there to fight for a country that won’t fight for you. So anyway, yall know on the streets they call money “Dead Presidents” or at least they used to back in the day. So this movie is obviously about some people after that bread, but that’s not why I like it. I like this movie because although it’s a sad one, its also very real. The struggle is real. “America, this be some kinda hard place for brown colored skin in the springtime.” And that hard time can make people do some crazy things. Here’s what the movie is about:

In the spring of 1969, Anthony Curtis (Larenz Tate) is about to graduate from high school, and decides to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps rather than go to college. He is sent to Vietnam, leaving behind his middle-class family, his pregnant girlfriend Juanita (Rose Jackson), and small time crook Kirby (Keith David), who is like a second father. Anthony’s close friend, Skip (Chris Tucker), later joins Curtis’ squad after flunking out of college, and his other friend, Jose (Freddy Rodriguez), is drafted into the Army. Once in the Marines, Curtis and his squad lose several fellow marines during combat, and commit several atrocities of their own, such as executing enemy prisoners and beheading corpses for war trophies.

When Anthony returns to the Bronx in 1973, after four years of service, he finds returning to “normal” life is impossible. He finds Skip is now a heroin addict, Jose is a pyromaniac, and Cleon (Bokeem Woodbine), a religious yet deadly staff sergeant that was in his squad, is now a devoted minister. After being laid off from his job at a butcher shop, Anthony finds himself unable to support Juanita (who had an affair while he was on duty) or his daughter. After an argument with Juanita, Anthony meets his girlfriend’s sister, Delilah (N’Bushe Wright), who is now a member of the “Nat Turner Cadre”, a revolutionary militant group. Anthony, Kirby, Skip, Jose, Delilah, and Cleon devise a plan to rob an armored car making a stop at the Noble Street Federal Reserve Bank of the Bronx.

What a plot! Whew. Although it is my thought that everybody and their mamas should have seen this movie already, I’m sure many of you have not. You have got to see this movie! What are you waiting on? Time to upgrade. (Meanwhile, I’m going to see the new Xman 🙂 ).

Movie Trailer: