Pages

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

'Moonlight' Director Barry Jenkins & Cast



I'm looking forward to seeing this film. It looks really interesting. Just a thought: I think that Oprah and the OWN channel has created a real market for black drama (for lack of a better term). This is a chance for some actors to really shine. It features Andre Holland; I really enjoyed him on The Knick. It also features British actress, Naomi Harris from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. I really love that the actors are not one dimensional and stereotypical. There seems to be some diverse characters from what I've seen of the trailer. I guess that it remains to be seen.  I'm just glad that it's not a comedy. Black actors in Hollywood don't always have to make the audiences laugh. Sometimes, the audience needs to cry. In fact, we all need a really good cry after living through 2016.  Thank you, Mr. Jenkins. 

Friday, October 07, 2016

Nat Turner Could Preach!


For a long time I have kept silent, I have been quiet and held myself back. But now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out, I gasp and pant. I will lay waste the mountains and hills and dry up all their vegetation; I will turn rivers into islands and dry up the pools. I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth…” Isaiah 42:14-16

After teaching my afternoon class today, I went to Germantown, Maryland to see the film, The Birth of a Nation. The film was co-written and directed by starring actor, Mr. Nate Parker. I was excited for a chance to see this film that I have been waiting for in anticipation for many years. In recent years, I imagined or hoped that Spike Lee would take on the project or maybe John Singleton. Besides, I thought that Singleton did a great job on Rosewood, which was also a period film. However, one of my favorite actors, Nate Parker, took on this historically riveting and controversial narrative and I was not disappointed.

Before I arrived at the theater, I read a few of the reviews from “reputable” media sources. Many of them trashed the film. They spoke of the numerous historical inaccuracies of the film and declared it a failure. They even revealed pertinent scene information that I considered a definite spoiler alert. However, I did not go to see this film in search of historical accuracy. Sure, I initially looked for correlations in my understanding of the narrative, but when I saw what Parker was trying to convey, I understood. It's art. I know the history of Nat Turner. I have been aware of his history for as long as I can remember; however, I saw the director’s interpretation of the that history as a sort of creative nonfiction.

For instance, the narrative of the insurrection and battles against armed militia as they pressed towards Jerusalem (present-day Courtland, Virginia) was historically inaccurate. There was even a change in the narrative of how Nat Turner was eventually caught, but I thought, ‘what does it matter?’ He was caught. He was captured, dismembered, executed, and mutilated beyond imagination. So, yes, I noticed the differences in the film, but that didn’t bother me.


I was more concerned by how hurried the film seemed in its storytelling. For instance, I wanted to see more of Nat and Cherry’s (Aja Naomi King) relationship as husband and wife. I wanted to see Nat as a teenager and his development into a young preacher. There seemed to be a rush to get to the insurrection, which, by the way, I did not find particularly gory as it was described by other reviewers. In fact, the director seemed to spare us much of the gore that happened in the true, historical narrative.

Also, there is somewhat of an emphasis on religion and African heritage. There are many scenes that seem to honor the African ancestors as well as their language and traditions. For instance, the opening scene depicts a sort of ritual involving the young Nat Turner (Tony Espinosa), and the circle of participants were speaking in an African language. Also, Nat’s character mentions his grandparent who was brought directly from Africa. Along with the Great God Almighty, Africa becomes Nat Turner’s source of strength, identity, and perseverance.  

Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. 1 Samuel 15:3 

As for religion, the director does not criticize the Bible or Christianity. Rather, he points out the use of the Bible as a justification for slavery. He also uses Nat Turner to dismantle and tear apart the misinterpretations and untruths associated with the Bible, servitude, and the dutiful slave.

Well, should you go and see the film? Yes, I urge everyone to see The Birth of Nation. Perhaps you will see something different, but I predict that it will, at least, cause you to think. Also, we cannot deny the timeliness of the film considering what is going on here in the United States with the killing of young black men. God help us – God help us all. Meanwhile, rise! Rise! Rise!

Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.  Psalm 96:1-3

Amen


Rating: 3 1/2 Stars out of 5

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Billie Holiday - "I'll Be Seeing You"





I've been thinking about Billie Holiday's music all week. I guess it's just that season. The weather is cooling off and perhaps I associate her music with autumn days. I don't think of her music as sad, but it does cause me to be contemplative and dreamy. I think of these times and her times. I think of the world, but not as it is but how it could be. Yes, I am a dreamer. I supposed that is what helps me to cope. God keeps me sane. Well, I just dropped in to share my thoughts. I'll be seeing you...soon. ~PEACE

Tuesday, September 06, 2016


I ascribe a basic importance to the phenomenon of language. To speak means to be in a position to use a certain syntax, to grasp the morphology of this or that language, but it means above all to assume a culture, to support the weight of a civilization. Frantz Fanon, (Black Skins, White Mask - 1952, trans. 1967) 

Note: This quote influenced the naming of my blog, Morphological Confetti. "To speak" is to create like Abracadabra which is said to be an Aramaic phrase meaning "I create as I speak." I hope that you have enjoyed my creations. Merci, monsieur, Fanon. Merci.

Laurence Albert - Sietes Canciones Populares EspaƱolas by Manuel de Fall...



I am the first to admit that I do not know much about opera, but I've always admired it as a dramatic musical form. I especially admire those who have the talent to perform it on the world stage. I must also admit that when the performer is of African descent, it makes it especially interesting to me. I recently came across the music of Professor Laurence Albert, and I must say that I was impressed. It caused me to want to learn more about the opera. I see myself getting dressed one evening for a night on the town with opera! I will, of course, be accompanied by my wife who also loves the music. Perhaps I will have the pleasure one day of seeing Mr. Albert perform live. That will be a treat. Meanwhile, I will try to see what is offered here in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. I'm sure that there is much to see and hear. This featured video is just a taste of the professor's mellifluous baritone voice. To find out more about Laurence Albert, click his name. Thank you for sharing your gift to the world, Laurence. I'm looking forward to hearing more. Applause.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Haiku and Video



Haiku #10


North Jersey winds sweep
Over hills, sands, and wet lands
A sandpiper twerks

Sea Lion Woman - Christine and Katherine Shipp





I love what Nina Simone did with this song, but this original adolescent song is so pure and innocent. I love it.  It goes to show how much of a cultural preservationist Nina Simone was through her music. She not only sung and preserved African American culture but American culture. She was and still is a treasure. Nevertheless, thank you Ms. Christine and Katherine Shipp for this lovely rendition. Peace~ 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Journal Entry




Journal entry:

Today, I tried to fall back into a rhythm - a living rhythm. I've been "off" for the last couple of weeks, but I'm am slowly getting back into some sort of routine. Then again, perhaps this is my chance to break away from routine. I don't know? There are just times that I strive for "normalcy" whatever that is or isn't.

Anyway, I went to the library, sat in the lobby, and started reading a biography about C.S. Lewis. My father gave it to me as a gift while he was here in Washington for my mother's home-going service. We recently had a conversation over the phone concerning Mr. Lewis, so, I guess that he felt it would be a good gift. He was right. Besides, good things usually happen after he gives me a book. Yes, that is the superstition that I have decided concerning my father and books. Plus, it's a chance to have something beyond surface conversation with my father. Who cares about the weather and classes when we can exchange thoughts about a great writer and theologian. Besides, no one else in the family is likely to have that conversation. Peace~

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Thoughts and Writing update


I haven't commented lately on my progress with writing. I have been writing periodically over the month of June, but I have taken a break to finish summer grading and spend time with family. Now, I am getting back into my writing mode. I'm still searching myself for direction concerning a theme or focus for my next collection. I feel that this will make me more focused with my writing. Then again, that approach may hinder. Perhaps I will just write (not rush) and allow things to just fall into place. What do you think?

Nonetheless, I will write. In fact, I must write. When I search my intentions, I find that my desire to continue writing is based on my need for creative expression. I love the reaction that readers give to my words. Sometimes, I think of those words being adapted for screen or stage. That would be the ultimate manisfestation of creative expression.

Well, I hope that my next update will show progress. Until then, take care, stay cool, or stay warm depending on your location on this planet. ~Peace

Photo: Alex Haley statue in Annapolis, Maryland

Yolonda Ross: The Get Down