The Kings of the four seasons by Marcella Muhammad
The Black male image
I was talking to a collogue of mine, Phillip, about the youth of today and his statement was that the young people today are worthless and dangerous and don’t have respect of other or themselves. He continued on to state that the men are the worst of all. Phillip continued to talk of our generation that were raised within the movement, Martin Luther King’s struggles and Malcolm X and the Panther movement. How we called each other Brother and not Daug. How we respected out mothers or get our asses tore up from the floor up. How the community would discipline us if we were bad and when I parents got home we got it again. Phillip reminded me of how we were sent out to get a switch for our beating and if we came back with a flimsy one our parent would to out and get a bigger one and really tear us up. His mother kept a spatula that never touched food unless ass was food.
I agreed in principal with Phillip about how we grew up but I really knocked him off his high horsed dissertation when I reminded him of one simple fact. The simple fact is that we are the parents of the youth of today and in many cases we are the grandparents of the many of the youth of today. So it is true that we had that foundation of community pride and community awareness and togetherness, we are the ones that failed to transfer our foundations to our children. Upon hearing this Phillip went into a frantic fuming fever of denial. Rather than accepting blame, he is a father, Phillip had to evoke the "S" word.
"Slavery is the reason, Slavery set the Patten and blueprint to where we are today!!" Phillip went on to talk of the System the keep Black folks down and the System is making the youth menaces to society. Phillip's initial degradation of our young Black youths turned suddenly into trepidation and sympathy for our young menaces all because he didn't want to accept blame. I then told Phillip of my near fatal accident in 2003 which nearly crippled me. I told him that while I was in the bed for three months I only wanted to get into a wheel chair. Once I got into a wheel chair I wanted to stand on crutches. Once I got up on crutches I wanted to throw them away and stand on my own two feet. The system failed me because of insurance problems and hospital cutbacks I had to find my own way to wellness.
These are the words for the song The greatest love of all. Responsibility is in our hands. Slavery or the System is responsible for the challenges facing our youth and community. If there is a system that is killing and destroying our youth, it is our system. The only slavery that keep us down today comes from within. Our young men are digressing backwards in social class and importance and they are dragging us all down with them. We must realize we control much of the blame for Phillip was correct. We who came up in the sixties with the movement do have the foundation that should hold up progeny.
Just before I met Phillip for our early morning meeting, I sat outside watching young Black high school children going to school. Suddenly a "Grown Man" in his thirties pulled up and got out of his car. He preceded to pull and tug on his oversized jeans that had shifted down almost to his knees. As he walked along side the young Black children I was wondering which was the "Grown Man" and which was the child. The foundation is crumbling because we are giving images detrimental to the development of our youth. Just look at some images:
The latest of the gun slinging explicit keeping it real image is "Get Rich or Die Tryin." Just what our young Black men need to see is how to carry guns and talk with filthy mouths. This form of Blacksploitation is part of a long line of the same type of movie as "New Jack City"," Born Gangstaz," "Boys N The Hood," "Juice," "Jason's Lyric," " We Come Strapped," " Murder Was the Case," and "Menace to society." Violent and destructive to the black male image. This is the foundation we are dispensing as we run off to see these movies. The images being matted into the minds of our young Black youths are to accept the stereotypes of what the idea is of being a man is. Contrary to popular thinking I don't advocate the censorship of these kind of movies. there are realities we must come to grips with and these movies bring those realities to the forefront. My only objection is that for every "Godfather" movie there are ten "When Harry Meets Sally" movies within white community of films. We don't have that same ratio of positive images to offset the negative ones.
Another troublesome trend that attacks the image of the Black male are the true to life Beautiful Black Queen in trouble movies. Low down, we Black men beet, rape and right out destroy our ladies. that in the end our women would be better off without us.
Steven Spielberg, proving he's one of the few modern filmmakers who has the visual fluency to be capable of making a great silent film, took a melodramatic, D.W. Griffith-inspired approach to filming Alice Walker's novel. His tactics made the film controversial, but also a popular hit. You can argue with the appropriateness of Spielberg's decision, but his astonishing facility with images is undeniable--from the exhilarating and eye-popping opening shots of children playing in paradisiacal purple fields to the way he conveys the brutality of a rape by showing hanging leather belts banging against the head of the shaking bed. In a way it's a shame that Whoopi Goldberg, a stage monologist who made her screen debut in this movie, went on to become so famous, because it was, in part, her unfamiliarity that made her understated performance as Celie so effective. (This may be the first and last time that the adjective understated can be applied to Goldberg.) Nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including best picture and actress (supporting players Oprah Winfrey and Margaret Avery were also nominated), it was quite a scandal--and a crushing blow to Spielberg--when it won none. The digital video disc requires flipping to play the whole movie. --Jim Emerson
Based on a novel by Terry McMillan, this weepy melodrama about four African American women and the men who wronged them became an instant cultural phenomenon when it was released back in 1995. It's easy to see why Exhale struck a nerve: the movie boasts an attractive cast of African American actresses and personalities, including Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, and Lela Rochon. Unfortunately, though, Exhale sags under the weight of its soapy, crisis of the week plotting and relentlessly cheery "you go, girl!" optimism. And African American men, cast here as insensitive lovers and pigheaded materialists, get the very short end of the feminist stick. Perhaps moviegoers were simply responding to the brilliant soundtrack by R&B superstar Babyface, who provided the movie's only real groove. --Ethan Brown
Nicole Taylor (Renee Goldsberry) postpones law school to be with Robbie, the love of her life. Ambitious, intelligent, successful and irresistible… he was everything a woman wanted. Until one night at a party celebrating Robbie’s success, she painfully discovers that she was just a pit stop on his roadmap through life. She leaves Los Angeles to start a new life in San Francisco, where she moves in with her best friend Lisa (LisaRaye) and gets a job waiting tables at Toomies, a jazz supper club. Nicole’s caught by surprise when Lisa leaves for a month, subletting her room to Brian (Terron Brooks), Robbie’s estranged younger brother. Brian has wandered the globe the past few years escaping the pressures of his family name and all that comes with it. Forced to share living and work spaces, Nicole and Brian can’t avoid each other. As their attraction grows, they are also forced to deal with their painful pasts to open themselves to another chance at love…
Few movies are made with the personal fervor of Diary of a Mad Black Woman. When Helen (Kimberly Elise, Beloved) is literally thrown out of her house by her callous lawyer husband (Steve Harris), her sense of self unravels. She finds herself on the doorstep of her gun-toting grandmother Madea (cross-dressed Tyler Perry), who sets Helen on the road to dignity and forgiveness--with a few detours along the way. The plot of Diary of a Mad Black Woman unfolds in a dizzying mélange of styles, from soap opera to campy comedy to chick-flick romance to gothic revenge to inspirational tale of redemption. Perry, like Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor, plays multiple roles in a family, two of which are over-the-top scenery-chewers while the other is a sincere, generous family man with a drug-addicted wife. This everything-including-the-kitchen-sink approach reflects the play's origins; Perry adapted the screenplay from his enormously popular gospel play, a genre of melodrama featuring extreme emotional drama and whiplash inducing plot turns. Some viewers will clutch this movie to their breast as a cinematic feast; others will see it as so schizophrenic it borders on the surreal. But either way, Elise's charismatic performance will keep you engaged throughout. Also featuring Cicely Tyson (Sounder), Shemar Moore (The Brothers), and Judge Mablean Ephriam (Divorce Court). --Bret Fetzer
Plot Synopsis: A successful and married black man contemplates having an affair with a white girl from work. He's quite rightly worried that the racial difference would make an already taboo relationship even worse.
Spike Lee's 1991 story about an interracial relationship and its consequences on the lives and communities of the lovers (Wesley Snipes, Annabella Sciorra) is one of his most captivating and focused films. Snipes and Sciorra are very good as individuals trying to reach beyond the limits imposed upon them for reasons of race, tradition, sexism, and such. Lee makes an interesting and subtle case that they are driven to one another out of frustration with social obstacles as well as pure attraction--but is that enough for love to survive? John Turturro is featured in a subplot as an Italian American who grows attracted to a black woman and takes heat from his numbskull buddies. --Tom Keogh
Based on these images a third of black men of menaces who are either in jail, on their way to jail or on parole form jail. They are violent and dangerous. Another third are abusive, cheating rapist who only destroy their Black Queens with deception and violence. Another third are successful but want white women and not Black Queens. there is another third that are low down, bare backing, down low HIV/AIDS spreading animals, and yet another third . . . . Waite that is too many thirds. Black ladies have no chance of happiness or success in loving relationships if the images portrayed are true representation of reality.
Let me get this out of the way: is sexism present in every major society and culture? Yes. But, Black male-bashing - especially about violence and gender issues - is a perennial American sport that never seems to wane in popularity. We expect such anti-Black male behavior as a matter of course from white media pundits and some white feminist theoreticians. However, Black male-bashing is especially disappointing when it comes from a notable person in the Black community, one who claims to be concerned with issues of Black self-esteem and Black "self-lovvve." (I'm always suspicious about someone who blathers on about "lovvve" all the time, like some pop psychology, "New Age" 'therapy' placebo.) Unfortunately, as listeners to Bell Hooks on the San Francisco, KQED-FM, public radio show, "Forum," discovered on January 27, 2003, this Black feminist author falls into the category of out-of-context Black male pathologizing. It seemed more an exercise in Black cultural self-hatred.
Appearing on the program along with acclaimed author, professor and public lecturer Michael Eric Dyson, Hooks was ostensibly invited to discuss her latest book, "Rock My Soul: Black People and Self-Esteem." But her statements on the program (whether or not they accurately reflect the content of her book) focused, of course, on Black (especially male) psychopathology - not on Black self-esteem. By doing so, Hooks feeds into the smug and superior fascination that white media programs, such as Michael Krasny's "Forum" show, seem to have with cataloguing everything that is supposedly pathological or deficient with Black people - especially with Black males.
Hooks even sniped at Dyson, asserting that his latest book containing practical suggestions for improving the Black community, including gender relations, is well beyond the intellectual capacity of young Black men. Yet she claims that young working/underclass Black males in the ghetto are all clamoring for her academic books on feminist theory. Such Black underclass males are now, no doubt, abandoning hip hop slang in favor of post-structuralist, post-post-modernist, critical theory argot. I can just hear the bloods now: "Indubitably, the narrative of our lives is bound to descend into nihilistic miasmata vis-à-vis a discursive self-actualization of our sublimated faculties."
On "Forum," the "pathology" Hooks concerned herself with was what she purports to be a sheer "epidemic" of Black male low self-esteem. This, host Michael Krasny posed, could be evidenced by the so-called tendency of Black male celebrities to become involved in relationships with white trophy women. To judge by the tone of Hooks' response, a foreign person unfamiliar with American society would imagine that this at-best numerically occasional practice (concentrated in - imagine that! - the status-conscious Hollywood and sports milieu) is nearly ubiquitous. As if every red-blooded Black male in the country is desperately running out to marry a silicone-enhanced blonde. In truth, the attention given to this subject during the program reflects more host Krasny's or Hooks' distorted obsessions, rather than its true overall significance in the national Black community. Additionally, I assert that Black male physical abuse of even white trophy wives - abuse emphasized by Hooks - are not events inherent to Black males, but have everything to do with how men of any color seeking trophy wives tend to regard them as property.
Even more revealing than Hooks' inflation of the phenomenon into a raging epidemic is her bizarre theory of the supposed cause of such behavior: Black male sexual trauma, she claims, caused by suffering sexual abuse in childhood, which she asserts is common within the Black community. Similar "trophy wife" hunting on the part of white alpha males - the winners get the tall, skinny, leggy blondes with the pouty lips and the big breasts - is seen as a reflection of superficiality, ego, and the generalized commodification of women endemic in American society. Whereas, when the same behavior occurs in Black males, it is attacked as an especially Black pathological problem.
read more chick here
Bell hooks, (nee Gloria
Watkins), Her use of a pseudonym arose from a desire to honor her grandmother
(whose name she took) and her mother, and a concern to establish a 'separate
voice' from the person Gloria Watson. feminist theorist, cultural critic,
and writer, is the author of numerous books. Dr. hooks received her B.A.
from Stanford University, M.A. from University of Wisconsin and Ph.D. from the
University of California, Santa Cruz. She lectures to audiences around the world
in her dedication to helping her readers develop a “critical eye.”
"Lying in my girlhood bed waiting to hear the hard anger in his [her father's] room, I use to think, `If only he would die, we could live,'" hooks recalled. "Later, as a grown woman waiting for the men in my life to come home - the men who were more often than not a caring partner, but would sometimes erupt into violent fits of rage - I used to think, `Maybe he'll have an accident and die. Maybe he'll not come home and I will be free to live.'" She continued: "Women and children all over the world want men to die, so that they can live. This is the most painful truth of male domination."
The emotions express by Dr. Hooks of having us dead so they can live is something I can identify with based on the history of us and based on the images of us. Us being the Black man. I truly wish we, who are becoming enormously extinct by our own hands, and diminishing in stature, also by our own hands but with some help from peripheral sources, I wish we would realize we must BE men. Man is not defined by carrying guns, making babies or making good money. Being a Man is Respecting your Lady, Parenting your Children, and bringing your money home to your family. I also wish the community would fight to produce more positive images to allow our young men to see that we can be men of substance. Throw away the crutches and take responsibility. Educate, Motivate, Counselate, Propelate good images. Give our ladies, or Queens a reason to no longer wish us to die so they can live.
As I stated before, for every "Godfather" or "Burning Bed" there are ten "When Harry met Sally" or "Love Story." We don't have that ratio but there are some good images of Black professional men and men who can show love to a Black Lady. So few and so far between but we must ensure that our young men get the picture.
Eddie Murphy makes a graceless debut as a romantic lead in this comedy from Reginald Hudlin. Murphy stars as a ladies man for whom the tables turn when he suddenly finds himself taken for granted by a lover (Robin Givens). Meanwhile, the platonic friend (Halle Berry) whom Murphy regularly visits is obviously--to the viewer, anyway--the woman he's supposed to be with. The absurdly long film is filled out with some fairly crude humor, such as the sight of Geoffrey Holder taking a whiff of Grace Jones's underwear. Yet Hudlin and Murphy also strain for a veneer of elegance and sophistication. Wanting to play it both ways, they end up with nothing. But there are several good sequences where Murphy is quite funny just being Murphy, such as his explanation to Berry of how you can tell which characters in an old episode of Star Trek are destined to die. --Tom Keogh
It looks like writer-director Rick Famuyiwa started a popular trend with his marriage-jitters comedy about three friends who reminisce about their lives together as one prepares to leave the group when he gets married. Everyone who rushed to see The Best Man should catch this sleeper which also stars Taye Diggs (as Roland, the reluctant groom), as well as Omar Epps and Richard T. Jones, who together provide charming, cheerful performances full of warmth and humor. This buddy story is told through flashbacks to 1986, when the three met at public school. The young men gain our affection in their competition to win the most girls, which enhances the bond of loyalty we see in them as men on the eve of Roland's wedding. The casting of the boy actors is almost spooky in its perfection, especially Sean Nelson (who had already proven his acting acumen in American Buffalo) as the younger version of Epps. Although the cast is African American, there's no color bar to the themes or entertainment the movie offers, providing a salient lesson to network TV producers under attack by the NAACP for their inability to include characters of color in TV shows. Instead of stereotyping the characters by placing them in "the hood," where gang members and tragedy rule, this life-affirming comedy depicts the lives of members of "the wood," which refers to Inglewood, a middle-class suburb of L.A. that general audiences will find easy to relate to. --Lloyd Chesley
At a time when theaters were clogged with insipid romantic comedies for a predominantly white audience, Deliver Us from Eva offered a smart and sassy alternative. It's another variation of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, beginning when Ray (James Todd Smith, a.k.a. LL Cool J) accepts a $5,000 challenge to seduce Eva (Gabrielle Union), an alleged man-hater who dominates her three sisters and the men in their lives, who are desperate to be "delivered from Eva." It's a sitcom plot from start to finish, with no real surprises. What lifts Eva from its potential doldrums is the sensible negotiations that emerge between the would-be lovers, and a sharp screenplay that allows Ray and Eva to arrive at a mutual understanding that's richer and more mature than most comedies would bother to allow. By giving its characters an opportunity to show their truly attractive colors, Eva is delivered to us, claws retracted, and ready for love. --Jeff Shannon
Think of it as a male version of Waiting to Exhale. The Brothers similarly features four good friends who offer each other advice and support as they navigate the strange and treacherous waters of romantic relationships. Jackson (Morris Chestnut) is a doctor with serious commitment problems; he has dreams about a woman in a bridal gown aiming a gun at him. Brian (Bill Bellamy) is a lawyer with a caustic view of the opposite sex, inspired in large part by his untrusting and unaffectionate mother; he also has commitment problems. Upwardly mobile professional Terry (Shemar Moore) is a well-muscled womanizer who's finally decided to settle down, but as the wedding draws close it becomes clear that he, too, has commitment problems. Fortunately, the fourth member of the quartet, Derrick (D.L. Hughley), is married and devoted to his family--except that his wife refuses to engage in anything but straight missionary sex, which Derrick sees as manipulative. The Brothers depicts a glamorous world in which everyone is good-looking and well dressed; the number of characters makes it hard to delve into anyone's life with any depth, but the actors are engaging and the script makes an effort to look at the "battle of the sexes" from both sides. The immensely charming Gabrielle Union (from Bring It On) plays the girl who just might convince Jackson to give up his single ways. --Bret Fetzer
Few things can be more noble than a wholehearted effort to tell the story of black secular music in America, especially through the eyes of a mid-20th century rhythm-and-blues vocal group breaking through race barriers to popular success. Comedian and filmmaker Robert Townsend's The Five Heartbeats (1991) is one such ambitious effort. If its story frequently sags under epochal burdens, the film makes up for it with a surprisingly tough look at the music business and classy appearances by Diahann Carroll and hoofer Harold Nicholas. Townsend plays one-fifth of the titular act, whose collective life and times we follow from 1965 to the 1990s, through friendships, break-ups, and re-groupings. The director's script, co written with Keenen Ivory Wayans, is wobbly and short on good material for the women in the cast. But several of the male actors are quite strong, particularly John Canada Terrell as an original Heartbeats replacement. --Tom Keogh
other movie of interest:
* Madea's Family Reunion DVD ~ China Anderson
"Wrong entertainment lowers the whole living conditions and moral ideals of a race."
A quote from the Hays Code instituted March 1930