Oya: rise of the Orisas

I watched this video this morning on the way to work. I don’t know much about orisas but based on this short film, I’d be interested in seeing this turned into a full length feature, or maybe a miniseries.

Oya rise of the Orisas – African Superhero Movie from Nosa Nedion on Vimeo.

Truth In Advertising

It’s been a minute since I posted. Spent most of the summer working on my knitting challenge that I talked about in my last post. I’ll update with pics soon, but I’m working on my third scarf for holiday gifts this year.

A few days ago while talking with a coworker about shenanigans at work, I recalled a video clip I saw for the first time titled “Typical Day In Corporate America.” about workers at a corporate firm where instead of the characters spoke truthfully whatever was on their minds. Searched for the video clip and ended up finding the original short film it was taken from. It’s an old film, but hilarious. You might recognize one of the actors, a comedian who now stars in the improv show, “Whose Line Is It Anyway.”

Well here it is. One of my favorite all time YouTube videos. No matter what your work environment is, these folks have been your coworkers at some point. The story does live up to it’s name.

Reviews: Mother of George and I Am Slave

Last week, I checked out the independent film, Mother of George based on a recommendation from someone on twitter. 

The film originally played at the Sundance film festival and centers on Adenike and Ayodele, a recently married nigerian couple living in Brooklyn who have problems conceiving a child. Don’t wanna give away the plot, but Adenike, under pressure from her meddling mother in law takes desperate measures to become pregnant.

Various issues come into play during the story. Gender roles, traditional vs. western cultural values, cultural expectations and family dynamics. The cast are well known african actors, notably Danai Gurira from The Walking Dead as Adenike, the wife, Isaach de Bankole as Ayodele, Yaya Alafia who you may know as the runner-up contestant from season 3 of America’s Next Top Model, as Adenike’s best friend, and a cameo appearance from african singer Angelique Kidjo.

I also watched this movie, I Am Slave. The movie is a couple years old, originally a tv film produced for Britain’s Channel 4 is based in part on the story of Mende Nazer, an author and human rights activist who was also a former slave.

Twelve year old Malia, the daughter of a tribal leader is abducted from her family by arab soldiers who raid her family’s village in the mountains of Sudan. Malia is then sold to an arab family in Khartoum where she is forced into slavery for 6 years.
Later she is then sent to London where the brutality she endures continues but Malia struggles to make an escape.

An expose on modern day slavery in the UK, what got to me about this film was the way this inhumanity was happening almost in plain sight. The thought that you could be doing something as routine as walking down the street and someone living on your block is committing a crime against humanity is horrifying. Makes you think do you really know your neighbors.

The movie is available via netflix, but I also happened to find this post on youtube. You can watch the full length movie here.


Dark Girls Documentary: Review

Several months ago I blogged about the upcoming documentary Dark Girls that was on tour screening at various locations around the country. Last week they held a screening at the Apollo theater in Harlem which I had a chance to see.

Sidebar: It’s been a while since I’d been inside of the Apollo and knowing it’s an old theater, I forgot how tight the seats are. Anyone who is tall or plus size would be well advised to sit in an aisle seat if you attend any events there.

Like many darker skinned women, I can recount instances where I experienced bias and feelings of not measuring up to what was considered the standard in mainstream society; that of the coveted light skinned, long hair, neither of which describes me. I don’t recall my earliest memory of bias, but I think what is most poignant in this movie is showing how early in life those messages are imprinted in a child’s psyche. Whether it comes from family, friends, media.

The documentary was a mix of interviews of scholars, ordinary folks, and featured actress Viola Davis, who recently starred in the movie The Help. Each gave an account on how their experiences of prejudice affected their self-esteem. Also shown was that well known scene of the young black girl interviewed by a child psychologist who when asked who is the prettiest when shown pictures of children with varying skin tones, points to the white child. Then when asked which child is the ugliest, points to the darkest skinned child. No matter how many times I’ve seen it, I shake my head.

If you’re well versed on the issue of colorism within the black community, the information provided will be nothing new, but it was still entertaining and the major point of the film is that regardless of how many years have passed and how much progress the community has made, this issue of skin color preference still persists. There were funny moments as well as some that caused tears to be shed. Whatever your experiences may be as a darker skinned person in the US, there was something for everyone to relate to.

Afterwards was a brief question & answer session with the directors, Bill Duke, and D. Channsin Berry. Most of the audience response was positive with folks recounting their own experiences with skin color bias. However, there was one woman who for reasons unclear, seemed to be preoccupied with wanting to know why the directors chose to make a film about dark skinned girls first as opposed to light skinned women. Then became miffed when audience members expressed displeasure. The directors finally responded a film about light skinned women was already in the works, followed by a film about men.

The only drawback was that tickets were expensive. But the screening also served as a fundraiser to help with promotion & distribution. Some of the subject matter will be a little hard for young children to understand, but teenage girls would do well to see the film. Do try and check it out if it comes to your city.

Dark Girls Website

Pariah: movie review

After hearing some great views of this independent black film, I had a chance to check it out at the cinema at Lincoln Center while on vacation from work. (BTW, must try their parmesan truffle popcorn, it’s to die for!!!!!)

Without spoiling the plot, Pariah (directed by Dee Rees & executive produced by Spike Lee) is a coming of age story about Alike, (pronouncec Ah-lee-kay), a young African-American lesbian from Fort Greene, Brooklyn struggling to embrace her identity and coming out to her family. Lots of themes are explored in this film including her complex relationship with her traditional, homophobic mother and her police officer father who seems to be in denial of his daughter’s sexuality. Complicating things further are her openly gay best friend, Laura who is eager to find Alike her first sexual partner and a bi-curious girl with whom Alike has a budding romance.

Regardless of sexual orientation, anyone can identify with the struggles of adolescence and establishing your own identity. The film is often compared to Precious which though cover vastly different subjects, also deals with that coming of age identity crisis as well.

The film also notably features Kim Wayans, sister of Director Keenan Ivory Wayans & comedian/actor Damon Wayans. If the only thing you remember of her is her comedic performances from In Living Color, you’ll be quite surprised at her dramatic performance as Alike’s mother.

View the trailer here…

Dark Girls: Preview

News of this upcoming documentary about skin color issues in the black community has been viral all over social media and on numerous blogs. In our culture where many times what is considered beautiful still leans towards the lighter end of the spectrum, it’s not often the spotlight is upon those of us who are of a darker hue and even rarer that our stories get told. I come from a dark skin family and my complexion qualifies for an epic failure of the paper bag test. Watching the preview I can relate to all of the stories told by these women, having been through my share of discrimination & rejection based on skin color, hair texture and features. Look forward to seeing the full feature when it debuts on screen in the fall.

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