Last year Darryl Duncan of Gamebeats Studios wrote and produced a beautiful song dedicated to Trayvon Martin and the children killed by violence. We celebrate Trayvon’s 19th year with the song “18”. What do you think of the song?
Turns out BIM Distribuzione developed the controversial 12 Years posters featuring Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender without authority from the studio. The company recently issued an apology along with a revised poster prominently featuring Chiwetel Ejiofor. The New York Times Artsbeat blog has the scoop: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/12/27/distributor-apologizes-for-movie-posters-ignoring-chiwetel-ejiofor/?_r=1#!
If you’re asked to write a recommendation, give a LinkedIn endorsement, or you want someone to write one for you, take some composition tips from Frederick Douglass, one of history’s greatest abolitionists and orators. Frederick Douglass’s statue was recently unveiled June 19 at the state Capital in Washington D.C., an honor long overdue. Douglass was an impressive writer and an edifier of those he admired. In 1868, Douglass wrote an exemplary letter of endorsement for his fellow comrade freedom fighter Harriet Tubman, who was extraordinary in her own right. A biography had just been written about her daring exploits as the conductor of the Underground Railroad. She was referred to as the “Moses of Her People”.
I bet Frederick and Harriet would have been tight LinkedIn buddies, don’t you agree?
Read and take notes.
Rochester, August 29, 1868 – “Dear Harriet: I am glad to know that the story of your eventful life has been written by a kind lady, and that the same is soon to be published. You ask for what you do not need when you call upon me for a word of commendation. I need such words from you far more than you can need them from me, especially where your superior labors and devotion to the cause of the lately enslaved of our land are known as I know them. The difference between us is very marked. Most that I have done and suffered in the service of our cause has been in public, and I have received much encouragement at every step of the way. You, on the other hand, have labored in a private way. I have wrought in the day – you in the night. I have had the applause of the crowd and the satisfaction that comes of being approved by the multitude, while the most that you have done has been witnessed by a few trembling, scarred, and foot-sore bondmen and women, whom you have led out of the house of bondage, and whose heartfelt, “God bless you,” has been your only reward. The midnight sky and the silent stars have been the witnesses of your devotion to freedom and of your heroism. Excepting John Brown – of sacred memory – I know of no one who has willingly encountered more perils and hardships to serve our enslaved people than you have. Much that you have done would seem improbable to those who do not know you as I know you. It is to me a great pleasure and a great privilege to bear testimony for your character and your works, and to say to those to whom you may come, that I regard you in every way truthful and trustworthy. Your friend, Frederick Douglass.”
— Excerpt, “Letters Of A Nation,” Ed. A. Carroll
- Frederick Douglass statue unveiled in Washington DC (thegrio.com)
- Harriet Tubman: Abolitionist, Bad-Ass (thetruthaboutguns.com)
- Harriet Tubman and the Combahee River Raid (moorbey.wordpress.com)
…And on the 3rd Day of February, between gliding leather bullets and human collisions; amidst frantic cheers and tears under the annual ritual we call the Super Bowl; God saw fit to allow the airing of a 2-minute TV commercial; One that tugged the hearts of armchair America, a Dodge Ram spot that paid homage to the caretakers of our land: So God Made a Farmer.
The commercial eloquently captured the blood, sweat and toil of this dying breed who faithfully provide sustenance to America’s families. And yes, I was riveted by the still photography and stirring 35 year old delivery of legendary radio broadcaster Paul Harvey. But as I sat mesmerized, I waited to see an image that spoke to my heritage. What flashed before me were close-ups of stoic white men whose faces drowned out the obligatory medium shots of a minority token or two; Their images minimized against the amber waves of grain.
God made a Black farmer too. Where was my Grandpa, Grandma and Great Granny? My Auntie and Uncle Bolden? And didn’t God make Hispanic and Native American farmers? They too were under-represented.
I am the offspring of a century and a half of African-American caretakers of the land, from Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana, who experienced their toils and troubles, their sun ups and sun downs. Their injustices and beat-downs. I wrestled with my mixed emotions; loving the commercial and feeling dejected at the same time. Come to find out. It is not an original concept at all, but a direct rip from the Farms.com website. Tsk, tsk, tsk.
Farmer isn’t original, but the execution is still stunning, so much so, you can easily miss the whitewash. Minimizing positive Black imagery and accomplishments is as American as wrestling cattle. We’re often footnotes or accessories in history books, TV shows, movies and magazines as well as TV commercials. When content is exceptional, the omission is harder to recognize or criticize. Some friends of mine saw – or rather felt – the omission as I did. Others did not. I say be aware and vocal about how you are represented – if represented at all, otherwise your importance and relevance will be lost.
What do you think of the Farmer spot?
- Dodge Ram Copied Its ‘Farmers’ Super Bowl Spot From This Farming Site (businessinsider.com)
- You Will Either Love Or Hate Dodge’s ‘God Made A Farmer’ Super Bowl Ad (businessinsider.com)
- Super Bowl ‘Farmer’ Commercial Explained: Where Ram’s ‘God Made A Farmer’ Ad Came From (huffingtonpost.com)
Okay folks, we’ve seen it all when it comes to fashion and fads within African and African-American culture, bleaching creams, gold grills, sagging pants and now, pink lips. Yes friends, tattooing the bottom lip pink (or red, if you prefer) is the latest fashion craze among many men in Nigeria. Why oh why, do they decide to permanently mark their lips in such a fashion? A Lagos tattoo artist said he’s “cleaning up” black lips by painting them pink. Recipients of the procedure say pinker lips attract the ladies.
Personally, these tattooed pink lips remind me of demeaning stereotypical caricatures from back in the day where darker skinned Blacks who did sport lips that had pinkish tones were mocked by exaggerated, demeaning and racist images. One image comes to mind: Little Black Sambo. Ironically, he was a beloved storybook character, an adorable little coon with pink lips that got into mishaps and misadventures. Sambo was as popular as today’s Wimpy Kid Diaries or the enduring Curious George. Thanks to the Black Power Movement, we managed to eradicate most negative imagery – pink lips and all.
Now a half century later, on the shores of the Motherland, we see this pink lip buffoonery being embraced as a fashion statement. If you ask me, I think it’s yet another attempt to alter the unappreciated, much hated reality of black skin.
To my misguided brothers who think their black lips would look “Pretty in Pink”: Embrace and celebrate your true colors. Ditto to the brothers who hate their naturally pinkish bottom lips. I pray that this pink lip trend will not cross the shores of America, or anywhere else in the Black Diaspora.
What do you think of the pink lip craze??
- Crazy Fashion: Nigerian Men tattoo their lips pink! (habariganiamerica.com)