Black Culture Month Part 1

I love Black culture. I love BLACK CULTURE!!! Sorry I just had to say it again because I really do and I love being able to say this. I wanna scream it from the top of my lungs but, that is probably still frowned upon in most places.

Black History Month 2021 has been, without me realizing it, me going out of my way to absorb content by Black content creators. And it’s been a like a warm hug. I’ve read books, watched television, listened to podcasts and music… It really has been a beautiful month. I want to make a few recommendations if you want to live out the rest of BHM as I did. I hope you are enjoying, learning, and consuming a lot this month.

A Love/Hate Thing by Whitney D Grandison was a wonderful surprise. I wasn’t really in the mood for a Highschool romance when I picked it up but, as it got going I couldn’t put it down. Every chance the book could’ve gone with cliches and made characters props or dimensional they didn’t. Things took place over time so you could get neck-deep into the group’s struggles.

The book let me make judgments about the characters only to point the finger at me for making those snap judgments. A lot of the book is about the things we automatically think about others and how we don’t always know their pain. I’ve read a bunch of books since this and I just can’t get it out of my head. I’m pretty sure I’m gonna pick it up again and from me, that’s high praise because I rarely read anything multiple times.

Band’s image from Bandcamp.

Meet Me @ The Altar has kept me a float on the tough days at work. I love the crashing sounds that remind me of my youth but, also have a kind of hopefulness that was missing from that old school Pop punk scene. The band is made of three Black women and it sounds just like the early 2000’s version of Paramore but, with just a litte edge. The song “May the Odds Be in Your Favor” has definitely struck a cord with me and “Garden” sweeps me into a head rocking, feet stomping, angst but, in a good way. I just love seeing my people in a genre that just never felt like was for me, y’know?

One Night in Miami was beautifully acted and written. Just knowing it’s Regina Kings directorial debut has me floored because each scene grips me and holds my attention even with the play aesthetic. Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr., Kingsley Ben-Adir, and Eli Goree do an amazing job showing  Jim Brown, Sam Cooke, Malcom X, and Cassius Clay at this point in their lives and ultimately their activism. Watching these actors stand not get swallowed up by the dialouge that could move mountains it was a treat.

Official Promotion Poster

Each man has a different viewpoint, and comes from a different place and throught talking (mostly arguing) they begin to see the Black struggle in different ways. Learning from eachother to become better leaders and clear the way for for others. It also shows just how much hasn’t changed from even before the Civil Rights Movement. These men were pioneers and it felt amazing to be a fly on that wall in that room.

Jim Brown’s first scene floored me watching him sit down with a man who sung his praises just for it to end in such a way… It was a cold shower of realization. Aldis Hodge played it perfectly to a letter and got me interested in man I didn’t honestly know that much about. The living man enjoys the film and I don’t want to ever know if this really happened or not. A great perhaps.

There’s a lot more I could say and there’s even more to talk about so I’ll leave this one here and I’m thinking about doing a part two so look out for that. So what else have you all been doing to educate, consume, and create this Black History Month? Checking my blog might be a start but, I hope you are keying into all the culture we have to offer. Good luck, Readers.

All images hold original copyright, no copyright infringement meant.

Soul

As I watched the movie huddled with my family for the first time in a year on my mother’s tiny tv in the tv room we grew up in. I felt… lucky. Lucky that my family hasn’t fallen apart with all that has been going on. I know not everyone has been this lucky but, for me streaming this movie and magnifying it in my own mind it felt like the time before.

Covid has taken less from me than it has for others and I am so grateful for it to have decided to skip my family. My mother has even gotten a vaccine and mine might be coming rather soon. An end to an agony of anxiety.

Soul is on the cutting edge of Pixar with a brilliant art direction. Soul is decidedly Black in a way that multiple times it hit home to an expierence I’m not always able to put into words. A lot of my original feelings about this movie and the metamorphic trope that continues to happen to black characters in animation feel unfounded with a movie like this one. But all of that went away when this movie started up and the first notes played.

You should watch Soul. The music was splendid, with each note played my heart answered. The art though exaggerated didn’t make black men out to be clowns. Which seems to be a problem for some in making animation. The animation spends time and money showing how each note is played. The city comes alive withe people of all body types and skin colors.

I think that it touches on so many of the themes I have felt thus far this year. There is no grand design and living life itself can be such a remarkable thing. I cried just whilst he was just playing My brother even called me out on it. I couldn’t help it. This movie just kept plucking my strings. Playing my heart like an instrument.

Each new idea Soul brings forth is a tantalizing string to pull. I have spent a lot of time day dreaming about their cosmos and afterlife. It has me reflecting on life itself as much as Inside Out had me thinking about what my emotional make up would be.

Recently, things that have made me cry happy tears has been when someone gets acknowledgement for something they’ve put a lot of work in. I want more moments like this in my life and seeing Joe finally get the recognition his skills was bouying in such a turbulant time. This movie was just thing to cap off that 2020 feeling.

Rest In Peace Chadwick Boseman

I have spent much of this day mulling with my feelings of grief of what exactly I wanted to say. We lost a king last night. A man who through his own determination he lived with cancer and became a hero to millions of people. With his ability he helped to start a movement, shatter a long held myth in Hollywood. All of this while fighting for his life. All of this while fighting for his life. I will always look up to Chadwick Boseman.

I know he had other impactful roles, like Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and Thurgood Marshall; I also found him one of the best parts of Da 5 Bloods but, Black Panther changed my life. For the first time in an extremely public way I was out and proud to be Black. Not just with my family but, on social media, on the street, in my friendships. I felt proud of my skin, my culture, my history, and our culture. It healed some broken part of me. I’ve become way more outspoken on Black issues and began fighting for them in my every day. Thank you Chadwick Boseman.

When I see all the art and the pictures of people crying I can’t help but to share their pain. I was foolish enough to believe death couldn’t hurt me anymore but, last night showed me I was wrong. My deepest condolences to his family and everyone who’s in mourning. You gave us Wakanda,you will be missed, Chadwick Boseman.

Rest In Peace to our King. Rest In Peace to our Black Panther. Wakanda Forever!

I wrote a blog post a while ago about Black Heroes. He is one and he will always be. I borrowed this artwork from Vicbazaine. Thank you.