Category Archives: black history

Django Unchained: I’m not interested in any movie where black women are repeatedly raped

I don’t know about you, but a movie featuring mildly thought out black female slave characters who are repeatedly raped at a club for white slave owners is not my idea of a great film.  I don’t want to see a female slave raped in front of her husband.  I don’t want to see her tortured and degraded…or locked in a cage naked.  OH and I’m not too keen about this content combined with a whole lot of other blaxploitation style slave torture (Whippings, beatings, etc).

What am I talking about?  Django Unchained.  The upcoming Quentin Tarantino film set to be released in Dec 2012 that black women need to start protesting now.  I mean really!!  We need to get on this, SIS. (I’m not going to even start on how I’m not for this movie coming out the month after Obama wins…again.  Let’s be real, no black person will want to see this if he loses either.)  Remember when Disney tried to give the first Black Princess the name “Maddy” (Too close to Mammy)?  Yep, WE got that changed and that wasn’t as bad as this.

Some sistas are ready to organize: “If all goes as the leaked script has planned for this “comedy”, audiences will get to see the character “Broomhilda”, an enslaved Black woman, naked for almost her entire time on screen, flashing her breasts on a slave auction block, and graphically raped – repeatedly – throughout the movie, at least 4 or 5 times, by individual and groups of white men. It’s also reported that this character is degraded in other ways throughout the movie, like being doused in mud, locked in a cage, and raped in front of her husband. Supposedly, all in good fun. And judging from Tarantino’s history of extremely graphic and offensive imagery in his past “comedic” works such as “Pulp Fiction”, the imagery used to degrade Black women in this so-called “comedy” will not be lighthearted fare. ” (Stop The Media Smear Campaign Against Black Women)

The script leaked and the reviews are all over the internet from those who have seen it.  Sure, Sure, a script can change and this one should if what I’m reading is correct.  Jamie Fox, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kerry Washington have been named as potential actors interested (Here is a list of the roles in the movie).  I don’t think they would sign on to something as terrible as what I’ve read, but you never know.  The economy is bad.  Hell, Jamie did star in “Booty Call”.  He’s apparently up for the lead role.  Funny thing, people who’ve read the script are saying that the lead is not the “Mandigo”/Nat Turner role people think it’s going to be.  He’s playing second fiddle most of the film to a German bounty hunter who takes him under his wing.  Think of Tommy Lee Jones working with Will Smith’s character in Men in Black…but make Will a slave.  Yeah, something like that.  A slave revolt/retribution movie with a white male lead as the star.  That’s Hollywood.

Shadow and Act says: “I’ve Read Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” Script, And, Well, It’s Not Nat Turner’s Revolt…”

“Speaking of its blaxploitation influences… regarding the lead female character in this, named Broomhilda, Django’s slave wife, whom he’s separated from, and seeks. She’s the lead female in the film, but her part is limited to really just physicalities. She has the most screen time of any other woman in the film, which is why I call her the lead female character, but, really, there’s no Shosanna in this one, as there was in Inglorious Basterds. The black female “lead” here doesn’t get the same kind of dignified treatment that Tarantino gave Shosanna. Not even close. Yes, I know it’s a different time altogether, but, I’m sure he could have afforded Broomhilda some complexities, and maybe even made her a heroine in her own right.

There are some 4 or 5 scenes in which the she’s, shall we say, “exposed”… i.e. naked; and they felt gratuitous to me; 2 in which she’s raped by white men. When we first meet her, she’s on the auction block and asked to bare her breasts to potential buyers; later, she’s chased through a hotel, through hallways, and lobbies, etc, by a slave master, completely naked, after being woken up from sleep, with a whip across her naked body; and still later, she’s locked up naked in a steel box as punishment for trying to run away. Yes, I’m sure these are all scenarios that very well likely could have played out at the time; however, Tarantino could have opted to depict her in another light altogether, but instead chose this less flattering, exploitative one.”

I feel a campaign a-brewing to get the makers of this flick to scrap some of that exploitative sexual violence towards black women.   Oh and I’m sure that people (Spike Lee) will be mad about use of the N-word.  It will be Roots all over again for some of you, since it’s a period piece. If people thought there were a lot of N-words thrown around in “Jackie Brown” or “Pulp Fiction”, they haven’t seen anything yet.

I hope the script is a dry run because the concept his potential.  Hey, I’m up for a slaves vs. masters revenge movie.  Sure Quentin, show or all the brutality and violence.  Put it in people’s faces.  However, historical accuracy doesn’t call for this level of sexual violence against black women.  It’s not funny.  It’s in bad taste.


Filed under african american, black history, black men, black women, celebrity, drama, media, n-word, news, opinion, race, racism, rape, sex, slavery, stereotype, women

Complete this Sentence: Psychologists told Black People to stop spanking their kids and now…

Finish this sentence for me, people:  “Psychologists told Black People to stop spanking their kids and now…”  You can leave a comment below.

Why do I ask?  Crazy “youngins” on the metro this morning.

If you live in DC, you know that African-American kids can act a dignified fool on the metro trains.  I blame this on the fact that many black parents stopped spanking their kids and strayed from the time-tested methods of discipline that worked for our foremothers and forefathers.

Do you think Martin Luther King was put in time out?  Did Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis have to sit there and think about what they’d done…and then write a letter to their victim as punishment?  I would venture to say that many a famous negro of yesteryear received proper spankings.  I’m not talking extension cords, big wooden boards,  and other out of the ordinary stuff.  I’m not talking about anything that leaves bruises or welts.  Spanking with a hand or belt, NOT beatings.  You can disagree with me and if you think it’s abuse, you’re entitled to your opinion.  As am I.


Filed under african american, black, black history, children, culture, d.c., opinion, society, youth

Is it just me or does this “Do away with the 14th Amendment” jazz make you antsy?

On the news last night I noticed a lot of commentators and pundits were discussing the 14th amendment all willy nilly.  Um…was anyone else uncomfortable with the dialogue.  I don’t want to wake up tomorrow and hear that I’m not a citizen.  Don’t follow me…

Background: Anderson Cooper’s show offers the rundown of what’s being tossed about in the halls of Capitol Hill.

Republicans such as Sens. Lindsey Graham, John Kyl and John Cornyn are tripping over themselves to jump on the latest “Dumb Way to Solve the Illegal Immigration Problem” bus by suggesting Congress examine repealing the 14th Amendment, which deals with one way of becoming a U.S. citizen.

The far right has latched onto the idea that the provision in question – which grants citizenship to children born in the U.S. – is being abused by illegal immigrants who choose to come to America to have their children, thus worsening the illegal immigration problem.

Some are even trying to suggest that how it is being used today is counter to the original intent of the Founding Fathers.

Of course, the 14th Amendment was not in the first U.S. Constitution as drawn up by our framers. It was adopted on July 9, 1868, to prevent Southern states from denying citizenship to former slaves and their children, since they didn’t choose to come to America. They were brought here for the purpose of the vicious and dehumanizing free-labor plan that helped build the nation – slavery.

There were no immigration laws as we know them in 1868 so this is just crazy talk.

The problem is enforcement of the existing laws.  The 14th amendment can’t change anything that the government is not going to enforce.  The problem in my opinion is that we have neglected our own immigration laws and the enforcement of them for so long that now the elephant in the room is that there are millions of people who would have to be rounded up for the law to really be followed to the letter.  Many of these people have children who are by law American citizens.  Combine this with the fact that we’ve allowed whole industries to benefit from the labor of persons who are in this country illegally.  If all of the “illegal” aliens were forced to leave, the impact would be felt on various levels of our society.

In addition, NO ONE is going to take away the 14th.  One good reason?  All the Italian, German, Russian, and other european immigrants who came to these shores.  You see, no one is going to want to have to prove that their great, great grandma from England or Cicely became a citizen naturally.  Remember people, we are a nation of foreigners.  The only people who’ve “been” here are the Native Americans.


Filed under african american, black history, change, civil rights, culture, government, history, news, opinion, politics, race

NAACP: Don’t Just Criticize, Become a Member and Effect Change from Within

I just have to give my 2 cents on the Wells Fargo, NAACP, and Boyce Watkins drama.  I’ve listened to all the points given.  I think there are a lot of valid points on both sides.  However, the thing that stands out to me is that the NAACP as an organization is not the same organization that I read about in the history books.  It’s not the NAACP of the time of W.E.B Dubois or in the 60s with King.  This is a different time.  A time that calls for different tactics and is full of different concerns.  The very fact that such an institution is now being challenged from within the black community is interesting.  The NAACP is a holy grail organization historically.  What this whole conflict has make me consider is the future of the organization and how African Americans can best influence it.

The best way for people to influence and ensure its future…JOIN.  For just $30 you can join and actually help this historic organization.  Money talks. If you really care, pay your dues and get involved with the actual governance of the organization.  Sure, you can affect it from outside, but if you really cherish what the NAACP has meant to the African American community, wouldn’t you want to see it refashioned for future survival?  If you have answers and know what direction the organization should do in, why not share them?

Sponsorship means money.  Perhaps if there was an infusion of new member revenue, the amount of sponsorship revenue needed for the conference would have been reduced.  Perhaps they could afford to be more choosy when selecting sponsors in that case.

Just my 2 cents.

Background: Recently the NAACP came under fire by bloggers for having Wells Fargo as a leading sponsor for its annual convention this July. Dr. Boyce Watkins wrote an op-ed for theGrio questioning why the NAACP would partner with Wells Fargo — a company accused of predatory lending practices — so recently after the civil rights organization dropped its lawsuit with the bank. Click here for the response to Dr. Watkins’ inquiry from NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous.


Filed under activism, african american, black, black history, civil rights, community, culture, drama, history, news, opinion, race

Was Your African American Studies Class Ethnically Chauvinistic?

By now most of you have heard about the new bill that Arizona is taking heat for that bans some ethnic studies courses.

Arizona Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, already under fire for approving the nation’s toughest illegal immigration law, has again run afoul of liberal activists, signing a bill Wednesday that targets ethnic studies programs in schools that critics say unfairly demean white Americans.

The law, which takes effect Dec. 31, would prohibit courses that promote resentment toward one race; that are designed for students of one race; that promote ethnic solidarity “instead of treating students as individuals;” and that encourage “the overthrow of the United States government.”

The proposal was the brainchild of Tom Horne, Arizona state superintendent of public instruction, who has long battled with the Tucson Unified School District over its Mexican-American studies program, contending that it promotes “ethnic chauvinism” through the use of textbooks such as “Oppressed America” and at least one guest speaker who said, “Republicans hate Latinos.” – source

As a HBCU grad who loved all of the African American studies classes I had, I was disturbed by the language in this bill.  The measure prohibits classes that advocate ethnic solidarity or that promote resentment toward a certain ethnic group.  I feel that legally, some of the points in the law would be very hard to define.  CNN did a great job of bringing this out.

What do you think?  Would your African American studies class be banned under this bill?  What is wrong with ethnic solidarity?  Couldn’t one argue that American history as it is traditionally taught could easily promote resentment toward a certain ethnic group (ie. “Cowboys and Indians”)?

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Happy Easter: Martin Luther King’s Last Sermon

Today, many will celebrate Easter Sunday.  They may not realize that today, April 4, 2010, marks the 42nd anniversary of the assassination of Civil Rights Leader, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  He spoke these words on April 3rd, 1968.

“Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”


Filed under activism, african american, black history, black man, civil rights, history

Harriet Tubman Could Write and So Can I

One of Philadelphia’s and the nation’s leading collectors of African-American artifacts has given the Smithsonian over historic artifacts owned by former slave, abolitionist, and Underground Railroad Conductor Extrodinaire Harriet Tubman to a to be a part of the National Museum of African-American History scheduled to open in 2015 here in Washinton, DC.

Charles Blockson, curator emeritus of the Charles Blockson Afro-American collection at Temple University, received 39 personal items from the estate of Underground Railroad Conductor Harriet Tubman from Tubman’s great-niece, who willed them to Blockson two years ago because she believed that he, Blockson says, would know what to do with them.  source

When I took a look at some of the photos posted of the items in the Tubman collection, one of the struck me in a way that I can’t explain.  You see, in her hymnal Harriet Tubman Davis wrote her name.  She would write her own name!  She didn’t leave and X as her mark and this was more than a meer scribble or attempt at writing.  I saw the handwriting of a woman who shouldn’t have been able to clearly create letters with pen, let alone bring hundreds of slaves to freedom.  I felt for someone who knew the true power of being able to read and write.  It made me think a little more about the words I’m able to write.  And about the fact that it is a privilage that my ancestors fought for.

I write here, on this blog.  I’m not a freedom fighter in the way that Harriet was, but I do want to make others think.  Perhaps I can even inspire or motivate others to action.  Perhaps something here will make someone’s mind a little more free.  Make them question and reflect on race, racism, blackness, and our community.  I know that words, typed, written, or read…they have power.  Thank you Harriet, for that little reminder written in a church hymal.  They are a blessing to me.


Filed under african american, black history, black women, blog, civil rights, d.c., history, news, slavery, society

Question: In 2010, Is There Anyone You Would Call a Black Leader?

I’m talking about leaders in the sense that Malcolm X and Martin Luther King were leaders.  Who are the leaders of the Black Community today?  They don’t have to be as widely known, or publicly recognizable as King and Brother Malcolm.  It’s about impact.

Who would you call a Black Leader in 2010?


Filed under activism, african american, black, black history, civil rights, community, opinion, race

O.J. Simpson, Rodman, RuPaul: Black History Role Models?

LA Times – In a letter addressed to parents and community members, a South Los Angeles elementary school principal apologized Thursday for “questionable decisions” about which prominent African Americans to highlight in a parade marking the culmination of Black History Month.

Lorraine Abner’s letter did not name the individuals. But her apology came after three teachers at Wadsworth Avenue Elementary School were suspended while the Los Angeles Unified School District investigates allegations that they had their first-, second- and fourth-grade students carry pictures of O.J. Simpson, Dennis Rodman and RuPaul at last Friday’s event.

“Unfortunately, questionable decisions were made in the selection of noteworthy African American role models,” the letter said. “As the principal, I offer my apology for these errors in judgment.”

I don’t know about you, but for me Black History is Black History. If we remove one part of it, we are not telling the whole story. It is the whole story that makes history. We as African-Americans have had to fight to have our history included.   Now it would be a little hypocritical for us to start excluding people. To now start removing people or making apologies is unacceptable.

RuPaul represents a portion of our community.  We can’t celebrate our LGBTQ brothers and sisters?  There was a time in history before the trial and acquittal when O.J Simpson was a hero.  You remember those commercials.  Dennis Rodman was one hell of a basketball player. I think that Michael Jordan could give you a list of reasons why he should not be discarded.

I’d also like to note that the tale of O.J is not equal to the stories of Rodman and Rupaul.  Come on, people.  LA, I thought you guys were more progressive than this.  Oh no, I forgot…Prop 8.    Ok, but yall do like basketball so Rodman is ok, right.  Oh no, Yall only like the Lakers!  SMH


Filed under african american, black history, black men, celebrity, community, hollywood, news, opinion, race, sports

UC San Diego Racial Unrest Continues: Hood Found on Statue

The LA Times is reporting that a “Ku Klux Klan-like hood was fashioned from a pillowcase and placed on a statue outside UC San Diego’s main library, in what may be another racially provocative incident at the beach-side campus, officials said Tuesday.”

Um…when is a klansman’s hood ever not a sign that it’s racially provocative?  Not “may be”.  The word would be “is”.

University police say they are investigating the matter as a possible hate crime and examining the hood for fingerprints and even DNA analysis.

The hood, with a hand-drawn cross inside a circle, was found about 11 p.m. Monday on the statue of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as the children’s book author Dr. Seuss, after whom the library is named. A rose was inserted into the statue’s fingers.

Why Dr. Seuss? I love Dr. Seuss. That’s just wrong!

I really feel for the black students at UC San Diego. Hell, I feel for us all. Especially those of you who have had your Post-Racial hopes shattered in the last year. Oh no, institutionalized racism is alive and well.


Filed under african american, angry, black, black history, crime, hate, news, opinion, race, racism, student