Otta Benga, Formerly Enslaved
The Epitome of a Nubian Knight

Otta Benga, Formerly Enslaved<br>The Epitome of a Nubian Knight

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"Whenever I use BLACK it relates to some history of Africans in that particular place. It’s the idea of the color BLACK as a metaphor, or as a representation of African-Americans. It’s the notion of BLACK- BLACKNESS - and all its other meanings in relation to the history of race..."

- Fred Wilson

"Most of my fortitude to continue doing the work comes from the moral outrage I feel about the injustices that Black people endure disproportionately daily."

- N. Abdul-Wakil

"In the end, what matters is not skin shade but pan-African consciousness. Loving your complexion, your nose, lips, hair length and texture, no matter what the politics or trends decide, and simply be. That's the problem with us (African folks). We're still learning how to love ourselves. So used to glorifying others and putting others first..."

- Dredlocks Tree

The REEL Black Same Gender Loving Filmography Resource (A 24/7 ONLINE FILM DATABASE)

The REEL Black Same Gender Loving Filmography Resource (A 24/7 ONLINE FILM DATABASE)
Click The Pic To Access The Film Library Database! (166 Films)
LAST UPDATE: Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Shadow & Act "Black Film" Report For 2009 (The Horror!)

The Shadow & Act “Black Film” Report For 2009 (The Horror!)
By Tambay, on December 9th, 2009

IndieWire, LA Weekly & Village Voice have posted the full list of every single film that’s been released this year (in the USA) – specifically, every film that’s screened in theatres for at least 1 week; whether indie or mainstream; foreign or domestically-produced; limited release, or wide; whether in 1 theatre in New York, or 3500 screens nationwide. It’s all there!

The total? 589 films - including films that haven’t yet been released, but will be, before the end of the year, in the next 3 weeks.

That’s a lot of movies, right? How many of those did you see? And maybe more importantly, how many fall under the category of “black films?”

Well, to answer the latter question… I looked over the list – although, to be honest, I did it rather quickly, so there’s a chance I missed 1 or 2; but I don’t think I missed more than that. But feel free to look over the list yourself and let me know if I missed any!

Regardless, it’s a tiny percentage! Ain’t nothin’ changed! Of the 589 movies released this year, I counted just 20 that we could classify as “black films.” A paltry 3.4%!


It’s not even on par with the percentage of blacks that make up the country’s population, which is currently around 14%. If it at least matched population percentage breakdowns, I’d maybe be a little less perturbed.

For the sake of this post, I’m defining a “black film” as one that tells a story primarily about a black person (or black people). In essence, a black person has to be at the story’s center! So, a film like Law Abiding Citizen doesn’t count, even though Jamie Foxx had a lead role in it. It was Gerard Butler’s character’s story, ultimately, not Jamie Foxx’s.

The 20 “black films” are:

Black Dynamite, Precious, Not Easily Broken, I Can Do Bad All By Myself, Madea Goes To Jail, Medicine For Melancholy, American Violet, Armored, Confessions of an Ex-Doofus-Itchyfooted Mutha, Good Hair, Goodbye Solo, Next Day Air, Notorious, Obsessed, Munyurangabo, Pressure Cooker, Soul Power, 35 Shots of Rum, Tyson, Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love.

Wow! Underwhelming isn’t it? Not only the number, but also the overall quality of films.

How many of those did you see? And, of more importance, how many are actually what we could call “good films?”

Of the 20, I’ve seen 15. The 5 I didn’t see are Munyurangabo, Pressure Cooker, Soul Power, Tyson, and Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love – all documentaries, except for the 1st! I’ll catch them on DVD.

So, of the 20 films, 5 are documentaries; also, 3 have Tyler Perry’s name attached whether as writer/director or producer; the highest grossing of the 19 films is also a Tyler Perry product (Madea Goes To Jail, at $90 million); What else stands out to you?

But of the 15 that I saw, I’d put Medicine For Melancholy at #1, at the top of the list! Followed by 35 Shots Of Rum, Black Dynamite, American Violet, and Precious, rounding out my top 5, in that order.

To wrap it all up… despite any articles we’ve read, or interviews we’ve watched proclaiming positive changes in the industry, with regards to diversity, it’s quite clear that we’ve still got a loooooooong way to go, because this is just pathetic! 57 years after Ralph Ellison’s book was published, we’re still very much “invisible.”

The full list of 589 films can be found HERE.

"I'm an Artist First": Reflections on Identity and Politics in Hip-Hop
An Interview with Likwuid Style (of Rebel Starr)

Hey Black Family,

I just got this this interview (link) via email from Likwuid Styles of Rebel Starr from her interview in Beyond Race Magazine. Likwuid Styles is a sistah within the hip-hop industry who hit on a lot of poignant issues during her interview and I wanted to share that interview here on my blog as well as some of the pics I took of her 2 years ago (she's part of the duo Rebel Starr) at the Triple "S" Rated Show for SGL (same gender loving) folks and their allies.

Look and read on...

"I'm an Artist First: Reflections on Identity and Politics in Hip-Hop"
A Conversation with Likwuid Stylez

BRM handpicked the most dynamic up-and-rising females in hip-hop, and conducted raw and intimate conversations about identity and politics.

Likwuid Stylez— killer battle emcee, Queen of her own proclaimed Queendom, and member of the intergalactic ninja rap group Rebel Starr, and fiery female group GNU— shares with us her thoughts on power, gender and hip-hop.

BRM: What’s your name, and when did your hip-hop career commence?

Likwuid Stylez: Likwuid “Queen of the Queendom” Stylez, aka Miss Get ‘Er Done; Emcee/Activist/Entrepreneur; April 22, 2003.

BRM: When did you know you wanted to become an artist?

LS: The first time I heard KRS-One’s “Sound of the Police.” I loved the way that he compared an officer to an overseer. I knew at that moment that music was a strong force. Music is the soundtrack of life, and we can influence the way that people think and react by merely using the gift of sound.

BRM: How were you received in the hip-hop community? Were most of your experiences affirming or discouraging?

LS: My acceptance in the hip-hop community has been consistent across the board—north, south, east, west, internationally—LOVE, LOVE and more LOVE! I have received endless support from the high schoolers to the senior citizens.

It has truly been a blessing. The encouragement that I receive keeps me going in the good times, and the discouragement that I may encounter gives me the fuel to keep that inner fire burning to ascend to higher heights.

BRM: Did you feel particularly advantaged or disadvantaged in this market because of your identity?

LS: If you mean do I feel advantaged or disadvantaged by being a black woman in hip-hop, I definitely feel like I have to deal with a lot more pressure than my male counterparts. I can only think of one hip-hop show that I have recently attended where a woman has not been disrespected.

Women are viewed as sex objects, accessories, or “hood rats” within the dominant hip-hop community. I’ve actually decided to remove myself from a lot of the circles that I used to run within, because I prefer not to be surrounded by that type of negativity.

Misogyny is so widely accepted that women have begun to mimic behaviors they’ve seen in the mainstream. I was actually at a showcase at the BPC, and the host, (who was female), actually called up a female audience member and asked her to “turn around so they (the audience) can see what you’re working with”…it’s so bad now that women objectify other women.

It’s like being on an auction block again. As a black woman in America, it’s already hard enough being a third class citizen. Then to get discouraged and dehumanized by a culture that you love so much is even further disheartening.

That’s why my tagline “Queen of the Queendom” is important. I want folks to see me and have their mind immediately think beyond my sexuality. I’m a woman of distinction, a woman with a mind, a woman that stands for something and you will respect me because it is my right to have that respect as a human being. The Queen of the Queendom tagline also implies that a QUEENDOM exists—meaning there are more of us out there. Not every woman of color is a bitch, hoe, baby mama, or whatever new slogan folks come up with that week. Every woman that you see isn’t a chick, bird, or groupie. There are some queens out there and I’d like to believe that we outnumber the latter.

BRM: What are ways that women are being supported in your industry? Do you see that the support is coming mostly from other women or from men?

LS: I think that now things are turning around for women in hip-hop. People are beginning to notice the vast difference between hip-hop in the past and hip-hop of today. As I said in the Nona Aronowitz book Girl Drive, people keep saying that hip-hop is dead, but we can’t possibly have “life” without the presence of both genders.

So, now we’re seeing more “all-female showcases,” we are seeing more hip-hop networking sites for women, we are seeing more women-based organizations for women in the community—Hip-Hop Sisters, Ladies Love, Rhyme Like a Girl, She So Fresh, and Momma’s Hip-Hop Kitchen. Even with my company Royalty Media Group, we look to highlight women in the entertainment industry, beyond hip-hop itself, but just so that we may celebrate women execs, directors, actresses, entertainment lawyers, etc.

I think that both women and men are beginning to reach out and offer support to a group that has largely been omitted the past 10-15 years from a culture that was co-founded and facilitated by women. [Research Cindy Campbell and Sylvia Rhone if you are confused by that last sentence]. It’s definitely needed. Both men and women must come together. It’s the yin and yang. We need each other.

BRM: Why do you feel that there is still such a gross under-representation of women in your field?

LS: The reason why women are so under-represented and mis-represented in hip-hop is the same reason why women get paid less for doing the same work as their male counterparts in corporate America. Sexism and gender discrimination are not new issues that we face in our country, and in our world for that matter.

BRM: What are some actions that you are putting into place to combat these disparities?

LS: Through my company Royalty Media Group, my business partner, Lynne Rene, and I have made a conscious effort to support, promote, and provide services for women entrepreneurs and people of color that facilitate or produce positive entities for our community. We have a monthly segment called “Welcome 2 Queendom” in which we highlight a woman of distinction in our network. It’s a way to subtly combat the images promoted by other media outlets that objectify women. We choose to highlight and celebrate the lady movers and shakers in the industry.

In addition, we are in the planning phases of a panel discussion and concert to raise money to aid in the ending of violence against women. For example, we are discussing providing scholarship money for the young woman who was terrorized in the Richmond rape tragedy. We are also exploring ways to fund an organization that tracks and encourages the speedy testing of rape kits, since at this time, no such program exists. Thousands of kits go years without being tested. It’s unfortunate because simply processing these DNA samples could lead to the arrest of several rapists who are still at large. New York is one of the few states that actually has a great percentage of solved rape cases by effectively and promptly using this technology to solve rape cases. Other states, such as California, really should focus on improving their methods to reduce their number of backlogs (which was over 12,000 untested kits as of April 2009).

BRM: What are your thoughts about people tagging your gender at the beginning of your title all of the time? i.e. female emcee, female DJ, female entrepreneur, etc.

LS: I think it’s usually unnecessary. It implies that there is a difference or a separation between myself and everyone else. It’s funny because “gender, race, sexuality, religion, etc” are all just devices that are used to divide the human race in my opinion. Take the sentence: “He’s a well-spoken black man”, that phrase implies that there’s something peculiar or unnatural with this man being well-spoken because the speaker has gone out of his way to say “black man”…how about we just say “He’s a well-spoken man.” We should probably try doing the same within our own rhetoric.

BRM: How do you view the use of sexuality in your experience in the industry? Describe its role and purpose (i.e. exploitative, empowering). Are you conscious of your use of sexuality in your own career?

LS: At this point sexuality is exploitative in hip-hop. I think that if the artistic aspect of beauty was required more as a focus and less of the “eye candy”, “video hoe” approach, we would be in a better position. Sexy can be enticing without being degrading or raunchy. There should be a line between porn and music entertainment. Right now, a lot of websites and magazine publications are tap dancing on that line. For instance, the Jet Beauty of the Month is a perfect example, sexy but not raunchy. In addition, they actually provide information about the model, giving her human characteristics (her hometown, her major in college, her favorite book). On the other hand, we have certain mags that have these randomly naked chicks with no back story except their measurements—making them not humans—but objects.

However, it is a double-edged sword. If those women wouldn’t pose for those types of shoots, there wouldn’t be any to discuss.

The honest truth is sex has been selling long before hip-hop came along. As for me, I use the Queen approach to empower.

BRM: What are your biggest words of wisdom to new women entering into the industry?

LS: I’ll tell women the same thing that “they” (older blacks) told the children of the ‘50s and ‘60s looking to integrate America… If you only wish to be equal to those who oppress you, you will forever be viewed as inferior. You have to be better than them. Without struggle there is no progress. If you run at the same pace as someone that already has a head start, you are destined to lose.

Also, encourage each other. We are all running the same race, so please don’t try to trip up your fellow running mates.

Lastly, know your craft, stay sharp, and make no excuses. We hold the key to our own destiny. Nothing is impossible and impossible is nothing.

BRM: List a few of your current and soon to be released projects.

LS: I’m in a couple groups, so I’m very excited about the upcoming releases that are on due:

Camel Toes and Dildos by GNU (Jan 2010)

NeoQuantumRetroMusic by Rebel Starr (March 2010)

Queendom by Likwuid (TBD)