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

Monday, September 26, 2011

ROD's 2nd Summer Trip To Michigan (2011)
From Pittsburgh To Ann Arbor While Discovering The Arboretum, Train Tracks & The August Wilson Center

I LOVE Michigan so much that I have gone by for a 2nd summer trip during Labor Day weekend (and my overall 4th time in 12 months).

I took Megabus for much of my trip ad I highly recommend them. They offer prices as low as $1.00 per ticket (really -- $1 dollar!!!) depending on where you're going and how far in advance you book your itinerary. And there's a ridiculously low 50-cent booking fee!

So, I started my trip by taking Megabus from New York City to Pittsburgh and then met up with my partner who picked me in in Pittsburgh. Never been to Pittsburgh before, but it was nice to be there, if only for a hot minute, because though I am a die-hard Washington Redskins fan, I do have a lot of respect for the Pittsburgh Steelers (aka blitzburgh!!!) and how they have maintained being a tough team and building their team through the draft and free agency.

The following 2 pictures of the yellow bridge were taken (through the window) while I was on Megabus in Pittsburgh. There were several yellow bridges and have no idea what they're official names are. I thought it was a qool bridge...

All Photography

All the rest of the following pics were taken while I was staying in Ann Arbor, Michigan..

I'm Not a Church Guy,
But I Liked the Evening Look Of This Church

I Like To Capture Pics Of My Name Whenever Possible.
It's Not As Popular As Say "Rob" or "Ron"

I Was Playing Pool At The Aut Bar (Restaurant)
In Kerrytown
Which Is A Little Town In Ann Arbor.
Kerrytown Is Homosexual Friendly.

One of the best hi-lites of my latest visit to Michigan was going with my partner to the AWESOME Nichols Gateway Garden Arboretum. I had a great time and it was so qool shooting photography with him. I'm usually solo on my adventures, and so this was a nice opportunity to be able to share something we both LOVE and in common. It was his idea...

The Arboretum Exists In Conjunction With
University of Michigan

This Was The Entrance We Came Through.

My Partner Getting His Own Shots In

The Arboretum Appealed To A Wide Range Of People
From Photographers, People In Canoes (Canoers, I Say LOL!),
Joggers, "Acting" Students From The University of Michigan
And The Simple People Just Strolling Along

And Enjoying The View

I LOVE This Shot.
The Wooden Zig-Zag Guard Rail On The Right
And The Rich Dark Dirt With the Amazing
Leaves On The Ground

There Were Some Interesting (Native American???)
Tribal Or Ritualistic
Wood Pieces
Near A Lot OF The Trees We Encountered
Later On, We Saw Some Student In Old European
Dress-wear Shooting A Scene Near These Wood Pieces.
They May Have Been Staged Pieces If Not
Authentic Tribal Pieces As Part OF Their
Photography or Video Shoot.

An Asian Family Canoeing Along The Huron River
Near The Arboretum
I Wish I WA Doing That. I Did It Twice On 2 Different
ADODI Retreats. It's One Of The Best Experiences
Of My Life. Imagine Gliding On The Surface
Of A Lake, Or River Or The Ocean! It's INCREDIBLE!!!

The Huron River Which IS a Part of The Arboretum

I Used My Trustee Circular Polarizer On my Lens
To Cut The Glare From The Water
And See The Pebble Stones Beneath
This Part OF The Shallow Huron River

Another Interpretation In B&W
With The Ridges of Little Waves

I Didn't See This Until I GOT Home To Edit This Image,
But It Looks Like an Entity With
It's Hands
Stretching Up In The Air And
To The Sky

Next to the Arboretum we discovered these train tracks (which I LOVE to photograph).
We didn't know whether they were abandoned or not, but we took care to safely look in both directions and keep our ears open for possible trains chugging or speeding along suddenly...!!!

The Arboretum Is To The Left And Beyond The Huron River

One Of My Best Pieces Of Work
And In The Sepia Tone Family

My Partner Getting Some Shots On The Tracks!

Ahhhh!!! The Irony...

I Wasn't Going To Photograph This Shot
Because It Didn't Look Interesting;

But I Took The Shot Anyway.
I Got Home And LOVED It!

Sometimes Shots Don't Look Great On Little Camera Monitors,
But Come Alive On Big Monitors At Home Sometimes

Love This Pedestrian Bridge

Another Forced Perspective Shot Of The Bridge

I Used My Polarizer Again To Cut Through The Glare
To Get A Nice Golden Look From The Huron River
Overlooking That Pedestrian Bridge.
Interesting How Shallow The River Was Again.

This Was A Spider Web Attached To The Bridge Structure.
I Used Manual Focus For This Shot Because The
Auto-Focus Had Major Problems Getting A Lock Because
The Spider Web Was Translucent
And The Light From Behind Was Too Bright

NICE! This Was So Beautiful When I Saw It!
Very Fairytale Like

I LOVE The Finer Things In Nature's Life Like This


After I Left Ann arbor to get back to New York I had a 2+ hour layover at Pittsburgh.

Before my partner picked me up from Pittsburgh the first time, I got to look around the immediate area and saw the August Wilson Center For African American Culture. I noted at the back of my mind that if I ever came back to Pittsburgh that I would definitely visit this place as I'm always looking to learn about the African experience and my culture.

After leaving Ann Arbor and returning to Pittsburgh to catch my second bus, I had a 2+ hour layover so I decided to take the opportunity and check out the August Wilson Center For African American Culture.

Picture taking wasn't allowed inside, but I took pics of the museum's outside. There is a very nice Romare Bearden: The Last Years, Photography by Frank Stewart (September 20th - 31st, 2011) exhibit. Some of the photography is phenomenal!

The museum's architecture was designed from the ground up by African-American sistah Allison Williams. READ MORE HERE and HERE. She incorporated a lot of historical (aluminum and glass) elements to bring the building's design together. As a CADD (Computer-Aided Drafting and Design) professional I can appreciate her work so much more...

The Front Facades Of The Museum

Official Website: AugustWilsonCenter.org

August Wilson Center For African American Culture
980 Liberty Avenue
(between Garrsion Place and William Penn Place,
2 Blocks From The David L. Lawrence Convention Center)

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-3736

Ph:412.258.2700 | E-mail: info[at]AugustWilsonCenter.org

This Was A Tough Shot As It Was Raining
And I'm Trying to Keep My Camera And Lens Dry!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975
A Compilation Documentary Film About
The Black Power Movement


THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975 is an award winning compilation feature documentary that displays the story of the African-American community 1967-1975, the people, the society and the style that fueled a change. Told with sparkling, beautiful and deep footage, lost in the archives in Sweden for 30 years.

THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975 mobilizes a treasure trove of 16mm material shot by Swedish journalists who came to the US drawn by stories of urban unrest and revolution. Gaining access to many of the leaders of the Black Power Movement Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale , Angela Davis and Eldridge Cleaver among them the filmmakers captured them in intimate moments and remarkably unguarded interviews. Thirty years later, this lush collection was found languishing in the basement of Swedish Television.

Running Time: 1hr 40min‎‎
Genre: Compilation Documentary‎

Written and Directed by: Göran Hugo Olsson
Produced by: Annika Rogell, Story AB
Co-Produced by: Joslyn Barnes & Danny Glover, Louverture Films
Art Director: Stefania Malmsten
Edited by: Göran Hugo Olsson & Hanna Lejonqvist
Including appearances by: Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael, Dr. Martin Luther King, Danny Glover, Harry Belafonte, Erykah Badu, Ahmir-Khalib Thompson, Talib Kweli

Currently playing in New York City at
IFC Center
323 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenues)
(between West 3rd & West 4th Street in the heart of The Village)
New York City, NY

Official Website: ifccenter.com
Travel: A, B, C, D, E, F & M trains to West 4th Street;
#1 train to Christopher Street


Lincoln Plaza Cinemas
1886 Broadway
(between 62nd & 63rd Streets)
New York City, NY

Official Website: lincolnplazacinema.com
Travel: A, B, C, D and #1 trains to 59th Street Columbus Circle


Opens in California on Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Activist Stokely Carmichael

Power To The People

Black Panther Party

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

9/11 And The Task Of Healthy Grieving
By Victor R. Pond

©9/11And The Task of Healthy Grieving
by Victor R. Pond, Director of Policy, Research and Community Health, GRIOT Circle, Inc.

(A Guest Nubian Knight's Perspective)

One local paper’s headline read “A pain that won’t ease 10 years.” On this 10th Anniversary of that fateful 9/11, as a nation, we once again rehearse the recalcitrant memories of that dark day. Audio-visual images faithfully recorded, won’t allow us to forget, delete or edit those memories. We remember the rivers of tears, the ash covered screaming bodies running fueled by terror. We remember the chocked air, the nightmarish clouds of debris. We remember the collapsing towers. We remember those that perished and we also remember those who survived, yet may still bare the guilt of surviving. Not only are these memories fresh and raw, but our collective emotions are still dragging themselves to that place of redemption.

I can’t imagine what life has been like for those hundreds, if not thousands, who lost loved ones, friends and colleagues on that day. I was living in Chicago at the time when it happened. There I was at the gym heading to the locker room when I glanced over at one of the TV monitors only to have my attention arrested by the image of a seriously wounded Twin Towers. The billowing fiery smoke didn’t elicit a major concern. I comforted myself in believing that whatever it was, the FDNY could handle it. Yet, this was different. Personal. I didn’t have the luxury of an emotionally detached gaze. For five years I worked at 225 Broadway on the 21st Floor and there we had a direct view of the Towers. I was in those buildings virtually every day for one reason or another. Even on weekends. The images projected on those flat screen TV monitors had an eerie resemblance to disaster scenes I had seen in several catastrophe themed movies. So I stood there wishing this was really a movie scene…..nothing more.

Then the unspeakable happened. Like the walls of Jericho, the twin symbols of Western progress and prowess came crashing down. Workout was cancelled. Not sure how I made it home, but I did. I sat on my sofa for hours, immobilized. The TV was on and I was gazing at a tapestry of frantic reports and reporters. The days following were simply strange to say the least. I knew I had to journey back to NYC not only for a multi-sensory experience, but to join in the chorus of grief and loss. A little over a month later, with my courage in place, I found myself downtown engulfed by the overpowering combined smell of still smoldering metal and pulverized concrete. Then there was the bizarre stage ornamented with mangled ruins and ashy soot covered buildings. I stood there mesmerized unable to even imagine that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Disbelief merged with anger. Anger and sadness colluded with rage.

As a “visitor” I couldn’t help but notice how people walked around seemingly dazed. There was an unusual exhibition of politeness, even in the NYC subway constellation. The very atmosphere was that of a city remarkably tamed, struggling to climb out of the heaving sadness. In many ways we still struggle. Perhaps the greater hurdle of crossing that bridge back to life is believing that it’s possible or even necessary. Those of us that made it through the AIDS Crisis of the 80s know far too well the countless disruptive eulogies laden with their conundrum of grief. How many did we helplessly watch die? Hundreds, thousands? Not to mention, what seemed like endless funerals had become the new normal.

9/11 is replete with lessons for us all to heed and apply. As we embark on this now yearly open ritual of remembrance for the victims of 9/11, we still face the morbid challenge of re-framing our cultural avoidance/dance around death and the dead. Despite all our religion and science, death and dying remain taboo topics for the most part or at best are relegated to science fiction or horror movies. It’s high time to call the mainstream media to task for its self-serving coverage of this story that continues undermining the tragic loss of people of color. Even on that day, reporters could only find Whites to interview.. really?...to hear the testimonies on non-Whites one had to tune to Univision or BET. While we [people of color] have learned to accommodate this systematic revisioning of history, rendering us invisible, it simply keeps adding salt to wounds that for many remains open. This certainly can’t be good for ushering us into a united process of healthy grieving particularly when our grief and loss are relegated to footnotes.

I believe that in order for these recycled 9/11 rituals to have any healing powers that go beyond mere symbolism, we first have to “democratize” our [national] grief not merely set up hierarchies for it. Has anytime ever been set aside to grieve the Middle Passage? We’re talking about millions, not thousands of lives swallowed up in that watery grave. The fact that in all probability we will never know their names or see images of their faces, does not give us permission to ignore that event that despite being swept under the rug of historic revisionism, stubbornly continues haunting us like a restless ghost.

What makes 9/11 paralyzingly traumatic is not so much the loss of thousands of lives. The world is used to witnessing that and in much larger numbers. It’s the ugliness of its symbolism: the slap in the face by the “naked” dwarf, unhinging the national pride of the armored giant. It is the personification of a “low tech” assault on the impregnable kingdom. It was also a violent jolting of the “new world order” doctrine pillaging its tenets. So here we are ten years later, still stuck it seems, somewhere in the middle of anger and depression (or is it rage and self-loathing?).

People need to embrace, not run from the pain that comes with loosing loved ones (even strangers) particularly at the hand of circumstances way beyond anyone’s control. Truth is, we don't "get over" grief; we learn to carry it. Unfiltered, unprocessed grief does not magically inject us with emotional and/or psychic anesthesia. Grief experts tell us that unresolved grief can result in depression, apathy, addictions, overworking, compulsive/aggressive behaviors, chronic physical symptoms and progressive social isolation. Worst, it can ultimately result in a turning off of the lights in ones life.

This could well be a good time as any for mental health professionals, clergy and elected officials to lead the way in infusing our cultural landscape with the messages that healthy grief is essential for a productive society. People have to be taught how to grieve, how to let go and how to access resources/support to aid in reintegrating their brokenness. This is certainly no time for blind fanatical patriotism. It is though a time for renewed allegiance to being there for each other as we face current and future tragedies, whatever shape or form they may show up.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

17th Commemoration of THE MAAFA
Featuring The MAAFA Suite...
A Healing Journey
September 12th-24th, 2011
Brooklyn, NYC

Official Website: www.themaafa.com

859 Hendrix Street
(Between Linden Blvd & Stanley Avenue)
Brooklyn, New York 11207

#3 Train To Van Siclen Avenue


The 17th Commemoration (2011)

SEPTEMBER 12th - 24th ,2011

Rev. David K. Brawley, Senior Pastor
Rev. Dr. Johnny Ray Youngblood, MAAFA Founder
Yvonne L. Hildmon, Fiscal Coordinator

Baby Dedication
MAAFA Museum Tours* (School Tours Sept. 12th -16th)
Meditative Moments
Oceanside Ceremony
Develpoing Your Own MAAFA Commemoration (pre-registration required)

The MAAFA Suite...A Healing Journey
Directed by Michele Hawkins-Jones
September 18th, 2011 at 6:00 P.M.

September 19th, 22nd and 23rd, 2011 at 7:00 P.M.
Excerpts: September 21st, 2011 at 3:00 P.M.

Ticket Prices:
Mezzanine Sanctuary Seating: $30.00
Orchestra Sanctuary Seating: $50.00

*For additional information contact the
MAAFA Resource Center
(718) 257-2884 or (718) 257-1300 exts. 178 or 174
Email us at maafa[at]spcbc.com

Visit our websites at
www.themaafa.com or www.spcbc.com

Official Website: www.themaafa.com

MAAFA is a Kiswahai term which refers to the catastrophic experience formerly known as the TransAtiantic Slave Trade which resulted in the kidnap, torture, and enslavement of millions of African people.

The Paths To Which Enslaved Africans
Were Brought To The Americas
(Click The Picture To Enlarge The Map)