up with the director of the best Black film of the year
Independent filmmaker Dennis Leroy
Moore was born in
Flushing, New York in 1976 and raised there by his parents, who
hail from Port of Spain, Trinidad. With a background in
classical theatre, Moore worked actively as a theatre director
after leaving the Juilliard Conservatory in 1997.
A member of LaLutta Media Collective, he is a proponent of a New
Black Cinema that is at once personal and political, and which
seeks to challenge the status quo in terms of the representation
of Black people in movies.
His first feature film, As an Act of Protest, is a
baroque and scathing epic about the psychological effects of
racism and the insanity it creates. It first premiered in Los
Angeles at the 2002 Pan African Film Festival, and he is
currently waiting to hear back from the FESPACO Film Festival
(Africa’s largest and most important film festival, held in
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How did you come up with the idea for the movie?
Dennis Leroy Moore: The killing of Amadou Diallo in 1998 had a major
impact on me as did Guiliani’s entire reign of terror in NY. I
was severely depressed because it seemed to me that racism was
more accepted now than it had ever been and to deny that would
be to deny reality.
I wanted to create a film that was a missile from the angry,
confused, and alienated Black youth in America and declare
“Yes, we are angry. We have a right to be and this is why.”
I basically wanted to make a film that was as bold as a Public
Enemy record and as layered as a John Coltrane solo.
Kam Williams: How hard was it getting this movie made? What was involved?
Dennis Leroy Moore: It wasn’t hard, but it was stressful. Anytime
you’re dealing with a dense script, seldom-seen emotions and
ideas concerning Black people, and the dynamics of racism,
you’re going to have problems.
But I had a wonderful producer, Melissa Dymock, and she trusted
me and felt that we could easily raise at least half the budget
and then max out credit cards for the other half. Where things
got complicated was with hiring a crew. It took a lot of coaxing
to get some of these film school brats to try different methods
of filmmaking and adhere to my vision.
Kam Williams: How many other Black writers are there creating complex
characters to tell as sophisticated stories?
Dennis Leroy Moore: In America there are only a few I know, but the
problem is that most of them are unknown because they are not
mainstream, Hollywood players. The ones that first come to mind
are: Kasi Lemmons, Cauleen Smith, Wendell B. Harris, Julie Dash,
Haile Gerima, and Charles Burnett obviously.
However, if Bill Gunn had lived and had been allowed to make the
types of movies he wanted, he would have created an impressive
body of work. His radical first feature, Ganja & Hess,
is amazing. One of the most complex works of film.
Why wasn’t Hollywood interested in producing or distributing your
Dennis Leroy Moore: Because the film was perceived as being ‘too
Black’ and ‘anti-white’ and the script was so dense and
full of all these obscure Black theatre references. Also,
there’s no way anyone in Hollywood is going to support the
“murder of a white boy” by a Black man at the end of a movie
and have him get away with it. The ending was way too open-ended
for Hollywood types.
Kam Williams: What message are you trying to deliver with this film?
Dennis Leroy Moore:If you oppress and push people to the edge, they
will be forced to retaliate. The film is an expressionistic
tableaux of Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth. And, if you
take away the artist’s materials or ability to express himself
positively and creatively, he will have no choice but to
Kam Williams: Do you see yourself a writer, actor or director first?
Dennis Leroy Moore: I have a singer-songwriter approach to the art of
I’m a director first, but I think I write well also. I think
it is important for the director to create his own material. As
an actor, I’m just an extension of what I envision as a
director. Some roles you realize you have to portray yourself
because no else can do it as well as you.
Where do you see yourself heading from here? To Hollywood to act in
a typical TV sitcom?
Dennis Leroy Moore: Oh no, I would never be able to go to Hollywood
and act. Especially in a sitcom. I don’t think I’d know how
to market myself and I don’t think they’d keep me around for
Don’t get me wrong, I want to make money like anyone else, but
I never felt comfortable in those settings. I’ve been hired to
be the cinematographer for playwright Marvin X’s first feature
film, Sgt. Santa, about a manic depressive Vietnam Vet,
and I’m still trying to interest some producers in a
commercially-viable gangster screenplay, Goin’ a Buffalo,
about a bunch of Black conmen, which is based on Ed Bullins’
I also have just finished a script intended to be my next film
called The Desperate Ones, about love, family, war, and
Would you make another movie that might receive critical acclaim
but can’t get distributed?
Dennis Leroy Moore: Yes. I have to express myself and the minute you
give up, they’ve won. In a year, we hope to be selling and
distributing copies of the film ourselves over the Internet and
on the street. If I can incur some interest from the guys with
long money that’s great, but I can’t wait around for Miramax
to help me.
Kam Williams: Do you think Black people would support a movie like yours, if
they knew it existed?
Dennis Leroy Moore: Yes. Some may not necessarily like it, of course,
but I do believe the people will always take some interest in
new works of art and different ways of representation.
do you think of most Black-oriented movies?
Dennis Leroy Moore:Obviously, the ones that Hollywood promotes as
being ‘Black’ movies are terrible. Insulting and backward on
nearly every level. But, if you are patient and seek out work
among the avant-garde and the independents, every now and then
you’ll find a gem.
What is very important is that this new wave of Black filmmakers
emerging really stretch their minds and cultivate dialogues
regarding aesthetics of Black art. What this has meant
historically is that they study everything under the sun from
Oscar Micheaux to Melvin Van Peebles to Djibril Diop Mambety.
For more information about As an Act of Protest, visit www.asanactofprotest.com.
Moore and John Brown X Productions, LLC distribute the film,
which is available for $30 for individuals and much less for
media, arts, or educational organizations.
* * *
Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in
By Melissa V.
According to the
author, this society has historically exerted
considerable pressure on black females to fit into one
of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the
Matriarch or the Jezebel. The selfless
Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to
white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of
those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the
relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable
temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as
an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the
characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television
shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.
points out how the propagation of these harmful myths
have served the mainstream culture well. For instance,
the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for
black females to feel a maternal instinct towards
As for the source
of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their
own bodies during slavery given that they were being
auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless,
it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate
the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate
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Sex at the Margins
Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry
By Laura María Agustín
This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London
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The White Masters of the
The World and Africa, 1965
By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois’
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
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Ancient African Nations
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Negro Digest /
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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
Only a Pawn in Their Game
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for
George Jackson /
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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg
Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
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