Films on DVD
Barber Shop /
Woman, Thou Art Loosed
Hustle and Flow /
Sugar Cane Alley
Malcolm X /
on the Bus /
Bowling for Columbine
Sankofa /Daughters of the Dust
in April /
* * *
on Black Film
Lee Will Do Film on Katrina Disaster
Jerry, Miriam, Dennis, Ben, and Herbert
Miriam: Everybody's jumping in. Spike
Lee is planning a
film on the Katrina disaster, according to
reports. I guess Spike beat out Michael Moore. . . .
Rudy: Miriam, I have quite lost faith
in the social benefits of black film. And I have no
confidence in the ability of Spike Lee films to raise
consciousness in a focused way that will deliver real social
benefit. Despite it all, I find the little fellow quite a
general, and very amusing, a way to while away the time until
something of serious import arises.
Miriam: You and me both with regard to
Spike Lee, though a few Black films have some redeeming merit.
While in Memphis, I had intended to see one, C. S. A.
(Confederate States of America), by a Black filmmaker and
professor of media & Af Am Studies at the U. of Kansas.
His film, according to reviews, explores the thesis—what
if the Confederacy had won the Civil War. It's supposed to
be a provocative study of race and racism, US-style, and it
opened last week in only two cities—Memphis
Rudy: I think such a film idea is quite
extraordinary. I had thought that thought. Well, not exactly.
But I had thought: what if there had been no Civil War,
what if the nation had allowed necessity to kick in, how long
could slavery have lasted, and might not a more organic end to
slavery have left us in a better place—psychologically
I was surprised when I read the words of the
wife of a slaveowner who felt their servants had
"betrayed" them by the joyous welcome of the
Northerners. A state of mind, I suspect common among
certain Southern classes. I found the notion shocking. We
"betrayed" them? My God, what could have brought that
out. There's a simple kind of simplicity in the sentiment. A
kind of unconscious blindness. But nevertheless, there is
something in it. The South had some benefits in sentiments that
the North did not provide, that had worth and value.
The outrageous arrogance of Southern whites,
I suspect, could not have been mollified except by violence. The
only question in mind is what form or what time and with whom
would the violence take place and what military support
would the northern or anti-slavery states have provided to an
independent South. Cut off from the North, isolated from the Old
World, the retardation in the westerly movement of capital, may
have provided us (our black we) an opportunity to win our
freedom by more honorable means, and in our own name or as
Southerners, rather than in the name of the Union and the
If the white South had better statesmen,
fewer crass gentlemen, more visionary and less military-minded
citizens, Southern leaders might have followed the
British and offered the servants freedom and land, if war with
the North was indeed a necessity. On the whole they were rather
stupid men. That tradition has continued. And our oppression
Until I see the film, I withhold judgment. I
hope this filmmaker hasn't screw up a good idea. I
hope it is more about us than Southern whites.
Miriam: Michael Moore, on the other
hand, puts his money where his mouth is. I'm sure he'll
come up with a much more credible film, but that's not his main
concern right now. Spike Lee is just a crass opportunist
and lime lighter.
I know little or nothing about Michael Moore. I have
never seen any of his films. He is indeed provocative and he
seems to use his money for left-wing activities. I will say
this: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. But let me add: I have
no intentions on paying any money to see a Michael Moore film.
There's a greater chance I will pay to see a Spike Lee film, and
I have little or no interest in his work.
Miriam: You've missed some provocative films.
Bowling for Columbine hit the nail on the
head—White-initiated violence in America against poor people
in depressed neighborhoods; and the last one (forgot the
title) that nails Bush & his cronies. To my mind films
can often serve as the basis for very fruitful discussions about
significant issues, and they are definitely a way to reach young
people who've been brought up on t.v., films, and other forms of
mass media. You certainly can't discount the impact of
Daughters of the Dust.
Rudy: I am not trying to discourage
anyone at all from seeing whatever films amuse them. I want to
see a film that tells me something I don't know, that I have yet
to experience. I did not see
Sankofa, and I suspect I
have not suffered irreparable damage. I suppose I am not yet
ready for it. I did see
Daughters of the Dust. I had
difficulties figuring what it was about. It was almost as
dense as Oprah's Beloved. It does have
aesthetic qualities I find appealing, especially its
emphasis on the physical beauty of black people. It
also has a vague reappraisal of forms of black culture and black
The pacing annoyed me. Overall, the film
fails for me, but it was indeed a very good effort. Spike
Lee's films first brought my attention to the beauty of
black people on/in film. It was wonderful There was great
promise in his early films. But his subsequent work falls
short. It is probably exceedingly difficult to be great
director, writer, and actor—all
My disregard of most films is an
individual peculiarity. It is rare that I go to the movies.
Baltimore used to have neighborhood theaters that showed
films. That came to an end soon after 1968. One must travel to
the suburbs to see the latest films from Hollywood. There are
two white theaters within Baltimore that show films—the
Belvedere and the Charles. Both are geared for a non-black
Sometimes the Charles has left-wing films and
foreign films, and documentaries. I saw a documentary film on
Fidel that I enjoyed, the one in which the dove lands on Fidel's
shoulder when he made his first public speech after the
Revolution. That was quite amazing. But the Charles seeks a
white audience. There are no black theaters.
I don't have a vcr or a dvd player; nor
cable. So that too cuts down on the opportunities to view film.
I received a 160-minute tape As
an Act of Protest from Melissa Dymock and Dennis
Leroy Moore, an urban guerilla film. They made it for
about $50,000, primarily financed and produced by Dymock, with
Moore as director and actor and writer. I thought it was an
excellent first effort. It needs some editing.
There's considerable overwriting. This film
was made on blood, sweat, and tears—great sacrifices by all
participants. It sets a remarkable example of what wonders can
result from cooperation and collaboration. Because of all
of these factors I would rate its value higher than Daughters
of the Dust, even though As
an Act of Protest, still needs work. I say this also
because basically it has a more urgent message that speaks
to urgent issues, namely, the criminalization of black men and
Another independent film I received and
viewed was by Mya B. I suspect that it was too made on a
shoestring budget. Again, a young director. But this time a
documentary film on sexuality, cutting new ground. I liked it
and wrote a review, Exploring
Sexuality from a Black Perspective. I thought that it too was a
good effort, a good start. I am certain these efforts are
representative of many on-going efforts now taking place because
of new development within digital technology. Last summer at his
home on his Mac, Kalamu
shared with me work he too had done with film—his students’
work; a commissioned film on date rape; and scenes of a longer
These efforts need more support – from
teachers and professors and pastors and businessmen, and all of
us. More and more are entering the field. I like what Kola Boof
has done in self-promotion and self-identification. So I think
that black film is reaching another stage in its development.
Mastery of the camera and film techniques, we have gotten that
down. But there's more, and I think more will come, and more
excellence and more relevance.
The writing will get better, the drama will
gain greater depth, meanings become more poignant, acting
will become less self conscious and more natural and more
exploratory, themes will gain in breadth, and novel ways of
distribution and dissemination will be developed. A lot of it
will be done because it needs to be done, not for profit, but
for community, for consciousness sake, for liberation. So,
in short, that which I really want to see and experience
has yet to be produced. I'm hopeful
Herbert: Yes, I think films can be
very fruitful and lead to wonderful discussions with young
people. Miriam, I enjoyed all the films you mentioned. I would
also add Euzhan Palcy's Sugar Cane Alley as an example of
a very fine film deserving of critical attention.
My real problem with As
an Act of Protest was the inability of the
Director/Writer to balance the aesthetic with the political. Its
message was just too overt.
I am sorry, but I very much enjoy going to
the "Charles." It’s one of the few
places here in B-more to see a good foreign film or any
other alternative films.
Jerry: Rudy, I would trust
Burnett or Julie Dash to do a post-Katrina film I do like
much of Spike Lee's work, but his New York cum Morehouse persona
or ego attitudes often prevent him from being analytical enough.
Some of us should suggest that all proceeds
from the film be used to build housing for the citizens of
the Ninth Ward. They have been objectified rashly and
unfairly. Filmmakers and media pundits need to take Human
Relations 101: HOW TO TREAT DISPLACED PERSONS AS YOUR EQUAL.
Rudy: I do not trust
He butchered the Nat Turner documentary and after agreeing to
respond to Questions for Charles Burnett
he balked and we never got an answer. Poor Charles is not his
own man; nor a man of the community. I might trust Julie Dash,
though I do not know her, nor have I had any dealings with her. Daughters
of the Dust was good.
Here's a curious social analysis by Martin
Kilson. Instead of speaking of the black poor, he refers to them
as "weak-sector Black Americans":
Achieving a multi-dimensional Black
elite-cooptation pattern will require what might be
called a “Neo-Black Communitarianism.” By this term,
I mean mobilizing liberal and progressive elements in
Black Civil Society Agencies – in women’s clubs,
clergy organizations, fraternal organizations and
sororities, churches, labor unions, professional
associations , etc. – that cultivate what I call a
A “Black-awareness ethos” is an
outlook that puts the needs of the weak-sector Black
Americans at the center of overall 21st century
African-American concerns. The weak-sector of Black
Americans amounts to perhaps 40% of African-American
households today. This weak-sector of Black Americans
was rudely and graphically brought to national and world
visibility by the Katrina Hurricane devastation of Black
lives in New Orleans. (Black
It is all a bit stiff and scholarly for my
taste. But it is true we need a program to liberate the black
poor. Film makers should keep this in mind. Kilson, however,
expects too much out of the structures and organizations that
now exists and he depends too much on the 9000 elected officials
keeping "the weak-sector Black Americans at the center of
overall 21st century African-American concerns."
But these politicians know too well who votes
and who doesn't and from whence their campaign funds come. In
short, we have here too much sociology and not enough common
sense honest and openness.
Rudy. Kilson is tripping.
Miriam: You've hit on one of my
passions--film, and especially the works of Black writers,
actors, and directors, because, in my view, it's one of the most
creative and provocative art forms.
Although I don't have cable and seldom watch
Hollywood-type features on t.v., I have always been interested
in films and their history, from the early productions of Oscar
Micheaux to the blaxploitation films of Melvin Van Peebles
(which I criticized as demeaning to Black people), to the more
progressive works of Gordon Parks & Charles Burnett to the
current features of John Singleton, Haile Gerima,
Spike Lee and
I did not like Lee's first film "She's
Gotta Have It," because I thought it was a male fantasy of
female desire, rather crudely executed; in fact, bell
hooks summed it up for me in her brilliant critical essay,
"Whose Pussy Is This?" which was required reading in
one of my grad classes. I detested "Jungle
Fever" and refused to see "Bamboozled," both of
which depicted Blacks in stereotypical fashion. To my
mind, Lee's best films are "Malcolm X" and "Get
on the Bus," and, from what I've heard, "Four Little
Girls," about the children who were murdered in Birmingham.
But I don't think too much of Lee as a filmmaker; most of
his stuff is commercial and White-oriented in spite of his
posturing to the contrary.
I am a devotee of foreign films, and, yes,
Herbert, Black Shack Alley, directed by Euzhan Palcy is
excellent. She does a fine job of remaining true to the
characters and themes—racism, poverty, classism—of the novel
Rue Cases-Nègres. Haile Gerima, though an
Ethiopian, has done a remarkable job in understanding African
American language and culture in both Sankofa and the
film on Sterling Brown. Did you know that his wife is also
a filmmaker? Another of my favorites is Raoul Peck, a
Haitian who lived for a while in the Congo. His
is a powerful, well-executed masterpiece, and his recent
in April" is a moving docudrama about the 1994 genocide
As you know, Herbert, from Françoise's book
on African film, that continent has produced some excellent
cinematographers who are examining problems that plague their
countries: religious strife, poverty, class divisions,
colonialism, etc. The National Museum of African Art
offers free films by directors from Senegal, Nigeria, South
Africa, Kenya, etc. Two years ago, when Mali was featured
in the Smithsonian's Folklife Festival, the film series
presented several works on the Dogon people, their history and
Of course Senegalese Ousmane Sembène is a
master of the medium whose works often deal with social and
political issues. His latest, Moolade, for example,
examines the subject of genital mutilation. The Black
British filmmaker Isaac Julian is also extremely talented.
I showed his Looking for Langston about homoeroticism
during the Harlem Renaissance, in one of my graduate classes and
invited other students & profs to attend. It created
the background for a provocative discussion about homophobia in
the Black community.
And, oh, my God, don't even get me started on
Cuban films: the early work of Afro-Cuban Sara Gómez,
films by Gutiérrez—The Last Supper, Lucía, and
Memories of Underdevelopment—and the recent work of
Gloria Rolando. I showed her spiritual-erotic film on
Santeria at a conference, and one of my up-tight
friends/colleagues (who's married to a Baptist minister) walked
out when Ochún rose up out of the water in all of her
Rolando personally presented her film on
Assata Shakur at Howard a few years ago, and her most recent
film debuted this summer at the newly-renovated Tivoli Theatre.
You're right, Rudy, most of the theaters have moved out to the
suburbs, but developers are beginning to renovate neighborhood
theaters like the Tivoli on 14th St., which has been closed
since the riots of the '60s. Even when these theaters
reopen, though, I very seldom see our folk at significant Black
Of course, they rush to see
Woman, Thou Art Loosed, but seldom attend even
thought-provoking, Hollywood-produced films such as
and this summer's
Crash. In fact, most of my
friends don't attend films; I can count the ones who do:
Sandra, my friend whom you met, Acklyn, writer Marita Golden, a
Memphis friend who has a tremendous film collection, and that's
I like to organize theater and film parties.
This summer, I took 8 friends to see
Hustle and Flow,"
which was directed by a Memphian and filmed in that city.
Afterwards, I served dinner and we critiqued the film. As
expected, they came down hard on the characters (pimps and
prostitutes), who were depicted as real people, poor and
struggling to make it, with some dignity and self respect.
Then, Black filmmakers have produced some tremendous
documentaries, such as
Tupac, one on Du Bois, and
Douglass for PBS. Did either of you see Black
Is, Black Ain't by the terrific Black filmmaker, a New
Orleanian, who died a couple of years ago of AIDS? I used
his film in my Intro. to the Black Experience class to examine
the issues of racial and gender identity.
Films can be an important educational tool,
but students have to learn how to analyze and critique films, as
well as to develop their own standards of evaluation.
Personally, I don't like films that are too didactic; I
prefer subtle sociopolitical messages that are conveyed through
highly crafted art forms. Like poets, painters or potters,
cinematographers should hone their skills to produce films or
documentaries that provoke thought and capture the imagination.
Oh, I forgot to mention a tremendous
The Agronomist, which traces the life of a
Haitian radio journalist who sacrificed his life (he was
assassinated) to take the truth to poor Haitian peasants.
If you get a chance, please see that film. It was produced
(funded) by writer Edwidge Danticat and musician Wyclif (I
forgot his last name).
Herbert, did you see that last Cuban film
that I recommended to you, about the Cuban-American who returned
to the island in search of his roots?
Other films that are definitely worth seeing:
The Learning Tree,
Black Orpheus (a Brazilian film
which I've seen 5 times), and Eve's Bayou. There are
a lot of others, but my mind is tired.
I haven't seen As
an Act of Protest,
but will check it out.
Rudy: Most of the films and directors you
name I am familiar. But I have not seen the films and most of
them seem to be foreign films. I like very much the idea of film
parties. When I was a child, there was my uncle who acquired
films and showed them in the community and for a modest fee one
could see black films and black cowboys. The nearest theater
was ten miles away and one was required if colored sit in the
balcony. So I liked very much this kind of community initiative.
This approach the producer and the director
an Act of Protest had in mind. But they never figured out
how to implement it. I tried to find a venue in Baltimore to
show the film, but failed. I did show it to a small group. But
those who made the film have not made a dime off all the work
they put into it. Kalamu, I believe, is trying to figure out a
way to at least preview these kinds of films in cyberspace. There
is a website that does something like this for African film.
Maybe such film promoting groups is something that needs some
work and development within our communities.
We probably also need to develop more
writers and critics of film who can develop a taste among our
teachers and other professionals and the masses in general for
the kinds of films you have named.
Dennis: Thanks, Rudy for the mention.
I will email Miriam this week and properly introduce myself.
Protest is playing here in Berlin and I showed some footage of
my work in progress God at 4AM Blues here at the
Kunsthaus Tacheles. A very different work than Protest
, but it seems to be going well. If you speak to Miriam inform
her I will try my best to send her a VHS by next month or so.
I would love her to see it.
A great deal of what she wrote is true, true,
true. And what you mention about black film critics is very
true, they should champion and help promote the works of black
auteurs instead of opting to crtitique the Hollywood trash. It
is hard without formal critiques at times because it is one of
the only ways to grow.
And most real black art filmmakers are
unknown, marginalized, or pushed aside because their films are
not geared towards ENTERTAINMENT. That is another essay I have
been trying to write for ChickenBones along with my
Wilson piece, which I am still penning.
maybe these email discussions
will have some effect. I have been posting them on ChickenBones
and I have created an entire page for the links of the
discussions -- Conversations with Kind Friends.
Maybe people will
be more enabled to follow the discussions. I have put
them in a kind of dramatic (dialogue) form, as if they occurred
all together. I liked very much also the idea of film parties.
The problem still is how to get money back to the filmmaker when
one is also trying to avoid the old commercial routes.
Yeah, the old commercial routes - you said it...the
stories I could tell. Well, you have heard them all before
anyway. . . . I am headed back now to the city center to screen
some footage of my new experimental film. No one understood the
first ten minutes of it (which in the case of the form of the
film is actually a compliment) and the damn video projector
over-heated. Second time that has ever happened to me...wonder
what that means!
The movie is structured like a musical
composition; I refer to it as a chamber film or a sonnet -
because of the "un-standard" format I edited and
collated the scenes. That is bit of a mouthful, I know, but I
have been energized lately because of the different points of
view the film explores (in a series of six fragmented scenes,
they play throughout a total of three times. The first sequence,
the movie focuses on one character, the second time it is the
same scene - but with reverse shots - focusing on the other
character, and so forth.)
I thought about you a lot because I know you
appreciate progress, experimentation and can relate to that sort
of "blind discovering" or risk taking - like when you
are not sure of how one of your poems will come out when you
are, especially, attempting a new style.
Anyway, brother, everything you are doing is
positive and progressive. I love it. I emailed Miriam and agreed
that film parties are great. I used to do that all the time
when I was directing plays and living in Harlem and before I
made As an Act of Protest. Showed all kinds of independent and
Black films. Most of the time the reception was not good - but
there were some moments that really sent us reeling (no pun
intended) - when everyone was in sync - just as audience
members. A beautiful thing.
Conversations with Kind Friends
is a wonderful idea...so much to do, Rudy, but we do what we
can. But as a filmmaker, I applaud you personally - because you
understand and empathize the problems we face just in terms
trying to spread the word, advertise, distribute, and raise
funds. People give lip service to the overall issue, but most
don't really understand.
Miriam: Dennis, I was very excited to
receive your message and delighted that Rudy had forwarded to
you my hastily-written, subjective piece on Black films.
It is so good to know of you, your work in theater and film (as
writer & director), and your future projects. I did
not know about As An Act of Protest, so I shall check out the
reviews on ChickenBones and the other sites that you
From the synopsis that you sent me, it seems
like a very provocative and stimulating work of art, radical and
modernistic in its conception and execution. You bring a
wealth of training and experience to your work, which is most
impressive. (I, too, am a devotée of John Cassavetes
& Ingmar Bergman. In fact, I saw Bergman's latest
film, starring Liv Uhlman, just a couple of weeks ago.)
I retired from UMBC in 1999, so I can no
longer tap into university resources to organize programs.
I will, however, forward information about your film to a UMBC
student and a faculty member in the Africana Studies Dept.
who is a former student of mine. She is a very dynamic and
progressive Pan Africanist, who is very much interested in the
The university generally sponsors a Black
film festival during Black History Month, so it's possible that
arrangements can be made for a showing of the film along with
your lecture. I also have contacts at other universities,
so will do what I can to distribute information about Protest to
other academics who might be interested in having you present
When Gloria Rolando was in the country a few
years ago, a friend arranged a screening of Assata at Howard,
and we raised money then to assist with the production of her
most recent film. Françoise Pfaff, who is of French &
Martinican descent, is a specialist in African film at Howard
University and has also studied/taught films of the African
Diaspora, so she might be interested in organizing something.
There are also several institutions here that promote films:
TransAfrica Forum, National Geographic, and various
The work that you're doing in writing,
directing, and producing films is so important, but I understand
that the promotion, marketing, and distribution of films must be
costly and time-consuming. Perhaps you know that Haile
Gerima and his wife have opened a bookstore/cultural center
called "Sankofa" here in D. C. He has labored so
long and hard to produce and promote his work; he gives so
generously of his time and energy to stimulate interest in Black
art and culture. He has recently held a series of
programs/discussions/lectures on marronage or maroon culture in
I have tremendous respect for him: his
integrity, his commitment, his determination. When I saw Sankofa
here in D. C. several years ago, he attended that screening and
most of those that followed to discuss his work within the
context of Black art, history, and culture.
Your and Rudy's reaction to the film parties
has given me an idea--to encourage others to have informal
gatherings like you did in New York, where small groups of us
come together to view, discuss, and sup & sip on a regular
basis. Maybe a part of the problem is that so many people
have not learned how to analyze and critique film as a cultural
text with significant social and political implications.
I discovered to my chagrin that many of my
students at the historically-Black college where I taught as
well as at predominantly-White institutions had never seen a
live theater performance, so I took them to plays, movies, art
exhibitions, and even (ugh!) operas. I used to wonder why
students would laugh at the most sensitive and heart-wrenching
parts of plays (like the abortion scene in for colored girls),
and then I realized that it was because they did not know how to
deal with their complex emotions and to respond appropriately.
(In video games, you laugh at everything,
even the sight of a man getting shot.)
Is there any wonder that there's no audience.
no viewers, no consumers for our art? How sad--and how
ironic--that so many of our artists have been better received in
Europe than in North America. Berlin. One of the
coldest cities that I know. The sight of those massive
statues on top of buildings chilled my blood, but I found
excitement in a rousing street demonstration and joy in the
three-story erotic museum that I happened upon quite by accident
one August afternoon. The little old ladies with their
shopping bags made my day!
I look forward to viewing your film at some
Part 2 Gearing up for Action
Miriam: K. Brisbane,
a colleague from UMBC who now lives in Tobago, is a film buff
who buys up videos when she's in the States to take back to
Tobago to show to friends. She's done a lot to bring
together the Tobagoan & expatriot communities there, and I
think that her kind of cultural sharing (films, food,
fellowship) has helped to break down barriers there. It's
amazing how we humans work so hard to "exclude" others
from our "inner circles." By the way, our friend
Herbert has done a lot to promote the film When the Saints Dance
Mambo by the Afro-Puerto Rican Santeria and Yoruba priestess
Marta Moreno Vega. He'll present her with her film at the
Pratt Library where he works. We just all have to work
together to get our stuff out there where it can do some good
and help to raise consciousness, especially among the youth.
Brisbane: Miriam, Thanks for such a good overview of
black film in the Diaspora. After seeing the documentary,
"Sisters in Cinema" this past winter, I got Marcia to
get me a copy. It is such a rich source of films and the
discussion about making, financing, distributing and continuing
in the field was dynamic and frankly heartbreaking. There is so
much being done by people who know what they are doing and yet
who can't get the money to sustain their work. What I found
interesting in the on film discussion was the determination of
the sisters to keep on keeping on.
I love Palcy, Sembene and Peck's work and would love to see the
latest from each. MLK, Jr. Library had a great collection at one
time. I guess its still there. The brother who managed that
division was very helpful in getting films of substance into the
Collective film viewing is essential for younger people and
probably older folk as well. It would be so wonderful to
reinstitute the Black Film Festival in DC. Even if its done in a
small way. I would love to help organize that. Those sisters in
the documentary were clear that they needed exposure and support
and it seems that one way to do it. Maybe the library would help
organize that. I wonder if Mr. White is still at MLK?
When we meet, I would like to talk with you further about doing
regard to airing black films.
Dennis: This sounds
great! I will pass along the info regarding When the Saints Dance
Mambo . I have heard of Vega and will definitely do all I can to
support. I will email some folks I know in the states. When
exactly is the screening? How can I contact Herbert?
Rudy, I am not sure if you
have Miles McAfee from Medger Evers college, but he runs a film
screening program there. He was very supportive of Protest up
until the day I left the states, I think he might be on your
mailing list. If not - I will contact him. His email is email@example.com.
I am sure he would help pass along any information regarding
recommended film screenings - anywhere in the country. I believe
he is in Gerima's camp, but I am not quite sure.
Regarding Brisbane - that's
wonderful to hear. My family is actually from Port of Spain,
Trinidad. Is she in the U.S. now? This is all very positive
stuff to hear, for a change, thank you Miriam. Stay in touch,
keep me abreast.
By the way, I put an order
to get a VHS dub for you and will have it sent out by end of
November. It will probably be mailed out to you from NYC, where
my original dubbing house/source is located.
VHS tapes in Europe are
nearly impossible to make and even on PAL it is very expensive
even if you do it in bulk, which is odd because there are many
independent directors here but most don't seem to be able to
finesse the dubbing houses and develop relationships the way you
can in the states. But enough of that.
The revolution is taking place. In the first place asia
is thumbing its nose at Hollywood and ignoring
"intellectual property." Places like India, China,
Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia are already going
digital and the masses are responding. Now we read that Miramax
and Disney are getting into the act and equipping 85 theaters
with 3d digital projector at a very large cost. But this is more
of a ploy and promotion to make "Chicken Little" pay
off than it is to lower admissions or bring culture to the
However, not only is the digital projector
about to change the world of entertainment, but the digital
movie camera. In the sixties when I had all the greats playing
my theater, from The Dead, Janis Joplin, Coltrane, Coleman,
Fatha Hines, Stan Getz, Sarah Vaughn, Dick Gregory, Richie
Pryor, Sandman Sims. Jimmy Slyde, Chuck Green, the Yardbirds,
The Cream, The Doors, et al we could not even afford 16mm stock
and a great opportunity was lost. Oh, to have Jimmy Hendrix,
Mama Kass or Timothy Leary on film.
Now a digital film cost bupkis and any young
person can be a filmmaker. I don't mean to lecture you but the
entertainment industry has been controlled by a few men. First,
Sarnoff created a quasi governmental company RCA with two
senators as directors, and stole Marconi's patent, then Emile
Berliner defeated Edison's patent (the cylinder phonograph) by
inventing the platter, and then RCA became RCA VICTOR (for the
victory) and for 20 years RCA VICTOR enjoyed a monopoly, and
then Goldwyn and Meyer stole Lee Deforest's invention of the
talking film. And then Sarnoff and Balaban stole T.V.
transmission from a young British inventor, and so forth.
Film was controlled by George Eastman and
still is. 35mm film was developed as to monopolize film, and so
only Hollywood had prints. The digital camera and projector will
change all that, and is. Watch Kodak stock. Sell it short.
* * *
* * * * *
Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All
By Russell Simmons
Russell Simmons knows firsthand that
wealth is rooted in much more than the
market. True wealth has more to do with
what's in your heart than what's in your
wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons
became one of America's shrewdest
entrepreneurs, achieving a level of
success that most investors only dream
about. No matter how much material gain
he accumulated, he never stopped lending
a hand to those less fortunate. In
Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare
blend of spiritual savvy and
street-smart wisdom to offer a new
definition of wealth-and share timeless
principles for developing an unshakable
sense of self that can weather any
financial storm. As Simmons says, "Happy
can make you money, but money can't make
* * * * *
The New Jim Crow
Mass Incarceration in the Age of
By Michele Alexander
Contrary to the
rosy picture of race embodied in Barack
Obama's political success and Oprah
Winfrey's financial success, legal
scholar Alexander argues vigorously and
persuasively that [w]e have not ended
racial caste in America; we have merely
redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial
segregation has been replaced by mass
incarceration as a system of social
control (More African Americans are
under correctional control today... than
were enslaved in 1850). Alexander
reviews American racial history from the
colonies to the Clinton administration,
delineating its transformation into the
war on drugs. She offers an acute
analysis of the effect of this mass
incarceration upon former inmates who
will be discriminated against, legally,
for the rest of their lives, denied
employment, housing, education, and
public benefits. Most provocatively, she
reveals how both the move toward
colorblindness and affirmative action
may blur our vision of injustice: most
Americans know and don't know the truth
about mass incarceration—but her
carefully researched, deeply engaging,
and thoroughly readable book should
* * * * *
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
* * *
Ancient African Nations
* * * * *
If you like this page consider making a donation
* * * * *
Negro Digest /
Browse all issues
* * * * *
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 /
* * *
The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg
Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
* * * * *
* * *
posted 16 October 2005 / update
22 December 2011