I recently took a late summer vacation and was able to fully digest the beautifully designed scripted 10 part audio drama “Bronzeville”. The cast is stellar: Laurence Fishburne, Larenz Tate, Tika Sumpter, Tracee Ellis Ross, Omari Hardwick, Wood Harris, Lahmard Tate, Cory Hardrick and more make up the characters that come to life in the series. “Bronzeville” brings to life 1940’s Chicago and the “policy” or numbers games that allowed this African American community to flourish. At the center of the drama we are introduced to members of the notorious Copeland family, including sister Lisa Copeland played by Tika sumpter, Jimmy Tillman played by Larnez Tate and Curtis Randolph played by Laurence Fishourne. Not only was I impressed with the sound design of the overall series, I couldn’t believe how quickly I was transformed to 1940’s Chicago via these auditory performances. It’s easy for me to binge a great tv series or fly through a good book but I’ve never been so engaged in a scripted audio series. I think a major reason why I was so invested and am supportive of the project is because it is not entirely a fictional project and a little know piece of American history. Bronzeville was an actual African American community in Chicago in the 1940’s whose money generated from the policy operation allowed the community to be self sufficient and produce schools, stores, banks and nightclubs. You can read a bit about its history and the policy operation here.
You can listen to all 10 episodes of season 1 here. Hopefully the cast is hard at work and gearing up for season 2!
A friend of mine put me onto “There Goes The Neighborhood” as they covered gentrification in East New York Brooklyn. Being from Brooklyn and witnessing its gentrification first hand, I was all in. The series talked to both local residents directly effected by new city plans and the infiltrating house flippers. I devoured every episode and eagerly awaited a new season to be posted. I had hoped the series would tackle another section of Brooklyn but they are instead taking the series to the West coast to discuss gentrification in Los Angeles. If the upcoming L.A. version is as good as the B.K. version, we’re all in for an eye opening treat.
Well isn’t this timely? Peep the teaser for the upcoming film I Am Not Your Negro by director Raoul Peck. It features readings from an unfinished novel by the great James Baldwin and is narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.
About the film:
In his new film, director Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished – a radical narration about race in America, using the writer’s original words. He draws upon James Baldwin’s notes on the lives and assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. to explore and bring a fresh and radical perspective to the current racial narrative in America.
In theatres February 3rd
As part of their Black Power 50 programming, a retrospective of the past 50 years of black power around America, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is featuring a film documenting the Young Lords movement, ¡Palante, Siempre Palante!. The screening takes place on 11/10/16 and tickets are free but an RSVP is required and can be done so via their website here.
Via the Schomburg website:
In the midst of the Black Power Movement, liberation was sought by communities across the globe. In the U.S., Puerto Rican and Latino/a communities fought for economic, racial and social justice. The Young Lords emerged as a powerful voice for the independence of Puerto Rico, empowerment and improved living conditions in America. ¡Palante, Siempre Palante!, directed by Iris Morales, a grassroots activist who was the first woman to join the East Harlem branch of the Young Lords, features interviews with activists. After the screening, Morales will join three former Young Lords–Martha Arguello, Carlos Aponte, and Carlos Rovira –for a talkback with Johanna Fernandez, PhD, professor of History, Department of Black and Latino Studies at Baruch College (CUNY).
I’m really looking forward to @‘s new documentary on Netflix.
“The title of Ava DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing documentary 13TH refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity. With a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from a dazzling array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis.”