my people

What I’m Listening to: Bronzeville Scripted Audio Drama + There Goes The Neighborhood L.A.

@BronzevilleShow “Bronzeville”

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!

There Goes The Neighborhood: LA

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.

Catch up on season 1 and get ready for season 2 of There Goes The Neighborhood here.

STEP (Documentary)

Whew.  @Stepthemovie

I watched this trailer a few days ago without sound and without hearing a word, I knew it would be good.

   

Step hits select theaters August 4th.  Head over to http://www.foxsearchlight.com/stepmovie/ for more info!

Happy Pride! (throwback video of when I walked in the parade – 2011)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…PRIDE!  If you don’t know, I support the LGBTQ community to the fullest and since 2011 (WOW that feels like yesterday) I have walked in the NYC Pride Parade with my cousin and her wife.  I captured some pretty epic footage the first year that we walked in the parade and decided to bring it back just in time for this year’s celebration.  This is all raw footage of the day but it does a pretty good job of showing just how much fun the Pride Parade is.  Enjoy!

Part 1

Part 2

“Be Truly Free” A Spike Lee Joint with VEON (short film)

Check out this short by the one and only Spike Lee.  

Be Free.

Be Truly Free – A Spike Lee Joint with VEON from 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks on Vimeo.

Moonlight x Alvin Ailey Dancers

Let me be honest, I did not like the film Moonlight.  I KNOW, very unpopular opinion here but I didn’t.  Not to take away from any of the actors or the production crew but I felt like it was a very skeletal piece.  The film didn’t feel fully fleshed out and seemed very incomplete, but that’s just my opinion.  This dance piece by the Alvin Ailey dancers set to the main score of the film however is a beautiful piece that almost, ALMOST makes me want to give the film a THIRD try (yes I watched it twice hoping I was missing what everyone else appears to get about this film…nope). 

What I’m Listening To: My Power UP Playlist

This is my favorite playlist to date!  Music to inspire, make you dance and keep you going.  Enjoy! 

 

Songs:

Optimistic – Sounds of Blackness

Ghetto Heaven – The Family Stand

Back II Life (However Do You Want Me) – Soul II Soul

Keep on Movin’ – Soul II Soul

The Power – SNAP!

Don’t Make Me Over – Sybil

Don’t Walk Away – Jade

If You Love Me – Brownstone

Tennessee – Arrested Development

Mr. Wendal – Arrested Development

Revolution – Arrested Development

Fight The Power – Public Enemy

Finally – CeCe Peniston

Keep on Walkin’ – CeCe Peniston

Sending My Love – Zhane

Hey Mr. DJ – Zhane

Tell Me – Groove Theory

All Around The World – Lisa Stansfield

I Will Survive – Chantay Savage

People Everyday (Metamorphosis Mix) – Arrested Development

 

Travel: Washington D.C.’s National Museum of African American History and Culture

A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to visit the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. and I must say, I’ve never been so overwhelmed in the most beautiful way possible.  The sheer amount of information, history, culture and energy in the museum is astonishing.  I managed to get a few iPhone photos (apologies if they are sideways, still can’t figure that out) and video to share but they do it no justice.  If you can, stalk the museum’s website for timed passes and experience this gem in person. 

 

Nas Launches Ugly Xmas Sweater in Support of Prison Reform

If you’re going to an ugly Christmas sweater party this year, do it with purpose!  Nas is selling his “Kneeling Santa” sweaters through his HSTRY clothing brand.  According to the site:

“A portion of proceeds will go to The Center for Court Innovation, which seeks to help create a more effective and humane justice system, reducing both crime and incarceration.”

You can read more about the initiative over at Huff Post and pick up a sweater via HSTRY’s website.

 

santa

Spoiler alert: I purchased the red one.

 

“I Am Not Your Negro” film features text from unfinished James Baldwin novel

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

http://www.magpictures.com/iamnotyournegro/