Unbanned: The Legend ofAJ1 goes beyond the shoe's namesake and breaks down the rules that resulted in the most popular sneaker in the world literally being banned by the NBA. Proving that the more things change, the more they stay the same. It's all very reminiscent of the backlash toward former NFL star Colin Kaepernickfor taking a knee to protest inequality toward people of color and the senseless shootings of a multitude of unarmed black men and women.Read More
A few years ago, I attended a live-taping of "The Odd Couple" in which the creator Gary Marshall loved to interact with the audience during taping breaks. He shared tale after tale of all the now famous people he discovered from Julia Roberts to Henry Winkler to Robin Williams. Williams had just passed a few weeks before and Marshall gleefully spoke of how Williams' character of Mork was born on "Happy Days" because his son wanted to see a martian on the show. Mork from Ork was only the beginning for the shooting comet we knew as Robin Williams.Read More
Sammy Davis, Jr. was the ultimate entertainer. He could sing. He could dance. He could do a killer celebrity impersonation. He could act. He was a member of the Rat Pack. And...he bridged the racial gap of entertainment like no other. There will never be another.Read More
What is a hired gun? It's a musician that has the ability to read charts fast, fit in like a missing piece of a jigsaw puzzle and be ready to tour at a moment's notice. Sounds like a great way to earn a living right? Not all of the musicians interviewed would agree with you. As a matter of fact, several members of Billy Joe's band referred to him as 'heartless'. Most attribute this attitude as an aftermath of his former manager stealing 90 million dollars and vanishing into thin air. That kind of betrayal would leave a bad taste in anyone's mouth.Read More
Described by his Mom as a "wild stallion", this overzealous Australian teen booked his first film "10 Things I Hate About You," shortly upon arrival in Tinseltown. However, it was his big break opposite Mel Gibson in The Patriot that put him on the map and Brokeback Mountain made him an A-list star.Read More
Do we ever wonder what happens to those capturing the injustice? I know I didn't, but thanks to the new documentary Copwatch that portal has now been opened. Directed by Camilla Hall, this documentary profiles several WeCopwatch members - revealing how their mission to film police brutality has impacted their lives. This isn't about what happened in front of the cameras, but about those who stood behind them. The members featured captured the fatal arrests of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Freddie Gray.Read More
As many people have seen in numerous posts over the years, I unequivocably love my mother. She's my sheroe. She taught me that it was never too late in life to accomplish ANYTHING. She is one of the bravest women I know, loves me unconditionally and sometimes behaves as if she doesn't want to ever let me grow up. One day, as we prepared to go out somewhere, she was tugging on my clothes annoying me to no end. Being a smartass I quipped, "You're always going to be my mother aren't you?". She quickly snapped, "Well, what did you expect...of course I am".Read More
The 13th Amendment. What do we really know about it other than it was part of the constitution that kicked slavery to the curb. It declared that "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
Leave it to director Ava Duvernay to break it all the way down to make a case out of the fact that slavery hasn't really been abolished. In fact, it's actually evolved into our current system of mass incarceration. A system, in which many prisons are run by major corporations (Walmart and Victoria's Secret) for profit. Prisoners are paid a pittance for their labor. Twelve cents an hours to be exact.
In a year that has seen a black life murdered or jailed at a rapid rate, a movement incited by people of all races speaking out on the injustices called #BlackLivesMatter and year in film that began with the hashtag #oscarssowhite, 13th brings to the forefront a much need conversation about mass incarceration of people of color.
From Jim Crow laws to Nixon's "war on drugs" to Bill Clinton's "three strikes" legislation, mass incarceration is a real issue and one that sorely needs investigating and discussing. In 1970, there were 200,000 prisoners and today the numbers are staggering toward more than 2 million. Did you know that while the America has more than just 5% of the world's population, we have more than 25% of the world's population in prisoners? It is a proven fact that one in three prisoners are black men and more than 60% of the people in the prison system are people of color.
Interviewing scholars and activists ranging from Angela Davis to rapper/Oscar winner Common, the film trots out images of lynchings, cellphone videos of police abuse and footage from the 1815 D.W. Griffith film "The Birth of a Nation". That film alone glorified the Klu Klux Klan and was screened with pride at the White House for then President Woodrow Wilson. I know ...right??!!
13th couldn't be more timely in an election year where we have candidates speaking of building walls, politicians pushing for criminal justice reform and reducing the prison population - particularly of non-violent offenders. As if Hillary Clinton doesn't have enough on her plate with those damn emails, the film openly criticizes Bill and Hillary for supporting the 1990's crime bill that has led to a massive increase of the prison population today. A bill in which those both now realize was a fatally flawed mistake for our country.
A pivotal, yet chilling moment for me was some footage of a recent Trump rally - where angry white people with black protestors are shown against archival clips of civil rights protestors. All the while listening to Donald Trump say, "In the good old days...they would be carried out on stretchers."
I'm not gonna lie. Watching these types of projects makes me feel some kind of way. Mostly angry, hurt and left with a massive desire to make difference. Obviously, there is strength in numbers. Each one teach and tell one. So, today I have taught you more than you probably wanted to know about the 13th amendment through the lens of brilliant director Ava Duvernay. The rest is literally up to you to keep the conversation going until a change is made.
13th can be streamed NOW via Netflix.