Davey D Interviews Soul Food Junkies Filmmaker Byron Hurt

byron HurtFilmmaker Byron Hurt has been making noise for a minute with his thought provoking film projects including Hip Hop Beyond Beats and Rhymes and Barack & Curtis: Manhood, Power, & RespectBoth gave us keen insight into Black manhood… His latest film Soul food Junkies is a gem among gems as he explores the relationship between him and his late father and our collective love affair with food. It’s insightful and touching documentary that’ll give you serious food for thought (no pun intended)..

Recently Byron came to the Bay Area to do a special screening of his flick.. We sat down and chopped it up.. Here’s our interview that recently aired on Free Speech TV

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cy-Elu8DE1E

Below is a link to Byron talking about his next film which will focus on Hazing in Fraternities

http://vimeo.com/58396912

Editorial: In Defense of Dr Cornel West

Cornel-West-purple

Who am I to defend Dr. West who is a considerably one of the greatest minds God has blessed humanity with in the 21 century. He is a prophetic voice out of the African American Baptist tradition, a scholar, writer, historian and musicologist. He has been critical of President Obama and because of his criticism he and Tavis Smiley, his partner in criticizing the president have both been accused of profiteering and jealousy. Frankly, I cannot say if that is or is not absolutely false.

However, I do welcome Dr. West’s well placed articulation for the poor and disenfranchised. I applaud his truth telling in season and out of season. I encourage his well aimed perspectives on President Obama’s administration and policies. I disregard the claim that our President cannot be the Black President as a ridiculous comment, which seems only African American make about themselves and accept from others. The President is of African American descent, but he is also from other descents, yet we are not to enthusiastically advocate for ourselves to him?

I also have reflected on President Obama’s successes because I don’t want pundits, or the media, or some misinformed colleague to tell me how to think. I have listed President Obama’s first term achievements from my contextual perspective. Everyone has the right to do so;
consequently here are what the President achieved:

He overcame an intransigent Republican Party led by billionaires like the Koch brothers
and the Tea Party, who spent obscene money to defeat him. He had to deal with Sen. McConnell
and Representative John Boehner who stated their number one focus is to stop President
Obama’s initiatives, and deny him a second term.

He inherited an economy in freefall, after being robbed by Wall Street, by initiating a
stimulus that created 5 million jobs.

During his term Wall Street averages went from 6000 to 13000.

CEO’s of major corporations under Obama’s term increased their profits over 230%

He brought the economy out of a hole.

He initiated the Lilly Ledbetter Act giving women equal pay for equal work.

He saved the United States Auto Industry and thereby saving all of the Great Lakes
economy.

He wound down the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He eliminated Osama Bin Laden, after he was considered unable to be brought to justice,
and made America safer. Remember President Bush said he doesn’t even think about Osama Bin
Laden.

He appointed two women to the Supreme Court and has one more selection to make.

He initiated the Health Care Reform that every President tried to do; but could not do for
over 100 years.

He managed that we did not go over the fiscal cliff and stood up to the Republicans when
they tried to hold America hostage on raising the credit limit.

An outstanding set of presidential accomplishments, but have African Americans gotten their usual short end of the stick? Yes, and Dr. West agrees and it is why I see Dr. West serving a necessary purpose. He is critical of the President and his criticism has been on point. Speaking as a Black American I would give President Obama a B+. Why? This is why. During the first term he never spoke of the poor, just the middle class. I assume his handlers and he felt it would be political expedient to do so. However, it is the poor in this country that have been left out of any economic recovery and the poor that took the gravest economic loss. The poor are still waiting for employment, educational opportunities and gun/violence free communities.

Eric Holder

Eric Holder

Secondly, the President’s Justice Department gets a “C”. Attorney General Eric Holder has been lackluster and seemingly unaggressive in his prosecutions in the face of a growing number of rogue cops and bigoted white men killing innocent black boys and men. For example, in Mississippi there has been a rash of car accidents, where running over black men as they walk along the streets and country roads is their cause of death at the hands of white male drivers. Young white southern men have stalked unsuspecting random black males to thrill kill.

Never to forget, the shooting of boys like Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis and others. Very little or to be fair an uninspiring response from the Justice Department has been offered – – no signal or aggressive Federal prosecutions to indicate a perception of safety and protection for people of African American descent.

Also, not one Wall Streeter went to jail for stealing our money and crashing the economy. Yes, we get reports of Wells Fargo, Bank of America and CitiBank paying hundreds of millions in civil case settlements for colluding to foreclose on vulnerable and unsophisticated homeowners. These victim homeowners were predominantly of African American descent, which resulted in the largest transfer of wealth from African Americans. I ponder if the banks are so willing to settle for 100’s of millions in awards, it must mean they stole twice as much.

Thirdly, there are the drone bombings throughout Pakistan that are killing their intended terrorist targets, but the collateral deaths are innocent women and children.

Long Lines at Voting Booths

Long Lines at Voting Booths

Fourthly, where in the jobs program? Black folk voted for our President in record number (92%), in spite of misinformation scams, voter intimidation, rigged voting machines, and the reduction of voting hours. The collusion to defeat the Black vote included the Republican Party and Corporate class, who planned, hired operatives and funded illegal and close to illegal scams to thwart the Black voting strengths. Republican lawyers, legislators, elected governors, state attorney generals and even the son of the Republican candidate all have unclean hands in these unscrupulous efforts.

Valiantly African American common folk, in the spirit of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the year – long protest in Montgomery, Alabama, that galvanized the American Civil Rights Movement and led to a 1956 decision by the Supreme Court of the United States declaring segregated seating on buses unconstitutional, stood in the hot sun and long lines to cast their vote; and, seemingly no earnest effort on developing a jobs program is on the horizon.

Fifthly, I appreciate the president’s effort on the gun violence initiatives. I support his advocacy and bold leadership, but where is the focus on urban youth? Forty percent of the deaths from gun violence occur within urban communities across this nation from Oakland, LA, Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore, New Orleans and Miami. Yet, no specific plan to address the violence that has destroyed communities and a generation of young black males. Jobs and hope are the answer to the nihilism affecting these communities.

Dr. West is advocating for the least of these that seemed to again be left out. Gays got “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” repealed and the right to marry, Hispanics got Supreme Court Justice Soto -Meyer and immigration dialog, Jews got Justice Kagan and an assurance of military protection from Iran. Wall Street bankers received no prosecutions for the theft of our surplus. Women got the Lilly Ledbetter Act that ensures equal pay for equal work and the Presidential defense of Roe vs. Wade. They also received the selection of two female Supreme Court Justices and possibly a third.The middle class received Health Care Reform.

So when the President chooses to get sworn in on MLK’s Bible the President is evoking Dr. King’s values that he has fallen short of. I understand he was trying to get to a second term, but if we do not demand in politics we will not receive anything. Lastly, every King David NEEDS a Nathan. It’s is an inoculation against corruption and apathy. Our President needs someone who will call it like it is and speak for the poor and people of color. Dr. West has done a good job at that and I hope he continues, along with others. Otherwise African Americans poor, elderly and Black middle class will not get their needs addressed.

written by Reginald W Lyles

4 Movies You Should See & Know About Before You See Django that deal w/ Rebellion

There’s been a lot of chatter about the movie Django and how it touches upon slavery and the resistance to it..Lots of debates have sparked off talking about what’s accurate, what’s fantasy etc etc.. I say use this excitement around Django and the hype machine that director Quentin Tarantino has around him to turn folks onto other projects they may have overlooked, forgotten about or not seen at all..It doesn’t have to be an either or thing.. See ‘m all.. Contrast, compare and build..

SankofaOne film that is frequently mentioned is Sankofa by Haile Gerima  It’s a film that he said took more than 10 years to complete. Hollywood wasn’t interested in financing a movie about;

A self-absorbed Black American fashion model on a photo shoot in Africa is spiritually transported back to a plantation in the West Indies where she experiences first-hand the physical and psychic horrors of chattel slavery, and eventually the redemptive power of community and rebellion as she becomes a member of a freedom-seeking Maroon colony

There have been some who upon seeing the release of Django and its popularity have referenced Sankofa and asked why we didn’t support the painstaking efforts of film makers like Gerima who tried to give the Black community serious information about an institution that is constantly being written out or sanitized in our history books..

If you can’t rent the film here’s one of several copies on line..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gx0PAMOvnfw

Another film which is often mentioned is Spook Who Sat By the Door..by Sam Greenlee. It’s a landmark film that came out in the early 70s and was based upon a book with the same titled which was released in 1969.  Although this film isn’t about slavery, it’s about rebellion and fighting oppression which is whats attracting many to Django.

spook who satThe plot of Spook Who Sat by the Door goes as follows.. The CIA because of politics needs to recruit African-Americans to the agency. It’s supposed to be dog and pony show. In other words have Blacks try out for the agency, make it public, but have them fail. However, there was one guy, named Dan Freeman who played the role of an ‘Uncle Tom’ when in real life he was a Black nationalist.. He gets into the CIA, soaks up all their game and then leads an armed rebellion..This fim was so controversial, that it was banned from movie theaters and was hard to get up until recently..

According to Greenlee almost everyone involved in that film from the director Ivan Dixon on down to lead actor Lawrence Cook found themselves outcasted in many Hollywood circles. Cook wouldn’t appear in a major film for almost 20 years after Spook Who sat by the Door.

You can peep the movie here…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BynXfREPG8


Soul of nigger charleyAnother flick building on the Slave revolt theme is the Legend of Nigger Charley and Soul of Nigger Charley featuring Fred Williamson. It focuses on a trio of escaped slaves who are down to fight and win against white oppressors.. Believe it or not when these films came out there were posters all over subways in NYC advertising the film. The N word was not covered or changed.. It was very much in your face.. Legend of Nigger Charley went on to be Paramount pictures highest grossing film in 1972 when it was released.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lL0EV6ar1Eo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQ1aRxc341Q