IJS…Sonia Sanchez is phenomenal!

I want to see, smell, touch, and hear Cuba. Until that moment, a Sunday stroll through Little Havana will do.

I bought a couple of Cuban cigars for my dad (I don’t condone his smoking, but he’ll probably enjoy these more than the Amazon gift card I tried to give him for his birthday). For me, I purchased a Luis Molina print of Eleggua, an Afro-Cuban orisha with Yoruba roots. Eleggua is already by my door to open new avenues and protect my home.

Scenes and quotes from the inaugural ColorComm Conference in Miami.

Perry’s Drag Queen Brunch. Food? All right. At least my eyes were entertained.

Perry’s Drag Queen Brunch. Food? All right. At least my eyes were entertained.

Scenes from a Brooklyn Saturday

Kara Walker’s A Subtlety: Marvelous Sugar Baby (and her Chillen)

Sugar tastes sweet, but it’s a nasty enterprise. It, of course, is what brought millions of Africans to the American shores, and in Mississippi, my own great-grandfather, a man born to a former slave, made and sold molasses.

Kara Walker’s exhibit is amazing and worth every second of my hour-long wait. I’d expected to meet the Marvelous Sugar Baby and a few of her progeny, but the smell was unexpected and almost overwhelming. The factory’s soured sugar funk reminded me of the lives destroyed by this insatiable appetite for sweetness.

Several of the child figurines, which were made of molasses and resin, had dissolved under the heat. Only broken little pieces of these bodies remained, and for me, the decay symbolized those who perished under this capital enterprise.

Weekend Binge: Orange Is the New Black

3 days. 13 nearly one-hour episodes. 1 need to get a more exciting life. 12 months of waiting for the next new batch of stories.

My random thoughts: Piper continues to be privileged and annoying, but I enjoyed getting to know Lorna Morello, the “fiance” stalker, and Poussey Washington, the unrequited lover. I thought Sophia Burset could use more screen time, especially in light of LaVerne Cox’s Time cover story.

Will Laura Prepon make a full time return to the show, or perhaps Piper’s interference will lead to a more maximum security?

Article of the week, of course. I do look forward to a day when all negative stories about discrimination aren’t rooted in Mississippi. Like I heard Jelani Cobb say earlier this week, while folks in the South grew the cotton, the textiles mills in the North relied on them, and demand in the European market kept it alive.

I’m not looking for financial reparations, but I would like recognition of the fact that many continuing ills and inequalities are a direct result of slavery and overt action to keep an underclass.

This week, I attended the kickoff of the 2014 March on Washington film festival. First up, Solomon Northup’s Odyssey. Yes, the same story as Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, but this original was directed by Gordon Parks and shown on PBS in 1984. Few copies of this story remain, and it’s funny how the 12 Years filmmakers never referenced it…at least not out loud during that film’s promotion and celebration.

The films, while using the same source material, have incredible differences. For example, the Parks film uses humor repeatedly while I couldn’t escape the brutality portrayed in the McQueen version. Also, while watching McQueen’s, I wondered if it could be possible that Solomon never had a voluntary romantic liaison while enslaved. In Parks’ story, Solomon connects with a fellow enslaved woman — the one who goes on to have an affair with a master.

After the films’ showing, filmmaker Warrington Hudlin and scholars William Jelani Cobb and Khalil Gibran Muhammad led a discussion based on the stories’ differences. They highlighted that Parks’ version seemed to reflect his time and place having grown up in America during the heart of the Civil Rights movement. As a reflection of this, we see humor and religion as major factors that helped slaves cope. You also see Solomon’s wife and family throughout the movie rather than the bookends in McQueen’s tale.

They hypothesis that the differences are rooted in different target audiences with African Americans for the Parks story and a white audience for McQueen. For me, this may ring true. I also think McQueen’s lineage plays a role in his gaze. There’s a complexity in American race relations that is hard to grasp. Let’s not forget that all major actors in this version — Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita N’yongo, Michael Fassbender, and Benedict Cumberbatch — all grew up outside the United States (it should be noted that author John Ridley is American). You can read historical texts, but even then it’s difficult to know the roots. 

Sometimes, I get a little bougie. #nerdprom #WHCD

Sometimes, I get a little bougie. #nerdprom #WHCD

Tags: whcd nerdprom