Dear Academy Awards: Tell Us the Reason

I try my best to keep my anger at bay at things which I don't have any control over or which don't affect me directly.  It became a point of mine as I realized I'm getting older and that stress shows up on your face in wrinkles and whatnot.  Regardless of how well you know me...you do know one thing for sure and that is that I'm vain as hell.  If getting mad at ish ages me then I'm going to flit around this mofo like a Disney bird twittering and ish.  So I tend to STOP AND BREATHE more and more.  I do have family, framily and friends I vent to...but for the most part we discuss and let it go.  I also just put it out there on Facebook by posting an article and commenting on it and then just read the comments to see if anyone else feels the same or...whether it's just me.

When the Academy Awards nominations were announced, I wasn't surprised at the lack of diversity.  I doubt anyone was.  I know some expressed shock and awe but honestly...they weren't shocked either.  Everyone knows it's a game of politics and political players tend to look the same in most of the top arenas where politics are active players.

Question: How Do You Become a Member of the Academy?

Answer: Membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is by invitation only. The Academy sends out invitations to a very limited number of qualified members of the film community once a year. Membership in the Academy normally fluctuates between 6,000 and 6,500 voting members.

Candidates for membership are proposed by current Academy members and then voted on by committees consisting of prominent representatives of the Academy’s 14 branches - directors, screenwriters, documentary filmmakers, etc. A candidate normally has the backing of at least two members of the branch for which he/she may qualify. Candidates must receive an endorsement by the appropriate branch executive committee before their name is given to the Board of Governors for its approval.

The Academy has tightened their entrance standards, with only the most impressive candidates invited to join the distinguished group. Academy Award nominees, if not already members, are automatically considered for membership (but not guaranteed an invitation to join).

The majority of the members are from the United States of America, however membership is not limited to U.S. citizens. Members remain eligible to vote until they have passed on or opted for retired (non-voting) status.
— http://movies.about.com/od/awards/f/oscarmem122504.htm

White.

Male.

I thought about the studio films which had a solid cast of Black actors in them this past year:

1.  Selma - Loved it.

2.  Addicted - Just watched it the other day and couldn't finish.  The menZ were pretty though.

3.  No Good Deed - Never finished it.  Probably won't even though I LURVES Taraji.

4.  Repentance  - Will watch this week.

5.  A Haunted House 2 - *BLINK*

6.  The Single Moms Club - No plans to watch.

7.  Get On Up - Really enjoyed it.

8.  The Equalizer - (On the fence about including this one since Denzel was the only Black person.)  Enjoyed it...wasn't Mr. Washington's best but not his fault.

9.  About Last Night - TRULY enjoyed it!

10.  Think Like a Man Too - TRULY enjoyed it!

11.  Belle - LOVED it...knew it wouldn't attract many though.

12.  Ride Along - I love Kevin Hart so yeah...TRULY enjoyed it!

13.  Annie - Didn't watch it and kinda feel really bad that I didn't so I'll rent it soon.

14.  Top Five - BEST.MOVIE.EVER!!!!!!!!!!  I LOVED THIS MOVIE SO MUCH AND TOLD EVERYONE I KNEW TO GO SEE IT!  LOVED IT!

15.  Beyond the Lights - TRULY enjoyed it.  

16.  Dear White People - #StillMad

I got annoyed last night and a friend asked me if I truly felt that "Selma" should have won best picture.  

Me:  Have you ever seen "Malcolm X" or "The Color Purple?"

Friend:  No.

Me:  Did you see "Selma?"

Friend:  No.

Me:  Why?  

Friend:  Well, I don't support Spike Lee because I think he's a racist and I'd never even heard of "The Color Purple" before I met you because I know that's one of your favorite movies.

Me:  And "Selma?"

Friend:  I meant to go over the holidays but the time just got away from me and with kids it seems I only get to go see kid movies anyway.

Me:  Fair enough....have you ever seen a Woody Allen film?

Friend:  Of course.

My response was pretty much the following:

Well you'll understand that I understand that "Selma" meant something completely different to me than it did for you.  Emotionally there was a connect that many don't have and not just with White people.  I know a LOT of 20 and 30something Black people who didn't see it and well...I can't say it was something a teenager would choose to go see if their parents or school didn't take them...so I get that nothing is required viewing.  But "Malcolm X" is one of the most amazing films of our time.  You should get over your thoughts on Spike Lee and watch it one day same as I got over my distaste of the man Woody Allen is because I understand watching his movies is like an alternative film class with a perspective I'd never have.  Living in his world would be a fantasy for me and the closest I'll ever get to it is by watching his movies and watching how it is to exist without many of the worries most of us have.  Being able to do and say exactly as you wish at all times is something afforded to the few.

The conversation continued and, this morning, I've had similar conversations with friends, Black and White.  And one Asian woman.  

My thoughts on the Oscars get me angry far before nominations.  It's way back up in the deep...when producers think about what's next on their agenda.  What kind of movie do they want to make next.  Who is going to be the next star?  Who will they touch and change their life.  It goes back to how I felt here:

Black Filmmaking:  The Elephants in the Room...

The recent success of television shows with Black people in them have finally given me hope that the money rolling in will make Hollywood HAVE to factor in diversity in such a way that there will be room for more than one at a time.  You know how it goes...in Black Hollywood there can't be more than one it someone in a certain position at a time.  We get one it television show runner, one it director, one it actor, one it comedian.  LOL!  One at a time please!  No pushing!  No shoving!  Form ONE line!  WE'RE GOING TO USE THIS ACTOR IS 14 MOVIES this year because we only allow one at a time!  Yall know the drill!  Slow your roll!

So yeah...I'm hoping it gets better but you'll understand if I'm cynical as fuck about it cuz yeah...

Anyway...I'm happy "Birdman" won so big and I'm over-the-moon about Common and John Legend's win.  They are young Harry Belafonte's to me and I love them so.  They are not afraid to speak what needs to be spoken to the masses things which benefit ALL and not just them.  They made/make me proud.  

I got so annoyed at how many Black actors were onstage handing OUT the awards.  LOL!  I mean...that ish got to be comical.  One of my FB friends said it was the Oscar's version of "The Help."  

I didn't care for some of the nonchalant lack of Black people jokes either.  Like when Jerry Seinfeld said that they really never did much with Black women during his bit on the SNL anniversary show and then kept it moving.  Like...yeah...so?  LOL!  I mean damn!  

Just wow.

Anywho.  Again...proud of and glad for Common and John Legend and their entire teams behind them.  Keep raising those bars and keep 'em talking and crying.  Every little bit helps if it gets into the minds of those with the power to make diversity in films really happen.  

Me, myself and I personally?  (I hate that expression and am just using it to make someone laugh.)  I'm going to re-watch "What's Love Got to Do With It" again.  Anna Mae and Ike were ROBBED!

Thoughts?

On Don Lemon, Bill Cosby and Why Black People Can't Have Ish!

Don Lemon is from where I'm from.  Not from the state mind you...but from the actual, small town.  He's three years older than I am so I imagine I probably sat in some of the same chairs he sat in at the lunchroom at school.  Shadowing his experiences, essentially, three years later.  We went to the same grocery store, the same drug store, picked up penny candy at the same five and dime.  I didn't know him but I "know" him in that everyone from where we're from knows of everyone else.

It's just that small.

Don Lemon grew up gay and sexually abused as a child by a neighbor.  Being sexually abused as a child really messes you up.  Being abused AND gay, where we're from?  Whew...bless that poor baby's heart.  I'm sure his demons are deep.

See...people like my father and all the Elders I knew back where we're from didn't play that "gay crap."  They would beat the gay straight out of you.  Never mind gay can't be beat out of someone...they tried.  Goodness knows they tried.  And they didn't mess with you either.  They'd nod politely but the second you rounded the corner..."That's that funny one" would round the corner with them.

Needless to say...I'm sure it was rough.

But...he was "light skinned" and articulate and handsome.  All the things White people where we're from gave a pass to.  It didn't matter that you were gay.  They didn't have to worry about you sniffing up behind their daughter so yeah...be gay...come to dinner...let me open this door, ie. make a call for you since you are non-threatening.  You're an acceptable version of the others.

Because we all know that if you have the ability to make a person let their guards down around you...you begin to find the human layers behind the thick wall of NO.

Now...again, I don't know Don Lemon personally but I fear I know the type of person he is just by listening to his bullshit all these years.  He's the worst type of Black person out there.  The type of Black person who trashes other Black people to White people to help boost THEIR personal image.

"Look at me.  I'm not like them.  All of them.  Now give me free!"

I DESPISE Black people like that.  I mean sure...we all know people we'd never emulate.  We'd never park on the grass, we'd never drive into a residential neighborhood with the music blaring from our special speakers with rims on our car that cost more than the car is worth.  We'd never wear our pants sagging so low that you see our underwear.  We'd never throw trash out of our cars to the ground, we'd never walk around barefoot willy nilly, we'd never, we'd never, we'd never...

But we'd also never assume that every person who shares the same skin color as we do are out and about doing those things.  

In my personal opinion Don Lemon is a racist and he's the type of diversity the kkk is looking to incorporate into their organization and, as far as I'm concerned...he can go straight to their version of hell.

I stopped fuggin with CNN in 2008 behind that Black in America bullshit and I only see anything about them via social media and normally, when I click on their links it's with sincere disdain and straight up lip curl action.  Why is Don Lemon still employed by CNN after all of the offenses he's committed with his wayward azz, ignorant azz tongue?  Because they need someone to say the things he says with a black face (lowercase 'b') to make them seem racially inclusive.  He is the spokesperson for how they feel about Black people as a whole.  He is currently, their damn Black person figurehead.

I've been around people like this dude all of my life and I do not care for them at all.  I don't care for people who believe their experiences could have been the same for all who share a minor similarity in the grand scheme of all we are.  Sure...we all have demons and our own ish but I believe it is the stronger person who recognizes that even though they had what it took to get out of THEIR shit puddle, others may not have had the same opportunities.  It comes back down, as always, to empathy.

Empathy will always prove the worth of a man.

Bill Cosby's history is one such that he has had control over what is written about him, that we don't really know what is what anymore.  We know he was raised in Philly, dropped out of high school in the 10th grade, went to the Navy, got his GED while in the Navy, went to college after the Navy, was an athlete in college and continued his education while an adult until he received his Ph.D.  All good stuff.  

When I heard Cosby, I heard my father and uncles laughing and talking.  That deep, commandeering voice.  The mirth and the seriousness.  When he figured out that clean comedy would get him more of an audience he was everywhere and well...again...he sounded like the men I was familiar with so I listened.  He was the television father I wished I had.  Seemingly free of all the demons my real life father had that switched him from dad of the year one second and nightmare dude the next.  So, when Dr. Cosby started getting on his Papa Pope pulpit...I didn't think two blinks about it.  Why?  Because he was saying all of the same things I'd heard from my Elders all of my life.  Even if they didn't follow the same script themselves.  

DO AS I SAY NOT AS I DO!

I never thought about the dangerous nature of that preaching outside of my home.  I never thought about a national audience hearing those words and wondering why OTHER Black people didn't do as he said because pulling up your pants is all a young Black man needs to do and then VOILA!  He will magically become more acceptable in the eyes of the world at large.  That's all that is needed right?  Not much else.  The lack of opportunity and lack of quality education and lack of people with the power to hire hiring someone who looks like them doesn't matter.

PULL UP YOUR PANTS AND YOU GET A JOB!  YOU GET A JOB!  YOU GET A JOB!

See...at home, our parents knew that we have all sorts of opportunities and their rants against us came with the knowledge of every aspect of who we were as individuals and challenges we may or may not have had.  Telling a young man who comes from a middle class or even a working class household to pull up his pants and stop acting like a donkey's azz will have more of an impact than telling a young man who is at the bottom of all the statistics which matter to pull up his pants.  What if he didn't have a belt and he was wearing what he could find to wear?  What if he only could have the luxury of seeing school as the only place he got something to eat and where there was electricity, running water and heat?  What if the child was surviving and would never, ever, ever have the opportunity to have a childhood the way we believe childhood should be?  Full of play, Garanimals and Disney movies?  

Yeah...you hear me I guess.

A long time ago someone told me of a 3 year old child in an apartment complex they used to live in who would come into their home and steal food.  The three year old was real sloppy with it, of course, but the person told me that every day, the 3 year old would come over to play with their child and eventually sneak into the kitchen and steal some food.  They would take it back to their house and hide and eat the food.  The person started leaving food more accessible for the 3 year old to "steal" once they realized that the child wasn't eating at home because of the family's situation.  Think about that.  Think about when your child was 3 and slinging yogurt and peas all over the kitchen from their chair while you snapped super cute pics of food all over their face while they hold their lil' Disney character spoon in their hand all crooked.  Yeah...now think about what has to happen in a 3 year old's life that he has to figure out that in order to survive...he has to take care of himself by any means necessary.  By the time that 3 year old is 14...if circumstances never changed...what the fug you think telling him to pull up his pants is going to do?

It might be easy, in the beginning of growing into who you're meant to be, to think those simple things might help...but as you read more and become more aware of the world outside of YOUR microcosm of a bubble...one would think that your thought process would be more empathetic to other possibilities right?  You'd start figuring out that yes...your experience differs but that it doesn't mean that it could have been the same for all no matter what right?  I mean...wouldn't you ever take a step off that pedestal and walk around with your eyes open?  Wouldn't it make you more appreciative of the opportunities you had and wouldn't it make you want to try and see if you could affect more change positively?  By not shitting on people?

And what does it mean when you don't?

That you're a narcissist and most probably a racist.

And, in your head...you're a God who can take what he wants to take from others because you are allowing them to stand in your light.  And...based on your weaknesses...what you deem you are worthy of taking...can look different person-to-person.

With Cosby, all signs point to him taking via rape.  

All signs point to Bill Cosby being a despicable predator with a pattern of victim choosing. Defending the actions of a despicable predator makes you despicable too. How about developing a culture where men absolutely 100% know that you DO.NOT.RAPE?

Unfortunately, I love several people who were raped and if people were defending the despicable MF who raped them...I would most likely go postal because I've cried with them late into the night and I've stood in their corner doing whatever I could to help them with the multitude of challenges being raped brings into the equation when one of the variables is RAPE. 

And if I ever had the opportunity to go back in time and show up before the rape occurred I would...and I'd bring my axe handle.

 Persecuting the victims?  Dude...really?  *sigh*

When I think of the Black people with the national spotlight and the trust of people who aren't just Black...it's not a long list.  When I think of those people individually and consider what they are doing to shine the spotlight on issues we, as a country, should REALLY focus on...that list dwindles to damn near non-existence.  That national spotlight is for the few and far between.

Makes my head hurt really.

But...it also makes me know that I need to do more for those I have a direct connect to who need help because no one else is really giving a damn about connecting with them.  MUCH MORE.  

Oh well...I solved nothing here, of course.  Just a rambling of things we all know.  Comparing two types of blights with that national spotlight knowing we all wish they would have been better people than the people it turns out they actually are.  The celebrated creams of our crop.  Racists and rapists.  

How funny is it that Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me a River" is on now and I'm singing the chorus loudly?  

It's funny cuz it's true.  

Thoughts?  Please...by all means...get deep with it.  I beg of you.

 

Hanging Family from Tree. Halloween Decor?

So...a home on the Ft. Campbell military base had the above as Halloween decor.  

http://www.wkrn.com/story/27119461/offensive-halloween-display-removed-from-ft-campbell-home

Neighbors complained and, when brought to the attention of the occupant...they removed it.

Someone in the comments of the article defended the occupant saying that it's Halloween and people shouldn't be so sensitive.  It's just scary stuff.

What are your thoughts?  Does it concern you that SOMEONE who lives in that house is in our military?