Music and DVDs
Top 20 DVDs for Spring 2015



These DVDs are not presented in any particular order. You can find most of them on www.amazon.com , .ca or www.barnesandnoble.com. It is also possible to find some of them in a Blu-ray format on these Web sites.

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What I Learned from Watching Selma PDF Print E-mail
Written by William Jackson   
Thursday, 19 February 2015 01:45


There are movies that inspire, there are movies that excite, there are movies that create an effect on multiple levels of human psychology, sociology and passions. Selma takes the viewer on a journey of emotional mixtures, psychological enlightenment and rationalization to the realities of how important voting rights are.

The realities of societal civil rights and the connection between the criminal justice system and juries are rife with inequality and racism.  Having a jury of your peers in many cases is not possible because peers have lost voting rights and serving on a jury is not possible because many are not registered or have felony convictions that keep them from earning their rights.

Selma touched people in a way that encouraged and demanded discussion on many levels beyond emotional turmoil and conflict that many experienced from viewing movies that address Civil Rights issues, the institution of slavery that Blacks have experienced during their captivity to the Americas hundreds of years before is still evident. There isn’t a conclusion to this story because the descendants in generations carry the emotional and psychological baggage from slavery to freedom, from institutional bondage to the denial of societal rights and privileges that are denied based on skin pigmentation.

The movie Selma offers an opportunity not just for Blacks, but the diversity of culture in America to see and experience a small portion of the Civil Rights movement, the importance of voting rights, serving on juries and having a knowledge of the justice system. Historically Blacks are disproportionally denied fair trials, they are historically given harder and longer prison sentences, and Blacks lack the opportunity of fair and impartial juries of their peers because too many “peers” have criminal backgrounds that deny them from serving on juries.

The Best Man Holiday: A Film Review PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kam Williams   
Friday, 15 November 2013 17:30


Seasonal Sequel Finds Reunited BFFs Romancing and Reminiscing

When released back in 1999, The Best Man was dismissed by some as merely an African-American variation on The Big Chill, and by others as the Black male answer to the sassy sisters dishing the dirt in Waiting to Exhale. But the romantic romp revolving around a sophisticated set of college grads was actually entertaining enough to stand on its own, and was even well-enough received to land a trio of NAACP Image Awards, including Best Picture.

Set 15 years later, The Best Man Holiday is an eagerly-anticipated sequel reuniting the principal ensemble for a mix of reminiscing, rivalry and sobering reality unfolding during a very eventful Christmas season. Written and directed by Malcolm Lee (Undercover Brother), the film features Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Taye Diggs, Harold Perrineau, Regina Hall, Melissa De Sousa and Monica Calhoun reprising the roles they played in the first episode.

At the point of departure, we find the gang gathering at the sprawling mansion of Lance Sullivan (Chestnut), an NFL running back on the brink of retirement after a recording-breaking career with the New York Giants. The God-fearing family man is relishing the prospect of spending more quality time with his wife, Mia (Calhoun), and their children.

The Butler: A Film Review PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kam Williams   
Friday, 23 August 2013 16:31

Headline: Forest Whitaker Delivers Oscar-Quality Performance in Emotionally-Searing Civil Rights Saga

Eugene Allen (1919-2010) served eight presidents over the course of an enduring career in the White House during which he rose from the position of Pantry Man to Head Butler by the time he retired in 1986. In that capacity, the African-American son of a sharecropper felt privileged to be an eyewitness to history, since his tenure coincided with the implementation of most of the landmark pieces of legislation dismantling the Jim Crow system of racial segregation.

Directed by two-time Oscar-nominee Lee Daniels, The Butler is a father-son biopic relating events in Allen’s life as they unfolded against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement. This fictionalized account features Academy Award-winner Forest Whitaker in the title role as Cecil Gaines, and his A-list supporting cast includes fellow Oscar-winners Cuba Gooding, Jr., Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave, Robin Williams and Melissa Leo, as well as nominees Terrence Howard and Oprah Winfrey.

Adam Powell and Keep the Faith Baby! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Arthur Lewin Ph.D   
Friday, 31 May 2013 21:05

Keep the faith, baby! is the title of the 2002 film (directed by Doug McHenry) about the life and times of the first Black New York Congressperson, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., starring Harry Lennix and Vanessa Williams.  “Keep the faith, baby!” was the favorite saying of this charismatic, revolutionary leader of Harlem, and much of Black America, in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s. Surely Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.’s motto must have kept his son, Adam Clayton Powell IV, going as he doggedly strove for ten long years to get his father’s story told. The film is a masterpiece. However, I remember thinking when I first sat down to watch it, “Here we go again, another Hollywood flick purporting to tell our story, but with the obligatory subtle little twists and digs to distort and demean us.” It was no such thing. It is as straight and pure a history of the man and his times as you could want to see.

The 42 Film Review PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kam Williams   
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 15:19

From its formation in the late 19th Century until well into the 1940s, Major League Baseball operated in accordance with an unwritten rule that the sport was to remain strictly segregated. The tacit understanding among the owners stipulated that no Blacks were to be signed by any clubs, thereby frustrating the aspirations of many African-Americans who dreamed of playing professionally.

In the wake of World War II, however, this untenable state of affairs came to rankle Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), a man who fervently felt that to remain the national pastime, baseball needed to integrate. After all, thousands upon thousands of African-American soldiers were returning home to widespread discrimination based on skin color despite having been willing to die for their country in the conflict overseas.

So, in 1945, Rickey decided to challenge the status quo by being the first GM to put a Black ballplayer on the field. However, he also suspected that pursuit of that landmark moment might be met with considerable resistance, given the virulent strains of racism still running rampant through much of the nation.

Top 20 CDs for Mega Diversities for Fall 2012 PDF Print E-mail

The CDs are not presented in any particular order. You can find most of them on www.amazon.com , .ca or www.barnesandnoble.com


Top 20 DVDs for Winter 2012

These DVDs are not presented in any particular order. You can find most of them on www.amazon.com , .ca or www.barnesandnoble.com. It is also possible to find some of them in a Blu-ray format on these Web sites.


Akeelah and the Bee: A Movie Critique PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Brooks Robinson Ph.D   
Sunday, 02 October 2011 03:56

akeelah"Be" is a powerful word for our major religions.  "Let there be light," for example, one of the first lines of the Old Testament, heralds our world's creation.  Then there is "bee" - as in spelling bee.  For one little girl in a fascinating movie, the word creates an avenue toward building an empowering future.  "Akeelah and the Bee," starring Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett and Keke Palmer, tells the story of a young girl from South Central Los Angeles who rises from modest means to compete in the National Speeling Bee.  Highlighting the power of words and knowledge mixed with the spirit of competition, the film illustrates how far individual achievement and community support can take someone and creates one of the most powerful films in years.

One message black Americans should take from "Akeelah" is that everyone from the family to the community as a whole help those seeking to achieve worthy goals.  In the case of young Akeelah, it was mastering words and language.  In the real world, the goals may include someone completing high school or college, developing a community assistance program or starting a successful business.  As a community, we should not just be willing to give people a push.  We must also keep pace beside motivated individuals - pulling them necessary.

In "Akeelah," viewers are reminded that this pushing and pulling is not always enough - just like in real life.  Drawing from the wisdom that one must be an arm's distance to drive a nail with a hammer, those who really want to make a difference may even wish to uproot themselves from a comfortable suburban existence to resettle in the inner-city.  Another key point of "Akeelah" is that we must not sell short the need for human infrastructure.  In fact, it is sometimes more important than physical infrastructure.  Four hundred years of survival and growth in America, in and of itself, speaks volumes about the intellectual capabilities of Blacks.  The character of Akeelah provides an example of what a little nurturing can do in creating a superior individual.

The purturing that helped Akeelah on screen is not just a thing of fantasy.  Such nurturing that helped Akeelah on screen is not just a thing of fantasy.  Such nurturing can occur right now in places as diverse as dilapidated slums to the most posh suburbs.  In the movie, it is both unfortunate and fortunate that the gifted Akeelah must rise from the very bottom to reach the very top.  It is unfortunate because, in the 21st century, black Americans are still finding themselves at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. 

But it is fortunate because it shows that America is still a place where someone of Akeelah's position can overcome great obstacles with knowledge, faith and support.  And despite the fact that Akeelah knows the smell of rot at the bottom, her character still possesses the ability to later appreciate the crystal-clear air at the top while maintaining the personal strength to not become intoxicated by it.

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Jumping The Broom: DVD Review PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kam Williams   
Sunday, 18 September 2011 02:59
Jason Taylor (Laz Alonso), a rising star at Goldman Sachs, never introduced any of his friends or family members to his refined fiancée, Sabrina Watson, (Paula Patton). After all, her high-falutin’ parents (Angela Bassett and Brian Stokes Mitchell) have a mansion up on Martha’s Vineyard, so he’s a little embarrassed about his humble roots and the fact that his mom, Pam (Loretta Devine), works as a clerk in a Post Office in Brooklyn.
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