Music and DVDs
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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For Colored Girls: Film Review PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kam Williams   
Monday, 22 August 2011 17:50
Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf made a big splash when it debuted on Broadway back in the Seventies. The emotionally-draining “choreopoem” was essentially a series of soul-baring monologues plumbing the depths of the African-American female psyche on sensitive subjects ranging from sexuality to spirituality. Performed by a nameless cast of seven troubled women, this hybrid of drama and poetry met with critical acclaim, although it particularly resonated with sisters. 
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The Grace Card: Film Review PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kam William   
Monday, 25 July 2011 02:28


Film Review by Kam Williams
Headline: Black-White Pairing Proves Combustible in Faith-Based Tale of Reconciliation and Redemption
17 years ago, Mac (Michael Joiner) and Sara McDonald (Joy Parmer Moore) were left devastated by the loss of a child who died while a crime was being committed. But where Sara’s grief led her to focus on the needs of their surviving son (Robert Erickson), her embittered husband lost his faith and gradually grew emotionally estranged from the rest of the family.

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The Soloist: Movie Review PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kam Williams   
Sunday, 17 July 2011 18:18


Despite being raised in the ‘hood by a single-mom, child prodigy Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx) exhibited such promise on the cello that by the time he graduated from high school in 1970 he had earned a scholarship to Juilliard. But unlike other classmates such as Yo-Yo Ma, Nathaniel would never get a chance to realize his full potential, because during his sophomore year he began exhibiting symptoms of the schizophrenia which would derail his dream of a career in classical music. 

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Rain: Review on Donna Summer's daughter's feature film debut PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kam Williams   
Monday, 23 May 2011 01:49



Cleo Virginia “VC” Andrews (1923-1986) is a best-selling novelist known for sweeping, intergenerational sagas revolving around shocking family revelations. Her first eight books were so successful, that after her demise her estate hired a prolific ghostwriter, Andrew Neiderman, to continue publishing under her name, and he has gone on to pen far more than Ms. Andrews herself.

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