140-Word Review Of The First Two Episodes Of Hulu’s (And Nikole Hannah-Jones’) “The 1619 Project”

Easily the most militant, near-radical Oprah product yet. 🙂 Episode One is the usual (corporate) skewered portrait of Black people (only) wanting as-is American identity through American liberal democracy and capitalism instead of freedom, which is a much more complicated socio-political discussion that American documentarians wish to ignore. (Docs like this conveniently 🙂 forget that the American Civil Rights Movement was a McCarthyite compromise to what Blacks really wanted and had to politically dismantle–a Freedom Movement.) But admittedly, having a Black woman on-camera asking other Black women about the state of American democracy, regardless of the lack of imagination of the answers, feels new. Episode Two’s Black womanist-centered approach to the discussion of the concept of race, again, felt quite innovative. Overall, the personal-is-political approach works for Hannah-Jones since it creates tensions not normally “scene” in Black American docs.

Belated 78-Word Review Of The TV Adaption Of “Kindred”

Mallori Johnson is a star but she has to burn through an unnecessary mess. A uniquely powerful story about the pain and irony of slavery in America–a short but stout book that slams the reader in the face–is so packed with television characters and thinned out and stretched as to lose its original meaning. Sad for non-readers who will think any of this has to do with a product produced by our amazing ancestor Octavia Butler.

JANUARY 30th UPDATE: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-news/kindred-canceled-fx-1235313309/

And so now I feel I just wasted eight hours of a Sunday. But I’m glad to be introduced to Mallori Johnson, who deserves better projects.

Philadelphia’s 6th Annual Martin Luther King Symposium, Featuring Marc Lamont Hill, Jared Ball, Charisse Burden Stelly, And Others

“Green screen…” “Black history Starter Pack…” Good hate…. 🙂

Congrats, Golden Globe Winners!

Zendaya, “Euphoria”

I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to be there tonight, but I just wanted to say thank you to @goldenglobes for this incredible honor. To my fellow nominees, it is a privilege to be named beside you, I admire you all deeply. Thank you to my Euphoria family, without you, none of this is possible. Lastly, thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has allowed Rue into theirs. I think everyone knows how much she means to me, but the fact that she can mean something to someone else is a gift. I’m honestly at a loss for words as I type this, all I can say is thank you thank you thank you. Goodnight♥️

Judy, Barbara And Juan: Random Thoughts About A Journalism-Filled Holiday Weekend

Watching and, frankly, enjoying the unapologetically hagiographic network television tributes to the semi-retired Judy Woodruff and newly-deceased Barbara Walters over the weekend, and then waking up to this Juan Gonzalez speech on Democracy Now!, shows how stark differences in mainstream American journalism can be–or at least, used to be, pre-Web and pre-1,000 channels. I accept my membership in Juan’s camp. But it’s clear to do today and tomorrow what he did means using Substack, etc. Effective mainstream journalism has this weird history of coming out of the American muckraking and capitalist traditions, and the millions made by mass advertising created a lot of space for approaches that don’t exist today. So you have to make them yourself, the way I.F. Stone and those folks did.

What’s also interesting to me is how in America, “alternative” spaces, if created by middle-class whites, can eventually become mainstream–or, as some critics of the mainstream would say, co-opted. We remember that at its creation almost 50 years ago, The MacNeil/Lehrer Report and All Things Considered, the newsmagazine of National Public Radio, were silent critiques of, and alternatives to, commercial mainstream news. (Note that among NPR’s alumni is former Philadelphia radio journalist and now Leftist legend Mumia Abu-Jamal.) Almost 30 years ago, Democracy Now! was a radical, almost anarchist critique of the million-dollar media institution it now is. 😉 I guess it now sees itself through that Gonzalez lens of outsider-within-the-inside. Which makes me think: is the middle-class, millionaire blond public television anchor Judy Woodruff just a “purer” version of her commercial counterpart, the long-ago-gone-Hollywood Barbara Walters? It’s a good, fair question.

In 2023 and beyond, more and more truthtellers must struggle with Amiri Baraka’s words, applied to race but easily, in this monochromatic circumstance, given to class:

***

I know it’s hard to be Black, and we’re all controlled by white folks.

[W.E.B.] Du Bois said we always have the double consciousness.

We’re trying to be Black, and meanwhile you got a white ghost hovering over your head that says, “If you don’t do this, you’ll get killed. If you don’t do this, you won’t get no money. If you don’t do this, nobody’ll think you’re beautiful. If you don’t do this, nobody’ll think you’re smart.”

That’s the ghost.

You’re trying to be Black and the ghost is telling you to be a ghost.

***

I appreciate Walters intervening Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. But I appreciate more that she said a few years ago that in today’s commercial news media climate, no one would care about it. I will appreciate what Woodruff soon will teach me about parts of America of which I know nothing. But I still see ghosts in my TV tube. And with money and stardom on the line, very few Juan Gonzalez-es who will challenge powerful people like Woodruff’s and Walters’ employers.

Juan Gonzalez’s Final NYC Lectures (Before Moving To Chicago)

https://www.democracynow.org/2022/12/23/latinos_race_and_empire_a_talk

https://www.democracynow.org/2022/12/6/juan_gonzalez_reflections_on_40_years

*****

*****

More on Juan Gonzalez can be found here.

2022 Freedom Scholar Dr. Jared Ball!

(BWMN)—Dr. Jared Ball, an increasingly important activist in Black radical and Pan-Africanist circles, has been named a 2022 Freedom Scholar, one of ten selected this year.

The prize—a one-time, no-strings payment of $250,000, awarded individually to all ten scholars—has been presented to renowned intellects such as Robin D.G. Kelly and many others since the Marguerite Casey Foundation created the Freedom Scholars award in 2020. Scholars are anonymously chosen by former recipients. 

“It is a surreal contradiction,” Dr. Ball commented exclusively to The Black World Media Network via email after the announcement. “But to be reminded or made aware of the value my work has to particular peers for whom I have tremendous respect is humbling, something I cherish, and am honored by. Most of us in academia are not disconnected, ivory tower scholars. We are just marginalized, unappreciated, and under-resourced. So this award is very much appreciated on several levels.” 

Ball, the host of iMiXWHATiLiKE! with Jared Ball podcast, the flagship program of the Black Power Media collective, is a professor of Communication and Africana Studies at Morgan State University, Maryland’s leading HBCU. He is the author of The Myth and Propaganda of Black Buying Power, of which a second expanded edition is forthcoming in the spring. A board member of The Black Scholar journal and a frequent contributor to Black Agenda Report magazine, Ball is a co-founder of Black Power Media, which has reached a total of 21,000 subscribers since it launched on YouTube in February 2021.

The Morgan State University scholar’s professional multimedia website, imixwhatilike.org, lists his research interests as “the interaction between colonialism, mass media theory and history, as well as the development of underground journalism and cultural expression as mechanisms of social movements and political organization.” As an activist and advocacy journalist, he has been a longtime public champion of radical, independent media and political prisoners such as writer Mumia Abu-Jamal and Dr. Mutulu Shakur, the alternative-medicine specialist and godfather of slain hiphop superstar Tupac Shakur.

The other 2022 scholars are: Dr. Davarian L. Baldwin of Trinity College; Noura Erakat, J.D., of Rutgers University; Dr. Ruth Wilson Gilmore of the City University of New York; Dr. Sarah Haley and Derecka Purnell, J.D., of Columbia University; Mariame Kaba of Pratt Institute; Dr. Beth E. Richie of the University of Illinois-Chicago, Dean Spade, J.D., of Seattle University and Dr. Olúfémi O. Táíwò of Georgetown University.

Freedom Scholars “conduct research in cutting-edge areas of scholarship as varied as feminist prison abolition, global urbanism, alternatives to movement capture, Indigenous erasure and militarized policing—critical fields of research that are often underfunded,” according to the Casey Foundation’s website.

Dr. Ball’s award is “proof that principled radicalism and constant work—his 20 years of scholarship, activism and free, intelligent community broadcasting—always wins,” posted BWMN staffer Todd Steven Burroughs on social media after the announcement. He is co-editor with Dr. Ball of the anthology A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marable’s Malcolm X.

Read the Casey Foundation press release here.

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