Asante Sana, Askia Muhammad

I was so happy to try to give him his journalistic flowers while he was here.

FEBRUARY 27th UPDATE: The Final Call’s tribute can be found here and here.


APRIL 2nd UPDATE: Coverage of the above event can be found here and here.

My Reaction, Re: “Reveal”‘s “Mississippi Goddam”

I have no doubt that Al Letson poured his heart and soul into this investigation. His rage contained but explained, he and the other investigative journalist connected the dots well to the veteran Black police investigator who, for whatever reason, put cuffs on himself, who decided not to go the extra mile. Even in the “woke” era, no one dares the individual neck weight-pressure of the historic foot but those who will also risk being marginalized, un-alphabetized (ABC, MSNBC, and on)–and these Mississippi gunshots raced into history before then. This was a rare case because of the complete set of uncovered facts–the results of “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” “dozens of staffers” and “three years,” went Leston’s refrain throughout the almost two months. The sad sum was silences old and new. So now what? The public-radio medium’s constraints needed–and got–Letson’s Broadway showmanship to be powerfully pulled into the servicing of Billey Joe Williams. There could have been angrier, more sardonic ways to end Reveal’s report, but such a stand would not help anyone directly involved and perhaps instead only create national psychic reverb, causing dainty cups and saucers to smash, destroying a good brunch in the den or the Saturday-afternoon soccer-practice drive. More cuffs. ūüė¶

My Quick Thoughts About “In The Heights”

a) Lin-Manuel Miranda reminds me how¬†Ta-Nehisi Coates described Barack Obama: an activist, not a protester. (Nice move he made with NPR’s Maria Hinojosa to get some intellectual/activist cred!¬†:)) This is the most¬†thoroughly gentle–even if ever-present!–film portrayal of systemic white supremacy I’ve seen on film. Miranda, who loves 20th-century white popular culture at least as much as I do ūüôā , does NOT want to upset¬†Whitey, EVER. ūüôā Having said that, I enjoyed seeing the undocumented struggle included in this. It shows how, like Coates, he is VERY careful.¬†
b) This story is highly¬†cultural–very BROWN, the way¬†Hamilton¬†is (ironically!) very WHITE. (I can see Miranda on that¬†Heights¬†vacation, reading that Ron Chernow bio and going: “Yes! I can now go completely in a new and opposite direction, like an artist should!¬†Past¬†instead¬†of¬†present,¬†white¬†instead of¬†Black/Brown, historical narrative instead of love letter, naked, individual ambition instead of family/community survival, birth¬†of a¬†nation¬†instead of¬†death¬†of a¬†neighborhood!”) As a concept,¬†Hamilton¬†makes a LOT of sense to me now. You can clearly see the themes in both New York-centric, immigrant-centric musicals that attract Miranda–the¬†power¬†of personal drive and dreams with/versus sacrificial commitment to family and community, etc.
c) Whether it is culturally stereotypical I will leave for Brown people to discuss. To this outsider, it looks like he’s trying¬†to hit EVERY cultural mark.¬†
d) Because¬†Hamilton¬†was first for me, this seemed like a workshop to test out the style he would perfect with the slaveholders. ūüôā

JUNE 12th UPDATE: So now that I’ve laid my issues on the table, I will admit he’s a FREAKIN’ GENIUS!!! Have you seen the teaser (below) for his directorial debut?!? And the Oscar goes to…. ūüėČ The year 2021 is only halfway through, and he’s already its savior!! LOL!!!