*Film at Lincoln Center (FLC) has upped its game and offers relevant films in this pandemic period at the 58th New York Film Festival (NYFF58) running until October 11.
Director of Programming Dennis Lim says, “Movies are neither made nor experienced in a vacuum, and while the works in our program predate the current moment of crisis, it’s striking to me just how many of them resonate with our unsettled present, or represent a means of transcending it.”
This year’s Main Slate showcases films from 19 different countries, including new titles from renowned auteurs. Frederick Wiseman explores behind the scenes of the Boston city government in “City Hall;” indictments of America’s racist past and present in Sam Pollard’s “MLK/FBI” and Garrett Bradley’s “Time, dealing with the crisis of Black mass incarceration in America”
Steve McQueen not only has the Opening Night selection “Lovers Rock,” but “Mangrove;” and “Red, White and Blue.” The Centerpiece is Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland,” and Azazel Jacobs’s “French Exit” will close the festival
Also of note are “Night of the Kings,” “Tragic Jungle,” “All In: The Fight for Democracy,” “David Byrne’s American Utopia,” “Hopper/Welles,” “The Human Voice,” “The Monopoly of Violence,” “On the Rocks,” “The Inheritance,” and “Ouvertures.”
Included in the lineup also are “The Revolution Will Be Filmed,” “The Artist, the Athlete, and the Revolutionary,” “The Spook Who Sat by the Door,” “Muhammad Ali, the Greatest,” and “Meeting the Man: James Baldwin in Paris.”
The 58th New York Film Festival (NYFF58) runs until October 11.
For more information: https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2020.
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Larry Buford: Judgment or Test? America’s Job Experience
*[This is a chapter from my book, “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand, first published in 2007. Although many other tragic events have happened in the 13 years since then, including the current global pandemic, I think it is still relevant as history continues to repeat itself]
Breaking news: Bridge Collapses, Victims Killed; Miner’s Trapped, Victims Killed; Record Flooding, Victims Killed; Senseless Shooting, Victims Killed; Raging Fires, Victims Killed; and the list goes on!!
While it seems like all hell is breaking loose, one may ask, is America being judged or tested?
The biblical character Job received (heart) “breaking news” [Job chapter 1]: “And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them: and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword…While he was speaking, there also came another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them…”
In the end, Job had received back-to-back reports from four different messengers that he had suffered great losses including his children. Job even lost his health, but eventually regained everything even more in abundance. It was a test to see if Job would deny God.
Prior to the 911 tragedy, we seldom heard of God or Jesus in mainstream media. Since then it has become acceptable, and more and more prevalent with each new turn of tragic events. Is God testing America to see if we truly are a Christian nation? Or is this judgment on a nation that has turned its back towards God?
If it’s a test, we as a nation should hold steadfast our convictions as did Job. If judgment, God says in II Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
There is yet hope for America!
Please share your thoughts in the user-friendly, no-obligation comment section below.
Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based contributing writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” and “Book To The Future” (Amazon); two insightful books that speak to our moral conscience in times like these. Email: [email protected]
Earl Ofari Hutchinson: Why Trump Keeps Beating Biden Over the Head with the Crime Bill
*On November 18, 1993, then Senator Joe Biden let it fly on the Senate floor. He lambasted the “predators on the streets” and “sociopaths” who were “beyond the pale,” and must be “cordoned off.” Biden punctuated his impassioned cheer of the Clinton Crime Bill up for Senate passage with borderline race tinged rhetoric about broken homes, family squalor and ignorance. The inference was he was talking about young Blacks.
Biden’s words that day keep coming back to haunt him like a hideous nightmare. Trump dredged it up again at the last presidential debate. Joe, Trump intoned, you branded young Blacks as “super-predators.” He then gleefully finger pointed Biden as practically the Founding Father of the 1994 Crime Bill; the bill widely reviled as the single biggest cause of the mass prison incarceration of explosion of mostly young Blacks and Hispanics.
Biden, in defense, did the same two things that he’s done repeatedly every time he gets hit over the head by Trump and the GOP with his cheerlead of the bill. He denied that he called anyone “super predators.” He didn’t, but his label of “predators on the streets” came darn close. It’s his second counter though that he hopes will take some of the sting out of his overexuberant tout of the bill a quarter century ago. He called it “a mistake,” and says times have changed. He spruces up some of the features of the bill such as ramped up drug treatment and services that he claims ownership of in the bill.
Biden pivots and rightly points out that the majority of the Congressional Black Caucus backed it out of fear of violent crime and drug plague hammering Blacks. He then does a quick fast forward to cite his array of criminal justice system and police reform-oriented proposals he’s put forth during the campaign.
It doesn’t change the past but it’s part mea culpa and bigger part hope that it gets Trump off his back, and does no damage among Black voters on November 3.
Trump, though, won’t go away on this. He senses a tiny opening with this that can be exploited to fuel the still very deep sting and resentment over the bill. There’s some cause for worry about that.
The draconian bill was the brainchild of Reagan and Bush Sr., they could not have gotten the bill through a mostly Democratic-controlled Congress. But then President Clinton did. He muscled it through Congress. The bill shelled out $22 billion to the states and feds to hire more police and prosecutors build new prisons, and courts, and establish crime commissions.
It criminalized thousands, mostly Blacks and Latinos, for petty crimes and drug possession, ignited the biggest prison-police boom in U.S history, spurred dozens of states to adopt three strikes laws, led to the deadly rash of racial profiling cases, and widened the gaping racial disparities in prison sentencing. The anti-crime legislative mania also tacitly encouraged more states to disenfranchise thousands of ex-felons. The law added more than 30 new provisions for the death penalty in federal law. To no surprise, the majority of those that await execution are Black men. In 1993, there were less than a half million blacks in America’s jails. That figure has soared to more than 2 million today with still about half of them Black.
Biden’s public pledge to change that takes the battle against crime in the direction that it should have gone even twenty years ago. And that’s putting massive resources into investment and repair in poor and minority communities, while committing to fight to end the blatant racial disparities in arrests, sentencing, imprisonment, and the death penalty that have become the trademark of the criminal justice system.
However, the damage that the bill wreaked is done. And Trump knows the bitterness that it has caused among many Blacks. He can take the issue twist and turn it around on Biden to the point of casting himself as some sort of Harriet Tubman liberator of Blacks from the shackle of mass incarceration. So, as Biden squirms on the crime bill, Trump parlays his threadbare record on criminal justice issues which include nothing more than after much arm twisting endorsing a Second Start and a handful of pardons of Black inmates.
The challenge then is not to hold Biden’s feet to the fire for a policy from the past that’s had and has bad consequences for the present. But to hold him feet to the flame to deliver on her pledge to push for meaningful criminal justice system reforms, and programs and initiatives to aid the urban poor once in the White House.
The crime bill will forever remain part of Clinton’s legacy, the good, and the much larger bad of it. Trump will cynically and calculatingly twist that odious history around and call Biden on the carpet for it. And hope that enough other Blacks do the same to dampen enthusiasm for him.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of What’s Right and Wrong with the Electoral College (Middle Passage Press)He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio-one. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK-Pacifica Radio.
The Black Hat: Ice Cube Wants Democrats to EARN the Black Vote – How’s That Make Him a Sellout?
It’s funny – when the quarantine was finally lifted, and clothing stores across the country were allowed to reopen, blacks far and wide emerged from their section 8 apartments and used their COVID relief money to buy GUCCI, Prada, Versace and other European brands created by old white, nigga-hating racists.
Be patient – I’m going somewhere with this …
That’s right – as I write this sentence, some fool in the ghetto is putting on his Louis Vuitton belt – it’s the newest addition to his collection of overpriced junk he’s purchased since the pandemic began.
Pookie and so many others like him are part of a lynch mob on Twitter bashing rapper Ice Cube for meeting with president Trump recently.
Here’s the irony behind it all: while these idiots pay thousands to wear brands created for WHITE PEOPLE, they still have the audacity to point their crusty, dusty, ashy fingers at Ice Cube. Why?
How could anyone with intelligence call this man a “sellout?
According to multiple sources, including his own Twitter page, Cube successfully negotiated a multi-billion dollar deal with the Trump administration aimed to empower Black America for YEARS to come. It’s called the “platinum plan.”
Don’t you niggas like platinum? You’ve been whining about “reparations” for decades. Why y’all fools complaining? He’s trying to HELP.
Who cares where the money is coming from. Does it matter? I didn’t see any of this energy back in April, when that stimulus check came in the mail. I thought y’all niggas hated Trump and the government. It hasn’t stopped you from using y’all’s EDD cards to buy crab legs and Escalades. That’s courtesy of Trump.
When did it become a rule that you have to “like” whoever you’re doing business with? Trump will never be compared to Nelson Mandela. He may very well be an undercover racist – but in the grand scheme of things, who gives a damn? Y’all niggas want help or what? Al Sharpton and his pal Jesse won’t be offering you the same deal anytime soon.
Why y’all mad?
It’s a sad reality – the black community is plagued by monolithic thinking, especially when it comes to issues surrounding race and politics. It’s gotten so ingrained, that if an individual publicly disagrees with or questions the black majority in any fashion, there are often swift and vicious consequences. Ice Cube is the latest example of what happens when a black independent thinker decides to challenge the status quo.
He asked a simple question: When will Democrats be required to EARN the black vote?
They’ve shown a lack of urgency to empower the neighborhoods and townships they govern. Nevertheless, black and brown communities led by Democrats routinely vote for the same politicians. It’s insanity.
Ice Cube went to another source for support, and now he’s being labeled a “sellout” for his efforts. How typical. Maybe he should’ve waited another 30 years for Democrats to finally reciprocate the support and loyalty they’ve received from minorities without having to EARN any of it.
Is that what it takes for a black individual to avoid being called a sellout – accepting the status quo?
In case some of y’all need help remembering just how “pro black” rapper Ice Cube has always been, let me remind you of his role as a founding member of the notoriously controversial 1980’s rap group “NWA” – Niggas With Attitude.
As teenagers, they created songs with lyrics that directly challenged the white power establishment in America, including their most popular and polarizing hit, “F*ck the Police.”
During his portion of the classic anthem, Cube laments racism’s impact on the welfare and social status of minorities, and he eviscerates law enforcement and the criminal justice system for its disproportionately harsh treatment of African Americans.
It’s some of the most “pro black” musicianship you’ll ever hear.
More than 30 years later, after helping to empower the careers and aspirations of several black performers via film and television – Cube finds himself in a rather precarious position as rumblings of his alleged “coonery” reverberate throughout the Black community.
That’s right – despite his contributions to hip hop and black culture as a whole, the successful mogul is being accused of turning his back on other minorities because of his recent dealings with president Donald Trump and the Republican Party.
It’s my understanding that Cube recently contacted Democrats and Republican leaders about drafting a official contract between themselves and African American voters. The stipulations were to include tangible and actionable steps both parties would take to accommodate the interests and concerns of African Americans.
According to the reports I’ve seen, Cube garnered tepid responses from Democrats (no surprise there), while Trump’s administration jumped at the opportunity to meet with him. It’s not a matter of Cube choosing one group over the other – he gave Democrats an opportunity to participate in the discussion and they passed on it.
I’m not aware of what he and Trump discussed, but it’s probably safe to assume that Cube expressed his frustration at how both parties routinely pander to black voters during every election cycle, while failing to actually deliver on any of the promises they make.
Nevertheless, even after explaining his intentions publicly, Cube is being thrown into a pile of black celebrity castaways. The list includes Kanye West, football hall-of-fame inductee and civil rights pioneer Jim Brown, and Steve Harvey.
These men were each given hell on social media for their interactions with the commander-in-chief, but is it fair to call them “sellouts” for merely thinking outside of the box?
Why do blacks scoff at the terms “monolith” and “groupthink,” even though evidence proves there’s a collective bias within the community against anyone who dares to step outside of certain norms and cultural traditions?
I could go on and on about why it’s problematic for black people to alienate one another based on their political affiliations. But it’s even more disheartening to witness a community spew hate and vitriol at one of their own simply because he’s choosing to ignore the political boundaries established for the black voter.
The Black Hat is written by Southern California based Cory A. Haywood, a freelance writer and expert on Negro foolishness. Contact him via: [email protected] and/or visit his blog: www.enterthehat.com, or send him a message on Twitter: @coryahaywood
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