Tag Archives: Denzel Washington

They Don’t Want Us To Be Woke

Let’s start with this, so that we’re clear from the onset.

I am a survivor of rape and domestic violence. I am also both woke and aware that sometimes women lie about being victimized by men. Therefore, what I’m about to state isn’t based on my biased emotions because of what I’ve survived. I don’t hate men and I know how to be objective.

If you are a person of color, and you don’t go to see Birth of a Nation, you’re playing yourself and robbing our children of an important moment in American History that is not sugar-coated or watered down.

A jury of his peers found Nate Parker not guilty of raping a woman, whom he had a relationship with, when he was a young, black man (without millions of dollars in the bank) on a sports scholarship in college. Now, as a grown man, Nate Parker is being vilified for that same crime because he successfully made a movie that could have a positive impact on our legacy and the minds of people in this country.

This is not a “I slipped something in her drink/I gave women drugs regularly” situation by any means. Nate Parker has spoken about this incident and never changed his stand on his innocence. Recently he was interviewed by Robin Roberts about the incident. After the interview, The Grio published an article about said interview with a very misleading title in an effort to (obviously) gain readers’ attention.  During the interview with Robin Roberts, Parker was expected to apologize for the rape controversy that recently reemerged and exploded due to the spotlight put onto Birth of a Nation. In my experience as a rape victim, a woman, and a citizen, innocent people, who are proven innocent by a jury, don’t often apologize for a crime they didn’t commit, if they didn’t commit the crime. It is my opinion that mainstream media is attempting to hang Parker with his past, in hopes that no one will go see the movie.

The reality is this: the biggest demographic of movie goers is women. With an estimated annual buying power of $5 trillion dollars, women rule in many areas of importance, regardless of what you may assume.  Therefore, if women are led to believe that Nate Parker committed the crime of rape, even though a jury found him innocent, women will sympathize with the alleged victim, if they too have been violated, or empathize, even if they haven’t, and thereby boycott Birth of a Nation instead of supporting it. Someone somewhere is hoping that on this opening box office weekend, that will be their victory.

Ask yourself this one question if you think I’m blowing smoke:

If Parker were in fact guilty of the crime of rape, why bring it to the forefront after he’s already starred in several movies, along with the likes of Denzel Washington?

I’ll tell you why. Birth of a Nation isn’t just going to be in movie theaters across the country or the world. There’s an educational curriculum developed around the film to put it into school districts as well. If our next generation isn’t led to believe that slaves were happy being enslaved and are instead taught the truth about what slavery was, introduced to more stories about how slavery impacted the country the live in, they are more likely to have a higher sense of self, civic responsibility and concern about civil rights as it relates to themselves and other people of color. 

The rape case that ended with a not guilty verdict is being used as a distraction. If Nate Parker was a White man, putting out this same movie, the crime he WASN’T found guilty of committing, wouldn’t be a topic of any conversation at all…. anywhere. I urge you to make a decision to educate yourself about a pivotal figure in African-American history instead of allowing yourself to be influenced by the spin being put on Nate Parker’s past. If you were in his shoes, that is what you’d want.

They don’t want us to be woke. So we need to stay woke.

Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight
Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight

A (Motion) Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Why Do Men Cheat? That’s not a rhetorical question nor is it one being posed to start a debate, so please don’t email me all of your answers or opinions♥. Why Do Men Cheat?  is a movie. Yes, I said a movie. The movie is written, directed by, produced by and starring Detroiters and guests stars Alex Thomas, Sandy “Pepa” Denton, Cherie Johnson, Bobo Lamb, and Damon Williams. The writers of the movie are Ken Baker, Jr., Tamekia Dobbs, Lauren Johnson and the movie is based upon some of the life experiences of the Executive Producer, Delano Glass. I attended the movie premiere and I was very impressed. I’m not easily impressed.

Before you call the movie man-bashing, don’t judge a movie by its title. The movie delves not only into the excuses men give for cheating, it shows the enabling behaviors of the women, the consequences of their actions and even shows what positive outcomes are available for men who decide not to cheat to remedy their relationship issues. The movie is funny when it needs to be, heartfelt when it needs to be, and relatable no matter what side of the debate you sit on. It’s a story that you may say you’ve already heard, or think you know, but maybe you really don’t. Maybe you’re too biased, depending on your opinion to look at a different viewpoint. After all, every man who cheats has an excuse that he thinks validates his actions, and every woman who knows her man is cheating has an excuse for enabling him. But I digress.

The film stars the very talented and very handsome Wynn SardenWhy Do Men Cheat? is Wynn’s first starring role in a feature-length film [I’m going on record by saying that Wynn Sarden may very well follow the path of his favorite actor (and mine), Mr. Denzel Washington, if he continues to study his craft and take advantage of the blessings and opportunities coming in his direction. Wynn also has a role in Sparkle being released on August 17, 2012]. The first time I saw Wynn was on an in store poster for my stylist Mark England. I didn’t know he was an actor until recently and I didn’t know he was good at it until I saw Why Do Men Cheat? Again, I’m not easily impressed, and I was impressed. Without giving away the movie, Wynn stars as a professional athlete who is faced with the outcomes of his behaviors and the decisions he makes with regard to his relationships with women [a brief interview I conducted with Wynn follows this review]. There are two additional stories included in the movie and you need to pay atttention or you’ll miss something very clever.

Whether you are a man or a woman, single or married, there is something in this movie that might hit home for you. It may not cause all the cheaters of the world to have a come to Jesus moment… but then again, anything is possible. Before you assume that the movie premiere took place in a theater full of angry women with pitchforks and torches, let me dispel that thought. The theater was full… of women and men… a lot of men. Therefore, if you were a single woman, this would have been a good place to go. A single woman in the audience could pay attention to the reactions of the single men during the movie, therefore assessing those who are guilty of similar behaviors, those who have gotten all of the fuckery out of their systems and learned to do better, or those who don’t cheat because they just know it’s not worth it to do so. The only men who could be angry about this movie are those same men who are mad at Steve Harvey for Think Like A Man; the men who don’t want women to know what they do because they have something to hide. If you’re not the cheating type, you won’t be offended by the film. Also, how can you be offended by something you haven’t even seen yet?

There were also some come to Jesus moments for women in the film. Why Do Men Cheat? depicted some of the behaviors that women are guilty of that contribute to men cheating as well; the groupie behavior, the starved for attention behavior, the I want him for myself behavior and other destructive acts that women commit. After all, the men who cheat, need a woman to cheat with. So for every guilty man, there is a woman who was wrong too. More often than not, she knows it or finds out later, but goes along for the ride anyway. Regardless of the excuses that men use, and whether you agree with them or not, Why Do Men Cheat? was an excellent film and I’m looking forward to seeing Why Do Women Cheat?

 

View the video of my interview with

the movie’s star, Wynn Sarden by clicking here  

 

 

A Change Is Gonna Come

A Change Is Gonna Come. I love that song by Sam Cooke. Yes, it’s been covered by Seal and many other singers over the years. But there’s nothing like the original version. It is soul stirring and full of struggle and hope. My most influential memory of the song itself was that is was playing in the scene from the 1992 Spike Lee directed biopic Malcolm X, just prior to Malcolm entering the Audubon Ballroom where he was assassinated. Some people may have never even noticed that. For me it stood out because that day, like so many days in history, signified that a change was in fact going to come.

We’ve got so many changes taking place in our day to day lives that some of them can be very overwhelming. I’ve said many times that change is necessary for growth. Everything must change and we won’t necessarily like or understand it. However, change is a naturally recurring phenomenon in life. Change is a force. Change is a factor. Change is constant and unapologetic. It’s how we react to change that determines whether or not we grow, achieve, thrive or fail. Our ability to adapt to change determines if we fly or die.

Change is something I embrace because I know I can only control how I react and adapt to that change, regardless of what it is, where it came from or what it is the result of. It’s not always easy. In 2001 I went from married to divorced; I went from happily expecting mother of three to the single mother of one; I went from financially able to financially destitute.  All that and more happened in one year, including 9/11. It was the grace of God himself that helped me work through that and come out better, in spite of my bruises.

Now it is 2011. Ten years later and I’m still experiencing change. I’m more equipped to deal with change now because I’m both older and wiser. Although I’m not so wise that I don’t still learn from the change that I experience. This change today is a lot more positive than what I experienced ten years ago, but it can still be stressful and sometimes overwhelming. Ten years ago I felt like I was in a speeding car headed directly into a cement wall. Today, I feel like I’m in a lear jet speeding off the runway and flying to a tropical island. Big difference. But if I hadn’t experienced what I did ten years ago, I wouldn’t appreciate what I’m going through today. I have earned all the success I’ve accomplished thusfar, and all that I have yet to achieve. I’ve earned it creatively, spiritually, mentally and physically. 

I’ve made ample room for change in my life. I’m open and receptive to it on a daily basis. I’ve opened my heart to a new man. I’ve opened my arms to release my only son off to college. I’ve opened my mind to doing things creatively that others may frown upon or not be courageous enough to try. I’ve opened myself up to more possibilities, opportunities and endeavors in my business endeavors. Many of which I admit are not in my business plan; honestly, I don’t even have a business plan. This is driven by a divine business plan. So as I move forward, I remember that a change is gonna come. Tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. Each day will present a new change, a new opportunity for me to grow and become better than I was before.

Repeat after me:  Change is good.