Tag Archive | documentary

The Questioning Edition

Question_bridge_02_web_0Last weekend I attended the Corcoran Gallery’s exhibit called Question Bridge: Black Males. I will admit as woman I don’t always understand the male point of view. The interesting thing about the exhibit was that I learned that men often don’t understand each other’s points of view either. The exhibit is more of a documentary where Black men and a few boys ask questions that are answered by other Black men. Some of the responses were heartfelt, such as Andrew Young’s response of how he knew that he met the love of his life. Some responses were heartbreaking, such as when a gentleman shared that his brother died of cancer because he refused to see a doctor. Some were puzzling, as with the man who stated that he believes the n-word will change for the better just as Samaritan did. All were fascinating.

They interviewed men from every age group, socio-economic status, geographic region and education level. They interviewed men in prison, doctors, teenagers, rappers, actors. A very huge cross section. I couldn’t tell how long the interviews lasted. It could have been hours. We sat transfixed for two hours, losing track of time, listening and processing. I think the key to the interviews is that we are not a monolith. Black men are not a homogenous group that is easy to pinpoint and stereotype, despite what others may think. I could see the simple things that divides the group: if you grew in the suburbs vs. the projects, if you grew up pre-civil rights era or during the crack-infested 80’s, if you attended an ivy league college or the school of hard knocks.

I do believe I learned something. It is not something easily identifiable such as I learned that Montpelier is the capital of Vermont. I learned how men articulate themselves, what gets under their skins, what they say and what they are afraid to say. I realized that each of the men interviewed had something to say even if what they said isn’t something I completely understood or agreed with. I don’t “get” prison culture but neither did some of the subjects. I don’t comprehend the respectability politics that is laid at single mothers’ feet when it takes two to make children. And again neither did the other subjects. Lately, mainly because of some really vocal members of “Black Twitter” I had grown weary of hearing any opinions on any subject. The vitriol and rancor spewed on topics as simple as Valentine’s Day especially from Black men exhausted me. But through this exhibit, I remembered that we, “the Blacks” are not a singular community and for every Negative Neal there’s a Positive Paul and that’s a good lesson.

The Dead Computer Edition

computerSo I completely forgot to write a post last week. I totally blame my magazine addiction. See I adore magazines. Always have since childhood. I love flipping through the pages and looking at the photography. With the slow death of the industry, I have been able to indulge my love with discounted subscriptions. I obtained these subscriptions for the low, low price of $5 a year. This resulted in six magazines coming into my home every month. Then something crazy occurred. I couldn’t keep up. And the magazines and junk mail overwhelmed my modest sized living room. And next something worse happened; I started receiving random magazine subscriptions that I didn’t order, including Shape, Vogue and Redbook. I didn’t need this in my life so I decided to completely clean the living and thus forgot to post.

Subsequently another awful thing transpired. My computer died. Oh stupid laptop. I hate computers because they die completely without warning and are kind of pricey to replace.  But since I hate computers, there won’t be a pilgrimage for an indestructible Apple because spending more than $1,000 on a laptop isn’t a thing.

I had such a lovely post planned on how the radio. Yes, the evil consumerist radio has been introducing me to the new musical acts. Of course I don’t mean mainstream radio. I mean NPR. Yes, NPR’s spotlights and reviews have led me to some new and interesting singers. Back in October, I went to see jazz artist Cecile McLorin Salvant at the Sixth and I Synagogue. Despite my strong desire to pull her aside and offer her my stylist consulting services, I really enjoyed the concert. Her throaty jazz vocalists are a surprise from someone who could have easily donned a onesie and started singing hooks for rappers.

I also planned to write about my experience seeing the movie, American Promise. The documentary traces the entire academic careers of two Black Brooklyn male students attending a prestigious school in Manhattan. The screening was followed by Q&A with the directors who are also the parents of one of the students. I had mixed feelings about the film. I understood the purpose—to watch how Black male students struggle in predominantly affluent, and White environments. It also unconsciously showed the adage that for a Black person being equal to your peers isn’t good enough as the boys struggled with teachers and administrators. However, I wish I left with an overall wrap-up statement.

Alas, computer died and I need to figure out how to get me a new one.  Not pleased.