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“Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp” is a documentary about the illustrious life of a pimp who metamorphosed into one of the most well known Black writers in this nation’s history. In the opening lines of the documentary, “Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp,” taken from his autobiography, “Pimp,” Iceberg Slim states: “In this book, I will take you the reader with me into the secret inner-world of the pimp. I will lay bare my life and thoughts as a pimp.”
As the nation celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.’s 86th birthday, we are immersed in an intensive, often divisive conversation about race in America. Sixty years after King marched through the streets, as he did in Selma and cities throughout the South, we find ourselves still on the streets battling many of these same issues. My concern is that we are too narrowly focused. We need to make sure we battle this issue of race on all fronts.
There are two film festivals in the Bay Area that are famous for presenting excellent work by Black filmmakers: the Oakland International Film Festival and the San Francisco Black Film Festival. In a few weeks, thousands of people will be trailing into theaters all over San Francisco to check out what the SF Black Film Fest has deemed some of the best Black indie films of the year.
With the storm approaching New Orleans, I spoke to Dwight Henry, co-star in the film, “Beasts of a Southern Wild,” currently in Bay Area theaters. I spoke to three men who are riding the storm out: Parnell Herbert, Angola 3 activist and playwright, Mwalimu Johnson, community organizer and prison abolitionist, and Malik Rahim, former Black Panther.
In a Hollywood Reporter article, Spike Lee is quoted: “In 1989, ‘Do the Right Thing’ was not even nominated [for best picture],” said Lee, with some mock outrage. “What film won best picture in 1989? ‘Driving Miss Mother F-ing Daisy!’ That’s why [Oscars] don’t matter,” said Lee. “Because 20 years later, who’s watching ‘Driving Miss Daisy?’”