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On Friday, Nov. 24, the biggest retail shopping day of the year, also known as “Black Friday,” BlackOut for Human Rights will kick off its fourth annual #BlackOutBlackFriday campaign, urging people nationwide to take part in an economic boycott of major retailers and any corporations that violate human rights standards and/or profit off the pain and suffering of others. Launched in 2014, #BlackOutBlackFriday is a call-to-action encouraging individuals to refrain from shopping to protest social and economic injustice in the U.S. and instead engage in cultural activism.
I’ve finally seen “Selma” and can report it is a proper civil rights movie. By that I mean it takes few chances either thematically or aesthetically. The icons remain intact and the movement free from revisionist recriminations. This cautious strategy is understandable in a risk-averse Hollywood. Although boxed in by those kinds of commercial expectations, “Selma” delivers even more than it should.
"Selma" gives a window into the turbulent three-month voting rights campaign, a series of pivotal protest marches in 1965 that culminated with President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The movie offers a lens into King and imperiled activists’ attempts to travel a 54-mile highway from Selma to the Alabama state capital, Montgomery, in the face of blatant racism, brutality and de facto segregation.
Happy New Year! Happy Birthday to my granddaughter Brianna, niece Wilda and friend Fred T. I am still smiling about America’s new relationship with Cuba and the freed Cuban 5. If you are in New Orleans (NOLA), don’t miss “Prospect 3: Notes for Now,” the biennial there being celebrated throughout the city through Jan. 25.
On the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it comes to mind that from day one our society and culture have been heavily influenced by film. The recent slavery-related films, “Lincoln,” directed by Steven Spielberg, and “Django Unchained,” directed by Quentin Tarantino, will have a social, economic and psychological impact.
San Francisco was well represented at Cannes this year. Native son Danny Glover sat on a panel about documentary filmmaking, while San Francisco’s Kevin Epps showed his film “Straight Outta Hunters Point 2” to its first international audience. The San Francisco Black Film Festival held a news conference with “Godfather of Independent Film” Robert Townsend.
“Red Tails,” the new George Lucas film depicting the exploits of the Tuskegee Airmen, is to the history of Black fighter pilots during WWII what a sunset is to a day: It’s pretty to watch but no illumination is forthcoming. However, “Red Tails” is surely a must see.