New Orleans has spectacular food. I’ve had some of the best meals of my life here. So much I’ve stopped dining out so I won’t turn into a round ball with glasses on.
Reggie & The Big Chief
Then, because it was a perfect day, we came across Big Chief Fi Yi Yi, Victor Harris, standing next to his suit surrounded by band members in matching turquoise and white outfits. Not only did I get to study his intricate beadwork up close and personal, he let me hold the suit to feel the weight. As readers of this blog know, I’ve always had the deepest respect for the detail-oriented craftsmanship of these suits, but holding that suit, it was clearly about half my body weight (without the beaded boots, cuffs and huge headdress). Beyond the tenacity and commitment it takes to craft one of these suits, I gained a whole new understanding of the physical stamina and commitment it takes to wear that hot, heavy suit while dancing and chanting for miles. Wow. As Reggie held the suit then put his arm around the Chief for a photo, I thought he could scratch “see the Mardi Gras Indians” off his bucket list with indelible marker.
I also got to see the ReBirth Brass Band, who combine cascading horn lines over a raw dog funky beat creating an experience that hits you in all your chakras.
This shot of me and Laura’s guy Andy was unusual in that I was making the stink face of funk enjoyment most of the set.
Derrick Bell And Cosmic Slop
Funk 'N Me
While shooting down in Louisiana, George Clinton came to visit the set and was treated like the visiting dignitary from another planet that he is. Cast, crew and background were all in awe of him.
I Am Bruce Lee
Here is the trailer for a documentary on the impact of Bruce Lee on the world. I did an interview for it, and based on the Wall Street Journal review (which is on the Hudlin Entertainment Forum) sounds like they used some good stuff from me. It opens in theatres for special screenings on February 9th and 11th.
We're tired of "entertainment" that ignores us, that talks down to us, that panders us, that trivializes us. We're White, Black, Asian, Latin, and some other categories besides those…and sometimes we're a mix of all the above. We're male, we're female, we're straight, we're gay. We are comfortable in our own skin.
We're on our laptops, we're on our phones, we're in theatres, we're at the concert, we're at the protest, we're one on one in person.
Some of us don't even have a TV. We want it smart, we want it funny, we want it deep, we want it hot, we want it sexy, we want it inspiring, we want it all.
We like funny sketches, we like outrageous reality shows, we like crazy animation. We like action, we like science fiction, we like horror. But we like it when it's good.
We're not scared to be stupider than stupid. We're not scared to express our opinion. We're not scared to change our mind. We're not scared…period.
Dominque Laveau: Voodoo Child
Two super talented friends, writer Selwyn Hines and artist Denys Cowan, are collaborating on a new book from DC/Vertigo called VOODOO.
"It's kind of like 'The Fugitive' meets 'True Blood,'" writer Selwyn Seyfu Hinds said, describing his new creator-owned Vertigo series "Dominque Laveau, Voodoo Child." Explaining that the series takes place in New Orleans, Hinds continued, "'Voodoo Child' is about a young woman who is a student...who wakes up one day and discovers that there's an entire supernatural side to the city that she never suspected. On top of that, every being in that world seems to be out to kill her."
"Voodoo Child" is drawn by Milestone Comics co-founder Denys Cowan, whom Hinds knew from their previous television work together through BET as well as mutual friend and director, Reggie Hudlin.
"[Denys is] a living legend, so it's great to do my first creator owned series with that kind of firepower talent," said Hinds...."
My Dinner With George
R.I.P. Derrick Bell
There’s been a series of tragic deaths lately: Steve Jobs, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth…and Professor Derrick Bell. Here’s his New York Times obit:
Derrick Bell, Law Professor and Rights Advocate, Dies at 80
By FRED A. BERNSTEIN
Derrick Bell, a legal scholar who worked to expose the persistence of racism in America through his books and articles and his provocative career moves — he gave up a Harvard Law School professorship to protest the school’s hiring practices — died on Wednesday in New York. He was 80.
Mr. Bell was the first tenured black professor at Harvard Law School and later the first black dean of a law school that is not historically black. But he was perhaps better known for resigning from prestigious jobs than for accepting them.
In his 20s, while working at the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, he was told to give up his membership in the N.A.A.C.P., which his superiors believed posed a conflict of interest. Instead, he quit the Justice Department, ignoring the advice of friends to try to change things from within.
Thirty years later, when he left Harvard Law School, he rejected similar advice. At the time, he said, his wife, Jewel Hairston Bell, asked him, “Why does it always have to be you?”
In “Ethical Ambition,” a memoir published in 2002, Mr. Bell wrote that his wife’s question trailed him afterward, as did another posed by his colleagues: “Who do you think you are?”
Addressing law students grappling with career decisions, he extolled what he called “a life of meaning and worth,” even though, he wrote, he sometimes alienated associates who saw his actions as “futile and foolish.”
Mr. Bell, soft-spoken and erudite, wrote that he was “not confrontational by nature.” But he attacked both conservative and liberal beliefs. In 1992, he told The New York Times that black Americans were worse off and more subjugated than at any time since slavery. And he wrote that in light of the consequences of the Supreme Court’s 1954 desegregation decision, Brown v. Board of Education, things might have worked out better if the court had instead ordered governments to provide both races with truly equivalent schools.
He was a pioneer of critical race theory — a body of legal scholarship that explored how racism is embedded in laws and legal institutions, even those intended to lessen the effects of past injustice. Mr. Bell “set the agenda in many ways for scholarship on race in the academy, not just the legal academy,” said Lani Guinier, the first black woman hired to join the Harvard Law School’s tenured faculty, in an interview on Wednesday.
At a rally while a student at Harvard Law School, Barack Obama compared Professor Bell to the civil rights hero Rosa Parks.
Mr. Bell’s core beliefs included what he called “the interest convergence dilemma” — the idea that whites would not support efforts to improve the position of blacks unless it was in their interest. Asked how the status of blacks could be improved, Mr. Bell said he generally supported civil rights litigation, but cautioned that even favorable rulings were likely to yield disappointing results and that it was best to be prepared for that.
Much of Mr. Bell’s scholarship rejected dry legal analysis in favor of allegorical stories. In books and law review articles, he presented parables about race relations, then debated their meaning with a fictional alter ego, a black professor named Geneva Crenshaw, who forced him to confront the truth about the persistence of racism in America.
One his best-known parables is “The Space Traders,” which appeared in his 1992 book, “Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism.” In the story, as Mr. Bell later described it, creatures from another planet offer the United States “enough gold to retire the national debt, a magic chemical that will cleanse America’s polluted skies and waters, and a limitless source of safe energy to replace our dwindling reserves” in exchange for one thing: its black population, which would be sent to outer space. The white population accepts the offer by an overwhelming margin. (In 1994, “The Space Traders” was made into a TV movie titled “Cosmic Slop.”)
When I first read FACES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WELL, the book that contained the SPACE TRADERS story, I woke up the next day wanting to do a multi-ethnic version of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. HBO bought it under the name SOCIAL FRICTION FABLES and I attached well-known black extraterrestrial George Clinton as host.
In his honor, read his books so we may elevate our game from checkers to chess.
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