CAAN-LA Black History Panel

7 02 2018

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position
that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he
has overcome while trying to succeed.”
— Booker T. Washington

One of the great privileges of being part of the Columbia College Chicago National Alumni Board is representing the Board at CAAN events. The CAAN-Los Angeles network has been ably built up and guided by Sarah Schroeder, the West Coast Regional Director for Columbia, and her events are always top notch, well represented by our up-and-coming alumni, and well attended.

Yesterday’s Black History Panel featured our Columbia alumni who are also some of the trailblazers and innovators in Black filmmaking and entertainment: Producer-Director-Writer George Tillman, Jr., who has been the creative force behind some of my favorite movies, including the Barbershop films and Men of Honor; Writer-Director-Actor Kenny Young, the genius behind You Can’t Fight Christmas, Chance, and One Week; Producer-Development Executive Crystal Holt, engineer behind Rebel (BET), and The Swap (Disney Channel); Actress Erica Hubbard, who had pivotal roles in Chicago Med, Let’s Stay Together, and Lincoln Heights; Producer Paul Garnes, who gave us Selma, and Queen Sugar; and on-air personality, Grammy-Nominated Music Producer-Songwriter, and co-founder of Da Internz, Marcos “Kosine” Palacios.

The panel was moderated by some really talented and thoughtful Columbia student moderators: Jocelyn Shelton and Marquise Davion.

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Gearing up for our CAAN-LA’s Black History Month Alumni Panel with some fabulous filmmakers and student moderators Marquis Davion and Jocelyn Shelton.

George Tillman, Jr. discussed how he got into film, and how the presence of African-American creators and filmmakers has grown since he first came to Hollywood.

Kosine talked about his journey, encouraged the alumni still pursuing their dreams to simply, “Stay in the game,” and urged that, “Black History Month is a great time for African-Americans to be networking with each other,” and to take advantage of this and motivate each other towards excellence.

As an actress, Erica Hubbard discussed the high bar set by the writing and talent she experienced on the “Lincoln Heights” set, and how it is difficult to accept projects that don’t meet that standard.

If Paul Garnes did nothing else, he helped launch director-producer Ava Duvernay to the world. Paul shared his journey in filmmaking, how he met and got started with Ava, and working on Selma with David Oyelowo, and Oprah, as well as Queen Sugar.

Kenny Young talked affectionately about his mentors and the people who helped steer him in his career. He also talked about making determinations. He said at one point that he didn’t want to work a full-time job ever again, and he hasn’t since then. He has found a way to juggle, struggle, and forge ahead on his drive and talent, while still earning a living in Los Angeles.

Crystal Holt gave, what I felt was the most powerful and practical advice. “Drive is something you cannot teach, and that goes further than talent… You have a goal in mind, and you are working toward that plan for your life. Don’t give up on that.”

She also gave some sage advice on contracts and equal pay: “Trust no one! Be contract literate, and read it from front to back before you sign.”

While this old dog gleaned from their practical wisdom, I also enjoyed hearing about the endeavors and adventures of our young alumni; like the delightful Toy Monique, who works for Will Packer Media in their scripted and unscripted television department. Toy is a recent transplant to L.A., having gone through Columbia’s Semester in L.A. program in 2016. She laid the groundwork back then, and came back to Los Angeles as an employee at the place where she interned! What a smart lady—we’ll definitely be keeping an eye on her, and very happy to stay in contact via Instagram and LinkedIn.

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Illustrating Absurdity: Rachel Dolezal wins the “WTF” award

12 06 2015

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This is a comedy sketch that’s writing itself. Rachel Dolezal, head of the Spokane chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. has been “passing” as black. She was born Caucasian and raised by two white parents who apparently grew tired of her deception—so they’ve outed her.

I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in.

Armed with pictures and a birth certificate, Lawrence and Ruthanne Dolezal are taking to newspapers, cable and network news shows to let the world know this Black activist who has filed police reports about nine different hate crimes perpetrated against her, who is touted as an academic expert on African-American culture, and teaches African-American studies classes at Eastern Washington University is their estranged daughter who is… white.

After the obvious jokes and the laughter subsides, you then start to think about how many people this fraudulence hurts, not in the least her Caucasian parents.

I explore the role of the feckless N.A.A.C.P. in this mess, and social media reaction over at Communities Digital News: The self-loathing Rachel Dolezal marks the irrelevant N.A.A.C.P.’s demise.

In the meantime, listen to her seemingly shell shocked parents talk about the daughter who has rejected them and her race, because #whitelivesdontmatter.





Black History Month 2015: Zora Neale Hurston

5 02 2015

zora-neale-hurston

“It would be against all nature for all the Negroes to be either
at the bottom, top, or in between. We will go where the internal drive carries us like everybody else. It is up to the individual.”

Zora Neale Hurston

Zora is one of my favorite writers. Her language is beautiful, uplifting, elegant, and scarcely seen in modern literature. Literacy across the board is becoming a thing of the distant past, much to the detriment of of our people.

I explore this a bit more over at Communities Digital News, Black History Month 2015: Let’s promote a return to literacy:

“Sadly, the richness of literacy exhibited by her and her contemporaries—like Langston Hughes, who would have been 113 this week—is sorely lacking in today’s literature. Do our young people even know the names of these and other great writers, or the titles of their works? If the crisis in our culture is any indication, we are failing our children by starving them of the substantive words and sweeping vision of great writers while spoon-feeding them the steady pabulum of gangster rap and reality television.”

Read more here.





Black History Month 2015: Harriet Tubman

2 02 2015

harriet-tubman

“I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand
more if only they knew they were slaves
.
-Harriet Tubman

This famous quote by the “Black Moses” could well be applied today. The chains of slavery are evident in the mind, attitudes and allegiances of our race, and are being reflected in the lack of leadership and focus in the modern civil rights movement:

“Seeing the power, presence, and passion of Dr. King artfully portrayed by actor David Oyelowo, as well as the re-enactment of the give and take between Ralph Abernathy and Andrew Young of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and John Lewis of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, merely spotlights the total lack of conviction or moral authority in the civil rights movement of today. In place of an intelligent, articulate, and anointed Dr. King, we have the mush-mouthed Al Sharpton, and the empty bumper sticker slogans of “No Justice, No Peace,” and “Black Lives Matter.”

Dr. King is flipping in his grave.”

Read the rest at my Communities Digital News column: Martin Luther King Day, Selma, and the moral scarcity in modern-day civil rights.





A Tempest in a “T”-Cup…

12 04 2013

filizanka-do-kawy-porcelana

So here’s my daily fun: My Twitter compatriot, @BlackRepublican, re-tweeted the nonsense of Marc Lamont Hill. I’m glad BR does, because I have no desire to follow him on a regular basis.

Marc Lamont Hill is a host/contributor at the Huffington Post and HuffPo Live. He is also an associate professor at Columbia University, and a former Fox News commentator. His last bit of opinion/commentary that captured the interwebs was a piece on “The 15 Most Overrated White People”. Had a white columnist written such a piece about “The 15 Most Overrated Black People” (and there are way more than 15), the Left would have been up in arms. Maybe I will set my hand to that particular list–but I digress… Marc Lamont Hill is one of the Left’s creations, the same as Touré;  so he is allowed to spout fallacies and pablum about race and conservatives under the guise of original thought.

Taking nothing away from the good work of Twitchy, the re-tweet in question was one where Marc Lamont Hill decided to diss Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice because she accepted the invitation to be one of the FIRST women to join the Augusta National Golf Club. The club has been exclusively male throughout its history, and Secy Rice, along with Darla Moore, eliminated that barrier.

MLH Tweet-Rice Advocate for ALL WOMEN

Stunning logic here.  But I felt this arrogant tweet warranted a response:

ATGT response to MLH re Token Comment

It still rankles me that our own people will not give Secy Condoleezza Rice her due. No matter what her political affiliation or anyone’s issue with President George W. Bush, it does not eliminate the fact that Secy Rice is an accomplished Black woman and a historical figure. She was FIRST in many respects, blazing trails for Black women in academia, government, and world affairs. Yet, the Left finds any excuse to denigrate and  demean her legacy and her choices.

And tell me, how many women golfers are fighting to wear a green blazer in Atlanta? Is it even a valid argument? I have my doubts about that.

I decided to expand my comments on Marc Lamont Hill’s “Token” reference:

ATGT re MLH Tweet-Was Robinson a Token

From there Marc Lamont Hill’s logic became even more… circular:

MLH Tweet-Rice First is unnecessary

So there are no longer necessary FIRSTS in Marc Lamont Hill’s world.  Interesting…

MLH Tweet-Rice and Real Change

But I couldn’t let that one let slip by either:

ATGT-Why do your care MLH if her first is unnecessary

Marc Lamont Hill continued to double down on his line of reasoning–or lack of it:

MLH Tweet-Only Minority in the Room

Perhaps he speaks from experience? Are there many under 40 associate professors of color at Columbia University? I speculate that if Marc Lamont Hill were not a Left-wing youngster of a particular race, he would not have the perch he now enjoys. A perch, frankly, that was blazed for him by Secy Rice and other blacks who had to suffer more discrimination and denigration than someone of his generation, or mine for that matter, ever have.

After hitting bottom with that last comment, he continued to dig:

MLH Tweet-Rice is Selfish

By calling Dr. Rice “selfish”, Marc Lamont Hill just destroyed the first part of his statement.

Marc Lamont Hill finished his attack on Secy Rice with this complete falsehood:

MLH Tweet-Nothing to do with Black Repub

Black Republican’s final response was worth the price of admission:

Black Republican Tweet on MLH

Eye roll indeed, along with shaking my head.





In My Orbit

17 01 2013
Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Too much swirling in the universe in general, and in my own world; so I’ll touch on the hot topic for the week: President Obama signing 23 executive orders in yet another step toward attacking the Second Amendment and trampling the Constitution. Ed Morrisey’s column in The Fiscal Times does a good job of pointing out the incompetence and pretentiousness of this latest action from the Smoke and Mirrors Presidency.

“The President also announced almost two dozen executive orders that he will sign to bypass Congress on gun violence, a threat that had civil libertarians outraged over potential abuses of power. Instead, the list is a demonstration of executive impotence, procrastination, and an approach that has little to do with the actual Newtown mass murder.”

Obama Thumbs Nose at Congress on Gun Control

On the other side of the spectrum, Gary Younge of the Guardian waxed eloquent about how principled President Obama is for doing something about this problem of gun violence and starting a national conversation:

“His address implied that, after four long years, he had finally worked out what both the office of the presidency in general and his presidency, in particular, were for. Appealing over the heads of a stubborn and gridlocked Congress to the nation at large, the president sought to rally the nation to both a moral cause and much-needed civic engagement.”

Excuse me while I yawn. It appears Mr. Obama is very selective about what rallies him to action. Why did it take the tragedy at Sandy Hook for the President to take action? Were the 532 homicides in his adopted hometown of Chicago in 2012 alone not enough of a clarion call?

Urban Grounds blog points out that Illinois has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation; yet, this does not prevent young black men from shooting other young black men on the regular, with young girls and teenagers caught in the crossfire. “10-year Old Daughter of a 24-year Old Mother Shot While Playing Outside on Chicago Street at 11:20 p.m.” and “Obama Visits Chicago, Gun Violence and Murders Drastically Reduced in the Presence of The Won“.

When has Obama sermonized, lectured, and vowed to do something about it? From my general Google search, next to never.

So much for sweet home, Chicago.

So while President Posturing did his dog and pony show with children in tow on Tuesday, Charles “Chuck” Hicks chose to use Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday to walk for Civil Rights and the Second Amendment. Courtland Malloy in his Washington Post column profiles this Civil Right’s leader and his dual stance that marching for Civil Rights includes marching for gun rights:

“‘The Klan would drive through our neighborhood shooting at us, shooting into our homes,” recalled Hicks, 66, who grew up in Bogalusa, La., and has been a civil rights activist in the District for more than 35 years. “The black men in the community wouldn’t stand for it. You shoot at us, we shoot back at you. I’m convinced that without our guns, my family and many other black people would not be alive today.'”

Malloy points out that Hicks and his family are under constant threat for their stance and presence in the Civil Rights struggle:

“In the current debate over gun rights vs. gun control, predominantly white pro-gun groups such as the NRA and Second Amendment Foundation cite oppressive British rule over the American colonies as the basis for the “right to bear arms.” The terrorism cited by black gun owners such as Hicks, however, is much more recent.

“Just last year, for instance, on the King holiday, arsonists burned a car that belonged to Hicks’s sister in Bogalusa and attempted to burn the home where she and their mother live. His sister is an outspoken advocate for civil rights in Louisiana. Last week, a car was seen circling the block around their home, parked, then suspiciously sped away when neighbors approached. The FBI is investigating both incidents.

“According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, more than 1,000 hate groups are operating today in the United States, most of them neo-Nazis, Klansmen, white nationalists, neo-Confederates and racist skinheads with a particular antipathy for black people.

“Infringe on the Second Amendment? No way, say 30 percent of African Americans (myself included), according to a recent Pew poll. No doubt many of them believe, like Hicks, that it’s better to have a gun and not need it than not have one and wish you did.”

Damn skippy–count me among them.





In My Orbit: We are NOT the Zero Percent…

23 08 2012

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Girl has been having way too much fun on Twitter today (and gaining some new followers to boot)! All because of a skewed poll.

The collective wisdom of NBC News and the Wall Street Journal put out a poll that gives our dear President Obama a four point lead over Governor Mitt Romney. What is noteworthy about this poll’s details is that it says Mitt Romney has zero… you heard me, Z-E-R-O percent of the Black vote. Read the details for yourself: NBC/WSJ Poll: Heading into conventions, Obama has four-point lead.

Apparently I missed the call from NBC, because they never asked me. I’m Black and I will be voting for Mitt Romney. You can click on my tag for “Obama” “B.H. Obama” and “Obama Presidency” to read the posts that highlight all my reasons why. Off the top of my head, I can name at least 10 Black people whom I know personally that will be casting their vote for the Romney/Ryan ticket. Then there are the hundreds of Blacks that I know peripherally, either on Facebook, Twitter or some other form of networking, who will also be casting their vote for Romney/Ryan. So what gives?

More interesting than this poll’s obviously flawed sampling, is the backlash from some known Black Conservatives, and a multitude of us lesser-known ones. We are here, we are vocal, and we are tired of being marginalized!

Shout out to my new favorite conservative blogger, Kira Davis who was the first person I read who pointed out this ridiculous: “Did the ‘professionals’ at NBC/WSJ even leave their own office buildings to conduct this poll? ”

A just question, since when looking at both the masthead of WSJ and the faces on NBC News, you wonder where the diversity lies in these organizations… but I digress.

For the past few days the hastag #BlackConservativesforRomney has been trending on Twitter, and we have been having a pahtay!, pointing out this polls false conclusions, pointing out why President Obama does not deserve a second term, and getting to know each other in our collective stand against the ridiculous meme that we do not exist.

Twitchy was smart enough to pick up on this trend, and The Blaze also took note. Haven’t heard from CNN, Fox or any other news outlets on this, but they tend to always be late to the party.

The law of unintended consequences–methinks WSJ and NBC did not envision this when they ran with this story.

#Epic Fail for them–maximum exposure for #BlackConservativesforRomney!

As an additional shout out, here’s a documentary video from Hip-Hop Republican.  And these are the young people:








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