Fine Wine and Dr. King

Three men from different backgrounds and strongly differing beliefs met totally by chance on a rainy evening in Atlanta. While sipping fine wine the wide divide in their beliefs did not disappear, but for a time, Jim Sander’s hospitality and a mutual enjoyment of the wine bound them together in pleasant conversation, and a little known but historic meeting passed into history.

Film and Foodie Review: BELLE

Belle-small-banner

BELLE  is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay (Matthew Goode) and  enslaved African woman known as Maria Belle. . Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet her color prevents her from the traditions of noble social standing.  To take things at surface value just will not do. It is as if God takes the imperfect situation of illegitimacy and works it for the overall good.

Dido grows up alongside a first cousin of the same at who was probably so isolated and lonely the only thing she could do would be to welcome and love Dido. In the film we watch the bond and the timing for finding a suitor.  It seems Dido’s great uncle and aunt never envisioned she would find husband.  The didn’t want her to marry down in social standing and they never thought she could marry up.

The story of Dido Belle goes beyond the tragic mulatto but how the influence of being the niece of the Lord Chief Justice may have played a significant factor in helping to build the road to end slavery.

And yes, there is an enchanting romance in the story too.  No Spoiler, just go see the film to see how the love story plays out.

gugu-mbatha-raw-belle-sam

 

Food: When this hits dvd, it just scream movie and tea party with the ladies.   So grab your favorite type of scone, finger sandwiches and the very best tea then sit back enjoy the movie.   Check out our Tea and Garden Party menu.

Django Unchained Evokes Black History Knowledge and Discussion

It is a bloody means to an end but I am glad I took the journey to see Django Unchained. As a fan of Tarantino’s work it is a must see.  The Black Film Critics cirlce has given a thumbs up to film.  Despite the torturous unending use of the word, nigger and the gore fest of blood and guts, Tarantino provides a meaningful way of entertainment.  Over the years, many African American have grown weary of watching stories of slaves a powerless victims.  However, painful it a truth many don’t like to visit.  The fictious tale of  Django presents a plausible power shift carefuly wrapped in legal technicalities to drive the story.

One of the more poignant aspects of the film includes history.  The violent world of Black slaves wrestling is a reality of history and of image of a Black man during slavery times riding a horse is featured.  I reasoned with myself what would the issue be of a Black man riding on a horse be.  I have rationalized that it may been his ability to look down at whites.  According the Chapman University’s Historical Review,  “Slave owners kept the horses in closed locations because if slaves were able to steal the horses they could quickly escape from the plantations. Due to these reasons, horseracing was limited. Horsemanship was also the mark of a gentleman.”    The Chapman University Historical Review has a great article worth reading entitled, Sports in Shackles: The Athletic and Recreational habits of slaves on Southern plantations.  READ MORE

Written by Crystal A. Johnson

See Film and Foodie Review of Django Unchained

Book Review: Guest of Honor: An Invite to White House Dinner for Booker T. Washington

Washington Post- History is like a photograph. Facts are facts, but how we understand them depends on who’s doing the framing. In her new book, “Guest of Honor,” about the famous White House dinner at which President Theodore Roosevelt hosted African American educator Booker T. Washington, Deborah Davis examines race relations in early 20th-century America through the lives of two of the era’s giants. With some success and one stumble, she depicts a brash, independent president and a former slave who became the most powerful black man of his time. Their dinner on Oct. 16, 1901, she argues, helped change the country.  READ COMPLETE REVIEW

Black History Movie List

Although Black History Month takes place during the shortest month of the year, it is still a time to take pause to celebrate Black History.  At MCCN we celebrate culture all year round.  The Black Diaspora is wide-reaching.    Our list tells of stories from countries including Zambia, Rwanda, South Africa, Gambia and the United States.  It celebrates leaders such as Stephen Biko, Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela to the unsung hero.  It acknowledges the so-called “dirty little secret of race mixing” which is prominent in the American story.  Almost every Black American has European ancestry.  Conversely, many caucasian Americans have no idea  their lineage may include an African-American light enough to pass to begin a new life as a White person.  The book “One Drop” also addresses this issue.  Without further ado, MCCN’s Black History Movie List.

Roots Written by Alex Haley,  Roots was the TV movie that shocked America.  Never, had the imagery of slavery in America been depicted onscreen.  It made people angry.  It made people sad and apologetic but most importantly it brought enlightenment to millions of people.  Every parent regardless of race should educate and share this film with their children.  The story begins with Kunte Kinte being abducted from the shores of Gambia.

1364690545_kunta%2520kinte

Roots – Film Originated 1977

Amistad Directed by Stephen Spielberg and starring an unknown actor back in 1997, Djimon Hounsou, Amistad  is a story of About a 1839 mutiny aboard a slave ship that is traveling towards the northeastern coast of America. Much of the story involves a court-room drama about the free man who led the revolt.  Matthew McConaughey, Morgan Freeman and Anthony Hopkins star.

Invictus Many films have produced about Nelson Mandela but this story tells of his political life intertwined with the world of Rugby.  As a former athlete, Mandela understood the power and influence of sports.  He identified its ability to unify people.  Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon star.

Sally Hemings: An American Scandal or Jefferson in Paris:  This is the story of former President Thomas Jefferson and his slave/mistress Sally Hemings.  Thomas Jefferson is still one the most celebrated presidents in American history so the story of his mistress, his descendants with Black skin living in a America is a hard pill to swallow for some.  Visit Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia.  They have accepted incorporating some discussion of Hemings in the tours.    Thandie Newton stars in the 1995 Jefferson in Paris but the more popular forbidden love story of Jefferson and Hemings is the TV movie, Sally Hemings, An American Scandal.

Malcolm X- When this movie was in theaters I didn’t love it but I did appreciate.  I did read Alex Hailey’s biography of Malcolm X and like people who appreciate a book the movie don’t quite appeal in the same way.   But over the years, it has been a classic with moving performances by Angela Basset and Oscar worthy performance by Denzel Washington.   And we even have the famous quote, “We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock.  Plymouth Rock landed on us.”

Hidden Figures- Story of 3 African American women worked and NASA and one who pivotal to John Glenn’s peace of mind because of his confidence in her brilliance.   See Film and Foodie Review.

Selma– A very humanizing and layering picture of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  thSelma is a moving story and unsettling story about the true uphill battle over true voting rights for African Americans without hinderance.

 

Hotel Rwanda – Starring and produced by Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda is a film which reminds us of Holocausts repeating its cycle throughout the world.  How long do super power countries turn a blind eye toward crimes against humanity? It also recognizes sometimes we do not want to be heroes but we need to be heroes.

 

We have 10 More Films on the list.  READ MORE

This list is  composed by Crystal A. Johnson, MCCN Editor, a film critic with a masters in English/ Screenwriting. Her undergraduate minor is in history from  Historically Black University, Morgan State University.  She is also a video production coach. 

America I AM: The African American Imprint

Tavis Smiley walks with daughter(L) & sister(R) of Martin Luther King Jr.

I recently got the opportunity to experience the America I AM tour at the California Science Center on a Sunday afternoon.  The blessing came from a friend who gave me a spare ticket to go with her church group.  The America I AM exhibit will remain at the California Science Center until April 15, 2010.  The tour is traveling for the next four years to 10 cities.  It is the brainchild of Radio and TV Host Tavis Smiley.

Take the time to see clothing worn by Frederick Douglass, the shackles worn by slaves, the invention of the traffic light by Garrett Morgan more. It is a great opportunity for people of various cultures to gain an understanding of the past to help toward a brighter future- Crystal Johnson- MCCN Editor

America I AM: The African American Imprint is a four-year touring museum exhibition that celebrates nearly 500 years of African American contributions to this country.

America I AM provides an opportunity for people from all walks of life to explore this uniquely American story. With the nation’s first African American president, America I AM endeavors to bring together Americans of all backgrounds to achieve a greater understanding of their shared culture and history.

Scholar W.E.B. Du Bois once wrote, “Would America have been America without her Negro people?”

To examine the answer to that question, AMERICA I AM: The African American Imprint
is mounted as the broadest museum exhibition of its kind. An assembly of poignant artifacts representing nearly 500 years of American history, the exhibition will convey and celebrate the undeniable imprint African Americans have had on the country and the world.

Core Themes
Covering history from the arrival of Africans to the present day, the exhibition presents a collection of pivotal moments of courage, conviction, and creativity that have shaped the culture and society in which we live today in this nation and around the world.

The exhibition examines four themes in particular: economic, socio-political, cultural, and spiritual impact on America. These themes serve as recurring touch points throughout the galleries, as visitors discover how our experience as Americans has been shaped by African Americans throughout history. Read More

Learn about Recent Black History: Shani Davis Olympic Athlete