Friday, November 29, 2013

Women of Color and Identity Conference:Detangling From the Root

     In our heads about our hair is a documentary film about Black women and the hair norms of society. The standard of beauty is long hair, the standard of beauty is hair that one can easily get a comb through. As most of my followers know my hair is natural and always has been, I support this "movement", and I run a blog all about box braids(a popular Black/Natural hair style).

     The screening of this film was apart of an entire conference held at Brooklyn college on November 20th. Guests were greeted in the hall with a sign-in sheet and free samples of hair products from Khamit Kinks. An audience of mostly women gathered and the event started with a panel discussion with three Brooklyn College students, women with natural who described their journeys and even battles embracing their own hair. One woman described how she kept her hair very short for years and although it has been natural she hasn't necessarily embraced it, another woman shared that she was in the military and her sergeant approached her saying that her appearance did not fit the guidelines though she was certainly following all of the rules, it was about her hair.

     Then the film began. Created by Anu Prestonia and BC alum Hemamset Angaza. We are given several images of Black women with natural hair and several different accounts. It was so tastefully done, there did not seem to be any bias from the creators of the film. Of course each opinion was bias. Of course even some women with natural hair sounded a little close-minded. But a segment I admired was when men on the street were questioned about Black hair/Black women. It was rather humorous to hear what these men think and there wasn't much hate. It was also great to see some of the couples who were interviewed. So many men love and support their women and their hair choices. I was a little hesitant in attending this conference, especially watching the film because these are conversations I have everyday, as a black woman. However, In our heads about our hair is such an eye opener and such an enjoyable film, there was no over kill. I would certainly watch this film again, with some friends.

    Here's the trailer:


    After the film, lunch was served, there was a spoken word segment. Poets BC Alum Diamond Bradley, BC Slam Team member Katherine George, and Nasiyr Abdullah son of the keynote speaker Sonia Alleyne. Unfortunately I could not stay longer to hear from the keynote speaker or other panel discussions but this event was great.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

New Fefe Dobson!

     Canadian Punk music artist Fefe Dobson is back! While watching music videos the other day "Legacy" started and I was so excited because I had no idea she had new music. I was very impressed and pleased with this new song and video. Watch for yourself:



     Legacy, the song and video affected me in many ways. First the entire premise of being cray and being in a psych ward is something I've written about myself. Then the fact that she is dressed as and emulating celebrities who have passed who we all love was incredible. The second the Amy Winehouse scene started, the tears fell. Amy's death was devastating and I immediately thought of Michael Jackson. The most I've ever cried for any reason is certainly when Michael passed. Then the MJ scene started and I couldn't take it. What makes it more beautiful is the lyrics, not only is she saying that she honors these artists and carries them with her wherever she goes but she is also saying that her herself wants to leave a legacy behind. This entire song and video represents where I am in life right now and things I need to keep in mind. I feel that it speaks to a lot of people, not just artists and not just music artists. Legacy is beautiful and I am so excited for fefe and her music.

Friday, November 15, 2013

BlackFish

My class watched the film BlackFish this week, if you are unfamiliar his is the trailer:


     Black Fish is a documentary about SeaWorld and other “Sea” theme parks which actually put the animals and their trainers in danger.
     There is a build once the film starts, it seems to be pleasant. Several former SeaWorld trainers are giving accounts to how they started and why. They list where they came from, their interests in sea animals, when they started, and what they thought about SeaWorld. Then there is a change of mood when they talk about Dawn Brancheau. I knew she was the trainer who had been killed right away because there was slow, sad music playing in the background and they showed old footage of her.
Dawn was killed in an attack by one of the killer whales right after a show on February 24, 2010. Her death seems to be the driving force of this entire film. SeaWorld’s denial of this death being the whale’s fault or even their fault is the main conflict. The OSHA sued SeaWorld on behalf of the Government but SeaWorld keeps fighting to keeps their trainers in the tanks with the Killer Whales. I understand the idea behind this and it is money. Big corporations often get caught up in some “fishy” business and to this day SeaWorld is a large attraction and a staple in our culture. What really brings in the audience is all the tricks that the trainers physically do with the animals.
     The film continues to go back in forth, giving the viewers a bit of a history lesson. One aspect I did not like was how each story was out of order. We are told about Dawn Brancheau’s death first (seems to be very important because it is most recent), then we are told about how the Killer Whales were first captured in 1970, then we were told about the trainer who was killed in SeaLand(Canada’s park) in 1991. There is a correlation between all of these stories obviously, but the film seemed to be a little confusing and very intense because of the order the stories were told in and all of the information that is given.
     What I do appreciate is that this film is educating its viewers. Black Fish gives us facts about Killer Whales and parallels them with untruths trainers are told to tell visitors of the park. We learn so much about Killer Whales from this film and we are given accounts from so many trainers. One question which came to mind throughout watching this is: Who is the victim? The whales or the trainers? Trainers are being killed but the Whales are being tortured. Either way, anybody who watches this will come to the conclusion: SeaWorld is wrong for what they’ve done and what they are doing. This is what makes this film so good; the creators of this film are not necessarily pointing the finger, they are simply presenting facts and the truth. The trainers were lied to about previous deaths of other trainers or were just flat out not told. There is an intense control that SeaWorld has over the entire situation and I am disgusted.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Noir Chicks! A new webseries

A friend of mine, Chante has started a webseries called "Noir Chicks" and I gave her a little critique. Here is episode 1:



    Overall, as a pilot episode I just wished she showed more. More about each character and their relationships with each other, and the main idea of the whole show. I noticed that  there is a main character narrating and she takes on a Carrie Bradshaw role. Is she the main character? She is also a blogger, does the whole series revolve around her blog? I feel that based on the title each character should have equal "power" like maybe they should all blog if blogging is the focus, with that being said, this is the pilot. I think it should have been more introductory, where we would have a peek into each of the character's lives.
    For acting I think that the heated statements should have literally been shouted, as if the two girls were really going at it. I pretty much enjoyed the production and dialogue, and I can't wait to see what is done with the other episodes.
     Episode has been posted and you can keep up with the series here: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRpgHiXH0ysXxLC1kCaSJlA

La Haine


    La Haine is a 1995 French black-and-white drama/suspense film about riots in France during the 1980’s. It was written, co-edited, and directed by Mathieu Kassovitz. “La Haine” translates to “Hate” in english. This film is very dramatic but done in a way where there is no overkill. It is truthful and expresses themes that are relatable. The reason why the inner-city or “urban” french people are rioting at this time is because of police brutality. Sometimes police officers go on a power trip and feel since they are protected by law they can violate the right of the people violently and get away with it. This kind of case happens all around the world and people revolt. The problem with rioting is that people riot in their own towns and destroy her own stores, schools and property. Then the problem does not even get solved.
    I think La haine raises a lot of questions and brings issues to light. The three main characters Said, Vinz, and Hubert are all different and are all reacting to what is happening differently. Said seems to be the most passive yet plainly and simply refers to all police officers as “Pigs”. Hubert seems as if he is cracking under pressure, he is strongly affected but at the same time he know right from wrong. Whereas Vinz is the crazy one. He is very angry and just wants to kill each and every “pig” he sees.
     A reoccuring theme is the film is the riddle or story about the man who jumps off of a skyscraper, on his way down he keeps saying “So far so good”. This fall represents their community falling apart during this time and how they might “land”. That was a very effective and helpful element.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Outfit of the week !

     This Halloween I turned 21. Instead of having a serious costume I just wanted to look GOOD. However, my outfit is inspired by Janelle Monae. I pinned my hair up to sorta mimic her iconic hair-do.The top is thrift ed and one of my favorite finds; and the shorts were on sale from Urban Outfitter. I am also wearing a pair of fishnets over a pair of grey tights. and finally the Oxfords complete the look.



Monday, November 4, 2013

Chance the Rapper live at SOB's

Tuesday night, to celebrate my birthday, I went to the Chance The Rapper concert at SOB's. Here is a video I made of him singing "You Song".




       I arrived at the spot with my best friend four hours before doors open and we seemed to be only 2 of ten people who had that idea. Then out of nowhere out walks Chance out of the venue, looking for a friend of his. He comes over and talked to us a little bit. We were pretty chill but still a little starstruck, it was crazy. We were basically having fun on the line for 5 hours chatting and singing his song lyrics. That within itself was an event. Then the concert. The concert was certainly an EXPERIENCE. Me and my new friends were directly in the front, at times Chance looked directly at me, sang to/with me, and held my hand. It was great. Afterwards we waited outside for him to come out and he signed my copy of complex magazine. This was a great night.

A Conversation with Junot Diaz at Brooklyn College

     The Whitman Theater at Brooklyn filled in no time with students, professors, and other faculty ready to hear from Junot Diaz. The focus was his latest book and New York Times bestseller "The Breif Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao".

     The Event was kicked off with Terrence Chang saying a few words to introduce Mr. Diaz and how great this event is and everything got started. When Junot came out he first did a reading from his other New York Times best seller "This is How You Lose her"; 'The Cheater's Guide to Love: Year 0'.



    Soon after, the discussion began and Junot had so much to say I had to take notes. A reccurring idea that kept coming up is how young people in my generation(I was born in the early 90's) are all now trying to make their art their work. This resonated with me so well because I am basically living this. Everyone is just trying to make it, trying ti be famous, and trying to make money. We noticed so many people of the generations before us who did it so 'why can't we?', but we fail to realize that it cannot be forced nor rushed.

     Junot stated that "Art is an elaborate form of play" and "too many people of this generation think that their art is supposed to pay their bills". You come home from work and then you do art. Art is not you're work. This is important for college students because we should be learning. Junot also stated that there is no reason why young people should be writing everyday(outside of schoolwork). He says that we should drop all preconceived notions about college and open up. Junot also said that so many young people try to avoid the vulnerability.

    When asked about young artists developing their voice Junot stated: Writing is a technology which all of us need to master, all of us need to learn how to write. Writing allows you to have extraordinarily complex thoughts. Voice is not much of a concern. The basic idea of education is to perfect writing. "One day you're going to need to save your own life with writing".

     Then the discussion about "The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" began. Diaz said: This book has to stand in for multiple books. This was driven by the desire to create a book that will be read by someone who wants to be profoundly changed and Desperation/scarcity this may be the only book I write.

     The character Oscar Wao is Dominican and there are many slang terms, spanglish words, and Dominican references in the book. Junot stated Dominicans rarely know their history, the lack of information the average American has about DR correlates with that of the average Dominican. Most of us are raised by parents who are interested in passing down the struggles if their family history. It is passed down by family dysfunction.

     Then the Q&A began. Several students asked really great questions about what Junot has said and about his books. One question that stood out was asked by a girl(who was Dominican)who stated that the person who introduced her to "The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" was Asian. She wondered how people who were not Dominican could understand this book. Junot replied by saying well White people don't question whether or not we will understand their books or their movies. This was one of many revelations I had throughout the whole discussion.

     Junot Diaz is certainly and inspiration in many ways. I bought my own copy of "This is How You Lose Her" that day and got it signed. I recommend it as well as "The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao"




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