Follow Nikole Hannah-Jones on all her social media. She is a blessing!
I have followed Nikole Hannah-Jones (@nhannahjones) on Twitter for a few years now. I mean, she has my dream job: writing for the New York Times. With being a fangirl of hers, I both followed and devoured everything she is involved in. With last year marking the official 400 year macabre anniversary of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. I had heard the rumblings of this project only denoted as ‘1619′ through her social media.
This was all I needed, fam.
With this announcement, I followed her more closely, read all articles connected with it and began to be be overjoyed at the prospect of this project becoming an actual curriculum! How fantastic! Black history taught–truly taught!–without hype or gloss? I’m here for it. So when I found the accompanying podcast on Apple Podcasts? I listened to all five episodes over the course of three days!
I won’t lie to you–it was hard! And because it was hard, I couldn’t help but think how necessary it was to be a part of this project–even to just hear it. The five episodes are as follows:
Episode 1: The Fight For A True Democracy
Episode 2: The Economy That Slavery Built
Episode 3: The Birth Of American Music
Episode 4: How The Bad Blood Started
Episode 5: The Land Of Our Fathers, Part 1
Episode 5: The Land Of Our Fathers, Part 2
You will laugh, be taught, be angry—then mad as Hell. Perhaps that is the best thing and the representation of my favorite quote by Gloria Steinem: “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”
I saw this new trailer through my Facebook feed early this morning, and had to watch it twice. Despite (and perhaps this is too my detriment) never having hear of Nia DiCosta before directing ‘Candyman’, this short film–this new trailer–has me more hype than I was before to see this movie. And if you look carefully, you will see snippets of other Black history/horror stories in it as well. Within 2 minutes, I am that much more of a fan of hers. The short is intelligent, complex and telling. It reminds me of something that should have been included in the SHUDDER documentary, Horror Noire (Please cop this book! Please watch this documentary!).
The thing that is awesome about this teaser, about this retelling is found in the tweet of the director: “…the symbols we turn them into and the monsters they must have been.” This goes into the controlling of narrative, the controlling/ownership of language, and how minority people will always suffer from the retelling of their own stories by people who don’t look like them! This dovetails into the quote by Tananarive Due: “Black people have always loved horror–horror hasn’t always loved us.” And my favorite quote by her being, “Black history IS Black horror.”
Perhaps the issue remain in the fact that this story was originally written as a short story by Clive Owen. From that story, was the film. From that film, with its premise, allowing pain, anguish, revenge and autonomy through the vehicle of this angry spirit, I believe, is one of the reasons relegating Black people to tokens, magical/sacrificial Negroes or the ‘other’ is comforting to White audiences!
There is a shift vibrating through Black art right now–through all its medium. Besides, if there can be literally 10 movies featuring Jason Voorhees, the world will deal with the angry vengeful spirit of a Black artist whose hand and life were taken because he dared be who is was–and loved who he did! Jordan Peele said it best when he voiced the White male lead horror protag has been done—to death. Now, in this age where freedom is continueally paid for with time, I am anxious to see what else Nia DiCosta is allowed to create. This has to be–must be!–only the beginning.