Waiting On ‘Candyman’

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the retelling of ‘Candyman’ will be in theatres on September 25–pushed back from its original June 2020 release date.

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.

2020 Black History Contest- ‘I Am Black History’

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I am overjoyed to the announce the first annual I AM BLACK HISTORY Essay Contest!

The contest is open to 13-17-year olds, with the submission date opening February 3, 2020, and deadline being February 25, 2020 at 11:59 PM CST. Here is your theme:

Black history is on-going:  future and past. Describe a person (living or dead) or a movement within Black History that you admire or identify with (i.e., Ida B. Wells Barnett as an admired person; The Harlem Renaissance as a movement; resistance against apartheid in South Africa as a movement) and why. 

 

Here are the criteria:

-Essay should be between 2-4 pages (this is roughly 500-1000 words)

-Must be typed, double spaced, written in Microsoft Word.

One entry per child.

-All entries need to have name and contact information in the body of the email.

 

Now, the good part. The prizes:

First Prize:  $75 Amazon Gift Card

Second Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card

Third Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card

 

Entries should be mailed to iamblackhistory.ibf@gmail.com.

Winners will have their essays posted on the I Breathe Fire site, and read on the The Writers’ Block Podcast.  Decisions will be made on February 28, 2020. Winners will be notified through email (please make sure you have correct email address listed!). Gift cards will be sent via email on March 1, 2020.

Good Luck!

I Have Surrendered To The Air To Ride It.

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I was about 15 when I discovered Toni Morrison.

In my fury of reading ‘dark’ literature, romance and horror, I found her. There was a girl in my Spanish I class that had a copy of The Bluest Eye. I read the back of it, and was enthralled. However, how our high school was set up, I never got the chance to take the class this classmate did.

In my house, there were more books than television sets. At any of my maternal aunts’ houses I visited for that matter, there were books. Harlequin. Avon books. Encyclopedias. Langston Hughes. Toni Morrison. The first book I saw of hers was at my Aunt Stella’s house:  Sula. 

I finally read The Bluest Eye in my early twenties. I read her next to last book, Home, before I got a chance to read God Bless The Child. I had a habit of lending out my books, and sadly, due to this generosity, I lost a swath of my books. Most of them, by Toni Morrison. Thank God for Amazon, and Amazon Prime’s ability to replenish a library!

I found a home in Toni Morrison, I believe, due to her age and her physical resemblance to my maternal grandmother. I knew that Mother Morrison was getting older, and I knew she would pass away, but this loss? Her loss? It feels as if the world has gotten all the more dimmer. There is more of a chill to my day. There feels like there is all the more, that much more, lack in the world.

The one thing that I have to remember is writing, being a writer, carries its own immortality! Right now, I can go to a library, a book store, or the retail monster known as Amazon and find her!  I can find her imagination present in fictitious people or  in essays of power and substance. She may be lost, but she is not lost to time! In this, for this reason, am I comforted.

The question is now, how shall we proceed? We have long held up the artists of our parents’ and even grandparents’ generation. We have lauded over them, and protected their memories, with no thought of who will come after them! I understand (and it goes without saying) no one can be Toni Morrison. But what I can say is there are a generation of writers she inspired. Another generation of writers both/all Black, female, woman whom are grateful to her. Whom are steadied by the volume of her work, and whom now, I hope, shall be brave enough to put pen to paper. This is what I want…I want the work of writing to continue! From the accomplished novelists and essayist, to the young girl starting her first journal.

I want the work of writing to continue. This is how best to honor this giant of a woman is to have her spark, remind, invoke, provoke the writers whom will add to the canon of this glorious genre of Black literature.

As her body as surrendered, doing all it was purposed, let us be reminded of her quote in Song Of Solomon:

“If you surrender to the air, you can ride it.”

 

Ride the air, dearest ones. Ride the air.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In The Honor Of Great Men

 

If the world were fair, Martin Luther King, Jr. would be 90 today. He would be on a porch, somewhere warm. He would be enjoying his grown children and perhaps even grown grandchildren. He would have been able to see how dynamic Corretta really was. Martin would have been able to see the rise of Bishop TD Jakes, the boldness of Serena, Gabrielle and Simone. Martin would have been able to see a community organizer whom was a law student, become a president. Martin would have seen that the dream was possible–even in pieces.

On today, in lieu of a birthday party, have a whole national holiday to remember what is, what was and what is yet to come.

I feel the same way about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as I feel about Jackie Robinson. I think the world saw their ‘softness’ as weakness. I think that we don’t really appreciate what it takes to be the grown up in the room at points. We don’t take into account the cost of self-control, and we often don’t understand the price to keep it.

In the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, we see this incredible man, with the capacity to influence and direct the gaze of the entire nation! We see a man driven by a single thought amid forces that would seek to destroy all he dreamt could be better. I believe that the ability to channel pain, loss and suffering is a skill worth perfecting. It is that channeling, that active resisting–the raging against the dying of the light–which allowed him to be as dynamic as he was!

In these early hours, in remembering the life he lived, and the promise of what’s to come, I can only remember one of the most poignant quote that he gave:

Image result for mlk quotes we have so far to go

On today, the best way to keep his memory, to honor his legacy is to just keep moving.  So, I  will keep moving.

 

[images from Pinterest]