The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: FUBU Movies, Remakes And Issa Rae.

Image result for issa rae

 

It is no secret I am a fan of the dynamic, richly talented, Issa Rae. I believe she is amazing, insecure is brilliant and I am here and present for her next movie.

Shameless plug: GO SEE THE MOVIE THE PHOTOGRAPH STARRING HER AND LAKEITH DAVID IN FEBRUARY 2020. BLACK LOVE MATTERS!

Now, with that said, let us continue.

Issa Rae is known for her quotes related to the power of the grind, how the hustle is ongoing, and sometimes the best networking is done laterally. She has said (as it relates to networking) to ”see whom is along side you, who is just as hungry as you.” With that mantra, she has taken her Awkward Black Girl series–originally on YouTube!–and parlayed this into a full-fledged acting/producing/writing career.

I am proud of her.

I am so proud of her.

With that said, I am tired of the Black Culture Collective coming for sis about trying to remake the FUBU classic, Set It Off. Mother Vivica A. Fox said she shouldn’t remake it and something akin to ‘Getcha own shit.’

Well, damn.

With that said, I know what it is like to be a writer/creative person and see something in the media that you want to put your stamp on. I get it! I think one of the reasons her desire to redo Set It Off has pissed so many people off is the films in the *FUBU canon are–hell, sacred! They are movies that depict Black life, with believable Black characters, whom are visible and believable to an audience that doesn’t just consist of Black people. This phrase–FUBU Movies–I got from Gabrielle Union.

Don’t sleep on Sis; she’s a brilliant woman.

I get that Issa Rae wants to revamp it! In the age of remakes, live-action fairy tales and the juggernaut of the MCU (that sometimes strays from its own source material!), writers like to revamp and reimagine. I get it. However, the nerve I believe Issa Rae has now hit, split and frayed relates to visibility.

Why would a Black woman want to redo a movie made popular and successful by Black people? 

This goes into a studio executive believing that Julia Roberts should have played Harriet Tubman. No, I’m not joking. I wish the heavens that I was. Click here to see that.

As  hard as  Black people have worked to even be in the entertainment industry–let alone films!–we want some things to just be ours. Left untouched. Wholly classic. No remakes.

Set It Off is a FUBU classic. People want it left alone. With this in mind, as talented as Issa Rae is, I am sure she can add to the existing canon, versus trying to recreate a portion of it.

For all of you who think writing and creation of content is so easy, you do it. Meanwhile, leave sis alone about this here! We all have to do better to get visible. The creation of Black content for film is bigger than Set It Off. Trust me.

*Some of the movies that are included in the FUBU canon are (list is NOT exhaustive!):

Paid In Full

Clockers

Boyz In The Hood

Set It Off

Bring It On

Menace II Society

ATL

Do The Right Thing

 

“Blackness Is Ongoing.”-The Power Of This Will By Undoing

I am in this space of radical love and self-acceptance. In my devouring of the fire of Feminista Jones; the medicine at the shoulder, knee, yea, hands of Toni Morrison; I came across the sister oracle, Morgan Jerkins.

This book had been on my radar for over a year. It had been in my literature orbit, and hidden among other Amazon needs. However, now, this time, I bought it.

What I got in the about 8-hours of the author herself, was a dual realization of my power as a Black woman. And the invisible chains that held, pulled and sought to destroy me.

I found myself nodding when she talked about the paradox of being a smart, quiet, Black girl. I teared up remembering my middle school self: smart as hell, awkward, with parents that prized grades over social status. The struggle with sexuality as a Black woman versus the idea (even appearance) of being fast. I was mad as fuck with her as she relayed her frustration with college acceptance; the loss of her father and hiding in the depths of academic success. I clasped my hands, as if she could feel them, when she talked about her faith. I even teared up at her *manifesto in Chapter 9.

The power of this book is it’s willingness to confront the joys and struggles of being a Black woman. She rips off the Band-Aids with laser precision and pulls no punches.

While reading it, I found Morgan on Twitter. I tweeted her about how the book effected me. How I wished I had something like this 25 years ago when I was a girl and trying navigate woman spaces I was thrust into. I had to examine myself and alla my stuff as the choreopoem goes.

In, with, that examination, came a strange empowerment. The further acceptance of my Blackness. Of forgiving women in my family whom did only what they knew to do in order to keep me safe and tame. I no longer felt that my experiences were alien.

This book was a reminder of self, my entire self. Of allowing my daughters a freedom I never tasted. I was reminded my soft heart and quiet nature were never a detriment, but a tool. I was reminded just as Phylicia Rashad said:

“Your whole self is such a treasure.”

I had forgotten that. Like any good writer, Morgan made me remember. For that, I am thankful.

Thank you, Morgan Jerkins.

*The manifesto in Chapter 9 is one of the boldest, most vulnerable things I have read pertaining to loving yourself as a Black woman. I am glad I have this book on Audible so I can go back and reference it on blue days. The days where my magic, my swag or my sway feel less than. Where I feel less than. Where I am low, in need a level of refilling God-deep. One of the joys of being a writer is you get to see and feel deeply. With that depth, the refilling, too, must be just as deep.

From The Crates

Things I Ponder:

(c)JPHarris, 2014

One of the most upsetting things to encounter for those gifted to be scribes/writers is to be silent. It is dangerous for a writer to be silent. It is dangerous for our pens to be still, screens blank, skills dulled to the point of collapse. Our eyes seeing with no faith to believe for change, no words to create to draw attention. Words which have power to stir thoughts to instill or stimulate change. It is the artistry of imagination where possibility is created, exposed and changed. Writers are misfits. We see the unseen, name the unknown and touch what is hidden. Yet, these things must be seen and said. The atrophy of time must be rebelled against. We must race against the light given to us, race against it. We cannot curl up with the words, the word inside us. The unsaid, the unwritten must still be said…even in dreams.

[image created by Kai Ellis, owner of Artuvkai]

Why I Write

 

Image result for writing with pen and paper

 

There are over 150,000 words currently that make up the (American) English language. With all those words, I am often asked this question:

“Jennifer, why do you write?”

This is a loaded question. I write, not just because I’m good at it–that’s obviously a factor. But I write because it’s almost a compulsion at this point in my life. I have to write.

There are things happening in the world and in my head that I have to make sense of! Those things are not often reconciled unless I see them in ink or on screen.

Why I write? I write because I am descended from people that couldn’t speak the current language that I have now mastered. I write to embody the bravery found on slave ships, dumped into the Middle Passage, and washed on the shores of a strange world where they ceased to be both person and free.

I write to remember.

I write to forget. I write to record the stories of my parents I was too young to hear, and even younger to understand.

I write because there is a freedom I have found in 26 letters that I have found in nothing else of earthly importance.

I write because I can.

I write to conjure worlds that I only knew in lives lived before. I write to take photos of places I may never visit. I write to keep the tradition of storytelling viable. I write because bell hooks says that ‘no woman has ever written enough.’ I write to leave a road map to the women and girls to follow, just as Ntozake Shange instructed.

I have taken the tears of my mothers, the horrors of my fathers, knelled them into fire to be the fuses for my children.

They need to know that someone was here, someone was were they were, and didn’t die. They didn’t give up. They didn’t go softly into the dying of the light. They need to know that someone raged, fought and left instructions. Left a warning, or a seal of approval.

I write to remind myself to keep going.

 

 

 

[image from bonhitree.com]

Thirty Days of Fire: Day 12- Two Word/Phrase That Make You Laugh

I am a fan of words. As a writer I have to be! When I was a girl, my aunt, Linda, instilled in me if I didn’t know a word to look it up. And I still do that! Thanks to the Dictionary App, I get to learn a Word Of The Day everyday! Do you know me how cool that is?

As a writer, that is one of the ways you expand your most valuable asset: your vocabulary.

From all of my reading, the one phrase that I still makes me laugh, was actually found in a documentary about England’s mortal-immortal monarch: Queen Elizabeth I.

When confronting Mary Queen of Scots about the death of her husband and King (and her crazy behavior following her first husband’s murder), Elizabeth I uses this phrase:

nortorious lacks

I SCREAMED LAUGHING!

I laughed because this phrase was used in a royal letter, presumably with her royal seal! This phrase was used to tell another anointed queen that her royal slip was showing!

Queen Elizabeth I whose entire reign was alone and childless, read her! She told her fellow queen, Mary Queen of Scots, that because she married the man whom may have killed her husband, and her thotish behavior tore her realm apart, used this phrase to demonstrate how stupid she was! Every time I heard it, I screamed laughing!

Notorious lacks is a phrase I now use to describe people whom act in similar reckless fashion, with similarly reckless people! Of all the words and word phrases I know, this is the best one.

#NotoriousLacks

[image from gointothestory.blcklst.com]