Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Yo so peep Zion-I, Gouch and Mista Fab doing the thing that they do with a quickness. Ain’t much geeky about it but its got that oaklandish feel that makes me proud to have moved here. Yeah, I’m delayed on posting it since I’ve been working out to this track for months now, but I’ve been busy. Feel the love. And just to keep you all in the know, me and my collab-o are thinking of taking this to the next level. Websiting for real.
Monday, February 26, 2007
Real Black history
Either you know him or you don't. All I can say is don't even think of asking me some dumb shit like "Do you think Obama really has a chance at becoming president?" until you've read Black skins white masks. Yeah that's how I get down. Of course I don't agree with everything Fanon says. He arises in a social and political context that I pray I'll never live through. He was not post-colonial, but in the process of decolonizing. He held that luminal space and the had the hard headed stubbornness to write about it. I don't want to be Fanon, but I want his courage.
Damn when did Afrogeeks get heady?
Marvel's civil war sucked.
There. Feeling much better now.
I'm scared of negrotude
Not really, but I'm really hoping one day I get to here someone say that and actually mean it. In the meantime I'll have to be content with scary black films. My friend Tyler wrote up this piece on the 13 best black horror flicks. Read love it. Be it.
PS: Ok so this is an aside, and also a reason that i be hating in general. So as the astute literate intellectual familiar with Diaspora vocabulary(I refuse to name which Diaspora, it's Black history month on Afrogeeks god damn it!)will be able to tell you I misspelled the key word of the title of this post. Now misspelling are not uncommon on this blog, but sometimes they actually lead to insight. Realizing that what I really wanted to write was “negritude”, I decided to just google “negritude” just to see what was out there. Well first we have nine white kids on Myspace in a romantic group called negrotude. There tag line is "Negros with additude (sic) and that’s (sic) all you need to know. Dont (sic)step" Fuck you, I'm stepping!
Now don't let it be said that they are the only goombas on the planet, urban dictionary had this idiotic definition.
Negrotude is when a African-American person acts rude, obnoxious, tells everyone off like their God and talks with a ghetto slang.
Rafael: hey, Shaniqua is pretty cute... but hows her personality?
Jake: bro forget about it, she has a mean negrotude.
What the hell is going on in the world? for those of you that don't know, Negritude was, is, an artistic sensibility that privileges the black Diaspora aesthetics. And while this exercise in Lacanian misrecognition has been fascinating, it does serve to sever my symbolic blackness from my imaginary blackness. Yeah, I know I should explain that. But then I'd have to get into Freud, Lacan, and Fanon and I simply don't have the energy. So instead peep the next post.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Black History month
In 1958 Tracy Morrow broke free from his mother’s womb and gave a giant middle finger to the world. At 26 years old he was the only rapper to be cast in the movie Breakin’ and its sequel Breakin 2: electric bugaloo. From then on it was a parade of hos, crip walking, and money making as Tracy, now known as Ice-T , made a name for all light skinned black men across the land. Thanks to Ice-T the paler negro was no longer seen as less hard, more confused, and lacking the essence of blackness. Ice-T showed not only black America, but all of America that piss colored negroes could be scary as well. For these accomplishments as well as for Leprechaun in the Hood, we name Ice-T one of the heroes of black history month.
P.S: Anyone else beginning to take Black history month about as seriously as Kwanzaa?
New To Afrogeeks
[The following is given to you from a new friend to AfroGeeks, Stuart McCalla. Brother is mad smart, a nice guy and will bust your ass with his martial arts skills. He's the real deal. --Shawn]
So I am looking at the movie 300 and at a visceral level it really gets me going. The whole idea of people fighting for what they believe in and it being a battle of determination is something as a Black/Indian Guy I believe in and helps me move through this world. The thoughts I have though are many when I see the previews of the movie. The most pressing thought is where are the movies that show historic and fantastical people of color being Heroic? I think a great movie would be "Quilombo". That movie needs to be remade and shown with the kind of fantastical, over the top cinematography to reach African heritage kids today). But I digress, the other thing I saw when I looked at the trailers for 300 is that man is that movie going to fuel the fanatical white racists. 300 white guys fighting off a vastly superior force of people of color. I have not seen the movie yet and my perceptions may be tinged, I will be the first to admit it. The thing I do know is that I will be one of the first people to see it.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
The first man to make artificial sex hormones widely available in America was a black man. Percy Julian. Happy Black history month
The people under the stairs are white
OK, so given this 21st century isn’t it time that cinematic criticism gets updated? Who am I to talk, I know. I mean I barely take the time to spell check my blog. But in part it’s because I’m not convinced that the verbal symbolic is the best medium to convey the awesomeness that is my social/political critique. I envision a new stylization of cinematic critique which involves graphics and interactive capabilities, not unlike the track bar on Ableton Live’s audio editing software. This new critique tool would be able to locate specific texts with specific audio and/or visual moments within a film based on their time codes. One could read critique separate or in caption boxes with the film, not unlike the bonus features on a DVD. Naturally, separate audio and visual links would be able to be imposed, as well as hyperlinks, plain texts, and all the rest. It would be the type of critique that a gaming generation could appreciate. And when I finally do trademark and patented this idea the first film I will utilize it for is, “The people under the stairs.”
Stop Laughing. I hate ya’ll I swear.
OK, Aside from Blade, The people under the stairs is one of the only movies that makes me sound like a rabid eugenics ranter when I give my break down of it. I don’t care. I know one day I’m going to run into Wes craven and he’s going to say “I read your critique of the people under the stairs. Very astute. Do you have any screenplays I might be able to read of yours? Maybe we can work together. Have you met my beautiful daughter Cree Summer? Would you like to be my son in Law?” Sorry, out of fantasy world now.
Ok, So Wes Craven sets-up a fairy tale with all the rules of a fairy tale in The people under the stairs. Hell the movie starts with a tarot card reading, giving us all the symbols will need to take care of ourselves for the rest of the film. The protagonist is a boy named fool who, by the fourth minutes in the film, is on a rite of passage as a man. :0 seconds into the film you realize his world is a construction of blackness by a white eye, as made evident by the large dogs fighting in Fool’s hallway over what can only be a human hand. But don’t let this distract you; soon you shall witness the envisioning of hyper whiteness by whiteness.
Rather than working hard to find a way to keep his sick mother taken care of, Fool decides to find some buried treasure with his guide into the realm of black masculinity Ving Rhames. You know Ving Is the guide to blackness as the brim of his hat and other parts of his costume hold Kinta cloth, a symbol of blackness. And well, he is a big strong Negro male.
9 minutes and twelve seconds into the film the allegory of Hyper whiteness officially begins by introducing the character of Alice, obviously already down the rabbit hole and in a surreal world where the values and morals of the 50’s are actually a thing veil for Incest S and M fantasies. No, I am not making this shit up. Pay attention.
Fool’s treasure is hidden in the house of his landlords, the hyper whites S&M people. They keep themselves locked away because they fear the negritude that has encompassed their city. So instead of relying on the societal recognized Other of Blackness, they create their own Other, their adopted deformed versions of whiteness, or “The people under the Stairs”
The house functions as a center for Hyper whiteness. Only the Hyper white can function in it without triggering its defenses. For instance, Ving Rhames and Fool have a white associate, Spencer, who first tries to gain entrance to the house, but the woman of the house recognizes him as being associated with Blackness and feed him to the People under the stairs. To gain entrance to the house Fool has to “whiten” himself by dressing as a boy scout, one of the whitest organizations in America. (And if the black boy scouts of America write me a letter because of this post they will most certainly hear my mouth. The scouts are racist when it comes to out Native American brethren) When his ruse is not totally successful, Ving Rhames has to break into the house using a crowbar. “I done busted this house’s cherry” (19:38) he exclaims when the house is finally opened to him. Yet White rage attacks him for violating its sanctity in the form of a big black dog. Luckily this is a fable world and the dog attacks fool instead when the boy shouts “Your momma sleeps with cats.”
Spencer, ill performing White man is corrected in death by literally tuning white (27.40) and (32:02) “You thought he was white before? You should see that suka now” Fool tells his guide to blackness. But fool can’t mourn too long, even over a white man. He must prove his worth by actively joining the American quest for cash. The divine light shown of the consumerist goal indicates Fool as worthy of being a hero because he can participate and strive in the Capitalist paradigm (28:09)
But as any capitalist can tell you, those first to the resources are those least likely to give it up. And the Hyper white parents of Alice have lain claim tot eh once bountiful resources of the city. But now they only run cemeteries. They deal only with the dead and are hence dead themselves, frozen in a simulacra of the fifties that never truly existed. For chirst sake, they drive around in a Hearse. And this was before Six Feet Under so you know.
When confronted with Fool and Ving Rhames in their house the couple completely mis-recognize the entire situation. But this is their pattern even before encountering blackness. When Ving Rhames is captured and cannibalized (consumed by whiteness which is the case of all popular black media, just ask Dave Chapelle) the man calls out to his younger counterpart, “Run Fool! Run!” To wit the woman replies “You’re the fool, not us.” This plays on the notion of double coding in language amongst black people. At the time, fool was also popular slang. (37:05)
“Did you see it? He came at me like a Bull.” The Big white man says “A big one” The big white woman calls him Daddy. These people have been overly incestuous, which of course is the ultimate case of Whiteness. She calls him Daddy. In actuality, they are brother and sister.
Alice is influenced by her adopted parent’s inability to contextualize, a trait which Whites are routinely mocked by African Americans for. She had no idea what the term of Brother means (39:17).
Alice tells Fool about her “Parents” and about the people under the stairs. Those children that were adopted but saw, heard, or spoke evil and as a result had to be maimed. The see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil part is vague. What did these people under the stairs hear, see and say that was is wrong. It could be the taboo against incest. But it could be argued that they were supposed to see, hear and speak such a thing if they are the “children” or “products” of incest. My argument is that what they saw, heard, and spoke of, was connection with blackness. After all, these people are in a predominately black neighborhood.
These people under the stairs exemplified a sort of deformed whiteness that threatens the values of their 50’s parents and allies itself with blackness. When daddy goes hunting for Roach the representative for the adopted children, he goes hunting in his S&M gear. (41:29). Oh yes, Roach is Eminem, the whiteness that got away. Keep in mind, when we first see him, he’s on Fool’s back. We never get an explanation as to why.
“He’s in there right now, with our little angel.” The mother exclaims when Fool is trapped in a room with Alice. Fool then assumes his proper role as a Black male, as a sexual threat (A survival since the Birth of a nation) 45:41. Alice has a little thing for dark meat since Most of her dolls have dark or tan skin (50:26)
But the hyper white parents will not allow it. Instead of allowing integrated love to bloom, the parents demand a spring cleaning and the death of Fool. Spring cleaning includes the scrubbing of Alice. Not due to blood but due to her connection with Fool (53:28) But Fool does not allow himself to die. Instead he makes the white master kill his black slave, the big dog, all under the gaze of Roland Reagan’s portrait. The picture of Ronald Regan is in a revered position on an altar right before Fool gets the crazy Daddy to kill his own dog (1:02:12)
In the end of the movie, Fool has to come back to the house of whiteness to save the white girl. Shit, it is a Hollywood movie. What do you expect? That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Patrick swayze is black
OK so one of the kids I work with just pointed out this pretty dope theory to me and as a result I have faith in the youths of today again. Patrick Swayze was a black guy in Dirty Dancing. I know I know Mr. Mullet was what? But think about it, he’s the dance teacher in this exclusive jewish enclave in the mountains that always hooks up with the pretty white women. Nothing to take away from the apparent racial norm until you remember, “He can dance!” See Swayze is the simulacra white soul man dancing to black people music in the fifties that never existed. Plus he gets one white girl pregnant and has to get the dad of the other white girl to fix an abortion that he aid for with borrowed money. Now if that doesn’t sound like a brother please tell me what was. (See I’m gonna get some hate e-mails for that, but people re going to have to take some comedy with their cinema critique. If I had said that the protagonist exemplifies classic negro male stereotypes when faced with issues of finance, parenthood, and fidelity no one would bat an eye lash)
What makes this exciting for me is Swayze’s film career in this context. Most notably Ghost, where he actually takes over a black woman’s body (Love you whoopi) to make lesbian love with Demi Moore, and Road house, which by my reckoning is the most Hillbilly back wood redneck cracker piece of cinema this side of the Billy Jack threesome. It’s fun finding connections. Go on, you try.