Had American media, that stalwart bastion of cowardice, been honest about two historic images — just two — the country, hell, the world would be a vastly different place. Specifically, realistic images of Jesus Christ and of the Statue of Liberty. Can you imagine White people around the planet being disabused of the notion that the most famous spiritual leader of all time looked like them? Particularly in the U.S., consider Caucasian folk from sea to shining sea not having their delusions of superiority reinforced by that historic figure hanging on the cross in church. And think how differently America would look at Black people had all this while, off the Eastern Seaboard, that towering construction portrayed the glistening visage of an African woman. Continue Reading →
By Dwight Hobbes
A problem with living in a small market, especially if you happen to be a movie nut, is that many flicks, even those with major stars, don’t make it here to the Twin Cities. There just aren’t enough theaters, not even with the multiplex venues. And, of course, there are only a few of the art houses that specialize in independent films.
Considering these factors, when it comes to Black cinema, it’s all the harder to so much as know when any but the most highly visible offerings are released. If it doesn’t have a Denzel Washington or a Halle Berry in it, or if it’s not a big-ticket comedy, it languishes so far below the media radar we rarely realize the film exists. This is why it pays well to keep an eagle eye out when browsing cutout bins, perusing racks at the pawn shop or stopping at the library for DVDs. Continue Reading →
A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway
By Dwight Hobbes
Things on Broadway have grown fairly interesting, and are showing signs that they may just stay that way if the producing team of Stephen Byrd and Alia Jones have anything to say about it. Tennessee Williams’ enduring classic A Streetcar Named Desire is getting a twist. Cast in the lead roles for the production in Manhattan at the Broadhurst Theatre, opening for previews on April 3, running April 22 through July 22, are Black actors. It could be seen as simply a gimmicky take-the-money-and-run tactic, except that Byrd and Jones were behind the similar re-tooling of Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof back in 2008 with Terrence Howard, Anika Noni Rose, Phylicia Rashad and James Earl Jones. And even the most cynical mind dares to be heartened by the fact that producers Stephen Byrd and Alia Jones are Black, that Byrd and Jones might just have an investment in making the Great White Way, well, a little less White. Continue Reading →