documentary

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Film provides students’ views on standardized testing

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The on-going national debate on standardized testing features a lengthy list of pros and cons. Proponents often cite the tests as “reliable and objective measures,” “inclusive and non-discriminatory,” and claim most parents approve. Not everyone agrees. Opponents typically argue that standardized testing “has not improved student achievement” and “teaching to the test” learning instead takes place. They believe the tests place undue stress on both students and staff to perform well in order to avoid “failure” labels. Continue Reading →

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A Fierce Green Fire details the history of the environmental movement

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

 

A toxic waste landfill in Warren County, North Carolina, a predominantly Black community that “galvanized the nation to talk about environmental racism,” was among the toxic dump sites featured in a recent PBS documentary on the environmental movement, which started in the 1960s. “A Fierce Green Fire” premiered nationally on April 22 on PBS as part of the network’s American Masters series. The one-hour film was inspired by the book of the same name by environmental journalist Philip Shabecoff, who’s also featured in the documentary. “You could say this was the biggest movement the world has ever seen,” said Oscar-nominated director Mark Kitchell, who wrote, produced and directed the film, in a recent MSR phone interview. “I really wanted to be the first to put it all together” on film, he added. Continue Reading →

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Documentary highlights NYC street basketball

By Charles Hallman
Staff writer

 

The best basketball players often aren’t found in college or in the NBA, but on the nation’s blacktops. Using a late 1970s tune by the Blackbyrds as its overall theme, Doin’ It In The Park: Pick-Up Basketball, New York City accurately gives viewers a well-deserved look into pick-up basketball. Although they focused on the Big Apple, in many urban corridors, if you are a hoopster of any note, you will make or break your hoopin’ reputation on the blacktop. Many go on to star on high school and college teams; some even make it to the pros. Many others don’t — but that doesn’t make them any less significant in basketball circles — their streetball exploits will sometimes precede them. Continue Reading →

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Despite its success, AfroPoP series still faces challenges

 

 

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

 

AfroPoP, the successful public television program that shows independent films and documentaries “on contemporary life, art and pop culture across the African Diaspora” is now in its sixth season. “If you would have told me that we were going to have six seasons, I probably would’ve said, ‘I need to get through this first one, I can’t think that far ahead,” jokes Co-Executive Producer Leslie Fields-Cruz.  She also is National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) vice president of operations and director of programming. The NBPC was founded in 1979. AfroPoP is produced by NBPC and co-presented by American Public Television (APT), and shown on the PBS World channel.  Beginning in February, however APT will distribute AfroPoP to additional public television

stations. As a result, TPT Life Channel 2.3 now airs the program on Saturday nights (check local listings for times). Continue Reading →

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PBS commemorates television show that featured the best in gospel music

 

 

By Charles Hallman
Staff writer

 

Over the course of three decades, the late Sid Ordower brought the greats and some-to-be greats in gospel music each week on local Chicago television. The likes of Albertina Walker, Mahalia Jackson, Mavis Staples — along with her sisters and their father, James Cleveland, and Otis Clay routinely appeared on Jubilee Showcase, a half-hour long show that ran from 1963-1984. Beginning November 30 and throughout the month of December, PBS will air a 50th anniversary commemorative television special on Jubilee Showcase, said his son Steve Ordower in a recent MSR phone interview. “He was an owner-operator [of his shows], which was pretty rare back in those days,” he explains. “Unfortunately, the first 13 episodes were erased, and he was livid. Continue Reading →

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The 2012 MSP International Film Festival darling returns

 

 

They wiggled, they jiggled, they wore low cut gowns and short shorts, they kowtowed to the club owners and smiled at the customers…and they did it all, just to play the music they loved. The Girls in the Band tells the poignant, untold stories of female jazz and big band instrumentalists and their fascinating, groundbreaking journeys from the late 30′s to the present day. These incredibly talented women endured sexism, racism and diminished opportunities for decades, yet continued to persevere, inspire and elevate their talents in a field that seldom welcomed them. Today, there is a new breed of gifted young women taking their rightful place in the world of jazz, which can no longer deny their talents. The Girls in the Band is playing at St. Continue Reading →

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Free Angela provides a brilliant, invaluable look into America’s history

 

Movie Review

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer

 

It is sad to see how complacent we Black people have grown since the 1960s. The bourgeoisie blithely transitioned from a populace who once vowed “We Will Overcome” to a generation whose abiding principle now is “I have overcome.” You’d scarcely believe there was a time when Black America was determined to revolt against entrenched, institutionalized racism by, as Malcolm X said, any means necessary. This country’s rulers realized back then that the bill had come due. Too many African Americans were longer shuffling along, head bowed, yassuhing and no ma’aming. Too many had their shoulders squared, braced to put their feet in the nation’s behind. Continue Reading →

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The Good Wife Works – On Whitney Young: our Minnesota national treasure

 

 

We must deal with ourselves, but you must deal with us, too.”  — Eugene Robinson, Washington Post Pulitzer Prize winner

 

Seeing The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s fight for civil rights, a documentary film by Bonnie Boswell, prompted me to go back to read a second book on Young, Whitney Young: Militant Mediator, by his official biographer Dennis Dickerson. Whitney Moore Young was born 7/31/21 in Kentucky and drowned in Nigeria 3/11/71. Ramsey Clark saw Young’s arm go up twice in the water that day as if in trouble and pulled him out. The two autopsies that were performed disagreed on the cause of Young’s death. As head of the National Urban League, “His organization effectively lobbied the House and Senate to pass the Civil Rights Act(s) of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”

Young worked with President(s) John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson. Continue Reading →

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Hip hop lives

 

By Naomi Gaines

Guest Commentator

 

I have recently seen the Ice-T documentary Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap. First, I did not think I would be able to see it. I am currently incarcerated and per institution policy, inmates are not allowed to view rated-R films unless they premiere on cable or television channels. As fate would have it, I learned that VH1 would show the documentary, and short of some cataclysmic event I was not going to miss it. Secondly, I’m not only an artist and emcee: I am an avid fan, follower, and freedom fighter for hip hop culture. Continue Reading →

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Cecil E. Newman documentary honors MSR founder’s birthday

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Beginning Wednesday, July 25, A Black History Chronicle Exclusive — Cecil E. Newman: The Friendship, the Life and the Legacy, a documentary produced by ShenaBarber.com Productions, will air on a number of websites and local cable channels. This documentary is a tribute to and celebration of the birthday of Cecil E. Newman (July 25, 1903), businessman and publisher of the Minneapolis Spokesman and the St. Paul Recorder (now the MSR). With only $20, Newman founded the newspapers in 1934. Newman had significant local and national influence, with his relationships with U.S. 38th Vice President Hubert Humphrey, U.S. Senator Walter Mondale, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Josie Johnson, and Curtis Chivers (who once worked for the Spokesman and Recorder). Continue Reading →

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