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Recently e-published writer ‘digs humanity’ Like Richard Pryor and James Baldwin, Dwight Hobbes speaks his mind

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Name the subject — any subject — and Dwight Hobbes will have something unique to say about it. After his writing appeared over the years in such publications as Reader’s Digest, Mpls/St. Paul Magazine, Essence and the MSR, Hobbes finally relented after being oft-asked when he’d write a book. “People kept nagging me,” said Hobbes recently in an MSR contributing-writer-to-staff-writer conversation. As a result, his Something I Said (Papyrus Publishing, 2012) contains previously published essays, along with a half dozen more added specifically for the book — 33 in all in an uncompromising, reflective, “candid, no-holds-barred” style — ranging over such topics as domestic abuse, rape, race and relationship issues. Continue Reading →

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Few acting roles for Black females

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

Final installment of a four-part series

12 Years a Slave made five out of nine top-10 films of 2013 lists by movie critics, and Fruitvale Station made two such lists; these two movies featured Black males as leads.  However, only two Black females — Halle Berry (The Call, Sony Pictures) and Paula Patton (Baggage Claim, Fox Searchlight) — were leads in movies released by major Hollywood studios in 2013. “Critics don’t look at a film and notice that every one of the lead roles is White,” Uptown Magazine Editor Ronda Racha Penrice said in an October CNN.com article. A UCLA Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies released the “Hollywood Diversity Brief” in October and it stated that there is “a dearth of gender, racial and ethnic diversity in film and television — both in front of and behind the camera.”

Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow) and Kerry Washington (Scandal) are the only Black female leads on prime time network television this season. “I’m 5’1 and an African American woman. I just didn’t think anyone would have me to play the cop,” said Beharie of her character in an Essence magazine interview. Continue Reading →

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Gordon Parks film goes beyond Life photos, Shaft movie to reveal his life’s work

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

To call Gordon Parks (1912-2006) a Renaissance man might be an understatement to those who knew the late photographer, filmmaker, writer and composer. Born the youngest of 15 children in Fort Scott, Kansas, his father sent the teenage Parks to St. Paul to live with an older sister after their mother died. However he didn’t get along with his brother-in-law, who threw him out of the house, and Parks lived on the streets. Although he never graduated from high school, he nonetheless embarked on a journey that first began with playing piano in a brothel and playing semi-pro basketball to becoming an internationally renowned filmmaker. Continue Reading →

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Report urges more positive LGBT stories in Black media

 
Conclusion of a two-part story
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

LGBT people of color often are seen as “double-outsiders” in their respective communities, says the Opportunity Agenda report on LGBT issues and race released in September. The report, “Public Opinion and Discourse on the Intersection of LGBT Issues and Race,” examined current public opinion and how ethnic and new media play a role in both perpetuating and challenging myths and biases about LGBT people. It defined “double-outsider” as a Black LGBT or LBGT person of color being marginalized “both from the mainstream and their respective community because of their race and their sexual identity.”

Jessica Adair and Amber Harris both told the MSR that they never heard of such terminology before, but do admit they are perceived differently. “You got two strikes against you — you’re Black and you’re gay,” admits Adair. Both women, who are professional basketball players, say they often hear “all female athletes are lesbians” talk. “I ignore it,” says Harris. Continue Reading →

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