This weekend Staying Ready and I were relaxing after watching the Oakland Raiders advance to the next level which is the playoffs after a 14 year drought. I have recently found myself enthralled in finding movie content with the launch of PTV1 and moving our studios to the headquarters of Our Tv on Hegenberger in Oakland, Ca. Staying Ready told me about a new series titled Luke Cane and it would not only be interesting to watch but it would give me the inspiration needed to write this commentary. Knowing my dislike of directors and writers that depicts the black and brown diaspora as slaves, thugs, over sexual Mandingos, career criminals, womanizer, hood rats, uneducated and substance abusers, I have missed 80% of the productions aired on cable tv or received distribution to theaters nationwide.
If anyone remembers playing mortal kombat, than you would remember the only dark pigment character to choose from among the other 20 other characters available. After viewing 20 minutes of the series, I began to feel a kinship to the series ever twisting plots, characters and direction the writer Akela Cooper was bringing to the audience. In my opinion, Akela did a fabulous job in writing from an urban point of view regarding not only the gentrification taking place in Harlem, NY but every community across America that resembles Harlem. The entrepreneurs profiting from criminal activity and politicians either sharing some of the revenue or financing projects with tax payer funds. Law enforcement daily harassment and violence among citizens after fellow officer(s) injured in the line of duty. Strategies media utilizes to sway public opinion to the left or right. Senseless violence and murder that goes unsolved or unreported. It was not the concept of a male hero slash role model with extraordinary strength who complexion is not like any marvel comics character with starring role in featured movie to date, that drew me in for a 20 hour marathon watch, but the simple fact that(excluding the profanity that needs to be edited before broadcasted on family friendly programming)Luke Cane entertains and wonderfully produced. Matter of fact, I have not felt so compelled to speak on a wanna-be urban hero character since Blankman starring Damon Wayans the only hero slash role model that comes to memory produced in urban environment with cast resembling the community it was shot in. This speaks volume and once edited for family friendly Tv, Luke Cane under proper marketing and PR machine, can cause the same fervor and following as Superman and Batman.
Another movie slash documentary which kept me captivated from beginning to end was Carter High filmed in Dallas Tx, that depicted true events surrounding several star high school athletes committing armed robberies and sentenced to extremely over the top penalties.
Under the leadership of great coaches in 1988, these young men would be tested with racism and politics surrounding high school football, education in predominantly urban communities and unbalanced penalties from convictions in judicial system.
As teenager from California but traveled down south occasionally, I never experienced the deep-rooted bigotry and racism that affects individuals residing in states and counties of low-income communities that once housed slave plantations. Matter of fact, the central characters portrayed in Carter High seem to be raised from middle class families and driving sport cars you would expect to find in parking lots of affluent communities. These young men like many young people before fully reaching adults, are caught up with gambling, pre marital sex, peer pressure, fame and idol worship deriving from scholastic sports. With full college scholarships achieved, several players travel down a road of self-destruction that not only destroys the trust and parental guidance achieved through two parent households but coaches that reared these young athletes to be men and pillars of their communities on and off the field. This movie needs to be included in the moral and career counseling process of scholastic programs nationwide to awaken young minds regarding life choices and consequences.
Cinema is visual and powerful, like the way that hip hop has swept through the minds and hearts of young people worldwide, film makers have created production pieces that depicts daily life and untold sagas that are never included in mainstream press releases or achieve distribution in movie theaters worldwide.
The asinine thinking of the non-existent profitability of cinema from black and brown directors, writers and executive producers derives from bigoted minds and racist tongues. The same individuals who approve Lucifer and empire have cut shows like In living color, Read between the lines and 704 Hauser. Many productions with cast and crew that resembles the audiences in their marketing demographics, don’t receive a season 2 while Family guy is in 20th season. Please remember the early 70s when films were being constantly produced that spoke on police brutality and corruption, poverty and life in urban communities, strong men and women tackling racism, bigotry, drugs and violence crippling cities nationwide and examine the productions allowed to receive more than one season that include homosexuality, overly sexual content, unprovoked violence and appreciation for criminal activity. We must ask ourselves why and what does this do to the minds and character of those watching. Cinema and media are power but examine the people behind the camera and who they are giving the green-light to.