Monthly Archives: February 2016

Article accepted: “On the 50th Anniversary of Ousmane Sembene’s La Noire de (1966): Why We’re Still De/Colonizing the African/European Family”

jaysonbaker

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I am very excited to share the Journal of Cultural and Media Studies has accepted an article on one of the most important films in cinema and global cultural history.  La Noire de focuses on Diouana’s interior narration subverting the bourgeois French family while describing an estrangement from her family in Dakar.  Sembene dramatizes in cinematic “griot” form what theorists Franz Fanon and Amilcar Cabral posit as “tools for mental decolonization” (Future Past459).  The film describes the emergence of Senegal’s postcolonial nationhood through images of family intervening the decolonization of Africa as a reorganization of global power. West African filmmakers Safi Faye, Francois Woukoache, Adama Drabo, and Jean-Marie Teno follow Sembene in serving “notice of the ongoing importance of Third Cinema as a cinema of political and aesthetic opposition” (Theorizing National Cinemas 48).  The cinematic interplay of the African and European family are not metaphors illustrating machinations of world power but…

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100 Years of The Birth of a Nation, or, The Persistence of Cinematic Resistance

Duke University Press News

The film The Birth of a Nation premiered in Los Angeles on February 8, 1915. In this guest post, Allyson Nadia Field, author of Uplift Cinema: The Emergence of African American Film and the Possibility of Black Modernity (June 2015) considers its legacy.

birth of a nation posterOn the centennial of D.W. Griffith’s epic film The Birth of a Nation, two things are striking—how egregious the film’s racism is and how its racism resonates a hundred years later. The first blockbuster of American cinema has long been a flashpoint for film scholars who have recognized the aesthetic, industrial and cultural significance of the film while lamenting its portrayal of African Americans. Some have argued that the fact that its technical mastery is in the service of the subjugation of a people indicates the inseparability of the film’s content from its form. The film then serves as an object lesson in film form and ideology—a…

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February Theme – Black Directors (An Introduction)

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Film Club

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With February being Black History Month, I’ve decided to go with something of a broad theme to celebrate.  Our theme for this month will cover nine great and/or highly influential films made by black filmmakers, spanning the blaxploitation boom in the 1970’s to the black independent movement of the 1990’s.  I’ve decided not to cover modern day black filmmakers, as I will more than likely revisit the theme in upcoming monthly marathons.

The directors being covered this coming month all made a giant splash in their industry, whether it be the early independent scene in America, the glitz and glamour of Hollywood filmmaking, or the African filmmaking scene in the French-speaking country of Senegal.  The films covered explore themes of racial tension, economic and social struggles faced by the black community through modern history, and create iconic characters whose influence is still being felt today.

Filmmakers being covered include:

  • Senegalese legend Ousmane Sembene

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The Road to Sobsfic Con: The State of Black Science Fiction Celebrity Wish List

Chronicles of Harriet

Milton 6At our last Con Chair meeting, SOBSFic Con co-chair, author and publisher Milton Davis, swooned when it was mentioned that perhaps actors Orlando Jones and Michael Jai White and singer / songwriter, Janelle Monae might come to SOBSFic Con.

Turns out it was just a rumor – we would love to have them as guests, though – but it got me thinking about what celebrities I would love to see at the Southwest Arts Center on June 11-12, or even Friday, June 10, at the Mahogany Masquerade.

Below is my list. Which celebrities would you like to see at SOBSFic Con?

CCH Pounder-Kone

Wish 2One of my favorite actresses, Carol Christine Hilaria “C. C. H.” Pounder is the undisputed king – remember, there are no queens in Afrika – of Black Speculative visual media.

Born in Guyana, Mrs. Kone has taken the world by storm, starring in such horror…

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The Road to SOBSFic Con: Cosplay and the building of a Black World

Chronicles of Harriet

Cosplay 4Last semester at the school I teach – and where my son, Ade, attends – the younger male students – ranging in age from six to ten and all of African descent (i.e. Black) – decided to fashion their own costumes based on characters they created. The boys created elaborate back-stories for their personas, developed comic books and transformed from being “themselves” into their personas at every break, during lunch and – for Ade, at least – on the ride home from school.

My son and his schoolmates had discovered the joys of cosplay.

Cosplay, thought by most to be short for “Costume Play” is, more accurately, short for “Paracosmic Play”. Paracosms are the fantasy worlds that many imaginative children invent.

Young people who engage in cosplay are developing creative skills that pay off later in “real life.” The famed trio of Brontë Sisters – best known for the…

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