Monday, September 8, 2008

Catch it if You Can

There's a great documentary currently running on HBO.

The Black List: Volume One.

It's about 90 minutes long and features interviews with a diverse group of noteable black folks - from entertainers to athletes to writers to politicians.

Here is the list:
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, basketball legend
Sean Combs, musician
Mahlon Duckett, Negro Leagues baseball star
Thelma Golden, museum curator
Lou Gossett, Jr., actor
Bill T. Jones, choreographer
Vernon Jordan, attorney
Marc Morial, former New Orleans mayor
Toni Morrison, author
Suzan-Lori Parks, playwright
Richard Parsons, executive
Colin Powell, former Secretary of State
Susan Rice, political strategist
Chris Rock, comedian
Al Sharpton, activist
Lorna Simpson, artist
Slash, musician
Dawn Staley, basketball star
Faye Wattleton, former Planned Parenthood president
Keenen Ivory Wayans, actor
Serena Williams, tennis star
Zane, author

I watched it several days ago and have been meaning to recommend it ever since.

It is very well done. The fact that it is titled Volume One hints that there will be more to come. I certainly hope so. There are so many stories to be told.

There is even a website where you can go and post your own story or that of someone you know.

I am a film history buff ( I love old movies and Old Hollywood in spite of the way we have been treated and portrayed - so it is living as an African in Ameirica, all relationships are love/hate aren't they?) and I am particularly fascinated with the 40s and 50s. So I know quite a bit about the original Black List.

The documentary opens with a reference to it and how we can reclaim a phrase that once had a negative connotation and embrace it for good.

I have not felt that this could be done with the 'n' word in reference to blacks or the 'b' word in reference to women. I never use either in my personal speech, but I do like the idea of creating a positively charged black list.

However you feel about the phrase, please try to view the documentary. It is sure to uplift you and make you think.


Amina said...

I've seen this; but not in such detail as I only have Showtime, lol!

It actually made me want to get HBO.

I was shocked to see that Slash is Black. I just thought he had a "Jew-fro" idea it was 50% Negro (tee hee :) )

blackrussian said...

When I went online I was surprised to see that there's a book and audiobook and a whole portrait exhibit in Houston.

I was surprised because I didn't hear anything about it until it started its run on HBO a few weeks ago.

The Black List Project link will take you to the rest of the media avenues and press.

Same here. I NEVER knew Slash was black. He's the first interview and I was like Wha-at?! You're kidding me!

I hadn't the slightest idea!

He comments that most people (who don't know) assume he's Jewish. I never gave it a second thought. I think he actually says he's in some book or on some list of famous Jews.

But back to the doc... I definitely plan to TIVO it and burn it to DVD. It's worth having in my collection.

At the very least you should see it in its entirety at a friend's house, Amina.

The interviews make everyone look so good. Even controversial figures like Al Sharpton are given a really sympathetic treatment.

brunsli said...

This sounds really great. As someone without a tv, much less cable, I hope it comes to Netflix soon!

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