Family, we’ve cried too many tears, we’ve sang too many church songs, we’ve worn out our knees praying and not a thing has changed. So, with the help of some crew members, I’ve compiled numbers to call to fight for justice for George Floyd, to fight against police brutality. There are numbers to call in case of unlawful arrests while protesting, petitions to sign and action items. We are not taking this lying down anymore. It’s time for change. Use your cell phone and make some noise. And every time you can vote in an election, vote your conscience. Vote for what is going to help the Black community. Here’s your list of what you can do to fight police brutality and keep the heat on:
Call DA Mike Freeman in Minnesota (612.348.5550) and demand prosecution for:
Derek Chauvin (Badge #1087) and Tou Thoa (Badet #7162)
Text FLOYD to 55-156; Text JUSTICE to 66-8336; Text ENOUGH to 55-165
Leave a message for Louisville Mayor and demand justice for Breonna Taylor. The Mayor’s number is 502.574.2003.
Numbers to Call in case of unlawful arrests at protests:
Register to vote and vote in every election. People often think the presidential election is the most important one, but the president doesn’t change laws the other legislators do. That’s why we need to vote in smaller elections.
When possible, don’t travel alone. We need witnesses. Too many of these incidents have happened when Black people have been by themselves. Try to travel in pairs at least.
Record everything. Everything. How many of these tragedies would we have missed if it weren’t for some person recording? Everybody has a responsibility to our community to record everything.
Get a Dash Camera for your vehicle. Yes, we need those because people will take your phone.
Have a burner phone that has a camera—for backup recording. Keep this burner in your glove box or the arm rest and turn it on to record if you get stopped by police.
Support activists and organizations helping our community. We were particularly impressed with Tamika D. Mallory. We wanna support what she’s doing. People with boots on the ground need our support.
Donate monies to justice organizations working with people who need legal fees paid and for people who have been wrongly convicted. We like the Innocence Project. There is much work to be done.
Here are a few dash cameras rated on Amazon. Dash cameras record a stop from inside your vehicle. Many of them come with their own memory cards. It’s just another way to record what happens to us. If you purchase the dash camera through our link, we’ll get a small commission. The price for you won’t change, but it’ll help us with our work over here so we thank you in advance.
Black movies help us to reconnect with our identity and feel closer to our families and our communities. Hulu is poppin’ this month with some black movies worth watching. From Old School Dramas to New School Sports Drama, Hulu got something for you.
Old School Dramas:
Waiting To Exhale is a Romance/Drama that was originally released in 1995. The screenplay was written by Terry McMillan and Ronald Bass and it was directed by Forest Whitaker. Four friends bond over the shortcomings in their love lives — namely, the scarcity of good men. Both as the “other woman,” Savannah (Whitney Houston) and Robin (Lela Rochon) carry on relationships with married men, each believing their lovers will leave their wives for them. On the flip side, Bernadine (Angela Bassett) ends up alone when her husband divorces her for his mistress. Meanwhile, Gloria (Loretta Devine) finds love with a new neighbor. Waiting To Exhale is based on the best selling book of the same name by author, Terry McMillan.
Soul Food: Written and Directed by George Tillman Jr. was originally released in 1997. Soul Food is a heartwarming movie. When Ahmad Simmons’ (Brandon Hammond) diabetic grandmother, Josephine “Big Mama” Joseph (Irma P. Hall), falls into a coma during an operation to amputate her leg, it throws the Joseph family into chaos. Ahmad watches as his mother, Maxine (Vivica A. Fox), and aunts Teri (Vanessa L. Williams) and Tracy (Nia Long) struggle to adjust to the family matriarch’s sudden absence, fall into old rivalries, share memories, and work to maintain the long-standing tradition of Sunday family dinners.
Whitney, the documentary. Filmmaker Kevin Macdonald examines the life and career of singer Whitney Houston. The documentary was released in 2018. It features never-before-seen archival footage, exclusive recordings, rare performances and interviews with the people who knew her best. Pat Houston, Whitney’s long-time sister-in-law was one of the executive producers of the project. The film was nominated for Grammy Award for Best Music Film, and a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Documentary Film.
Black Cop. This is a Canadian film written and directed by Cory Bowles. The film was originally released in 2017. The film is about a black police officer who plots revenge on the community he is supposed to be protecting after he is racially profiled and attacked by some of his co-workers. It was an official selection for the Toronto International Film Festival.
Creed II. The follow up to Creed written and directed by Ryan Coogler came Creed II in 2018. This film was written by Sylvester Stallone and Juel Taylor from a story by Sascha Penn and Cheo Hodari Coker. The film follows the newly crowned heavyweight champion Adonis Creed as he faces off against Viktor Drago, the son of Ivan Drago—a Rocky nemesis.
The Simone Biles Story: Courage To Soar is a biography based on her book, Courage to Soar. Ut follows Simone Biles, Olympic athlete and an inspiration. Simone pursues her dream of becoming an elite gymnast, giving up parties, high school football games and senior prom along the way. She overcame many obstacles and tribulations to pursue her dream of becoming an Olympic champion. This movie originally premiered on Lifetime in 2018.
A Madea Family Funeral. This comedy originally hit theaters in 2019 and is heralded as the last time we’ll ever see Tyler Perry as Madea in a film. (We’re not sure about that!) A joyous reunion in small-town Georgia turns into an unexpected nightmare when Madea, Joe, Aunt Bam and other family members gather for an anniversary party that turns out to be a sham. Instead of fun and relaxation, Madea and the gang soon find themselves attending an elaborate funeral that doesn’t quite go according to plan.
Are any of these 7 black movies your favorite? If so, let us know in the comments.
This month black people cried, screamed, rioted, and fumed because we saw Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd murdered in front of our very eyes. We noticed that many of our non-black friends were quiet. Black people were outraged with Amy Cooper, a white woman in New York’s Central Park, who weaponized her whiteness. She called the police on a black man for telling her to leash her dog. She lied and that untruth could have cost a black man his life. It didn’t matter. She lied anyway. We saw many of our non-black friends simply shrug.
Though you may not see it, every time a black person is senselessly murdered, it becomes a sort of black communal pain. Black people are so used to it, we think, “here we go again,” but we want our white friends, co-workers, neighbors, and associates to share our outrage. We’re human after all.
This is an awkward conversation…
This is an awkward conversation to have with you, but one that is long past due. If you are truly my friend… If you value my work and contributions to the workplace… If you appreciate the way I am neighborly, then you will accept this essay as intended. Your assistance is needed to stop the senseless killing of black people. I haven’t been able to tell you before, but I must tell you now. These are the 7 things, me, your black friend, want you to know about my life.
1. Dear Non-Black Friend, I need you to know that I’m tired of people who share my skin tone being killed for nothing more than sheer racism. I need you to use your privilege to stop these killings. Get people fired. Do whatever it takes to let your people know that this kind of behavior isn’t acceptable. You can pull some rugs. Pull them.
2. Dear Non-Black Friend, please realize that blacks and whites are often treated differently by police officers and it’s not always the fault of the black person. Though we know all cops aren’t racist, some of them are and we have video evidence. Denying what is clearly on video is hurtful and despicable. I don’t want you to deny what I’m seeing. I want you to see it with me and feel the pain.
3. Dear Non-Black Friend, the black people who didn’t have weapons, who were shot in the back, who were choked to death were just like me. They were living their day to day lives. Like me, they wanted to go home to their families at the end of the day. It’s a mistake thinking all unarmed black people killed by police were all criminals. They weren’t. Most of them were regular people. Just. Like. Me.
4. Dear Non-Black Friend, you know how you can go outside and walk by the police and not worry that you’re going to be killed? I can’t do that. My family members can’t do that. We can’t do that because members of your community think people in my community are less than human. At your dinner table, I need you to remind them—hell, force them —to understand that black people are human. Black people are in fact, people.
I didn’t pull out a knife or a gun… I didn’t choke you.
5. Dear Non-Black Friend, remember when we met? I didn’t do anything hateful toward you. I didn’t pull out a knife or a gun. I didn’t choke you. I didn’t do these things because most black folks like me don’t carry weapons. And yet, some of us have been shot in broad daylight as if we do. We don’t. I need you to remember this and for you to tell your people. Most black people are not carrying weapons, nor do they have a desire to stab, maim, wound and kill people.
6. Dear Non-Black Friend, the next time you see a video of a black unarmed person being killed, I want you to think that its me. I want you to be so hurt and outraged that you do something. Be angry enough to call your congressman, the governor and all the other white people you know and start a tsunami of outrage that makes your people stop killing. I want you to care. I need you to care and take action.
7. Dear Non-Black Friend, I don’t wanna hear excuses for when your people kill my people when it was clearly senseless violence prompted by racism. You never have to worry about a white man not returning home after a traffic stop or a misunderstanding with police. For black people, I worry about that every day. But, when I hear the rationalizing of an unarmed black woman or black man being killed by police or racist vigilantes, it tells me that you don’t see my humanity and that you are not truly my friend.
Writing this essay to you brought tears to my eyes because I consider us friends. But after you read this, I’ll know for sure.
The murders of both Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd inspired this essay. But we also remember Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and many others. May everyone get home safely today and always.
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve seen a lot of colleagues talking about anxiety on social media. I’m sure COVID-19 is playing a big role and sparking fear. But, whether we’re living in a pandemic state or post-pandemic, anxiety is a mental health disorder that if it goes unchecked can interfere with a person’s day to day activities. I know we need help beating anxiety. I haven’t always had anxiety but I’ve noticed that as I’ve grown older, there are times when I’ve felt a bit more anxious. There are days when my anxiety is higher than others but I’ve finally figured out 7 ways to kick unnecessary worry to the curb. Here they are:
Deal with the issues.
1. When I feel anxiety about dealing with a person, I decide to deal with whatever the issue is. My first step might be to journal how I’m feeling but after I have my thoughts clear, I process how I want to handle it. If I feel its not anything for me to address with the person than I let it go. If I deem it worth my time, then I take the issue to the person. I used to get frustrated and not talk about the issues and this led to me having anxiety in the first place. It was hard to deal with my feelings but now that I deal with my issues head on, I feel much better.
2. Take action with whatever you’re running from or worried about. If you’re worried about something at your job, come up with a strategy which allows you to be in the best position. Dealing with a bad personal relationship, take the issue to the person like I mentioned above. If it’s a health issue, knowledge is power. Worrying without action brings about anxiety. Doing something about your concerns reduces anxiety.
Avoid fear mongers.
3. Stay away from and stop listening to fear mongers. People who are constantly telling us that the sky is falling are literally bringing about anxiety. If you’re on social media giving your attention to people who are saying horrifying things, you are gonna get frightened. You gotta guard your inner peace from fear mongers.
Stay in the present moment.
4. Stay in the present moment. A lot of folks say it, but what it means is: Think about what you’re doing right now. If you’re in a safe environment… if your belly is full, if your loved ones are safe, think about that. Worry is a preoccupation with what is going to happen in the future. By focusing on what is going on right now, it allows you to eliminate outside distractions.
Count your blessings.
5. Be grateful and count your blessings. If you woke up this morning, be grateful. Are you healthy? Be grateful. If you can pay all your bills, be grateful. Having gratitude for the blessings in your life will help eliminate feelings of anxiety. Sometimes I write a list to remind me of all the blessings in my life. Listing and counting my blessings brings me joy and makes me ultimately less anxious.
Accept the things you cannot change.
6. Accept the things you cannot change. For me anxiety and frustration have often gone hand in hand. Learning to accept the things that I cannot change reduced both anxiety and frustration. There are things in life dealing with family, health, COVID-19, Hollywood, etc that we can’t change. But, what we can do is come up with a strategy for success that works for us. No more wasting time worrying about people, stuff and things. Our time is best spent being focused on how we want to live our lives.
Let it go.
7. Finally, my all time favorite anxiety buster is: letting go. Some things just aren’t worth thinking about. Some people aren’t worth fighting for. They aren’t. Being anxious about someone’s behavior that you can’t control isn’t helping you. So, let it go. Being anxious about an obnoxious boss, ain’t gonna help you. Looking for a new job though will empower you. So, choose empowerment. Let the other stuff go.
When anxiety creeps in, I take myself through these 7 reminders. Then I ask myself, “Is what I’m worrying about currently making my life better?” If the answer is no, then I know to let it go. It keeps me beating anxiety.
Open Call Filmmakers! There is a new opportunity with June 2020 deadlines! The Firelight Media Documentary Lab is an 18-month fellowship program that supports filmmakers from racially and ethnically underrepresented communities working on their first or second feature length documentary film. The Lab provides filmmakers with customized mentorship from prominent leaders in the documentary world, funding, professional development workshops and networking opportunities.
From The Firelight Media Site:
We are looking for applicants who make artful and innovative documentary films that focus on underrepresented communities and provide new narratives about the most pressing issues of our time. Firelight will consider all types of long form documentary projects – historical, investigative, personal, vérité, and experimental.
Firelight utilizes the Core Documentary Application. As part of your submission, you will need to share a work sample no less than 10 minutes and no longer than 30 minutes. If you are submitting a longer rough cut, please indicate in your application which 10-30 mins you’d like for us to review.
The deadline for all submissions is June 22, 2020, 11:59 PM Eastern.
Only the director of the film is eligible to apply and enter the program. We can accept co-directors if they meet all eligibility requirements. If you’re applying with your co-director, please indicate that in your application.
Filmmaker must be from a racially and ethnically underrepresented community based in the United States, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories.
The project must be a long-form/feature-length documentary; the lab does not accept short documentaries, series, or fiction projects of any kind.
Film must be a work-in-progress and in production or post-production. We do not accept films in pre-production or completed films.
Filmmaker must be an emerging documentary filmmaker (working on their first or second feature length documentary).
Filmmaker cannot be in school or submit a student film to the lab.
Firelight accepts applications from POC filmmakers based in the United States regardless of their citizenship status. At the moment, we do not accept filmmakers who are based internationally.
You will receive a notification of the status of your application within 16 weeks. If you are among a small group of finalists who advance through a series of peer reviews, you may be asked for additional information or project updates.
We strongly suggest that you first write your application in a Word document prior to applying via the Submittable portal so you have it as a back-up copy. Please be sure to save your document then copy and paste your responses into the online application via Submittable. THE DATES FOR THE 2020 DOCUMENTARY LAB OPEN CALL ARE MAY 18, 2020 – JUNE 22, 2020 AT 11:59PM EASTERN.
I just finished watching a NY Times investigation video detailing the final minutes of Ahmaud Arbery’s murder. It broke down the chase, minute by minute, based on surveillance video. The video deconstructed what likely happened just prior to the attack, and showed how it ended for Arbery.
Out of respect for Arbery’s life, I won’t repost it because it shows the two murderers shooting and killing him. As most of you who have seen it know, it is horrific, terrifying, triggering, and angering. The young brotha was out for a jog, something that many of us black men who are fathers, brothers, uncles, husbands, and sons do. I will say this. The two white men who shot Ahmaud Arbery did so operating on their basest, racist stereotypes of black men — the idea that black men are inherently dangerous and criminal. Nothing new. This is an old black male trope.
Ahmaud’s only crime was that he was a black man.
It has been reported that there have been recent burglaries in the Brunswick neighborhood. If there had been, in the eyes of the white men who called 911, Ahmaud’s only crime was that he was a black man. The problem is, being a black man is not a crime. Arbery is seen on video walking around a construction site, as others, black and non black had done. But he stole nothing.
Ahmaud Arbery had been so dehumanized by the two white men who followed and killed him, that they likely could not distinguish one black man jogging through their neighborhood from the next. This is the problem with white racism and racial stereotyping. Combine that with the kind of dehumanization that also took place on that Brunswick street — the literal stripping of Arbery’s humanness — that you get two white men jumping in a pickup truck out on a mission to hunt down a black man as if they were hunting deer.
I am mad, sad, and at this point, doubtful that justice equal to the crime committed will be done.
I have no purpose of writing this other than to clear my mind and express my thoughts after watching that NY Times piece. I also need express my feelings about it. I am mad, sad, and, at this point, doubtful that justice equal to the crime committed will be done. I also have this overwhelmingly powerful desire to protect myself, and my people from these kind of brutal, unjustified attacks. We black people cannot be out here getting hunted down like animals. White people need to know they cannot do this to us without repercussions or harsh punishment.
I can only imaging that these two men bet on their whiteness that they’d get away with killing a black man if they said they felt threatened by him. These “Stand Your Ground” laws essentially exist to protect white people who kill black people. All they have to say is that they were in danger, or feared for their lives, in an effort to evoke empathy from police, jurors, the general public — and to quickly conjure images of dangerous black men to justify and support their fear.
Protect your bodies, your spirits, and your minds.
Anyway, to all of my black people, myself included, who have to endure watching what seems like an endless supply of unjustifiable arrests, assaults, vigilante murders, and police brutality, I love you. Protect your bodies, your spirits, and your minds. We have to stand up for ourselves, defend ourselves, and end this abuse. We are more valuable than we are taught to believe of ourselves, and we deserve much better than the onslaught of violence against our humanity.