LeBron on MLK50: “It’s a part of my everyday life.”

LeBron James made his only visit to Memphis this season, leading the Cavs to a 112-89 win over the Grizzlies. After recently declining to “shut up and dribble” as a Fox News commentator suggested, I wanted to hear LeBron’s thoughts on the upcoming 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He’s known to read books during various playoff runs, so I asked if he’d included Dr. King in his reading: “It’s part of my everyday life. I don’t necessarily have to go to a book or online to see that what he said, what he did transcends our time today. We’re still trying to figure out the same things he was fighting years and years ago.” Click above to see James remarks on Dr. King.

Grizz start strong against Cavs, then . . . LeBron

Mama, there goes that man. . .
LeBron James skipped playing in Memphis during the 2016-17 season. That disappointed a lot of fans. Well, James came back to Memphis last night. And King James did not disappoint, posting a triple-double of 18 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists in a 112-89 Cavs win over the Grizzlies at FedExForum. Check out the three point play: Also, comments on the game from Grizz coach JB Bickerstaff, some mumbling from Andrew Harrison and in the locker room with King James — whom I asked about another King who means a lot to Memphis, especially this year:  

Yet Another Study Shows Black People Suffer Most From Pollution

Photo: Environmental activists protest lead and arsenic contamination April 19, 2017, in East Chicago, Indiana. (Getty)

People living below the poverty line, blacks, Latinos, and non-white people, in general, are more likely to live in areas with high particulate matter pollution, according to a study published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health.

No one should be surprised by this, but that doesn’t make it any less important. The study adds to a pile of evidence showing that income and race help determine whether a person is safe from a pollutant linked to heart attacks, decreased lung function, and asthma.

“Social and economic challenges can lead marginalized people to further populate an area made less desirable by proximity to sources of pollution,” the study states. “The potential health effects of the resulting environmental burdens on these groups should be considered in conjunction with existing health disparities: Access to health care has well-documented disparities by race/ethnicity, and the prevalence of certain diseases is notably higher in non-White populations.”

Particulate matter is some nasty stuff; it lodges itself in a person’s lungs and can enter the bloodstream. It’s classified according to its size, with the smallest particles measuring just 2.5 micrometers across, and the larger ones measuring up to10 micrometers. Both are inhalable, but PM2.5 is particularly dangerous. These particles spew out of vehicle exhaust, industrial smokestacks, and wildfires.

This new study, led by scientists who work for the Environmental Protection Agency (which has ironically beensetonremovingregulations that would help protect communities from this pollution), used the U.S. Census Bureau data and the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Emissions Inventory to look at the pollution exposure of different demographics. It lays out the numbers succinctly: Black people are 1.54 times more likely than the overall population to live in an area with high PM2.5 emissions. That factor decreases to 1.2 for Latinos and 1.28 for non-whites, overall. White people, on the other hand, are less likely than average to live in such an area.


A similar trend emerges when looking at income. Below the poverty line? You’re 1.35 times more likely than averageto be exposed to pollution. Above the poverty line? You’re 0.93 times as likely. “We have shown that a focus on poverty to the exclusion of race may be insufficient to meet the needs of all burdened populations,” the authors write, to this regard.

The study didn’t quantify pollution risk for immigrants specifically or figure out what Latinos identify as white or black, but these numbers are telling, nonetheless. They also remind us no one in the United States is really safe from these toxic pollutants but that some are, well, less safe than others. Black people and Puerto Ricans suffer the highest asthma rates in the U.S, and breathing in particulate matter doesn’t exactly help.

And while states like California are trying to do something to solve this disparity, a lot more needs to be done to keep vulnerablecommunities healthy. These types of studies and data sets can—hopefully—help drive policy and inform policymakers to take more dramatic action.

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‘Black Panther’ director Ryan Coogler went from living in his car to creating superheros because he personifies #blackexcellence

Ryan Coogler Black Panther
LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 09: Director Ryan Coogler attends the ‘Black Panther’ BFI preview screening held at BFI Southbank on February 9, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

If Ryan Coogler isn’t your favorite director by now, then you just haven’t been paying attention.

The 31-year-old breakout Marvel director is coming off of creating one of Hollywood’s highest-grossing debuts capturing an estimated $500 million globally in less than a week. But Ryan Coolger has certainly paid his dues.

In an in-depth conversation with NPR,Coogler detailed that it wasn’t until college that he really began to hone his skill for writing and cinematography.

–Wakanda immigration officials institute lifetime ban against R. Kelly

As a student athlete immersed in football—and with dreams of being a doctor— he took a creative writing class at Saint Mary’s College. For one assignment, he detailed a traumatic event in his life in which his father nearly bled to death as he held him in his arms. His professor called him in to her office and told him how deeply she was moved by not only by this event in his life, but his use of words, use of imagery, use of emotion. She told Coogler to consider screenwriting.

After Saint Mary’s cancelled their football program, Coogler to transfered to Sacramento State where another professor convinced him to transfer to USC film school. “It was either go there or play wide receiver,” said Coogler. ”I was short, my prospects weren’t the highest, so I jumped off that cliff and drove to L.A.”

Finding film

OnceRyan Coogler arrived in Los Angeles he said he had nowhere to go. He lived in his car and created his first series of short films with the only tools and equipment he had. 

The first of that series, Fig, was based on the true story of a prostitute who desperately sought to change her life for her betterment of her daughter.

The murder of Oscar Grant by Oakland transit police came during his second semester. Being from Oakland himself, Coogler felt he had a calling to tell Grant’s story.

–One hater learned the hard way that Michael B. Jordan’s Twitter clapback game is strong–

The critically acclaimed Fruitvale Station was made on a $900,000 budget and has gone on to gross over $16 million. At only 27-years-old, Coogler won several festivals and films awards from Sundance to the New York Film Critics Circle Awards.

Following Coogler’s indie success, Sylvester Stallone tapped him to helm a franchise-name film, Creed, which was a spin-off from the blockbuster Rocky series.

What’s next

After destroying the global box office opening weekend with the release of Black Panther, Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler will team up again for their fourth movie together.

Tackling the 2009 Atlanta schools testing scandal, one of the most infamous school cheating scandals in the country, the movie titled, Wrong Answer will be directed by Coogler.

The script for Wrong Answer is being written by celebrated author Ta-Nehisi Coates.

And they’re not done.  According to the Source, Jordan and Coolger plan on joining forces once again to make a movie about Mansa Musa, a very influential African ruler and emperor of the Mali Empire during the fourteenth century.

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Color of Change giving underprivileged kids tickets to ‘A Wrinkle in Time’

Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling
Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling took part today in the Walt Disney Studios live action presentation at Disney’s D23 EXPO 2017 in Anaheim, Calif. (name of film) will be released in U.S. theaters on (release date).
Ava DuVernay‘s A Wrinkle in Time hits theaters on March 9, and AMC is partnering with Color of Change to help kids see the movie. A Wrinkle in Time, based on Madeleine L’Engle’s 1962 novel, stars newcomer Storm Reid as well as Hollywood heavyweights like Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling. Color of Change, a grassroots organization focused on social justice issues, wanted to make sure that kids were able to see themselves in the movie’s protagonist even if they couldn’t usually afford a trip to the movies.

–One hater learned the hard way that Michael B. Jordan’s Twitter clapback game is strong–

That’s why they’ve teamed up with AMC for the “Give A Child The Universe” initiative, which encourages people to donate to give tickets to schools and community organizations so that local kids can go to the movie, according to Variety.  “Color Of Change believes in the power of images and supports those working to change the rules in Hollywood so that inclusive, empathetic and human portrayals of Black people and people of color are prominent on the screen,” Color of Change executive director Rashad Robinson said. “From ‘Selma’ to now ‘A Wrinkle In Time,’ Ava DuVernay has set out to change the rules in Hollywood for people of color and women.” “By casting a black teenage actress Storm Reid as the heroine at the center of this story, the filmmakers and the studio send a powerful message to millions of young people who will see someone like them embracing their individuality and strength to save the world,” Robinson added. “We are pleased to partner with AMC to ensure that as many young people as possible, regardless of economic and financial hardships, can see this groundbreaking film.”

–Oprah responds to Trump’s ‘insecure’ tweet and brings receipts to back reporting 

AMC’s vice president of special content Nikkole Denson-Randolph also said, “The ‘Wrinkle in Time’ story is one that children from all backgrounds and walks of life can identify with and draw inspiration from, and we are thrilled to celebrate this film in a meaningful way, through the vision of Ava DuVernay and in partnership with Color Of Change.”

Stars are giving back

This initiative is similar to the #BlackPantherChallenge, which saw celebrities and other community leaders stepping up to give underprivileged communities and kids the chance to see superheros that look just like them. The #BlackPantherChallenge was started by Frederick Joseph, who launched a GoFundMe campaign to help Harlem kids see the film for free. The campaign eventually exceeded its $10,000 goal within three days.

—Chadwick Bozeman wants to meet Denzel Washington to thank him for paying for him to go to Oxford

“I want these children to be able to see that people who look like them can be superheroes, royalty, and more,” said Joseph. “All proceeds will go to paying for the private screening tickets for children and chaperones, as well as refreshments. The release of the film is February 16th, 2018, and the screenings will take place the following week between February 19th and 22nd.” Big names like Snoop Dogg, Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis also stepped up to the plate. Hopefully more celebrities and companies will join the “Give A Child The Universe” initiative so they can see themselves and limitless possibilities in Ava Duvernay’s A Wrinkle in Time. Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Tigers shock No. 23 Houston

For the University of Memphis Tigers, Tuesday night’s surprise win of the No. 23 ranked Houston Cougars was the first victory over a consensus-ranked opponent in the era of head coach Tubby Smith. With an announced crowd of 6,536 at the FedExForum, the Tigers took down the Cougars, who had earned the No. 23 choice in the rankings by USA Today and the Associated Press. The Tigers upset the Cougars 91-85. The last time the Tigers defeated a team ranked in both polls was in 2013 when the UofM  defeated Louisville. The win was bittersweet for the Tigers. Starting guard Jeremiah Martin left the game after only play 14 minutes in the first half. He did not return until the second half with a walking boot on his left foot. Martin suffered an ankle injury and more tests will be conducted to determine the severity. The rest of the Tigers picked up the slack in the absence of Martin. Jimario Rivers and Raynere Thornton each scored career highs in points (21) in dramatic fashion. Thornton connected on four of five three-point attempts and made all nine free throw attempts. Rivers made big baskets whenever there was a need for an answer by the Tigers. He made eight of 9 free throws and was constantly attacking the front of the rim to convert layups. He also made one of his three-point basket attempts. Rivers led the team in rebounds with nine. The Tigers entered the game on a two-game winning streak, with both wins on the road. The Cougars were riding a five-game winning streak and were only one-half game out of first place in the American Athletic Conference. The Tigers came out with energy that they have sometimes lacked to start games, taking   a 10-5. The Cougars soon began to scorch the Tigers’ zone defense, going on a 13-0 run to take a 18-10 lead with 12:54 left in the first half. The Cougars pushed their lead to the largest of the half at 43-30 with 1:13 left. Thanks to good defensive efforts by the Tigers, two free throws by Rivers and a three-point basket by Kyvon Davenport. the Tigers cut the lead to 43-35 to end the first half. Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson was assessed a technical foul as both teams were heading to the locker rooms. At the start of the second half, Rivers would connect on both technical free throws to make it 43-37 to start the second half. Less than a minute into the second half Memphis head coach Tubby Smith was assessed a technical foul for complaining about a foul that was called on Davenport. After an official review Houston’s Breaon Brady was assessed a flagrant one foul for making contact to the head area of Davenport. Both teams were awarded two technical free throws. The next several minutes was a back-and-forth tussle. The Tigers tied the game at 62 with 10:52 left on a free throw by Thornton and took the lead 63-62 on his second free throw. The Tigers never relinquished that lead. Thronton scored 8 of the next 11 points for the Tigers. He was fouled on a three-point shot attempt and made all three free throws. Malik Rhodes even got in on the action. He scored on a deep three-point attempt as the shot clock was expiring. Rhodes played 14 minutes, his most playing time since returning to the team from an earlier suspension. Unlike some prior games, the Tigers did not fade and even got stronger. Rob Gray Jr for the Cougars cut the Tigers’ lead down to 85-81 with a minute left to play. The Tigers continued to make their free throws and kept Houston at bay. Gray finished  with a game high 30 points, including 5 of 8 from three-point range. Corey Davis Jr. and Armoni Brooks each finished with 15 points. Coach Smith had to change his shirt for the post-game press conference. As he entered the locker room and was about to start dancing, some of his team members threw water on him in a celebratory fashion. He did not complete the dance because of the wet floor. Next up the Tigers The Tigers (17-11, 8-7) will travel to face the struggling Connecticut Huskies (13-15-, 6-9). on Sunday. The game will be played at 3 p.m. CDT and can be seen on ESPN. Post-game quotes On getting the getting a signature win, Rivers said, “It feels good to beat a top 25 team. Protecting the home court is what we were focused on. We wanted to play hard no matter what the outcome of the game was and that is what I did tonight.” On what it meant to win the game without Martin, Rivers said, “Jeremiah is a good player, but when he went down the team just fought for one another. With him out we tried to get as many defensive stops as we could.” On getting extended minutes, Malik Rhodes said, “It feels good. It just felt good to be out there with my teammates and to enjoy the atmosphere. It is a good feeling.” On the upcoming schedule of opponents below the Tigers in the standings, Rivers said, “We are not taking any of our opponents lightly. They may be under us in the ranking, but they can still put the ball in the basket. We are going to take it one game at a time.” Coach Smith: “It was a great win for us. They raised their level of play. They raised their intensity, especially after Jeremiah went down. We had outstanding effort throughout the lineup. Guys played their best effort. This is the most complete game we have had all year long. We have been playing better.” On getting a technical, Smith said, “I think I said ‘BS,’ a lot of people say a lot worst. I apologize for losing my cool. I really don’t do that. It can cost you. I think our guys were a little bit energized.” On how the win might affect the rest of the season, Smith said, “I hope it inspires them to listen. They did a good job of following the game plan. That is the toughest thing for them to do … focus for an extended period of time. You have to play with emotion without being emotional. Act like you have been here before. Hopefully they can learn from this.”      

Memphis Jazz Workshop rolls on with Ulysses Owens Jr.

Ulysses Owens Jr. is more than just some (Grammy winning) jazz dude. Sure, his music is great and all but he truly thinks – and lives – beyond the art. He is the embodiment of “doing well by doing good.” Owens and his family founded the Don’t Miss A Beat Foundation, which 10 years later has impacted close to 2,000 kids in his hometown of Jacksonville, FL. They started with an 8-week music and arts summer camp in the housing projects. Now there are after school and Headstart programs, a touring ensemble and an introductory program for toddlers with two buildings and two buses. This is not an air quote foundation either. Ulysses is personally invested, travelling to Jacksonville once a month to work directly with children in the programs. As like minds attract, he will be joining us here in Memphis courtesy of Stephen Lee and Memphis Jazz Workshop. I have written about their work before but in short: Memphis Jazz Workshop provides supplemental music training and instruction to students who are interested in jazz. Students have the opportunity to learn it through performances and engagement with artists such as Ulysses. So Ulysses is not just flying in to play a concert then bouncing. No, he is spending his morning leading a master class for students and another for entrepreneurs. Cause that’s how he rolls. And that’s how Memphis Jazz Workshop rolls. Like minds. I always find it fascinating to learn about the man behind the music. There are usually some fun facts. Ulysses splits his time between New York City and his hometown; he’s Julliard-trained; he started touring heavily in college; he’s not just a jazz geek but listens to all music and, most importantly ahem, he has some ties to Memphis. His dad was born in West Helena, Ark. AND, he’s spent some time here researching Stax Records and learning about Al Jackson Jr. (the drummer for Booker T and the MG’s). Pretty cool! I also find the drummer-as-bandleader model interesting. He follows in the tradition of Art Blakey, Buddy Rich and Max Roach but this brand of leadership has become increasingly uncommon. It’s a hard sell but Ulysses has found a space for himself. “The drummer has to know everything – how the rhythm section is moving, what the vocalist is doing. The drummer has to be the smartest person in the band.” He had to find his own rhythm as the music industry is more apt to market someone who is out front visually like a vocalist. “I had to define my power within the ensemble. People want to know how you can lead the band. It’s not drum solos all night. I’m leading the narrative, creating the set list. Even when there is a horn player out front, they respect that I am leading the vision.” With the release of his latest album “Falling Forward” last year with his current band, THREE, Ulysses is admittedly operating in his sweet spot. “I feel I’m being heard and understood,” he says. On the album you hear some standards like “In a Sentimental Mood” but you’ll also the Brazilian music influence on songs like “Maria de Mercedes.” I asked him how he connected to jazz at a young age and how he connects kids to jazz. As a kid and young adult, I always felt like I wasn’t sophisticated enough for jazz. To which he answered simply, “People aren’t being exposed to all music.” That’s probably true. “Right now, everything is mainstream focused. Most kids are listening to Top 40, etc. I grew up in a home with gospel and R&B but I grew up with a cousin who introduced me to jazz. One of my biggest concerns is that the younger generation will miss out on great acoustic music because we take everything in through cell phones. The (even) bigger issue is that we in America are not doing a good job of bringing art into our schools. We aren’t getting visual arts, dance, jazz…in the schools.” Also true. Which is why the work of Memphis Jazz Workshop becomes so crucial. What of the kids who are art-driven? Believe it or not, the arts do encourage discipline and creative thinking, which can be applied to all areas of life. Ulysses confirms this. “Life is led best within a formula but creativity allows you to function when something throws you off or is unplanned. You learn discipline and structure but you learn how to operate outside of those boundaries as well.” Check him out on Saturday (February 24) at the Hutchison School at 1740 Ridgeway Rd., along with Memphis faves Stephen Lee, Gary Topper, Johnny Yancey and Sylvester Sample. The concert is also Memphis Jazz Workshop’s first major event and fundraiser. And do yourself a favor if you have kids interested in music; send them to the master class. The investment is minimal but the exposure will be priceless. You can get concert tickets and more information at (For more about Ulysses Owens Jr. and Memphis Jazz Workshop, visit Just My Cities online.)

‘Offensive’ murals lead council to take-down move

(Photo: Karanja A. Ajanaku)
Memphis City Council unanimously approved a resolution on Tuesday allowing the removal of any public art that could be considered offensive, further souring the relationship between the city and the non-profit art group Paint Memphis. Paint Memphis has 133 murals across the city. Last week, crews with the Division of Public Works painted over seven of them, destroying work valued at $35,000 plus.
Amid a controversy about murals, Council Chairman Berlin Boyd took issue with the tone of a presentation by Paint Memphis leader Karen Golightly and gaveled her to a halt. (Photo: Johnathan Martin)
City officials said that move resulted from miscommunication. None of those murals were among the six others that stimulated the controversy that led to the 10-0 vote in favor of the resolution presented by Council Chairman Berlin Boyd. Those murals are located at Lamar Ave. and South Willett, a predominately African-American neighborhood in South Memphis. “If it’s public, then I think it should be inclusive instead of offensive,” Boyd said to Paint Memphis leader Karen Golightly during a presentation in committee Tuesday afternoon. At Mayor Jim Strickland’s request, Golightly attempted to explain the aesthetics and the purpose behind the art. Her presentation was interrupted and shut down by Boyd, who objected to language he deemed “insulting” to him and the council. “We’re going to see how we can get out of a contract with you as well,” said Boyd Some of the murals featured skulls and Golightly tried to put their use in context. While she connected them to Halloween and its Christian roots, council members and constituents dubbed them as “satanic.” “Good day, ma’am. You’re done, have a seat,” Boyd said, banging his gavel and bringing Golightly’s presentation to a halt. Public Works Director Robert Knecht said his division has an agreement with Paint Memphis, allowing them to paint in certain public sectors. As part of the agreement, the division has the right to remove anything questionable.
Despite a 10-0 vote regarding the removal of controversial murals, Paint Memphis’ Karen Golightly said the council “may not know the federal law that protects these artists.” (Photo: Johnathan Martin)
“Unfortunately, the council may not know the federal law that protects these artists,” Golightly said, citing the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990. “The artists have to have an agreement or give permission to have their work buffed and some of the settlements have been like $6.7 million in which 21 artists have been represented,” Golightly said. Acknowledging the argument about censoring art versus free speech, Councilman Frank Colvett Jr. joined those voting in favor of the Boyd resolution, saying the murals in question went above and beyond offensive. Councilwoman Jamita Swearengen said community leaders in the district she represents complained about the murals on multiple occasions. “Would you put that painting up at Graceland?” The painting Swearengen referenced depicted Elvis Presley with a snake going through one eye and a nostril. Golightly said she tried her best to reach out to the community, including active use of social media and putting up posters in hopes of organizing meetings about the murals. During the meeting, council members also voiced concerns about what they termed a lack of black artists and suggested the possibility of a social-economic disconnect. “Fifty-seven percent of our artists are white, the rest are people of color,” Golightly said. Last year, the Memphis City Council created the Public Art Oversight Committee to account for the opinions of residents after the murals became an issue that led to fryed nerves. “Our hands are not in this,” Councilman Martavius Jones said, seemingly trying to move the tense discussion in a constructive direction. Jones proposed that City County Attorney Allan Wade draft a measure requiring City Council to approve all projects with a value of more than $250,000. “If we’re going to get blamed for it, we need to be in the kitchen figuring out what ingredients went into it,” he said. Jones and Councilman Worth Morgan did not vote on the measure. Kemp Conrad was absent.

‘Black Panther’ superfan launches petition for Netflix to launch TV series to tell the story of Wakanda

Black Panther
(Photo: Marvel)

Black Panther is taking the world by storm, and the fans want to make sure that the story of King T’Challa and the Wakanda kingdom continues.

Set to gross over $500 million worldwide before the Marvel masterpiece even heads into its second weekend at the boxoffice, it’s only right that fans would be asking for more. And Eric Hamilton is doing just that. The Black Panther super fan took to to campaign for a Netflix series  that “would expand the depth of the Marvel universe.”

Hamilton cited previous series from Luke Cake, Daredevil, and Jessica Jones to Iron Fist, The Defenders, and The Punishers to bolster his argument. 

–Wakanda immigration officials institute lifetime ban against R. Kelly–

At this time, the petition has over 1,400 signatures. With the breakaway success of the film we’re pretty sure that Marvel won’t be done with Black Panther, director Ryan Coogler, and this dynamic Black cast for some time to come.

Box office gold

Black Panther debuted to a record-breaking $242.2 million over the President’s Day weekend, which included over $25.2 million accounting for it first night alone. Now, industry experts are projecting that the latest Marvel masterpiece will claw its way to the top of the box office charts for the second weekend in a row.

Projections for the coming weekend are close to $100 million, which is sure to outdo its rivals. The Ryan Coogler blockbuster is set to go up against Game Night, Annihilation, and Every Day. 

Black Panther has been racking up records even before it debuted. On Fandango, the ticket-selling website, the movie was the fastest-selling first-quarter film for pre-sales.

—Chadwick Bozeman wants to meet Denzel Washington to thank him for paying for him to go to Oxford

It also broke a record on the popular film review site Rotten Tomatoes, where the film debuted to a perfect 100 percent fresh score. That makes it the highest debut for a Marvel superhero film to date, according to the Daily Dot. With a current 98 percent “want to watch” rating score as well, the movie is riding high at the box-office.

It’s quite clear that King T’Challa will not be abdicating the box office throne anytime soon. 

Another call to action

With Black Panther ranking in fans and huge box office totals some people are asking that Marvel put their money where their mouth is.

A petition online, created by Chaz Gormley, is urging Marvel’s cinematic parent, The Walt Disney Co., to “set aside 25 percent of their worldwide profits to be allocated for investment in black communities, and in programs within these communities that focus on S.T.E.M.”

Citing the fact that the cinematic studio has targeted Black culture and Black communities for its marketing campaign, and Black people have therefore substantially assisted with the imminent success of the world of Wakanda— Gormley assists on that Black Panther‘s profit goes to good use.

–Jemele Hill claps back at Meghan McCain defending her Trump tweets–

“While many would see the release of a major studio film with a majority black cast, black director and art direction helmed by black artists… as a win,” Gormley asserts, “what exactly will the black community gain, aside from another symbolic victory?”

Some are asking would it hurt for Marvel to invest some of its millions and/or billions of profits to Black communities that they’re targeting for the movie? At a time in politics where it’s beneficial to put your wallet where your mouth is, Gormley’s petition raises an intriguing question.

Celebrities take on the #BlackPantherChallenge

In addition to breaking records, Black Panther is inspiring many celebrities to share the amazing story.

The #BlackPantherChallenge, in which people step forward to help underserved communities and children, started with Frederick Joseph, who launched a GoFundMe campaign to help Harlem kids see the film for free. The campaign eventually exceeded its $10,000 goal within three days.

“I want these children to be able to see that people who look like them can be superheroes, royalty, and more,” said Joseph. “All proceeds will go to paying for the private screening tickets for children and chaperones, as well as refreshments. The release of the film is February 16th, 2018, and the screenings will take place the following week between February 19th and 22nd.”

–Oprah responds to Donald Trump’s ‘insecure’ tweet in best way possible–

Since then, other stars, from Octavia Spencer and Serena Williams to Kendrick Lamarand T.I. have come forward to take the challenge in their own ways.

From the tweets to the streets, this cast has got Hollywood on lock. Wakanda Forever!

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Malcolm X: The Lost Tapes


FilmReview by Kam Williams

Intriguing Documentary Features Found Footage of Late Civil Rights Icon

Malcolm X (1925-1965) is best remembered as the charismatic spokesperson for the Nation of Islam whose fiery speeches helped the Black Muslims’ ranks swell from 6,000 to 75,000 between 1956 and 1961. However, he fell out of favor with the sect’s founder, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, soon after making his pilgrimage to Mecca. 
While there, Malcolm prayed alongside Muslims of every hue who treated him like a brother. Consequently, upon returning to the States, he announced that he could no longer ascribe to one of his sect’s basic tenets, namely, that white people were a genetically-engineered race of devils created in a lab 6,600 years ago by a rogue scientist called Yakub. 
Since that claptrap was a core belief upon which the Nation of Islam was founded, Malcolm found himself marked for death for his blasphemous change of heart. And less than a year later, he was assassinated by three members of the Fruit of Islam, the paramilitary wing of the Nation of Islam. 
Malcolm X: The Lost Tapes revisits the late icon’s abbreviated career. The film features found footage illustrating the late civil rights leader’s concern for the welfare of all African-Americans.

For instance, in one snippet, he says: “We’re not brutalized because we’re Muslims, Baptists or Catholics, but because we’re black people living in the United States.” Then, attempting to inspire his followers to appreciate their appearance, he asks: “Who taught you to hate the way you look from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet?”

You might be surprised to know that Malcolm attended but did not speak at the historic March on Washington in 1963. Here, he explains why he disagreed with Dr. Martin Luther King’s non-violent philosophy. “There is nothing in the Koran that teaches us to suffer peacefully. If someone puts his hands on you, send him to the cemetery!” 
He also attempts to convert black military veterans to his cause by declaring that if they were willing to die overseas fighting to save Europeans from Hitler, they ought to be just as eager to shed blood to liberate their own people. Suggesting that it was silly to wait for segregationist Congressmen to end Jim Crow, Malcolm summarizes with a clarion call for “freedom, justice and equality by any means necessary.”

An intriguing contribution to the enduring legacy of a common street pimp-turned-revolutionary Muslim firebrand.

Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 51 minutes
Production Studio: 1895 Films
Distributor: Smithsonian Channel

Malcolm X: The Lost Tapes is set to premiere on the Smithsonian Channel on Monday February 26th at 8 pm ET/PT, 7 pm CT.

To see a trailer for Malcolm X: The Lost Tapes, visit: