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Monday, December 24, 2007

Okay...Gonna Hibernate For A Day Or Two.....

OK, I don't have a lot of energy between the holidays and knowing that the hot garbage that is "National Treasure 2" is far and away the number one holiday movie. That one fact alone makes me not even want to think about the movie world for a while....

So, I'll leave you with a mini interview I did with "Purple", a New York magazine that is run by one of my very favorite bloggers, Purple Zoe of Ultraviolet Underground. Check out her spot and the link to her mag that's there while you drink your cocoa or brandy over the next couple days.

This is in it's raw form, but it is short and sweet, and I know you guys like it that way (at least when you visit me anyway, haha). Happy Holidays to yall--I will be spending a good portion of mine in Limoncello Martini heaven--Lord knows I need it with my family! :-)

Q&A Between Purple and Invisible Woman, Black Cinemist At Large

The Force Behind Invisible Cinema (She's the head of the Negro Justice League through her Invisible Cinema blog, and a force to be reckoned with in general). Her brand of honest wit inspires us to snap to attention and see what's happening to our images on 'The Big Screen'. With a cape sewn of 1 and 0's, she's come to rescue us from the confusing and increasingly overt sabotage of black images.


Have you always been a film buff? When did you know this was your field?

My first real vivid childhood memory was seeing the movie "Willard", about an outcast who trained the rats that lived in his house to attack people. Totally inappropriate for a child, but then again, my father was always taking me to see something inappropriate, haha. I get my love of film from him, he would sometimes go to the movies 2-3 a week....westerns, black exploitation, political thrillers; we would see everything. Maybe he couldn't find a sitter! I don't know if you can call cinema my "field"...working in the film industry is definitely not for those who truly care about the art of film, that's for sure....but if I could watch movies all day and never do anything else, I would be happy.


What are your deepest concerns about the current state of the black film industry?

I definitely think we are at a standstill on which direction to go in...we seem to be telling the same stories recycled over and over again, i.e. "Soul Food" type ensemble pieces. To be fair, non-black film is not any better. Hollywood is completely and totally artistically bankrupt, with very few exceptions.


Do you have any solutions in mind to correct the imbalances?

One thing I would love to see are black stories that are just stories. Not specifically black, but would be a straightforward story whether the characters were Black, Asian, Latino, or white.... with an all black cast. Not even make an issue that they are black. Say what you want about Will Smith, but he very frequently does that type of film...he could be easily substituted by any white dude (tho he does sometimes make a habit of putting a "black" spin on it). I would also really, really encourage people to go to Black film festivals, and put the word out (verbal or written) as much they can about what they've seen, and what transpires. There is so much lost information that never gets beyond the festivals themselves.


Do you see improvements in the black archetypes in the film industry, or do you feel the same stereotypes are being marketed to the detriment of mass perception of black culture?

That kinda goes back to the last question...I definitely think we are recycling. If Black Hollywood isn't up to the task of coming up with something original, why not tell the stories of our historic heroes? Why hasn't there been a film about Harriet Tubman, or Sojourner Truth, or Frederick Douglass, or the Negro Baseball League, or Madame C.J. Walker? Any number of our folks are ripe for the picking. When I was a kid, there was all kinds of stuff about black history; I think the black community is starved for that today. I was encouraged to see a film coming up about legendary boxer Sonny Liston, starring Ving Rhames.


What films and media do you feel have been the most powerful in correcting the engineering of misperception people of color have faced in the mainstream?

Neo-soul music is always encouraging...I had the fortunate experience of working in rap when it was conscious in the 90's, and people are always going back to that. Temporary things like Lil Wayne and Souljah Boy are the artistic equivalent to junk food (no offense to those who love it). I think it is very powerful when an artist has something to say that's deep, and it's wrapped in something beautiful like a good beat (i.e. Common, A Tribe Called Quest). People paying attention in the blogosphere to folks like Saul Williams and Van Hunt is a good sign. They don't fit in some neat box, and are representative of our creativity in our community. Black film, tho I think it's artistically lagging, is definitely showing it can make money and not have to be "hood". I did not grow up in the hood, and I like to see different aspects of people of color, cause we are so very, very many things. Hollywood is so very racist and sexist, it takes them so long think outside of their horrendously narrow box. These first baby steps ( Tyler Perry, etc.) will be the inroad for future success that is more representative of us in all the aspects of how we live.


What other views would you like to share with the readers?

Honestly, I could go on all day about that, I am so opinionated about so many things! But I would like to say that I love what's happening in the Black Blogosphere; it is such a beautiful forum to meet like-minded people, exchange ideas, and get direct political information with no spin.

Invisible Woman's Healthy Film Suggestions (would you leave us with list of films that are healthy for our consciousness, and that everyone should have on their shelf):

I'm kinda on a historic kick right now, cause I think it's so very important to know our past and the struggle and pride we've been through...two films that convey this that make you almost blow up with pride are "Wattstax", a black concert movie that was filmed in Watts in the 70's...sometimes called the "Black Woodstock," and "When We Were Kings", which is technically about Muhammad Ali. Both of these films give tremendous insight to the "Black Experience" and it's activism without being a downer or overly heavy-handed, but they have universal themes relevant to all people of color. As a matter of fact, if after viewing these films you don't love everything about colored people, you must be dead...check your pulse!



Congrats, IW!! That's what I'm talkin about. Great to find out how you got started...and u were informative.

kudos, and merry xmas!!
bria ;)

clnmike said...

Happy Holidays!!

Regina said...

WooHoo, Nice!
I also agree that Hollywood is artistically bankrupt (I love how thisa was phrased)!

Well IW,
Enjoy your break! Have A Very Merry Christmas! May You Receive All That God Has For You!
Peace, And Love To You And Yours!
Blessings, Regina.

Chocl8t said...

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!!

Chocl8t said...

Nice interview and very insightful comments on your part. You get it. I like that you do. And, like you, I'm diggin the whole black blogosphere thing that's going on. You're doing great things over here at IW. Kudos.

"...working in the film industry is definitely not for those who truly care about the art of film, that's for sure....”

Goodness. How sad this statement is.

“we seem to be telling the same stories recycled over and over again, i.e. "Soul Food" type ensemble pieces."

Chile, you ain't neva lied!

"To be fair, non-black film is not any better."

Very, very true. I think so, too.

"Hollywood is completely and totally artistically bankrupt...”

Like the other commenter said, you said this so well!

“One thing I would love to see are black stories that are just stories. Not specifically black, but would be a straightforward story whether the characters were Black, Asian, Latino, or white....”


"I would also really, really encourage people to go to Black film festivals"

Uh, how much dat cost?! ha ha. Kidding. This is good advice. I don't do it, but should and realize the value in it.

Batemen E said...

great interview... I agree with the statement that "we seem to be telling the same stories recycled over and over again."

MrsGrapevine said...

How was your Christmas?

Invisible Woman said...

First of all, I hope everyone who commented had a wonderful day, and may it continue on throughout the year.

@Bria: yeah, I had no choice with my daddy, it was sink or swim...

@ clnmike; thanks blog bro; your blog brought an interesting person over here; more details on that later...

@regina...your well are so appreciated here, you have no idea...I love having you around...same to you :-)

Hello Ms. Chocl8te; hope you find your ultimate dream man this year, haha

Thanks blackactor; that is a big compliment coming from you...I love what you are doing as well. Your blog is what mine would be if I weren't so lazy! It is great to have a comrade in this thing...I hope you can make it to some of these would be nice to compare notes...blessings :-)

@MGV: fairly quiet and boozy....just the way I like it! I hope yours was great!

Invisible Woman said...

@bateman e: I know right? jeesh

LaJane Galt said...

I LOVE Wattstax!!! I felt proud too! I recommend When We Were Kings to anyone and everyone.

I also love Lackawanna Blues.

Invisible Woman said...

Girl, both of those movies are the answer...I wish I could do a crusade and force everyone to watch them.