The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Blackness
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Monday, January 11, 2010

Originals: Gil Scott-Heron (2003)

  • Gil Scott-Heron
  • Brian Jackson
  • Richie Havens
  • Chuck D
  • Sarah Jones
  • Clive Davis

The African aesthetic of indigenous rhythm, the authenticity in the oral tradition of storytelling and the urgency of converting information and its invaluable power into a universal dialectic is why I (Mr. Wone) write poetry. Inspiration is infinite because experiences transpire with each breath.

Gil Scott Heron IS the embodiment of spoken word.

Hearing Richie Havens, Chuck D, Obiodun Oyewole of The Last Poets, the incomparable Brian Jackson and the omnipotent Clive Davis speak on the majesty of this man behind the backdrop of some serious vintage footage is a gift to any writer, musician or lover of the art form as the art is captured in rare form. Gil is a constellation and his shine is prominent throughout hip-hop and the artists that draw from his expressive command of language and prose.

Gil, one of the most influential musicians and poets of the last 50 years, tells his own story.

Review of our Gil Scott-Heron Legends series

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised......... still, brothers and sisters, it will be LIVE!

Facing Ali (2009)

  • Joe Frazier
  • Ken Norton
  • Sir Henry Cooper
  • Leon Spinks
  • Earnie Shavers
  • Ron Lyle
  • George Chuvalo

He rocked the sport, shook the world, and changed their lives. Now, several decades after they met in the ring, ten of the sport's finest fighters tell what it was like to battle Muhammad Ali, the man many consider the best boxer ever.

This brutally honest documentary recounts Ali's incomparable journey as seen through the eyes of those who stepped through the ropes and into history. Join these respected fighters as they weigh in on "The Greatest" and pay tribute to a living legend in this powerful and unforgettable film.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

All Power To The People (1996)

  • Bobby Seale
  • Leonard Peltier
  • H. Rap Brown
  • Kathleen Cleaver
  • Stokely Carmichael
  • Gordon Parks
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Malcolm X

Most effective documentaries allow the viewer to see beyond the headlines and sensationalized issues of the era they are covering. This film is no different. If you have questions about the history of the Black Panther Party and what this movement meant to the struggle for equality of African Americans then this film is a must see.

Director Lee allows for the viewer to become familiar with the main goals and accomplishments of the party, political landscape, and leading figures of the era thru personalized interviews with surviving members and powerful archived footage.

The importance of community-centered programs such as literacy, education, soup kitchens, and self-defense classes lay the groundwork for the coming grass-roots movements of Native Americans among others.

Lee also presents a stinging account of the reasons for the decline and fall of the citizen based movement. Questions surrounding the FBI's use of informants, infiltrators, illegal wire taps, unfounded criminal charges, and assassinations are confronted with disturbing conclusions.

As the notorious public image of militant blacks becomes etched as reality defining the Black Panther Party, it is important to have some record from the perspective of those who won't write history and sacrificed their lives for an ideal of equality and justice. This film serves that purpose.-IMDB

Friday, January 1, 2010

Soul Power (2008)

  • James Brown
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Don King
  • Celia Cruz
  • BB King

This is so much more than a chronicle of the 1974 3-day music festival in Kinshasa, Zaire scheduled during the legendary "Rumble in the Jungle" superfight against Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.

The story goes "In 1974, Hugh Masekela set out to organize a music festival in Africa. They approached boxing promoter Don King with the proposal to combine the festival with a title fight that that King was organizing. King persuaded President of Zaire Mobutu Sese Sekou to provide a venue and bankroll the fight. Mobutu agreed to host the festival, but declined to provide financial support. Masekela and Levine later found a Liberian investment group willing to finance the 3-day festival and film of the event"

In this doc you will see such scenes as Bill Withers, Muhammad Ali, Don King and Bundini Brown eating breakfast engaged in comical banter about who is free and who isn't, Manu DiBango looking like a bonafide King, playing his saxophone while children clap and sing aloud and Miriam Makeba (aka Mama Africa) is such a beauty all the way around you couldn't take eyes or ears off of her regality.

The candid scenes with James Brown, Ali, and Celia Cruz singing on the tour bus while BB King looks on are so impactual to the rich legacy of Black musical culture, I don't believe the filmmakers truly knew of what pricelessness they captured.

You will want to watch this, watch it again, call a loved one and have them watch it with you and keep the cycle spinning with the brilliance of this visual time capsule.

Soul Power could not have a more appropriate title.

Link to soundtrack review:
When We Were Kings soundtrack

Mr. Wone