Selma Revisited: from Violent Racism to Reflective Compassion (part 1)

3 Producers of the film
Left to right, Producers of the Golen Globe Award-nominated film Selma:
Dede Gardner, Oprah Winfrey, and director Ava DuVernay. (photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for AFI)

 The movie Selma, directed and executive produced by Ava DuVernay, opened on Christmas Day 2014 and rang in the New Year 2015 with domestic sales estimated at $1, 204,000 according to Box Office Mojo. Whereas there have been any number of films about the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. produced for television, Selma is the first major feature film on the great civil rights leader made for theatrical release.

The movie’s box office performance at the beginning of the year placed it at number 23 on Fandango’s list of “Top Box Office Movies,” and it currently stands at number 22. Both positions place it far behind “The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies” ruling at the time at number 1, and “Unbroken” at number 2.

However, Selma played during the first week of its release in only 19 select theaters. It is set to screen nation-wide on January 9, just in time for the 86th anniversary of Dr. King’s birth on January 15. In honor of the fact that the movie would not have been made without the definitive role played by the people of Selma, Alabama, in the past as well as in the present, Paramount Studios announced that residents will be allowed to view it for free until the end of January.

DuVernay has already won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association New Generation Award for the film and it has earned 4 African-American Film Critics Association Awards. It has also received 4 Golden Globe Award Nominations. In addition to DuVernay, the line-up of producers includes Hollywood heavyweights Brad Pitt and Oprah Winfrey, who also performs in a supporting role as Annie Lee Cooper. Paul Webb provided the screenplay and among the exceptional cast that brings it to life are David Oyelowo (as Martin Luther King Jr.), Carmen Ejogo (as Coretta Scott King), Cuba Gooding Jr., Giovanni Ribisi, Common, Tim Roth, and Allesandro Nivola.

Technology and the Struggle for Human Rights

The story of the historic march from Selma to Montgomery is now a well-known one for many important reasons. It is obviously vital for the place it holds in the story of African-Americans’ ongoing struggle for social and political equality in the United States, as it is for the place it occupies in America’s attempts in general to refine its practice of the concept of democracy. In addition, it dramatically demonstrates the role which the evolution of technology has played in struggles for human rights in the modern era.

For the full article by Aberjhani please click this link:
Selma revisited: from violent racism to reflective compassion (part 1 of 5) – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.

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How Creativity and Social Responsibility Inspired 5 Memorable Moments | Aberjhani Author-Poet-Literary-Consultant | LinkedIn


Rainbows introduce us to reflections
of different beautiful possibilities
so we never forget that pain and grief
are not the final options in life.

Aberjhani

Measuring the success of a given year by the percentage of profits gained or lost is a sensible enough practice for many individuals and an essential one for various organizations. However, I decided going into 2014 that I wanted to commit time throughout the year to finding ways that creatively honored the concept of mutually-empowering and life-enhancing partnerships. The goal was to combine as much as possible measures of social responsibility with different types of creative endeavors.

Why such an intensely-focused approach? Because the still-straggling uncertainty of the economy, the domestic gun violence that broke America’s collectively-beating heart nearly every other week, and rising waves of conflict on the global front made it far too easy to succumb to such dispositions as cynicism, nihilism, and actions motivated by anything other than an ethical perspective.

Since partnerships, or relationships, by definition require interaction with more than just oneself, not every effort was as successful as I might have hoped. Certainly not all would top a list of favorite #My2014Moments even when proving what some might describe as “profitable.” Still, others resulted in beneficial reconnections with previous colleagues and some produced thrilling adventures in formerly unexplored territories.

5 Memorable Moments

1. Taking a Stand for Compassion: Toward the end of the year 2013 I promised to sign the Charter for Compassion on the first day of 2014. That affirmation so far has not impressed groups such as ISIL, Boko Haram, the Taliban, or Al-Qaida to revise their habits of employing guerrilla decontextualization to misrepresent a major religion and justify heinous actions against noncombatant civilians. It did, though, prompt me to write three of my stronger articles in 2014 on the world’s attempts to reconcile chaos with sanity:

To check out the full list please click this link:
How Creativity and Social Responsibility Inspired 5 Memorable Moments in 2014

by Aberjhani

New Orleans’ Bayou Maharajah arrives in Savannah (part 2 of 2)

Musical genius James Carroll Booker III at the piano. (photo Wikepedia Creative Commons Share License)
Piano virtuoso James Carroll Booker III. (photo: Wikipedia Creative Commons)

“With my ninth mind I resurrect my first and dance slow to the music of my soul made new.” ––from Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black

While he lived, James Booker was apparently known by many titles. The tradition in African American music of taking on grand and sometimes outlandish designations stretches at least as far back as the Harlem Renaissance when Bessie Smith became known as “The Empress of the Blues” and Edward Kennedy Ellington gained fame as “The Duke.”

In addition to the name used in the title of the film, Booker has been alternately referred to as: The Piano Prince of New Orleans, The Black Liberace, The Ivory Emperor, The Black Chopin, and Little Booker. He was also known as an off-again on-again drug addict, a non-closeted gay man, and a psychologically complex individual for whom no single definition or description could ever suffice.

Interpretation of a Life

Lily Keber appears, at this point in time, to be one ideal interpreter of who and what Mr. Booker was as a son of New Orleans and as a thoroughly hidden American treasure. Like New Orleans, Keber’s hometown of Savannah in one of the American cities in which the music of jazz has its deepest roots. Her move to New Orleans in 2006 and her labors to pay homage to “The Ivory Emperor” have further extended the jazz kinship between the city and Savannah. She has, in short, added something much more than a footnote to the history of jazz in America. As the director herself put it, “It took growing up in Savannah to prepare me for moving to a city like New Orleans.”

To read the full story by Aberjhani please click the link:
New Orleans’ Bayou Maharajah arrives in Savannah (part 2 of 2) – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.

Text and meaning in the life of Nelson Mandela (part 1 of 3)


Cover of Notes to the Future by Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

“Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.” ––Nelson Mandela, Presidential Inauguration Address

When Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela stood before the people of South Africa on May 10, 1994, as its first black and democratic president, the moment represented much more than a personal victory. It embodied the kind of glimpse into humanity’s potential for harmonious coexistence that history rarely provides.

Neither the concept nor the practice of persecution were invented the day Mr. Mandela began as a middle-aged man serving his 27-year prison sentence on Robben Island in 1963.  There are nevertheless, in his case, the notable distinctions of excruciating sacrifice, phenomenal grace, and uncommon personal evolution which moved almost 100 world leaders to attend his memorial in Johannesburg on Human Rights Day, December 10, 2013.

A Transformative Vision

Others have indeed been captured as official prisoners of official war and then later rose to a semblance of power as senators, representatives, presidents, kings, and even queens.  Others have faced violent scorn when sharing with the world a revelation of healing peace and many have been assassinated for doing so. Nelson Mandela, whom many in the world now embraces so affectionately as “Madiba,” experienced a transformative vision in total contrast to the apartheid reality embedded in his country at the time. He proclaimed it, battled for it, survived the numerous tolls it took on his flesh and spirit, and finally, as the world looked on in awe, saw it implemented through his own being.

In his inauguration address, Mr. Mandela identified his country as “the skunk of the world.” He did so because of the wrath of international shaming that occurred after the global community learned first of the particularly insidious nature of racial oppression practiced in his homeland; and then of his own imprisonment for daring to challenge that oppression. As stated in his inauguration address:

To read the full article by Aberjhani please click this link:
Text and meaning in the life of Nelson Mandela (part 1 of 3) – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.