Amoeblog

Ava DuVernay's "Selma" & New Mike Brown/Ferguson Documentary Share MLK's Message of A Need For Change

Posted by Billyjam, January 11, 2015 11:49pm | Post a Comment

David Oyelowo as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Ava DuVarney directed Selma


There's a memorable scene in the new film Selma where "A Change Is Gonna Come" comes on the car radio in the background - kind of faintly but still enough to hear it and to feel the soul of the song thanks to both the late great Sam Cooke's hauntingly beautiful voice and the powerful message of a promise of hope that the 1963 recorded song delivers. That desired need for change for African Americans is something that is as relevant today as it was five decades ago! Indeed the release of the new Ava DuVarney directed film Selma could not be more timely; and not just that it was scheduled to open coming up on Martin Luther King Jr. Day but considering how the issues of civil rights for African Americans in the sixties, that are the subject of this wonderful film, have become so ever-relevant again in 2015.

Opened to wide release on Friday (Jan 9, 2015) the emotionally charged film is a dramatization of the Selma to Montgomery, Alabama voting rights marches of 1965 that were led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (played to perfection by British actor David Oyelowo in an Oscar worthy performance) and by members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Furthermore for me personally the timing of catching a screening of Selma this past week was even more perfect since earlier on that very same evening, at The National Black Theatre in Harlem, I had attended a screening of a similarly themed but totally different film; the incendiary new documentary The Mike Brown Rebellion: Resistance in Ferguson. That low-budget - yet nonetheless powerful - DIY documentary, produced by the NYC based Rebel Diaz Arts Collective who had traveled down to Ferguson, Missiouri in the days following the August 2014 police shooting death of the unarmed Mike Brown, succeeded in its goal of presenting an alternate, front-lines perspective view of that put forward by the mainstream news outlets, as well as a making a lasting "tool for education and starting discussions around policing…" In fact immediately following the screening of the film in Harlem, that was presented by the Zulu Nation, those in attendance including one of the filmmakers Rod Starz and hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa joined a discussion on the topics raised in the documentary. 

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Author Of "Keep On Pushing" Denise Sullivan Celebrates MLK Day With Reading & Singalong @ YBCA in SF

Posted by Billyjam, January 17, 2013 08:01am | Post a Comment
When the Amoeblog last caught up with Denise Sullivan in September 2011 it was to have an in-depth discussion with the Northern California author about her then recently published book Black Power Music (From Blues To Hip-Hop). At that time the Crawdaddy columnist and self-described "record geek" discussed her engaging book that effortlessly intertwines American history of the past numerous decades. The book nicely covers a wide range of protest/revolutionary music from early folk-blues, through the musical soundtrack of the civil rights movement (soul/funk/rock), and up to the contemporary hip-hop protest music. In that earlier Amoeblog interview Sullivan discussed many things including how she went from writing a book on the White Stripes to a book on Black Power Music. "Matters of race and the sexes, the Great Migration, what was once called the "American Dream," industry, ingenuity, and the entire great American songbook are of deep interest to me and all are tied up in the White Stripes story," she said at the time. "Keep on Pushing is a similar story, only it has a lot more people (many of them black, others are Native American, women, or economically strapped, most all of them are trying to survive America), and music is big part of their toolkit. Specifically though, in the case of both books, it was fine art photography that initially inspired me to launch my investigations: American Ruins by Camilo Jose Vergara, and The Black Panthers by Stephen Shames."

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Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a Day On, Not Off. Your Guide to LA, SF & Oakland.

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 9, 2013 05:39pm | Post a Comment

Monday, January 21st is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Since 1986, every third Monday in January is dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. and his work. In 1994, Congress named MLK Jr. Day as a national day of service in honor of his objectives. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?" Although you may get the day off of school or work, MLK Day can be seen as "a day on, not a day off."  

If you are looking for a way to be part of the soultion and do for others, or want to observe the great man with a parade or concert, please see our list below of events in the Los Angeles area and in the Bay Area.

Los Angeles Area:

Lancaster: Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day on Jan. 19
The year 2013 marks the sixth anniversary of Lancaster's annual Day of Service event in honor of Dr. King.
Various locations
661-723-6077

Santa Monica: Soka Gakkai International Auditorium Presentation on Jan. 19
Hosted by the Santa Monica College, the 2013 Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday celebration is free of charge to attend. It is billed as a "multiethnic interfaith program" that features readings, presentations, music and community news. 
525 Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica
310-434-4000

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