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The Making Of De La Soul’s “Three Feet High And Rising”

Mass Appeal kept the storytelling going; beyond its dope documentary effort “De La Soul Is Not Dead” (posted on here earlier) to tell the story of how the trio’s seminal album (“Three Feet High And Rising”) ultimately came to be.

…we dig deeper into the De La files to bring you an untold story in the words of two Tommy Boy Records staffers. Rod Houston—who elevated from mail room, to assistant to Tom Silverman, to the head of the label’s music video department—and Bryan Adams, the label’s long-time head of publicity. During an interview that didn’t make the final cut for the film, they shared details of De La Soul’s earliest studio sessions, how De La first got down with Tommy Boy and why their debut album almost didn’t include that monster hit that would change the course of their lives forever.

Tommy Boy Records, George Clinton… and they went all the way back to early Stetsasonic. Wow. Worthy reading!

New York Graffiti Experience (Documentary)

What do you know about that old school Hip-Hop cinema maaaan? Have you seen “Wildstyle” yet? If so, congratulations. But that was ’83. And we mean old school – before the 1980s. How about this mini-documentary that came out in 1976, the “New York Graffiti Experience” above? #Graffiti #HipHop #Elements

Enjoy. You’re welcome!

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A Closer Look At The Story Of King Kong (Video)

Talk about knowing what you are getting into. The folks behind the latest King Kong movie declare they are doing their adaptation in a way different way than the way the story has been brought to screen historically… the way this docu-short makes clear. The math on the story of King Kong to date, King Kong’s Story = The Tragic History Of The Slave Trade.

Megaton mic drop.

Careful watching this one in [culturally] mixed company. True, the revelations in this expose clip won’t be so much so to Black people contentwise. Rather, we’re more surprised that someone actually ‘said it aloud for everyone to hear.’ But for any who end up screen-gazing in wide-mouthed astonishment – that someone could draw such distinct parallels between the Kong story and the history of the African slave trade – is it really THAT hard to make the connection?

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An Intimate Tour Of Nina Simone’s Childhood Home (Video)

That’s what’s up! Four artists (Adam Pendleton, Rashid Johnson, Ellen Gallagher, Julie Mehretu) purchased the house where Nina Simone was born and spent her childhood.

It wasn’t long after the election that this all began to happen, and I was desperate like a lot of people to be engaged, and this felt like exactly the right way.
Rashid Johnson

Go on a tour (with The New York Times) of Simone’s old home in Tryon, North Carolina, above.

MORE: SAVING NINA SIMONE’S BIRTHPLACE (THE NEW YORK TIMES)

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (HBO Trailer)

I’m from Tuskegee y’all. I swear to you this trailer give me the feels like this movie will have elements of the infamous Syphilis Study that took place there. Injustice, incredulity, and infighting (though apparently not enough) left those Black men with no care and no hope; even when they had no real knowledge of their plight… until it was too late. I am really hoping for a happier ending here.

Science took her cells. Her family reclaimed her story.

Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne star in this adaptation of the critically-acclaimed book. HBO Films presents The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Saturday, April 22 at 8pm on HBO.
– HBO

Either way, it looks incredibly compelling. I will be watching. Join me #HeLaCells

@ojones1

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Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess (Trailer)

You watched the ‘Roots’ redux that came on TV last year, right? That part when Kunta Kinte and other enslaved Africans were rebelling on the ship on the way over, then trying to set off another uprising when they reached the American shore… Even knowing the outcome, with a history of centuries of slavery to come, in your heart of hearts, didn’t you yearn, with an aching heart, for those warriors to win the fight for freedom?? Alas, it was not to be in America, but…

That sh!t happened in Jamaica! Our brethren stood up against their British oppressors, scrapped with ’em and scuffed ’em up! And they WON their freedom!! What’s more, they got it done decades before our struggles in the States. Watch the trailer of a film about that war and its leaders, esp. “Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess.”

Official trailer of ‘Queen Nanny, Legendary Maroon Chieftainess,’ a one-hour feature documentary “that unearths and examines the mysterious figure that is Nanny of the Maroons – one of the most celebrated, but least recognized heroines in the resistance history of the New World. The film also sheds light on the incredible resistance movement of the Jamaican Maroons, led by the indomitable 18th century military genius, Nanny of the Maroons. A spiritual leader, skilled in the use of herbs and guerilla warfare tactics, from her mountain stronghold at the source of the Stony River in the majestic Blue Mountains, she directed the warfare that effectively neutralized the vaunted British firepower. Following on the heels of Akwantu: the Journey (2012), Anderson’s award-winning film on the history of the Jamaican Maroons, Queen Nanny expands on the story of the New World’s first successful freedom fighters by shedding light on to one of the leading figures in that struggle.”

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Boy 23: The Forgotten Boys Of Brazil (Trailer)

Damn. Too bad Magneto could not stop off in Brazil on his way to Argentina to deal with the Nazi bastards who did this, too. But this isn’t X-Men: First Class, this was real life. This was shameful. Powerful movie trailer about “The Forgotten Boys of Brazil” above; where the Nazis pushed their supremacist agenda and made slaves of Black people outside of Germany.

Boy 23: The Forgotten Boys of Brazil (Menino 23: Infâncias Perdidas no Brasil )(2016, 80 min), by Belisario Franca – Bricks, with the Nazi swastika, found in rural Brazil reveal the horrible true story of orphaned children who were enslaved in Brazil during the 1930’s – victims of a criminal project of eugenics. (In Portuguese with English subtitles).

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Thirty Years Later: DJ Red Alert Gives Us The Real Story Behind “The Bridge is Over” (Video)

Nowadays we get beef in the form of Remy Ma getting at Nicki Minaj. But heads know… The Bronx and Queens has ben going at it over the decades. Let’s listen and watch at DJ Red Alert, who was there for it all, tell us about some foundational Hip-Hop battle history: The Bridge Wars of the late 1980s, KRS-ONE and Boogie Down Productions vs. on Marley Marl and the Juice Crew.

(As an important aside, pay attention to what Red says about a DJ’s duty to our music and culture. Great stuff! “The Bridge Is Over”… but Hip-Hop don’t stop… can’t stop!)

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Watch The First 2 Hours Of PBS’ Documentary Series “Africa’s Great Civilizations” (Video)

Yes indeed. PBS’ 6-hour documentary series “Africa’s Great Civilizations” (hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.) hit the airwaves as advertised, February 27th through March 1st; shedding light on the stories, kingdoms and cultures of Africa. Groundbreaking and enriching. Fertile soil for fruitful discussions.

Got the first two hours for you here; hour one embedded above, with hour two after the jump. Take it as seed to build with your bretheren, your family… your human family. Africa’s history is WORLD history. Enjoy!

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Blank On Blank: Nina Simone 1968 Interview (Video)

Back in the day renowned Italian national radio on-air personality Lilian Terry recorded a favorite, long-sought celeb interview – of Nina Simone – by the skin of her teeth. See, Nina being Nina… She did not make a habit of talking to White people. And Lillian almost missed out, because she had the complexion for rejection. However, once Nina found out Lillian was ‘from Egypt’ though (born in Cairo to a father from Malta and a mother from Italy), the two were formally introduced and found themselves talking about Nefertitti and the Pharoahs in no time. Only days later Lilian went to Nina’s house in Mt. Vernon, New York, and recorded this conversation.

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Civil Rights Activist And Icon Dr. Bernard LaFayette On ‘Love Ultra Radio’ (Live Interview Tonight)

I felt such a rush, and a potent mix, of emotions once Love Ultra Radio green-lit this interview event. This will be something of a fireside chat with Dr. Bernard LaFayette – a living legend, civil rights warrior, and Kingian scholar (who even today teaches the history and methods of activism and nonviolent protest made known in the States by those aligned with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.). And shout out and respect to the bredren Jah Prince and super-producer Iman Lexington for throwing open the doors and welcoming Dr. Lafayette warmly.

Oh… and that hey-I-know-that-name feeling you are getting… that is because I recently mentioned his name in the opinion piece I posted a few weeks back about the Talledega College marching band playing President Trump’s inauguration (link that here).

Want to know what is so awesome, inspiring, and awe-inspiring? I did not really get to know Dr. LaFayette as the man who boldly walked with MLK Jr. and Jesus Christ since his youth. Nah, I got to know him as my high school principal back in Tuskegee, Alabama. I got to know him as the guy that cheered us on our sideline win, lose or lose badly. And as husband to my late Grandma’s longtime friend and across-the-street neighbor, Mrs. Kate (Bulls) LaFayette, who with my Aunt Tammie (Cottrell), helped me get this all set up for tonight.

Yep, and I got to know Dr. LaFayette as the Reverend who eulogized my beloved Grandma (another Tuskegee Legend) and presided over her home-going a couple of years back. Yeah. Doc took time from the never-ending work of uplifting and educating the people of the world, of ensuring that more and more of us learn to love and respect each other, to even fight for each other… without raising fists or firearms to do so… That man, came to sit with the family; share some memories and food; and wipe away a few tears.

Long enough story made only a bit longer: I am honored to know the man honored with the 2016 Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Reconciliation and Peace; and to know that he is NEVER to busy to talk to us… like he will tonight. I hope you will tune in to Love Ultra Radio tonight at 10pm EST to get to know him better, too. See the flyer above for details on the interview. And check out the linked article below for more info on the Doc.

MORE: CIVIL RIGHTS ICON STILL HAS WORK TO DO (DR. BERNARD LAFAYETTE)

@ojones1

Afro-Brazilian Hair Stories – Parts 1 & 2 (Video)

All jabs and jokes at the Chris Rock ‘Hair’ Movie aside, Black women’s hair is serious biz – monetary and cultural. This docu-miniseries from Essence mag is focusing on the cultural side. The women are beautiful; Afro-Brizilian beautiful. But some of the stories and struggles they share… not so.

While producing our August global issue in Rio de Janeiro, we interviewed women who are celebrating the “Afro” in Afro-Brazilian. However, their hair journey has been a battle of personal, family and social acceptance because of Brazil’s complicated history with race and identity.
– Essence

Start with Part 1 above, and continue with Part 2 after the jump.

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1804: The Hidden History Of Haiti (First Look Trailer)

Director/producer Tariq Nasheed is bringing us “1804: The Hidden History Of Haiti” … letting us bear witness to OURstory (as opposed to the little HIStory we get) about Haitians’ struggle for independence. You can learn more, and even help out, by visiting 1804movie.com.

From the producer of the hit film series Hidden Colors, a new documentary film about the Haitian revolution called 1804 will be released in Fall 2017.
Tariq Nasheed

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Crazy Like That Glue: The Craig Mack Story (Documentary)

Heads know that Notorious B.I.G. hit hard in the mid-90s and Bad Boy Records was knocking the competiton out the damn ring! Okay, but heads who really know know that there was another emcee that was right there, that was the first, the premiere artist that was actually supposed to be the Bad Boy standard bearer… the one they call Craig Mack! You remember “Flava In Ya Ear” was the business! But somehow business got eff’d up along the way.

This Craig Mack documentary tells us how, and how “Crazy Like That Glue” things really came to be. You know, heads are probably wondering, “Whatever happened to Craig Mack anyway?”

This doc covers that, too. Fascinating viewing. If you pay close enough attention, you’ll probably be as intrigued by folks who had NOTHING to say in this as you’ll be by what folks appearing in the doc had to say. Go on, settle in, and press play.

(Film produced by James Billings.)

@ojones1

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Africa’s Great Civilizations (Documentary Series Trailer)

It’s February. Black History Month to those who want to celebrate it as that. But since we make history every month, and we predate history, let’s go with the LOVE theme (not even waiting until the 14th *wink*).

So, on everything we LOVE, the late author & renaissance man Dr. Henry Louis Gates is at bringing us this POWERFUL docu-series on “Africa’s Great Civilizations.” Stirring, speaking truth for the ages… A must-watch when it drops Monday, February 27th on PBS. Peep the trailer above.

(And don’t let “them”… any “them” tell you YOUR history. “They” should not determine YOUR place in the universe. YOU should!)

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James Baldwin: ‘I Am Not Your Negro’ (Official Trailer)


“In his new film, director Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished – a radical narration about race in America, using the writer’s original words. He draws upon James Baldwin’s notes on the lives and assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. to explore and bring a fresh and radical perspective to the current racial narrative in America.”

“One of the best movies you are likely to see this year.”
– Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

In theaters February 3rd
IAMNOTYOURNEGROFILM.COM

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NYFF: ’13th’ Documentary Film Panel Discussion (Video)

The day after Ava DuVernay’s new film, 13TH, opened the 54th New York Film Festival, subjects interviewed in the film came together for an extended conversation exploring the many issues explored in this powerful documentary about race and criminal justice.

From the portrayal of black men in popular culture, dating back to D. W. Griffith’s 1915 Birth of a Nation, to the progression from slavery to mass incarceration and the persistent demonization and killing of black men by police in our cities today, the discussion will consider how the past connects with our present reality. Participants will include Ashley Clark (BFI), Jelani Cobb (The New Yorker, The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress), Malkia Cyril (Center for Media Justice), Kevin Gannon (Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning), and Khalil Gibran Muhammad (Harvard Kennedy School; former Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture). 13TH is a Netflix original documentary.

PREVIOUS: 13TH DOCUMENTARY TRAILER (VIDEO)
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Africa: This Magnificent African Cake (Documentary)

Appropriate title, seeing as how the Europeans did in fact cut up The Motherland like cake. Check out Episode 6 of the “Africa” documentary series, “This Magnificent African Cake,” and you will see.

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Haiti & ‘The Forgotten Occupation’ (Trailer)

Damn. Just damn. When we look at ‘poor Haiti’ from America, we should hold more rage in our hearts than pity. The U.S. have just done wrong by that Black nation. WRONG!

In 1915, more than a century after having eradicated slavery from their country, the people of Haiti suddenly find themselves the victims of a brutal American occupation, reigniting an all too familiar past for the proud, independent nation.

Watch the trailer for “The Forgotten Occupation” above. Shout to Radio Rebel Tayla Andrè for sharing. For more info, check out TheForgottenOccupation.com.

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