Burn Hollywood Burn!

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR Editor & Columnist Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.

Hollywood distorts – and whitens – everything it touches. Now, the city of cinematic Euro-fantasies has grabbed onto the story of Winnie Mandela, first lady of the South African liberation movement. “Mandela herself has said she has not been contacted, is not at all in support of the film and is likely to sue.” Best to consign this flick to the bonfire of imperial vanities.
Burn Hollywood Burn!
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR editor and columnist Jared Ball
Will Winnie Mandela’s support of armed struggle be treated fairly, within the context of anti-imperial warfare?”
Brace yourselves everyone, the unrelenting purveyor of psychological warfare known as Hollywood is gearing up for a new round of abuse. bell hooks, Ishmael Reed, and other students of semiotics, race and eugenics get your mighty pens ready, crack those knuckles and get plenty of rest. We expect you to be busy. Announcements and predictions abound regarding the developing projects of Winnie, the story of Winnie Mandela to be played by Jennifer Hudson, and Hoover, a new Clint Eastwood joint starring Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar, himself. Public Enemy had it right years ago and it remains, Burn Hollywood Burn!
But perhaps it was prophetic that in that classic track from Public Enemy the song ends with Flavor Flav in dialogue with an unknown film executive inviting him to play some Stepin Fetchit role only to have Flav defiantly say no when told he would not be depicting Huey P. Newton or H. Rap Brown. Well, we’ve all seen how that turned out. And never mind the long history of a film industry whose very fabric is sewn with the bloodied images of African people whose real life bloodied bodies far outweighed the scenes which helped produced them. Just look today at the anti-Black, anti-woman, anti-poor cinematic hit job whose name is quite ironically Precious. Or the film Doubt, whose subject is supposedly a pedophile priest, has as its only and most condemned figure the never-seen-on-screen Black male father. Clint Eastwood’s last film, Gran Torino, is little more than a well-funded excuse to call Asians anything but their rightful name or to have rape victims disappear once they’ve served their role as white man’s host. And what is perhaps the counterpart to the forthcoming film about his former wife we recently were treated to Invictus, also directed by Eastwood, where the story of Nelson Mandela is told through Matt Damon’s white male rugby player. The one line in that film worthy of any real focus was, of course, said, never-repeated, nor ever again addressed. In response to a question about why he was so focused on this rugby team Mandela turns to his aid and says, “because they,” the whites, “still control the economy and the military.” Shhhh….
We recently were treated to ‘Invictus’ where the story of Nelson Mandela is told through Matt Damon’s white male rugby player.”
So what can we predict? We may not be prophets, but analysis is useless if it produces no preparation. Winnie, with the selection of an African American actress, has justifiably angered some in South Africa, as did Invictus, who feel as though their country should provide their “Mother of the Nation” with her portrayal. Mandela herself has said she has not been contacted, is not at all in support of the film and is likely to sue. The book upon which the film is based was equally unsupported by Mandela, includes very few primary sources and because it apparently “writes off” a woman very much still alive has been questioned for its “participation in the neocolonial project.” What then are we likely to learn about the recently re-emergent critical relationship Winnie maintains with the post-apartheid government? Will we see honest attempts to answer her still relevant question of “are we in power or just in government?” Will her support of armed struggle be treated fairly, within the context of anti-imperial warfare? And what prominent white character, real or imagined, will be installed as necessary balance a la films like Biko, The Last King of Scotland or Blood Diamond?
And ah yes, it was this last film that brought us DiCaprio’s pretty face as cover for what is the scourge of a Western-inspired (but barely depicted) anti-African diamond trade. And now it appears as though those same looks will be used to clean up the ugliness of Hoover’s face and, worse still, his actions. What can we expect from the aforementioned Clint Eastwood? Will Hoover’s role in the assassination or imprisonment of countless heroes be exposed or is the fact that the film is being written by the man responsible for Sean Penn’s Milk a foreshadowing of a focus on a more scandalous rumored life of the former FBI director?
One thing is easily predicted. We must prepare our intellectual torches for the Bob Marley-like Burnin’ and Lootin’ of all illusions developed by the permanent enemy known as Hollywood.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Jared Ball. Online go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com

BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball, Ph.D. can be contacted at [email protected].



If Obama really loved black people, he would take Hoover's name off all federal buildings. But he doesn't.

No so-called Black "artist" is willing to build institutions

I just read today that the formerly reknowned Harlem School for the Arts is closing.
"For nearly 50 years, the Harlem School of the Arts has given generations of mostly black and Latino children entree into worlds often otherwise out of their reach. It put violins and other orchestral instruments in their hands, ballet slippers on their feet and Shakespeare on their tongues.
But on Friday, the school’s building was quiet, closed by the board of directors, which told parents in an e-mail message on Thursday that the school was being shuttered because of a lack of financing."
He said he has been constantly searching for opportunities to keep the doors open. “If an angel or group of angels come to the doorstep immediately we’ll be able to save the school. If not, then the reality is bleak, and that’s what we’re up against.”
He said of the school, “I’ve seen with my own eyes the effect it has on the lives of the kids who go there.” At least $500,000 is needed to stay open through the end of the academic year.
You wonder why Hollywood is running things?  Because the so-called Black actors, artists and atheletes we "worship" day in and day out, year in and out at awards and "image" ceremonies have no sense of charity or history.  I guarantee you if it was the Yeshiva School for the Arts, we wouldn't be telling this story.  Every ethnic group in this country invests in building their OWN institutions, but not Black folks.  They too busy sucking up and we are too busy admiring them for all the wrong reasons.
As the link below shows, the net worth of just the top ten rappers of 2008 alone was $381 Million.  And I'm not even counting the top ten richest Blacks period, many of whom are in the entertainment industry.  Next we'll be reading about the Schomberg Center or Alvin Ailey going broke. 
So much for "success" in White America, it means much to individuals but not a damn thing to the collective.  These same Negro artists and athletes will glady lend their name and faces to charitable causes that don't offend their white spatrons, Ronald McDonald Houses and shit like that.  But they won't do a goddamn thing to perpetuate the arts and culture in the African American community.  Think about that, next time you watch the BET or NAACP, or Gospel Awards, think about how these rich fucks won't invest a dime in their own culture. 
 No leadership whatsoever.  Think they could plan and organize something constructive after the ceremonies or would that f/u the after-party mood??
$500,000!!, what some of these asses make in one concert, or a movie cameo, what some of these rappers make in a year just showing up to nightclubs with their entourage hitting on women and sucking down free drinks.  But we are suppose to be so proud of them, want to emulate them, grow up to be like them.  I think not.  If they can't seek and acquire wealth for creative production, then piss on them all.