Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

How Do You Eat Your Watermelon?

I stumbled across this little "gem of a film" and just couldn't resist sharing with you all! I thought it especially fitting to add onto this blog post, given the subject matter... reasons should be obvious :o)

Here's the synopsis as listed on IMDB: The Brown family has a most troublesome neighbor in the shape of curmudgeonly Ol' Man Amos, whose grumpy declaration that they are "welfare collecting vagrants" inspires his efforts to make them move off their land and out of his life. Determined to stick around, the Browns are nonetheless faced with a seemingly insurmountable pile of unpaid bills that may prove to be the downfall of their home ownership. Pursuing characteristically untraditional means of raising capital, the Browns decide to enter the Watermelon Juice Afro Sheen contest, which awards $10,000.

Sounds like a winner doesn't it? I usually wouldn't even bother giving trite shit like this more than a sucking of my teeth, but the title grabbed me, and the fact that Toby/Kunta Kinte (AKA John Amos) had anything to do with it, much less a major player (he stars in it, his son directs it, his daughter produced it, and all 3 collaborated on the script) got my attention. Yeah, he's done some other shitty stuff like "My Baby's Daddy," and "Player's Club," but his overall resume, while not extraordinary, is chuck-full of decent fare, including an Emmy nomination.

No, I haven't seen the film, nor do I plan to ever see it... but... um... I'll talk about it anyway as if I have seen it, because I probably have, just under any myriad of already existing titles.

But if anyone is bold enough to rent this and actually watch it, please do come back and let us know your thoughts. Who knows, maybe it's some incredibly smart, biting, satirical piece of filmmaking that's a must see for all of us watermelon eaters.

I doubt it...


The right way to eat a watermelon, by Ralph Waldo Emerson "Petey" Greene

Don Cheadle stars in a film about the man, currently in theatres, called TALK TO ME, which I saw, didn't like and panned... not because of the title character, rather it just wasn't a well made film. If I didn't know who this man was, and I just happened to come across this video clip, I would probably cringe myself into an epileptic seizure. But, given that I do know who he is, and I am familiar with much of the goodwill the man would go on to do before he died of cancer in 1984, I still cringe (it's practically an innate reaction now), but just not as much :o)

On this journey that I am currently on towards inproved self-awareness, I wonder why I react this way to such imagery... I am fully aware of the historical significance of "the act," but then I wonder if Petey Greene does have a point... not only in reference to how you eat your watermelon, but an even more profound interpretation would be, how you choose to define yourself and your blackness... whether under the scrutiny (real or perceived) of white America, or independent of that, from within your core.

In the African countries where I grew up, many traditional meals are eaten sans cutlery... in fact, it's often considered an insult to a household if a visitor opts to eat a specific dish with cutlery (a somewhat different take on the "acting white" notion common in the States), instead of in the customary fashion - with hands... what the western world would call "primitive," and even "savage."

So how do YOU eat your watermelon (both literally and metaphorically)? The supposed instinctive, so-called "primal" way that he eats it, or the way you've been "trained" to eat it? Or has our "training" been so effective that any talk of "the way we were" is practically pointless?

"There is a fact: White men consider themselves superior to black men. There is another fact: Black men want to prove to white men, at all costs, the richness of their thought, the equal value of their intellect…. For the black man there is only one destiny. And it is white... The analysis I am undertaking is psychological… It is apparent to me that the effect disalienation of the black man entails an immediate recognition of social and economic realities. If there is an inferiority complex it is the outcome of a double process: Primarily, economic; subsequently, the internalization of this inferiority." Frantz Fanon


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