Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

DOWN THE PIKE - The Smith Family Robinson

Interesting piece of news I just read... courtesy of /Film and Production Weekly:

One of the most interesting notes is this bumper, super-expansive edition (of Production Weekly) is their listing for The Robinsons - an adaptation of the novel, The Swiss Family Robinson, designed to star Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and all three of the Smith kids - Trey, Jaden and Willow.

The PW entry tells us that the film will be about “a family shipwrecked in the East Indies en route to Port Jackson, Australia”.

I'm familiar with the novel - The Swiss Family Robinson - but in title alone. I've never read it, so I can't say much about the Pinkett-Smith family's adaptation of it. But, according to the novel's Wiki page, the story is similar to what's written in the above synopsis - a Swiss family who are shipwrecked in the East Indies en route to Port Jackson, Australia. The novel was published in 1812, so, I'd guess that the Pinkett-Smith family rendition will undoubtedly be modernized.

via /FILM

AWARDS - Tambay's Oscar Predictions!

This is a repost of an original entry made on the 22nd of January, the day the nominees were announced. I predicted who/what I thought would win in each category, and I still stand by them, a month later. So, place your bets!

Let's just get right to it. Who/what I think will win each main category is in BOLD, along with my comments.

Best picture
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Reader"
"Slumdog Millionaire" (Finally saw it. Over-rated!! Yet, given its above competition, I think it's its award to lose... unfortunately)

Richard Jenkins, "The Visitor"
Frank Langella, "Frost/Nixon"
Sean Penn, "Milk"
Brad Pitt, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Mickey Rourke, "The Wrestler" (He won it at the Golden Globes; so, I think the Academy will give it to him as well... everybody loves a "comeback" story. Although, I'll keep my eye on Richard Jenkins above. He's the sleeper/spoiler in all this. "The Visitor" didn't get nods in any other categories.)

Anne Hathaway, "Rachel Getting Married"
Angelina Jolie, "Changeling"
Melissa Leo, "Frozen River"
Meryl Streep, "Doubt"
Kate Winslet, "The Reader" (She won 2 at the Globes - Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress - which she shouldn't have. So, I think this is her year. Anne Hathaway is also in my sights.)

Supporting actor
Josh Brolin, "Milk"
Robert Downey Jr., "Tropic Thunder"
Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Doubt"
Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight" (Next to "comeback" stories, the Academy loves sentimentality. Don't get me wrong - Ledger put on a good show; but I'm not so sure he's included in the conversation if he was still alive. We'll never know, will we? BTW, Robert Downey Jr in "Tropic Thunder?" Are you fucking kidding me? Was Eddie Murphy ever nominated for his "multi-facial" turn in films like "The Nutty Professor?")
Michael Shannon, "Revolutionary Road"

Supporting actress
Amy Adams, "Doubt"
Penelope Cruz, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"
Viola Davis, "Doubt" (This is the toughest category, I think, because all the performances are worthwhile. But, I'm going with Viola. She didn't win the Globes, thanks to Kate Winslet; and with Winslet not nominated in this category, this time around, I think it's Viola's... or maybe it's just my heart talking.)
Taraji P. Henson, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Marisa Tomei, "The Wrestler"

David Fincher, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Ron Howard, "Frost/Nixon"
Gus Van Sant, "Milk"
Stephen Daldry, "The Reader"
Danny Boyle, "Slumdog Millionaire" (I'd love to see Gus Van Sant walk away with the award, but, more often than not, the director of the winner in the Best Picture category wins the Best Director award. So, the Irish-Englishman wins.)

Foreign-language film
"The Baader Meinhof Complex," Germany
"The Class," France
"Departures," Japan
"Revanche," Austria
"Waltz With Bashir," Israel (I haven't seen all of these, so I'm going with the one I've heard most about from American critics, as I'm guessing that's likely how the judges will vote.)

Adapted screenplay
Eric Roth and Robin Swicord, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
John Patrick Shanley, "Doubt"
Peter Morgan, "Frost/Nixon" (I'm going to go out on a limb on this one and NOT give it to the expected winner, "Slumdog Millionaire." I think "Frost/Nixon" will win something, and this might be it.)
David Hare, "The Reader"
Simon Beaufoy, "Slumdog Millionaire"

Original screenplay
Courtney Hunt, "Frozen River" (A coup for indie cinema! I haven't even seen the film; but the buzz since last year's Sundance Grand Prize win has been near-deafening. I'll see it eventually. Also, I'm wondering why "Milk" is nominated in this category. The screenplay is based on the life of a real person; I thought "Original Screenplay" meant it had to be pure fiction, from the imagination of the writer, and not based on something or someone or some event that already was.)
Mike Leigh, "Happy-Go-Lucky"
Martin McDonagh, "In Bruges"
Dustin Lance Black, "Milk"
Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon and Pete Docter, "WALL-E"

Any surprises? Clint Eastwood and "Gran Torino" got completely shut out, as I believe he should have been. I like the man, but this, his last effort, was inexcusable, given the talent involved.

Also, "The Dark Knight" got no love in the Best Picure category, and neither did Christopher Nolan for Best Director, despite all the fanboy and girl chants. Many will be disappointed.

That's it for me!!!! How about you?

VIDEO - Sergio Mims Talks Oscars

Check out Monsieur Sergio Mims (frequent contributor to this blog), along with critic Michael Phillips predict the winners during tomorrow night's Oscar ceremony, on Chicago's local WTTW TV station!

VIDEO - Alan Keyes Strikes Again

He may be President Obama to you, but don't tell that to Alan Keyes.

In a video released yesterday, the ultra-conservative seeks to resurrect conspiracy theories that Obama is not a US citizen and therefore ineligible to be president. Keyes—who lost to Obama in the 2004 Senate race in Illinois—says the "radical communist" Obama refuses to show definitive proof. The Supreme Court dismissed the notion without comment last year.

*SIGH* How I wish he would just go away...

Good Friday Morning!


It's Friiiiiiiiiiidaaaaaay!

So, who's planning on seeing Madea Goes To Jail this weekend? I actually considered it, if only so that I can review it on this blog. It's been awhile since I wrote a full review of a film, since I haven't seen very much worth reviewing in awhile - at least within the realm of what we call "black cinema." I passed on Not Easily Broken and Notorious last month, and, Medicine For Melancholy aside (which I actually saw last year), there hasn't been much else in release, both on the indie and mainstream fronts, since then... until now, thanks to the ever-prolific Tyler Perry! Box office tracking pros are predicting Madea takes this weekend with a $20+ Million opening, none of it contributed by me.

I am planning on seeing a film called Prince of Broadway tomorrow afternoon, as part of the African Diaspora films @ BAM festivities. I've written about that film on this blog a few times, but never seen it. Here's my opportunity, which will be followed by, hopefully, my first review of the year.

Also on my "to-see" list this weekend (Sunday specifically) is a film called Gospel Hill, Giancarlo Esposito's directorial debut, which stars Angela Bassett, Danny Glover, Samuel L Jackson, Nia Long, and a few other notables. I've also written about this film on this blog previously, which you can read HERE.

So, provided my plans aren't interrupted, I should have 2 funky fresh reviews for you before the weekend is over!

Side note: CABLEVISION'S INTERNET SERVICE SUCKS!!!! Living in Brooklyn, my options for service are limited, and Cablevision's Optimum Online dominates. Every single day, I experience drops in my connection; I've called their customer service center for repairs, and on both occasions, the technicians have come and gone, promising final solutions to my connection problems, only to disappoint! It's annoying when one is paying monthly for a service but isn't getting the kind of service one expects. I'd gladly cancel my account with Cablevision, but, again, that would likely mean I wouldn't have Internet access, since they practically own all of Brooklyn. Obviously, every service provider has its flaws. I'm sure if I talked to a Time Warner subscriber, or a Verizon FIOS subscriber, they would have their own sets of complaints about each; but, at this juncture, I'd be willing to give one of the others a try!

So, anyway... what else is going on?

With Oscar weekend looming, If you haven't already, be sure to check out Sergio Mims's interview with Academy Award nominee Viola Davis over at Ebony/ If you've been reading this blog, you'll know how much I appreciate Viola's work, and how unfortunate I feel it is that she isn't on our screens more often.

And speaking of Tyler Perry above, The Hollywood Reporter printed a 3-page piece on its website titled "Tyler Perry Inc: The world stage is the next goal for the Perry brand." I'm sure you can guess what it's about. But it's an interesting read. The man wants to take over the world with Madea and company!

Some interesting notes from the piece:

Perry still performs in the medium that made him famous - theatre... with as many as 30,000-40,000 people a week showing up for his plays, he is one of the biggest theater draws in the country, including Broadway. He communicates with fans by way of an e-mail newsletter, and often sells out shows via online ticketing. Perry also wrote a book, "Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings," which has sold 650,000 copies.

Wow! 30,000 to 40,000 people shelling out cash to see the man on stage? I'm not sure how much each ticket costs, but assuming it's in the $25 to $50 range, a safe assumption, it means TP's stage productions alone are raking in up to $2 Million weekly, and maybe more! No wonder Forbes magazine ranks him 3rd on its list of highest earning African American celebrities. And while I'm not privy to the business side of the publishing world, I'd say selling 650,000 copies of any book seems like a pretty solid number.

Check out the THR piece HERE.

One last Tyler Perry note (what can I say, the man is every-freaking-where... you can't throw a stone these days without hitting Tyler Perry or something he's attached to): Apparently he's courting Jennifer Hudson to star in his next project. Which one? I don't know. Last I heard, he was courting Diana Ross for "his next project." He IS Mr Prolific. According to EURweb, he's already written a script specifically for J-Hud to star in, and he claims she's long expressed interest in working with him; so, one can expect this to eventually be formally announced.

And thanks to TMZ, a police photo of the bruised and battered face of R&B/pop star Rihanna, post her scuffle with fellow "idol" and boyfriend (hopefully now ex-boyfriend), Chris Brown, has landed on the web, and is quickly circulating. I won't post it here, but I'm sure you can easily find it if you looked for it!

Lastly, I'm sure you all have been following the uproar over the New York Post dead monkey cartoon editorial fiasco. I haven't posted anything about it because I don't think one is warranted. I'm with Jay Smooth of IllDoctrine on this one. Don't feed the troll:

PRINT - Entertainment Weekly Lists Top 25 Active Directors

This one's a bit of a head-scratcher. Certainly several of the names on the below list unquestionably belong; but others are mind-boggling, especially when you consider who they left out!

Granted, this is coming from Entertainment Weekly, not Cahiers du Cinema, so it's probably unnecessary to get oneself too worked up over their choices.

Here they are (ranked in order of "Greatness"):

1. Steven Spielberg
2. Peter Jackson
3. Martin Scorsese
4. Christopher Nolan
5. Steven Soderbergh
6. Ridley Scott
7. Quentin Tarantino
8. Michael Mann
9. James Cameron
10. Joel and Ethan Coen
11. Guillermo del Toro
12. David Fincher
13. Tim Burton
14. Judd Apatow
15. Sam Raimi
16. Zack Snyder
17. Darren Aronofsky
18. Danny Boyle
19. Clint Eastwood
20. Ron Howard
21. Ang Lee
22. Paul Thomas Anderson
23. Paul Greengrass
24. Pedro Almodóvar
25. Jon Favreau

My immediate reactions? Predominantly American, unfortunately... after all, the article doesn't say that it's a list of the 25 greatest active American directors. Did the folks at EW who put this thing together do much research, or did they just pluck the most obvious names - especially those who have made studio films in recent years?

Also, not a single woman on this list. It's still very much a man's world. I'd argue in favor of a Claire Denis over Jon Favreau, for example. There's Catherine Breillat, Mira Nair, even Sofia Coppola. Granted her last film was 2006's Marie Antoinette, but here's a woman with a vision, and 3 films with much critical acclaim accompanying them.

And of course, very few minorities, save for the likes of Ang Lee and Guillermo del Toro.

I'd take Spike Lee over Darren Aronofsky and... Zack Snyder??? What has he done to warrant a ranking? 300? Dawn of The Dead? Both decent efforts, but compared to Spike's 24-year-old oeuvre? He's certainly had his share of misses, but, Spike's overall body of work impresses.

To rank Almodovar 24th, beneath a select group of directors still in career diapers, still discovering their individual voices, is blasphemous! I like Aronofsky, but his resume includes 2 films that play more like graduate thesis films in Pi and Requiem For A Dream, a third film, while ambitious, was a failure (IMHO) in The Fountain, and his last effort, the supposed comeback for Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler) - I think his most mature film to date. The kid's got potential, but, he doesn't belong on this list... not yet.

Jon Favreau? Judd Apatow?

Christopher Nolan impressed us with Memento and the last 2 Batman movies, but he doesn't belong in the top 10. Where are David Cronenberg, Park Chan-wook, David Lynch, Woody Allen, Oliver Stone, Wong Kar-Wai, Roman Polanski, Mike Leigh, Alfonso Cuaron...? They all fit the criteria, and are all "active."

Brad Bird? I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting at the moment.

Anyway... as I said, it is Entertainment Weekly, otherwise known as EW, as in ewwwww :o)

Your thoughts?

via EW

VIDEO - A Scene From "Push" With Mariah Carey And Gabourey Sidibe

Courtesy of a scene from Push: Based On The Novel By Sapphire, featuring a near-unrecognizable Mariah Carey, and the star of the film, Gabourey Sidibe.

For all those who were concerned by the initial casting of Carey as a social worker (I was one of those people), I must say she does a serviceable job here. Her rather dowdy appearance (uncharacteristic of the Mariah Carey we've all come to know and love/hate) certainly helps:


Searching for something else, I led myself to YouTube videos of the opening sequences for several TV shows I used to watch, when I was a kid in Nigeria, in the 70s and part of the 80s.

I had a good time reacquainting myself with many of these programs. Nostalgia... recalling moments from a previous time that I'd long forgotten... and now I'm mining YouTube for as many of them I can find!

Remember The Avengers? No, not the comic book series. The British television program that featured 2 secret agents in 1960s Britain, which ran from 1961 to 1969. I LOVED that show, and we never missed an episode, especially the Diana Rigg years.

Even though the program originally aired in Britain in the 60s, I didn't get to watch it until the late 70s/early 80s, since I obviously wasn't around in the 60s.

The Avengers
was a combination of your run-of-the-mill thriller and science fiction elements, and both leads were all too cool for school, making an otherwise routine pair of spies significantly more interesting to watch!

I remember dressing up like John Steed (played by Patrick Mcknee), swinging an umbrella that, in my imagination, doubled as a weapon, much like Steed's did in the series. Although, I barely recall much; and now that I've rediscovered it, I'm going to go digging for a DVD set or two...

A shitty Hollywood adaptation starring Uma Thurman and Ralph Fiennes was released in 1998. It was a flop!

Here's one of several opening sequences of the original cult hit (more to come)... those were the days:

MEME FUN - The "Stranded On An Island" Poll

Borrowing from KJ over at Must Love Movies...

The question was asked: If you were stranded on a deserted island, your rescue uncertain, and could have only 5 films to watch, which movies would you want to have?

My response:

Hmm... I don't know. I think I'll probably take a bunch of porn with me :o)

Stranded on a deserted island, all alone (especially if rescue is uncertain), with a DVD player and TV? Yup, probably porn... some anyway!

But since I have 5 choices, maybe 2 will be porn (for variety), and the remaining 3 will be genuine films. Given my predicament, I think I would need some really silly, upbeat films; nothing sad, sappy nor dour; nothing that demands a lot of brain power; and no horror movies; all 3 would probably be comedies, but it's hard to name just 3.

I'll go with:

1. Porn
2. Porn
3. Airplane! (or, any of the Naked Gun movies.)
4. There's Something About Mary (or The 40-Year Old Virgin)
5. The Return of the Pink Panther - the Peter Sellers originals, not the horrid Steve Martin reincarnations (or Beverly Hills Cop 1)

Some honorable mentions, in the event that I somehow find an Internet connection on this island and have just enough time and bandwidth to download 2 or 3 more: Annie Hall, Dr Strangelove, National Lampoon's Vacation...

What are yours?

DOWN THE PIKE - Will Smith Is A "Monster Hunter"

According to Production Weekly, Will Smith has been attached to star in the upcoming family comedy Monster Hunter.

"Big Willie" will play a child psychiatrist who can actually see, and does battle with the monsters in children's closets.

No other info is available on this; although it doesn't sound like there's any connection to the video game called Monster Hunter.

Smith was previously attached as a producer for Monster Hunter and Kevin James (Paul Blart Mall Cop) was set to star.

Doesn't this sound more like something Eddie Murphy would do, not Will Smith? I can't help but think of films like Eddie's 2 Dr Dolittle adaptations, as well as Daddy Day Care.

I guess this is what having kids does to an actor :o)

via IO9

Good Wednesday Morning!

Something to get you going on this glorious Hump Day!

The Uncler is a parody of Darren Aronofsky’s critically acclaimed film, The Wrestler, starring Seth Morris as Uncle Sam, the down and out American mascot who needs to make a comeback and fix the economy. Alyssa Milano co-stars as his patriotic stripper friend, Lady Liberty.

Here's the original trailer for The Wrestler for comparison:

via /FILM

DOWN THE PIKE - Halle Wants To Know Who "Doris Payne" Is

This sounds like a real-life story that could make for a potentially riveting film, and a plump role for Halle, in the hands of the right director.

It's called Who Is Doris Payne, a Eunetta Boone-scripted, fact-based film about an international jewel thief whose career spanned five decades!

I googled "Doris Payne" and found an interesting piece on her at, dated November 2005.

In the article, the then 75-year old Payne (in the picture on the left) was serving a 2-year sentence in a Nevada jail, on charges that she stole a diamond ring from a Neiman Marcus store in Palo Alto, California, and sold it in Las Vegas.

Following her term in Nevada, she will be transferred to a prison in Denver, Colorado (where she currently is today) to serve a 4-year sentence for a similar crime elsewhere.

Reading over the MSNBC story, Payne seems to relish the questionable, yet likely thrilling life she led as a jewel thief, which led her to the life behind bars she is currently enduring. Certainly, she has some regrets; but, at 78 years old, she's seen the world, stealing from jewelers in places like Paris and Monte Carlo, and lived the kind of life many of us can only dream of, given how prolific a thief she was, stealing countless diamonds, costing tens-of-thousands of dollars each, and selling them for tidy sums.

What's even more fascinating about all this is that, despite her "creamy, mocha skin" as the MSNBC report put it, she is obviously a black woman, who somehow was able to smoothly and confidently, repeatedly steal very expensive pieces of jewelry from upscale establishments, at a time in our history when black people were already under intense, conspicuous "surveillance."

Reading between the lines of some of Doris Payne's statements, she will likely do it all again, if she could, showing no desire to bring an end to it all! Obviously, others can see that as well, which is why she's now serving successive sentences in different states, for her past sins, which will likely continue until her death.

She begun her "career" as an international diamond thief in her late teens. The impetus for it all? Partly to please and take care of her mother.

I'm reminded of a 2001 film called Lift, which starred Kerry Washington in a very similar role - an intelligent, young, African American woman who shoplifts from upscale, high-end department stores, mostly to please her very critical mother, illustrating the effects that materialism has on a dysfunctional family. The film was nominated for two 2002 Independent Spirit Awards, and received critical acclaim at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. It's not a great film, but its unique storyline and Washington's performance make it recommended viewing.

No word on when Who Is Doris Payne will go into production, when it will be released, nor who its director will be. But I'm guessing Halle, being already attached, will have a say in that decision... let's hope the choice is one we can all get excited about!

I suggest reading the MSNBC article HERE to familiarize yourself with Ms Payne's riveting story.


THINGS THAT MADE ME GO HMM - Sundance Director Leaves For Tribeca

Some news with potentially long term ramifications that almost went unnoticed by me this morning.

Sundance festival president/director Geoffrey Gilmore has left his long-time home to become chief creative officer of Tribeca Enterprises, the company that operates the Tribeca Film Festival.

Gilmore had a 19-year career at Sundance that culminated in his role as director of the Sundance Film Festival.

Tribeca Enterprises is the New York-based media firm founded by Travis Bickle himself, Monsieur Robert De Niro. It operates Tribeca Film Festival International, amongst other enterprises; although the festival is probably its most famous offering.

Gilmore said he sees an opportunity for Tribeca Enterprises "to develop a film organization that can create a new paradigm for the future."

So, what might all this mean? Maybe nothing; but I can't help speculating, given all the recent articles I've read, and discussions I've heard in the last 2 years about Sundance's waning influence, thanks in part to the digital revolution we've experienced in recent years, during much of Gilmore's tenure as director of the festival.

Might he be hoping to replicate the success he had at Sundance, at Tribeca, a festival that has so far failed to meet the expectations of its creators, the locals, and the industry it serves (which would explain their move to bring in a man with Gilmore's rep and experience)?

They say every empire eventually falls, only to be replaced by a new one. Might Tribeca be trying to put itself on that path - to emerge as Sundance's replacement, when that particular empire meets its eventual demise?

I don't know! But I find it all rather interesting :o)

via THR

SIGH - Few Words On The Chris Brown/Rihanna Fiasco

I'm sure most of you have been following the trials and tribulations of teenybopper heartthrob Chris Brown, and the victim on the receiving end of his immature displays of masculinity, songstress Rihanna.

Given all that I've heard and read about the matter, I just had to say one thing: I'm really, REALLY disturbed by the onslaught of support Chris Brown has received, and from whom that support has been coming from - his fan base of young girls in their teens, mostly African American, showing a perplexing tolerance for Brown's behavior, while blaming Rihanna for the incident, and in some cases, doing so quite harshly!

What's that about? Did they not read the same reports that I read? Major contusions on both sides of Rihanna's face, with serious swelling and bruising... a split lip and a bloody nose... bite marks on one of her arms and several fingers... strangulation until near unconsciousness?

What exactly could she have done to make him think that it's OK to do all that to her?

And, maybe more importantly, what's going on in the minds of these young girls who think that this kind of behavior is actually justified?

If one of these girls was my child, I would be deeply concerned! As they age, if they become victims of domestic abuse, from a boyfriend/husband/whatever, will they blame themselves too? Are we witnessing a potential pattern here?

Frankly, I follow the careers of Chris Brown and Rihanna about as much as my grandmother showed interest in De La Soul and Eric & Rakim when I was in high school years ago - not at all! But, given the publicity that this matter has received and continues to receive, I think it's as good an opportunity as any to teach some important life lessons to young girls like those I talked about above, as well as young boys who envision themselves Chris Brown simulacrums.

This is certainly not the first time that something like this has happened, and it certainly won't be the last! And hearing a 14-year old girl say, "it's Rihanna's fault," is indicative of just how woven into the consciousness of a people this kind of abuse is, so much that it's generally accepted as the norm.

GOOD IDEA/BAD IDEA - Marlon Jackson Angers Nigerians With Plan To Build Jackson 5 Museum At Historic Slave Port

This makes a lot of sense.

Um... actually, no... it doesn't! And leave it to a member of the Jackson family to think that it does.

Michael Jackson's brother Marlon is caught up in a controversial plan that will transform the site of an historic slave port in Nigeria into a $3.4 billion slavery memorial that will double as a luxury resort and museum honoring the Jackson 5.

I was with him on the "slavery memorial" part. But he lost me with the "luxury resort" and "museum honoring the Jackson 5" part.

The idea is that the Jackson name will help attract African American tourists looking to trace their roots back to Nigeria.

Oh really? Will it? Does the Jackson name carry that much clout amongst African Americans?

The plan, however, has been criticized heavily by citizens. Critics dismiss it as a cynical money-making scheme, inappropriate for the subject of such seriousness as the transatlantic slave trade, reports the BBC.

One of the dissenting voices belongs a Nigerian historian and writer, Toyin Falola, who states: “This plan is morally reprehensible, it’s like dancing on the graves of dead people and telling them you’re honouring them … “Money-making and historical memory are allies in the extension of capitalism. You cry with one eye and wipe it off with cold beer, leaving the other eye open for gambling…”

The developers say the Badagry Historical Resort will be marketed to African-Americans as a mixture of luxury tourist attractions and historical education. Visitors will be able to see the route their ancestors walked before boarding slave ships. They can then retire to their five-star hotel to drink cocktails by the pool.
This will be an adventurous ride giving you an historical overview of African music. From hologram images, concert footage, a state of the art recording facility, to robotic figures displaying the rhythmic beats from 300 years ago where music began leading up to the biggest African group in the world, The Jackson Five," says literature from the investment group behind the plan, called The Motherland Group (TMG).
Visitors will also be able to pay their respects at the site of a mass grave for those who died before boarding ships across the Atlantic Ocean – then travel a few yards in a buggy to play a round of golf. They can visit a replica slave ship to see the conditions Africans suffered, before visiting the world's only museum dedicated to the career of the Jackson 5.

Genius right?

The idea to house the Jackson 5 museum on the sacred site came to Marlon Jackson during a trip to Nigeria.

"The Jackson Family had been looking for a place to site their memorabilia collection for some time," says Gary Loster, a former mayor of Saginaw, Michigan, and chief executive of The Motherland Group. "We visited the site of the slave port in Badagry and Marlon turned to me and said: 'Let's put it here, this is right.' It's such an emotional place, and I think we all felt that it was the right place to have the Jackson family memorial."

Exactly what I would have thought too! Let's build a memorial to me, because I'm so special and wonderful, right on top of a port where my ancestors were stripped of their freedoms, traded as parts for labor, and saw their lives abruptly and brutally ended.

Yes, that makes a lot of sense Marlon!

Ok... so... I'm certainly not naive... ultimately, this is about business, and making money. Arguments in favor say that building this so-called resort will benefit Nigerians, as it will encourage tourism, funneling money into the country's economy. But will it really? Who benefits here? Nigerians or the western investors?

We've seen oil companies like Shell, set up shop in the country, mining it for its minerals, and failing to ensure that Nigeria and Nigerians share in the discovered wealth. Why will this be any different?

I'd like to think that the $3.4 Billion investment could be used in some other more sensible venture. The slavery museum idea is a very good one; but the words "luxury resort" shouldn't be mentioned in the same context.

The Holocaust Museum in Berlin isn't surrounded by "five-star hotels" where visitors can "drink cocktails by the pool;" nor can you travel a few yards in a buggy to play a round of golf, or visit the world's only museum dedicated to the career of the Jackson 5!

Should this site not be upheld as sacrosanct?

via BBC

SCREENING SIGHTING - Indie Film Bloggers Road Trip

A documentary about bloggers who blog about cinema.

Guess what? I'm in it - within the first 15 minutes actually!

So, if you're in New York City, and are available tonight, at 8PM, head on over to the theatres at Anthology Film Archives, in lower Manhattan - 32 Second Avenue, exactly - on the corner of 2nd avenue and 2nd street. Take the F/V train to 2nd Avenue - the theatre is about 2 blocks from the subway station.

Tickets are $9.

The filmmaker (Sujewa Ekanayake) and the cast of characters will mostly be present.

Check out Sujewa's blog at for much more!

SCREENING SIGHTINGS - Best Of The African Diaspora Film Festival @ BAM

Attention New Yorkers

A few screenings to fill your calendars with for the rest of the month... they're certainly on mine.

All are selections from last fall's African Diaspora Film Festival, and will be screening at BAM Cinematek. I've also written about some of these films previously on this blog.

Here they are, trailers included:

1. Gospel Hill (Read my post on this HERE)

Fri, Feb 20 at 9pm*
Sun, Feb 22 at 6:50pm*
Tue, Feb 24 at 9:40pm*
*Q&A with Giancarlo Esposito

Directed by Giancarlo Esposito
With Angela Bassett, Danny Glover, Julia Stiles

This powerful film captures the simmering tension and prejudice in the southern town of Julia on the eve of a memorial for assassinated civil rights activist Paul Malcolm. Glover brilliantly portrays Malcolm’s son, while Bassett is remarkable as his wife, who urges her husband to fight to stop developers in the Gospel Hill neighborhood intent on exploiting black homeowners.

2. Prince of Broadway (Read my post on this HERE)

Sat, Feb 21 at 4pm*
Tue, Feb 24 at 4:30 pm*
*Q&A with filmmakers

Directed by Sean Baker

Two men’s lives converge in New York City’s wholesale fashion district. Lucky, an illegal immigrant from Ghana, solicits street shoppers with knock-off merchandise, and Levon, an Armenian-Lebanese immigrant, operates an illegal storefront selling counterfeit goods. While Lucky’s world is turned upside down when a child is thrust into his life, Levon struggles to save a marriage that is falling apart. Winner of the Jury Award, Los Angeles Film Festival 2008.

3. Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation (Read my post on this HERE)

Wed, Feb 25 at 8:40pm

Directed by Charles Burnett
With Danny Glover, Carl Lumbly

Charles Burnett’s (Killer of Sheep) latest work depicts a major event in African history: Namibia’s struggle for independence from apartheid-era South Africa. The film focuses on the rise of Samuel Nujoma (Lumbly), a prominent leader in the fight for independence and the country’s first president.

4. Princess of Africa

Wed, Feb 25 at 4:30pm

Directed by Juan Laguna

This is the story of two dreams: Marem, a Senegalese dancer, dreams of visiting Europe, while Sonia, a Spanish dancer, is fascinated by the magic of Africa. Their interconnected lives become a bridge between two cultures as the women are exposed to new experiences and ways of thinking. In Spanish, French, and Wolof with English subtitles.

5. Naked Acts

Sat, Feb 21 at 9:30pm*
*Q&A with Bridgett Davis

Directed by Bridgett Davis

This is the story of Cicely, an actress who lost 57 pounds and landed her first role in a low-budget art film. She soon learns that the role requires a nude scene. How can she keep her clothes on and keep the part? Cicely’s journey unveils a secret she kept hidden beneath her girth, as she discovers that emotional nakedness is more revealing than taking her clothes off could ever be. Winner of the Audience Award for the Best Film Directed by a Woman of Color at ADFF 2008.

There are several others not listed above. Feel free to check them all out HERE.