Black People Need to Wake-up. We’re in a Fight for our Survival.

Photo Courtesy of Gallup News

OP-ED – Written By Sydney Chandler

I stumbled upon an op-ed on the NEWSONE website written by a very capable writer, and he was rattling off the multitudes of reasons why folks need to stop telling Black people to settle for a candidate just to beat Trump in 2020. Which in fact, this was the title of the op-ed. Well, I’m here to tell him that he’s full of as much shit as Trump bloviating ad nauseam daily about his ahem…greatness, intelligence, mastery of deal-making (excuse me for a moment, I have something caught in my throat), his being “the chosen one” (a true God Complex) and Jews thinking of him as the King of Israel. It’s painfully obvious this master scribe is floating along in his dimly lit bubble, and doesn’t fully understand what we’re dealing with in this new Trumpian, I wannabe a dictator, a thousand lies a day, dysfunctional reality.

Link: Stop Telling Black Folks To Settle For A Candidate Just To Beat Trump In 2020

Because I grew up around the military as well as having family and friends in local, state and federal law enforcement, I fully understand the mandate of something or someone being a “clear and present danger”. Trump is a threat to our Democracy, freedoms, national security and our American way of life. We need to stop this march toward authoritarianism in its tracks. We are heading in a dangerous direction that could result in a very real apocalyptic, Handmaids Tale, doomsday scenario as long as Trump is in the Oval Office, and feels that he is above reproach and untouchable. We are already in a “Constitutional Crisis” and the much ballyhooed and long-awaited Mueller Report is literally a blueprint for Congress to start an inquiry into impeachment.

Black people need to look at the BIG picture instead of looking at this presidential election cycle through the narrow scope of prior, normal presidential elections. Trump is not normal, his administration is not normal, he spews lies with wild-abandon, he incites hatred and avarice toward different races and ethnic groups, just this week he spouted a very disconcerting anti-Semitic trope that the Jewish people didn’t respond well to at all,  his supporters are rabid, violent and cult-like, the Republicans in Congress have been compromised because of their desire to push through their draconian legislation, and stack the federal courts with right-leaning judges and placing another conservative on the Supreme Court. That will not bode well for anyone in this country but ultra right-wing conservatives and evangelicals. Black people, YES, I’m talking directly to YOU…you must pull off the rose-colored glasses and really understand the threat.

Trump is showing everyone who he is and what he is capable of with his love affair with brutal dictators (Putin, MBS and Kim), and how he’s treating migrants and those defenseless children he has in deplorable conditions. When a dictator comes for one group, they will always find another group of people to hate and if necessary, dispatch. History bears this out. Countries have been destroyed and millions of people murdered under megalomaniacs like Trump. Out of the gate, he came for the Brown people (all Mexicans are murderers, rapists, criminals, etc), he’s going after women (wants to control our bodies and decisions), he came for LBGTQs (transgenders in the military), so what will stop him from coming for us? He’s still vilifying the Central Park 5 and they’ve been exonerated. Black people don’t have the luxury of being apathetic, indifferent, believing and spreading propaganda, not voting, hating candidates and announcing to the world we won’t vote for this one or that one because that’s not our candidate of choice, and we can’t be so blind and entrenched in our positions, to where we pretend that we do.

We are still the most hated and reviled race in this country. Hell, there’s so many preconceived ideas and stereotypes about Blacks in other countries, that when you don’t fit the images of what Europeans have in their heads, they’re blown away and speechless. Allow me to be clear…the very real issues we have now, will not be remedied with four more years of Trump. They will only become worse. As it is, racists feel emboldened to call the police on us for going about our everyday lives. Cops are murdering Black men without hesitation. This election in 2020 is not about the individual or their personal feelings, it is about the survival of our race. So we’d better register people to vote, then get them and us to those polls and vote down ticket in 2020 no matter who the Democratic candidate is, if we don’t want to find ourselves in a “Back to the Future” situation with our 21st century version of Jim Crow or worse.

SYDNEY CHANDLER is a Los Angeles based freelance journalist, essayist, screenwriter and producer. Sydney has written and produced documentaries, features, shorts, TV dramas and comedies. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.

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Review: The Kitchen

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Nothing was really cooking in this kitchen. #TheKitchen flamed-out with a dismal $5.5 million debut given the high-voltage cast (Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Elizabeth Moss) and a production budget nearing $38 million.

I went into the film expecting to be entertained, instead I was caught in a world-wind of inane dialogue and a storyline that is at the apex of improbability. There is so much to unpack with this film, where does one begin. It is set in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen in the 70’s. The story is about three women married to members of the Irish mob. Their husbands are arrested by the FBI, convicted and sent to prison. The mob is supposed to take care of them while the men are away, but it’s not quite turning out the way they thought, so the three women devise a grandiose plan to take care of themselves. They take over the protection rackets and then violently snuff-out the competition.

We saw a much MUCH better film of this nature in #ViolaDavis‘ #Widows. But in The Kitchen, we have a jumbled mob/crime thriller that is DOA, dead on arrival because it just doesn’t fit the era nor is it remotely believable. The 1970s was an era when patriarchy, sexism, misogyny and racism was still very much in-your-face. Here we have three women, with one being Black, who not only takes out members of the Irish mob to control Hell’s Kitchen, but they encroach upon the Italian mob’s territory, then forms a partnership with the Italian mob boss. Come on now. I know there were and are women in the mob, and many are prominent figures, but three ordinary housewives suddenly becoming hardened killers and taking all of five minutes to learn the business, is ridiculous. Then let’s not even get into all of the subplot’s twists and turns. It was dizzying and not in a good way. This film shows us that even when you have talented actors, they can’t save a bad script and bad direction.

#MelissaMcCarthy #TiffanyHaddish #ElizabethMoss

Review: Hobbs & Shaw

 

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No shade, but I didn’t like Hobbs & Shaw as much as I thought I would. There were some elements in the film that were cool, but overall, it was just a meh action flick. I like Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham and of course Idris Elba. But the preachy monologues about “family” were way too syrupy for me, the macho testosterone fueled banter and posturing was tedious, and though Vanessa Kirby was supposed to be a badass, they still found a way to sexualize her. Hell, instead of #HelenMirren’s character being in prison, she would have been more fun to watch kicking ass. But, the way this film was shot and written, Mirren was too old for the demographic Hobbs & Shaw is geared toward. On the surface, I appreciated the homage Johnson paid to his Samoan heritage, but it honestly felt forced and had the feeling of pandering.

 

The action was good, but there was nothing in this film that I haven’t seen before in other action/adventure films in one form or another. Hobbs & Shaw was truly made for 18-24 year old males because “macho and testosterone” was in overdrive. I know Hobbs & Shaw is under the banner of the Fast & Furious franchise, and I also know that it rankled many of those who feel that Johnson swooped in and basically made the franchise about him instead of about the ensemble. But Hobbs & Shaw is definitely a stand-alone film. Other than the eye-rolling family subtext, this film has absolutely nothing to do with the Fast & Furious franchise. And by the way, killing Idris Elba was a bit irritating. A film about his character and how he came to be that evil and murderous, would be great. But it is Hollywood, his character can always be resurrected.
Directed by David Leitch. Starring #DwayneJohnson,
#JasonStatham#IdrisElba#VanessaKirby.

 

Synopsis: Hobbs (Johnson), a loyal agent of America’s Diplomatic Security Service, and lawless outcast Shaw (Statham), a former British military elite operative join forces again, when cyber-genetically enhanced anarchist Brixton (Idris Elba) gains control of an insidious bio-threat that could alter humanity forever — and bests a brilliant and fearless rogue MI6 agent (The Crown’s Vanessa Kirby), who just happens to be Shaw’s sister — these two sworn enemies will have to partner up to bring down the only guy who might be badder than themselves.

#HobbsandShaw

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Women’s March LA – 2018

I arrived at the Women’s March VERY early with my staff because it was important to show support for what women, minorities and immigrants are facing in this country. While I was chatting with all of the wonderful men and women who came to march and protest, my god-daughter sent me a text that she and her friends were somewhere in the madness at 20 strong. I was more than proud of her because millennials are the group that will be negatively impacted the most with this administration’s policies. I was also proud of all the women, men, teens and younger kids gathering to make this year’s march a success, as well as to make their voices heard, not just in this country, but around the world.

If my mom were still alive, that first sign above referencing the 1960s, is the one she’d be holding. She believed in equality, was a staunch feminist and would have been at this march, or some march across this country. But she also would have been thoroughly pissed-off that we’re back at square one. But believe this, we’ll make it right mom, one day soon! We cannot and must not continue to allow history to keep repeating itself.

Today women and our allies, came together across this nation and around the world for the Women’s March. Let’s get something done. Rallies and protests are great, but we need to come together as a cohesive unit every single day and not just one day out of the year. I don’t want my nieces, god-daughter or any young girl in and outside of this country, to still be fighting the same fights we’re fighting today, and the fights our ancestors thought would be in my generation’s rearview mirror, against an extremist, patriarchal government who wants to have total control over women, our reproductive rights and how high up the ladder of success we can go. Our gender should NEVER be a deciding factor on any achievement in our lives, and our bodies and what’s inside of them, are our own to govern. The Handmaid’s Tale is a work of fiction and we should never EVER allow something like that to become a life imitating art moment.

As for immigration, everyone should be welcome in this country no matter what race, creed, ethnicity or religious affiliation. The Statue of Liberty says: Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

There’s no caveat in that statement which says you’re only welcome if you’re White. This is only one of a multitude of reasons why we’re marching, protesting, resisting and signing people up to vote. The very heart and soul of this country is dependent upon reclaiming our right to call ourselves decent and moral people. We cannot and will not allow a small group of racist oligarchs and kleptocrats to reverse the progress we’ve made in the US regarding race, religious freedom, immigration and women’s rights just because they long for a bygone era of White Male Supremacy. The buck stops with each and everyone one of us and by now, we should have all had ENOUGH!

Commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. and His Enduring Legacy

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“Racism is still that hound of Hell which dogs the tracks of our civilization” – Martin Luther King Jr. in 1967 from his speech Where Do We Go From Here.

Today we commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. who was prophetic and could clearly see the future of this country. Here we are in 2018, revisiting what King and others during this era, hoped would be in our rear-view mirror. We can still ask – “What happens to a dream deferred”? We have been plunged into a battle between good and evil, twisted and antiquated ideologies on race and gender, versus progressive, forward thinking regarding diversity and equality for all. We’re at the crossroads of our morality as a nation; if we ever want to stand on moral high-ground again, we must be better, do better and cast aside those who are dragging us into the abyss of hatred and injustice.

Martin Luther King Jr. has been gone for almost 50 years, and I feel that he would weep with sadness, and be consumed by the horror at how this country has regressed after the light of hope was cast across this nation with the election of Barack Obama, our first Black President. We have allowed racists and bigots to once again, overtake the good and decent denizens of the United States of America, and we must slay this insidious dragon once and for all if we are ever to fulfill the vision Dr. King had for our country and the world.

Let us not forget his partner in life as well as in the cause, the great lady, Coretta Scott King.

“Freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others”. –Coretta Scott King.

She continued King’s legacy and because of her, he will never be forgotten and neither will she. Coretta Scott King is also the one who wrote the letter warning about Jeff Sessions racist leanings, yet Trump appointed him Attorney General, so Trump’s denials and platitudes ring hollow as always.

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As we navigate the hate-filled terrain in our country, we need to remember that “WE THE PEOPLE” have choices. You see this photo, it is from the March on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his powerful “I Have a Dream” speech. We can make this happen again. Millions of us have had enough of the vile racism, bigotry and divisiveness coming from Trump and his agents of evil. The only way to put this administration on the ropes and to make a permanent change in this country, is to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. The time for action is NOW! Don’t allow all of those who fought and died for freedom, justice and equality, to have their sacrifices be in vain.

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“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly,” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Spoken Word Artist, Jennifer Thompson’s “The Mission”

On the Scoodie, I will occassionally showcase new and established artists, poets, spoken word performers, actors, singers, musicians and dancers. Today’s talent is spoken word artist and poet, Jennifer Thompson with her poem, “The Mission”.

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The Mission

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Russia DOES Matter…You’d Better Understand Why

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I’ve seen countless interviews with Trump supporters, and even when confronted with his abundance of lies, blame-gaming, FACTS and treating the presidency as a reality TV show, they’re still 1000% in his corner. Unfortunately, we all must chalk them up to a mystifying loss; not worth wasting additional time, energy and brain cells on…they’re heading toward the cliff, so at this point, we should mercifully allow them to take the plunge.

I’ve also encountered those saying that while we’re focused on the Senate Intel Hearings and Russia, the Republicans (our real-life Sith Lords) are in stealth mode, drawing up a newer, more deadly plan for their Death Star of a Healthcare Bill. YES, I firmly agree that we need to keep our eyes on what they’re doing because whatever it is, it won’t bode well for the American people. NOTHING Republicans in this modern era, ever does.

But to insinuate that the intelligent among us can’t multitask, is insulting. Most of us know exactly what we need to do to keep the pressure on the Senate, House and this administration. However, RUSSIA is an immediate, dangerous threat, and this should scare and alarm the HELL out of people. They were able to breach our security grid to the extent that it probably affected our 2016 election and severely damaged our Democratic process. Without Democracy and the rules of law and order, the US would be reduced to being a combination 3rd world autocracy and kleptocracy.

What the American people need to desperately and IMMEDIATELY understand, is if a foreign government got this far within our once thought-to-be impenetrable system, especially a government that is and will more than likely always be, an enemy of the United States, they will continue to attempt to breach our security until they eventually find a way to succeed. If the worst case scenario happens, it will shut this country completely down and life as we know it will cease to exist. That is not alarmist thinking, it’s a very real possibility.

These “hackers” aren’t some disaffected youths sitting in their bedrooms, breaking into random systems just because they’re smart enough to do so. These operatives are a network of well-trained, well-educated intelligence and IT professionals, whose only job is to infiltrate and take-over every system in their target countries, and the “big fish in the pond is the US”. Mull that over for a second.

Russia has been interfering in government elections all over the globe, and being that the US is considered their equal in military might and intelligence, what better coup could Putin have than bringing this country to its knees? If his operatives are successful, they could shut down all of our communication and financial systems. Then turn their attention to aviation, utilities, government installations, intelligence and military operations…there are endless possibilities of what kind of havoc they could wreck, that will have far-reaching ramifications and repercussions not just for us, but globally. As the US goes, so does the rest of the world.

Hijacking our elections and healthcare would be way down on the food chain with what the people in the US would have to deal with in this apocalyptic scenario. NO, it does not sit well with me that 23 million people would lose their insurance and the disabled, seniors, veterans, women and those with preexisting conditions, would be negatively impacted by this inhumane and insidious Healthcare Bill. BUT, we are living in dangerous times and just as Angela Merkel said “Europe can no longer completely depend on the US”, and it is an absolute certainty that the American people CANNOT depend on this current administration to do what’s right for this country as it pertains to Russia or for that matter, anything else. We can’t even depend on our president to tell the truth. That is a testimony on just how far this country has fallen into the abyss.

I wish there were some gigantic mirror that could be held up so that each and every American could look at themselves and really see who it is we’ve become. There was a time not too long ago, that if 1/16th of what is happening in this country now had occurred then, the American people would clean house. If there was any hint that a foreign government and Russia being that government, breached our security and American politicians were perhaps involved in treason, collusion and obstruction of justice, the American people would be demanding, not asking, but DEMANDING either an investigation or swift and decisive action. Now we have heads buried in the sand, an abundance of excuses, rampant ignorance, blind loyalty and some segments of our society almost cheering for Putin. No words for that last one.

What happened America? You swore for decades you were better than this, only to find out that you actually weren’t.