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.

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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Made It To The 2018 Cannes Film Festival

 

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The Cannes Film Festival is one of the most prestigious events within the entertainment industry. Careers are made, others are reignited and all are vying for the adulation of the press and fans, as well as validation from their peers. It’s like the qualifying rounds for the Olympics, except in this case, it’s next year’s Oscars.

One day soon, I’ll be on the other side of the camera because my projects will be contending for a nod from power-players as well as distribution. But at least after years of covering celebs and working in this industry, I know the pressure they’re under and how to handle the press.

But out of all of the premieres, award shows, various industry events, including the Oscars, Golden Globes and other film festivals, the Cannes Film Festival is still my absolute favorite. There’s something about the history and how everything about it, harkens back to that quintessential old Hollywood glam. I can almost see Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner, Dorothy Dandridge, Lana Turner, Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Paul Newman, William Holden, Marilyn Monroe, and the rest of the true old school  Hollywood glitterati, dressed in their finest gowns, dripping in diamonds and wrapped in furs, with the men in their dapper tuxedos, behaving in a manner that us mere mortals would imagine movie stars should…regal, otherworldly and what fantasies and dreams of a film career are made of.

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Famous Stars of the Cannes Film Festival

James Bond at Cannes

Vintage Cannes Film Festival Photos

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Even walking through the corridors of iconic hotels like The Martinez and the Intercontinental Carlton Cannes (formerly just the Carlton Hotel), are filled with history. Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief starring Grace Kelly and Cary Grant has the Carlton  featured prominently. It really is true when people say…if walls could talk.

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1950s

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Present day

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The Martinez

 

At the Red Carpet Hollywood Premiere of Avengers: Infinity War

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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!

Film Review: Proud Mary

I wanted to support Taraji P. Henson in her film “Proud Mary” and I’m glad I did. I know the critics savaged it and Rotten Tomatoes gave it 23%. But I’m veering off the freeway with this film. I think a lot of critics didn’t like it because they didn’t understand it, nor did they pick up on or appreciate the nod it gave to the so-called “blaxploitation” films of the 70’s. Another issue the critics appeared to have with Proud Mary is that it wasn’t filled with a ton of CGI, Special EFX and grandiose stunt sequences with the hero, or in this case, the heroine doing a lot of slow motion acrobatics, while mowing down 100 bad guys trying to kill her.

Proud Mary is a definite throwback to 70’s linear storytelling. It wasn’t filled with a multitude of subplots, random characters popping in and out, with no real connection to the overall narrative, and a bunch of not too subtle societal messages pounding the audience over the head like a sledgehammer. People in the theater also didn’t need a Ph.D in – “I think I’m so damned clever filmmaking”. It was a very easy film to watch and follow. The cinematography was clean, the action was just enough to move the story along and make you go WOW, the acting was good; Taraji P. Henson killed it as a badass hitwoman who can dispatch her targets without a second thought. Jahi Di’Allo Winston, who played the kid she looked after, was great. Danny Glover was also on-point as the crime boss Taraji’s character Mary worked for. Everyone cast in Proud Mary did their jobs well.

Were there some issues, of course. I thought the first half of the film moved a bit slow and there were a few small holes in the storyline, but it wasn’t enough to say Proud Mary is a bad film. The major problem with Proud Mary is that it wasn’t promoted enough, and for those who are addicted to slick, colorful, special EFX-laden films with an abundance of camera angle trickery, you’ll probably find Proud Mary boring and flat. But if you want a film that follows the screenwriter’s go-to, as in Freytag’s Pyramid, then you’ll find a warm place in your heart for Proud Mary.

As a sidenote: There were two films in the same vein as Proud Mary. The 1980 film Gloria with Gena Rowlands and the 1999 remake of Gloria with Sharon Stone. If you ever saw either of those films and liked them, then you’ll probably like Proud Mary.