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2016 Academy Awards #OscarsSoWhite #MeSoWhat?




Academy AwardsThere’s a lot of fuss being made over the lack of “diversity” in this year’s (and last year for that matter) Academy Award nominations. As with anything that I have an opinion on, I try to look at both sides as objectively as possible and then come to a reasonable conclusion. So let’s look at it from the perspective of both sides.


In short, there are roughly 6,000 members of the Academy and each member can only cast one vote in their area of expertise. For example, in the Best Director category, only movie directors can choose the nominees. For Best Actor, only other actors can choose these nominees and so on and so on for each respective category. Then there is a vetting process in which the nominees are narrowed down to the select few names that we hear read aloud on the actual night of The Oscars. If you’re not familiar with how nominees are selected, you should take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the process by clicking this link.


Given the number of films made each year, all having the potential of being nominated, and the number of actors, directors, etc. within those individual films, it almost seems like you would need to conspire with your fellow voters to get ANY one film, director or actor, more than a handful of votes. Now take into account how few of those films were either written by, directed by or starred people of color. Furthermore, of those screenplays, directors and actors, how many were actually good enough to be nominated?


Academy AwardsIf anything is wrong with the Academy, it’s;

  1. Their flawed voting system that needs to change. It’s probably a bit unfair to label the Academy as completely racist. That’s just too simple of an answer.
  2. Their membership isn’t very diverse, so how can you expect a diverse selection of nominees. I can bet there aren’t a lot of aged Caucasian gentlemen sitting around watching Straight Outta Compton
  3. The bigger problem may not be that there isn’t enough diversity in the nominations (you wouldn’t want someone nominating you simply for the sake of diversity I would hope) but that not enough films “by” and starring minorities are being greenlit by production studios. It sounds to me like people should be boycotting the box office, not The Oscars. I bet they’ll pay attention then.


JadaNow for the jilted artist point of view. If you’re like me, you’re having a hard time mustering up sympathy for a bunch of millionaires whining about award shows. Part of me wants to tell them to get a friggin grip and look what’s going on in the world around them. Citizens of Flint, Michigan are being charged for poisonous water. Donald Trump is about to be President of the United States. Young Thug has a new album coming out. There are bigger fish to fry here people… but let’s hear them out.


Being nominated or more importantly, actually winning an Academy Award serves a lot of different purposes to an *artist (*director, actor, writer, etc.). For one, an Oscar on your resume means you can demand better roles. I imagine that this is why the script to Pootie Tang never made it to Meryl Streeps agent. Better roles sometimes mean more money, more artistic freedom, which is just another way of saying that you’ve earned more respect… which is what I believe they are really after. Also, being nominated for an Oscar is one the ways in which someone may be granted membership into that elite voting club where their voices can be heard.


I know most people can relate to this. Imagine you’ve worked at a job for years. Mastered your craft, but year after year you fail to get promoted while your peers have shot right passed you. Even though you worked every bit as hard as them, why are you not being recognized for your efforts? Wouldn’t you feel slighted too?

Or imagine you went to a 4 year college and after graduating you didn’t receive a degree even though you completed all of the same curriculum as your fellow graduates.


I’m over simplifying, of course. And by no means am I suggesting that EVERYONE should get or is worthy of getting a nomination. God knows that I’m not one of those politically correct “everyone gets a participation award just for showing up” type of people. All I’m saying is that this is their chosen profession, their trade, their craft. They work hard at it and would like the same recognition that any of us would.



White Chicks: Shawn and Marlon Wayans looking to meet The Academy half way.

So here are some take-aways for all sides. To The Academy, fix your voting and membership system. It seems to be flawed. There has to be a better way.

To the studios, take some of the money you make from the 17 comic book related movies you put out every year and throw some back to the little guy before you find out that #BlackPocketsMatter

To the angry artist, I think I get it, but I still feel like you’re trying way too hard to be accepted by people or organizations that may not want to have anything to do with you. If there are 3 things I’d like to see you STOP doing in 2016 it’s this. Stop keeping up with the Kardashians. Stop listening to anything by Young Thug and please, please, please stop weighing your self-worth on scale that was not built for you.


As the Facebook poet L’ Meme once said, “Your value doesn’t decrease because of someone’s inability to see your worth.”


/Random/ OH! And before I forget… Benicio Del Toro is NOT Black. /Not So Random/

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Comic Fans: Geek out with Cartoonist Kayfabe



Cartoonist Kayfabe is a YouTube channel hosted by comic-book makers Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg.

Comics have come a long way since they were just for kids – and anyway, those kids have grown up and rightfully embrace it as  an artform. Cartoonish Kayfabe expertly walk you through the finer points of comic creation and appreciation, referencing some high quality images along the way.  If you’re a comic geek, you will dig it – especially if you’re into 90’s era and independent comics.

Recording as Electronic Device, Brooklyn artist and writer Eric Curran releases his debut record "Two Dull Boys" in 2021.

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Chadwick Boseman Forever!!



It is clear that Chadwick Boseman chose iconic roles like Thurgood Marshall, James Brown, Jackie Robinson and Black Panther with deliberate intent and for a specific purpose. In an age where positive roles for Black actors is often sparse, Chadwick managed to land and portray historical figures that made most respect his talents if not revel in his ability to transition effortlessly for one character to another. Even I had to give his African accent a solid B+ (It’s the highest grade the Nigerian Standards Bureau can give for an African accent to a non African FYI.)

Holding out and preparing for these dynamic roles came with both great frustration and incredible resolve I’m certain. Not to mention the taxing ordeal of battling Colon Cancer as the grueling scheduling of filming and increasing responsibility for positive representation loomed. Even under extreme duress, Chadwick’s commitment to others appeared to outweigh his own tribulations, unbeknownst to us all.

Black Panther may have been just a movie to some and that may be because some can easily rattle off 10 movies with a king of non Af-Am origin. It represented a lot more to others. Albeit imagined, imagery on cinema often accomplishes more to augment the social narrative and society itself than actual reality. If negative stereotypes influence perception then positive ones absolutely have the same converse effect.

Even in jest, the cultural misappropriation of raisins in potato salad on SNL skits directly spoke to the tampering of black culture to which T’challa championed, represented and aptly responded “Oh hell Nah Karen!”

If you don’t understand the relevance of representation, it’s probably because you are thoroughly represented. After all, no one is ever grateful for every breath they take until they are gasping for air.

R.I.P Chadwick Boseman. Thank you for breathing life into the possibility of Black excellence.

Alfred Obiesie is a writer with over 12 years of online content contribution (,, and author (You Made It a Hot Line; The most influential lines in hip hop.) The book chronicles hip hop lines from the genre’s most notable artists spanning almost 40 years. It is illustrated by Grammy award winning Illustrator Shah Wonders and has garnered praise from multiple media outlets (Sirius XM, Vibe, Brooklyn Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library, etc...)

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10 Easter Eggs of Segregation in Lovecraft Country Episode 1



We’re all familiar with movies hiding easter eggs throughout their films sending winks and nods to pop-culture references. Sometimes it will be a tip-of-the-cap to an author, actor, or creator. Sometimes it is paying homage to an inspiring series, book, or film that’s near and dear to the director’s heart. This week I’ve seen a first. A T.V. series that has several easter eggs depicting segregation and oppression that only eagle-eyed aficionado’s of the black struggle might have caught on to.

Lovecraft Country is littered with important details that would fly over many people’s heads, and as I watched it again, I caught more nods to the true oppression of many African-Americans during the post-World War II era.

As a film buff, nothing makes me happier than watching a review, breakdown, or hidden easter egg video on a TV show I enjoy. Yesterday I did the same with Lovecraft Country, and while many of the melanin-deficient reviewers on youtube touched on the themes of literature, horror, and fantasy, many understandably missed some of the most important historical references.

Here are 10 Easter Eggs of Segregation in Lovecraft Country Episode 1.


1. H.P. Lovecraft’s little poem.


While we all know H.P. Lovecraft as an innovator of modern horror, fiction, and fantasy in literature, many people (including myself) didn’t know about a poem he wrote that spoke horribly about African Americans. Lovecraft Country alludes to the poem, but never recites it. Once they mentioned the title, I went straight to my Google Search. Below is the poem called: On the Creation of N*****s (1912)

When, long ago, the gods created Earth
In Jove’s fair image Man was shaped at birth.
The beasts for lesser parts were next designed;
Yet were they too remote from humankind.
To fill the gap, and join the rest to Man,
Th’Olympian host conceived a clever plan.
A beast they wrought, in semi-human figure,
Filled it with vice, and called the thing a N****r.

I’m sure Jackie Robinson beating the S**T out of Cthulhu at the beginning of the episode was a collective middle finger from the black community to Mr. Lovecraft.

2. Seating for Black People


Scene from episode 1


Actual photo of a segregated bus

While this may not come as a surprise to many of you, a lot of people are ignorant to the fact that, yes, black people were made to sit in the back of the bus. Many know the story of Rosa Parks’ defining moment, but for decades this was the way of life for black people. Where insult to injury is predicated in the show is when the bus breaks down and the bus driver gets a local pick-up truck driver to ride the stranded passengers into the city. Immediately in the next scene, the only two black passengers were seen walking down the road into Chicago.

3. Propaganda for the Negro Soldier



In Lovecraft Country, the above poster is not shown in this episode, but instead, it’s a black soldier telling other young black men that if they enlist, they can see the world. While Atticus walks by the soldier, there’s a glance of recognition as if Atticus was once one of those impressionable young men, and he knows their being lied to. Black men had to be enticed to enlist by different methods than whites because it was hard to show patriotism to a country that still to that day had kept them oppressed. So, they would show a poster of Joe Louis joining the fight…why don’t you? Get to see the world! Little did they know seeing the world would involve PTSD, death, and despair.

4. The Negro Motorist Greenbook


Scene from episode 1 depiction of the Green-Book


Actual Green-Book

The synopsis according to is: “Lovecraft Country follows Atticus Black as he joins up with his friend Letitia and his Uncle George to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father.” While this is true, it’s not the whole story. Why are they embarking on this trip? It’s to help update what many people may know as, The Negro Motorist Greenbook. Yup, just like the movie, The Greenbook. If you don’t know, this book was originated by Victor Hugo Green as a travel bible for African Americans. It provided details of safe roads to travel, places for food, repairs, and lodging where they wouldn’t be turned away or even worse, assaulted.

5. James Baldwin’s monologue on racial divide


During one of the scenes in Lovecraft Country, we see a montage of our protagonist’s road trip. In the montage we see different moments where they face discrimination, others facing discrimination, and the hardships of ignorant people with all the privilege in the world monopolizing on their entitlements. Usually, during movie montages, a composer would play a score to envoke emotions during the collection of scenes. Lovecraft Country went in a different direction. Instead, they played the monologue of James Baldwin’s renowned speech at Cambridge University where he debated with William Buckley on the subject of the United States racial divide. James Baldwin was a brilliant playwright, novelist, speaker, and activist that eloquently described the plight of the black man as it still stands today. Merged with the scenes during the montage, it speaks volumes about the state of America.

6. Ice Cream stand Scene


Scene from episode 1


Gordon Sparks photograph

In one of the scenes in the montage, we see a black man and his children waiting at an ice cream stand for service. Right over them is a sign that says “colored” and on the other side of the stand is a group of white people with ice cream being tended to by the servers. This scene looked extremely familiar to me. When I did some research, I realized this scene was based on a famous photograph by Gordon Parks, photographer and journalist who well-documented scenes of the segregation and civil rights era. Years ago I saw his work in its full brilliant quality at the High Museum in Atlanta. The color and detail brought a realism that a black-and-white photo could never do. It made this a real thing.

7. Mother and daughter under the neon sign


Scene from episode 1


Actual photo

This scene once again pays homage to another photograph by Gordon Parks. A mother and her daughter dressed elegantly as if they were going to church, standing under a large neon sign that says ‘Colored Entrance’.

8. The billboard across from the gas station


Scene from episode 1


Advertisement the billboard is based on

While Atticus and company are at a gas station filling up their car, they are approached by a gas station attendant pretending to be a gorilla to mock them. Leticia holds Atticus back from approaching the man as the attendant intensifies his ignorant behavior and she forces Atticus into the car. As they pull off, you can see a Billboard for Aunt Jemima in the background. Aunt Jemima has always been a misrepresentation of black culture through the lens of the white man and advertised to his fellow man as the overall perception of black people. The image of  Aunt Jemima is a source reflection of the learned behavior of the gas station attendant.

9. Sundown towns


Scene from episode 1

Two years ago was the first time I’ve ever heard of a Sundown Town. No, not through a history book, but as a warning about staying too late in a little town in Texas that exists today! If I didn’t hear about this first hand, I would’ve thought it was a theme of the past, but no. There are currently county’s that do not condemn the abuse of black people once the sun goes down! While the billboard here might be a relic from the past, Sundown Towns are definitely alive and well across America!

10. White walls


Scene from episode 1

Not only is this one telling, but it also holds all kinds of subliminal messages. While the group finds a Green book safe haven for dining called Lydia’s, they are surprised to find the restaurant is now called, Simmonsville Dinette. Still, they walk in and are greeted by unwelcoming faces. While the server goes to the back for what seems like their coffee orders, Atticus realizes that the walls are painted white. He asks his uncle to remind him why the white house was white. His uncle tells him about the war of 1812 when British soldiers torched it and when slaves were tasked to rebuild it, they had to paint it white to cover up the burn marks. This tells us two things. Lydia’s restaurant was burnt down and rebuilt by trespassers (obviously for being a safe haven for blacks in this all-white town) and the blackness of this restaurant was erased and covered up by the ‘white’ paint. My goodness, I could go on and on about this one!

I was expecting this series to be littered with easter eggs, but knowing they have incorporated easter eggs specifically about the black movement and struggles has me fired up to see what else is in store for these characters. Did you see any easter eggs that I missed? Comment and let me know.


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