For the last few decades the world has been blanketed with digital technology, it has been called the digital age. It is not news that technology and computers have gone global, but is this digital age what was promised to us? Sure we have devices that can process ten terabytes of data per second, but it also freezes every other time we press a button. Caller I.D. fooled us into think that this was the best way to go, and we welcomed them into our homes. There were grand promises of a utopian paper-less society, but all studies have concluded that even more paper is being used. These machines were supposed to make our lives easier, our jobs more productive, our homes happier. There were pedictions that they would make going to the DMV and court effortless. What really happened is more lawsuits, more food, drug and product recalls than ever before. On top of that just about everyone is depressed, unhappy or in denial of the need of therapy. Sure you can fall in love, date, break up and get divorced all online, but it appears that society is crumbling around us. You can see it, sense it and feel it. We have communication devices, but seemingly we are still unable to communicate with each other. What is really going on?

Screws still fall out. Drones still kill people in error. We still don’t know who in sports is taking PED’s. The media is still largely devoid of emotion, passion and intelligence. Facts are still unverifiable. The tax code is still not simplified. Cars still use roads. The political left and right are more akind to the Crips and Blood gang  fueds of the 1980’s. Journalistics standards have still not returned. The Palin’s are still popular and Dennis Kucinich is still mired in obscurity. Live shows still aren’t live. The police can go through your cell phone without warrant. Cell Phone companies still charge you and call HSPA+,WiMax, and LTE, 4G (when they really aren’t), World conflicts still kill hundreds of thousands of people and seem like video games, to those not involved. Blended classrooms only show different learning, not better learning. Earlier adopters continue to make you feel like you are missing something, as if you’re not cool because you don’t have the latest noise cancelling ear buds. Technology is still the god of many and they must submit to it. They are afraid to turn it off, they will even have accidents because of it. They will destroy relationships because of it even though the device works correctly 70% of the time. Have we forgotten that we leave bits and piece of ourselves online every time we turn on a computer device, or that to this generation privacy is now mythical a Middle Earth. With button press consent, our private information is now public? Haven’t we lost freedoms? Just to click a post.

(Cont)…

For years Oprah Winfrey has with her money and reach done many things to help people whether that help came from the Oprah show’s subject matter, giving her audience members cars or opening up a school in Africa. It can even be said her 2007 endorsement of Barack Obama is what put him over the top in his bid to become president of the United States of America. First let me be clear that while there is zero chance of my book being included in Oprah’s Book club, I have no problem with Oprah at all. Oprah Winfrey is an amazing person who has overcome unbelievable odds to become one of the most powerful and influential people in the world.


The Early Years

In September of 1986 The Oprah Winfrey Show was nationally syndicated. “Winfrey saw television’s power to blend public and private; while it links strangers and conveys information over public airwaves, TV is most often viewed in the privacy of our homes. Like a family member, it sits down to meals with us and talks to us in the lonely afternoons. Grasping this paradox, …She makes people care because she cares. That is Winfrey’s genius, and will be her legacy, as the changes she has wrought in the talk show continue to permeate our culture and shape our lives.” OPRAH WINFREY: The TV Host by Deborah Tannen,Time Magazine.

In the mid-1990s, Winfrey adopted a less tabloid-oriented format, doing shows about heart disease, spirituality, meditation and home decorating. She often interviews celebrities on issues that directly involve them in some way, such as cancer, charity work or substance abuse. In addition, she interviews ordinary people who have done extraordinary things or been involved in important current issues.

Oprah is the most-watched US daytime talk show, aims to empower women. This article examines the show’s representations of gender and how images of `race’, sexuality and class cross-cut them. It considers the show’s status as television psychology. It explores the show’s translation of aspects of black feminism to television, and discusses the social implications of its `super-real’ representations.” Empowering Women? The Oprah Winfrey Show. Feminism & Psychology February 1994, Corrine Squire

Oprah’s early years of triumph and success were built on shows of Abuse. Abuse that was always male and often a black one. If she had a story on cheating, she would follow the same model, males in general and black in particular. Do black men do these things? Sure they do, but on the Oprah show, it seemed as if all black men do these things.

If Oprah had a show for the great husbands, or fathers of America. The show would  be littered with white men, hardly if ever a black male, or even another minority male. Black male bad, White male good, Female superior are the themes that are constant to Oprah’s audience.

Fans of her show will never see her “bash” males, she brings others on the show for that. What you see when you watch her show is great gift ideas, good recipes, self-help advice, the rehabilitation of a celebrities career and who doesn’t get to know something about our favorite celebrities. She does invite males on her show, and they are usually viewed as “non-threatening”, or safe. And somehow her shows always seem to portray average black men as monsters and average white men as heroes. Yes it is Oprah’s show and she can do what she pleases with it. It is unfortunate that she seems to paint males as the very incarnation of violence, and young black males as monsters. For Oprah only women can be angels, and for the most part they are white as well.


We all understand helping women, but even more so we understand helping anyone in need, regardless of whether they too much hair on their face, or too much bass in their voice, this is just as egregious as helping someone due only to skin color. While there is no issues with Oprah the talk show host, there is an issue with Oprah the teacher, doctor or relationship expert by what she says and what she allows to be said on her show. She is to be commended because she is not and exploiter like Maury, Springer or Tyra. No one is perfect and this is something that Oprah, based on her history, should know first hand. In many respects Oprah deserves a lot of credit for tackling many important issues, except her own.



Part 2 Part 3

While doing research for my my new book I had the privileged and opportunity to speak with hundreds of diverse people. I have had numerous conversations with health care professionals from all over the country. I have spoken with doctors, pharmacist, technicians, managers and other professionals in regards to Health Care reform. Although those conversations/debates were enlightening, what I discovered about the retail Pharmacy business is far more shocking.  I won’t talk about the miss fills and errors, because a lot of that is under control and minimal besides Night Line has already done those type of reports. Those ABC reports will be nothing like the series of reports that are about to appear in this article. These stories have to be told, how else are we going to talk about it.  This gathered information is from workers at the big chain pharmacies  Rite Aide, Walgreens and CVS/Pharmacy.

The “Family” part of the pharmacy was removed when pharmacies started popping up on every major street corner in America. The question is why? What do these pharmacy corporations know that the common person doesn’t. Answer: They know quite a few things that they aren’t telling us. And quite honestly they aren’t trying to help the public at large, even more disturbing is what these pharmacies are doing now. This series will look into blatant sexism, racism, harassment and more… you haven’t read nothing yet.

Running a retail pharmacy is a business like any other, so of course they all want to make money. Sure the 700% mark-ups, the $8 per pill dispensing fees are unreasonable, but who is actually paying attention.

Sexism:

Bathroom Gate

I was told of an incident where the light in the Men’s restroom was out for an entire year.  The situation was so bad that the male employees had to put a lamp in their bathroom in order to use it. Not long after and at the same pharmacy when management was informed that the light in the women’s restroom was out, the only person working (a manager) left the front store unattended to put the light in himself. It is a common practice to place combination locks on public restroom for “security purposes”. The lock on the women’s restroom was disable after a few complaints. The lock on the men’s restroom was not disabled, when asked why the lock on the  men’s restroom was not  disabled as well, the response given was “Men Steal”.

Books that are changing everything

Aside from the extra leeway that women receive from regional management, 70% of all hires are females, most of the males, that aren’t in management, stay in the back (“load” area), or are used to do most of the manual labor.. This doesn’t take into account the preferential treatment, which is of course location based and not corporate.

These corporations have very effective sexual harassment classes to education all of it’s employees. However, outside of those education classes males in managerial positions have  been told, off the record, that they care not allowed to scratch themselves.  I was told of instances where a broken finger nail has been cause for a paid day off from work. On the flip side of this there are very few women in president/vice president positions throughout these companies. While these things do not seems to rise to the level of smacking people on the butt, harassment,  off-color remarks, or pay for play type of activities, they are far from equal.

Unsafe Sex

Condoms and other safe sex products never go on sale.  These pharmacies usually lock up all safe-sex products up, causing potential buyers to ask for assistance, which is sometimes via loud speaker. What this often does is force the buyer to purchase other items that they don’t need to mask their purchase of their safe sex products. These corporations claim that this is done to combat theft, or loss, but you should see how much money they are throwing away in the trash every day.

Most pharmaceutical workers are intelligent,  nice and under appreciated not only by the corporations which employ them, but also by the customers they serve.

MG’s Health Advice If you are on High Blood pressure meditations they will be more effective if you take them around the same time every day. The average America woman takes a sleep aid two or three times per week.

Ethics Racism

For those that don’t know there have been many great Black movies. Many of these movies have enriched to many lives. So, I have created this list to showcase some of these films. Many of these films you may not know and some you might, but they are all worth a look.  Feel free to comment on the list, but most of all enjoy. These movies will enrich any movie collection. This is part 3 and final part of my list.

10. Love & Basketball (2000)

A romantic drama this film spans a thirteen years of friendship between childhood sweethearts Monica Wright and Quincy McCall. Monica and Quincy’s love of basketball is only matched by their love for other. This is movie shows not only how love grows, but how people grow as well.  This is one of the few movies that blended sports and love together in a compelling story. This movie will make a few eyes tear up.

9. Selma (2014)

selma

A chronicle of Martin Luther King’s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. This film presents a unique perspective of the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A movement that is fragile, ego driven and a leader who is all too human.

8. Coming to America (1988)

It is the 21st birthday of African Prince Akeem of Zamunda and he is to marry a woman he has never seen before. The prince breaks with tradition and travels to America to look for the love of his life. This film stars Eddie Murphy, but boasts an all star black cast of actors, including James Earl Jones. This comedy is the story is of a young man’s journey to find real love.

7. Get On Up (2014)

get on up

Born in South Carolina and survived abandonment, abuse and jail James Brown become one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. He joined a gospel group as a teenager, but the jazz and blues along the “chitlin’ circuit” became his springboard to fame. Brown’s ability to ability to mesmerize audiences with his music, signature moves and sexual energy is captured in this film. This film has an excellent performance by Chadwick Boseman and presents another side of the enigmatic James Brown.

6. 12 Years A Slave (2013)

12 Years A Slave

In the years before the Civil War, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the South. Subjected to the cruelty of one malevolent owner, he also finds unexpected kindness from another, as he struggles continually to survive and maintain some of his dignity. It takes a lot of courage to tell a story like this, it takes even more courage to watch it.

It's going to take guts to walk around with this novel.

It’s going to take guts to walk around with this novel.

5. A Raisin in the Sun (1961)

 

This film is actually an adaptation of the Broadway play. Walter Lee Younger is a young man struggling with his station in life. Sharing a tiny apartment with his wife, son, sister and mother, he seems like an imprisoned man. Until, that is, the family gets an unexpected financial windfall. The film itself is a look into the life of an African American family in the Mid-1900s. This film shows how Blacks were at a crossroad between longing for as past and a future that may be unattainable.

4. Do the Right Thing (1989)

This movie sparked a national dialogue on race in America. The film scene is Brooklyn as this film pushes just about every racial hot button there is. This film is also noted for its style and look.

3. The Color Purple (1985)

This movie follows the life of Celie Johnson as she struggles through life in the early 1900s. This movie has some very classic  performances. This movie raised the consciousness of the United States to domestic violence.

2. The Matrix (1999)

Neo has always questioned his reality, but the truth is far beyond his imagination. Neo is contacted by Morpheus, a legendary computer hacker branded a terrorist by the government. Morpheus awakens Neo to the real world. A world that is a ravaged wasteland where humanity has been enslaved by a race of machines which live off of their body and imprison their minds within an artificial reality known as the Matrix. If you think movie is not a black movie, then you need to Free Your Mind.

1. Roots (1977)

This was movie that was broken up into a mini-series, but nevertheless it shook the moral consciousness of our American nation. This movie detailed the struggles and horrors of  slaves. There hasn’t been a movie  made like it since.

Honorable Mentions:  Lillies of the Field, The Great Debaters, Lady Sings the Blues, Hollywood Shuffle, When the Levees Broke, Hotel Rwanda, cornbread, earl and me

All of the movies on this list are movies of note. Movies should not be judged on things that can be manipulated such as box offices, internet popularity, etc. Movies are art as art it should be viewed on its content, merit, style, direction as well as impact. As you have probably guessed by now I have listed more than 30 films. In truth, I could have compiled a list of over 100 movies, but I feel that after viewing these movies anyone will have a greater understanding of African American culture as a whole. Pick a few movies from the list and see for yourself.

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Part 1 Part 2

For those that don’t know there have been many great Black movies. Many of these movies have enriched many lives. So, I have created this list to showcase some of these films. Many of these films you may not know and some you might, but they are all worth a look.  Feel free to comment on the list, but most of all enjoy. These movies will enrich any movie collection. This is part 2 of my list.

20. Fruitvale Station (2013)

Fruitvale Station

 

22-year-old black man Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan) is now trying hard to live a clean life and support his girlfriend and young daughter. The film uses flashbacks to reveal the last day in Oscar’s life, in which he accompanied his family and friends to San Francisco to watch fireworks on New Year’s Eve. On the way back home, he became swept up in an altercation with police that ended in tragedy. This story is powerful because it is sadly an everyday story.

19. Malcolm X (1992)

 

This is a biopic of the life, philosophies and transitions of Malcolm X, an influential American figure and Nation of Islam minister. Malcolm X is portrayed by Denzel Washington. This film is based on the book, The Autobiography of Malcolm X . For those who don’t know of Malcolm X this film, with the book, is a great teaching tool, to learn about the man and his life.

18. Antwone Fisher (2002)

 

A sailor prone to violent outbursts is sent to a naval psychiatrist for help. Refusing at first to open up, the young man eventually breaks down and reveals a horrific childhood. Through his therapy, he confronts his painful past and begins a journey to find the family he never knew. This movie is moving and heartwarming. This entire film is a journey of self-discovery, through the eyes of Antwone Fisher. This story is about the need to be loved and the need to forgive.

17. Boyz ‘n the Hood (1991)

 

This movie is a gripping tale of a group of childhood friends growing up in the ultra violent South Central Los Angeles. As far as modern urban dramas go this one has it all. This film makes important points regarding the struggles facing black boys in the inner cities. It is Simply Powerful.

16. Amistad (1997)

 

 

This film takes a little known chapter in African American history as gives it weight. This is the story of a bloody revolt of African captives on a Spanish slave ship off the coast of America in 1839, and the subsequent trials that followed. This story is as compelling as it is real.


 

15. Ray (2004)

 

This the true life story of legendary blues singer Ray Charles. The movie follows Ray Charles from the losing his eyesight in early childhood, to his rising career during the 1950s and 1960s, and his problems with racism, drug abuse, failed relationships and his revolutionary idea to change the pace music by combining soul and gospel music. This movie provides incredibly insight into a brilliant man.

14. Cooley High (1975)

 

This film follows a group of high school friends, who live on the North Side of Chicago, in the mid-1960. Life changes for two of the characters when they meet a pair of career criminals and get falsely arrested in connection with stealing a Cadillac. This is a coming of age film for young black men, as high schoolers deal with their triumphs as well as their struggles.

13. Soul Food (1997)

Mama Joe has held her family together for over 40 years around a traditional Sunday dinner of soul food. When diabetes hospitalizes her, the dinners stop and tensions among her three daughters start to break the family apart. This movie epitomized life in present-day America for many African-American families. Soul Food deals with multiple family issues, the struggles, the triumph, but most of all it portrayed African American family’s a real familial unit, with real problems.

12. Love Jones (1997)

The story revolves around a young poet in Chicago who starts dating a beautiful and talented photographer. This movie deftly deals with the differences between just kickin’ it, or are we really in love. This movie plays equally to men and women. This movie is similar in fashion to Brown Sugar, but this movie introduced Spoken Word to the world and that sets it apart. Love Jones is a real slice of African Americana.

11. Purple Rain (1984)

“The Kid” with a gift for music meets an aspiring singer and finds that talent alone isn’t all that he needs. This is a complicated loved tale with “The Kid” not wanting to repeat his father’s self destructive behavior. “The Kid” comes to grips with life, love and loss. This movie is usually overlooked as a glorified music video and it is music set on fire. Glorified or not this film positively burns long after you are finished watching it. After all, this movie made it possible for similar movies such as, ‘8 mile’ to be made.

Honorable Mentions: Hollywood Shuffle, Hoop Dreams, Within Our Gates, Eddie Murphy Raw, Lackawanna Blues, Boomerang, Precious, The Best Man, The Wood, Dream Girls,The Inkwell, Sparkle, I’m Gonna Get You Sucka, and New Jack City.

Part 1

Part 3

For those that don’t know there have been many great Black movies. Many of these great movies have enriched many lives. So, decided to created a list showcasing some of these films. Many of these films you may not know and some you might, but they all are worth a look.  Feel free to comment on the list, but most of all enjoy. These movies will enrich any movie collection.

30. House Party (1990)

The parents are gone and the Kids will Play. This film introduces people not only to Kid N’ Play, but also the new feel good Hip-Hop lifestyle.  This is a cheesy hip hop flick that was well cast, with endearing characters.

29. City of GOD (2002)

The images, sound and style are the most unique features of this film about Brazil. Honestly what you come away with is that the greatest violence of all, is poverty.

28. Fear of a Black Hat (1990)

This is a side-splittingly funny mockumentary about the imaginary hard-core rap group NWH (Niggaz With Hats). The documentary tracks NWH’s rise and fall from stardom. Be careful this movie is filled with parody and satire.

27. Hustle & Flow (2005)

A tale of a pimp in the middle of a mid-life crisis who decides he wants to be a rapper. Just when you think the film can’t get any better, it surprises you.  Just when you thought that it was safe to go into the hood they make a film like this one. This is an in your face unique portrayal of a hood film.

26. Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes (2006)

This documentary provides a riveting examination of manhood, sexism, and homophobia in hip-hop culture. This movie is a hip-hop tribute while challenging the rap music industry to take responsibility for glamorizing destructive, deeply conservative stereotypes of manhood.

25. Menace II Society (1993)

A young street hustler attempts to escape the rigors and temptations of the ghetto in a quest for a better life. This is another Urban Film, but much more hardcore than ‘Boyz N the Hood’. This movie is about drugs, gangs, and violence. It is as real a movies get with this subject matter.

The Butler

24. The Butler (2013)

After leaving the South as a young man and finding employment at an elite hotel in Washington, D.C., Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) gets the opportunity of a lifetime when he is hired as a butler at the White House. Over the course of three decades, Cecil has a front-row seat to history and the inner workings of the Oval Office. However, this is a turbulent time for the black community and his role in the White House leads to tension at home, alienating his wife (Oprah Winfrey) and causing conflict with his anti-establishment son.

23. Krush Grove (1985)

This movie is based on the early days of Def Jam Recordings, up-and-coming manager Russell Walker has all the hottest acts on the record label Krush Groove records, including Run-D.M.C., Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and Kurtis Blow, while Rick (Rubin) produces their records. When Run-D.M.C. has a hit record and Russell doesn’t have the money to press records, he borrows money from a street hustler, and the Hip Hop industry is born. The movie outpaces other good movies such Beatstreet, and Breakin’ because it shows that music is a business.

22. This Is It (2009)

This film is a compilation of interviews, rehearsals and backstage footage of Michael Jackson as he prepared for his “This is it”. A tour he never began because of his unfortunate death. This film reveals the music, the talent, and the man that was Michael Jackson. This well-rounded look at the man who changed the entertainment industry forever, is definitely a must see, if for the music alone.

21. Friday (1995)

I would have loved to put this movie up higher on my list it one of my personal favorites. Friday lets the audience into the lives of two friends who sit around smoking weed on a Friday. Sounds simple enough, but then we are greeted to crazies, moral dilemmas, life lessons and gun battles. This movie is often real and always hilarious.

I would have liked to put stand up offerings in the listing, Kevin Hart, Chris Rock, Dave Chapple, Richard Pryor, Eddie Griffin, Tyler Perry…there are just too many comedies to include and still get a well-rounded list. i will say that Eddie Murphy’s “Delirious.” is probably the best stand up ever. If you look at a film like Boomerang you can see the early diversity of Mr. Murphy Boomerang is one of the first films to portray blacks in non-traditional urban roles.

Honorable Mention: Carmen Jones, Baby Boy, Poetic Justice, Jason Lyric, and the best of those type of movies was Set it Off


MG Hardie (join the fan page)

Part 2 Part 3