I got a hypochondriac flow that get real ill, get nauseous to the beat, I spit sick at will.

Telling Our Own Stories, Black People

Khalil Kain

Khalil Kain, late of the brilliant television show Girlfriends, has a fascinating interview on Ebony.com promoting his new role in the classic 1970s Negro Ensemble Company play, The Great MacDaddy.

I was struck most by this exchange:

EBONY: How do you feel about Black theater and Black film right now? Do you feel like it’s growing?

KK: What African-American film? What African-American theater? I just watched Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway and Daphne Rubin-Vega, Nicole Ari Parker, Wood Harris, these are people that I know personally, ripped it, it was all good. I love the production, but it’s still Tennessee Williams. It’s still not ours.  So now, as opposed to Blackface, it’s Black folks up there doing White work. And I love the opportunity to kind of do a classic piece like that, but at the same time there is a whole bunch of stuff that we already have. Can we do some of that? Paul Carter Harrison is the man. He’s one of those old heads that we have to tap into, because he has so much knowledge. That’s one of the reasons I took the job; the chance to sit next to the man and get up in his head for a little bit and see what I can take away. That’s how it use to go down. We use to learn from our elders, and we don’t do that anymore. I think it’s a huge mistake.

EBONY: Why do you think everybody should go see The Great MacDaddy?

KK: The play is hugely relevant and its part of African-American history. I don’t want to even get into culture because, really, what is our culture as African-Americans? This young man I met in the street, probably in his late 20s, asked me, “So you’re doing plays? Why you doing plays?” And I’m like, “You need to come check it out.” He’s like, “Why would I go?” And I was like, “To get some culture up in you! What does culture mean to you?” He was like, “Culture is annoying.” I was like, “Wow, how do you define where you come from?” He was like, “I know who I am.” I didn’t want to ask. I was just like, “alright bro.” That’s where we’re at now.

I think what Kain is getting at here is really quite remarkable because I don’t feel like we hear enough Black artists articulating forthrightly – Paul Carter Harrison is the man – that to do our own shit is valuable in and of itself. And that we lose something when we don’t.



Posted on December 4th, 2012 - Filed under Culture,Film,Television
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My 11 Favorite Television Characters of All Time

Five Things That Will Fix ‘Reed Between The Lines’

Reed-Between-The-Lines-Cast

I wanted to like Reed Between The Lines more than I did. It stars the great Tracee Ellis Ross and Malcolm-Jamal Warner. It was BET’s first real attempt at curbing its ain’t shitness.  And the first two episodes had real promise.

But, ultimately, the show was too in love with it’s desire to be a “Positive Black Family Show” and too indifferent to the fact that, outside of Malcolm-Jamal Warner’s Dr. Alex Reed, no one makes an impression. Man, the show is just dry.

After the jump I make five suggestions for things that BET and the producers can do to fix this show.

 



Posted on January 2nd, 2012 - Filed under Television
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‘Single Ladies': Season Finale Review

‘Single Ladies': Episode 10 Review

A review of episode ten* of VH1's Single Ladies after the jump. You can read all my reviews of the show here.

*I was informed that the premiere movie – what I call episode one – is considered a separate entity from the show. So my reviews are numbered incorrectly. Oops. This is technically episode nine. Why VH1 did it this way is beyond me.



Posted on August 1st, 2011 - Filed under Single Ladies Episode Reviews,Television
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