Posted in Feature Spotlight, Jaya's Pop Culture Minute-PCM, On the Desk...

Jaya’s Pop Culture Minute (PCM)- “A Sundance Rundown”

Black Future Feminist fans, we got a special treat for you from our resident intern Jaya Robinson! On this past January, Jaya had the opportunity to attend this year’s Sundance Film Festival which was held in a virtual format!! Check out below her commentary and spoiler-free reviews of some of the festival’s feature films!!

This year I was fortunate enough to attend the Sundance film festival last month, so I thought I would give you guys a spoiler-free review of the four movies I saw!

‘After Yang’ (Directed by Kogonada)

After Yang was the first movie I saw at the virtual festival and it is definitely one of my favorites from the ones I saw. It is a movie set in a very technologically advanced society in the future and it follows one family in particular when their daughter’s android (Yang) breaks down and her father Jake played by Colin Farrell looks for a way to repair him. It is a beautiful movie that deals with loss and human connection. The acting is really a key part of the movie too, along with an excellent cast. The cinematography is also something that I really think of when I hear about this movie, just because it was so beautiful. After Yang is set to be released in theaters on March 4th. 

‘Master’ (Directed by Mariama Diallo)

Switching gears almost drastically, the next movie I watched was a horror/commentary on the black experience in academia. The movie follows two characters, Gail Bishop the new “master” at a prestigious New England university, and a student Jasmine Moore that is being terrorized by this “Salem Witch Trials” era legend on the campus. Each navigate different sides of the university’s haunted past and even more terrifying present. This movie was definitely my favorite of all the movies I watched at the festival, the horror aspect and the commentary really made me think of how black women are treated at predominantly white institutions (PWIs). I really loved how the movie was divided into specific chapters that were referenced in the dialogue. Not only was the writing amazing but Regina Hall’s performance really stood out to me, especially seeing her in a much more serious role. This movie will also be available to stream on Amazon Prime on March 18th. 

‘892’ (Directed by Abi Damaris Corbin)

892 is another hard hitting movie that is based on a real story. The movie follows Brian Brown Easley who once his disability check fails to deliver from Veterans Affairs is close to becoming homeless. As a result, with no other options in place he decides to hold up a Wells Fargo bank by saying “I’ve got a bomb.” Rather than being a fictional tale this movie is all too real, this movie showcases what some forgotten veterans face. This is usually not the type of genre of movie I gravitate towards, but this movie draws you in completely. Even all the way to the end you are invested into this movie and what will happen next. With stellar performances from John Boyega, who showcases his amazing acting range and Nicole Beharie, these performances really bring the movie together. This movie also features Michael K. Williams’ final role on the big screen. 

892' Review: A Bank Robbery Makes a Statement - Variety

‘Honk For Jesus, Save Your Soul’ (Directed by Admamma Ebo)

Where do I begin with this well done dark comedy? There is a lot to say about it, but first let us begin with what the movie is about. It follows Trinity Childs played by Regina Hall and her husband Pastor Lee-Curtis Childs played by Sterling K. Brown in the aftermath of a big scandal, trying to rebuild their once prominent church. The writing, in particular, nails the sometimes ridiculous nature of mega churches. It is filmed like an episode of The Office, following the mock documentary format that often lands with the audience. Although it is advertised as a comedy it does do well with juggling two genres of a more serious drama and outright comedy. This is another example of how Regina Hall steals a movie, she puts on another show stopping performance that really makes you invested in the movie. You don’t usually see a mock documentary in a movie format and I think that’s what makes it work, especially for a directorial debut film. 

(Photo credit: Sundance Institute)

All in all, even though some of the movies that I watched were not some of my favorites, I am really glad I was able to attend and be a part of the Sundance community for the first time. When it is all said and done, I look forward to seeing everyone’s reactions to the movies once they officially release!

Posted in A Professor's Thoughts..., Holiday Celebration!!, On The Radar, Resources

“You Get Me!!” Corporate Businesses Nailing Black History Month!!

Going into Black History Month every year I’m always mixed with emotions. On one hand it’s an exciting time to highlight the experiences of Black people, but then I am suddenly on edge seeing what things are specifically set to come out in February because its Black History Month. As I have said many times before this celebratory effort is one that happens 365-24/7, especially considering I am a professor in an African American Studies department.

Nevertheless, I must say things are getting better and the efforts made from various organizations/corporations are evolving (despite ones who still miss the mark). And because “sharing is caring” I wanted to make sure I highlighted a few businesses that are putting in the work and who really get me!! Check them out below:

  • Target: One of my favorite brands and a place where I do not mind spending my coins is Target. They have been consistently spotlighting black talent and not just in February!! In its eighth year, Target presents “Black Beyond Measure,” which includes a limited-time assortment of apparel, accessories and home goods designed by Black creators along with highlighting Black-owned brands sold at the retailer.
NEW @ TARGET * BLACK HISTORY MONTH - YouTube
Photo credit: Target YouTube
  • Old Navy: The clothing brand has partnered with three talented Black artists — Temi Coker, Lo Harris and Destiny Darcel — to create Project WE t-shirts centered around their love for the Black community and culture. Project WE is a collaboration between diverse artists and includes a donation of $1 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in support of youth arts programs. They are also donating $50,000 to support the 15% Pledge, a growing platform that calls on major retailers to commit a minimum of 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses.
Check Out Old Navy's Black History Month Tees | POPSUGAR Fashion
Black creatives (l-r) Temi Coker, Lo Harris and Destiny Darcel
  • Amazon Launchpad: This program is celebrating Black innovators and the stories behind their businesses throughout Black History Month by highlighting an array of brands on its various platforms.
Amazon.com: Amazon Launchpad: Celebrate Black History Month
  • Nordstrom: For 2022, Nordstrom is celebrating Black History Month through a variety of initiatives everything from spotlighting Black-founded brands to celebrating culture through personal stories. They will also honor Black food culture by featuring recipes by Spice Suite founder Angel Gregorio at the store’s specialty coffee bars. Additionally, the retailer has committed to increasing Black and Latino representation among its managers by at least 50%, delivering $500 million in retail sales from Black and/or Latino-owned brands and increasing charitable donations to organizations that promote anti-racism to $1 million every year by 2025.
Nordstrom Rack: Shop Clothes, Shoes, Jewelry, Beauty and Home
  • Peloton: Through uplift, celebration and empowerment Peloton is highlighting the “magnetic energy of the Black diaspora that breaks boundaries and moves us forward.” This is done through themed classes, special artist series, and for a third year they launched a special apparel line featuring the work of designer Erwin Hines. Peloton will also mark Black History Month with a charitable contribution of $100,000 – to support the development of a community wellness center in Chicago’s South Side. They are partnering with Claretian Associates, an organization with deep ties to the neighborhood.
Peloton Has Released A New Apparel Collection In Celebration Of Black  History Month - 29Secrets
Peloton’s new Black History Month apparel line
  • Victoria’s Secret PINK: The beauty and fashion brand has partnered with We The Urban founder Willie Greene to release an exclusive “Pink x We The Urban” gender-free one-size tee (this has been an annual effort). In addition, PINK is donating $50,000 to the Black and Pink organization that is dedicated to transforming the lives of system-impacted LGBTQIA2S+ people and people living with HIV/AIDS.
WE THE URBAN
  • Apple: The tech giant is spotlighting Black business and innovation while also amplifying Black voices through a multitude of its platforms and specially curated collections. Some of these include, Apple Maps where users can learn about Black history or discover Black-owned businesses through curated Guides; their Shot on iPhone campaign, “Our Stories,” features portraits and video of four pioneers who are at the nexus of Black history The company also launched a special edition Apple Watch “Black Unity Braided Solo Loop” watch that features matching unity lights on the face of the watch. It gets its inspiration from the “Afrofuturism,” framework, which explores the Black and African diasporic experience through a narrative of science, technology and self-empowerment.
Apple spotlights Black voices during Black History Month - Apple
Apple’s 2022 Black History Month theme

These businesses get me!!

What I can also really appreciate about these businesses is that many if not all have year-round efforts, and are making sure Black creatives and talents are getting their shine!! It’s really important that you do more than just sign a check (no complaints here), but that you make a full on investment of the talent!!

Posted in Conversations with Beloved & Kindred

Conversations with Beloved & Kindred- Season 2 We’re Back!!

And we are back for another season of engaging the Black experience!! As always gotta give a special shout-out to Auburn Avenue Research Library!! In this season of Conversations with Beloved & Kindred we will have a thematic focus on “Black Cinematic Horror”!!

Our first episode/discussion explores the 2019 documentary Horror Noire: A Black History of Black Horror and the 1973 film Ganja & Hess. You can watch the event live here on February 10th at 3 pm!!

And if you want a preview of the two films check them out below:

Horror Noire: A Black History of Black Horror (2019)

Ganja & Hess (1973)

“Black history is black horror.” ~Tananarive Due

*Conversations with Beloved & Kindred is a freeform dialogue on creative works of speculative fiction (i.e. literature, film, television, and art) grounded in the Black lived experience. Inspired by the work of two legends, Toni Morrison and Octavia Butler, Dr. Gipson and Dr. Robinson engage the lived Black experience via reimagined speculative Black pasts and presents, giving voice to the silenced narratives.

Posted in A Professor's Thoughts..., Holiday Celebration!!

Black History Month in the Workplace!!

So earlier this week I gave a workshop presentation on celebrating Black History Month in the workplace, nothing like finding new ways to incorporate new experiences in your daily routine. And I just wanted to make sure I shared some resources from that talk just in case it may be useful for my followers!!

Why BHM is Important in The Workplace? “Dig deeper, look closer, think bigger.”

  • Race can be complicated, but we have to engage and talk about the comforts and discomforts
  • Reimagine the possibilities
  • Normalize what has been often made invisible
  • Opportunity for active learning
  • Another way to regularly incorporate inclusivity, equity, and work towards eliminating bias
  • Black History is American History even World History!!
  • A continued engagement with history and the Black experience and helps to give context for the present and future
  • February can be the starting point to year-round efforts
Photo by Marc Mueller on Pexels.com

#BlackHistory365 ideas that can be implemented in the workplace…

  • Bring in speakers (This is a chance to learn and gain new perspectives from others outside of your office.)
  • Organize a thematic book club (Monthly or Quarterly….You can also carry this out in February as well as other months such as Women’s History and Hispanic Heritage Month)
  • Virtual cooking session (Swap recipes, select a region and do a virtual potluck, create a “Culinary Journey Passport”)
  • Create a digital board for continuous learning and growth (Slack has become a popular tool that can be used here!)
  • Community Service/Volunteer (You can never have enough community service, and now there are multiple ways to carry out this endeavor!)
  • Promote Inclusion via Reflection-Collaboration-Recognition
  • Organize/create a Black History Internet Scavenger Hunt that uses questions that pertain to African American people and moments
Photo by JorgeArturo Andrade on Pexels.com

Next Steps to #BlackHistory365

  • In addition to the collective effort, think about what YOU can do. … What is your contribution?
  • What role can you play? Invest in your efforts!!
  • Pay it forward.
  • Create safe spaces…The energy and creativity will flow when people feel as though it is welcomed and appreciated!
  • Think before you post and act..Make sure your efforts are genuine. Learn and grow because you want to, not just to check off a box. Do your research…Remember why you are celebrating
  • Don’t play the buzzword and pandering game (Avoid situations like Bath and Body )
  • Ask the hard questions…that’s how you get answers and learn at the same time.
  • Play the long game…How can Black History Month transform and evolve into #BlackHistory365 in your place of work??

And for the road…Some additional resources, recommendations, and guides…

The great thing about all of this is that it can many things in one FUN, INFORMATIVE, ENGAGING and UPLIFTING!

For additional information and resources, check out the full guide here!!

Posted in New Trailer Alerts!!, On The Radar

Weekly Trailer Alerts!!

Lots of good content that dropping this month! Got a mix of thriller, some docu-series, a little drama and leave you with some laughs! Check out some of the newness below:

KIMI (Streaming on HBO Max February 10th)

Everything’s Gonna Be All White (Streaming on Showtime February 11th)

Lincoln’s Dilemma (Streaming on Apple TV+ February 18th)

All American: Homecoming (Streaming on The CW February 21st)

Cheaper By The Dozen (Streaming on Disney+ March 18th)

Posted in On the Desk..., On The Radar

Black History Month Spotlight!!

You know me I love an opportunity to spotlight actions, programs, and moments of significance, especially those of the Black experience. So I wanted to share something that came across my “virtual” desk on yesterday, Disney Parks celebrating Black History Month with a new campaign…Reimagine Tomorrow !

Reimagine Tomorrow is meant to showcase Disney Black cast members and other workers for their role in making the parks run. First up is Lanny Smoot, Research Fellow at Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) Research & Development who helped bring “The Haunted Mansion” attraction to life. Throughout his career he has obtained more than 100 patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office associated with his work (which is the most of anyone in the Walt Disney Company). Talk about a wealth of innovation!!

Check him out below as he talks about his experiences:

According to Smoot he explains, “My mindset is to create things that are fun, entertaining, often surprising and, hopefully, a bit ahead of their time.” He further notes, “At Disney, I can work on cutting edge technologies that are designed to make people happy. What’s not to like?!”

Another thing that really stuck out for me was how he continues to think about the future. Smoot shares, “We need to give young students – especially Black students and people of color – experience in these fields. The Walt Disney Company is digging deeply into this by making sure that we mentor diverse young people, and I’ve done that many times myself.”

Nothing like seeing one’s imagination play out LIVE and in LIVING COLOR!!

Photo by Charlotte May on Pexels.com
Posted in A Professor's Thoughts..., On The Radar, Resources

Black History Month 2022!!

2-2-22

It is that time of the year!! And while I personally see Black History Month as an everyday conversation, I understand that for some this is not the case. With that being said, Happy Black History Month to you all!!

The celebration of Black History Month is a great time for the nation and the world to expand on the many contributions of the Black/African American experience. Established in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson as “Negro History” week , Woodson wanted to make sure people understood not only the experiences but also provide an opportunity to focus on particular themes. The legacy of Negro History week, according to Woodson, was never meant “to dictate or limit the exploration of the Black experience, but to bring to the public’s attention important developments that merit emphasis.” Thus, The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) an organization created by Woodson would begin to explore Black History through a yearly theme. The first theme came about in 1928 and it centered around the idea of “Civilization: A World Achievement.” This year’s theme is the importance of “Black Health and Wellness”!

This theme acknowledges the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g., birthworkers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora. 

With this year’s theme centered on “Black Health and Wellness” (For more information about this click here!) I wanted to provide some tips and resources on making sure you are taking care of the best YOU!!

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com
  • Be Kind To Yourself
  • Exercise…Get an accountability partner or even join a group
  • Keep your body hydrated
  • Incorporate smoothies into your diet
  • Take in nature…It is a great remedy for alleviating stress
  • Start a gratitude journal
  • Make sure to plenty of sleep…To go back to those naps that we took during kindergarten
  • Meditate…whether its 5 minutes or 30 minutes, make sure to give your brain a break
  • Spend time with family and friends!!
  • Check out these podcasts: Therapy for Black Girls, Peace of Mind with Taraji, Black Mental Health Podcast, Black Mental Matters, The Friend Zone, Minding My Black Business, Talking Off The Couch, AFFIRM, Getting Grown (just to name a few)
  • Host a potluck or tapas-style gathering where you focus on a specific cuisine
  • Don’t forget to smile and laugh routinely!!
  • Do something for others just because you can.
  • Tap into your spiritual side
  • Incorporate a daily affirmations routine
  • Try to be spontaneous or try something new each week.
  • Your Boundaries Matter!
  • Soak in some Sunlight and Vitamin D
  • Cultivate a positive mindset
  • Always Invest in Your Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Health

Additional books and resources highlighting Black Health and Wellness, click here!

While there is an official celebration of Black History know that this is a 365-24/7 effort for me!!

Photo by Bekka Mongeau on Pexels.com
Posted in New Trailer Alerts!!, On The Radar

Weekly Trailer Alerts!!

It’s the First Day of the Month!! We are moving and shaking and these trailers are ready to be seen! So get your calendars, save the dates and check out what’s new in film and television!!

The Tinder Swindler (Streaming on Netflix February 2nd)

The Girl Before (Streaming on HBO Max February 10th)

Asking For It (In theaters March 4th)

Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre (In theaters March 18th)

Halo (Streaming on Paramount+ March 24th)