Get Familiar: Black Indie Film – Medicine For Melancholy

Black love...hell yes!

Usually when I endorse a project, it’s because it came from someone I know who’s doing their thing.  Nothing like free marketing on the hook-up.  That being said, regardless of whether I know someone or not, I never endorse wack sh*t.  I saw a film this weekend called Medicine For Melancholy which at first didn’t seem like anything I would be interested in…kind of a romance, kind of emo, very indie.  My wife got it on Netflix and I said why not?  The more I watched it, however, I realized that this film and others like it are what Black America needs to be supporting.  Period.

While we love to b*tch and moan about how there are no positive Black characters on TV or in movies, yet we feel that the easiest way to go about acting upon that preference is to boycott BET or talk about how Tyler Perry movies ain’t worth a damn (come on…at least give my man a half a damn).  Sorry, geniuses, but all that does is tell the mainstream media that Black viewers do not support shows that feature them or projects by their own and inform the Hollywood bigwigs that investing in Black projects may not be profitable.  The reason so many projects do not get made is because no studio is willing to take the risk to back them financially.  Thus, we have to support our indie projects in addition to everything else.

I’m glad director and writer Barry Jenkins took a chance and got this film made.  Medicine for Melancholy had beautiful cinematography, a very realistic premise and script, and a pair of capable actors (Wyatt Cenac of The Daily Show fame and Tracey Heggins) with palpable chemistry who actually seemed like people I might actually know and hang out with, not just people I might run into at the local check cashing spot, whom I love just the same but I could use a change of pace on occasion.  I will not steer you wrong, folks…SUPPORT THIS FILM!  And once you see it, if you appreciated it, pass it or news of it along to someone else who will appreciate it too.

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Rhythm & BBQ

No doubt in my mind that this BBQ spot (Mr. Spriggs) is the sh*t in Oklahoma City, solely based on the song.  I love this!  Now I want a styrofoam box with some beef brisket, links, ‘tater salad, and that delicious wheat bread that comes with any real BBQ meal…you know, half-soggy from barbecue sauce and what-not.  Shout-out to Everett & Jones BBQ in the Bay Area, CA, Kenny’s BBQ in D.C. and Virgil’s in NYC.  Y’all can front if you like, but if I die from eating BBQ, then I’ll go out with a smile on my face.

EVJONES

Something that jumped out at me: in looking for Kenny’s BBQ in DC online, I found a review site which included the following review:

“The food is great and quick. If you live on the NE side of Capitol Hil it’s the perfect place to pick up dinner on the way home. Absent perfect weather (during which you can avail yourself of the patio) I would recommend eating at home as there is not much space and some of the patrons coming through might best be described as ‘rough around the edges’ and may not make the best dinner companions.”

This was from somebody named “Bill”.  Interesting.  I can’t get totally mad because there are some rough folks in DC in general.  But like they say, if you’re scared, go to church.  We don’t need your business.  The spot itself is a little rough and I’d rather eat in the comfort of my own home as opposed to most places, but personally, if I can’t feel safe around my own people, who can I feel safe around?  Oh, that’s right…yuppies.  To Bill, if you want BBQ and soul food without the Negroes, you need to be trying to track down Paula Deen.

EVJONES2
Damn, I miss the Bay. Everett & Jones BBQ...no talking, just eating.

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The New Bullsh*t: Jay-Z As Satanist

Apparently, the media is bored.  No rappers have been shot recently, no significant beefs going on, nobody’s outdone the Octomom yet, etc…so when there isn’t any news, news-makers make it up.  The new fabrication tainting the web and occupying Bible-beaters and conspiracy theorists alike is that Jay-Z (as well as Kanye and Rihanna both by collaboration and association) is a Satanist.  For those who have missed the bullsh*t being slung around the web thus far, I’ll write it again…the new rumor is that Jay-Z is a Satanist.

Y’all sound real stupid right now.  Am I the only one that remembers the following conspiracies that materialized into absolutely nothing?:

  1. Liz Claiborne is a racist.
  2. Tommy Hilfiger is a racist.
  3. Luther Vandross died (before he actually did).
  4. The company Timberland is owned by the KKK.

A few of many that I never bought into (I prefer facts and affirmation straight from the horse’s mouth) but were widespread, never proven, and eventually forgotten about.  The saddest part is that Jay-Z is one of the most articulate Black men with the most visibility in mainstream media, in rap or elsewhere.  He is a highly successful, innovative, and prolific artist and philanthropist with a body of work that few rival in terms of consistency.  Since Jay doesn’t give us too much to criticize, it’s only natural someone would find it necessary to weave a quilt out of pure bullsh*t.  Some say he’s sold his soul to the Devil for success.  OK, have you heard any of his albums?  It doesn’t take Lucifer whispering in my ear to make me or anyone else go pick up a Jay-Z album.

"So, Jay...how about those Nets tickets we discussed? This is the 3rd message I've left and I'm a little peeved."

The video for “Run This Town” allegedly has some actions and images that could be construed as related to Satanism and/or membership to an “occult order (probably Freemasonry)”, according to Vigilant Citizen.  First, Freemasonry is not an occult order, but since it is a relatively secretive organization, it’s an easy way to get people scared and riled up.  The association between Freemasonry and Satanism was linked and then publicly discredited due to the writings of Leo Taxil, a libelous late 1800s writer who himself announced that his own claims relating the two concepts were fictitious, even going so far as to thank the clergy for giving his claims publicity.  Someone clearly has not done their research or is reading what they want to read and presenting it as fact to others who are too lazy to do the research for themselves.  Regardless, all of this is hearsay and based on opinion, presented by people who clearly have their own personal vendettas and vested interests.

The aforementioned site goes into depth talking about Jay-Z’s Rocawear line and some symbols used in it, saying they are directly related to Freemasonry, though many of the symbols also appear on money, which is a large part of the subject matter of Jay-Z’s music.  The icing on the cake is that the site also takes quotes from Mobb Deep’s Prodigy, a rival of Jay’s who (surprise) is the first to speak out against Jay-Z and his alleged connection to “the beast”.  I guess he’s still pissed about Jay-Z outing him as a ballet enthusiast.  This from a member of Mobb Deep who, on a recent (2006) album titled Blood Money, posed with rhyme partner Havoc in front of a giant pyramid, which the writer of the article describes as “blatantly Masonic” in reference to the symbols used in Rocawear clothing.  The Freemason organization is relatively secretive, so would a member really go so far as to place these symbols on clothing for non-members to wear?  Methinks not.

Rihanna throwing up the rock & roll symbol...don't remember anyone claiming Avril Lavigne was a Satanist.

Another perceived yet poorly thought-out “issue” is Jay’s use of the term “God” in reference to a human being, describing it as part of a “Luciferian belief” that men can be gods.  “God” is actually quite popular in New York slang and hip-hop and is more related to Five Percent Nation ideology than Satanism, which is an obscure reference and seems to grab at straws for lack of concrete information.  The Five Percent Nation is an offshoot of the Nation of Islam and is in no way related to Satanism…quite the opposite actually.  Rap groups Brand Nubian and Wu-Tang have long been associated with the Five Percent Nation and referred to one another and Black men and women in general as “gods and earths”.  If Jay-Z wanted to come out and be a Five Percenter, I don’t think there would be all that much push-back.  It’s not as unusual a belief system as one might think and there is much validity to their beliefs.

Quite simply, folks, the Internet being what it is, you can find any information to prove or disprove any theory you could dream up.  Any time someone is at the top of their game and successful, there will be detractors.  Michael Jackson died amidst a swirl of rumor and negativity, as did many iconic figures.  We have to be smarter than this, people.  It’s music.  There’s so much more that matters in life.  If you’re so devoted to Christianity, shouldn’t your faith be stronger than to put this much stock into something as frivolous as perceived subliminal messages and imagery?

And just because I like to toy with peoples’ insecurities, cue up Reasonable Doubt …and play it backwards.  Welcome to the secret society, all we ask is trust..mwahahahaha…!

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