Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Friday, April 27, 2012

Pariah: A Review

This week we see the release of the film Pariah. Written and directed by Dee Rees, Pariah centers around the character Alike and stars Adero Oduye in the leading role. Alike (pronounce aa-lee-kay), who has come to accept the fact that she is a lesbian, lives with her extremely conservative, very religious mother and her protective father. Though they suspect she may be homosexual, the question seems to linger in the household and everyone is afraid to ask. The fear in asking probably stems in the fact that there is comfort in not knowing.

This movie is made great by the dynamic performances of the entire cast.  Alike’s best friend Laura is played by Pernell Walker. Mother and father are played by Kim Wayans and Charles Parnell respectively. Sharonda, the supportive but annoying little sister is played by Sahra Mellesse. And finally there is Bina though I’m not sure how to describe her complicated, very important and relevant part.  It helps that these guys had a terrific script to work with.

Dee Rees has developed a coming of age story that centers around the life of a teenaged, African-American lesbian. It may seem from this description that this movie would target a very specific group demographically (black same-gender loving individuals) but I would argue that there is a much more universal story happening here. This film should appeal to anyone that has had to learn to live life on their own terms.

I do not want to spoil the movie so I will not give away too many details here. I will assume that most of us, when we were young, wanted to grow up and make our parents happy and proud of who we are and what we accomplish. But when your parent’s dreams and your reality are harshly different, the conflict over whose destiny will win could create an environment where tensions are on edge, personalities start to clash, and relationships get tested.

I want to highlight the performance of Ms. Kim Wayans for a moment.  Wayans is known for her off the cuff humor.  A member of the Wayans family, this entire clan is famous for bringing side splitting laughs not for bringing award winning dramatic performances.  That being said, I am pleasantly surprised at the caliber of acting Kim brings to this role.  Her performance stands out so much for me because it is so incredibly different from everything she's done in the past. 

This movie is amazing and is a must see in my opinion. I encourage everyone to not only see this film, I would also ask that you financially support (aka purchase) this film. Projects like this come around only sporadically and it’s because most studios think that there would not be a return on investment (and in many cases they are correct). If we would like to see future projects that include same-gender loving people of color then we need to support the ones that currently exist. So please support this film and encourage others you know to support this film. Dee Rees and her team deserve the recognition for their awe-inspiring work.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April 6 Rally Seeking Justice for Trayvon Martin

Black and Brown Community Rally on April 6 in Phoenix Seeking Justice for Trayvon Martin and the End of Law Enforcement Abuse!

This post was generated by Tia Oso, BAJI Arizona Organizer and posted to phxsoul.com.  I felt it was important enough to share.

The Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) in alliance with Puente Arizona is holding a rally on April 6 at 4 PM in Cesar Chavez Plaza, 201 W. Washington in Phoenix, to organize people of color in demanding justice in the law enforcement and criminal justice systems. The Black and Brown Stand Up for Justice Rally is a mass movement of local organizations such as the NAACP and community members in solidarity with the family of Trayvon Martin, a Florida teen killed while walking home in February.

The Black and Brown Stand Up for Justice Rally is part of the "Arrest Arpaio, Not the People" campaign organized by Puente Movement to demand Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio face criminal charges for his negligence and violation of human and civil rights as outlined in a Department of Justice 2011 report.

"Law enforcement in the U.S. claims to 'protect and serve' but the killing of Trayvon Martin and the subsequent cover-up by Sanford Police Department is just the latest story of how law enforcement perpetuates and encourages violence and brutality against people of color," said Tia Oso, BAJI Arizona Organizer.

The mission of the Black and Brown Stand Up for Justice Rally is to organize communities of color in solidarity to fight the injustices that are terrorizing lives and destroying families and hold law enforcement accountable for their actions. BAJI will call attention to the characterizations of black and brown people as criminals that has created an environment where "walking while Black or Brown" has become crime punishable by vigilante violence and used to demonized immigrants of color in the U.S.

"George Zimmerman is no different from the men in self-appointed border militias here in Arizona," said Opal Tometi, BAJI National Organizer. "It is time that we connect the dots and demand an end to law enforcement committing acts of violence against people of color."

Black and Brown Stand Up for Justice Rally is organizing communities against the national epidemic of racial profiling, the deadly use of force and blatant disregard for the rights and lives of people of color in the criminal justice system. Attendees are encouraged to come "armed" with skittles and ice tea or wear hoodies in solidarity with the family of Trayvon Martin, who was dressed in a hoodie and returning from a convenience store with snacks for himself and his brother when he was confronted by and subsequently killed by George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watch volunteer.

The Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) is an education and advocacy group comprised of African Americans and black immigrants from Africa, Latin American and the Caribbean. BAJI engages African Americans and other communities in dialogue that leads to actions that challenge U.S. immigration policy and the underlying issues of race, racism and economic inequity that frame it.

For more information, please visit www.BlackAlliance.org.