Tag Archives: black power

27Nov/19

Smithsonian Af-Am Museum Brings Classic Movie Posters and Augmented Reality in New Exhibit

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture has added a new temporary exhibit entitled, Now Showing: African American Movie Posters. The exhibit is a collection of posters that were recovered from Larry Richards collection that will run from November 22, 2019 until November 2020. The exhibit consists of four sections – Film Pioneers, the Problem of the Color Lines, A Star is Born, and Black Power and “Blaxploitation.”

When asked about the origin of the event, the exhibit’s curator and curator for the Center for African American Media Arts (CAAMA) gallery, Rhea Combs, explained, “This exhibition introduces visitors to films featuring African Americans they may be less familiar with and, at the same time, it recognizes some of the most historically and culturally relevant films made over a 70-year period. The significant artistry and design work that goes into creating not only the films but the posters that promote the films are not to be underestimated.”

Who is Larry Richards? 

Many of the posters on display come from the Larry Richards Collection that the museum acquired in 2013. There are thousands that exist in the collection of Larry Richards, but the museum only acquired 700 objects. 

Who is Larry Richards? He was a librarian at the Philadelphia Free Library who’s collection of movie items was sparked by one of his first film posters collected, The Bull Dogger, which can be seen at the entrance of the museum, that he acquired from a film festival that occurred during Black History Month. His original collections are about 2,000 items that include posters, lobby cards, photos, and more.  

Larry Richards also published a book titled African American Films Through 1959. The book includes pictures, credits, and details of Black films that were directed by Black directors or featured a predominately Black cast. Some of the very pieces of movie art can be seen in person at the museum during this exhibit. 

A visitor using the augmented reality to view videos about the film.

Augmented Reality 

This is the first time that the museum will feature this technology. It allows visitors to receive more details about the movie posters that include film snippets, interviews with museum curator, Rhea combs, set photos and more information about the film. To access this information, all visitors have to do is go online to the site http://hi.si.edu/, follow the directions, scan one of the select movie posters, and enjoy the pop-ups. 

I personally enjoyed the new feature as it allowed me to learn a lot about the films without having to wait around a huge crowd to see or hear about the films and it allowed to me easily replay videos within pop-ups! It is a new interactive way that will fully engage all visitors.

“Film can serve as a peek into ideals about culture and society.” – Rhea L. Combs, curator and head of CAAMA

Short Film Feature

Towards the back of the exhibit, there is a small viewing room, with red curtains drawn at its entry, that has a 9-minute video consisting of clips of 10 important Black directed films that span history from 1937-1974. The films include; The Exile, Dark Manhattan, Go Down, Death!, The Bronze Buckaroo, Cabin in the Sky, Carmen Jones, No Vietnamese Ever Called Me Nigger, Right On!, and Claudine. I was excited to hear some of the amazing dialogue written by screenwriting couple Lester and Tine Pine in the film Claudine, that I will definitely watch again. 

Overall

The new Now Showing Movie Poster exhibit is worth checking out before it leaves the museum. I had fun looking at how Black culture in cinema has grown and survived over the years, even when the entertainment industry lacked diversity. It is here where you can see some of the foundations of  Black film making that have given us the likes of Kasi Lemmons, Ava Duverney, Spike Lee, and Ryan Coogler.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture

Location: 1400 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20560

Click here for ticket info 

01Oct/16
luke cage

Luke Cage Broke Netflix. All of It…

Okay, you got us. This is pure speculation, but why else would NONE of Netflix be working the Saturday after the release of the highly anticipated series, Luke Cage? Lucky for us, we binged watched it before Netflix glitched.

** LUKE CAGE SPOILER ALERT **

Reading beyond this point without having watched all 13 episodes of the most Blackity Black series in years is all on you…

luke cageWe watched proudly as a strong Black Man, who refused to be called nigga, came to grips with his unexpected abilities. If you’re a comic junky, you’ll enjoy it for purely that. If you’ve seen any of the news surrounding the Black community since 2014, you’ll be mmhmm-ing and uhhhuhh-ing for 13 straight episodes. The not so underlying tone is a Black man in a (usually Black) hoodie, framed for charges/crimes he didn’t commit, who is constantly being shot at. Aka. Ode to Trayvon Martin.

Luke Cage, played by Mike Colter, sees the dirtbags that rule Harlem and eventually decides, with the push of barber shop owner Pops, to do something about it. The show taking place in Harlem is gold gem #2, #1 obviously being the BEAUTIFUL predominately Black cast. The vernacular is real and relatable enough, where you don’t feel like anyone is stereotyping. It felt like a family reunion with all of the colorful family members most of us can relate to in some form or fashion. The interpersonal relations were also real. For a fictional series, everything felt real enough to the point where you get wrapped up in it and almost forget you’re watching a scifi show. That is until he punches someone into a wall.

Yes, Luke Cage whips a lot of ass and it feels like vindication for all of us. Backstory (based luke cageon the show): Luke went to prison due to a frame job. His CO convinced him into joining the prison fight club. All the while, the doctors of the prison were watching him and other potential prisoners closely for an experiment they were conducting. Luke got injured badly and the doctors placed him into the tank that was meant to rapidly heal, but of course something goes wrong and electricity surges everywhere and by the time he woke up he had super strength and his skin was impenetrable. Essentially, he was “bulletproof.” They broke down the science, but we won’t give everything away…

He broke himself out of prison in Georgia as Carl Lucas, swam to shore, and resurfaced as Luke Cage in Harlem. He worked a day job as the janitor at Pops barber shop, and a night job as the dish washer/substitute bartender at Harlem’s Paradise. His day job and his night job eventually both come colliding and he could no longer hide in the shadows. Since we want those who said “eff yo spoiler alert” to form their own conclusions we’ll stop here, but the ins and out and plot twists make this series an amazing roller coaster. The villains are as fun as heroes. To see how little loyalty there is among villains and to watch the community come together (eventually) in support of their hero, all mixed in with musical cameos, Black women with natural hair styles, and life lessons dropped on EVERY episode, makes this is proud moment in Black history.

luke cage#RepresentationMatters. Luke Cage and Misty Knight are as important characters as Black Panther and the whole Wakanda nation. Although Taji is ALWAYS here for stories about us created by us, we’re also here for when the larger platforms represent the community as close as possible. There were some notions we could have done without, but we won’t let that 7% outweigh the 93% of dope Blackity Blackness. So hop on your Netflix, or borrow someone’s password, and clear your calendar for 13 hours. Thank us later 😉