Wakanda Forever! Black Panther Strikes Again

Undoubtedly, the most talked about film of this year and one that filled me with so much pride as I took my family along to the cinema to see Marvel’s first black superhero film Black Panther. With a stellar British and American cast, bright colours and attention to the vibrant culture, it was a cinematic event not to miss… and if you haven’t seen it yet, then it is available to download and watch on Sky Cinema.

Black Panther, centring on T’Challa, the king of an fictional African country, was an outsized success both commercially and critically. The film which starred Chadwick Boseman as the titular hero, grossed $700 million in the USA and more than $1.3 billion worldwide, and is also a contender for the Oscars. The movie became a defining cultural moment, especially for the black community. I mean when was the last time, you have seen thousands of black boys, girls, men and women lining up to see a film, some even doning Kente prints and afrocentric hairstyles to get a dose of the action?

The storyline for Black Panther 2 is a mystery, but whatever the next instalment has in store for us, we will be not be disappointed as Ryan Coogler can choose to stray from the comic book story.  There’s no core Black Panther narrative to follow, and with the comic book portrayal of T’Challa veering from troubled monarch fighting white supremacists to bold adventurer who fights yeti and samurai alike to superior strategist outthinking Iron Man and ever onward, there are any number of directions a second Panther movie could take and still claim to be true to the comic book source material.

Marvel’s Kevin Feige was obviously keen to sign him up again for the sequel. “We definitely want Ryan to come back and that’s actively being worked out right now” Sources say the plan at this stage is for Coogler to write the script next year with an eye to start production in either late 2019 or early 2020.

Marvel and parent company Disney, however, have not made any official announcements about Marvel’s slate of movies beyond the release of the next Avengers film in May 2019 and a Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel in July — and plans could shift.

For more updates and film reviews, tune in to Reel Focus on Saturdays from 4-6pm.

Black History Month Special. Star Reads: The story of Mary Prince.

Now. I don’t want to start our Black History Month Specials with tales of slavery as there is so much more to our rich history; however the story of Mary Prince needs to be shared for so many other reasons. Being recognised as a National Hero in 2012 on the island of Bermuda, is just one of them. Being the first woman (not ‘black woman’ – WOMAN – full stop) to write an anti-slavery petition to the houses of Parliament is another. The strength drawn upon reading from Mary’s story will not only share how strong a woman she was but also how determined, rebellious and virtuous she was.

There are many books available to purchase as hard copy and digital copy which cover her story such as: Mary: A Story of Young Mary Prince: Sold at a slave auction and afraid for her life, she runs away. By Margot Maddison-MacFadyen (8th Feb 2017) And The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave (Penguin Classics) By Mary Prince (25th May 2000) And a third edition republication of her original works: The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave Narrative By Mary Prince (2004) is also available.

If, however, you would like to glimpse the original February 1831 Publication: The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave. Related by herself. This gem, which includes text from her petition letter presented to Parliament, is in the British Library under shelf mark: 8157.bbb.30

Image Source: https://bit.ly/2xSj6jj

The Endless Fall of Suge Knight

On March 20th, inside the high-security wing of Los Angeles’ Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center, the man once called “the most feared man in hip-hop” is looking more like the 50-year-old with chronic health issues that he is. Suge Knight sits in shackles, wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and chunky glasses, his beard flecked with gray, listening impassively. It’s the end of the day’s proceedings, and Judge Ronald S. Coen is announcing the bail for Knight, who is facing charges of murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run: “In this court’s opinion, $25 million is reasonable, and it is so set.” A gasp erupts from Knight’s row of supporters — some of whom sport red clothing or accessories, a color associated with the Bloods and Piru street gangs. The most shocked are Knight’s family, who have attended nearly all of his court dates: his parents, along with his fiancee, Toilin Kelly, and sister Karen Anderson. “He’s never had a bail like that before!” Anderson exclaims.

As attendees exit and Knight is escorted out by the bailiffs, Knight’s attorney Matthew Fletcher pleads with Coen to reconsider. Fletcher points out that Knight has been held in solitary confinement for nearly three months, with next to no contact with family or friends. (“They wouldn’t allow this at Guantánamo Bay,” Fletcher says.) The lawyer goes on to complain about Knight’s treatment in jail for his numerous medical ailments, which include diabetes, blood clots and impaired vision.

The judge is unswayed, especially by Fletcher’s pleas about Knight’s poor health. “He was offered food and refused it,” says Coen. At that moment, as if on cue, Knight re-enters the courtroom, and suddenly collapses, his 300-pound-plus frame tumbling forward onto the padded chair he was just sitting in minutes earlier. Outside, Knight’s supporters have started a protest. “This is a public lynching!” shouts a woman in a red dress and blond Afro. “Black lives matter!” The painful irony is that Knight is being prosecuted for murdering a black man — a man he once called his friend — and seriously injuring another.

This could finally be the end of the road for the record-label head who, a generation ago, helped bring the West Coast gangsta rap of Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur to the mainstream, pushing aside the pop rap of artists such as MC Hammer and Tone-Loc and putting low-riders and gang signs into heavy rotation on MTV. In the process, Knight established himself as a legendary music-biz tough guy. His exploits — some mythic, some real — during the heyday of Death Row Records have become part of hip-hop lore: In the early Nineties, he allegedly shook down Vanilla Ice into handing over publishing profits, walking the rapper out to a hotel-room balcony to show him how far his fall would be. (“I needed to wear a diaper that day,” Ice said later.) In his memoir, former N.W.A manager Jerry Heller alleged that Knight and his cohorts, bearing baseball bats, intimidated Eazy-E into releasing Dre from his Ruthless Records contract. (The claims have never been substantiated.) Knight was sitting next to Tupac when he was gunned down in 1996 in Las Vegas; his participation in a fight on the night of the shooting would land him in prison for five years on a probation violation. SOURCE: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/the-endless-fall-of-suge-knight-73346/