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Sankofa Actor Afemo Omilami speaks at film screening

January 28, 2013 Leave a comment

Afemo Omilami of Haile Gerima’s 1993 film Sankofa held a discussion after a screening this afternoon

One of the most honest and throught-provoking films about slavery is Haile Gerimaa’s 1993 film, Sankofa. The movie follows an African-American woman’s journey back in time during the slave era, set on a rural Southern plantation. Her story begins in Ghana, Africa at the Elmina slave dungeon, a large slave prison that the Dutch, Portuguese and British used to confine human beings, sometimes for up to a year, while they awaited transportation to the West.

Atlanta travel company, Cultural Compass presented Afemo Omilami, who played head enslaved person Noble Ali in the film, (similar to Samuel L.Jackson’s character in Django) as a guest speaker after today’s film screening.

Omilami is featured in over 60 films including Forrest Gump, Glory and The Firm. He is also involved with the Hosea Feed the Hungry drive here in Atlanta,  where he lives with his wife Elizabeth .Here are some highlights:

 On why Haile Gerima’s Sankofa is nothing like Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained

Corporations push [movies like Django out]. Films like this don’t get made. It’s a cultural vacuum in a city of elitist who are disconnected.

 

“You had Mona who has aspects of ourselves growing up in a culture where you have people who want you to learn their history and so you grow up ignorant and trained in a system that says you are ignorant.” -Afemo Omilami of Sakofa. The actor played a head enslaved person similar to Samuel L. Jackson’s character in Django Unchained

 On his life and career:

I’m still involved in motion pictures while feeding the poor in Atlanta and dealing with this city’s [racial politics.] Being in movies hasn’t changed me.

“As [African-Americans], you know enough to get by: Dr. King, Fredrick Douglass, Harriet Tubman,.. a few things until you finally arrive at your history and it becomes an awareness and we become deeper.” -Afemo Omilami of Sankofa

On today’s black youth:

There are those who don’t really want to know their history. We don’t require our kids to become culturally aware, so they grow up ignorant. Jewish kids have to recite long readings about their history but we don’t make our kids remember anything.

Oyafunmike Ogunlana plays Mona, a woman who is transported back into the slave era. She is consoled by Alexandra Dura who plays Nuna, an Akan woman who was raped at 15 and bears a biracial son.

Sakofa is currently on Youtube in parts here and there. If this link is no longer active, I’m sure you can find another one. Its one of the most powerful movies I’ve ever seen.

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Web Whims

January 20, 2013 Leave a comment

Its official! President Obama took the oath of office from Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. on Sunday.

Two Termz! President Obama sworn into office.

Can feminists and princesses get along?

An orgasm gave someone a brain hemorrhage. This is not good.

South Sudan may be its own country now but agreements with their other half remain stagnant.

Sundance Film Festival presents indie film Luv starring rapper Common.

Whim #34

January 19, 2013 Leave a comment

Baccara’s signature hit, Yes Sir, I can Boogie sporadically plays on my boss’ Ipod at work. He’s a jolly man with a laugh you can’t help but mimic even if you don’t get the joke. Its listed under the playlist, “The 50 Gayest Songs Ever.”

I’m going to pretend he meant “The 50 Happiest Songs Ever.”

Still, We Rise

January 12, 2013 Leave a comment

Liberte ou mort

Three years ago today, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti and killed nearly 400,000 people . RIP to the lives lost.

Categories: NEWS Tags: ,

Web Whims

January 9, 2013 Leave a comment

Ignore this creepy poster and click for the trailer.

PBS releases a 3-part documentary called The Abolitionists. “Perish all compromises with tyranny!”

Rihanna is just like us.

Donald Glover to play “Lena Dunham’s really handsome black republican boyfriend,” on that show that is set in a pretend NYC. Maybe its really Gotham.

Wait, Gitmo is still open for crimes against humanity?

Filmmaker Jessica Vale comments  on Urban Whim!!

Young rape victim from new documentary, Olivia Zinnah dies

January 9, 2013 Leave a comment
Image

Olivia Zinnah (left), with Clara, another rape victim she befriended in the hospital. Via globalpost.com

Compared to the fixated media gaze on the rape and subsequent death of a 23- year-old rape victim in India, the death of 13-year-old Olivia Zinnah in December was widely overlooked. The young girl, who was recently the subject of a new documentary, was buried on Dec. 20, after a brutal rape some seven years prior, left the young girl with a severe fistula and infections, among other injuries.

For three years, Zinnah never went to a hospital or to see a doctor. Villagers claimed her suffering was due to witchcraft and as a result, treated with herbal medicine. It was her uncle who finally reported what happened to the police but Zinnah’s alleged attacker (who was believed to be a family member) was never prosecuted- and she continued to suffer from her injuries.

Oliviah Zinnah died in December of severe bowel obstruction—her rape occurred when she was just 7-years old.

Olivia Zinnah is the subject of a new documentary. She lived in Liberia and died on Dec. 20 from injuries that resulted from a brutal rape. She was 13-years-old.

But her story will be told.  Small small thing, directed by  Jessica Vale chronicles Zinnah nine months after she returned home from the hospital and sheds light on community ostracism of rape victims.

via Facebook

 

Aga Jedlinska

January 7, 2013 1 comment

via Facebook

Aga Jedlinska is a 34-year-old yoga instructor with a thick Polish accent whose penchant for saying the most unconventional things make her a big ball of fun.

Jedlinska moved to the United States in 2001, when she was hired as a camp counselor in Lake George, New York but only planed to stay for four months. “But I met someone and got married.” When her marriage ended just two years later, Jedlinska eventually moved to Atlanta where she now teaches yoga.

It’s been eleven years since she left her home in Poland, where Jedlinska still remembers what it was like living under Communism rule by the Soviet Union. In those days, Jedlinska remembers going to the grocery store where there was nothing to buy but toilet paper and vinegar. “It was nothing like a Wal-Mart. [Here] the stores are filled with things to buy and for someone like me, Wal-Mart was something so amazing.

Jedlinska recalls government rations issued out by the Soviet Union: “They would give us just enough to buy food for the family but never enough. So if you got drunk and let’s say, threw a party and used all your coupons, you would not be able to get food.”

Seemingly everyday treats like a Snicker bar or a pack of Skittles were luxuries to Polish children growing up under the Soviet’s rule.

Polish sweets n’ treats with Aga

“A Snickers bar was like, “Oh my god,” she recalls. “I once was dreaming of a Mars bar and had a friend from Germany who used to get packages of goodies… and every time I was eating a [candy bar] it was like chewing velvet.” Fortunately, Jedlinska ‘s father worked for a company that owned a chain of grocery stores, so her family had access to food and even rare treats such as bananas and oranges.

The space her family shared was about the size of the apartment she lives in today: a 600 square feet, one bedroom space where her parents, her father’s ex-mother-in-law (his first wife died) and herself shared. “Everything had to be small and [functional],” she recalls.

Despite the not so easy living conditions, Jedlinska says she had a happy childhood. “It was not so bad because as a kid you’re just [naturally] happy. And everyone was poor, so I didn’t see the disproportion like they [exist] in America.”