The Sinister White Lie About Black Films

Awhile back I was watching Hollywood Unlocked and Michael Jai White was the guest.  I’ve been a fan of White and his body…….of work for most of my life ;-). However this was one of the first times I got the opportunity to hear him discuss a number of topics at length. To say I was floored by the genius and the wisdom this brother was dropping would be a massive understatement. In the course of an hour and a half, he broke it all the way down about the history, challenges and solutions concerning Blacks in Hollywood and the media in general.

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My Top Articles of 2018

 

So one of the primary reasons I didn’t update this space much last year was because I was on constant deadline churning out a lot of pieces which didn’t leave me time to even catch my breath, much less do anything else.

This isn’t a bad thing when you’re a freelance journalist and a speculative fiction author. Not a bad thing at all. Being booked with paid gigs is always a blessing.

Nevertheless I was in Writer Mode for most of 2018 which is the visual equivalent of Puppet Angel, hence the Feature Image Header Pic. I can definitely say that I outdid myself last year with more than a few pieces. So much so I was inspired to make a Top 8 List so if you missed any of them or want to read them again, you can do so.

And don’t worry, one of my New Years Resolutions is to update here when a new piece gets published online so yeah this is me vying to do better.

Without further adieu, here are my picks for The Top 8 Articles of 2018.

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The Best Television Shows of 2018

While 2018 brought more than a few classics to the big screen, the small screen didn’t disappoint either. 2018 saw a year of reboots, new classics, long overdue new seasons, and a whole lot of binge-watching. History was made in entertainment be it a wedding, a crossover or three, or a few sporting events. A few shows redeemed themselves just as they signed off for the final time.

As is the standard, in order for a show to be considered for my list, it has to pass the Upkins Media Litmus Test.

So without further adieu, the following are my picks for The Best Television Shows of 2018:

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The Best Films of 2018

2018 was definitely the year of #BlackExcellence on the big screen. A phenomenon transpired with the release of one specific film and in conjunction with other movies resulted in a cultural shift that will continue to shape the entertainment, social, political, planetary landscape for years to come.

2018 was a reminder why representation matters and stories can change the world.

With that in mind, the following are my top films of 2018. As is the standard, in order for a film to qualify, it must pass Upkins Media Litmus Test.

There may be some cinematic gems listed that you may have missed and want to check out.

Without further adieu, the following are my picks for the Best Films of 2018.

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The Cause of the Crew’s Cancellation

This weekend news broke that after two issues, Marvel’s Black Panther & the Crew has been canceled.

The series revolved around Black Panther, Storm, Luke Cage, Misty Knight and Manifold who band together to take on a dangerous wave of street-level threats in this new ongoing series by co-writers Ta-Nehisi Coates (New York Times best-selling author of Between the World and Me and Marvel’s Black Panther) and Yona Harvey (Black Panther: World of Wakanda) and legendary artist Butch Guice!

The death of a Harlem activist kicks off a mystery that will reveal surprising new secrets about the Marvel Universe’s past and set the stage for a big story in the Marvel Universe’s near future. Fear, hate and violence loom, but don’t worry, The Crew’s got this: “We are the streets.”

Anyone who thinks the cancellation has to do with “poor sales” and not the comics’ themes of racial justice and unapologetic blackness can line up and purchase some beachfront property I own in Wyoming.

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A Non Spoiler Review of Captain America: Civil War

If the first two Captain America films are any indication, I’ve learned not to watch them with any expectations good or bad.

Like most of the Marvel Phase One films, I found First Avenger to be a yawn and filler for the payoff that was the first Avengers movie.

Winter Soldier blindsided me and years later I’m still trying to process how amazing that film is.

As much as I love Winter Soldier (it along with Avengers and Age of Ultron rank as my favorite Marvel flicks), and even though I knew I would finally get the Black Panther in this film, I still watched with no expectation.

The verdict: By no mean is it the worst Marvel film by any stretch. It was brilliant in some parts and a mess in others. Better than First Avenger but a major letdown from Winter Soldier. I kept checking my watch so many times, one would’ve thought my name was William Tockman.

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Don’t Buy Black Panther Graphic Novels During Black History Month

“I’m always fascinated when white geeks go on and on about how accepting and wonderful geek culture is. I don’t question their experience, I just can’t personally relate. For me, I have to be cautious of what venues of fandom I venture in, because it’s not unlike walking through gen pop, where you constantly have to look over your shoulder to make sure an inmate or warden doesn’t attempt to shank you. Or a better analogy would be making sure that while you’re always outnumbered, that you’re never outgunned like my patronus Midnighter.”

-Dennis R. Upkins

The following happened a few years ago but this tale definitely warrants a post just the same.

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Who Are The Dora Milaje?

The second trailer of Avengers: Age of Ultron featured more than a few surprises. Most notably, a scene that featured a mysterious woman in the cave which had the internet abuzz.

Unfortunately the shot-callers at Disney decided to snatch defeat out of he jaws of victory. After pulling rank on director Joss Whedon with the cave scene,  Disney ultimately pulled a bait & switch in advertising the woman in the second trailer and then removing her from the film.

Based on what is known regarding the plans for Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the character was most likely either Shuri, princess of Wakanda and co-Black Panther, or the Dora Milaje: the elite personal bodyguards of the Black Panthers.

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Character Study: Shuri

The Black Panther himself isn’t the only reason I’m eagerly awaiting the the live action film when it hits theaters in 2018.

Although T’Challa in action is more than reason enough.

The opportunity to see the mythical land of Wakanda, and the fiercely “Adored Ones,” the Dora Milaje, on the big screen is also well worth the price of admission alone.

But as the Captain America, Iron Man and Thor films have illustrated, the supporting players, (Falcon, Bucky Barnes, War Machine, and Lady Sif) will also get an opportunity to take center stage.

This is why I’m hoping T’Challa’s younger sister and fellow Black Panther, Shuri has a featured role in the film.

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