"The Black List"

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sooo... I was invited to the East Coast Screening of HBO's "The Black List" Volume II... and of course, I was in attendance.

"The Black List" profiles some of today's most fascinating and prominent African-Americans, who in the documentary, speak about childhood ambitions that have shaped their lives and the impact they have on the world today. Volume I included Russell Simmons, P. Diddy, Toni Morrison, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Al Sharpton, Keenan Ivory Waynes, Zane, and many more.

Volume II includes:

Majora Carter
Angela Davis
Suzanne De Passe
Laurence Fishburne
Barbara Harris
T.D. Jakes
Deval Patrick
Tyler Perry
Charley Pride
Patrick Robinson
Maya Rudolph
Melvin Van Peebles
Kara Walker

The entrance to Boston's Strand Theatre was a sight I'm unsure I've ever seen. Mayor Menino's renovation of the urban-stationed theatre is magnificent. Once you hit Columbia Road, you could see the shooting blue lights lace the sky in their criss cross motion. BPD lined the street directing traffic around and away from the theatre. As I walked toward the entrance, I was graced with flashbacks of the "Strand Party" days when high schoolers grinding & wining, lined the lobby walls. This was a tactic used to keep Boston's young off the streets on the weekends and in a safe, supervised place.

People stood in the lobby chatting and greeting each other. I spotted my boss who handed me my bright yellow wristband which I neatly and securely placed on my tiny left wrist.

In a fuzzy rack focus I spotted the red carpet that trailed from a set of grand stairs to a separate entrance. Through that entrance came the first high-profiler of the night. Boston’s Mayor Thomas M. Menino. Menino’s long-time love-affair with the city has made him quite the celebrity, at least to us.

Next came the governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick. Patrick is the second elected African-American to hold such a title in the United States. The man is a historic figure before his history is even made. He was the highlight of the night, so of course my boss got him to take a picture with me. As I shook his hand and greeted him, I felt the heat of his gaze. His eye contact radiated knowledge, respect, and power; he has such presence.

As producer Tommy Walker, Deval Patrick, Mayor Menino, and the documentary's creator Timothy Greenfield-Sanders posed for the press, I snapped a side shot from my end of the room.
Upstairs, during the reception, as everyone mingled, greeting old and new friends, I was busy meeting the Founder/President of the The Color of Film, which is the one of the companies that coordinate the Roxbury Film Festival. I’ve been wanting to get involved with this festival for years now, but never had the chance to figure it all out. So you can only imagine how excited I was. Deval Patrick was the highlight of the night. This was the highlight of my night.

There were a few quotes I took note of:

“As a black artist you can paint a wall of smiley faces, and they’ll ask “why are you so angry.”
-Alice Walker
"Our Presence as people has always been there, it was just buried under a lot of sand.”
“The little boy that I was, made it through, so as a man, I have the obligation to keep going.”
-Tyler Perry
“I don’t remember a single word that was said at the MLK speech. But I remember how I felt.”
-Deval Patrick
“God may not come when you call him, but he’s always right on time.”
-Melvin Van Peebles
“The Black List” Volume II premieres tonight, exclusively on HBO.



Jennifer S. Flescher said...

Hi, Melissa!
Of course I remember you -- that was my first year teaching... it was a rough one. I'm glad to think someone enjoyed some part of it -- e-mail me with your address and I'll send you a copy of the journal -- which is doing well.
Looks like you're up to amazing stuff too! I knew you would be!