March 31 is a day that everyone can remember, especially if you’re a music lover. On this day 25 years ago, Selena Quintanilla was shot and killed by Yolanda Saldivar, the president of her fan club and even considered to be her friend. On this day last year, Nipsey Hussle was killed by Eric Holder, by someone he knew as well.
Two idolized musicians was killed by gun violence and by someone they knew. Selena was glorified in the Latino industry and even the Pop Industry and Nipsey amongst the hip-hop community. Not only was he an artist, but also an activist and entrepreneur; he was very involved in his community. Selena crossed over from Spanish music, to American music during her time here. Also while living, she won a Grammy for Best Mexican American Album in 1994 and Nipsey was nominated for Best Rap Album last year.
Selena appreciated her fans a lot and her family even more. Her father dealt with the business side of her career, her sister played the drums and her brother the guitar in their band, Selena y Los Dinos. Nipsey opened a store called The Marathon Clothing in the heart of his hood Crenshaw and sold Crenshaw apparel, amongst other items.
The irony of losing two greats on the SAME day, years apart, by gun violence, by some they know is uncanny. Both left a big impact on the music industry and their presence on earth is still being talked about, especially Selena, and she’s been gone 25 years. Even though Nipsey died just last year, it feels like it just happened.
May Nipsey Hussle and Selena’s legacy be respected and remembered for many years to come.
Issa Rae and LaKeith Stanfield starred in the romantic comedy The Photograph and it was a beautiful love story, but with a deeper meaning.
Mae, played by Issa Rae, lost her mother at the start of the movie. She didn’t know much about her mom’s life until she left her a letter explaining things. Mae’s mother Christina was invested in her work and less into love and emotion. She didn’t show much emotion around Mae and in her defense….it was because her mother didn’t show her much love.
When Christina, played by Chante Adams, was dating Mae’s father Issac, played by Y’lan Noel, her mother discouraged her from dating him because he was content where he was in life and wasn’t making much money. Her mother gave her the impression that she needed to be with someone who could take care of her…so she could move out the house. Christina’s mother told her she was getting too old to be living with her. That is what pushed her to move out the house, better yet the state and pursue her photography career in New York. Christina’s mother lacked emotion with her and felt that being taken care was more important than love.
Once Christina had Mae, of course she’s going to teach her daughter what was mimicked to her, which is how to NOT properly love someone and somewhat be scared of commitment. Since Mae wasn’t shown much love as a kid, the feeling of commitment scared her. Mae said she broke up with a guy because he proposed to her. She is/was more content with living in the moment and not being married. She had a change of heart eventually once she got to know Michael, played by LaKeith Stanfield. He and Mae connected when was doing a story on a man who worked in the oil industry during the oil spill and he came across pictures shot by Mae’s mother and even a picture of her. The guy used to date Mae’s mother Christina. Michael was intrigued by Christina’s photos that he decided to find more of her images, and when he did, that’s how he met Mae.
When Christina passed away, she left Mae a long letter and another to give to her father. Mae learned so much about her mother in a letter, than she learned about her her whole life. In the letter, she found out who her real father was and their love story. The man whom she thought was her father, wasn’t and the man who is her father was the man whom Michael did a story on, Isaac– hence, the reason why he had a picture of Christina in his home. Unfortunately, Isaac didn’t know that Mae was his daughter but they started to form a relationship towards the end of the movie. Christina had left her hometown in Louisiana to pursue a career in photography in New York. She left without telling Isaac and months later when she returned for her mother’s funeral, Issac had married someone else (HOW QUICK IS THAT!)
Where the generational behavior comes into play is the fact that Christina’s mother didn’t really seem affectionate with Mae and showed her tough love. Don’t get me wrong, tough love is fine but when it’s more tough love than affectionate love, that can have a long term affect on you and how you raise your children. Christina lacked some form of emotion when it came to her relationship with Mae, due to the way her mother was with her. Mae recalled a time when she was going away to school and her mom was too busy to take her to the airport. Mae’s step father told her that when he came home from dropping her off at the airport, Mae was crying in a corner because she was sad to see Mae go but she had a hard time showing emotion and was not good at goodbyes. Her mother was also a workaholic and expressed in her letter to Mae, “I wish I was as good at love than I am about working;” meaning, her mother was more into her work than she was with being present and transparent in her relationships with people such as Mae and even Isaac.
Luckily Mae learned from her mother’s mishaps in relationships and decided to break the generational disconnect of loving someone and showing it with Michael. This movie is a prime example of “be who you want your children to be.” Tell them to learn from you mistakes and show them how. Leaving your child lost and left with question is not the way to go. Don’t hold back, show them love, be transparent with them.
Mathematician Extraordinaire Katherine Johnson suddenly passed away at the age of 101 today. With it being Black History Month, it’s only right to recognize her accomplishments.
In 1953, Katherine began working at NASA, starting off doing computing work in the research lab then moved up the career ladder. In 1961, she helped with analysis work on Alan Shepard’s Freedom 7 Spaceflight. For the 1962 Friendship 7 flight, which was the first to orbit earth, Katherine ran calculations by hand in order for the flight to be a success, and it was!
One of Ms. Katherine’s biggest accomplishments was helping with the Apollo 11 spacecraft, in which men landed on the moon in 1969. Her work with NASA was told in the 2017 movie Hidden Figures, starring Taraji P. Henson as Ms. Katherine Johnson, Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughan and Janelle Monae as Mary Jackson.
In 1986, Katherine retired from NASA and in 2015, President Obama honored her the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contributions to NASA.
Ms. Katherine Johnson, along with Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson broke racial and gender barriers during their time at NASA. Katherine Johnson will be remembered as a genius, role model and one of the many faces of black excellence.
St. Louis’ own Chuck Berry is known as the Father of Rock and Roll. Chuck started performing in the early 1940’s and not only was he a performer but he also graduated with a cosmetology degree; was a freelance photographer and worked at a car plant. HE DID IT ALL!
His first single was “Maybellene” and was considered to be the first rock n’ roll song. Then followed “Roll Over Beethoven” in 1956, “Rock And Roll Music” in 1957, “Johnny B Goode” in 1958, and more to follow. He created his signature dance “The Duck Walk” in 1956.
During his time, Chuck broke racial barriers by being a black man performing country songs in front of a white audiences and even getting black people hip to his country songs. Chuck expanded the music style to both races and was well-known across the world…even NASA recognized his music.
Chuck was a dedicated performer and will always be known as the FATHER of Rock and Roll.
Dorothy Dandridge was a singer, dancer and actress from the 1930s through the 50s . She got into the show business alongside her sister Vivian. In the 50’s she scored the leading role in Carmen, in which she was nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Award (The Oscars). Yes, Hattie McDaniel was the first black woman EVER to be nominated for an Academy Award for her supporting role in Gone with the Wind, and the first black woman to WIN that award; but Dorothy Dandridge was the first black woman to be nominated for a leading role. (Not knocking Ms. Hattie McDaniel)
Even though Dorothy didn’t win, she did set the standard that African American women can be nominated for a leading role. She even turned down a few roles that portrayed black people in a bad light. She declined roles such as slaves, savages and servants that were only offered to black people.
In 1954, Dorothy was featured on Life magazine AND she was the first BLACK woman to be on the cover.
Ms. Dandridge definitely set the bar when it came to roles during that time and she should be remembered as a trailblazer.
Over the weekend, the story of Walter “Johnny D” McMillian was told in theaters starring Jamie Foxx and Michael B Jordan. Based on a true story, Johnny D was wrongfully accused and charged with killing an 18 year old white woman in 1986 in Monroeville, Alabama. The judge urged the death penalty on Johnny before a jury of white people urged a life sentence. A judge overrode the jury’s sentence and sentenced Johnny to the death penalty.
Johnny’s lawyer, the incredible Bryan Stevenson, was determined to not only prove that Johnny was innocent but other inmates as well. With Bryan being a fresh Harvard graduate, he had a lot of knowledge and determination. He quickly learned that the south was nothing to play with. They threatened him and tried to scare him away but he was bent on proving Johnny’s innocence, as well as Herbert Richardson.
Herbert was a Vietnam veteran who fought for his country but he was discharged due to psychological issues. He was from Brooklyn but eventually moved to Alabama and was still suffering trauma from the war. Due to his trauma and mental issues, he placed a bomb on a front porch that killed a young girl. He was charged with capital murder. Bryan tried to stop Herbert’s execution due to the fact that his previous lawyer did not attempt to appeal his case due to his psychological issues during and after the war. The jury failed to acknowledge that, not only was he an army vet but he suffered a mental illness and that should’ve been considered when they gave him the death penalty. He should’ve been placed in a mental ward for life versus getting the death penalty. One of the saddest scenes is the moments leading up to his execution. Herbert stated that more people had asked him if he needed any help in his last 14 hours of living, than they did his entire years that he battled with his mental illness and trauma. A tearful moment is when Johnny and the other inmates said goodbye to Herbert, told him that he wasn’t alone and that they were all there with him in spirit. They rattled their pans as the execution was going on, so Herbert could hear them and know that they were present with him.
Bryan took initiative to meet Johnny’s family to learn more about him and the day the young woman was murdered. Johnny was at home that day cooking fish for a fish fry that his family was hosting at his house. So, how was he miles away at a murder scene if he was truly at home? I’ll tell you how…bribery. The sheriff bribed a white felon named Ralph Myers to say that he was with Johnny when he committed the crime. The sheriff had bribed him by taking him off death row. As time went on and after further investigation, Bryan not only got the truth out of Myers but he found recordings of his initial statement saying he didn’t want to lie on an innocent man.
The case was told on 60 minutes and they even took the case to the supreme court to overturn Johnny’s conviction and exonerate him. The district attorney, who initially wasn’t for Johnny getting released, went in favor of getting his charges being dismissed. It was definitely a cheerful moment for the Johnny, his family and Bryan. Walter Johnny D McMillian went from being on death row for 6 years to being one of the first people in the state of Alabama to be released from death row.
This was definitely a miracle story but it still brings sadness due to the fact that…this happened in the late 1980’s to early 90’s. Racial injustice should have never been a thing in the first place but it was and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr fought for equality and much more in the 60’s so there shouldn’t have been any reason that this unjustness was still happening. A few takeaways from this film:
Shit like this still happens…as of 2020
We should reconsider giving army vets who have trauma psychological help instead of the death penalty
I hope white people really dissect the film and see that black people aren’t making this shit up when we say that we are wrongfully accused for crimes.
Bryan Stevenson did all this work for pro bono
GO SEE IT!!
IF you’ve seen the film already. What are your thoughts?