Sunday, February 2, 2014



(Knoxville, TN.)---"Those Who Don't Know History Are Doomed To Repeat It!" I am reminded of this phrase that has been used countless times as we enter into February observing Black History Month.  This movie reminds me how some of us would just as soon forget the portions of our American history that are too raw, too riveting, too painful. Such is the case with the movie, "12 Years A Slave!" Sorry folks, this true story was simply too much for me to bear. I found myself running out of
the theater in tears, distraught!  If you haven’t seen it yet--first a warning, this movie is not for the faint of heart; nor anyone who has accepted the "glossed" over version of slavery portrayed in  Quentin Tarantino’s version in “Django Unchained.”  

Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor's intensely portrayal of Solomon Northup ripped at my very soul. This Oscar nominated movie cut like a knife. It became a jagged, horrific pill to swallow and not for reasons you might think.  My angst has less to do with Hollywood's portrayal  and more to do with the empty theater. Some of us simply don't want to be reminded of the struggle of our ancestors. Today's headlines where some have accepted poverty, literacy and unemployment serve as a sobering reminders of how we truly have forgotten “the struggle of Solomon.

February shouldn't be the only time we celebrate  those who came before us. Solomon Northup; Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Paks’ stories should never be forgotten and we should support these stories when they make their way to the silver screen.

Chiwetel, your remarkable performance left me breathless and crying out for more to be done in our own community by a new generation of leaders. The true stories of Solomon Northup and others like him must be preserved and supported.  Unfortunately,  it may take me a while to go back to view the the rest of the movie.  I need a minute to lick my wounds and heal my heart from raw feeling I got as a watched a young black woman named Patsey being stripped bare and nearly beaten to death because all she wanted was a bar of soap to keep her body cleaned after being repeatedly raped. That scene found me fleeing, sprinting out my seat and out the theater door.  I cried uncontrollably because nothing could have prepared me for the rawest, most humiliating part of our past portrayed in living color.  That folks, in my opinion is that is most harrowing, true depiction of our history in this Oscar worthy, American Saga-"12 Years A Slave."


As we explore Black history in February, I impress up on you to embrace every part of our history, even the painful parts that leave us "feeling" some type of way for it was indeed "all for our good!" We simply can never afford to forget, nor put aside the shocking images from the "lessons learned" in getting us where we are today.

Chiwetel Ejiofor, here's to your "Best Actor" nomination at The Oscars next month. Your portrayal of an "ordinary man" who survived "extraordinary" circumstances is truly unforgettable.