Saturday, December 22, 2007

Episode 88: Kwame Nkrumah

Merry Christmas everybody...and as a gift to you, as suggested by the six people who have taken time out to vote so far, (hey, that's one more than comments I have in iTunes...'ppreciate y'all) here is a copy of a good speech from the archives. This speech was given by Kwame Nkrumah, at midnight on March 6, 1957, fifty years ago, in Accra to mark the independence of Ghana. Peace and love.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Episode 87: "It Happened to Crusoe"

I got a number of these old cartoons with what are supposed to be Africans in them. So I thought I'd share another one. The whole vegetarian cannibal thing is strange...and guess who ends up king in the end.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Episode 86: "Satchmo Swings In Congo"

There ain't a whole lot to say about this one...other than Louis Armstrong was the man. I wish there was more footage available of his actual performance, or of his other stops on his tour of Africa. But oh well...we got what we got. Peace.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Episode 85: "Africa Speaks!" (part 2)

"Africa Speaks!" part two...the adventure continues. More, good footage of 1930s Africa and the tribes that lived in the Uganda/Kenya/Tanzania area. Now we get to the exciting stuff, the lions. WARNING: This part contains a graphic scene of an African man being eaten by lions. No kidding. This is a documentary filmed before CGI effects and all that, so brace yourself. You can't help but feel like the guy got set up too. Poor Kaga. This documentary is also very hard to find in a complete/unedited format. It seems the lion attack and the scenes where the filmmakers visit the tribe with the "duck-billed women" were removed at some point in time. But the lion hunt that follows by the native tribe is still pretty cool. I had to piece two different movie clips together for this one, in order to get as close to the original cut of the film as possible. So the video quality changes right in the middle of this episode, but I did it for the sake of having the complete movie. Peace.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Episode 85: "Africa Speaks!" (part 1)

This movie starts off "Africa...the sinister..." and this gives you an idea of the attitude of this film. Made in 1930, this documentary gives you an interesting look into sub-Saharan Africa from over 70 years ago. In 1930, all of Africa was long under European colonial rule, and the exploitation of the Africans is evident throughout this film. The film maker and narrator set off on a journey through equatorial Africa, with guns and camera in hand, to show an American audience what were probably the first sound and motion pictures that had been taken on the continent. You get to see plenty of wildlife (Elephants, Giraffes, and Locusts!), and even a tribe of Pygmies! Check this documentary interestingly shows native African life, and western attitudes towards it from a time long since passed. Peace.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Episode 84: "Plane Dumb"

At first you think, 'hey a Tom and Jerry cartoon'. But this isn't the same cat and mouse Tom and Jerry I grew up watching. Basically it's a pair of two white guys who fly to Africa, get scared, decide to put on black face in order to fit in, and then act like a couple of dopes. On some ol' vaudeville, Amos and Andy jokes. This stuff was real funny back in 1932. But the next few episodes highlight different perceptions of Africa. Enjoy. Peace.

Monday, December 10, 2007

"Black August"

Shout out to P.J. who sent me over this link. Anybody heard of George Jackson before? Anybody read his book, "Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson" before? I hadn't either, but I'm a keep an eye out for this movie now. Is that the brother from CSI?

If you want to see more, there's another documentary on George Jackson titled "Day of the Gun" on YouTube. Click on this link to start at part one:

Then just keep going in order. It looks pretty long, I only watched part one.


Saturday, December 8, 2007

Episode 83: "Song of Freedom" (part 2)

Now this is where the story gets good. Finally, a plot twist, and less singing. Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you went over to Africa? Well, watch what happens when John Zinga (Paul Robeson) goes back, taking his wife and friend, and claiming to be the king! I ended up really enjoying this movie, and to think that it was made back in 1936 by Hammer Film Productions in London. 1936! Obviously, nothing like this could have come out of the US.

Apparently this movie did pretty well in the box office, everywhere but in the US (especially in the south). And Paul Robeson was even given final cut approval on the film, something very few other actors ever had. It makes me wonder if a movie like this could be made today. Anyway, enjoy the conclusion of "Song of Freedom", a new classic for me.


Friday, December 7, 2007

Episode 83: "Song of Freedom" (part 1)

"Song of Freedom" (1936) stars Paul Robeson, and part one of this episode is mostly plot set-up. It took me two tries to watch this movie. All I could think was 'Paul Robeson, sure does sing a lot in this joint.' So this movie was obviously a chance to showcase Robeson's voice to the masses. But that's also what kept me from watching the movie the whole way through the first time. It's not that Robeson sounds bad or anything...I just didn't expect it to be a musical I guess (I don't know why...most of the old timey movies are) and it seemed to take too long to get back to the plot. But I read a review online that made me go back and give it another watch. Here's part of it:

This Hammer Studio, from London, England which is famous for its horror films surprised me with this great film from 1936 starring Paul Robeson, (John Zinga) who works as a London dock worker and sings songs all the time besides having a great bass voice for the opera and is discovered by a great opera director and producer from London, England. John is always wanting to go to Africa where he came from, but he does not know exactly where he was born, but he still remembers a song which he heard when he was very young. One day John happens to sing this song on stage in an opera performance and this song is recognized by an Englishman who tells him where it comes from and also a charm which John wears around his neck which helped determine its origin. John also has a wife and they both visit this Island and try to introduce themselves to these people and that is when the story gets very interesting. Don't miss this great film from the past, it is a gem in the rough.

So I went back to it...and I'm glad I did. Stick it out through part one, it's slow but it does get interesting later on. In the meantime enjoy Paul Robeson's voice throughout part one, his wife Elisabeth Welch is lovely, and the opera guy is a trip. But in part two the story gets good.


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Episode 82: Fannie Lou Hamer

I have been looking to put out more episodes featuring the voices of black women, so I was excited to find an audio clip of Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer giving her testimony to the DNC back in 1964. I hadn't heard of her before and I came across her name by watching another video clip, (I can't recall exactly what it was right now, but I plan to release it in a future BMA episode) and when I saw this short, dark woman giving her speech and boldly speaking the truth like she was, I had to search around and find out what other speeches she had given that might have been recorded and preserved out there. Well, this episode is some of what I've found...for those who don't you know. Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer. Look her up. ( The sister was holding it down.

Hello and Welcome!

Hello, and welcome to the BMA: Black Media Archive blog. This page was created as an accessory to the BMA podcast, and a place where I can offer my director's commentary on each episode. In addition, I am interested in hearing your thoughts and opinions about the episodes from the BMA podcast. The podcast has been online for over a year now, and this page can hopefully begin a community through which I can communicate with the BMA audience, and all of the podcast viewers out in the world can deposit their two cents into the BMA bank of knowledge.

ALERT: I do reserve the right to monitor all comments posted on this page. The BMA was created to be an online educational resource, and due to the nature of some of the content I have been hesitant to this point to open up an online forum such as this. However every idea has its time, and after a year of podcasting...what the hell.

So welcome...submit your comments, please take a moment to vote in the poll on the left, and keep spreading the word. In the plans for the near future are a BMA reading list and book review (possibly). Thank you to everyone for your support, in the states and around the world. Peace.