Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Episode 103: "The Quiet One"

Yo, I don't even have time to put up some real comments on this one. Just check it's a dope film, from 60 years ago. Peace.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Episode 102: Gil Scott Heron

Another black history month special episode. None other than the great poet Gil Scott Heron reciting a part from his poem/song "Black History, The World". This clip in particular came from "Black Wax" by the filmmaker Robert Mugge, as he filmed the controversial artist in performance at the now-defunct Wax Museum in Washington, D.C., in 1982. Check out the song if you can find it. I'd upload it for you, but I haven't figured out how to drop an audio file into these blog postings. And NEXT episode I'll bring y'all another black and white, old-timey BMA classic episode. Promise.

P.S. Thank you everyone for checking this podcast out over black history month and beyond. Thank you "Choirlady" for your inspiring comment on iTunes. It was a joy to read, and such kind words keep me motivated, and will keep this project going. Thanks also "THIS IS AL." for the props. Get at me through the email, use the email link on the 'contact' page. I'd like the chance to communicate with you. And one more shout out to "Desto22", thanks for your comment as well. This brings the iTunes total up to 10 (double digits baby!) and all 5 stars!! That's 50 stars!! Whooo hooo! I appreciate y'all. Peace.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Episode 101: of dead prez

This episode is a little change of pace for black history month. I know some of y'all are probably like "how the heck does this guy fit into the BMA podcast?!?" Usually I have the old-timey classics on here...but I also have some more modern-day clips that I'd like to begin to occasionally share with y'all. Like this one for example, shout out to all the dead prez fans and hip-hop heads out there. I really dig this interview, we (and I'm sure a lot of other folks around my age out there) had similar incidents like he describes back when I was in high school in Texas, and it's not very often that we hear hip-hop artists share their historical influences like this. So enjoy this interview with, one half of the hip-hop group dead prez...and I'll get y'all back to the black and white, old school archival material next episode. Peace.

P.S. There is no real way with a podcast to determine the demographic information of your audience, so I have added a few poll questions for anyone who would like to tell me a little more about yourselves. I'd appreciate the input. Thanks.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Episode 100: "The Assassination of Martin Luther King" (part 2)

Wake up everybody..the government murders our leaders y'all. At least they have in the past. Maybe I should change the name of this podcast to "The Oppressed People's Media Archive" to make it all-inclusive and see what happens to me. Lucky for me I don't get that many downloads.

But I've never seen the events leading up to, or after the assassination broken down like it is in this documentary. This is a good lesson in what it means to be boldly dedicated to the people. But I guess that anything worth having requires sacrifice. It's a shame that black people have had to sacrifice some of our best and brightest in an effort to lead this country to do the right thing. That's the definition of a martyr, huh? Unfortunately, instead of inspiring the masses to continue the struggle, it seems like our people were left too shaken, depressed, or just confused by the "official record of events" to know what to do next. Heaven help us all. God bless you Dr. King. In my opinion, he was the closest thing to Christ that this nation has ever produced. But the truth is that we could all do the same things, if we only had the guts. Unearned suffering is redemptive...I'm trying to understand and believe in that. Peace.

Episode 100: "The Assassination of Martin Luther King" (part 1)

This episode is the best documentary on the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that I have found...a must see for black history month. I don't even want to say too much about it, other than F*@# COINTELPRO (episodes 41 and 64) and J. Edgar Hoover, and watch and learn. And it gets even deeper in part two. Peace.

The Story of The BMA

In celebration of The BMA podcast's 100th episode, I thought that I'd share with you the story of how this all began.

In October 2006, I lost my job. They told me to say my position was eliminated, but however you say it (downsized, laid off, fired, whatever) after six years, I no longer had a job. During the time I was also in school pursuing a degree in graphic design. As part of my artistic studies, I was trying to learn some digital video editing. As anybody who dabbles in video editing knows, you can't edit video without any footage to edit. So I began to search the internet and other various sources for footage (mostly of black people, just a personal preference) that I could practice my video editing skills on. In my search for practice footage, I began to accumulate some interesting open source videos, that was historic footage of famous and unknown African-Americans. So then I began to search out some audio as well.

Well after some time had passed, I realized that I had accumulated a nice collection of pretty obscure films and audio. Around this same time, I had also begun to hear of a thing called podcasting. So I did some research, and learned that a podcast is basically like a TV or radio channel. Something that people all over the world could subscribe to, and be able to download and view content without having to remember a specific website address, YouTube page, or anything to really get in the way of being constantly up-to-date with the latest and greatest. Well, this was a revelation to me. I had a collection of video and audio files, and now a new avenue to share them with the general public had presented itself.

So, I went over to iTunes...learned about how a podcast works...studied up on some XML code (I'm a designer, not a computer coder)...found a cheap software alternative to writing code (Podcast Maker by Lemonz Dream available online at for only $29.95, I highly recommend it)...and searched iTunes to see what other podcasts existed that focused on the African-American community (in October 2006, I
think only Girl600 was doing her thing on iTunes). In creating this podcast, I also hoped to turn it into a central resource for black history in multimedia formats, that anyone interested could easily find and utilize. I mean, let's say you are curious and want to hear what Marcus Garvey sounded like (episodes 3 and 4), or want to learn more about Robert Williams (episodes 50 and 76)...where do you go? There is no one place that immediately come to mind. No real all-encompassing black history resource that has tried to unify all of this type of content into one place. With all of the media that exists by and about black people, there is no one place that has attempted to combine it into an online cohesive collection.

Well s#!%, here was an opportunity for me to get into the game quick, and establish a podcast for black people before anybody else. BET or any other TV channel would never broadcast the types of content that I had collected, and iTunes had podcasts listed for all kinds of other topics...but none for or about black people. Ladies and gentlemen, if you think you have a good idea that nobody else is currently doing...DO IT. So I did. I installed a copy of Final Cut Pro from a classmate on my laptop, edited together a quick intro ("this is the BMA...Black Media Archive Podcast") and got busy. Hell, with no job to take up my day, I had plenty of free time to explore a project that I could never get around to working full-time and going to school.

Over a year and 100 episodes later, here we are. The BMA podcast has been downloaded by hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, and my collection of content just continues to grow. I've been able to meet extraordinary people through email, try and educate and share some important content with the world, and shed some light on the image of black people that has been perpetuated through the media for decades by re-exposing this content to a new generation.

Anybody out there that has been considering starting a podcast or blog...I say do it. This has been a great experience for me, just starting a new media outlet for and about black people and watching it grow. The beauty of this podcast to me, is that I did not create any of this footage, I just share it with you just like I get it...the good, the bad, and the ugly. This is our history in multimedia more, no less. And it has been a pleasure bringing it to you. That's the story.

P.S. This past week I got a new job (anybody out there who is unemployed, keep the faith)!! So I'm going to be moving soon, and the BMA might slow down a little bit. But I definitely plan to keep it going even after I relocate for as long as I can. I feel like the first 100 episodes have been a good introduction, and I have enough content remaining in the collection to do 100 more. I'm going to begin jumping around in time with future episodes even more as the podcast goes forward. So stay tuned everyone! Thank you for spreading the word while still keeping it underground, and allowing this project to be successful. Peace.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Episode 99: "The March"

"The March" filmed on and around August 28, 1963 is a documentary of the civil rights march on Washington D.C. that we've all heard about. This documentary is also government created, as proven by the sponsorship of the United States Information Agency, a government media organization created to present the United States of America in a positive light to the world community. I have always believed (for some reason) that the march on Washington was some kind of spontaneous uprising of people who were fed up with an unjust society, but that is not the whole truth. It was more of an organized, government sanctioned rally, in order to allow people to vent their frustrations with the system, while at the same time not disrupting the system too much. This documentary does a good job of illustrating this fact, I think. It is however an enjoyable piece of film, and a stirring example of how people of all races can come together in the name of equal opportunity in America. Hopefully you can draw some hope and inspiration from it. Some things are worth marching for, and some things people have to come together to achieve. They marched for jobs, freedom, equal rights and justice.

There's a little hiccup in the middle of this episode (sorry, I should have edited that out. But oh well...) Highlights include performances by Joan Baez, Odetta (don't know them), Marian Anderson and of course Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous speech. Peace.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Episode 98: "We Work Again"

In these times of talk of economic recession, we take a look back to 1937 and the end of the Great Depression with the government documentary "We Work Again". This film is interesting in showing the government's initiative in putting African-Americans back to work. But it also shows the images and expectations of a segregated society (check out the swimming pools and playgrounds), even without mentioning the race of the subjects within the film.

An additional piece of information...the footage of the play that makes up the end of the film is "Voodoo Macbeth". This is the version of the Shakespeare play that a young Orson Welles (then known mainly through radio) set in Haiti in the (then) relatively near past, with an all African-American cast. Peace.