Actor Keith Hamilton Cobb website

Monthly Archives: January 2015

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Selma, The Movie

The Invisible Man
Anything But a Black American Male

Thoughts on a Hollywood Film



“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

                                                          Martin Luther King, Jr.

RM306a                                                         Craig Alan Edwards, American Writer/Performer,                                                                                    The Man in Room 306


I went to see the film, Selma.

Not because of the hype it’s been riding.  There are innumerable films that do that each year that are not worth the price of admission, and certainly not worth two hours of my time.

I didn’t go because I needed to have the story retold to me.  Having lived, a black American for over half a century, the cinema of this piece of my history continues to play in my consciousness, enhanced to high definition by events occurring presently and regularly.  I need no movie to re-illustrate for me the highlights, and only the highlights, of the bad old days without the depth of exploration required to offer me any truly new perspective.

I did not go because the story of the struggle of the black American for civil rights, or, for that matter, the story of Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave, or the story of Rosewood, or of the Tuskegee Airmen in Red Tails were stories more worthy to be told when measured against all of the stories of black people that there are to tell.  I find a troubling irony in all of the reaching back we do for the purpose of immortalizing some piece of black American history, when what those historical figures were all most intent upon was creating an even playing field for us in the present day, a goal which, despite the endless efforts of ancestors remains widely unachieved, and, in glaring instances, would seem now to be in a process of complete regression.

I would be pleased to sacrifice all the films about all the black icons of the past—now so very safe to speak of in laudatory terms—for a high-budgeted Hollywood film or two about contemporary black men and women as, if we care to look, we can observe them today.  Not sophomoric comedians, or urban malcontents, but leading men and women, self-governing, sexy, proactive, effectual, whose present day lives, and on-camera focus-holding abilities are every bit as compelling and cinema worthy as DiCaprio, Affleck, Damon, Pitt, and all this entire last generation of white movie star, and certainly this newest one.    Read More →

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