Or.....Better Late Than Never....
Already one solid week into this Black History Month and the pull of procrastination threatens to overwhelm my high- minded intentions for this abbreviated month. With an initial momentum fueled by the replacement of #45, the confirmation (as if we needed one) of the prevalence of white rage coddled by the dual justice systems, I conjured a plan to post snapshots of my own family’s Black history to supplement my primary objective for this month: to screen 28 movies and television shows in tribute to the celluloid endeavors of our people.
As February continues to ebb, the best path towards this short term screen goal - at least the one most aligned with my own schedule - most likely involves the screening of four or five television shows during the next two Sundays.
Either way, Boyette’s Black History ScreenFest kicks off Wednesday February 10 with Mississippi Masala. Director Mira Nair’s tale of two cultures on a romantic collision course introduced audiences to Sarita Choudhury and qualifies for this list thanks to the leading man Denzel Washington. Do I need to state the obvious inspiration for choosing this particular selection? I think not.
The works in my list appear in no particular order except how they occurred to me. The cannon of Black film is extensive (of course it could be larger) holding enough selection to overwhelm this Hollywood-adjacent popcorn lover (soy sauce, hold the butter, thank you very much). A few parameters helped narrow things down:
Following Mississippi Masala, we move on to Within Our Gates by Oscar Michieux - the oldest known surviving film made by a Black director. At least that’s what the internet tells me.
What classic movies made your list?
Check this space on Friday morning for my weekend picks!
UPDATE 10 Feb 2021:
Unbelievably, Mississippi Marsala does not appear on any streaming service! #RookieMistake
However, as the adage goes: one door closes and another one opens. In lieu of gazing upon Denzel's star turn along the Gulf Coast, let us head over to Tinsel Town with Robert Townsend's "caustic satire about the dearth of substantial roles for black and Hispanic actors in Hollywood" [Garin Pirnia, Vanity Fair March 2017] - Hollywood Shuffle. It's been a long minute since I watched this classic work, with a message that still resonates.
To recap: Kicking off Black History Month ScreenFest tonight with Hollywood Shuffle accopanied by a bowl of popcorn fresh out of the air fryer!
Last month I neglected to credit the author of the recipe used for my maiden challah making experience: The one and only Melissa Clark (IG @Clarkbar) from the oft-referenced New York Times Cooking website.
This untraditional loaf called for olive oil, fresh squeezed orange juice as well as a bit of orange zest. Because I'm slow on the uptake the orange flavor surprised at first bite; stil, the bread itself was delicious and texture - lovely. All in all, we called it a very solid effort on my part. Although the strong orange attributes threatened to overwhelm my palate’s expectations, I couldn't stop eating it, neither could marvelous Mia who shared my feeling about the citrusy presence.
The following week, I decided to work with the same recipe, with my own adjustments: Omitting all things orange and replacing it with honey.
After spending too much time living in the overwhelm - that’s probably most of us, am I right? - it’s really easy to feel comfortable in that familiar space of chaotic and reactive living. Those of you whom know me really well, know this way of living has been a theme for me long before the crapfest a.k.a. 2020. Anyhoo...after a particularly emotionally grueling few days, I felt ready for some kind of reset.
Friday, October 16th: In typical Toni-fashion, the intention to follow my 7AM physical therapy session with a few errands and a lot of work on Toni’s Table, followed by a few hours in the kitchen preparing Friday Night dinner turned into a melee of many errands bringing me home much later in the day with a sudden urge to clean the house (procrastination, anyone?) delivering me to a critical junction: Start the work I intended to do and should have been working on at 9 AM, or start dinner in order to eat before 11PM (you don’t wanna know how often that happens). An unassuming query from Marvelous Mia ("When will dinner actually be ready?") helped clarify my decision. [remember the aforementioned 11PM meals!]
The year end portion of The Momma Mia Tour 2018, while fraught with mishaps, miscommunications, and maladies of a physical nature, still managed to delight and engage Mia and myself on multiple levels. If you follow my sporadic social media presence the fact that Marvelous Mia spent her fall semester studying in Denmark comes as no surprise. She thrived during her months in Copenhagen. I visited for a brief moment, getting to switch places with my newly minted world traveler - but that’s another post altogether. Before taking off for Scandinavia Mia mentioned the prospect of taking extra time to continue her European experience. Actually… her statement fell somewhere between an inquiry and a demand. No matter - She could have ended her request with the surliest of attitudes and nastiest name-calling (not that she ever would; apparently mine is the only potty mouth in this family) and I still would have fallen over myself trying to make reservations.