This is the dance sequence that Fred Astaire famously called, “the greatest dance number ever filmed.” I tore my ACL just watching this. In my mind, Harold and Fayard Nicholas are far and away the greatest dancers to ever walk the earth; with Fred “Rerun” Berry a distant third.
Bonus comedy: Here’s Harold hamming it up with Bill Cosby and Sydney Poitier thirty years later in “Uptown Saturday Night.”
Shirley Chisholm declares presidential bid, January 25, 1972
When I wear my “Shirley Chisholm for President” button, I get two reactions. The first–usually from someone over the age of 50–is an enthusiastic smile before they ask where I got it. The second, more common reaction is, “Who’s Shirley Chisholm?” After I sigh and hang my head briefly–especially when asked that by a person of color–I explain that she was the first Black woman elected to Congress, and the first Black person to seek a major-party’s Presidential nomination.
This documentary film from Raymond Gayle examines “the struggles of the black rock musician and the stigma they face in the black community and the music industry.” It features tons of great performance footage and interviews with journalists and musicians like Angelo Moore of Fishbone, Vernon Reid of In Living Color, and Cody ChesnuTT. Although the film is a bit rough around the edges, it’s got a lot of heart and certainly tackles an interesting and timely subject. The success of bands like TV on the Radio (one white guy) and Bloc Party (fronted by a black guy) might signal a shift toward an acceptance of more rockers of color. Watch it here, or by all means go buy a copy.
And here’s the Saturday Night Live performance that first made me a Fishbone fan.
Well, not all Black people. But this is a perfect example of why the stereotype still persists. Writing about the new movie Obsessed, Stephen Holden said the following:
The movie’s most disturbing aspect, of which the filmmakers could not have been unaware, is the physical resemblance between Mr. Elba and Ms. Larter to O. J. and Nicole Brown Simpson. It lends “Obsessed” a distasteful taint of exploitation.
The problem, of course, is the fact that Idris Elba and O.J. Simpson look nothing alike, save for one obvious similarity. They have different shaped heads, different facial structures, different features, different skin tones. They just both happen to be Black. And Ali Larter and Nicole Brown Simpson just both happen to be blond white women.
The only thing distasteful here is how the sight of a Black man on screen with a white woman still makes white people crazy enough to write stupid shit like this.
A brief word of explanation. During a repeat viewing of Gladiator, my wife and I noticed Joaquin Phoenix’s incredibly high “creep factor.” In the real world, this inherent skeevyness is almost always a liability. As an actor, it can open the door to a host of juicy roles. (This is, of course, not a testament to an actor’s true character. In interviews, Willem Dafoe comes across as affable and charming. On screen…creepy.) In a nod to the lingo of the movie, we christened Phoenix as Creepius Maximus. So that explains the title of this blog entry. What follows below, I have no explanation for other than to fall back on my old standby: Rock star trumps everything.