Through A Lens Darkly

This is a oldie but goodie I wrote for the legendary Amsterdam News.

THROUGHLENSD_Shareable_01A-copy_t580Every photo tells a story. But in a world of Instagram and Pinterest, we tend to look at a photo for its face value. That’s what Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and The Emergence of a People resonates.The film takes an intimate look at the progression of a people through a series of still photos.

This documentary is first of its kind to explore the role of photography in African American culture. The film takes its audience on a journey and depicts the African American experience in America from slavery to the present. “This is something to be passed down to the next generation, a passing of the baton that will include their stories and their photographs,” said film maker Thomas Allen Harris, at a screening last week at the City College Campus.

Harris uses his film as a medium to reintroduce professional and images from various family photo albums to shape the identity of Blacks and display our aspirations. Professional photos shot by photographers such as Roy DeCarva and Anthony Barboza among others appeared throughout the film. While these men used the camera as their tool to tell not only Black history but also American history, they are seldom recognized in main stream American.

Black women also played a huge role in the game of photography. Vera Jackson and Louise E. Jefferson helped raise African American awareness in media. They were also responsible for capturing some of America’s greatest talents from Dorothy Dandridge to Jackie Robinson.

Harris explains the entire project took 10 years to complete and he raised $150,000 to support the project. He felt a responsibility to complete the film despite the long haul. “I’m a finisher…and I have an amazing team, there were a lot of people who were counting on this project.”

The film maker noted that some of the images made him upset, and he was angry when he started making the film. “I had to learn to forgive and go to a real deep place of compassion, he said. I had to remember who I made this film for. I made this film for young people of color, and I don’t want to communicate just anger to them.”

Harris is working to get this film into high schools and grammar schools. He is passionate about educating the next generations on their history. Currently, Thomas is working on a narrative feature about an immigrant woman and her family. To keep up with Harris and learn more about Through A Lens Darkly visit http://www.1world1family.me.

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Slaying of Brooklyn Cops Involves More Than It May Seem.

All this chaos right before the holidays ?! Really world !!!?

Over the weekend two on duty police officers were shot and killed while sitting in their squad car in Brooklyn, NY.  Ismaaiyl Brinsley, the 28 year old suspect fled the scene to a near by train station where he took his own life using the same handgun he allegedly used on officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu .2-photoscops

When Detectives did some digging they discovered earlier in the day Brinsley had been accused of shooting his ex girlfriend in Baltimore. Brinsley was also ranting about killing cops via social media. Using the Instagram name @DontRunUp,  his photo captions read.  “I’m putting wings on pigs today. They take 1 of ours…Lets take 2 of theirs.”   Brinsley is an alleged gang member from Baltimore and traveled to New York to seek vengeance against the NYPD in retaliation to the recent killing of Eric Garner.

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All major media outlets have been running wild with this story. Considering news coverage over the past few months has been saturated with backlash in regards to the decision to not indict Officers  Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo in the slaying of two unarmed Black men Eric Garner and Mike Brown. The country has been in an uproar and demonstrating their right to protest, while receiving support from Reverend Al Sharpton and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio.  While both men concur that all protests should remain non violent they are being blamed for the slaying of the two officers.

Actor Stacy dash took to Twitter to say “These murders are the natural result of the #jihad on cops that @theRevAl & @DeblasioNYC has called for. They should be held accountable.”  She didn’t stop there, in regards to a press conference held for the two officers she says, “@deblasionyc has no business being at the press conference and should resign before the end of the year.”stacey-dash-nypd-twitter

 

When de Blasio arrived at the conference the majority of officers turned their back to him as he entered the room. The shade he received steams from him advising his son (who is half Black) to take “special care” when in the presence of a police officer. NYPD President also took a turn at bullying de Balsio by saying “There is blood on many hands”.

It should be clear that Brinsley did not serve any justice by executing two innocent police officers, but unfortunately the press is taking this story and running with it. Brinsley was obviously a disturbed man that had issues prior to current events. Considering he was an alleged gang member with a rap sheet longer than the Nile river, He shot his ex girlfriend in the abdomen then made his way to New York as he premeditated murdering two innocent officers. Oh, don’t forget he thought it was necessary to shout out the NYPD on his Insta prior to the killings and he kind of took a selfie of his blood stained clothes. Yes, ladies and gentlemen this is a sane man fighting for justice and this is exactly what protesters had in mind when they were shouting “No justice, No peace”.

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It is very in interesting how this entire situation came about. Why did Brinsley travel all the way to NYC? How did he know that those two officers would be just sitting there? Did he plan on fleeing to that near by G train? Unfortunately, we will never know the answers to any of these questions.

This has Olivia Pope scandal written all over it.  Trying to distract us from the real issues maybe?  If Brinsley was alive he would have indefinitely been indicted on all charges because you can’t kill a police officer and get away with it. You can however kill an innocent unarmed Black man and get away with it. (Unless your a Black man of course, then you get 20 years)

As an officer when they pin that badge on you it may as well be a target.  It is not rare for an officer to be slain in the line of duty, but their attackers are always brought to justice.  When you sign up to become an officer of the law putting your life on the line is real it is not just words. It is a sacrifice you agreed to make for that check and great pension you will receive.

It is heart breaking that two men lost their lives, especially  family men right before the holidays. My condolences go out the families of Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. May you forever Rest In Peace.

#BlackLivesMatter Break The City Down During the “Millions March”.

#BlackLivesMatter broke The City over  the weekend! Protests took place all around the country in support against police brutality. From NYC,DC,Virginia and even across the border to Toronto millions of people marched in unison and it was a beautiful thing!  Celebrities from Nas, Reverend Al Sharpton to the cast of  Orange is the New Black took place in the march for justice.

This movement was created to raise awareness for our fallen soldiers, unarmed Black men who were brutally killed at the hands of white police officers.  By marching we aim to put a screeching  halt to future cases of police brutality. #TrayvonMartin #MichaelBrown #EricGarner #TamirRice #AkaiGurley you will never be forgotten.

Take a look at he heart warming photos that have been taken since the movement began.

 

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