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Editor's Note: Got Something You Want To Say? What're You Waiting For? Say It!

by Tambay A. Obenson
January 3, 2013 10:22 AM
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Often when an article is posted on this site that expresses an opinion, which happens regularly - especially a *strong* opinion, or one that's not all-that popular - I inevitably get emails from readers questioning my intent, or the site's intent, and/or suggesting what they feel the site should or should not be, or should or should not say, etc - seemingly attempting to deter any further opinion pieces that express a particular point of view, or take a specific stance on an issue.

Let me first say that, no work of art, or artist is above analysis or criticism.

And secondly, you should all know that YOUR article submissions are more than welcome. 

While I certainly run this site, my opinion on all the subjects covered is of no influence on every article that's posted on this site - except those that I personally write. That is to say, we (S&A) aren't a single mind, with a single POV, and don't operate like The Borg in Star Trek: The Next Generation (for those who watched that series), and I think the variety in what is written on the site reflects that. 

Surprise - we don't all agree everything! I'm sure Sergio doesn't agree with every opinion I state, nor do I agree with every perspective he gives; the same goes for Courtney, Emmanuel, Vanessa, Tanya, Andre, Cybel, Curtis, Charles, Masha, Jasmin, Nijla, and everybody else who contributes to this site. We are a collection of writers with individual minds, thoughts and opinions, and it's that diversity in voices, as well as writing styles, that I think makes this site tick (at least, in part).

It should all go without saying, but it appears that it's not entirely clear to everyone, if the emails I receive weekly are any indication.

And while I run the site, and don't always agree with every single point of view, I DO recognize each person's right to express that POV on this site, no matter what that POV is.

And if you disagree, instead of attempting to suppress a particular kind of conversation/discussion/debate/critique, you are more than welcome to challenge it - whether in the comment section or, as I started out this post stating, by writing and submitting a rebuttal, and I'll post it. 

Or you can always tackle a new topic that you feel needs to be addressed and hasn't.

Just be ready for what comes after. If you're a regular reader of this site, you'll know exactly what I mean. I'd say we have some of the smartest, toughest, most vocal readers of any site on the web, and so if you aren't thick-skinned, this may not be your playground. 

In fact, some of those who have contributed to the site were initially readers of the site who, at some point, answered one of my calls for writer submissions.

This is anothet call... So, let 2013 be the year that you make S&A work more for you. In essence, think of it as an open community space. All POVs welcome (within reason, of course - so, for example, if the title of the piece you submit is "Kill Whitey," don't be too shocked if it's not posted, unless it's some kind of satirical jab). 

Also worth noting, throughout the year, I plan to continue to intro new features on this site, like the entertainment law column, which was announced last night, just below this post (I hope you all take advantage of that).

Happy New Year!

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  • Christine | January 8, 2013 4:28 PMReply

    I feel you! Exchange and dialogue is the most valuable ingredient. I appreciate the extensive coverage and efforts that go into the site. I'm looking forward to the new features and future hard, loud opinions and dialogue! I especially loved the whole raucous of thought provoking and intelligent conversation surrounding Django. S&A is an inspiration for me to similarly cover indie U.S. Latino films and talent on my blog which is also grossly underrepresented in the mainstream. Keep on trucking!

  • Donella | January 4, 2013 3:38 PMReply

    Nice interview here***OSCARS Q&A: Ava DuVernay

  • Adam Scott Thompson | January 3, 2013 10:05 PMReply


  • sergio | January 3, 2013 7:47 PMReply

    "Stop looking at this site as a savior; it's not." EXACTLY! We never once said we were and nor do we claim to be. But name me another film site anywhere in the world that covers black film and TV as extensively as S & A does from Hollywood films to the most indie of independent films

  • Techly | January 3, 2013 8:44 PM

    I cannot name another site in the world that does what you all do... You all deserve credit, handcrafted medals/tassels/plaques what have you for coming together and keeping this site running daily! Now that doesn't mean this site or its contributors are above criticism or immune to suggestions for progressive change, especially if you solicit for it. While you are free to remind us that this is the only site doing what you are doing, I think its fair that commenters are free to remind you that there will always be room to do it better. I respect the solidarity amongst the contributors of S&A. But, I think each writer here has a different agenda and it shows. That comment that HOW ABOUT reposted was one of the best comments made here because it helps those starry eyed filmmakers who visit this site put things into a better perspective from the jump. It's business.

  • jg | January 3, 2013 4:26 PMReply

    The mindless cheerleading for pro-torture LIES in the film Zero Dark Thirty has really gotten under my skin. How about the other side? Like say, the law? The Geneva Conventions? The long history of torture the world had tried to overcome, only to have American assholes in uniform undo centuries of jurisprudence and be sanctioned by their superiors? The Taguba report? The scandals like disappearing the videotapes over at CIA after a judge ordered the evidence to be produced? You know, a serious, grown up discussion every once in a while instead of this pandering to filmmakers and putting them up on pedestals even when they LIE, LIE, LIE, fabricating a case for torture despite it having no basis in the facts?


  • How About | January 3, 2013 3:10 PMReply

    The deleting of critical comments from the site? Like this one: Tambay likes the attention & being able to pat himself on the back. In case you missed it, check out his "Why You Should Be Proud of Issa Rae" article: in short, it's because she used to be affiliated with Shadow & Act, not for any of the myriad of reasons we already knew. Stop looking at this site as a savior; it's not. It's merely a tool and you as creators need to figure out how best to utilize it, if at all. Realize that they're not really looking to give people a shot; they report on projects by known entities and/or what's already popular. Look at the web series they consistently post, the films, the shorts. If it has nothing to do with their filmmaker series or something already popular, you're lucky if you get a mention, never any follow up. Don't be mad; this is the industry. S&A's no safe haven; it's just like the rest of it. Put in your work, get your accolades and, once you get attention elsewhere, Shadow And Act will come running.

  • AJ | January 3, 2013 7:37 PM

    @Techly, I saw the comment appearing & vanishing many times over, too. I feel like it was a response to an ignored/hurt filmmaker on one of Tambay's "help me help you/send us your stuff" posts and I really didn't see anything wrong with it, it was good advice. The pointed part must have had some truth to it, cuz they barely delete spam, hate speech, or double posts off here but that comment was gone with the quickness!

  • Techly | January 3, 2013 4:59 PM

    I also noticed how the comment HOWABOUT refers to was deleted, reposted and deleted many times. I've seen many comments that expressed similar frustration, yet they remained. This comment must have hit home. I agree with the critical comment on many points. Filmmakers, Black filmmakers, shouldn't behave as if this site is a savior...(no matter who markets it that way) Black filmmakers should treat it as part of the many outlets they can reach out to and keep it moving. This site really isn't a safe haven and I agree that filmmakers should continue to put in their work and sure enough some outlets will come running including S&A. Tambay is the leader of S&A and sometimes his post requesting films ideas etc present a "We are all in this together" type of feeling, but it's far from that. Any experienced person will know it is business and everyone has a motive. No one and I MEAN NO ONE (NO MATTER WHAT THEY SAY) NO MATTER WHAT DIASPORA/GROUP/DEMOGRAPHIC/ETC they claim to want to help, is doing anything with such commitment without attempting to benefit from it. It's business! The benefit doesn't have to be money... This comment reaches those "rejected" filmmakers and encourages them to refocus on the real prize which is making more films and reaching more people. Develop a tougher skin! Don't catch feelings! So why not keep the comment?

  • Carl | January 3, 2013 4:27 PM

    HOW ABOUT...S &A rejected your project huh? You sound like a bitter cry baby. We see right through you and you're not the first bitter, rejected "filmmaker" who has given Tambay a rant about being fake because they didn't like YOUR shit. Grow the fuck up. Rejection is part of the game. There are so many unknown, not so good projects that get posted on this site. Some folks gave Tambay crap for it, saying he was bringing down the quality of the site. So your charge about this site only going after their friends and high profile projects is bullshit. Just look in the 3 years of archives and you can READ and SEE that. S&A will continue to grow and yo ass will continue to read.

  • Vanessa Martinez | January 3, 2013 3:37 PM

    Tambay works his @ss off to provide quality, fresh and intelligent content everyday in order to bring awareness to black films all over the world that mainstream sites don't give a hoot about. It's not about this site being a "savior" but name another site that does what S&A does? The LEAST thing he could do is give himself "a pat on the back", which doesn't even make sense. What if he were proud that Issa Rae used to contribute for the site? If any other S&A contributors and readers/enthusiasts achieved the same level of recognition most of us would feel proud. And the fact that your comment didn't go through? That just means you don't run the site.

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