On The Oscars And Us... An Open Letter...

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by Ka'ramuu Kush
February 25, 2013 5:44 PM
17 Comments
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on the OSCARS and us...

my man declared it, the year of the writer. so i write.

while i celebrate the declaration i ache in my soul for the glaring omission. on the grand stage of pop culture, clutching the coveted oscar that has eluded his deserving hand for years, my dude QT forgot to mention the africans. my other dude, day lewis, certainly no stranger to oscars, forgot as well when receiving his award. they both forgot to mention the subject matter; those whom without their sacrifices and struggle and indentured servitude and abuse and work and work and work, from sun up to sun down, and work and work and work for over 400 years, there would be no movies or debates or paycheck or black actor or hollywood industry for black actors to aspire to take part in, built on the flourishing commerce that we all enjoy, that my ancestors fed liberally with free labor.

not only will i write. i will speak out on some of the illest shit in our culture: insensitive omission. a widespread disease of the privileged; white and black alike. the films are done, in the can and canon of american history. if there were ever a time to be exemplary and acknowledge the debt of gratitude owed, it is now; right along with acknowledging our agents and managers and producers, who are all getting fat off the historical suffering right along with us.

be understood, this is not a QT problem nor a day-lewis/spielberg problem. being artists, they reflect the culture that we live in, as they should. this is an american problem. we all forgot and we continue to make forgetting ok. it's not ok.

as i continue to negotiate dubois' two-ness, i resolve that nothing is greater than principle. NOTHING. no success, no doe, no fame, no accolade. i must honor my ancestors and speak out on the illness that permeates our culture.

i say this with reservation and i'm upset with myself for feeling any sort of trepidation whatsoever. why? because it's not good business. i'm still aspiring. i'm still what some would call emerging in my field of study: filmmaking.

i, like many of my comrades, auditioned for one of the films recognized by the academy. immediately after, and maybe to the chagrin of my representation, i verbalized to the casting director, "this aint me". regardless to being seriously considered or not, i had a hollywood shuffle moment and came clean with what i was feeling before i even left the room. as an artist i honestly didn't see myself in the film. as a black man, my soul ached, then as it does now, that i even had to deal with the question. luckily, the casting director was empathetic. we remain friends.

yet, unfortunately we seem to still live in a world where to say anything loving or affirming of black culture is deemed sinful. as if to say "i love you" means that i hate others. when in fact, to say that "i love you" means that i'm making a greater investment in the capacity to love others. most disturbing is that the idea is seen as sinful in more black folks eyes than other folks eyes. i've experienced more than a few jewish and white friends expressing flat out ire around the socio-politics that score this year of movie and art making. praise the spirit, humanity is not dead.

not to descend into a beleaguered lament, let me say irrefutably: black folk, past and present, i love you and honor you and will write you and depict you in all of your complexity. please forgive me for any omission and trust that i'm working diligently to be better about honoring your experience.

I WILL NOT FORGET, insha'allah!

in service,

kA'

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17 Comments

  • kA' | February 26, 2013 9:44 PMReply

    tambay, thank you for sharing my fb post, brother. i appreciate you seeing enough love in it to re-post here on S&A.

  • Yikes | March 3, 2013 12:09 AM

    Still? You're still refusing to use capitalization? You have to stop this facade of defiance. We're not buying what you're selling, Professor Sensitivity. First, people want to tell filmmakers how to make their films, and now they want to dictate acceptance speeches, too?!!

  • Whaaa | February 26, 2013 10:03 PM

    Brother, now wait a minute here. You tryna say that you posted this on Facebook and he created a post out of it and placed your name up there!!!?? I hope you gave him permission for that..

  • CLAYTON BROOMES | February 26, 2013 3:00 PMReply

    You people are harsh. I see the point of this letter. I feel guilty for not noticing the omission of the African slaves in their victory speeches. I was too busy being pissed off that Django won best screenplay in the first place. And by the time DDL won, I was to busy wondering if I was going to lose the is 'predict the winners' contest at the Oscar party I attended (I came in second). I just wasn't paying attention. Maybe the same could be said for QT and DDL. QT was probably surprised he won. I know I was. But, like the other S&A readers suggest, just worry about your own craft and the work you're doing. It will all pay off. And if you ever get your moment, you make sure people don't forget. That won't happen if we allow ourselves to be distracted by frivolousness. Stay focused.

    @ClayBroomes

  • CareyCarey | February 26, 2013 12:45 PMReply

    HERE WE GO AGAIN! An Open Letter To S&A's More Vocal and Opinionated Knuckleheads

    After reading most of the comments over the last day, month and year, I am reminded of the song Rambling Rose:

    "Rambling rose, rambling rose
    Why you ramble no one knows
    Wild and wind-blown, that's how you've grown
    Who can cling to a rambling rose?

    Wild and wind-blown, that's how you've grown
    Who can cling to a rambling rose?

    Ramble on, ramble on
    When your rambling days are gone
    Who will love you with a love true
    When your rambling days are through?

    Of course I'm implying that S&A's more vocal visitors are a mighty tough crowd. I don't know the source of their motivation nor who's their daddy, however, I can't help but believe they've bought into the ideology that if everyone is doing it... it must be right. So they continue to lambast an artist's work that they don't understand or cannot relate to.... or, that's just what they do; follow others that look and act like them. You know, birds of a feather....

    What some of the rambling roses fail to realize or appreciate is S&A's mission. They are provider of black entertainment, not producers. So although some have said they lose cool points and it's a sad day for S&A ( for providing us the opportunity to read an artist's expression), I say the opposite.

    Ten thumbs up and a gazillion mad points to S&A for having the intestinal fortitude to present all the voices in the cinema of the black diaspora.

    To Ka'ramuu: Since I am not in the crowd of those who are overly concerned with dotting my I's and crossing my T's, I heard your message loud and clear. It's true, without our ancestors, whose backs this nation were built upon, it's highly doubtful there would be a "Lincoln" to rave about. And, there wouldn't be a Django to gloat about. So it would have been nice for someone... some damn body to pay homage to our struggles, sacrifices and gifts to this nation. Some my question whether or not the Oscars is a time and place for that. But I have to point out that Ben Affleck took the time to give a shout out to Canada. Without them being in the mix (their part in the historical events) his film would not have existed.

    So Ka'ramuu, keep doing you. Some of us appreciate your efforts. And, I've heard it said that the fastest runner doesn't always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn't always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don't always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time. In other words, the victory does not go to the swift but to those who can endure. Stay in the race my brother.

  • ka' | February 26, 2013 9:46 PM

    carey, thank you for listening and imparting words of encouragement, brother. keep bangin'!

  • Deedee | February 26, 2013 1:20 PM

    With the longest comment in the thread it's safe to say that YOU ARE THE MOTHERFUCKING RAMBLING ROSE. TRA LA LA, TRA LA LA LALAAAAAAAAA! WOOO! YOU'LL NEVER MAKE ME STAY SO TAKE YOUR WEIGHT OFF OF ME. I KNKW YOUR EVERY MOVE SO WON'T YOU JUST LET ME BE. I'VE BEEN HERE TIMES BEFORE BUT I WAS TOO BLIND TO SEE THAT YOU SEDUCE EVERY MAN. THIS TIME YOU WON'T SEDUCE MEEEEEEEEEEE! WHEEEEEEEEEE!

  • Sean Jackson | February 26, 2013 10:54 AMReply

    All the time you took to write this you could've started a new script. As a black writer/director I'm so tired of some of my brothers and sisters constantly complaining and giving power to all this bullish*t. Work on your craft, become the best you can and you will make it...keep it positive and stop bitching! You can't complain your way into a career.

  • jeftcg | February 26, 2013 1:56 AMReply

    Had to stop reading this at sentence two. At what point did Tambay decide S&A needn't adhere to the rules of proper punctuation? When did he decide that puerile writing was admirable free range of expression? And we wonder why our creativity and business sense is often called into question by studios. S&A loses cool points again (but Blutopaz, Winston, Carl and Getthesenets all win for superiorly hilarious rebuttals.)

  • BluTopaz | February 26, 2013 12:12 AMReply

    ...because the edification of my ..ahem.. scrotinized (not a typo gotdammit lucifer! spellcheck), pulverized, visage as the heretofore conversated tweeted convo betwixt me and my main squeeze, I mean man--

  • Winston | February 25, 2013 9:48 PMReply

    This reads like . . .
    a) something Michael Evans would have written;
    b) gotten suspended from school for
    c) hid under Thelma's bed to avoid James Sr. about
    d) received a whoopin' for
    e) and then promised James and Florida that he'd apologize to his teacher for when he returned to middle school the next day.

  • pol | February 25, 2013 8:45 PMReply

    Seriously? " i will speak out on some of the illest shit in our culture: insensitive omission." An oscar speech omitted something, that's the big issue of the day? I regularly chronicle the devolution of this nation into a fascistic police state. They've wasted multiple trillions of dollars on imperial wars of aggression. The "grand bargain" will take food and medicine away from the elderly and sick children. Not to mention gutting what's left of the education system even more. This is a bipartisan RAMPAGE that allows for killing anyone, anywhere whether US citizen or not as well as Unconstitutional "indefinite detention" without charge. And you're on the edge of your seat over who says what at the fucking Oscars? What about a pro CIA propaganda film that demonizes Iranians and helps foment hatred against that nation? Winning for alleged "best picture?" http://politicalfilm.wordpress.com/

  • Carl | February 25, 2013 6:56 PMReply

    Dude were you high when you typed this?

  • getthesenets | February 25, 2013 6:46 PMReply

    good intent

    bad execution


    sounds like VERY bad spoken word performance..and that's saying a lot because most spoken word performances are terrible

  • Shan | February 25, 2013 6:42 PMReply

    Do you Ka'raamu. Brave of you to write this piece. It'll speak to those who hear and appreciate the message. Peace.

  • Zaidi | February 25, 2013 6:14 PMReply

    Seeing the Oscars as a barometer of your success as an actor shows how shallow you view your craft. You don't need a gold statuette of a naked man for validation!

  • Wow | February 25, 2013 6:00 PMReply

    What a terribly written piece. Sad day for S&A.

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