Saturday, November 2, 2013

Movie Review: 12 Years a Slave

It seems as if  slave tales have been told from every imaginable angle, but the story of Solomon Northrup as told in 12 Years a Slave sheds a slightly different slant by being told from the perspective of someone who actually experienced it firsthand.

12 Years a Slave is candid look at the life of a Black man born free in the north, who is kidnapped and sold into slavery after importing slaves from other countries had been outlawed in the United States. 

Solomon Northrup (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) is an affluent man with a wife and two children, and lives in upstate New York.  After accepting a generous offer of employment from two seemingly established businessmen, Northrup finds himself in chains after being drugged at dinner.  From there he is shipped to the south to embark upon what can only be described as the most horrifying 12 years that one could imagine.

The poignant portrayal of racism, brutality and the utter lack of regard for human life that was shown in this film did much to remind viewers of the not-so-far-in-the-past ideologies that this country was built upon.  It is also a stark reminder of what Blacks had to endure amidst their ever present struggle to not only survive in a system that was designed to keep them in bondage, but also obtain their basic rights as human beings.

As a viewer, I could appreciate the depth and strength of Northrup's character as played by Ejiofor because I was truly drawn into his performance, as well as those of the supporting cast. Without a doubt you will hate who you are supposed to hate, feel compassion and cheer heartily for all those you are supposed to in this movie, as you will no doubt experience a wide range of emotion throughout the two and a half hour time span.

Of course Brad Pitt, Alfre Woodard and all the other big names that you're used to seeing did their thing, but honorable mention and kudos go to Lupita Nyong'o, who plays Patsy, a young slave girl who is plagued with the position of being the object of her master's fancy.  This young lady was a standout performance and I really hope to see more from her in the future.

Though many cringe when previews for movies in this genre hit the media circuit, I personally believe that these stories do much to remind us how far we've come as African-Americans, how much we have to be grateful for, and why we should never EVER take the liberties that many fought and died for for granted. All in all, I give 12 Years a Slave an enthusiastic 10 spirit-fingers and encourage everyone to go support it at the theater.

Till next time!

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Movie Review: Django Unchained

One thing is for certain, Quentin Taratino's newest movie Django Unchained is anything but your typical run-of-the-mill slave flick.

I have to admit that it's been a while since I've seen a movie at the theater that didn't leave me feeling cheated by the time the final credits started rolling, but this one was definitely worth the ticket plus over-priced popcorn. (Yes, I'm a cheapskate...don't judge me.)

Django is the tale of a slave, branded as a runaway, who happens to fall upon the unbelievable fortune of meeting Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), a German bounty hunter, who in his quest for his latest conquest buys him and then makes him an offer that he can't refuse: Help him find and capture his marks in exchange for his freedom. And as an added bonus, he promises to help Django (Jamie Foxx) find his wife and buy her freedom. From that point on the dust starts to fly and the guns get to blazing.

Enter Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), a blood-thirsty plantation owner who just happens to be the current owner of Django's beloved wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), and his ever faithful house slave Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson) for a non-stop chain of events that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

In true Tarantino fashion, blood, guts and satirical humor are never lacking but in the midst of it all there is a story that will strike a chord with viewers of every race, creed and color. While slavery and all of its historical accounts and visuals never cease to be a touchy subject, Tarantino puts an interesting spin on it with this tale of revenge and retribution.

Foxx, Waltz, DiCaprio, Washington and Jackson are great mix of chemistry and talent as the cast of this project, with special appearances by Don Johnson (oldie but goodie) and Quentin Tarantino himself. 

Django Unchained was definitely a worthy cause for making a trip to the movie theater in what I like to call hibernation weather, and if you're "frugal" like me, catching the matinee will be an added bonus.  So all in all this one gets 10 spirit-fingers.

Did you see Django Unchained? Let me know what you thought.

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Don't forget to check out the trailer for our upcoming project Someone To Watch Over Me.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Lesson In Faith and Patience

I have learned that sometimes in life you just have to let go and let God...and I'm not just saying that to be facetious.  God has an amazing way of dealing with individuals in their specific circumstances and meeting people where they're at.

Recently my husband and I experienced a situation in which I received a lesson in patience while he received a lesson in faith. In our particular situation, we both got an opportunity to pursue something that we have wanted for a very long time so we prayed about it and then went for it.

From the beginning, both of us were convinced that we had heard God correctly and that we were doing the right thing, but then 4 months after we got God's answer we still hadn't come into possession of our blessing. We had been diligent in working toward our goal in doing everything we were supposed to do, but still everything that could go wrong...did.

So like any red-blooded human beings, we started to get frustrated and began to wonder if we were doing the right thing. At one point, my husband turned to me and asked me point blank if I thought that maybe we heard God wrong and were doing the wrong thing. As frustrated as I was, I could not look my husband in the eye and tell him that I believed that we had heard God wrong because I knew in my heart-of-hearts that we hadn't.

The truth of the matter was that even though I knew that God had revealed to us that we would have this blessing, I was tired of waiting and the process of getting to our blessing had turned out to be much harder than I thought it would be. So rather than continue to fight for what God clearly told us was ours, I was ready to give up because...well it was just taking too long. But after I confirmed what we both knew to be true, my husband was like a dog with a bone- he just would not let it go!

So we trudged onward toward the prize and the devil continued to throw every possible obstacle in our way, and every time my husband got close to calling it quits another ray of hope would make its way through and give him that extra push to keep on going...much to my dismay. Because like I said, I was ready to throw in the towel after month #4, but I can honestly say that we have seen first hand that once God opens a door for you NO ONE can close it. Please believe it.

As the Lord worked with my husband on his faith, He convicted my heart for not being obedient. I always knew that God was going to bless us but I was angry because it was taking so long and causing me inconvenience. He showed me that I was holding up the process by being selfish and not being obedient. So with that knowledge, I made that first step toward doing what I knew I should have been all along and from that moment things really began moving in the right direction.

After two more months of waiting, praying and frustration, our blessing finally found it's way to us after the expiration of our man-given deadline. So not only did God bestow an amazing blessing on us, but he also went further to show us that man can't put limits on what He can do even if that "man" is holding all of the so-called cards.  

In the end what we learned from this experience is that: 1) God always keeps His word. 2) You can't rush God and 3) Never be afraid of the journey because if God brings you to it, He most assuredly will bring you through it. 

Faith is substance of the things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. That means that even though your natural eyes can't see God's plan for the future, as his children it is our responsibility to believe Him. Why? Because God cannot lie. If He says it, it will come to pass. Faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains.

The bible also says that the trying of our faith works patience. So even though we look forward to the promises of God, we must also understand that God's method of delivery is way beyond our scope of understanding. Therefore as we wait for Him to move, we must remember to embrace the journey and learn the lessons that He means for us to learn along the way.

Be blessed.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


We are blog hopping our way through some new reads! What a great way to be introduced to some wonderful authors you might have not known about.

Be sure to follow our blog hop and be introduced to some exciting reads as well as works in progress.

Below you will be able to learn a little about myself and the authors who follow me in week 21.

Be sure to check them all out because they are fabulous authors that I am delighted to brag about!! Special thanks to Sylvia Hubbard for asking me to participate.

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:

Q: What is the working title of your book?
A: The working title for my new book is called The Watchman. It is the first of a new series I've started with a good friend of mine that I am really excited about. If you enjoyed "The Prison Chronicles" series, I really think you'll like this new one.

Q: Where did the idea come from for the book?
A: My friend and I met up one day and had a discussion that centered on some very intense spiritual matters that have always been intriguing to me, and after a lengthy discussion we decided to turn it into a series. This series will be one that would be a Christian rebuttal to the Harry Potter series.

Q: What genre does your book fall under?
A: It will fall under Christian fiction.

Q: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
A: Wow...not really sure about that one. I would love to hear suggestions from the readers after they've had a chance to read the book.

Q: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A:  The Watchman is story about a warrior for Christ who has been chosen in the 21st century to battle the forces of evil through the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Q: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
A: It will be self-published through my company Black-Smith Enterprises.

Q: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
A: Thus far it has been a working progress due to the fact that I have had several other film production projects taking place one right after the other, so it has been a challenge to nail down a solid date of completion.

Q: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 
A: The Left Behind Series, which includes:

Q: Who or What inspired you to write this book?
A:  Just seeing how dark all of the stories are getting and how they make everything evil seem good and glamorous. I wanted to put something out there that will shed light on those things from a biblical stand point.

Q: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
A: The Watchman will definitely be a book that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. The protagonist is a character that you will get to know intimately and grow to love as a person who is walking in his destiny while dealing with very real situations. For those who are familiar with any of my previous work, you will know to expect the unexpected and be ready to experience a wide range of emotions.

Here’s a list of my tagged blog hop authors for next week.

Check out their blogs next Wednesday, November 14th, to read about their WIPs and New Releases.

My newest releases are:

Till Death...Do Us Part which is now available at Walmart and Blockbuster!

And look for my new movie Someone To Watch Over Me coming soon.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Movie Review: Flight

In the new movie Flight, Denzel Washington plays Whip Whitaker, a troubled pilot, who finds himself on the brink of  heroism and utter destruction after completing a miracle landing  that saves the lives of all but six passengers on a doomed flight.

A known drug and alcohol abuser amongst his family and friends, Whitaker becomes the subject of an intense federal investigation immediately following the crash after it is discovered that he had both drugs and alcohol in his system while flying the plane. As he struggles to fight the battle of his life and hold on to sobriety at the same time, he is forced to take stock of who he really is and what it's really going to take to get his life back on track.  

While Washington's performance in this film is as solid as ever, I can't really say that there was really anything earth-shatteringly great about this film. Don Cheadle was palpable as the passively-aggressive, hard-nosed attorney, and John Goodman was slightly humorous as the reliable all-around neighborhood pusher. Not to say that Flight wasn't a good movie, I just didn't feel that it was the Academy Award winning performance that it has been portrayed to be in the media.

Flight has all the elements of a good movie that could've had the potential to be...something more. Then again maybe I'm just a little bias because I'm accustomed to Denzel Washington movies usually being able to move me to some kind of emotion and this one didn't even inspire a sniffle. But as they say "Ce la vie!"

Overall, Flight gets a solid 6 on a scale of 1-10. I say go see it just because it's Denzel and come back and let me know if you agree with my assessment or not. Seriously...I really want to know what you think.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Trayvon Martin: Will Justice Be Served?

I tried to avoid it as long as I could but it happened today and now I have to let it out...because that's what I do...I write.

After hearing the tragic story of what happened to Trayvon Martin, I swore that I wasn't going to listen to the 911 call that featured the audio of the screams and shooting that took place that night, but this morning while driving to work I was caught off guard and I heard it for the first time...

I heard the sounds of a woman calling in a disturbance and in the background of her call you can hear the frantic pleas of a young man screaming for help and then moments later you hear a gun shot and immediately the screaming stops.  From that moment on it felt as though my heart had torn in two as I drove blindly down the street with tears streaming down my face.

I cried because at that moment, I felt Trayvon's mother's pain as I imagined the thought of my son being taken from me in such a cold-hearted manner. I cried because a young life was taken because of ignorance and hatred.  I cried because this world is becoming more and more like it's prince, yet we still refuse to turn to God in our darkest hour of need.

The sicker this world gets, the more tears we can look forward to shedding because of loss.  Media has desensitized us all to the pain and suffering that those around us endure and it's sickening.  And shame on the media for continuing to play those 911 calls for ratings! What parent wants to hear the sounds of her child pleading for his life and then being shot over and over again? Yes, people need to know what's going on but there is a thing called decorum and integrity.   

People are outraged by this situation because it is a stark reminder that no matter how far we've come in our society, the underlying hatred that has kept us divided for centuries still manages to rear it's ugly head every so often to remind us that it never too far away.

While this is sad, sad situation, it should serve as a wake up call that violence in any shape, form or fashion should not be tolerated against anyone in our society: black, white, Hispanic, Asian or other.  When black people kill each other, it's treated as normal happenstance, but when another race does something to one of ours that's when we choose to unite.

This is not a black or white or Hispanic issue.  It is a justice issue. Every parent, every mother, black, white, yellow, pink or orange, who lost a child armed with only a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea who was gunned down by a person who was breaking the law...deserves justice.  Plain and simple. 

So, yes, we are all sad and angry about this situation with Trayvon Martin, but the question now is: What are you going to do to ensure that things like this don't keep happening?

Change begins on your knees.  Be blessed.