Tag Archives: Cinema

WHERE ARE THE NAUTEURS ?

In film criticism, auteur theory holds that a film reflects the director’s personal creative vision, as if they were the primary “auteur” (the French word for “author”).

In spite of—and sometimes even because of—the production of the film as part of an industrial process, the auteur’s creative voice is distinct enough to shine through studio interference and the collective process.– Wikipedia

The Auteur theory is one that has never gotten unanimous agreement. Many strongly disagree and emphasize the contribution of the crew. While this is a valid point, the auteur theory is quite an interesting one.  Proponents of the Auteur theory advocate that,

Auteurism was to make a distinction between films and the films that are worthy of serious study, making them unique in style and voice.

You can see this in the work of Directors like Tarantino, Wes Anderson, Martin Scorcese, Steve McQueen, Spike Lee, Tim Burton, David Lynch, Terrence Malick, Nicolas Widn Refn, David Fincher and others who do work with studios, but still show an indie spirit, there is a consistency in their body of work, a unifying thread and voice that you recognize, especially when others are trying to imitate the. The stories they tell, their dialogue, their cinematography (framing &composition), use of music, use of colour, the kind of characters who always appear in their stories, recurring themes

Which leads to the question, Do we have Auteurs in Nigeria? Andrew Dosunmu and Newton Aduaka, Akin Omotoso  can be said to be auteurs . They tell African Stories, have identifiable cinematic voices, but how about those living and practicing their craft in Nigeria?

As this is Nigeria where everything is a little different, I’d like to propose the word Nauteur

NAUTEUR :A Nigerian Auteur who overcomes insane odds without compromising and executing a unique creative piece of cinema

Not to be confused with British Slang, NUTTER, a crazy person.

But we’ll revisit that another day


“Auteurs are directors who put a strong personal stamp on their films, usually through the mise en scene. They are contrasted with the metteur-en-scene, the director who merely functions, more or less, at the service of the script”.

I know, we don’t have a studio system (though marketers dictate terms like studios do) .

Do we have Directors whose body of work distinctively carries their voice in a very recognizable way, Has traits that are distinct to their style of filmmaking and shows up in all their films? Distinct enough that you can miss the opening credits, haven’t previously heard of the film, but are familiar enough with their voice that you can recognize it (or an imitation of it),

If so. Who? Not a rhetorical question. I really want to know them cos they could be flying under a radar cos cinemas and marketers just don’t know what to do with the types of films they make.

The aforementioned names have all significantly contributed to American cinema in the last 30 years , and have influenced many young filmmakers world-wide; while you may not like some of their films (or any) their impact on cinema is undeniable

Their voices are able to stand out in a marketplace that is flooded. Their films have a distinctive flavour that makes it different from the journeymen directors, directors for hire and others. Auteurs have turned the tide, created milestones and sometimes set the tone for the next decade(s) in film. They’ve started movements, opened doors and blown us away with their brilliant films.

Think about it in today’s world. Where a large proportion of what is available are generic rom-coms and comic book movies. Do you like that?

Where would cinema be if we didn’t have The French, American, Asian new wave, Dogme 95 et All the work of mostly auteurs, who wanted something different and put their stamp on it.

While generic (sometimes, widget) commercial filmmaking which is what keeps the doors open and the lights on, Auteur filmmaking is what keeps it an interesting art form and mode of expression, and while there are lots on non-auteurs with interesting and unique work, there is a reason artists like Fela Kuti, Basquiat, Hendrix, Miles Davis, Bob Marley all stand out in their fields, they weren’t just great, they were unique and their work is studied for its contribution.

 

The good news is, Nollywood is still very young, and evolving and can still define its cinematic voice in Nigerian, African and World Cinema.

The change in tone, ambition and production aesthetics in the last 10 years alone is very encouraging, and as filmmakers develop, evolve and transcribe cinematic language; the audiences will be in for a treat; and as technology improves, further democratizing the process by lowering some costs and directors are able to stamp their identity on their films, it will be a very exciting time for the future of Nollywood.

What do you think? Leave a comment and lets discuss.

..speaking of Auteurs

Auteur_Feat

In film criticism, auteur theory holds that a film reflects the director’s personal creative vision, as if they were the primary “auteur” (the French word for “author”). In spite of—and sometimes even because of—the production of the film as part of an industrial process, the auteur’s creative voice is distinct enough to shine through studio interference and the collective process.– Wikipedia

The Auteur theory is one that has never gotten unanimous agreement . Many strongly disagree and emphasize the contribution of the crew, saying that even if he director writes,shoots,directs and cuts, they will still need actors in front of the camera, and that is collaboration. While this is a valid point, the auteur theory is quite an interesting one. But to the proponents of the Auteur theory their idea of Auteurism was to make a distinction between films and the films that are worthy of serious study, making them unique in style and voice.

I personally agree with it, especially the auteur’s creative voice is distinct enough to shine through studio interference and the collective process

You can see this in the work of Directors like Tarantino, Wes Anderson, Martin Scorcese,Steve McQueen,Spike Lee,Tim Burton,David Lynch,Terrence Malick,Nicolas Widn Refn,David Fincher and others who do work with studios,but still show an indie spirit,there is a consistency in their body of work, a unifying thread and voice that you recognize , especially when others are trying to imitate the. The stories they tell, their dialogue, their cinematography(framing &composition),use of music,use of color,the kind of characters that always appear in their stories, recurring themes

Which leads me to the question. Do we have Auteurs in Nigeria? Nigerian Born, but not Nigerian based directors like Andrew Dosunmu and Newton Aduaka can be said to be auteurs but how about those living and practicing their craft in Nigeria?


“Auteurs are directors who put a strong personal stamp on their films, usually through the mise en scene. They are contrasted with the metteur-en-scene, the director who merely functions, more or less, at the service of the script”.

I know, we dont have a studio system (though marketers dictate terms like studios do) . Do we have Directors whose body of work distinctively carries their voice in a very recognizable way? Has traits that are distinct to their style of filmmaking and shows up in all their films? Distinct enough that you can miss the opening credits, haven’t previously heard of the film, but are familiar enough with their voice that you can recognize it (or an imitation of it),

If so. Who? Not a rhethorical question. I really want to know them cos they could be flying under a radar cos cinemas and marketers just dont know what to do with the types of films they make.

The aformentioned names have all significantly contributed to cinema (American cinema) in the last 30 years , and have influenced many young filmmakers world wide; while you may not like some of their films (or any) their impact on popular culture can not be denied.

Their voices are able to stand out in a marketplace that is flooded. Their films have a distinctive flavor that makes it different from the journeymen directors, directors for hire and others. Auteurs have turned the tide, created milestones and sometimes set the tone for the next decade(s) in film. They’ve started movements, opened doors and blown us away with their brilliant films. Think about it? Where would cinema be if we didnt have The French,American,Asian new waves? Dogme 95, Italian Neo Realism, German Expressionism. All the work of mostly auteurs , who wanted something different and put their stamp on it. While commercial filmmaking that explodes the box office is what keeps the doors open and the lights on, Auteur filmmaking is what keeps it an interesting artform and mode of expression, and while there are lots on non auteurs with interesting and uniques work, there is a reason that the Fela Kuti,Basquiat,Hendrix,Muhammed Ali,Michael Jordan all stand out in their fields, they werent just great, they were unique and their work is studied for its contribution.

A lot of new voices are rising in the Nollywood filmscape;and as technology improves,further democratizing the process by lowering some costs and directors are able to stamp their identity on their films, it will be a very exciting time for the future of Nollywood.

QUESTION : Do we currently have Autuers in Nollywood and if so, who are they ?

Cinema techniques by Samurai Jack

SAMURAI JACK Samurai Jack is an American animated television series created by Genndy Tartakovsky for Cartoon Network. The series follows time-displaced samurai warrior “Jack” (voiced by Phil LaMarr) in his singular quest to find a method of traveling back in time and defeating the tyrannical demonic wizard Aku (voiced by Mako Iwamatsu) – Source WikiPedia

The cinematography,editing,sound design in this 1:05 video from Samurai Jack S04 Ep 05- The Princess and the Bounty Hunters, is better than most live action movies these days.

The use of Framing and Composition in setting the scene through wide ,landscape shots. To, close ups of the eyes of the attackers, showing their changing emotion. The switching of aspect ration 4:3 to 16:9 , and the changing of the lighting or shall i say, shading , to draw our eyes to certain aspects of the action when it’s slowed down.

The sound design, from the melting ice and dripping water, bookended ,creating tension and showing the level of silence , pre attack , to the sound of his footsteps on the snow , and the clanking of swords and other weapons.

The editing then brings everything together to tell a great visual story, cutting where needs to be cut and allowing our minds to fill in the gap without drawing any undue attention to it’s self.

Granted, this is just 1:05 of a 20 min+ episode, and is actually the last few minutes of the episode, the build up to it , will only make you appreciate the brilliance of this scene even more.

Yes, it’s animated, but the attention to detail, and utilization of  cinematic techniques in the narrative, is a testament to why the show was so loved, respected and considered one of the best animated shows of the last two decades ..or more. and shows that this is someone that clearly knows how to construct and weave together, a cinematic story.

 

 

 

 

Candle goes out for “The Prince of Darkness”

When it comes to Cinematography, in the last 40 years , there are two names that stand out for their brilliance,and their contribution to cinema; one of those names is Gordon Willis. He shot films like The Godfather Trilogy, Annie Hall, Manhattan, All the President’s Men and many other classics.

His distinctive trademark lighting of using shadows and not allowing eyes to be fully seen earned him the nickname Prince of Darkness.

Willis recently passed away but his legacy lives on, many directors and cinematographers have been influenced and inspired by the body of work he has left behind; and that’s the thing about great work, it speaks for you

Good Night Prince

Started from nothing… now we here…THE FRENCH NEW WAVE

breathless

STARTED FROM NOTHING – is a series of posts, dedicated to film makers(and movements) that without Bank loans,Studio finances, independently made films, some of which went on to be classics, but also became influential, not only in the country, but on Global cinema, an generations of film-makers directly inspired by them

It may sound like as a strange thing to say, but World War 2 actually did a lot for the evolution and development of cinema as we know it today. From the propaganda film Triumph of the Will and Why we Fight that influenced how stories are told through editing , to the classics that were inspired Where Eagles Dare, The Dirty Dozen etc. But across in Europe , in the late 50’s a group of French Film Critics for Cahier Du Cinema tired of conventions and generic studio film-Making, decided to make their own films. Films that didnt follow the rules and were naturalistic and avante garde as much as possible.

The French Governemt was recovering from the effecs of the war and there was little or no money to start investing in film making and certainly not the type that Jean Luc Goddard,Francios Truffat,Eric Rohmer,Chabrol and others intended. Many of their film were produced on low budgets, and they often had to borrow friends apartments to use as locations. Theri family and friends also often served as cast and crew( no pay ofcourse)

Distincting themselves from conventional films ,their narratives were different, making no attempt to suspend disbelief, they shot with naturalistic lights, real locations, real location sound (nothing reprouced) , Filming techniques included fragmented, discontinuous editing, and long takes and they shot many films hand held, and often shot without permits on the streets. So the crowds were real people(not extras) going about their business and ended up in classics like A Bout De Souffle(Breathless) & A Bande Apart by Jean Luc Goddard.

The French New Wave would go on to inspire people like Francis Ford Coppolla, who started the American New Wave with in the late 60’s early 70’s George Lucas, Walter Murch and others(American Zoetrope). Cinema’s Enfante terrible Quentin Tarantino was so inspired by the FNW, that he named his company after Goddard’s film “A Band Apart”.

These low budget vibrant,innovative and self concious films made by these film lovers changed the landscape of cinema, not only in France , but in Europe and the United States. Influencing many of the American and British film makers that emerged between the 70’s and the early 00’s . Now THAT is a Legacy.


SOME FILM OF THE FRENCH NEW WAVE
:
BREATHLESS
THE 400 BLOWS
A BAND APART
JULES AND JIM
LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD

Directing: Dont ask me about my business Kay- The Godfather

This is another favorite scene of mine from The Godfather, certainly one that blows me away the most from a directing perspective.

In this scene, Michael’s sister has come to yell at Michael for having her husband Carlos killed, as he blamed him for the hit on Sonny by Barzini. Kay, being taken aback asks him about it, he denies it and she leaves, going to get something for him. As she does, through an inner door, Michael is joined by Clemenza and some of the other capos that come to pay respect. As Kay looks on they acknowledge him for the first time as Godfather,and the door is shut for a private meeting.

That single act of closing the door has so many layered meanings it’s unbelievable.

As Michael gains a new family and position in the family, and is welcomed into the business that his father once kept him out of, Kay who was once his confidant and the closest person to him is shut out literally and metaphorically.

Dunno if FFC had this intention or all the meaning i have read into it, but WOW, i dunno of any 5 seconds of film make me just think GENIUS!!!!!!!! THAT,is what great cinema does and why The Godfather for the foreseeable future will be regarded as one of the best films ever made.

Martin Scorcese on Citizen Kane

My Previous post talked about watching cinema of all era, and studying them, doing this would not only make you appreciate the role of a director but also learn techniques from those that have gone ahead of you. Peak performance coach Tony Robbins ususally say “Success leaves clues”, find someone that has done what you want to do and follow it, like you would a reciepe.

Here is one of the most respected and admired directors of the past 40 years, talking about what he learned from the classic and legendary “Citizen Kane”. If you are farmiliar with Marty’s work, you’d notice what he picked up and infused into his own work

Nollywood- Just my imagination

It’s said that “Imagination is the greatest nation on earth” So Ladies and Gentlemen I ask you to take a journey of imagination with me.

Imagine a time, where films from Nigeria are reckoned with on the same level as Hollywood and World Cinema in ALL categories;Cinematography,Performance,Screenplays,Editing,Sound Design,Score and the general entertainment value.

Imagine a time where the work of Nigerian born directors are as unique and recognised as their global counterparts. As distinctive as a Kubrick,Hitchcock,Scorcese,Kurosawa etc

Directors that pioneer ground breaking things in their movies, starting trends and creating cinematic benchmarks that inspire and awe.

A time where the work of our directors influence the next generation of film makers on a global level. Making generation and decade defining films. Remember, “The Matrix”,”Fight Club”,”Star Wars” and how they affected their respective generations?

Imagine a Time that, when the worlds most influencial film makers are mentioned, Naija directors are regularly listed because of an undeniable contribution to the world of cinema.

Imagine a time where funding is not the nightmare it is today. Where there are numerous mega studios that commision and see projects from screen development to the red carpet premiere and eventual global distribution.

Such a move could make Nigeria the film making capital of the continent. And like Hollywood, draw actors within Africa and other continents,causing a massive influx of skill and talent and investment to the industry.

A time where our films are stocked in video stores all over the world. Where HMV,Blockbusters,NetFlix,Love Films carry our movies right next to Hollywood and Bollywood films. Where on Rotten tomatoes there are rave reviews, high ranking on imdb and millions of downloads on i-tunes.

Imagine a time where like the British ,Spanish and Australian actors and directors that work in Hollywood, our own stars and directors are sought after. Delivering such great performances that they contend in the same category as their European and American colleagues for Best Actor award.

A time when African Americans are no longer called to play roles of Africans or historic African figures, but they come straight to us to cast. WHY, because of our home based actors are so impressive that they know this is the best place to come to find world class thespians.

Professionals so masterful of their craft that producers and directors refuse to green light without them on-board, not for marketing reasons but because they know that their contribution would take the movie to a higher level.

Picture a time where we have proper sets, locations, consummate professional cast and crew, that Hollywood comes calling for collaborations and co productions.

Similar to the way they go to shoot in Canada for location and tax purposes,so also when they require a tropical,exotic or African setting this would be their first port of call. Where they come on a regular basis to shoot and work alongside us.

Imagine a time where distributors from Europe and America are running after us for the rights to our films to put in cinemas and sell on Blu Ray. Where international producers clamour over themselves to option the scripts of our writers because of their amazing stories and unique voices. Where like Sorkin. Mamet and Alan Ball who are known for their distinct writing voices , so would the names of our masterful wordsmiths and scribes.

Imagine a time where Nollywood rivals and even dwarfs the oil industry in terms of employment in a very formal and traceable manner.

Can’t picture it? Doubt it? Wondering HOW!!!??

Ok look at it this way. Outside cast and the usual suspect crew members there are a monumental number of roles.

Formal and structured Nollywood would be a massive employer . With mega studios, production/ post production houses, these are just some of the career opportunities

Blue Collar jobs: Electricians,Carpenters,Tailors,Caterers,Cooks,Plumbers.Drivers,Transportcoordinators,Painters,Tillers,Cobblers,Security,Gardners

White Collar jobs; Accountants,Marketers,Public Relations,Business Managers,Human Resources,Agents,Talent Managers,Administration,IT Dept,Tech Support,Programmers etc

Creative Jobs; Designers,Graphic artists,Web Designers,Story Board artists,Art Director,Set Designer,Set Decorator,Still Photographer,Orchestra,Music Supervisors and many artistic roles Clothing designers.Costume Makers etc

In post production there are Editors(on line and offline)Sound Effect,Colorists,Graders,Editors,Foley Artists,Sound Mixers,Sound Designers,ADR Mixers

At the tail end, there would be more cinemas countrywide as a result of industry growth at least one in each LGA. These cinemas will employ people to sell tickets, sell snacks and drinks,Ushers to manage the viewing halls. Agents to acquire the films. Managers to run the business. Loaders to maintain and run the projectors .Custodians to clean the facility. Accountants to manage the finances.

A structured industry like this will create jobs in other industries that work with directly or indirectly and service the film industry

Imagine the number of Banks and account managers needed by those employed in the studios,production houses,distribution companies.

The accounting firms needed to manage the money,personal and coorporate.

The phone bills they would rack up on deal making calls vendors that need to sell them credit, customer service workers that need to attend to them?

The number of hotels they would book for cast, crew and management.

The transportation companies that would be hired to ferry people around?

It’s influential tentacles would spread far and wide.

The fashions designers,photographers,magazine editors,crew members,caterers,event organisers,interior decorators,party planners,equipment hire that would all be getting paid,as a result of the industry growing to a level that there need to be more than one major movie award night annually just so everyone gets a shot of acknowledgement.

Are you getting the picture?

In a Nollywood like this the employment opportunities are so numerous,diverse and encompassing of various skillset, that it would be a large contributor to the National GDP as it covers so many fields.

I dream I dream and I hope and pray that one day all this would the reality.

However with what’s currently on ground some could say it’s a pipe dream perhaps a psychedelic hallucinations ,some may already be calling the men in White Coats.

Hollywood was not brought down from Mount Olympus and assembled like a celestial lego set.It started from scratch by some people with a vision and passion. Bollywood to, a place a lot of post pro jobs are being outsourced.

There are a gazzillion hurdles to leap to get there,it may take a decade ,5 or even 9. All depending on vision,commitment and passion, but it is possible.

A lot of roles need to be approached more professionally. Access granted based on skill,proven record or evidence of immense passion and potential and not “my brother,my town person”.

The establishment of schools and training facilities to prepare people for roles in this industry or apprentice/under study roles if school is unavailable.

The industry needs to stop being a refugee camp for failures from other industries,or people with no training or knowledge that think they can just wing it with claims of ‘natural talent’ without any training or education(formal/informal).

When we treat the industry as seriously and as professionally as Lawyers and Doctors treat their profession, then we have commenced the journey. By imbibing professionalism and a creating a road map toward the promised land maybe unlike the Israelites we can shorten our journey and not rigmarole in circles for the next few decades

SIT DOWN AND LEARN FROM AN INTELLIGENT BLACK MAN

As a born and breed African kid, many people are surprised when they meet me. They are surprised by my articulation, and my command of the English language ,bewildered that i know more than the words “give us free” and that i don’t talk like the characters from “The God’s must be crazy”. They are marvelled at my exposure ,knowledge of their history and understanding of culture, when they don’t have an inkling on mine. Luckily for me, i have not had the experience that many of my friends have had.When some ignoramuses come up to them and ask if they had pet lions, or lived in trees and wore clothes when they were in Africa, and how they were able to learn English.

Africans, perhaps more than any other race have suffered stereotypes from Hollywood. For many years, movies about Africa have been one dimensional;portraying Africans as limited thinking, quarter illiterate “yes masstah” characters. Heavy caricature ,often imbeciles, with no thoughts of their own. When that is not the case, they are swinging from trees, or running around half naked in loin cloth,in movies like “King Solomon’s Mines”. Stereotypes and profiling, is one of the reasons that society is still where it is today. The blanketing and general statement in a recent article, that “black people do not read” is one from which i beg to differ.

There was a recent article on how “black people don’t read”, Now THAT is as crazy a statement as “all Chinese men know Kung Fu”.

It’s an ignorant , unfounded and unfair generalization . I am in my twenties and for as long as i can remember ,books have been a huge part of my life. I would have to plea guilty as charged if accused of being a book worm. As a child i read book by Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl,Judy Blume and Alan Ahlberg,in my teenage years i moved on to Jeffery Archer and John Grisham as an adult i read both fiction and non fiction ranging from David Balddachi , to Dr Myles Munroe ,Jack Canfield and currently , The Road Less travelled by M Scott Peck.

I am more than just literate, i can intelligently hold my own in virtually any conversation , i may not be an expert , or be broad on the topic , but at least i can make some form of contribution, and i have MANY friends ,too numerous to mention, with that same capability and more.

-We chew over if Japan would be the economic force it is today if Hiroshima has never happened.

-Postulate on the application on Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” in modern day business.

-Discuss on striking similarities in Greek and Roman mythology .

– Deliberate on the possibilities of time travel based on the “Theory of relativity”.

-Analyze business lessons from Vito and Michael Corleone.

-Debate on if economic growth and prosperity in the USA during the Clinton administration, could really be attributed to him or the dot com revolution that happened during his tenure.

-Deliberate over the pros and cons of Nigeria switching over to a parliamentary system of government.

-The possibility of Nigeria becoming amongst the top ten economies within the next 10 years once we can solve the issue of NEPA and Internal Hostilities.

-Wonder if the USA would have become involved in World War 2 if not for Pearl Harbour, and what would the world be like if Hitler had succeeded in his campaign.

Was the Cold War really about communism, or truly a fight between the USSR and USA, or who was the Alpha male…..(Hey! Who mentioned ROCKY over there.)

to relax, we can switch over to mundane issues

We can equally discuss over Cristiano Ronaldo ,and if he has erased the legendary name from his Brazilian predecessor .

If Muhammad Ali , and Michael Jordan still hold on to the legendary status we hold them up to in their respective sports.

If Bruce Lee would beat Jet Li in a street fight ?

Why Batman though the only human(without powers) in the Justice League is the most feared and respected?

If Robin Hood and King Arthur truly existed ,and if not, how did they become so big and so legendary that we think they actually did exist?

The lessons of tenacity, perseverance and never give up mentality that we learn from Top Cat,Wile E Coyote and Yogi Bear?

Ask our selves based on the evidence if a lazy animal like the Lion is truly the King of the Jungle and not the Tiger.

Why people claim abstinence doesn’t work , because they won’t admit that they like sex too much to give it up.

Between Batman and Blade, who would win in hand to hand combat?

Would Naruto be as cool, if they spoke in English?

Why Tupac is the greatest of all time and why Biggie does not eve n come close to matching him as an Mcee.

When would Samuel L Jackson stop playing the Angry black male card, (think about it, what was the last L Jackson movie you saw that he did not YELL!!!!)

AND

Which movie between “The God Father” and “Citizen Kane” is truly the Greatest movie Of All Time?

We discuss both real issue and mundane things, and i believe that any discussion that comes up, to a very reasonable extent, we can contribute without looking foolish.

It’s unfortunate that in the 21st century, with the wide range of knowledge and exposure to the world available at the stroke of a keyboard(a global village), people still can’t see beyond their little world. Many people still see the continent of Africa as one huge Safari, where the animals run wild right outside your front door.

With National Geographic,The History Channel,Animal Planet, and the many educational channels, many people in the western world, by western world i am referring to Europe and North America, think that Africa is a country. Hence we hear them say “I’m going to Africa”, “we want to help Africa”. Thanks to Oxfarm and Feed the Children, (all good causes on their own), many still walk around thinking that ALL African children are bloated bellied and starving.That perception is like a foreigner thinking he can learn about life in the UK by watching Big Brother .

The generalization that black people don’t read is like thinking Indians randomly burst into song and dance in the middle of the street or that all American’s behave like the guests on Jerry Springer.

We are all individuals and can not classified by the actions of a few. Unlike many people of both races whose idea of classic literature is Katie Price’s or Jade Goody’s biography, i prefer to read something that would actually add some value to my life and future.

A while back,a friend of mine was livid about the launch of MTV Base Africa, which played about 99% Hip Hop/ Rhythm and Blues. What right did they have to restrict our music to only those categories? That is another stereotype that is all around the world. The assumption that black people only like those two genres of music. What about Alternative,Rock ,Pop,Swing, what makes them think we don’t listen to that?

Now i don’t know about anyone else, but i listen to a whole range of music. I croon to Frank Sinatra’s “I got you under my skin”,karaoke to Air Supply’s “All out of love” and Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana”. Back in my University days some of my friends called me a “white boy” just because i loved listening to Nickelback ,Linkin Park ,Limp Bizkit, Blink 182 amongst others. When the truth is i can scream to “Smells of teen spirit” as well as bust the mic on “Ready or Not”. I can serenade to Barry White as well as lay back and appreciate Chopin’s Symphony.

It’s ignorant and unfair to classify people by what we see on television. Yes, there are starving kids in Africa, but there are also homeless, malnourished kids in the UK ,USA and Eastern Europe. Like there are different social classes (lower,middle ,upper, rich , stinking rich) in other parts of the world, the same exists in the nations of Africa.We have sky scrapers , and NO we do not live in mud huts. We have cities and we hail taxi’s , take the bus, drive drop tops, and SUVs’. We hustle by day and play by night, have night-clubs, Pubs and raves. We go on dates, hang out at the mall and catch the latest movie at the cinema.

The Africa that most of the world sees, is either news reports on war , famine and starving kids. The Africans that they portray the dictators and those who even if they had a transplant from Einstein , wouldn’t be able to find their way out of a paper bag.

They fail to mention that it was a Nigerian ,Philip Emeagwali , that wrote the formula which is the back bone on which the Internet runs, he has won numerous awards (computer scientist of the year at least three times)back to back , and has been awarded the science world’s version of a Nobel prize .

Wole Soyinka that won a Nobel Prize in the 80’s is still one of the most respected literary minds in the world and is on the lecture circuit world wide. There are many more achievers too numerous to mention.

American writer W.E Du Bios is known to have said
“Europe has never produced and never will in our day bring forth a single human soul who cannot be matched and over-matched in every line of human endeavor by Asia and Africa”.

Does it matter that i am able to answer 90% of the questions on “The Weakest Link” on auto pilot, or 60% of “Jeopardy” and “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” by reflex. Is it a matter of my race, that i like the music of The Temptations, as much as i like Franki Valli & the Four Seasons ? Or that i have no rhythm whatsoever despite the fact that “ALL black people can dance”. No.

Everything i am ,is because of WHO i am. I have the knowledge i have , because as an individual i take interest in those things. Just like not everyone in the world can roll their tongue, not everyone is interested in the things i am ,or has the eclectic taste that i do. It is my individual choice to listen to Both Marvin Gaye and Dean Martin, George Benson and John Mayer, Tracy Chapman and Alanis Morrisette. The fact that i can answer most questions on quiz shows is because of all the time i spent watching documentaries, reading journals, encyclopaedia’s, news reports and believe it or not sitcoms and Looney Toons cartoons.

My exposure and knowledge does not make me better than anyone else, or smarter ,because most of my life if you wanted to give me a seizure all you had to do was mention MATHS and i would quiver like a leaf and I am quite frankly hopeless at academic writing. And those that, do know maths and came out with a first class degrees, may not be able to engage in some of the discussions that i mentioned earlier.

I still love cartoons as much as i did when i was eight years old. I still get cracked up when i watch Looney Toons,The Mask or The Flintstones .I still think that Top Cat is one of the coolest fictional characters ever created after John McLane, Jason Bourne ,Michael Corleone,Chilli Palmer,Cool Hand Luke, and Captain Jack Sparrow(ok, he falls down quite far,but you get the point)

Does this make me immature or childish, you can think so if you want to ,but the fact is that, most of the classical music i know ,i first heard in Tom&Jerry and Bugs Bunny cartoons. Many of the words in my vocabulary were those i heard in cartoons and checked up in the dictionary, my home boy Daffy Duck taught me the words Stupendous,Obnoxious and Stuffy.

I remember i got into a serious and lively discussion with two other guys, one a medical student and an engineer. This went on for several hours and went into critical analysis mode, the engineers sister came round to listen in, and was flabbergasted when she discovered we had been talking about the evolution of the X-men and why Wolverine is not the leader. She couldn’t believe it, grown ass men! , Graduates! Wasting their time with such irrelevant musing. She then asked us to please be quiet as she plopped down on the couch to catch up with an EASTENDERS omnibus.

We should not allow our perceptions and limited exposure to allow us to classify people or pigeon hole them into a category. We should take every person we meet as an individual and not a summary of the movie characters we have watched.Not all Chinese men are the next Bruce Lee, nor are Indians shop keepers. Not all Africans are starving nor do we run after animals chucking spears and clicking or tongues as we talk. Hollywood is not the place to learn about people’s culture, due to the fact that they are of a country that has no culture of it’s own, and a people whose names don’t mean s***.

When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me, and we all know what assumption is the mother of.

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