A few weeks ago director Gina Prince-Bythewood, penned an open letter urging audiences to see her latest film, “Beyond The Lights.” Having had the chance to view the film twice myself, I wholeheartedly agree more people should see this film.
“Beyond The Lights” stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw as pop star Noni, and Nate Parker as Kaz, the police officer who saves her life after an apparent suicide attempt. After saving her life, Noni and Kaz become close and their relationship evolves, much to the chagrin of their doting parents.
Throughout the film we see the evolution of their relationship and despite coming from two completely different worlds, we see them as just two people in love attempting to put aside the distractions.
What we really struck me with “Beyond The Lights” is that as the film progresses we see the varying layers of Noni and Kaz’s lives peel off as both are struggling to find themselves while exploring each other. Another underlying theme of the film deals with the hyper sexualization present within the music industry, specifically as it relates to female artists. “Beyond The Lights” is probably out of theaters at this point but should be coming out on Blu-Ray/DVD in February. I definitely recommend giving it a look.
2014 was a year of progress and one of resolve for me.
It was during that calendar year I really upped my camera equipment game: camera mount, overhead light, microphone, and a new tripod. On top of all that I got some editing software as well. Even picked up some books on producing in the process.
In terms of covering films and Hollywood, I was happy for Lupita Nyong’o winning an Oscar at last year’s Academy Awards. I made proud to see another woman, and former movie of the year winner on this blog — Ava DuVernay — receive critical acclaim across the board for her film “Selma.” Not to mention Gina Prince-Bythewood and her moving film, “Beyond The Lights.”
In 2014 there was the continued rise of the web series and we can began to see web success spill over into the more traditional medium of television. Issa Rae is working on a show for HBO and the creators of BlackandSexyTV are doing a show for HBO as well. TV shows like “Blackish” and “How to Get Away With Murder” showed network TV executives (again) that shows featuring characters of color can not only succeed, but thrive, especially in the realm of social media.
Despite this progress, most films released from the major studios are still overly white and male focused. That old door however is being pushed against harder and harder every year. People want to see themselves on screen, and in 2014 people of color are making that happen through many different forums. Let’s keep this going in 2015. Let us continue to get educated.