The real story, the universal story, is that we all stand on a pair of shoulders. We are, all of us, the sum of our influences. We’ve all been taken by the hand and led to a better, more purposeful place.
– Denzel Washington, A Hand To Guide Me, 2006
“You’ve gotta go. And when it’s time to go, go. And I took that whole thing into entertainment, where you don’t know when your next opportunity is going to come. You can’t say I’m gonna be here forever. Because there are guys who’ve said that. And they’re not here anymore. You just gotta go. When you get your shot, you give it everything you have.”
– Terry Crews
This is from a speech made by the legendary artist Harry Belafonte at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards last week.
“… The power of cinema is an uncontainable thing and it’s truly remarkable, in its capacity for emotional evolution. When I was first watching the world of cinema, there was a film that stunned the world, with all its aspects and art form. They did a lot, at that time. The film was done by D.W. Griffith, and it was called The Birth of a Nation, and it talked about America’s story, its identity, and its place in the universe of nations. And that film depicted the struggles of this country with passion and power and great human abuse. Its depiction of black people was carried with great cruelty. And the power of cinema styled this nation, after the release of the film, to riot and to pillage and to burn and to murder black citizens. The power of film.
“I’m a black filmmaker. I must be. When I think of characters, or rather, when characters come to me — as the best ones do, outside of conscious thought — overwhelmingly they are black. And when I introduce these characters and films into the production framework of this industry, the funding and distribution “restrictions” I’m met with as a result of those characters’ blackness would remind me, if it weren’t clear already, that I am indeed black.”
The above quote comes from the NY Times piece 20 Directors to Watch in which the Times profiled 20 filmmakers who are making their voices heard. Barry Jenkins directed the 2008 film “Medicine for Melancholy,” which centers around a young couple who spend a day with each other in San Francisco. It’s a film that I highly recommend. The piece also features Dee Rees, who directed the 2011 highly regarded film “Pariah.”
“I live in racist America and I’m uneducated, yet a lot of people love me and like what I do, and I can make a living from it.You can’t do much better than that.“
– Richard Pryor