The Fall of 2011 doesn’t feel all that long ago, but at the same time feels like ages ago if that makes any sense.
Yesterday September 26th, marked 5 years to the day that this blog was founded. 5 years in the books and I’m still learning about this blogging thing if we’re being honest. I don’t post nearly as much as I used to, but nevertheless, FilmSwag remains near and dear to my heart and a platform I view as important as ever in these trying times.
I started this blog out of a need to say something about people of color (specifically black people) and how it related to film and media in general. It was an interesting time as media was also evolving. In 2011 the word ‘web series’ was still just coming into the public lexicon. Now we have people who have used the platform to make the jump into the more traditional world film and television including one awkward black girl who’s come a long way from her Youtube debut in 2012.
Over the last 5 years video has gone from a nice thing to have to a must-have for many media companies. With the rise of HD video and the proliferation of smartphones, video is as ubiquitous as its ever been. Even Instagram, known more for its photo filters at first, now in features 1 minute videos up from 15 seconds earlier this year.
With as much video has increased over the last 5 years, not all of it has been for the better. People of color are still underrepresented in the major Hollywood studios and media outlets alike. Also, as more people have cellphones with video capabilities, we’ve seen a number of black men end up dead at the hands of the police, just within the last few months alone. Police brutality and mistrust among the community it serves are not new problems, just newly exposed problems with rise of new technology.
I’ve covered a number of topics beyond film and cinema on this blog, and intend to keep doing so. I think it’s important to touch on issues that may make some folks uncomfortable for it is there where the fight for real solutions begin. Let’s continue to keep getting educated together.
Sunday night I was playing NBA 2K16 and realized I had messed up.
I switched off my Xbox and turned on my TV only to realize I had missed the Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar performance. And with that, the BET Awards show kicked off and the disparate parts Black Twitter came together to laugh, criticize, throw shade, rejoice, and all in all just enjoy the moment.
The BET Awards got off to a bit a rough start 15 years ago as it had to -like most brand new programs- find its sea legs of sort and figure out what it wanted to be. Was it going to be primarily focused on the awards? Was it going to be more about the performances? Was it going to be more about who showed up and shown out on the red carpet? In reality, it’s all of these things under the umbrella of celebrating black excellence in music and film. The rise of social media – in particular, Twitter – has only helped fuel this growth but allowing the viewer at home to become an active participant.
The most stirring performance of the evening belonged not to a musical act, but an actor during a speech – Jesse Williams. Williams, known primarily for his work on Grey’s Anatomy, gave a speech that was so poignant and powerful, that people rose from their seats and clapped. He addressed issues regarding police brutality, black lives matter, and the freedom that black people are still seeking some 397 years after our arrival.
It’s moments like this that keep the BET Awards fresh, hip, and relevant in an ever changing media landscape. I look forward to next year’s version.
This has certainly been a long time coming. For those of you who may be new to FilmSwag, this is a blog I started almost 5 years ago to discuss film, television and media, as it related to people of color within society. So that could encompass everything from movie reviews to how the media is covering the Black Lives Matter movement. Being that I’m a one man bad, these things are told from my perspective but I do try to get a number of different voices on an issue. I think it helps foster different ways at looking things and perhaps solutions to problems that we might not have considered.
My own background in film began 14 years ago when my mother subscribed to a movie package with our local cable company that introduced me to the channel Starz in Black. For the first time in my life I saw people who looked like me in film on a regular basis 24/7. At the time, there were no other channels on television quite like Starz in Black. Seeing these images gave me an idea. “There should be more of this,” I said to myself at the time. And ever since then, I have been working to tell more stories of people of color who too often have their voices silenced or simply ignored by mainstream society. This site is a continuation of that work.
In moving to WordPress, I hope to not only reach a larger audience, but also change some things up in terms of layout and presentation for the site. As it stands, the site is a work in progress and I kind of equate this first day as a step in its continued improvement. So to those of you who started reading FilmSwag way back in 2011 and have followed me onto this new platform, I certainly do appreciate. And for those of you new readers, hopefully you enjoy the content, and if not, your page-view was appreciated anyway. Let’s continue to keep getting educated together.
Where has the time gone? It seems with each passing year time seems to move even faster.
I must say even though I did not get to blog as much as I would like this year, I am definitely enjoying the process and even small amounts of exposure. December has been a bit of a tough month for me (two wsidom teeth being removed and fighting a recent cold hasn’t helped matters) but I am certainly looking forward to more blogging and more topics come 2012. Just a taste of things I plan on discussing in the coming year: Blaxploitation films and their legacy, black journalists and the prime time dilemma, the movie ‘ A Birth of a Nation,’ the Poiter Persona, black presidents (yes, presidents with an S) and a host of other things.
For those of you who have read this blog from the outset or may have just started reading within the last month or so, I definitely want to say, Thank You. Here’s to a more a fruitful and productive next year to all of us. *Raises glass.*