Baadasssss! – From a Cultural Perspective
Directed by Mario Van Peebles' Baadasssss! is the story of what went into reproducing his father’s 1971 film, "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song." The theme of this “must see” movie so epitomizes what I’m about to muse on.
In Baadasssss! you get to see PASSION at work. Not just the sweat and tears that go into bringing a project full circle, but the pleading with others to see your vision, the near going blind working late hours to get things just right, and then to realize the results of that effort. Yes, I laughed and laughed about the actual film that Mario labored over making... it's a Blaxploitation film that in the making contained some truly hilarious scenes, but the film Baadasssss! itself, is one I treasure... and as a result, or an extension, now Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song too.
That said, it took reading books like the Diary of Anne of Frank, and many other books on the Holocaust, in addition to Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, along with shelves of True Crime books to appreciate suffering as a human condition, and not one solely confined to black American culture. I fell in love with books centered on other cultures and coming from different perspectives, traversing countries and continents depicting stories that provided a source of inspiration on levels I was unfamiliar with.
To this very day I look for stories that contain these diverse elements. The Black Russian by Vladimir Alexandrov, Life on the Color Line: The True Story of a White Boy Who Discovered He Was Black by Gregory Howard Williams, and Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family by Condoleezza Rice are three of the greatest biographies and memoirs I've come across, but my favorites list is growing.
Be it Nile Roger's LeFreak, or Timex Social Club's How Rumors Get Started... memoirs on the making of music; or the celeb memoirs, or two of the funniest, and warmest relationship novels... Van Whitfield's Something's Wrong with Your Scale and Mario D. King's The Crisis Before Midlife... I love diverse stories.
Celebrating Black History/Heritage Month 365 days a year.