SELMA: 50 Years After The March by Lisa Durden

Roger Maloney

50 years ago there was no Oprah Winfrey!! 50 Years ago there was no Ava Duverney!! 50 Years ago there was no David Oyelowo!! 50 years ago, black people had no power!!  50 years ago, black people didn’t have a voice!! Because 50 years ago in this country, we were not able to exercise our legal right to vote!! Watching the #SelmaMovie, made it vividly clear, that 50 years after the march, “the more things changed, the more things stayed the same!!”

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SELMA is the story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s historic struggle to secure voting rights for all people – a dangerous and terrifying campaign that culminated with the epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and led to President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Watching this film was eerily familiar!! Because 50 years after the march, in the wake of Treyvonne Martin, Ferguson and Eric Garner, SADLY, in 2015, we are still marching against racial injustices. Selma was another reminder that we have much more work to do!! On an episode of #OprahPrime, @OWN, Oprah and David Oyelowo, touched on the issue of race relations then and now.

Watch David Oyelowo on Oprah Prime: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bWygZG2mOQ

When I’m not able to attend red carpet screenings, everyone who knows me, knows that I go to see films opening night. Not just because I’m a journalist, but because I like to be in the know!! I also love the energy and excitement that comes with it!! But more importantly, I am aware that the impact of seeing a film opening weekend, can be the make or break of the film’s success. So I always encourage people to make it their business to go out and see movies during opening weekend; especially black movies because it sends a strong message to Hollywood that WE do wanna see films like Selma!! So WE will support films like Selma! Therefore, films like Selma WILL make money!! And speaking of money, Selma opened very respectably nation wide Friday January 9, raking in $11.2 million dollars at the box office. No, not a blockbuster. But it’s not that type of film and that’s ok.

Watch Selma Trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6t7vVTxaic

When I’m not able to attend red carpet screenings, everyone who knows me, knows that I always go to see films opening night. Not just because I’m a journalist, but because I like to be in the know!! I also love the energy and excitement that comes with it!! But more importantly, I am aware that the impact of seeing a film opening weekend, can be the make or break of the film’s success. So I always encourage people to make it their business to go out and see movies during opening weekend; especially black movies because it sends a strong message to Hollywood that WE do wanna see films like Selma!! So WE will support films like Selma! Therefore, films like Selma WILL make money!! And speaking of money, Selma opened very respectably nation wide Friday January 9, raking in $11.2 million dollars at the box office and was the second highest grossing film this weekend behind #Taken3’s. #Ca-ching!!

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I’m not gonna give the movie away but one of my favorite scenes in Selma was where this 85 year old man, who after having been on the front lines marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., seeing his grandson beaten and murdered by racists cops at a protest, lived long enough to exercise his right to vote. POWERFUL!! My heart melted!! Which is very hard to do these days. Especially a film! It actually reminded me of the moment where we were all gathered at my sister’s house, watching the presidential election coverage of 2008, when they announced that Barack Obama had won the presidency of United States; my father started crying uncontrollably. I mean sounds and moans like he was wounded. It was scary! I was shocked and confused. I didn’t understand why he was weeping and I was too afraid to ask. I couldn’t handle the emotions at the time. But I get it now. Like the 85 year old character in Selma, my dad had lived his entire life as a black man who experienced segregation, Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement, but never thought he would live to see the day where a black man would become president. Hell, when I reflect back, I thought I would be a 1,000 year old woman, with one foot in the grave and one foot on a banana peel, before I would see that day.

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Interestingly, one of the criticisms of Selma’s director, the fabulous, Miss #AvaDuvernay, is that she incorrectly depicted President Johnson, delaying the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Really haters?? Really?? Sorry to inform “y’all,” but THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT LBJ DID!! See, that’s that bull ‘ish!!’  Are people in such denial that “they” really wanted Ava, to lie about our Civil Rights history, by making the white oppressor, the hero, in a movie about a black hero, just to make “them” comfortable??  NOT HAPPENING!! Now see, that’s why it’s increasingly important for us to tell our own stories, because if “they” would have produced the movie Selma, LBJ would have been looking like the great white hope!! Who is they?? “You know who ‘they’ is!!!!” LOL. Clearly the truth hurts!! Get over it!!  And for those of you who can’t, maybe Selma is a mirror image, reflecting the ugliness of how far we HAVEN’T come!! Either way, I’m so glad my boy #JonStewart, gave Ava the chance to come on his show, to discuss the film and to set the haters all the way straight!!

Ava DuVernay on Jon Stuart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_x8O8dRddM

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The cast of Selma was more than A_MA_ZING!! #DrMartinLutherKing was played by the brilliant, #DavidOyelowo, his wife #CorettaScottKing, was played by #CarmenEjogo. Remember her? She played Sister in the blockbuster hit, #Sparkle. And my girl #OprahWinfrey, who produced the movie, also played #AnnieLeeCooper in the film. Y’all know Oprah is my religion!! That’s it and that’s al!! LOL.  #LyndonBJohnson was played by the legendary, #TomWilkinson, #AndrewYoung was played by #AndreHolland, #BayardRustin was played by #RubenSantiagoHudson, #RalphAbernathy was played by #ColmanDomingo, #JamesBevel was played by #Common and ladies, he was looking oh so creamy and delicious!! Mmmmm!! My girl #LorraineToussaint played #AmliaBoynton, #DylanBaker played #JEdgarHoover, masterfully!! Oh and I was very pleased to see the singer #Ledisi as #MahaliaJackson. That girl’s voice is sick!  #WendelllPiece played #RevHoseaWilliams, #NigelThatch played #MalcolmX, #TimRoth played #GovernorGeorgeWallace and let me tell ya, HE WAS INFAMOUS!! #CubaGoodingJr, was refreshing as #FredGray, #DylanBaker played #JEdgarHoover, and #NiecyNash was wonderful as #RichieJeanJackson.

Who should see Selma?? EVERYBODY!! I understand that there is some sort of fund set up by black leaders, for high school students in New York, to see Selma for FREE, during the week of Martin Luther King’s birthday. Wonderful and VERY APROPOS!! I would also love to see schools do class trips to see the film and make this a part of their history curriculum, because it’s an important piece of history, that we need our young people to learn about.

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We’re coming up on award season and the streets are buzzing about Selma. AWESOME SAUCE!! Howeva, I’m worried!! Selma is missing nominations because there seems to be some kind of #shenanigans going on with the distribution of screeners. It was omitted from the #ProducersGuildOfAmerica’s 10 contenders list because Paramount Pictures sent DVD screeners to academy voters, but not the guilds, reported Variety.com. DISASTER!! And if that wasn’t bad enough, Selma was also shut out from the #ScreenActorsGuildAwards nominations last month because voters hadn’t received screeners. And I know that to be true because I’m a member of #SAG and when I didn’t get a screener of the #SelmaMovie, I screamed like I had been slapped in front of Macy’s window!! Why?? Because everyone knows that these early nominations are usually the precursor to winning an #Oscar or at least being nominated. What the hell is that about?? How did #ParamountPictures screw that up?? Is it a conspiracy?? #OMG, let’s all keep our fingers crossed that Selma sweeps the #AcademyAwards because it’s more than deserving. No, I’m not saying that because I’m black. I don’t have a horse in the race. I’m saying it because Selma is a masterpiece!! #PeriodDotCom!! Shout out to Mr. #BradPitt for producing Selma; obviously he gets “it.” Oh yeah, Common did his thing on the sound track.  It’s fiyaaaa!!

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