Five podcast episodes to listen to during Black History Month
Over the years, I have done a number of podcasts about Black cinema and the incredible diversity it contains. Those podcasts have also extended beyond movies to include comics, academia and history. I firmly believe that pop culture can be a great means of opening our eyes to new things and new perspectives. It can help us become more empathetic, make history more accessible and engage us in compelling ways.
For Black History Month, here are five Cinema Junkie episodes about Black culture and history.
'The Black Panther Party,' part one and two
In Part One, author David F. Walker ("Bitter Root," "Shaft," "The Life of Frederick Douglas") discusses what inspired his book: "The Black Panther Party," the historical context (including the Kerner Commission Report), and its illustrations by Marcus Kwame Anderson. In Part Two, we extend the conversation to the film "Judas and the Black Messiah," which tells the story of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton.
For Black History Month I am dedicating a two-part podcast to the Black Panthers and speaking with author David F. Walker ("Bitter Root," "Shaft," "The Life of Frederick Douglas") about his new graphic novel "The Black Panther Party." In Part One, we discuss what inspired the book, about historical context (including the Kerner Commission Report), and about Marcus Kwame Anderson who illustrated the book. In Part Two we extend the conversation to the new film "Judas and the Black Messiah."
My celebration of Black History Month continues with Part Two of my interview with David F. Walker, author of the new graphic novel "The Black Panther Party." We finish our discussion about the Black Panthers with a focus on their social programs and how the FBI infiltrated the organization from its very beginning in order to bring it down. This leads into our discussion of the new film "Judas and the Black Messiah" that just started streaming on HBO Max. The film looks to Black Panther member Fred Hampton, his murder, and FBI informant William O'Neal.
I love Blaxploitation Cinema, but it is too often dismissed as "low-brow." In its heyday of the 1970s, these were films made for a Black audience, and they served up Black characters who were driving the stories and the action. They were not merely reacting to the white characters or were in supporting sidekick roles to white stars. Walker joins me again for the discussion.
Film Struck is showcasing eight classics of Blaxploitation Cinema so it's time to revisit the Cinema Junkie Podcast featuring David Walker, writer of the "Shaft" comic books. Walker loves the Blaxploitation films of the 1970s and says we're due for Blaxploitation 2.0.
Black people and a sense of place
Caroline Collins, a post-doctoral fellow in the department of communication at UC San Diego, discusses films about Black people and a sense of place. We discuss films such as "Daughters of the Dust," "Eve’s Bayou," "Get Out," "Sorry To Bother You," "Last Black Man in San Francisco," and "Black Panther." We also discuss how each of those films defines a connection to the land or a place.
To close out Black History Month I will be speaking with Caroline Collins, a post doctoral fellow in the department of Communication at UC San Diego, about films that look to Black people and a sense of place. We discuss films such as "Daughters of the Dust," "Eve’s Bayou," "Get Out," "Sorry To Bother You," "Last Black Man in San Francisco," and "Black Panther," and look to how each of those films defines a connection to the land or a place. She says, "There's just so much that we learn about ourselves and each other through the medium of film and through popular culture. [I hope you] watch films that you might not feel are something you would normally watch and really think about 'How are these films helping to shape your understanding of your rootedness or disconnectivity to a place?' And how might you be able to rethink your own relationship to your place through the films that you're watching?"
Black Comix and Scary Black Folks
Keithan Jones, the founder of Kid Comics and Black Comix Day, talks about comic book movies, and John Jennings, professor of Media & Cultural Studies at UC Riverside, discusses his Scary Black Folks collective and EthnoGothic horror films. Jennings will be on the "Get Shooked: New Masters of Horror" panel at Black Comix Day on Feb. 12 at 1 p.m.
Cinema Junkie celebrates Black History Month by speaking with Keithan Jones, founder of Black Comix Day, about black comics and movies, and professor John Jennings about a new collective called Scary Black Folks.