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Today is the Washington DC premiere of the Janks Morton film, “Hoodwinked.” I was featured in the film, along with a slew of other black male professors who are simply off-the-chain brilliant: Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu, Steve Perry, Marc Lamont Hill and Ivory Toldson.
I was honored to be a part of this project because I am inspired by the idea of black intellectual warriors coming together to speak up on behalf of black men.
I honestly didn’t know if the film was any good when I signed on to participate. I did it because I respect Janks Morton and the men he’d already selected to be involved. So, in Louisville, Kentucky, I sat with my father two months ago, watching the entire film for the first time.
The film knocked me off my feet.
“Hoodwinked” helps all of us to re-examine what it means to be a black man in America. Janks does a wonderful job of exposing many of the lies, exaggerations and half-truths that are out there when it comes to black men. It let us know that the media is telling a lie when it comes to understanding the state of our brothers, and it’s time to start sharing the truth.
One of the effects of these lies is the potentially deadly “beef” between hip hop stars Lupe Fiasco and Chief Keef, both out of Chicago. A young man (the rapper Jojo) was murdered after “dissing” Keef in a music video, and Keef gloated about the homicide on Twitter. When Lupe Fiasco spoke up against the destructive, genocidal messages being created by Keef and others, Keef threatened Lupe with violence as well.
Black men should not be forced to live in a world where we are the greatest threats to our own existence. We also must directly confront media images that present us as violent, undisciplined animals who celebrate our own self-destruction. Films like “Hoodwinked” help all of us to realize that there are more Lupes in the black community than there are Chief Keefs. It’s important that black boys understand this as well and realize that they have a multitude of positive role models, not just the brothers who make a living producing modern day minstrel shows.
Thank you for creating this film Janks Morton. It may not sell as many tickets as some of the buffoonery we see in modern media, but this form of intellectual soul food is just what our community needs. Black men must rise up and take control of our collective destiny. The time for other nonsense is over.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here. To check out Dr. Watkins in the Janks Morton Film, Hoodwinked, please visit this link.