The Disquieting Throes of Change

January 16,  2023



By Leslie Fields-Cruz

background collage of black historical figures with film title in foregroundI hope you had an enriching Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. Amid today’s disquieting throes over DEI programs, it is reassuring to see our nation continue to devote a full day to remembering where we’ve been and why more work is needed. The new film by Darryl Ford-Williams and Yoruba Richen, The Cost of Inheritance, which premiered on WORLD and PBS last week, offers a timely start to what is certain to be a year of dramatic change. The film provides a refreshing take on the issue of reparations. I highly recommend it.

Don’t Forget

headshot of elderly black man with shaved head wearing a white t-shirt amid an outdoor background
Willie “Billy Brown” Smith

If you haven’t already watched our latest AfroPoP Digital Short, The Forgotten Ones, I encourage you to make time for it. The 15-min short by Tracii McGregor shines a bright light on our nation’s growing housing crisis. It is told from the perspective of an elder (Willie “Billy Brown” Smith) who’s experienced living on the streets. I hope to remember the film’s messages as I head to the polls later this year. Empathy for people like Mr. Smith and a commitment to change are characteristics I’ll look for in the people seeking my vote. 

Gender-Expansive Inclusion

chicken and egg logoChicken & Egg Pictures has championed diversity and inclusion in the media industry for nearly two decades. Last week, they announced a new change that should widen the doors of opportunity even further. Their new “gender-expansive” grant eligibility extends the welcome mat to “filmmakers whose gender identity or expression does not comply with the socially defined gender norms and roles of their culture.” I have every confidence this change will yield new stories that enlighten and entertain. Bravo, Chicken & Egg!

Breaking Sound Barriers

roy hargrove big band promotional flyer for south orange concert throes of changeIf you’re like me, good music is one of the things you reach for when life serves up turbulence. These days it seems turbulence is everywhere. If you live in the New York metro area and are looking for a musical experience that will provoke, soothe and thrill you, head over to the South Orange Performing Arts Center this Thursday (Jan. 18) and check out the Roy Hargrove Big Band. Hargrove, who died at the age of 49 in 2019, left behind a rich body of music that continues to defy genres. We’re hoping to include a documentary about his life in this year’s AfroPoP series. Meanwhile, his big band serves up an eclectic mix of his original compositions as well as familiar tunes that blur the lines between jazz, funk and hip-hop. BPM subscribers can get tickets here. Treat yourself. Because change is disquieting, but like good music and good films, it lets you know you’re alive.

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