We’re in a golden age of black horror films by Robin R. Means Coleman for the Conversation 6/3/2019

Octavia Spencer

In the horror genre, black is definitely back. The movie “Ma,” which premieres on May 31, will star Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer as Sue Ann, a lonely middle-age woman who clings to a group of teens to the point of obsession. “Ma,” comes on the heels of Jordan Peele’s critically acclaimed “Us,” which is also led by an Academy Award winner, Lupita Nyong'o. And let’s not forget that Peele’s previous film, “Get Out,” won the Academy Award for best screenplay last year.

Black actors have always had a role in horror films. But something different is taking place today: the re-emergence of true black horror films. Rather than simply including black characters, many of these films are created by blacks, star blacks or focus on black life and culture.

Black actors have always had a role in horror films. But something different is taking place today: the re-emergence of true black horror films. Rather than simply including black characters, many of these films are created by blacks, star blacks or focus on black life and culture.

Objects of violence and ridicule

For most of film history, black actors have appeared in horror films in supporting roles. Many were deeply problematic. In my 2011 book, “Horror Noire: Blacks in American Horror Films from the 1890s to Present,” I describe some of these tropes. In the early 20th century, many films – horror or not – had white actors appearing in blackface. The characters could find themselves on the receiving end of especially horrific violence. For example, in 1904’s “A Nigger in the Woodpile,” a black couple’s home is firebombed and the pair staggers out, charred.

Exclusive Interview with Jennifer Sharp, Director of Una Great Movie, Featured at Brooklyn Film Festival 6/7/2019

Brooklyn Film Festival

Director Jennifer Sharp

Is the film partially based on a true story? When did you decide to transform the story into a feature film?

The initial inspiration was based on wanting to make a movie in this small town in Mexico that I found in 1999. I loved the town and the people and was inspired to make a movie there. I wanted to share the magic of that place and how it felt as a black woman in Mexico. It then took me 16 years to finally get the movie made, during which time the script transformed over and over again. Finally becoming what it is now, which actually mixes my true experiences in Hollywood trying to get the movie made, with the beautiful Mexican story that I had been wanting to make.

What led you to delve into the love story between a single African-American lady and current and potential Mexican lovers?

As a black American woman who has spent a lot of time in Mexico, I was amazed at the love that Mexican people AND Men show without regard to skin color. I rarely find that from non-black men in the states. It’s not even a dis-regard, it’s an actual love for the color of dark skin. So that was an inspiration during this time of tension between the US and MEXICO to show human spirits with no borders.

Exclusive Interview with Iris Morales, Editor of “Voices from Puerto Rico” at Red Sugarcane Press, Inc., 6/12/19

Puerto Rico

Iris Morales, Editor of “Voices from Puerto Rico”

NYIHA MEDIA Group Publisher Dr. Steeve Coupeau spoke with Iris Morales (pictured). The following has been edited for brevity and clarity.

What was the development origin of “Voices from Puerto Rico: Post-Hurricane María /Voces desde Puerto Rico”?

Immediately after Hurricane María hit Puerto Rico, I went to the island several times joining with others to deliver provisions and resources. The convergence of Hurricane Maria and US colonial policies had produced a humanitarian crisis from which Puerto Rico is still recovering and rebuilding.

FEMA was nowhere to be found in the aftermath of the worst hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in almost a century, and islanders were already suffering from poverty and other hardships as a result of US policies and austerity measures. In the face of extraordinarily difficult circumstances, the islanders organized themselves. Inspired by the community building work, I decided to collect writings from activists and artists organizing locally on the island.

UN expert criticizes States for 'ganging up' on Wikileaks’ Assange; warns against extradition, fearing 'serious' rights violations, 6/1/2019


UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe Professor Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on torture, at a press conference at UN Headquarters in New York.

After visiting Julian Assange in a London prison, an independent UN human rights expert expressed urgent concern on Friday, for the Wikileaks co-founder’s well-being, accusing “a group of democratic States” of “ganging up” on the prisoner to “isolate, demonize and abuse” him and warned against extraditing the controversial publisher to the United States.

“My most urgent concern is that, in the United States, Mr. Assange would be exposed to a real risk of serious violations of his human rights, including his freedom of expression, his right to a fair trial and the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” said Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, in a statement.

He said he was “particularly alarmed” at the recent announcement that the US Department of Justice had lodged 17 new charges against Mr. Assange under the Espionage Act, which could lead to a sentence of 175 years in prison.

“This may well result in a life sentence without parole, or possibly even the death penalty, if further charges were to be added in the future,” said the Special Rapporteur, who was also following up on earlier concerns for Mr. Assange’s health.


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