The Finding Black Film Festival is a series of short videos that I created from found spliced youtube videos. Each film examines a different feature of the American mainstream media that I ingested growing up as a child in Trinidad and Tobago. While it was not all American, as we were formerly a British colony most of it certainly was and at the time, all of it came to us via one television channel, TTT (Trinidad and Tobago Television). Television was the independence gift to the nation by Dr. Eric Willams, the country’s first Prime Minister, and ironically this american-imperialistic-living room third parent contributed to a lot of my programming as a Black Middle Class Caribbean Male, as well in part to the shaping of my identity. While this period arguably saw more exposure for black actors on television and in film one can argue that the “old minstrelsy” was just replaced by a “new minstrelsy” of affable loud mouthed ghetto mammies, pimps, dancing buffoons and idiotic catch phrases neatly wrapped in a blanket of social concerns. CNN described it in its documentary – The Seventies as “The Time TV Got Real”. Scroll down and click below to view the featured shorts.
N-WORD PLEASE, 2016
Enter Black Belt Jones, 2015
BRUCE vs KAREEM, 2015
PAM GRIER vs THE WORLD, 2015
So You Think You Could Dance, 2015
N-WORD PLEASE, 2016N-WORD PLEASE examines the use of the word "NIGGER" in 70s Television, and its ironically subsequent ownership and endearment by Black People.
Enter Black Belt Jones, 2015Mr. Han: It is defeat you must learn to prepare for. Williams: When it comes I won’t even notice… I’ll be too busy lookin’ good. 'Enter Black Belt Jones'. Jim Kelly broke the color barrier and became the first Black Martial artist to become a movie star. This video integrates clips from the pivotal verbal dual between Williams (Kelly) and Han, in Bruce Lee's 1973 flick, 'Enter the Dragon' and Kelly's 'Black Belt Jones'. Jim Kelly was just raw brash and sexy on screen. Men wanted to be him and women wanted to be with him. He could be considered an early 'black superhero'.
BRUCE vs KAREEM, 2015'BRUCE vs KAREEM'. This piece features 7'4" Colossus Kareem Abdul Jabbar as the 'Blind Fighter' in Bruce Lee's incomplete 1978 'Game of Death'. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who fights with a free and fluid style mirroring Lee's Jeet Kune Do is the last level in fight all the way up a pagoda to retrieve an un-mentioned prize. This piece has come to be remembered by the famous 'black footprint', that Jabbar leaves on Bruce's yellow track suit. For me its a 'memory' piece that speaks to sheer will power but also discusses a long relationship that black people have had to have had with self-defense.
PAM GRIER vs THE WORLD, 2015Pam Grier vs The World, made from several clips including Big Dollhouse, Women in Cages, Coffy and Foxy Brown, Pam walks a razor’s edge of empowerment and exploitation juxtaposed against the backdrop of a female powerhouse and oppressive men bent on sexual domination. In there somewhere are genuine feminist declarations, but counter to that are also leering men discussing rape and domination
So You Think You Could Dance, 2015“This short video examines ‘coonery and bufoonery’ as presented in a select choice of 1970s, 1980s and 1990s television shows featuring largely all black casts. Despite the difference in storylines, as well as casts, one main ‘staple’ of black television is ‘dance’. Dance as presented not for merit of skill, but rather dance as presented for laughs. Once the dance segment comes on the background track is not one of adulation, cheering or ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs,’ but rather the famous laugh track.” “Presented here for contemplation is a video that is pieced together from edited YOU TUBE segments of the Cosby Show, That’s My Momma, Good Times, Family Matters, Different Strokes, Sanford and Son and The Jeffersons, all sandwiched between an opening and closing clip from the Al Jolson Movie showing a white actor in black face singing ‘negro’ music. The video attempts to question among other things the ways blacks were presented on television and the undesirable legacy of the dancing coon.”