So last night I saw Selma. It begins with Dr. King preparing for his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, him looking dapper and Mrs. King (played by Carmen Ejojo) as elegant as ever. The film is a tour-de-force; the cinematography, the direction, the score. And David Oyelowo as Dr. King gives one of the most believable performances I’ve seen to date. Admittedly, I haven’t seen the other films nominated for best acting Oscars. But I cannot fathom that all five of the other nominees are better than Oyelowo. I know that the likes of Eddie Redmayne and Bradley Cooper are incredible actors, but I do feel justified in saying Oyelowo was robbed. I would liken his performance to Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln — for fear of sounding dramatic, he was flawless.
The film ends with the final lines of the speech Dr. King delivered in Montgomery, Alabama on March 25, 1965. It was perfect ending to a perfect, hyper-relevant film, and I sat there, clutching my father’s hand and crying like a little baby as the credits rolled. If it doesn’t win best picture, I will hand-smelt a gold statue and send it to them myself. (Not really, considering my lack of smelting abilities, but you get the idea)
For this edition of Sunday Reads, some reflective, celebratory, and somber writings from past and present.
Ta-Nehisi Coates’ scrupulously researched, beautifully written “Case for Reparations.”
“But it is possible to defend the right to obscene and racist speech without promoting or sponsoring the content of that speech. It is possible to approve of sacrilege without endorsing racism.” From Teju Cole’s stirring article for The New Yorker, “Unmournable Bodies.”
Not quite a “read” per se: Gordon Parks’ rarely seen images of everyday scenes from the Civil Rights Movement.
One of my favorite essays, Zora Neale Hurston’s funny and self-assured “How it Feels to be Colored Me.”
Happy Martin Luther King day, everyone. As we gear up for Black History Month, let me know what your favorite African-American writings, speeches, films, poems, etc. are in the comments. Enjoy your Sunday!
Love and theatre,