Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Dire Necessity for Cultural Independence & Self Determination Among African American Artists and Intellectuals


Once again black artists and intellectuals as well as the general African American community nationally lose out on producing something of lasting aesthetic and social value about one of our greatest historical figures. No doubt Dr. King's estate (which is run by his three remaining children-- MLK. Jr., Dexter, and Berniece) received a TON of $$$ from Spielberg for the legal rights to Dr. King's story and even if independent black producers and artists put in their own bids--as I suspect some individuals did--they were of course no match for the hundreds of millions of dollars that Spielberg either has and/or is capable of raising. Besides it's no secret that especially Dexter King-- now 47 who lives high off the hog in Malibu (!) and who controls the lion's share of the intellectual property in his late father's estate-- is a very greedy and materialistic person who has always been and is currently still locked in an endless ongoing series of bitter lawsuits and counter lawsuits with his siblings MLK, Jr. who is 51 and his younger sister Berniece, 45 over the estate. The loss of the King family's eldest child Yolanda who suddenly & tragically died at 51 in 2007 was especially devastating in this regard as she was the one member of the family who would consistently stand up to her younger financially ambitious and manipulative brother Dexter in the general administration of the estate. If there was one thing the late African American cultural theorist and scholar Harold Cruse (1916-2005) was absolutely right about in his classic tome "The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual" (1967) it is that unless and until a large and broad coalition of black people with real capital and a sincere, visionary appreciation of our history and culture decide to come together and fund projects of this scope we will continue to be left in the dust when it comes to creatively interpreting and communicating the complex meaning(s) and value of our own collective historical experience. It's called Self Determination if I'm not mistaken...


Steven Spielberg has acquired rights to produce Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic.

Steven Spielberg has finally acquired the rights from the estate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to produce the first ever fully authorized biopic on the great civil rights leader. Dreamworks will be able to make full use of Dr. King's books, copyrighted speeches and famous works to create the definitive film on the Nobel Prize winner. Spielberg will produce, along with Suzanne De Passe of Motown fame, and Madison Jones.