(Taken during my Birthday trip last year at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Museum in Atlanta, GA)
“That’s why we walked through Ferguson with our hands up.”-Common, “Glory” (theme song of “Selma”) feat. John Legend
Selma is the first movie I’ve watched this year. I was lucky to have the opportunity to attend a free screening before it hits theaters on Friday. The leading actors/actresses are Black, so it falls under my NEW rules. Plus, it’s about a prominent American leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders who lost their lives but not their legacy to pushing through the civil rights movement.
I finally watched The Butler “to prepare for” it. I didn’t watch it when it first hit theaters because there was too much going on emotionally for me to handle it. So, I chose my health. ***SPOILER ALERT*** Within 5 minutes of The Butler, a young Cecil (main older character played by Forest Whitaker) watched his mom be taken by a White slave master to be raped and his father being shot in the head for getting the rapist’s attention. So, I definitely made the right decision. Ironically, the actor David Oyelowo who played the oldest son in this movie plays Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma. Both incredible performances.
Below are my top 5 reasons why Selma is a must see:
1) The Acting Performances
David Oyelowo, Oprah, Common, Tom Wilkinson, Carmen Ejogo, Lorraine Toussaint…so many veteran actors/actresses and leaders and so many incredible performances. I felt like I was there–right in those meeting rooms, churches, and streets where the history was made due to resistance. That’s one of the many reasons why this movie has already been nominated for so many awards.
The marches, protests, movements, etc sparked from Ferguson mirrors much of the scenes in the movie…history. It repeats. In the movie, you see how some people were silent, some people were for the movement while others were against it and others were afraid to join. This is the same truth for the Ferguson movement. The same people who speak highly of Martin Luther King Jr. and “what he fought for” don’t understand those disrespectful protestors causing trouble. Sounds familiar. I wonder which side of history they think they will be on.
Last November’s general elections was a disappointment. This movie is a visual, powerful reminder of why voting is important. I understand how politics can be tiring and politicians can be…well politicians. But, if this movie doesn’t do anything else, it will show you have important voting is and why.
4) The Director
A woman, Ava DuVernay, directed the movie. She is also Black: icing. Women are still underrepresented in this field as well as Blacks. Movies like Selma, that depict Black leaders and/or movements, are usually directed by White filmmakers. For example, “Get on Up” that’s about James Brown’s life. By the way, is also a great movie, and Chadwick Boseman, who plays Brown, gives an Oscar-worthy performance. Another thing, I love about Ava DuVernay is that she made sure that this movie was not a “White Savior” movie like “The Help” and just about every movie that makes it to the big screen regarding stories about Black lives. Think: “The Blind Side.”
If you truly believe that Black lives matter, you will understand the importance of supporting a film like this.