US film review(spoilers) by C.C. Saunders

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In its contemporary context, blackness assumes a violent coupling. Filmmaker Jordan Peele (Get Out) tackles this coupling in both a literal and figerative sense with his latest release Us. Peele depicts humans as “coupled” by a being who mirrors their exteriority. In challenging the presumed singularity of identity, the coupled being obscures reality, simultanously inciting the following query: Are humans replaceable?
Well, according to the film’s doppelgängers, who wear red jumpsuits accessorised by gold scissors, the answer is yes. Viewers meet Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) as a child who goes to a mirror house and encounters a girl who looks exactly like her. After this encounter, Adelaide is never the same, and later viewers learn that Adelaide is never the same because she and her doppelganger switched places on that faithful day. Though Adelaide’s parents noticed a difference in their child, this difference, viewers learn, with therapy, could be negotiated. In no time, Adelaide resumes the nurture of her parents and becomes the girl they raised.

The original, for lack of a better word, Adelaide grows up to lead an uprising where the different or the othered, kill their counterparts. Us features a battle between those who reside behind the mirror—at society’s peripheral, and those who look into the mirror and reside at the center. Peele never makes it clear who or what these beings are. The sole reference to identity the film gives is Red’s proclamation that they too are “Americans.”
Red (or Adelaide depending on your perception), to ensure that her initial plan remains in motion, eventually kills the girl whose place she took years. Her son is the only one who knows her secret, a connection she hints at with the early line “stick with me kid and I’ll keep you safe.” Here, Adelaide foreshadows the choice her son will eventually have towards the end of the movie, to share or remain silent. Red/Adelaine’s offspring is also coupled, as he encompasses both the center and the peripheral. Thus, the secret is a gateway to his understanding of self, a gift obscured from the realities of his sister and father.
The film as a whole exhibits a coupling distinct from what it delineates in part. Peele couples black actors with their American counterparts. Specifically, the media exhibits black bodies by way of representation, but the exhibited blackness remains superficial.

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For example, though Winston Duke and Lupita Nyong’o, who occupy the film’s lead roles, encompass a physical blackness in their melanin-dominant appearance, both play roles that could easily be played by white actors. Black actors in race-less roles, marks what the western world calls progress; however, this colorblind casting depicts the violent seizure of power from black people. Colorblind casting extracts black personhood from the black body. Specifically, colorblind roles attempt to circumvent the presumed problem of race. Race in this context also functions superficially; as color is a part, not the whole, of racism. Yet, Peele’s film attempts to showcase those often eliminated from lead roles because of their complexion in a role where their complexion is merely a coicidence. Us eliminates race in a world build on this falsified concept made real in the systemic disenfranchisement it continues to afford black people.
Thus, US makes “us,” or the black person, invisible by casting melanin dominate actors as coupled with an American identity that has never truly been theirs.
US and Social Reproduction of the Invisible [Wo]Man
Though I do not think it was intentional, Peele presents a diasporic discourse with Us. Particularly, the coupled identities that dominate the film illustrate the black individual as coupled by a collective identity. The envy dynamic present between Adeline and Red illustrates the envy many blacks within the diaspora have towards the black displaced in America, or what I will call the “invisible man.” The phrasing “invisible man” alludes to the Ellison novel where a nameless protagonist struggles to see himself in a world built on his invisibility. My use of “man” does not cite gender but references “human.” This invisible man remains largely invisible to his diasporic brethren who often view him or her as a “favored child” in the disillusion of black disruption. Us, in its depiction of black persons as the invisible man, depict the coupling of the black body and personhood as crippled by disallusion.

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By the film’s end, Adeline loses her life because her diasporic doppelganger (Red, who eventually becomes Adeline) wishes to be her; so, Red assumes Adeline’s space and takes her place. This is very much the reality for black people throughout America who have witnessed the perils of racism and prejudice, perils strategically aggravated by immigration. Buried by the fantasy that is American idealism, the invisible man remains invisible to many of their diasporic brethren who are often unable see to past this veiled reality. Instead, this invisible man becomes a hyper-site for a social reproduction that affords white hegemony its violent stagnancy.
In Us, Adeline encompasses the “invisible man” ideal that her counterpart seeks to socially reproduce. Red sees the space Adeline occupies as a bridge to a better life. She (Red) deems her position in American’s peripheral as inferior to the central placement of her doppelganger (Adeline). This notion is particularly complicated by Peele’s colorblind roles, where the black actor remains in the periphery despite seemingly central placement.
Nevertheless, I digress.
Red believes that she is more deserving of the space Adeline occupies and thus would occupy said space “better.” This is often the ideology many Africans in America face with our diasporic brethren who become “model minorities” in seeking to occupy the American space “better” than their kidnapped kinfolk. America, for the being of black form, is a site of physical and mental abduction perpetuated by the continued pressure to assimilate. This assimilation, despite its societal perception, does not mark achievement but cultural compromise. Thus, it is Red’s desire to socially reproduce the invisible man that drives her sadistic and physically violent attempt to take-over an exclusive space. It is this desire to socially reproduce the invisible man that makes the mentally enslaved black predisposed to attack those who look like them and not their true oppressors. As long as the oppressed see themselves as the enemy, the narrative remains focused on the oppressors. Thus, Red/Adeline and her diasporic counterpart cannot co-exist because then the narrative runs the risk of becoming “us,” and within this global paradigm of white supremacy, it must always be about “them.”

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Peele’s colorblind casting alludes to the Duboisian notion of double consciousness in his depiction of the black person is physically split into two selves. So while viewers physically see black actors, the main role remains reserved for white cultural hegemony. What I mean here is that viewers see black actors but are forced to engage with the white space these black actors wish to occupy rather than the black actors themselves. It is the desire for American-ness, or to exist beyond blackness, that makes Us’s viewing experience a visual engagement with the invisible man. Specifically, with “Us,” black viewers witness what will become of them if espoused to an American identity. The film functions as a visual illustration of the “black American” or “African-American” concept that the abducted Africans in America must detach from as a rudimentary step in our collective liberation.

Buried under the American fantasy and entombed by the fiction of progress, there is no “us.” This fact is perhaps best illustrated when Red kills another black women to aid in a white plight to assume a space.
It is Red’s desire to socially reproduce the invisible man that drives her sadistic and physically violent attempt to take-over an exclusive space. It is this desire to socially reproduce the invisible man that makes the mentally enslaved black predisposed to attack those who look like them and not their true oppressors. As long as the oppressed see themselves as the enemy, the narrative remains focused on the oppressors. Red/Adeline and her diasporic counterpart cannot co-exist because then the narrative runs the risk of becoming “us,” and within this global paradigm of white supremacy, it must always be about “them.”
The singularity Red seeks and attains ensures that there is no “us,” if there ever was an “us.” Her actions represents the inevitable end for a group who remains disrupted. As a product of a festered disruption, the black collective, in part remains what they made of “us.” The black representation seen on-screen and throughout politics, education, and every other field, is not us and has never been us. It’s them.
Conclusively, as evidenced by his latest film venture, Jordan Peele also fails to represent us; rather, he remains vested in “them.”

Kiki Layne

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Kiki Layne is from Cincinnati,Ohio. She attended DePaul University. Her next film is a screen adaptation of Richard Wright’s 1940 novel Native Son.
Her first acting role was with Lena Waithe in the pilot for the show The Chi, which was shot in 2015. Speaking to Vanity Fair, says she was always acting growing up and that her favourite movie as a child was, The Lion King. I used to watch it every day and create these extravagant stories with my Barbies and stuffed animals.”
Layne began her career attending a performing-arts school in Cincinnati, where she took the flute, then French horn and the trumpet. She later attended DePaul University in Chicago to study acting. After graduating she moved to LA where she landed her breakout role in the Barry Jenkins movie If Beale Street Could Talk.
Layne is outspoken about the injustices African American people face in the USA and the issue of representation of black people in films. Speaking to Vanity Fair, she says, “The black community faced [injustices] in the early 70s and still face them today, issues of wrongful incarceration and what the justice system looks like for black people growing up in poverty. But at the core of it is a really beautiful love story between Tish and Fonny. I don’t feel like I’ve seen this for young black actors—there’s this tenderness that I just don’t see.” She’s really making a big splash in the industry.

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Much love to my People(Taking a long hiatus)

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Peace family.  I hope you’ve all been well.  I know there’s a lot of things going on in the world right now.  Every day there’s some news about politics,racist incident,police brutality or celebrity gossip.  Most of the mainstream “news” is designed to distract us from real progress.  I have gotten a lot of information from WordPress,Facebook,Youtube,Twitter,Google,Yahoo and Instagram.  As well as the cable news and talk shows.Media2...

I do a lot of research for my posts.  It takes a quite a bit of work to find the right videos and pictures for a specific post.  But social media can be very draining at times. You can wear yourself out when trying to fight racism,expose conspiracies and decode this matrix we are currently trapped inside.  We are living in a synthetic reality.  I hope people have learned something from my blog over the last six years.  I have uploaded over 1,000 posts in that time.   But I couldn’t have done it without the help of other bloggers.  There are a few people who have shown me great support over the years.

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There are many bloggers and people I’ve chatted with on YouTube.  And many of them have opened my eyes to the deception around me.  They have made me look at things from a different perspective.  They made me challenge my own personal beliefs.  I’d like to thank fellow bloggers such as Moorbey,Land of Kam,Diary of a Negress,Original Black Woman,Onitaset Kumat,HungLikeJesus,Melanin Man,Chef Ahki,Shelby Courtland,Amos Magazine,Cliff Green,Lumumba Afrika,Chantel Keona,Sparking Thoughts,Cree7,Adunola the Oracle,Tahtahme Xero,Ajua Luv,Kelley,Sunny Delyte, CC Saunders,Jakke Brown,Brotha Wolf,No Black Pete,BlackMyStory,4thAngelsBowl,Queen Afua,Truth Angel,Naga Kanyah, Cynical Afrikan,Malaika Mutere,Alicia Monet,Trojan Pam(R.I.P),Queen Adira,Akings Truth,Hugh Cipher,Omay Farlane,Nidotopian Warrior,Wyzedome,Black Empowerment,Brother Osei, King Lo the Rastar,One Tawny Stranger,OldSchoolBlog,Roshumba Monique and Infinite Alkhemist.  I want to thank each and every one of you. You all have your own unique perspective on this crazy world we live in.  I want to thank each and every one of you for the information you’ve all given me over the years.  But I’ve been burned out as of late.  I have my own personal problems I’m going through.  I know you all have your problems as well.  I’ve taken breaks before but this one will probably be longer.  I have some things I need to work out.  And to be honest,trying to wake up people drains you.  I’ve been on this journey for a very long time.  It takes it’s toll on you.  But I do want to make something clear.  I have not giving up on my people.  Many times black people do let me down.  But I have not thrown in the towel on freedom and liberation.  That will always be priority number one. I’m not sure when I’ll be back blogging full time.  Even though I wont be blogging I’ll still be around.  I guess you could say I’m going “underground” for awhile.  I think 2019 will be a very stressful year for all of us.  I’m not sure what it will be but I feel as though something is coming. I think we all should be preparing in these uncertain times.  Look out for your family and friends. You guys take care. Peace and blessings. Your brother,KP.

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The end of Kushite Kingdom…??

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When one door closes…another will open.  I think it’s time for a new chapter.  Stay tuned.

Africans must unite against injustices

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As a direct descendant of the Xhosa Kingdom—the royal nation of Kings and Queens and Priesthood. We take pride in our history. There was a time when we made a public mockery of the most powerful military power in the world, the British Empire. We won victories and embarrassed them before the entire world. Our ancestors understood that the  object of war is to preserve oneself and destroy the enemy. The destruction of the enemy is the primary object of war and self-preservation the secondary, because only by destroying the enemy in large numbers can one effectively preserve oneself. What is more, our blood cousins, the Zulu Kingdom  completely smashed the British army in the Battle of Isandlwana in 1879. But what led to our downfall was DISUNITY and TRUSTING the wrong people.

It’s this foolish behavior we see in black America. Appealing to the morality of the very people who oppressed, raped female slaves en messe, castrated thousands of black males and systematically enslaved them under the most cruel and wicked system ever imposed on a people. How can you integrate yourself with a group of people who amassed great wealth and obscene privileges through the blood, sweat and tears of your ancestors and continue to do so?

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The 60’s Civil Rights movement led by Dr. King, a white-minded integration seeker and other integration seekers who were all subsidised and controlled by white liberal and the federal government who were not in black revolution but worked against the black revolution. Brother Malcolm X described it as “artificial fires that have been ignited and fanned by the white liberals in the desperate hope that they can use this artificial fire to fight off the black revolution.”

Today, we find American Blacks’ livelihoods worsened  and according to Michelle Alexander “It is perfectly legal to discriminate against criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans… .As criminal, you have scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow” (pg. 235). It also came to my understanding that the Civil Rights legislation passed in the periods between 1860s and 1870s were much stronger than those in the 1960s and 1970s and thus, newly freed African slaves made many gains which surpassed, in many instances, the political gains  Blacks made in 1960s and 1970s (Dr. Amos. Wilson, pg. 12).

Today, we find Africans sit in the table and talking negotiations with the very people who took their ancestral land and committed atrocities among their own people. The South African government is yet to make a statement concerning the land in white hands. Most African governments have been hypocritical in regards to the land in white colonial terrorists’ hands.
When Africans are being killed in the streets of America through intense racial profiling, robbed of their dignity and recognition as human beings, cheated on their ancestral lands in Africa, being given the most inferior quality of education, housing, health care services, being discriminated in the workplace, and criminal justice system and when we say Africans should do something to protect and defend themselves, they say you are teaching hate and advocating violence. They didn’t say get nonviolent when Osama Bin Laden bombed the Twin Towers. They don’t call it nonviolence when the U.S. government bombed  both Libya and Syria.

Africans both in America and in Africa can extract themselves from this heinous repressive system that is kept in place through intimidation and emotional terrorism, if they desire to be free,  independent and in control of their destiny. Our ancestors couldn’t take it any longer. They didn’t have much but they fought back. I never understood the logic behind nonviolence and ‘peaceful’ protests, could there be a reason why the media and academia wants us to worship Dr. King, Gandhi and Nelson Mandela while ignoring people like Malcolm X, Patrice Lumumba, Steve Biko, and Huey P. Newton? The obvious reason for this is to make ourselves martyrs in the name of non-violence, while it is far better to make martyrs of the ruling class and police thugs.