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American Gods, Meet Mr. Nancy…On a Slave Ship

New series on Starz – at least episode 2 looks to be a heck of a watch…

‘American Gods’ Delivers a Powerful Black Lives Matter Message

Actor Orlando Jones—aka Mr. Nancy—opens up about the rousing speech his character delivers aboard a slave ship in the second episode of Starz’s thrilling new series.

It begins on a slave ship, in the cramped, fire-lit hull where stolen men sit chained by the hundreds. One man, face beaded with sweat and desperation, cries out to African spider god Anansi, the trickster: “These strange men have tied my hands,” he quivers. “…Help me from this place and I will sing to you all my life.”

The god appears, anachronistically dapper in a fresh-pressed purple suit and fedora. He laughs. Anansi, or Mr. Nancy as he’s called in America—one of the old-world mythological gods competing for worship in the fantastical universe of Starz’s American Gods—agrees to help. But first, he tells a story.

“Once upon a time, a man got fucked,” he begins. “Now how is that for a story? ‘Cause that the story of black people in America.”

He grins impishly at the men’s blank expressions, then remembers: “Shit!” he says. “You all don’t know you black yet. You think you just people. Let me be the first to tell you that you are all black. The moment these Dutch motherfuckers set foot here and decided that they white and you all get to be black—and that’s the nice name they call you? Let me paint a picture of what’s waiting for you on the shore…”

He stalks the room cavalierly, describing the life that awaits his believers in America. “You all get to be slaves,” he says. “Split up, sold off and worked to death. The lucky ones get Sunday off to sleep, fuck and make more slaves, and all for what? For cotton. Indigo. For a fucking purple shirt.”

There is a silver lining, he says: “The tobacco your grandkids are gonna farm for free is gonna give a shitload of these white motherfuckers cancer.”

Abject terror starts to fill the room. Mr. Nancy sneers. “And I ain’t even started yet,” he says. “A hundred years later, you’re fucked. A hundred years after that? Fucked. A hundred years after you get free, you still getting fucked on the job and shot at by police.” He points his finger like a gun and pulls an invisible trigger. “You are staring down the barrel of 300 years of subjugation, racist bullshit, and heart disease.”

The man who prayed to Anansi begins heaving, furious. “Angry is good,” Mr. Nancy says, pleased. “Angry gets shit done.” He unveils a daring proposal for the men: exact revenge on their captors by burning the ship down, taking their own lives along with it.

Frantically, the men break free of their chains and set fire to the ship, trading their lives to watch their captors burn. A small, purple-hued spider, meanwhile, floats safely out to shore on a piece of driftwood.

And this, we learn, is the story of how the trickster Mr. Nancy came to America.

American Gods, Starz’s brutal, brilliant adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s 2001 fantasy novel, opens each episode with a vignette like Mr. Nancy’s, telling stories of the bloodshed and sacrifices made by immigrants from around the world when coming to America.

Of course, Mr. Nancy (played mesmerizingly by Sleepy Hollow star Orlando Jones) and the hundreds of thousands of Africans sold and transported to America over the course of 300 years were not immigrants. They were stolen; they did not come by choice. That’s an important distinction—one that swaths of America including public figures (ahem, Ben Carson) would still rather forget.

Mr. Nancy’s thundering speech, then, is an essential reminder: it paints a current-day portrait of slavery’s legacy for black America, explicitly linking it to everyday forms of oppression like poverty, racial profiling, and police brutality. It’s a call to remember the shameful parts of America’s past, and to understand their living impact today.

 The Video – 

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2017 in Black History, BlackLivesMatter

 

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Oh My! Yet Another Black Panther to Terrorize the Right!

As a youngster, I remember reading the Black Panther comics, along with those of the rest of the Marvel pantheon of Superheroes.

Bad news! Heeeee’s Back!

Ta-Nehisi Coates To Write New Black Panther Comic Book Series For Marvel

Ta-Nehisi Coates will be writing a new Black Panther comic book series for Marvel, The New York Times announced Tuesday.

Coates, 39, a national correspondent at The Atlantic, National Book Award nominee, and author of the recent New York Times bestselling book Between The World And Me, is one of the most thoughtful and provocative writers about the African-American experience, America’s long struggle with racism and issues of social and criminal justice. He’s also a Marvel Comics superfan and living encyclopedia on the subject.

“How often do you find a literary voice as singular and powerful as Ta-Nehisi Coates, who also happens to be a hardcore fan of the Marvel mythology?” Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso told The Huffington Post about the announcement. “Through comic books’ first and greatest black super hero, and the fictional kingdom over which he presides, Ta-Nehisi will shed unique insight into the world in which we live.”

Coates told the Times that the Marvel universe was “an intimate part” of both his childhood and adulthood.

“It was mostly through pop culture, through hip-hop, through Dungeons & Dragons and comic books that I acquired much of my vocabulary,” Coates said.

Black Panther, the first black superhero, was created in 1966 by Marvel comics legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The Panther, whose real name is T’Challa, was born in the fictional African country of Wakanda. When he eats a special “heart-shaped” herb, T’Challa’s senses and physical strength are enhanced to superhuman levels.

The storyline to be written by Coates is titled “A Nation Under Our Feet.” It’s inspired by Steven Hahn’s book of the same title. The comic book will follow Black Panther as he responds to an uprising in his country set off by a group of superhuman terrorists called the People.

“In the crucible of a bloody revolution, T’Challa must take a good hard look at who he is and what he stands for, and determine if that is, in fact, enough to save the day,” Alonso said of the storyline.

New and more diverse characters are becoming a trend at Marvel. Recently Michael B. Jordan stepped into the role of the Human Torch in the latest Fantastic Four reboot. Earlier this year Marvel reintroduced their classic Thor hero as a female. A black teenage girl is the new “Moon Boy” in Marvel classic Devil Dinosaur. There’s also a new black-Hispanic Spider-Man and a new Pakastani-American Muslim Ms. Marvel.

“The Marvel Universe is at its best when it reflects the world outside your window — and that world looks different in 2015 than it did in 1963,” Alonso told HuffPost in an earlier interview.

Following the new comic book series, Marvel also has plans to release a Black Panther movie in 2016, staring Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa. Award-winning director Ava DuVernay was rumored to be at the helm of the film, but she told The Huffington Post in July that she passed taking on the job.

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter, Giant Negros

 

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