Try as I might, there is no escaping the presidential campaign. I attended some film screenings at the Afro-Punk Festival over the Fourth of July weekend. The 1968 film "Up Tight!" is a story of revolution and betrayal set in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Its stars include Raymond St. Jacques, Roscoe Lee Brown, Max Julien, Juanita Moore and Ruby Dee.
During the Q&A following the screening, Ms. Dee noted that they were wrapping up filming when Dr. King was assassinated. The director, Jules Dassin, and film crew went to Atlanta for King’s funeral. The film includes powerful images from that day.
"Up Tight!" had a limited release in the United States because Paramount Pictures, its distributor, got cold feet. In response to a question about the film’s title, Ms. Dee said:
With the assassination of Dr. King, it was an uptight time…Being black in the U.S.A. is an uptight situation. If you’re going to survive, you have to loosen up.
The screenwriters’ liberal use of "whitey" brought to mind the rumor that Michelle Obama was caught on tape using that racial slur. The smear has since been debunked by the Obama campaign. The rumor was spread by someone outside the black community because black folks haven’t used the word "whitey" since we were Negroes.
Still, the attacks on Michelle are unrelenting. As the Washington Times reported:
Even as Mrs. Obama appeared on ABC's "The View" in an effort to "soften" her image, one trio of black women launched a Web site, MichelleObamawatch.com, to monitor the coverage of the woman already disparaged as a "Baby Mama," a racist and an unpatriotic radical.
Gina McCauley, founder of MichelleObamawatch.com, said the blog is "a repository of all of the criticism, praise, and general chicanery thrown at Michelle Obama between now and November." Readers are invited to monitor media coverage and contribute to the site.
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