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Saturday, October 17, 2009
I was sitting here wondering how I was going to put this post into words, and well I guess the only way is from the heart. On yesterday I had an opportunity to attend a private screening of an Independent Film called "Bullets Over Brownsville". I went as a I normally do with a notion as to what I thought it would be about and just enjoy the film. This film was unlike others I have watched for screening purposes. I mean, I went and saw films like The Duchess, or GForce by screening invites, and yet this one was truly thought provoking and as I defined it "Profound". Without giving too much information away- this movie is based in Brownsville- in eastern Brooklyn NY. I have not heard of this district and had to Wikipedia the demographics in order to write this post, and even that information startled me. Wikipedia- describes Brownsville as: " Brownsville also known as Bville and Tha Ville is a low-income residential neighborhood located in eastern Brooklyn, New York." Columnist and Author Jimmy Breslin wrote "Brownsville reminded him of
Berlin after the war; block after block of burned-out shells of houses, streets littered with decaying automobile hulks. The stores on the avenues are empty and the streets are lined with deserted apartment houses or buildings that have empty apartments on every floor. "
With these types of sentiment, it is not hard nor should it be hard to imagine what this movie is about. What can be hard is knowing that places like Brownsville exist and they are right here in our beloved United States but are not widely known unless you live there or are near the area. I was honored to be able to sit through this screening and listen to how it came to be on screen. The directors, and writers, Damon Diddit and Natural Langdon gave myself and the rest of the audience a look into Brownsville and how Brownsville can become a true day to day fight for survival. They gave visual insight of a community that seems to be left behind by the rest of the world, where the word HOPE may seem to be if anything but another term or perhaps that glistening carrot at the end of a rope being dangled in front of someone that hungers. Lymiek Chambers, one of the characters in this film gave a heart wrenching look at the struggles of being a young man on parole trying to do the right thing, but in the end being crushed by society and having to revert back to what he knows best- crime. This movie focused on different characters and their struggles in living in Brownsville day to day, and with perhaps dreams of how to get out while they still could. Damon, Natural and Lymiek were gracious hosts in showcasing their film, their story. They are the success Rebels with a Cause in bringing to light truth in hopes of reaching out to others in spreading the word that this community is in need of support and HOPE. I capitalize the word HOPE because it means so much to me. HOPE is defined as:
1. a specific instance of feeling hopeful
2. the general feeling that some desire will be fulfilled
3. grounds for feeling hopeful about the future
4. someone (or something) on which expectations are centered
Hearing the stories from residents of Brownsville, seeing actual raw footage of Police brutality and at times looking the other way- It can be hard for people to obtain that piece of security when you're living in a war zone.
Now I am plagued by my own questions-
"Now that I know, what can I do?" "Do things like this happen in white communities and if not why is it so different?" "Does this problem only reside in lower income areas?" I do not have the answers. I wish I did, because in having that knowledge programs can be constructed to give that HOPE. Some may say- "Oh it's because of poverty." and yet the last time I checked, poverty knows no bounds. It weaves it's way to individuals like a snake with no regards to skin color. Some say "Oh it's the drugs". Is it really a substance, or is it the making of money off the substance that turns a community against each other? I guess the only answer right now, is within us. Some have just rested in a place of turning the other cheek with the frame of mind of :"Well, it's not happening in my backyard so- why bother?" and yet I ask you as well as myself, when and I only say when because it is only a matter of time until it reaches our backyard:
"what will we do then?"
For now this is what I can do. I can write about what I saw in hopes that someone will take a moment to click on this link: Bullets Over Brownsville
Check it out, watch the trailer, support the artists and the vision. Spread the word in hopes of these gentleman being able to create more features and to perhaps one day be able to establish HOPE for a community that seems to be left behind. Each One, Teach One.
Now YOU KNOW, so what are you going to do?