Casting Jesus in his own image

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Empress Verite

Thank You Very Much Zanfinginen

Post by Empress Verite » Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:39 pm

Sak Pase Zanfenginen?

Thank you so much for posting this article. I read a couple of reviews and articles on MSN.com and google yesterday and I was happy that he had done this film. I have seen some of his other works on the Black Film Channel and I have been impressed with how he maintained the integrety of the characters. I laugh a lot too from the humor and just plain comedy that he exposes in the nature of being young and black in urban USA.

Have you read the reviews and comments/blogs on MSN about this film? I could not believe my eyes at what I was reading. So many people were offended at the depiction of Jesus as a black man! It was outrageous! There were whites and Hispanics who resented it and claimed that Jesus had no color -(there you go Marcien, color blind!) is that even possible? And then there were so many who claimed that since the Jews of today are white than Jesus must have been the same color. I had to remind them that life began in Ethiopia in the heart of Africa and the first humans were black and the firt civilizations were black made and run. In fact, Ethiopia has the oldest Judeo-Christian monuments, texts and establishments. It's like these people have no clue. Also, many of the people that we know as Jews today (at least the JewEuropeans) may not even have a Jewish genetic makeup.) Apparently, the 12/13 tribes can be traced genetically and some descendants were found in Southern Africa where forms of Judaism are practiced even today. And what about the Ethiopian Jews the so-called ("Falashas", a derogatory term-it should be Beta Israel) ? These people have been so persecuted and a couple of decades ago when the "Israeli" government brought them over en masse to escape persecution they were put in camps and coerced to join the army that kills and destroy black lives in that country. They were "helped" because those Jewish folks running that country realized that they were the real thing and had they authentic traditions that dated back to the times of Solomon and Sheba.

I am happy that not much is being made about Lamarre's ethnicity because I know that it would discourage haters too. In addition, the casting for me was somewhat problematic. He cast Debbie Morgan as his mother, and Amanda Lewis as Leah. I guess that's alright since they are technically black with wavy hair and that is compatible with his complexion. However, I have seen the African version of a biblical story and it was cast by black folks with tightly black hair and black phenotypes. That was refreshing to see since those folks are never portrayed as saintly or good let alone divine in the media.

As a Nyabinghi Rastafarian myself who accepts Haile Selassie I as the true descendant of king David and Sheba who sat on the same throne as his ancestor their son Menelik I I was happy to read about this film. And I am even more happy that a Haitian man has done it. I really empathize with his experience of Jesus in Haiti and the picture of him as a blond haired guy with blue/green eyes. I hated seeing those pictures at church and at an early age I stopped putting my penny in the donation panye because I did not feel that the man portrayed in those murals on the church walls looked like anyone I knew. We did not have pictures of anyone on our walls at home except for that of family members.

I would like to congratulate Mr. Lamarre on the release of his film. I can feel that it will be a success since it has received a lot of media coverage. And also, he's been at it for a long time now. I hope that the production staff was ethnically diverse and that the extras were also representative of our multicultural Black race.

I can't wait to see and I know it will be a showstopper.

Mesi again Z.
EV

Empress Verite

Black Christian Nationalism And African Americans

Post by Empress Verite » Wed Nov 01, 2006 1:04 pm

Sak Pase Z and J?

Jaf, I wanted to respond to your statements about Mr. LaMarre's contentions regarding the African American race and theology. I think that the book Black Christian Nationalism outlines it well and describes African American view of Christianity and how basically they just simply substitute a black face (albeit African America/USA) for the white one painted by Michael Angelo in the likeness of his aunt and uncle. For me this is typical because they are not changing anything in the theology per se, just the portrayals. It's radical and "revolutionary" since black folks had been said to be the descendants of Khem (black)/Ham the son of Noah who was cursed after laughing at his father's drunken nakedness. You see it in contemporary times with folks like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and even MLK who are men of the cloth and don't radically question the basic doctrine of Christianity, they just want an acknowledgemnt that black folks were not the cursed ones or evil and while some accept the depiction the nationalist know that they cannot move forward without it.

In so far as an African American race is concerned I think that socially they do exist. They behave as a distinct entity with specific markers of their identity which is tied or linked with their history and so forth. And that of course at times dstinguishes them from blacks in Africa and other parts of the African diaspora. I don't mind that distinction at all. It makes my life easier.

Finally, Dread, those folks that you mentioned who lived in Khemet thousands of years ago, like Moses, Amon Ra, Hotep and so on were black but they are NEVER depicted as such in the racist research on Egypt. Even the Egyptian scholars involved in these studies and documentaries are adament about portraying these folks as being more Arab looking with olive tone skin and White phenotype. You see drops of dark skin folks from the interiors of Africa or subSaharan Africa or Cush but they're usually shown as being the slaves. I have watched so many of these documentaries on National Geographics and read some of their books and they all do the same things. I like Robinson's work on ancient African history that discusses the contributions of black Africans to that civilization but it's not taken seriously by these Egyptologists at all.

(This whole thing reminds me somewhat of what you wrote about Napolean and how some folks believe that he had the Sphinx' nose chipped off because he looked too much like Toussaint. I couldn't believe that you said that it was just folklore. I tried not to get insulted because I knew that you were saying that it wasn't true. While I don't want to give you a lecture about this topic. I want to say that this particular belief has been discussed by some Egyptologist who agree that someone probably during the time that Napolean discovered the Sphinx chopped off the nose. And, well isn't it true that in French/Western European culture that one's nose is symbolic of ones' pride. (I'm thinking of the Pinochio story and so many others like it.) There were differeing views about this issue but the 2 most distinct ones were portrayed in a 2002 documentary on the Sphinx shown on National Geographic channel. One scholar an, Egyptian based in Boston claimed that Napolean could never do that since he had a team of learned scientists with him who would have told him not to! (yeah right since when was racism rational?) And then the other scholar a white European interviewed in Egypt claimed that this was the most likely scenario and that someone had chopped off the nose purposefully and it had to have happenned during the time that Napolean "discovered" the monument. The most well known Egyptian scholar maintained that it was done by other Arab invaders but he had no proof except some heresay written in books but no physical documents. I choose to believe that Napoleon did it on purpose simply because I know how absurd and senseless racism is.

Best regards,
EV

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:50 am

Great pieces, Guys!

There are so many misinformations which were purposely intended to keep us with the myth that "Blan se Blan. Blan yo se Bondye".

This is so deep and affects almost all Black People who really define Beauty like the Eurocentrists do.

Nen pwenti, bEl koulE (light skin), bon cheve etsetera. I can remember as recently as last week a friend referring to another one as the ugliest human.

[quote]Li lEd pase Baka. Li nwE sou konn bouda chodyE. Men lajE twou nen. TEt li sou konn pwav.[/quote]

Now, you can see how deep self-hatred can be and how difficult to rehabilitate these people where His Tory (White Men) spoke of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and the Powerful GOD as a White man!

I remember someone came with a book in 1990's, talking about our miseducation.

He was talking about Read Sea which is not the RED Sea that Moses crossed. He also mentioned how the great inventions of Black People have been censured and dumped.

Who remembers who invented the design for Traffic lights. Who performed the first open-heart surgery?

The great design of Washington DC was not really L'enfant??? Etc, Etc.

One would probably says, this does not matter? But, it does! It would have been so great for the benefits of Self-Love in Haiti, and a lot of other Countries or all the Countries in the World, per se.

I would always go against the Teaching of Gospels which are complete Brainwashing.

I was a believer once. I even wanted to be a priest way back. Fortunately, I always like to question Power. A couple of Theology classes helped me very much to discovering Racism at work.

I don't wanna deviate from your subject Guys. But, we have a difficult task!

It is not pure luck that they refer to some groups as African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic, Native-American. But yet, there is no European-American!!!!

You can be simply American if you came yesterday from Poland or other European Countries (clarification, yesterday does not really mean the day before Today)...

M'ale,

L'union fait la Force
Leonel

Empress Verite

It's Already Been Shown at Selected Theatres in Black Areas

Post by Empress Verite » Thu Nov 02, 2006 3:45 pm

Z:

The reviews that I read about a week ago said that the movie came out already at selected theaters in predominantly black areas (in urban centers) across cities in the US. Some folks have already seen it. And this is not new at all. Madonna depicted a Black Jesus in one of her videos back in the day and another playwright depicted a black Jesus a few years back which created an uproar. And those of you in the DC area know of the Black African American Catholic priest who depict black folks and a black Jesus in the pictures/iconographs in his church in DC. Similarly in Detroit there is a big church of the Black Madonna not like it is shown and worshiped in Polish churches in Pennsylvania but like a Black African and worshiped as such.

This is not new. The movie is made by a Haitian who also portrays Jesus. That's radical!

Also, the statements about AfricanAmericans not being a race are ludicrous in my view. What are they then? I learned early on that I for one as a US born person of Haitian decent was not considered a Haitian by the social mandates and that on the census for instance, I was considered an African American. I was proud to have the term African associated with my identity but I also for the longest time believed that the term meant that I was black. Well, after studying some of the theories behind this social scientific categorization I realized that this term was mostly applied to folks whose relatives had been in the US since slavery. More than that, it was used to mark a hierarchy between those blacks and blacks from the diaspora irrespective of birthplace.

My personal experience has been that at times (when I have time and patience) I have written Haitian in the box that says Other in addition to checking the African American box. Recently, when I had my baby (August 05) I was asked to fill out some forms by the midwife and her assistant. On one side, the form listed African American and on the other it provided Haitian as a choice or option. I was tired and achy that I checked African American on one side and both African American and Haitian on the other. Well, lo and behold, the midwife's assistant seemed shocked and questioned my choice of African American. Her ignorance and her lack of education did not encourage her to turn the page and she did not understand the complexity of identity demarcation in her own racist nation! She acted as if I was perpetrating as an impostor!

In Miami, the identification of African American is a loaded one indeed. A few decades ago, that group was on top socially and they ruled the streets by any means. Until the 1.5 Bahamian Haitian Americans fought back and gained some respect. This also brought about some truce which was sealed with inter-ethnic relationships between that group and African American females. Unfortunately, due to the recent economic embargo on the Haitian community in South Florida and on the Black community at large, that truce is deteriorating and the 2nd generation Haitian Bahamian Americans have started to change dating and relationship habits. This group has (for their own gains) begun to intermarry with whites. Now, the Bahamian Haitian Americans swear that they're the baddest cats around and that this is because they come from the North West (Port-de-Paix via Nassau/Freeport) but lo and behold, look at their behavior. For them white is right, you can get down with brown and black should stay back. But they insists that they are the real thing and that they are the most black centered black folks around because they look the most African even while they perm and straighten and cyborg with Asian and fake hair to no end! They claim that they are the most persecuted group of Haitians because they're the baddest! (The Haitians born in Haiti are the most victimized by ALL). At the same time, because the 2nd generation Haitians and beyond are being raised to accept a certain lifestyle and they have an obesity problem (their parents want to raise fat pigs who defend themselves and are feared as the bullies). These are the stereotypical African Americans in South Florida. They are the modern or contemporary bullies and the worse ones are the WHITES.

I was shocked myself at how white folks bully black people in South Florida. And this is all kinds of whites, skinny, fe/male, poor or rich, profesional and lay persons. I came from the North East and California where this was not the case at all but here the Ku Klux Klan walks in daylight and everyone steps in line. (You may not know this but there supposedly was more lynchings in Miami and the surrounding area than anywhere else in the country. And even black women were lynched.)

This is the reality of African American demographics and social life in South Florida from my perspective. So who is an African American? I am not considered Haitian by the Haitians because I did not come by boat nor do I have immigration and documentation issues. I was born in the US and have enjoyed the privileges of my birthright. According to these folks too, since I am a Nyabinghi Rasta I am definitely disqualified especially since I am a vegan and I have dreadlocks. The Haitians see this lifestyle as too uncivilized and working against their goal of success and achieving the American Dream. Meanwhile, the African Americans see me as an imposter because my parents were born elsewhere and in Haiti at that! And while they count me in their census for funding and political reasons they do not accept me in social life. I don't mind that at all. I am mostly hurt by the Haitians whose greed and insatiable appetite for crumbs from massah's/mistress' table that they want to wage a war against my kind based on authenticity! (Meanwhile both of my parents are Haitian born who were first generation immigrants. My father though, dead 21 years will always see me as his daughter even if he may not disagree with my lifestyle).

I am happy with myself and I refuse other people's definition of who I am. I know what I am and I am beyond that now.

And Leonel, I feel that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And also that beauty is not only skin deep but it also comes from deep within. In other words satisfying the simple qualities of symmetry or other idiosyncrasies of a particular people, culture or community is not enough for me anyway. Compassion is a key and necessary ingredient which unfortunately most of us seem to lack and forego to become rude, arrogant and disrespectful of others.

Kenbe la/Hold On
EV

Gelin_

A man from Cyrene

Post by Gelin_ » Thu Nov 02, 2006 7:28 pm

Here is a small but significant part of the story:

[quote]Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. "Hail, king of the Jews!" they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene</b>, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. - Mat 27:27-32. [/quote]

Cyrene was in Northern Africa, near Lybia. Among all the people who were watching the bloody scene, only one man was singled out to help Jesus carry the cross: the one from Northern Africa. And who picked him? Some of the Governor's soldiers from Rome. Someone suggested once that was a case of racial profiling, something like "hey you, come help your brother...". But it's just an idea, with not much to back it up.

On top of that, however, biblical genealogy can put some of Jesus' ancestors in the lineage of Ham. So, there should not be any surprise to anyone if he is depicted as a black man.

(i have been quiet lately and will stay like that for a few more days/weeks)

gelin

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