Friday, April 11, 2008


Meeting David Wilson is a feature length documentary about the enduring legacy of slavery in today's young black society.

David Wilson, a 28-year-old African-American journalist, journeys into his family's past to find answers to America's racial divide. Along the way he meets another David Wilson, the descendant of his family's slave master. This discovery leads to a momentous encounter between these two men of the same name but whose ancestors were on the opposite sides of freedom. Through DNA testing, David determines his African roots and returns to his native land.

Check out the preview for the show on the website....

Here is the link:

This promises to spark a number of conversations...and as an aspiring historian I find this all the more timely.




The Uppity Negro said...

This proves to be interesting. I'll make sure to get someone to tape it or TiVo it, seeing as how my particular cable service provider in these dorms do not have MSNBC.

But I thought that was an interesting reaction from the white David Wilson as far as saying, if it weren't for that particular time period than he wouldn't be here. And I thought in my mind, a good majority of a us wouldn't be here (perhaps the same amount of us who are openly supporting and voting for Barack Obama) and quite clearly the fabric of this country would be different.

Honestly, the air in which white David Wilson made that comment just screamed Pat Buchanan--I was quite unnerved.

negrointellectual said...

I hope you get a chance to check it out (it is now available on DVD)...though the white David Wilson made that comment which made me think back to Malcolm X's saying, "You are not an American citizen you are an American have not had democracy but hypocrisy," after viewing the documentary in its entirety I think it was well done.

My only complaint was about the panelists in the discussion afterwards...WOW! They all just seemed really random. For instance, Chris Rock's wife was on there along with Dyson (who aside from Bro. Dr. West is the only black intellectual I guess (sigh)). I just get really annoyed when they NEVER have historians on these "all-star" panels. There was just too must posturing going on, but my man Tim Wise brought the pain like Method Man I must admit. Moreover, I do not think the panel brought up the larger issues that they needed to (I'll comment more on this later).

David Wilson provided the American public and really the world with another "supplement" to understanding the check that Dr. King wanted to get cashed in 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the "chickens coming home to roost" of Brother Malcolm, Sister Fannie Lou Hamer's plea for participation in the DNC, Rev. DR. Wright's "GOD Damn America", and now Obama's speech on our "union".

I'll stop here, but I look forward to seeing what you say about the film, and the supplementary parts that recreate the 1947 Kenneth Clark "Doll Test" was tragic watching.

Through all of this however, I wonder why all this "black" focus all of a sudden by NBC,MSNBC, and CNN? In my minds eye, it makes it seem as though black folk are the problem...a social pathology...I think the next program should be called, "What's Wrong with White America". We need to remember that Rome didn't fall from outside invaders, but from domestic unrest.

As soon as you get a chance check out the documentary.

The Uppity Negro said...

i most definitely will, I'm pretty sure my friend TiVoed it, and I just ask him to copy it.

But I've often wondered the same thing about these panels. My friend who graduated from Howard was texting me non-stop about them coming from Crampton Auditorium and blah blah blah, lol, but us as theologians often have the same problem about these black panels not having people who are qualified to speak on these things. I get a little angry because it's not like an Eddie Glaude or Melissa Lacewell don't exist. But I hear ya, it would be nice to hear from black historians.

I'm convinced CNN with its "Conversation With Black America" was a direct result of the Jeremiah Wright issue. For whatever reason, I think more white Americans actually realised that despite us spending money and enriching white coffers, we really operate in our own world with our own specific problems. Frankly, when I first about "Conversations With America" and then "Meeting David Wilson" I had to look at the calendar and make sure it wasn't February.

negrointellectual said...

LMAO! I was thinking the same thing even last night as the documentary aired..."It is April, right?"

On the "black intellectuals" thing I really have some conerns. I would likely compare it to seeing the same black actors/actresses all the time in so called "black movies". You know Morris Chestnut, Vivca Fox, etc., etc., the same B-list actors and actresses who play in the same relationship/marriage/"real" black life films that are now going straight to DVD.

The intellectual world is much the same way. There are plenty of young bright scholars out here who need some shine, and I'm not even talking about me (actually I wouldn't even include myself). My dear friend Jonathan Walton would be good, or Leslie Callahan, Josef Sorett, and then you have young historians like Leslie Alexander and Hassan Jefferies, who are doing some great things at "The" Ohio State University.

I could go on, but I'm sure you get my point. There needs to be ways to "mix it up" to get some variety. The panel I think ideally should have a psychologist, sociologist, historian, theologian, political science/government and some of my folk from English (who try to do a bit of everything).

Think about these "panels" as independent films (yes, I'm keeping that analogy) and who is best suited to address the topic instead of going for name recognition which is my biggest problem with Tavis Smiley's "State of the Black Family Reunion" I mean..ummm, "State of the Black Union" panels. Take some notes from NPR, they NEVER have "random" people on for a subject. For instance when the Jeremiah Wright situation was going on they had James Cone the founder of Black Liberation Theology on for an interview, not a bunch of pundits who have no clue about the subject.

The goal with a panel should be to create a discussion/dialogue and then seek to find sustainable ways to address our systemic problems. Stop just stirring the pot of intellectual masturbation (which I try to watch myself). Moving from theory to implementation is always difficult, but the people MUST be empowered at the end of the day. "Experts" who wax poetic and don't offer vision that regular folk can internalize is useless.

Now more than ever, I contemplate my own existence in regards to the "Crisis of the Negro Intellectual" that Cruse wrote about in 1967. How do I maintain a sense of authenticity amongst my own people...a relevant piece of the revolutionary puzzle and not offering cheap intellectual "grace" to those listening for a "sound bite" or in real need of help.

Watch what Dyson does and you will see what I mean. Often intellectuals (public/private) have a lot to say, which is good. That is not a knock on him. Dyson is a brilliant brother. Let us craft "the conversation" for true meaning and not for ratings wars (CNN/MSNBC).

The Uppity Negro said...

Well, I think this begs the next crucial stage in a fight for equality. We, African Americans don't own media outlets. We operate in the blogosphere as we both do, which I'm not against, but by in large, white media doesn't know black intellectuals outside of Dr. West or Michael Eric Dyson exist.

Sadly, we don't have many, outlets that would be conducive for many of us to make inroads. So now when the "black issues" arise, call Michael Eric Dyson because we know him now. For what its worth, look at how long it took for him to get his 15 minutes of fame. But how long are we willing to wait until there are more than just a Dyson or a West.

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