VIGALANTEE: Hunting for Souls
By: Tolu Olorunda
Staff Writer – YourBlackWorld.com
Vigalantee (born Roger Suggs) is no stranger to the underground Hip-Hop scene. Born in Chicago, Vigalantee has always been a fan of Hip-Hop – though a critic, when necessary. In addition to his musical career, Vigalantee is also an arduous community-organizer and activist, whose youth program is touching many young lives across the city of Kansas. As the name suggests, Vigalantee is hunting for more than nice beats or dope rhymes. As a young man, trapped in between the perils of inter-racial animosity and intra-racial hostility, Vigalantee knows how critical it is for young Black kids to find worthy role-models in the communities that shape their destinies.
Vigalantee grew up in Chicago, and experienced, firsthand, the much-referenced tales of gang warfare. Concerned with the emotional toll this reality wreaks on a child, his mother sent him to a relative’s home in Georgia. Vigalantee describes this as the unraveling of another “extreme” living condition [...]
More At Your Black Brothers
There are many reasons why Spike Lee chose to make Miracle at St Anna, his new film about the second world war efforts of African American soldiers. Not least among these was the film-maker’s assertion that his fellow director Clint Eastwood had omitted black stories from his two war films, Letters From Iwo Jima and Flags of Our Fathers.
It was perhaps inevitable that the controversy over the issue would focus minds on the veracity of Lee’s own film, And sure enough, it has emerged this morning that Italian war veterans are rather upset about the US director’s depiction of them in Miracle at St Anna.
The film’s press screening in Rome yesterday saw Lee and script-writer James McBride forced onto the defensive over the movie’s linking of an antifascist Italian partisan resistance group to the 1944 Nazi massacre of 560 Italian civilians.
Miracle at St Anna suggests that a partisan named Rodolfo collaborated with the Nazis, indirectly sparking the slaughter. Not so, say veteran organisations, who fear the film could cause history to be rewritten.
McBride was apologetic when questioned on the issue. “I am very sorry if I have offended the partisans,” he said. “I have enormous respect for them. As a black American, we understand what it’s like for someone to tell your history, and they are not you.
“But unfortunately, the history of World War II here in Italy is ours as well, and this was the best I could do,” he added.
Lee struck a more confrontational note. “I am not apologising for anything,” he said. “I think these questions are evidence that there is still a lot about your history during the war that you [the Italians] have got to come to grips with…
By Carrie Rickey
Inquirer Film Critic
If Spike Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna were a symphony, you’d think, three sublime movements, a fourth that’s turgid, and what’s with the wacky coda?
Adapted by James McBride from his best-seller, Miracle is, by turns, a dazzling, dim, lucid, confounding, absorbing, tedious, silly, profound, bloody and – 160 minutes and almost as many subplots later – bracing account of four African American infantrymen separated from their Buffalo Soldiers unit in Tuscany during World War II.
The film opens in 1983 as one of the soldiers, Hector (Laz Alonso), a post office clerk, shoots a customer at point-blank range, then flashes back to his World War II tour of duty, and concludes in 1984 on what would appear to be Fantasy Island.
Even at its most indulgent, Lee’s film powerfully summons the courage of black soldiers in the face of discouraging racism. Though denigrated and infantilized by their white commanding officers, the Buffalo Soldiers nonetheless defended the country that did not always defend their so-called freedoms.
Lee can express more with a sweeping camera movement or an agitated edit than almost any other filmmaker working…
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