Friday, September 13, 2013

Stepin Fetchit and Muhammad Ali...,

NYTimes | Loosely inspired by an actual friendship between the two men, the play explores how each dealt with the pressure of being a black public figure trying to shape his identity in the face of outside forces. Fetchit became Hollywood’s first black star, but only by embodying a demeaning stereotype of black men as lazy and shiftless. Despite Ali’s new fame as a boxing champ, his alliance with the Nation of Islam made him controversial. Mr. Power’s play suggests that while Fetchit became indelibly associated with racial prejudice, and Ali with black pride, their divergent stories may have had more to do with the eras in which they were born than the characters of the men themselves. 

The play takes place primarily in Lewiston, Me., in 1965, where Ali is preparing for a rematch with Sonny Liston, whom he had beaten the year before to take the heavyweight title. The atmosphere is fraught, since the recent assassination of Malcolm X has put a spotlight on Ali’s relations with the Nation of Islam. (That group, which Malcolm X had left, was rumored to be behind the killing.) The remote Lewiston was selected for the fight because no more prominent city would host it after rumors began that allies of Malcolm X would be gunning — literally — for Ali. 

In this tense atmosphere, Ali (Ray Fisher) turns to Fetchit (K. Todd Freeman) for informal advice. He knows that Fetchit was an intimate friend of the great black fighter Jack Johnson, and despite his preening egoism, Ali wouldn’t mind having an ace in the hole: knowledge of a legendary maneuver called the “anchor punch” that he believes might have been entrusted to Fetchit. 

Fetchit claims to know nothing of this secret weapon but is eager to rehabilitate his image by linking himself with a figure who embodies self-determination. (In the scene of their first meeting, Ali teasingly calls him “a traitor to their race.”) Having established the reason for their alliance, however, Mr. Power cannot make it a convincing focus of the narrative, so the play bobs and weaves among a host of subplots. 

Flashbacks to Hollywood in the 1920s depict Fetchit — his real name was Lincoln Perry — shrewdly negotiating his contract with the paternalistic studio chief William Fox (a feisty Richard Masur). A star of the vaudeville circuit with a huge following, Fetchit knows his value, and manages to secure highly favorable terms — albeit only by inventing a fictional white lawyer to blame for his demands.


Constructive_Feedback said...

Brother CNu:

The Black Inferiorist "White Progressive Cheshire Fox Ally" makes frequent use of his "Negro token" as a reference for the selfishness in America and the need for reform.

THEY DON'T MENTION that "The Americanized Negro" has invested his valuables for more than 50 years to arrange the political order in the "Mission Accomplished Zones" where they live in highest concentrations.

The Cheshire Fox was in on the scheme to tell the "Americanized Negro" to VOTE FOR HIS SALVATION. It is more important to repurpose their arguments - shifting from their claim that "Non-integated Blacks Fair Poorly" . The better notating is that THE AMERICANIZED NEGRO remains disproportionately UNDER-DEVELOPED as he abandoned his focus on developing and retaining his "Black Community Governance Culture" for the OPPORTUNISM in NATIONAL POLITICS.

woodensplinter said...

This isn't just about reflexes, it's a picture perfect example of the NPR article's takeaway on anticipatory conditioning, training, pre-cognition. What you seem to like to call the fourth (force). Ali was amazingly fast, but that's only a fraction of what we're observing in these slow motion reveals.

CNu said...

Bro Feed,

There was a tiresome op-ed in the NYTimes by the afrodemic philosopher George Yancy. Several bright commentors called out the ponderousness of the academic lit-crit language used by Yancy to make his whiney, punk-assed complaints, f'zample

You know, I've given you the benefit of the doubt for having something to say, but, I'm about at the end of my rope with regard to all of your idiosyncratic coinages you've invested so heavily in that they now thoroughly obfuscate your meaning.

Make it plain brah, make it plain.....,

CNu said...

The much-maligned James David Manning offers a master-class in keeping it straight-up, simple, and plain

ken said...

Sorry for not being exactly on point, but did you note this narrative also being challenged?

CNu said...

Nah, I have less than zero interest in the goings-on among sordid infrasexual brokebacks..., and still less in exonerating their enemies - otoh, I have found this bit of pop cultural foment interesting

ken said...

In light of your previous link to preacher Manning, first of all it's really tough to confirm this--this article was talking about Lebrun's getting caught and friends in the industry backing him up...

"Other deejays, who have had their manhoods questioned in the past — such as Funkmaster Flex — joined rap artists in support of the married father of four." Is it true Calvin Lebrun is married with four children, and if so, how can you have a half hour conversation an not even talk about how another man in the community demonstrates how little he values the people who value him so much in exchange for something he is so ashamed of? Again if true, that he is married with 4 children, the conversation shows just how far removed these people are from values that uphold and society.

CNu said...

This comment suggests you didn't watch the conversation at HuffPo that I linked between Marc Lamont Hill, Janet Mock and Laverne Cox...,

Tom said...

To be fair, who could possibly read anything at HuffPo?

ken said...

I did watch the whole thing, if Calvin is married with children, and like I said I can't confirm it, but it seems like he is. Doesn't the 1/2 hour conversation seem incomplete to not even mention this as part of the equation? For Hill and the rest to completely avoid that topic and talk about respect to men trannys, I guess their point is this topic is only news because it is sex with a tranny and they think this is wrong and not very liberating. Rappers are disrespecting their families and buying hookers and participating in various crimes using drugs regularly without it being news, and these people would like tranny and gay sex to become just as common so it would be just as un-newsworthy as all the rest of the rapper activities. I got that part, I guess I was just marveling at far we have developed.

BigDonOne said...

@Tom -- To quote Don Corleone, "Keep your friends close, but your enemies even closer..."
It is important to know what the other side is thinking, even when you don't believe it....

CNu said...

lol, now that the boys have unburdened themselves Tom, you may wanna go wash off what you've inadvertently stepped into...,

CNu said...

What is complete is your categorical dehumanization of the transwomen. To you, they are no more deserving of life and/or a place in the light than cockroaches. I get that from you, as surely as I've gotten it from Big Don with his very own special, American-original brand - of opportunistic dehumanization. It explains how you can rationalize, justify and sleep easy over the many and sundry discretionary wars waged over the past decade.

Why so little regard for the challenging aspects of what you profess?

ken said...

I am not following why your scripture you chose fits here. The
woman in the text has understood her sin, and is placing Jesus and is falling under Christ mercy. It would be assumed this would be the type of forgiveness and call for repentance that
took place with the woman caught in the act of adultery in John 8, where Jesus
says: "“Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.”And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

Do you see the transgender persons on the
video you have chosen bowing at Jesus feet seeking his forgiveness and
repenting, your scripture doesn't fit this circumstance. I would think the
Romans 1 scripture is more relevant:

My post was marveling at how far this is
developing. The tension of the Christian is how to show love for the person, while
at the same time making sure we don't fall into verse 32: "who, knowing the righteous
judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death,
not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them."

Christ did show us a good example with the woman
caught in adultery. Understand we too have sinned and have been forgiven, like
your text says; this of course is where most want to leave it, in your text and
the text in John there is acknowledgment of sin and the commandment to live without
committing it anymore.

Clearly, the video you linked to has no
consideration of any sin or repentance or what's right in God's eyes. In fact
the people you linked to are disappointed the activities of this man aren't
more common, and more roundly approved by the masses. There is only encouragement
to pursue these activities with even more vigor.