BALTIMORE — The defense rested its case in the trial of Officer William G. Porter early Friday afternoon. Testimony resumed Friday morning with Porter’s defense calling several people who know Porter well to testify to his character, including his mother. Helena Porter, the officer’s mother, took the stand and said her son was “the peacemaker in…
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By Sean Moran
By Sean Moran
At the October 7 London premiere of the film Suffragette, several activists from the group Sisters Uncut crashed the red carpet and released smoke canisters as part of a protest against recent budget cuts to facilities that offer care to victims of domestic violence. When asked why they chose this film for the protest, one activist replied that the film’s “celebratory sense” has created a “delusional element” that feminism has accomplished its goals.
Suffragette, set to begin a limited American release on October 23, tells the story of one mother’s experiences as she gets caught up in the female suffrage movement in early 20th century Britain. The movie stars Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter (who also happens to be the real life great granddaughter of H.H. Asquith, the Prime Minister who opposed female suffrage), and Meryl Streep as the leader of the suffrage movement, Emmeline Pankhurst.
A movie can be effective in getting an ideological message across, but how much can you ignore or even distort actual history?
Along with the protest at the premiere, the film has also received some backlash against a promotional photoshoot where the actresses wore t-shirts that read “I’d rather be a rebel than a slave.” Critics immediately began criticizing this quote for perceived racial insensitivity. Some pointed out that Emmeline Pankhurst and many other suffragettes were not advocating for black female suffrage too.
As much as people try to argue that the Pankhurst was a progressive feminist, the truth is that she wasn’t. Pankhurst was aided by her two daughters, Christabel and Sylvia, the former much in her mother’s image, while the latter had much more radical beliefs. Neither Emmeline nor Christabel believed women should wear pants or short hair, and both detested the rise of the Labour Party that represented the working class. Emeline also believed women should remain chaste, and all but denounced her daughter Sylvia when she had a child out of wedlock.
This raises an important issue with historical films: is it okay to force historical facts to fit a modern narrative? A movie can be effective in getting an ideological message across, but how much can you ignore or even distort actual history?
It would seem more authentic if characters did have inconsistent beliefs about equality, believing men and women should be equal but only some men and women (white, educated, upper class, etc.).
So in a way, the protestors at the premiere were right; this film shouldn’t be seen as the epitome of feminist ideology (Note: I have not seen the actual movie yet, and the film could totally address these issues).
Having said all that, I think this film will provide an adequately objective viewpoint. In an interview with Variety’s Kristopher Tapley, screenwriter Abi Morgan admitted that she didn’t want to do a feminist film.
“I don’t think any of us said, ‘Let’s make a feminist movie.’ I think we kind of went, ‘This is exciting. We never see women blow up buildings. We never see them militant.’”
Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? Send it to us- [email protected].Cover Photo Credit: Leonard Bentley/Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 947
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By Savannah Bullard
History is often criticized for repeating itself.
Whether it is with politics, economics or social justice, people tend to avoid going back to what was meant to stay in the “good ol’ days.”
However, a surge of emerging musicians are breaking this trend.
The Economist describes soul music as a genre that “originated in the 1950s that grew out of the blues, R&B and African American church music.”
Some say the revivalism of “the oldies” began with Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Special” album, which included the ever-popular “Uptown Funk,” featuring Bruno Mars.
The funky beat and old school music video was a huge hit with younger audiences, introducing young people to the tunes that got our grandparents to get down.
Watch: Uptown Funk
The trend continues with Meghan Trainor, who fuses 1950s pop and modern hip hop through songs like “All About That Bass” and “Like I’m Gonna Lose You (featuring John Legend).”
This year, some of the most famous artists of 2016 are coming out of hometown bars and theaters with sounds that only used to be popular in the mid-20th century.
Leon Bridges, for example, is a 26-year-old Texas native whose soulful sound captivated Spotify listeners and shot him to stardom.
Bridges quotes himself on his website saying “I’m not saying I can hold a candle to any soul musician from the ’50s and ’60s, but I want to carry the torch.”
Bridges’ popularity chips away at the stigma that all teens listen to nothing but top 40 and rap music. He closes a wide generational gap, which is hard to do when in this day and age, young people feel disconnected from their elders who “just do not understand.”
Bridges is an artist that anyone can love, and that connection is rarely seen nowadays, especially in the entertainment scene.
Watch: Leon Bridges’ Smooth Sailing
Young people are actually getting a slice of culture from artists like Bridges. His music pays homage to a beloved time period that cultivated artists like Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye. This was not just music; it was an entire way of life.
Bridges is doing an aesthetic favor by channeling this era through his sounds.
Young people pick up on this stuff, and their musical perspectives widen far beyond what is played on the radio.
The same can be said for musicians like Mumford and Sons, who recently traveled to India and Africa in order to incorporate those cultures into their work.
While this is a mix of traditional music from other civilizations instead of reviving a time period, the product is the same.
The new age incorporation of music from any culture or time period creates the most beautiful harmony that serves the same purpose.
Young people might not know it, but they are opening their minds to a whole new world of music. It is as if these artists are teachers by extension, offering a bit of history through their music for us to learn.
The Sugarman 3 frontman and Daptone Records co-founder Neil Sugarman says in an Economist article that “even with her big pop hit ‘Rehab,’ it was honest to Amy [Winehouse]. It was real. That’s the essence of soul music. It’s honest.”
This example speaks to a lot of emerging artists who do not want to become one-hit wonders or fall into the mainstream of bubblegum pop and modern rap music.
Soul singers are those who embrace struggle in their recordings, and wearing their hearts on their sleeves is what sells out concerts.
Watch: Mumford and Songs’ Wona
In the 1960s, African American jazz musicians wrote of their hardships with civil rights and the struggle of living in a time of racism and misfortune.
Their music was raw and uncaged; they made their voices heard through their music, because in that time, music was one of the few options that allowed them to do so.
And today, this is the very same concept that these new-age soul singers try to embody.
A song so deep and meaningful will catch the heart of a listener, while more mainstream tunes might be fun for a moment, but get skipped the next time they appear in a playlist.
Young people like connections, and sharing the feelings that are sung in a favorite song makes them love that musician much more than cookie-cutter pop singers.
These are songs that urge people to look up lyrics, decipher meanings, figure out the intention behind the art. These songs make the listener want to know the artist, not just enjoy the work.
Whether or not this trend will last remains in ambiguity, because not even the most profound musicologists can predict what teens will love next.
For decades, country music stays consistently popular, but still gets tweaked each year by whatever artists who make it big.
And as long as we have prepubescent teenage girls and boys, upbeat breakup songs and boy bands will never go out of style.
However, the love of soul is proven to be more than just a music style.
The fluidity and swagger of soul outlasts many other genres, and manages to stay consistent at the top of the charts.
So while other styles continue to change and evolve, soul will remain timeless.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.Post Views: 896
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I’ve been pulled over before in North Miami with my autistic brother in the car.
My family grew up in North Miami.
I now live only about five minutes from North Miami.
But North Miami is not the place I thought it was.
North Miami is a dangerous place for black people and a dangerous place for people with disabilities.
Some will say that the shooting of Charles Kinsey was an isolated incident.
I think it is all we need to know.
The story, which is now an international news item goes like this.
Police are called by someone claiming that a man is carrying a gun, threatening to kill himself. The man is walking in the middle of a street in North Miami. The man is autistic and it is clear to see on the videotape.
A man named Charles Kinsey comes over to help the autistic man. Kinsey quickly realizes that the autistic man is just holding a toy truck- not a gun.
He is no threat to anybody and just needs to get back to his group home from which he has escaped from.
The rest of the details are still a bit fuzzy.
Police show up, pull out high-powered rifles and order the two men to lie down.
Kinsey complies, lies on his back and puts his hands high up in the sky.
The autistic man sits down next to Kinsey.
The rest of the story is well-known by now.
“All he has is a toy truck, a toy truck,” Kinsey is heard yelling at police in cellphone video. “I am a behavior therapist at a group home.”
The police then proceed to shoot Kinsey three times in the leg as he is lying down mere feet from the autistic man.
I became enraged when I first heard the news of the incident last night.
Then I became scared.
This could happen to my brother.
While I’ve always supported the Black Lives Matters movement, today is the first day that I really understand the totality of its importance.
Our police are the only people in the world that have the power to kill an American citizen if force is justified. They have the legal writ to use violence. And we need them to have that right. But it also means that we need to hold them to an incredibly high standard.
We have to pay them better, we have to recruit better people into the force and we have to train the great people already in the force on how to identity people with developmental disabilities.
It is never ok to shoot an unarmed man who poises no direct threat to an officer, himself or another person.
And it is never ok to shoot an unarmed man who is mere feet away from a person with autism.
North Miami is not the place I thought it was and I’m scared to death for my brother, for my family, for potential aides that my brother may have and for myself.
This makes it plain as day that some officers in the North Miami Police Department do not have the training or the empathy needed to do their jobs.
But North Miami is also not unique.
Ethan Saylor was a 26-year-old man from Maryland. He also had down syndrome. And he was white.
Ethan was choked to death by off duty police officers after he refused to leave a movie theatre. He wasn’t violent. Have you ever met someone with down syndrome? He wasn’t a threat.
Saylor was described by people who knew him as a sweet, loving man with an innocent spirit.
He also loved the police more than just about anything.
He was so fascinated by cop shows and the idea of helping people that he once called 911 innocently just to ask them about their work.
Ethan Saylor believed that police officers were good people who had devoted his life to protect people like him.
And they killed him on the ground in a dirty movie theatre like an animal.
He cried out for his mother as his life was ripped from him.
“Ouch Mom, that hurts, don’t touch me, get off!” he said.
Then he died of asphyxiation. The cartilage in his throat was fractured, and he had bruises and abrasions all over his face and body. The cause of death was homicide.
I’ve always said I supported Black Lives Matter because of my “empathy.”
But fuck empathy.
This is about survival.
If we can’t protect black lives, then we sure as hell won’t be able to protect autistic ones.
America has a problem folks. And its worse than we thought.
Do you have a news tip about excessive police force involving people with disabilities? Send us a news tip to [email protected].
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.Post Views: 1,253
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