Culture

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Conservative Columnist Posts Racially Charged Attack On Reddit: “Black Men Are Notorious For Lusting After A Well-Rounded Caucasian Butt Cheek”

In a controversial Reddit post, Breitbart columnist Milo Yiannopoulos responded to criticism of his publication’s crusade against the woman who Tweeted criticism of a Texas police officer that was murdered last week.

In the post, Yiannopoulos launched into a racially tinged tirade against African-Americans and Monica Foy, the woman who Tweeted a distasteful message about the murder of Texas Deputy Darren Goforth.

“I can’t believe so many people care about a dead cop and NO ONE has thought to ask what he did to deserve it. He had creepy perv eyes …,” Foy tweeted on September 1.

The Tweet quickly went viral after it was published on Breitbart.com, the right wing news website.

Two days ago, a Reddit user that goes by the name of tracker2208 posted a message on a pro GamerGate subReddit questioning Breitbart’s decision to report on the Tweet. (Foy only had 20 followers at the time and was not a public figure.):

“To me when I read that she is commenting about how society reacts to black shooting victims, not anything about the cop. But that doesn’t matter. What does is that she had 20 followers, she was a nobody,” tracker2208 posted. “Yet Breitbart journalist Brandon Darby decided she was relevant enough to do a hit piece on her. What follows is pretty much what you would expect when Gawker pulls this s**t. Why would he think so? Because they were investigating the BLM movement, and she retweeted #BlackLivesMatter 3 times. Are you eff’n kidding me.”

Yiannopoulos responded in the comments, referencing his GamerGate (GGers) audience.

“Alright, I’ll respond. I know that GGers are too gentle a species to engage in the sort of cruel and vindictive social media witch-hunt so often staged by progressives, so instead allow me as a distinguished member of the press to share a few thoughts.”

“Does she have a blackcent? Is this all a ruse to pick up dark-skinned men, now she’s grown too gigantic to get a white date? Perhaps I’ll write to her in prison.”- Milo Yiannopoulos

Here are some of the more pointed remarks by Yiannopoulos (you can read the whole post here):

“Enter stupid fat cracker Monica Foy, a large-and-in-charge supporter of Black Lives Matter who called one of the slain officers “creepy,” tweeting: “I can’t believe so many people care about a dead cop and NO ONE has thought what he did to deserve it. He had creepy perv eyes.” Foy is the latest and greatest example of moronic white lard-asses who might mean well but have bought into the lies and conspiracy theories peddled by BLM organizers…

“Monica Foy is a student, by the way, at Sam Houston State University, which is rightly proud of its strong criminal justice program. Talk about the wrong place to talk smack about a cop. If it’s right to kick frat boys off campus for saying they don’t want blacks in their club (and I’m sure it is), I can’t help but wonder: has Sam Houston already put an order in for the crane?…

“Racist? Me? I’ve had more black dick in me than the entire Kardashian family,” Yiannopoulos Told Rise News.

“All of which leaves the looming question of why a woman like Foy was so enamoured with Black Lives Matter in the first place – her penchant for violence excepted, of course. Now, forgive me for being crude, but I happen to know there’s quite the interracial chubby chaser scene in Texas, and black men are notorious for lusting after a well-rounded caucasian butt cheek. I speak from experience. Does she have a blackcent? Is this all a ruse to pick up dark-skinned men, now she’s grown too gigantic to get a white date? Perhaps I’ll write to her in prison. (For some tips, you understand.)”

Yiannopoulos responded to an email with multiple questions from Rise News. One of the questions we sent him asked if his remarks were racist.

“Racist? Me? I’ve had more black dick in me than the entire Kardashian family,” Yiannopoulos wrote. “Yes, that’s on the record.”

Cover Photo Credit: NEXTConf/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Taylor Swift’s ‘Wildest Dreams’ Video Has A Big Race Problem

Last week’s MTV Video Music Awards will likely be remembered as a hot-bed of drama, social issues, and controversy, spurned by the likes of Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, and Kanye West. The slightest mention of the awards show is enough to disturb the silence in any room. This is the effect of popular culture at its finest.

But, there is one music video which can be distinguished as emblematic of the whole controversy, released during the award show and drawing attention to the reflective nature of said popular culture: it is fuelled by the cues of our society and what we deem to be acceptable. Or, in this case, what can not be deemed acceptable.

The plot-line of Taylor Swift’s ‘Wildest Dreams’ is easy to understand: intended to complement the sorrowful lamentations of a doomed relationship, Sunday night was witness to a dark-haired Swift posing sadly as the star of a 1950s Hollywood film against a backdrop of what can only be described as the most colonial of images of Africa.

With Scott Eastwood as the object of her affection, her relentless glances at him are not enough to provide the pair with a happy ending and so, the glamour is for nought and the drive into the sunset is non-existent. So too, as many of us have picked up on, is the presence of non-white Africans.

Reductionist at best, Swift’s ‘Africa’ is stereotypically conveyed with all the patronising ignorance of someone imagining what would constitute as The Exotic Land of Africa, a colonial illustration leaving out the knowledge of it being a continent, complex, rich in many histories, and therefore difficult to package and sell so neatly. Still, it did not stop Swift’s creative team from trying.

From the depiction of rolling grasslands, wild animals in migration patterns, dry dust flying as Swift kisses her co-star in her throwback hunter outfit, the video enables the audience to see all of these things as mere accessories.

The romanticism of this history is a clumsy, heavy-handed act which calls to attention an out-dated racial hierarchy and is scarily reminiscent of colonial attitudes

They are ambiguously, stereotypically ‘African’ enough to contribute to not only the myth of Africa, more at home in a historically out-dated periodical, and ambiguously, stereotypically ‘African’ enough to warrant more attention on Swift and her lover. It would be easy to make the argument that indeed, she is the star and this is her music video. But what must be recognised is the fact that the spot-light is on a truly horrifying image: Swift’s Africa features white people, complicit in acting the role of colonial settlers under the facade of the creation of a film.

Watch The Video: 

 

The romanticism of this history is a clumsy, heavy-handed act which calls to attention an out-dated racial hierarchy and is scarily reminiscent of colonial attitudes: ‘Africa’ can be groomed to fit an image the white person deems acceptable, can be plundered for its beauty whilst the locals remain invisible, and can become the mythical image of exoticism anyone fed on racist stereotypes sees it as.

The video casts a hazy, rose-tinted glow to the white imperialist presence in the African continent, romanticising it so that Swift does achieve that old Hollywood ’50s colonialist film vibe she’s looking for

It is truly as Binyavanga Wainaina writes about in his Granta Magazine essay, “How to Write About Africa:”

“Africa is big: fifty-four countries, 900 million people who are too busy starving and dying and warring and emigrating to read your book. The continent is full of deserts, jungles, highlands, savannahs and many other things, but your reader doesn’t care about all that, so keep your descriptions romantic and evocative and unparticular.”

Swift is not a stranger to the romantic, the evocative, and the unparticular. In fact, these qualities seem to be a staple of her song-writing style, and yet, within the context of the ‘Wildest Dreams’ video, these are not qualities which can be dismissed as simply indicative of her personality.

The video casts a hazy, rose-tinted glow to the white imperialist presence in the African continent, romanticising it so that Swift does achieve that old Hollywood ’50s colonialist film vibe she’s looking for: ‘Wildest Dreams’ can easily be recognised as an example of Western media providing a propagandistic image of the exotic frontier playground, sitting comfortably alongside John Huston’s The African Queen and Sydney Pollack’s Out of Africa in these efforts. It is an achieved goal Swift has every reason to not be proud of.

The video is deceptively portrayed as simply detailing a complicated love-affair. As Zak Cheney-Rice concisely explained for Mic:

“It is remarkable that the insidious nature of the African colonial fantasy is so seamlessly glossed over. This matters. When a pop culture product reaches as many people as a Taylor Swift video does, the images it presents have implications beyond their immediate purview.”

Cheney-Rice has every reason to be wary of Swift’s creative products in light of her influence as one of the world’s biggest female popstars, and especially so when said creative products are as disastrously constructed as ‘Wildest Dreams’.

When it comes to influence, it is a by-product of fame which must be handled with responsibility.

It is exactly this which is lacking in this music video, and while director Joseph Kahn may be comfortable to shirk this one must recognise the importance of contentious, important historical landmarks, like the African continent having to suffer under European colonialism, being treated with more respect and awareness and less lazy nonchalance.

Ultimately, it is the fact that these attitudes surfaced so casually in our modern age omitting the truth of Africa’s history and the Black African presence, whether intentionally or not, in the place of romantic fantasy which deserves to be called to attention.

In this case, Swift’s love-story stopped short of occurring between her protagonists and began to cast back to a part of history which needs no affection. It is this which is truly distressing about ‘Wildest Dreams.’

Cover Photo Credit: GabboT/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Exclusive: Man Claims That South Carolina McDonald’s Served Him With Moldy Cup

In an exclusive interview with Rise News, the man behind a viral Facebook post claiming that a South Carolina McDonald’s served him a moldy tea, stood by his comments even as the fast food giant seemed to reject his claims.

Brandon Benjamin posted to Facebook on September 1 that he had purchased a meal the night before at a McDonald’s located at 2390 Chestnut St in Orangeburg, SC. His message was colorful and quickly went viral:

“STOP eating McDonald’s and getting they’re [sic] tea. I went to McDonald’s last night and got myself a McChicken and peach cream pie with a $1 tea. I left my tea in the fridge thinking it’ll be alright tomorrow. I was ABSOLUTELY DISGUESTED [sic] with what I found in my cup. After taking 2 sips, it didn’t taste right at all. I poured out the tea and found this!!!!!!,” Benjamin wrote describing the photos he posted with the message.

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In both a phone interview and in a Facebook message conversation, Benjamin stood by his comments and said that he was shocked by what he said was in his cup.

“Mold, gunk, bacteria was stuck alongside the inside of the cup,” Benjamin said. “I began to feel sick to my stomach after seeing what I took two large sips of.”

Benjamin also said that he was experiencing stomach issues that he believes to be related to the alleged moldy cup.

“There was quite a nasty smell- it was really horrible,” Benjamin said.

He also said that he was a longtime customer of that particular McDonald’s as it is close to his place of employment.

“This is my main location [McDonald’s] and they know who I am there,” Benjamin told Rise News. “I went through the drive-through. I went home and the tea tasted a little bitter on the drive there.”

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Benjamin said that he has kept the cup as “evidence” and that he would be willing to take a lie detector test if asked to prove his level of truthfulness.

Rise News‘ request for comment to McDonald’s was forwarded to a public relations firm who provided a statement from the local owner and operator of the Orangeburg location in question.

“Operating a safe and clean restaurant for our customers is a top priority, and we take any complaints very seriously,” store owner Emory Main said. “When the customer returned to the restaurant the day after his purchase and brought it to our attention, our subsequent review of our equipment and operations lent no support to the customer’s allegations. We continually review our comprehensive operations to ensure our customers have the best restaurant and food experience.”

Benjamin said that he had in fact returned to the store to show the on call manager the cup.

“They offered me another tea and a free meal, which disgusted me,” Benjamin said.

“This could happen to anyone else. My family has talked to me about getting a lawyer which I may do,” Benjamin said.

Did you enjoy this story? We just launched on August 31st and are only getting started. Like our page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay in the news.

Photo Credit: Brandon Benjamin/Facebook

#OtherPeoplesPork: The Internet Reacts To Kermit’s New Girlfriend

By Jessica Gandy

The on again and off again relationship between Miss Piggy and Kermit is officially off, so who’s Kermit’s new sizzling sidepiece?

On Sept. 1, Kermit released an official statement on his current relationship status, because of rumors circulating about Kermit and a new belle.

“While I prefer to keep my personal life private, this is Hollywood, so who am I kidding? It is true that I am dating again. However, at this time no one woman – pig or otherwise—is my official ‘new girlfriend’. We are simply close friends,” Kermit said in a tweet.

Kermit broke the Internet and hearts around the world, as fans tweeted their response to his news.

 

So who is this new woman in Kermit’s life? Her name is Denise, according to People Magazine. Photos of Kermit and Denise have been circulated around the Internet over the past week. Few seem to know much about the mysterious pig, but she has caused quite the uproar- or up-oink. 

While neither Kermit, Denise, The Jim Henson Company or ABC have commented much on the issue, ABC’s promo video, featuring both characters, leads some to speculate whether or not Denise is just a publicity stunt to drum up ratings for The Muppets’ new show, similar to when Barbie and Ken’s split in 2004 was seen by some as an attempt to increase Mattel’s stock.

While some fans have not been extremely welcoming of Denise, Miss Piggy seems to have not been affected at all. Miss Piggy has been spotted with some of Hollywood’s hottest celebrities like Liam Hemsworth and Constance Wu.

Spent Friday with the most beautiful girl in the world. Kermit, #SorryNotSorry. #TheMuppets #misspiggy

A photo posted by Liam Hemsworth (@liamhemsworth) on

 

So while adding Kermit and Miss Piggy to the list of infamous celebrity break-ups, like Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston, is unfortunate, Denise could be a promising, new leading lady for Kermit in the future.

Photo Credit: ABC (Screengrab)

 

 

Miami Can’t Spell Signs Too Good

Via Rise Miami News:

File this one in the “not that much of a shock” category.

An eagle-eyed South Florida resident happened upon this misspelled street sign in south Miami-Dade County and it is pretty funny.

Rose Reeder said that she has driven past the intersection and noticed the incorrectly spelled Eurkea Drive sign for the past few weeks. The name of the road is really Eureka Drive. (As in “we found it”).

The misspelling finally bugged Reeder enough yesterday for her to stop her car and snap a few pics of the sign. She then posted it on Facebook.

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“Someone did not check like they should have,” Reeder said of the oversight. 

Reeder also said that a county employee saw her Facebook post and forwarded it the Public Works department.

We’ll let you know when (if) the county does anything about it.

See silly things happening in your part of the world? Send us a tip to editor@risenews.net and it may become a story!

H/T To BloggingBlackMiami.com

Photo Credit: Rose Reeder

Millennials Rejoice: McDonald’s Will Now Serve Breakfast All Day

By Allyn Farach

Your quest for an Egg McMuffin just got a lot easier. McDonald’s announced that it would start serving breakfast all day throughout the United States.

“All Day Breakfast is the number one request we hear from customers,” McDonald’s spokeswoman Lisa McComb said in a press statement. “In fact, More than 120,000 people tweeted McDonald’s asking for breakfast throughout the day in the past year alone. We’re excited to make this dream a reality this year.”

The program went into effect last year at select chains to test how well all day breakfast would sell. Safety issues were also considered, as issues of grill space for both breakfast and lunch menu options were tested. McDonald’s added a rolling cart for eggs to ease workers with the transition.

Some menu options were also removed from the original breakfast menu to make room for lunch options as well. The announcement comes after news that McDonald’s has been doing badly in previous quarters, which led to the closing of several McDonald’s chains across the United States.

In response to such, McDonald’s President Mike Andres told USA Today that “The turnarounds we have seen in the past, both in the U.S. and around the world, there always is a catalyst that starts the turnaround…We believe that all-day breakfast could be the next big thing.”

Cover Photo Credit: Mike Mozart/Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Hearing Begins Today For Six Officers Charged In Death Of Freddie Gray

Hearings began today in Baltimore for the six police officers charged for the arrest and death of Freddie Gray.

Gray, a 25-year-old black man, was arrested on April 12, and died one week later in police custody after suffering a fatal spinal injury.

The hearing will be the first verbal argument for a case that has spanned over five months in written motions.

Today’s arguments will focus on three motions: a call for the case to be dismissed, the state’s attorney to be recused, and whether the six officers charged will face trial together or separately.


Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., who drove the police van that Gray suffered injuries in, is charged with second-degree murder. Three other officers are charged with manslaughter: Officer William G. Porter, Sgt. Alicia D. White and Lt. Brian W. Rice. Facing lesser charges are Officers Garrett E. Miller and Edward M. Nero. All officers involved pleaded not guilty and waived their right to attend the hearing.

Attorneys representing the officers called for the dismissal of the case or the recusal of Moseby because they allege that Moseby’s office issued orders to crack down on law enforcement in the location Gray was arrested. “Mrs. Mosby herself is now an integral part of the story and as such is a central witness,” the motion reads. “In the charges relating to the initial arrest and/or detention of Mr. Gray, Mrs. Mosby herself has become essential exculpatory evidence.”

In the weeks following Gray’s death, nationwide protests occurred against police brutality and treatment of black people at the hands of the state. Protestors gathered at the steps of the courthouse in Baltimore at around 8 a.m., along with protests happening throughout cities across the country.

Twitter user @kwamerose was apparently arrested today at a Freddie Gray protest in Baltimore.

Today’s hearing will also see a call to move the hearing to a different location.

Stay with Rise News as we continue to cover this developing story. Send tips to editor@risenews.net.

Cover Photo Credit: POLICEDIVER2/Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Batman of Birmingham: The Curious Story Of Willie J. Perry

Sheila Tyson still remembers riding home with Batman.

She was a little girl then, each arm loaded with a cluster of bulging grocery bags and each foot keeping time with those of her mother and siblings as they made their customary several-mile trek home from the store on foot. But on many lucky occasions, he would pull up alongside the family in a car effervescent with strobe lights, and he would ask through an enormous, toothy grin if they all wanted to pile inside.

“Mom had to buy groceries for seven children,” Tyson, now a city councilor for Birmingham, Alabama, said. “She didn’t have a car, and we didn’t have much access to public transportation. We didn’t have much at all. But we had Batman.”

By day, he was Willie J. Perry, a Birmingham native and resident of the city’s South Titusville neighborhood and shop manager at Lakeview district window distributor J.F. Day & Company. But in the mornings and nights before and after work, he was the Batman of Birmingham, cruising the city’s streets in a souped-up 1971 Ford Thunderbird he dubbed the Rescue Ship, carrying older folks to doctor’s appointments, repairing the engines and replacing the flat tires of stranded motorists, and rolling up at kids’ birthday parties to deliver presents and trips in the Ship.

He refused all offers of payment or reimbursement for his assistance, which he provided until literally the day of his death in 1985.

“We were living in a poor, black community, and we all knew about the Batman shows on the television, but we were convinced that Willie Perry was the real Batman,” Tyson said. “He was Batman for us, and you couldn’t tell us anything else.”

Tyson was speaking to a more than 100-person crowd assembled on August 3, 2015, at Birmingham’s Old Car Heaven to celebrate Willie Perry Day, a title assigned to the date by mayor Richard Arrington in 1982 to honor Perry’s contributions to the city.

But Willie Perry Day 2015 wasn’t just any old Willie Perry Day. The Rescue Ship, recovered from a city storage unit near Birmingham International Airport after being warehoused for years, anchored the event, along with the presentation to Perry’s family of a new resolution passed by the Alabama state legislature recognizing Perry’s legacy.

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Family members, old friends, and new admirers flocked to the vehicle, snapping pictures together and swapping long-ago tales of either salvation at Perry’s hands or adventures in the passenger seat. Many folks had not seen the car since they were children, and some were looking at it for the first time.

When it came to Batmobile embellishment, Willie Perry had more of a flair for flamboyance than Bruce Wayne did. The vehicle, equal parts burgundy, white, and gold, is charming in its devotion to garish idiosyncrasy.

Stickers bearing inscriptions like “Sexy Tiffany: International Lover” and “Angela: A Mean Sex Queen” blanket the Rescue Ship’s front and rear quarter panels, displayed in honor of Perry’s nieces and friends. Bat-shaped stickers, reminiscent of the logo for the campy 1960s Batman television series, announce the Rescue Ship’s name from each door.

A spoiler juts from the trunk, and cylindrical fluorescent light fixtures stacked into tailfins run the length of the car’s rear half. Two strobe lights sit lifeless along the top edge of the windshield. Look down through the cutaway ceiling, and you’ll see a dashboard covered in orange shag carpet, as well as a toaster oven, record player, Atari 2600 game console, and PA system. A clear plastic shield at the front of the hood bears Perry’s motto: “Will Help Anyone in Distress.” When he was on duty, Perry donned a white jumpsuit with brown trim and a white motorcycle helmet with a red bat logo on each side.

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“You can’t get the full picture with it just sitting here like this. Back then, this thing was a major attraction on wheels. It had all these lights going, and loud music playing, and you could talk on the PA system to people on the sidewalk while he drove by,” Denard Jones, a nephew Perry nicknamed “Bubba,” said as he stood examining the car in which his uncle had taken him for rides when he was four years old.

According to Lee Shook, a Birmingham-native radio DJ and filmmaker who has been working throughout the past eight years on a documentary about Perry and was instrumental in locating the car and organizing the event, plans are already in motion to restore the Rescue Ship to its original, operable condition.

“There are really two potential versions of where we would like to take this restoration process,” Shook said in a phone conversation one week after the event. “There’s the pipe dream version, in the best of all possible worlds, where we would get the car fixed back to its original condition and get it running again. I want it to be going down the street turning heads again, like it did when I was a kid.

“I would love to have the documentary debut at the [annual Sidewalk Film Festival] next year with the Rescue Ship parked outside the Alabama Theatre with all the lights going and the toaster toasting, with the bat signal going up in the air to let everybody in Birmingham know that it’s there. But if we can’t do that, we at the very least want to get it running so that it can be taken to events and parades around town.”

Shook said the restoration effort will be funded primarily through private donations to a Rescue the Rescue Ship fund accessible online.

“He was a genius, and he did great all through high school. He knew he could do anything he wanted, but he decided to put all of his efforts towards helping other people instead of just advancing his own career,” Stickney said.

To hear his friends and family tell it, Perry lived to improve the lives of the people around him, with or without the Rescue Ship. In fact, according to Shook, before he was Batman, Perry adopted a Spaceman persona, cruising around on a customized motorcycle looking for ways he could lend a hand.

Judy Stickney, Perry’s niece, recalls Perry picking her up to take her to work at the Red Cross every morning and swinging by every evening to carry her back home. She was one of several single, working mothers along a circuit he traveled each day, transporting them to and from their jobs before spending the day at his own.

“He was a genius, and he did great all through high school. He knew he could do anything he wanted, but he decided to put all of his efforts towards helping other people instead of just advancing his own career,” Stickney said.

Stickney stood reminiscing with her cousin Debbie Hill, who added, “He was a quiet man, and he was a powerful man.” Hill is enshrined on the Rescue Ship with a sticker reading, “Debbie: Fine.”

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Debbie “Fine” Hill.

“Whenever I needed a ride anywhere, I knew I could call him,” Joyce Darby, Perry’s niece, said. “He’d answer that phone in his car and say, ‘Alright, I’ll be there in ten minutes.’ And if he said he was coming to get you, he was coming.”

Perry regularly spent late Friday and Saturday nights carrying home people who were too intoxicated to drive themselves back from the restaurant or bar safely, then he would get up early the next morning to drive across town to deliver rides and presents at children’s birthday parties.

“We have some archival footage of him at the parties, and you can just see the pure joy, the awe, in these children’s eyes,” Shook said. “That really brought it all back to how he made me feel when I saw him as a kid.”

One time, he paid for the hotel room of four tourists who were stranded overnight in Birmingham during a snowstorm. On another occasion, he helped thwart an attempted pharmacy robbery. The tales of Perry’s good deeds are innumerable.

“He would have been helping people with or without that car. That’s just what he did anyway. His entire life, he was always looking for ways he could help someone out,” Nicole Blount, Perry’s niece, said.

“There was still a lot of anger and resentment in both the black and white communities, and he was this real person that did everything he could to help you, white or black, rich or poor.”

But the Batman alter ego and the Rescue Ship did play a substantial role in generating interest for and recognition of Perry’s actions, making him a sort of universal symbol of selfless altruism in a Southern city less than 20 years removed from the formal end of the Civil Rights Movement.

ABC featured Perry in a 1982 episode of the network’s That’s Incredible! television program. He and the Rescue Ship headed Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s funeral procession in 1983, and Michael Jackson tracked Perry down to ask for a ride in the car when the Jacksons were in town rehearsing for their 1984 Victory tour. According to Shook, comedian Redd Foxx approached Perry’s family about purchasing the vehicle following Perry’s death in 1985.

WatchThat’s Incredible! segment on Willie Perry from 1982.

“We’re talking about barely post-Civil Rights Movement Birmingham. Segregation was still very much an awful reality,” Shook said. “There was still a lot of anger and resentment in both the black and white communities, and he was this real person that did everything he could to help you, white or black, rich or poor.”

Birmingham, along with many other cities across the state, played a critical role in the Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King, Jr., penned his eminent “Letter from Birmingham Jail” on the margins of a smuggled-in newspaper while serving an eight-day sentence there in April of 1963.

In June of the same year, Alabama Governor George Wallace made his notorious Stand in the Schoolhouse Door in an attempt to bar two black students from enrolling at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. For most of the years Perry was cruising Birmingham in the Rescue Ship, Wallace was running the state.

Wallace served two more terms as Alabama governor between 1971 and 1979 and one final term between 1983 and 1987, campaigning in 1970 with slogans like “Do you want the black bloc electing your governor?” and “Wake Up Alabama! Blacks vow to take over Alabama.” Less than 30 years after Rosa Parks had been arrested for refusing to give up her spot on a Montgomery bus, Willie Perry was tooling around Birmingham sharing his passenger seats with anyone who needed them.

“He loved everybody, no matter what your skin color was. He had an impact on everyone he met,” Darby said. “He shared his life with everybody.”

If the size and diversity of the crowd at Old Car Heaven on the night of August 3, 2015, is any indication, Perry’s legacy has similarly transcended demarcations of race, age, or socioeconomic status.

“The vehicle that he used to do so much good ultimately took his life,” Shook said. “It’s this absolutely heartbreaking chapter of the story.”

Like Bruce Wayne’s, Willie Perry’s story is one ultimately scarred by tragedy. January of 1985 was a period of uncommonly extreme cold and snowfall for the Birmingham area. The night of January 24, after braving the elements to check on Mr. Day’s mother-in-law, Perry pulled the Rescue Ship into a garage at J.F. Day & Company to work on the car.

Nobody knows for sure whether Perry closed the garage door to insulate his workspace against the invading cold or if the door closed unintentionally, but accidental carbon monoxide poisoning from the Rescue Machine’s running engine ended Perry’s life that night. He was 44 years old. Perry was later found on all fours at the garage door, as if he had been trying to lift the door to get out. According to Darby, the snowfall at the time had been so substantial that his funeral services were delayed a week until the roads had been adequately cleared for people in the city to travel safely.

“The vehicle that he used to do so much good ultimately took his life,” Shook said. “It’s this absolutely heartbreaking chapter of the story.”

A chapter, yes, but not once did any of Perry’s friends or family suggest it was the end of the story.

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Shook intends for the documentary, tentatively titled Smiles Per Gallon, to look to the future as much as the past. Much of the film’s focus will be directed toward tracking the upcoming Rescue Machine restoration process in addition to tracing the history of Perry’s time as Birmingham’s Batman.

“Since Willie is no longer alive and can no longer speak for himself, we want to have his car sort of stand in for him in this story, and we want to tell the story of the car getting restored, this story of reviving his spirit with the car, as well as through the memories of all of these people whose lives he impacted,” Shook said.

Members of Perry’s family, spearheaded by the efforts of his daughter Marquetta Hill, are creating the Willie Perry Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to providing used cars for single parents in need of transportation for work or school. Shook envisions future Willie Perry Days as communal periods of citywide service efforts.

“He truly believed that he could make the world a better place just by making the effort each day to help people. That’s a very powerful message, and it seems like it’s one you don’t see very often now,” Shook said. “And that’s what we all can learn from Willie Perry. You don’t have to have a Batmobile. You don’t have to dress up in the suit. Just do something truly good and kind, something that will help somebody for no other reason than wanting to help. Make every day a Willie Perry Day.”

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