2020 #ColorBrave Summer
Dr. Wust-Smith's recommendations for some summer fun: family-friendly, racially important movies to watch together on your own outdoor "big screen." It's never too early to talk to your kids about race.
Having unexpected time together as a family will go down in history as COVID19's legacy. We have had our young adult offspring home from college attending Zoom University, our high school students expressing boredom from being cooped up in the usual sanctuary-like privacy of their bedrooms, our fur-babies wondering why their day-time nap routines are all messed up, and our littlest ones spending unprecedented time in the kitchen helping to prepare food for themselves and other siblings...all while parents try to attend to all of their work and home obligations. Meanwhile, grandparents have been stuck in their own homes, afraid of becoming ill with coronavirus, but suffering the depressing effects of having to socially isolate themselves from their families.
Now that its summer, we encourage physician and non-physician families alike to take advantage of everything that the great outdoors has to offer...in your own backyard!!
Easy-to-use, quality affordable projectors and bluetooth sound systems let you stream movies right from your phone or laptop onto the big screen of your choice. At our house we use a vintage (ie, no longer available) inflatable Mickey Mouse screen, but you don't have to get fancy--you can project on to the side of your house or even onto a sheet hung up between two tree branches!
We encourage you to set up a tradition of Movie Nights where everyone turns in their personal electronics and you make memories by watching movies together as a family. If you have enough space AND if the weather permits, set up a makeshift outdoor viewing space where grandparents, neighbors and a few friends could join you (keep groups under 20).Set up chairs/blankets appropriately distanced from one another (especially important for those from different households). Make things fun by providing outside guests with decorated masks for them to wear at your concession stand...we want you to pass the popcorn and the candy, not the COVID crud!
Following are some recommendations for movies that will inspire families to learn about history, diversity, disparities, amazing accomplishments, the arts and the future.
#StayAtHome, #ShelterInPlace, but make it a little more color-ful and fun.
If you need a projector, check out this ViViMAGE Explore 2 for only $139 on Amazon Prime ($227.99 with screen and Apple AV adaptor).
The Princess and the Frog
Set in New Orleans-set, The Princess and the Frog (2009, 97 minutes) tells the story of Tiana who finds true love when she kisses an enchanted frog. Tiana is a hardworking, resourceful young lady who is a great role model for girls. In marked contrast to most Disney princess stories, Tiana does not need a man to rescue her. There are some scary scenes for the youngest.
The Lion King Trilogy
How many of you have watched all 3 Lion King movies?
Lion King is Disneys most popular animated musical. It is a beautiful story of the importance of family, responsibility, hope and love. Lion King 1 ½ is a light-hearted funny “inter” -quel that has lots of bathroom humor that both the children and adults (especially dads) seem to love. The 2019 Lion King film remake is so realistic that it’s easy to forget that the characters are computer-generated “lion doubles.” Prepare for some violent, scary and sad scenes (stampeding wildebeests, Scar’s plot to kill his brother Mufasa), but the soundtrack and values imparted make up for any tears. For some teachable moments that reinforce the importance of black actors, be sure to showcase the voices of the actors in both films (in the original film, only a third of the actors were actors of color: Niketa Calame-Harris as the voice of young Nala, Whoopie Goldberg as the voice of Shenzi, Robert Guillame as the void of Rafiki, James Earl Jones as Mufasa and Madge Sinclair as Serabi). (need to remove comma , after James Earl Jones and to put ) at end of Serabi).
In 2019, the cast of 20 is overwhelmingly of African descent and includes Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, John Kani as Rafiki, Alfre Woodard as Sarabi, JD McCrary as young Simba, Shahadi Wright Joseph as young Nala, Penny Johnson Jerald as Sarafina, Keegan-Michael Key as Kamari, Eric Andre as Azizi, Florence Ksumba as Shenzi, Chance the Rapper as Bush Baby, Phil La Marr as Impala, J Lee as Hyena, Donald Glover as Simba and Beyoncé as Nala.
It is culturally important for a movie set in the Pride Lands of Kenya and Tanzania to use actors of appropriate heritage.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019) tells the true story of a young teenage boy from a small village in Africa, who creates a device that prevents farm land from getting ruined after flooding ruined their grain fields. The movie sparks curiosity, reminds viewers of the importance to be courageous, have integrity and persevere.
American Son is a Netflix original movie adaptation of the play by the same name which stars the very talented wonderful original Broadway cast. Written by Christopher Demos-Brown, American Son tells the story of the interactions between an estranged biracial couple (played by Kerry Washington and Steven Pasquale) who reunite in a Florida police station on a very stormy night when their teenage son unexpectedly does not return home. Also starring are a rookie police officer (Jeremy Jordan) and an older lieutenant (Eugene Lee). It is most appropriate for mature tweens and teens to watch along with their parents. It is this play/movie that began my transformation from a “Color Coward” to becoming #ColorBrave.
Queen of Katwe
The Queen of Katwe (released in 2016) tells the true story of a Ugandan homeless girl from the slums who becomes a chess champion. It is an entertaining drama best for tween girls (younger children may become upset by some of the scenes and characters). The movie exemplifies the importance of teamwork and perseverance, as well as demonstrating the values of integrity, empathy and humility.
Hidden Figures is based on the true story of 3 women of color who were brilliant mathematicians. They worked at NASA at the Langley Research Center in the 1950s and 1960s and were integral in helping to launch the manned spaceflight program. Despite living and working in a very racist and segregated Virginia, these three women (who were engineers and literal “computers”) thrived and persevered. They are excellent role models for children of ALL ages and races, but of immense importance to young black girls, who can catch a glimpse of themselves in the early scenes of the movie. The film does a great job portraying the racial tensions of the Civil Rights era (segregated schools, libraries, bathrooms).
“Selma” follows the events leading up to the civil rights march organized by Martin Luther King Jr. and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference to campaign for voters’ rights.Set in 1965, this movie is best suited for children (tweens/teens) and adults with good attention spans, and tolerance for “old” movies. The movie explains how each group in the march campaigned for different issues that discriminated against blacks in the segregated South. There are many disturbing scenes of race-based violence, even against non-violent protesters. Some protestors are killed, including innocent children who are blown up in a church. Selma is a powerful, educational drama that parents are encouraged to watch with their mature tweens and teens after the little ones have gone to sleep.