Album Review: Spilligion by Spillage Village


Album: Spilligion
Artist: Spillage Village
Release Date: September 25, 2020
Label: Dreamville | Interscope | SinceThe80s
Favorite Tracks:

  • Psalm Sing
  • Ea’alah (Family)
  • Mecca
  • End of Daze
  • Hapi
  • Jupiter

Thoughts:

Spillage Village is a hip hop musical collective based in Atlanta, Georgia.  I am no expert on hip hop, but I find these days that when I really like something it comes from the Atlanta and Southern scene. The album was born of the COVID-19 lockdown with members of Spillage Village living at the studio as a safe place.  Naturally, the album reflects the concerns of the time as greater inequality and social justice concerns.  But is is also an album that is full of hope and joy.  In addition to rap, the album reflects a wide variety of musical styles including soul, funk, and gospel.  It serves as a perfect time capsule and a message of hope from this cursed year.

Rating: ****

 

Georgia Senate Runoff Elections – How YOU Can Help!


The great state of Georgia – a place known for its tasty food, fantastic musicians and bands, and legendary Civil Rights leaders – is now also a state that played a key role in electing Joe Biden as President and repudiating the cruel and corrupt Trump administration. But the election is not over in Georgia! Both the regular Senate election and a special Senate election held on November 3rd ended with no clear majority. And so there will be TWO runoff elections on January 5, 2021.

If the stakes weren’t high enough, the United States senate is hanging in the balance. If both Democratic candidates win their Senate runoff elections the Democratic Party and the Republican Party will each have 50 Senators each. Vice President Kamala Harris will the tiebreaker on any votes that go 50-50. So it is absolutely crucial that anyone who cares about COVID-19 relief, healthcare, climate change, the rights of Black people and immigrants, and other progressive issues to focus on helping the Democratic candidates win their elections in the Georgia Senate runoffs.

If you live in Georgia, and you will be 18-years-old or older on January 5, 2021, make sure to register to vote or confirm your registration by December 7, 2020. Make sure you have the proper ID, and if you’re not sure Spread the Vote can help you out. You may request an absentee ballot starting November 18, 2020, and early voting will begin on December 14, 2020. More information will be available at Georgia’s My Voter Page.

Regardless where you live you can support the two Democratic candidates with donations directly and sign up to volunteer at their web pages:

There are also several grassroots groups organizing voters within Georgia who can use donations and volunteers to help bring about Democratic victories:

Additionally, They See Blue Georgia created a spreadsheet of BIPOC-led voter outreach organizations in Georgia. And there is a presentation, Volunteering for Georgia’s US Senate runoffs on Jan 5, 2021, with a whole lot more information.

UPDATED DECEMBER 3, 2020

#WinBothSeats allows you to make a single donation that will be strategically split among 16 BIPOC-lead organizations.

The Civics Center is also organizing a campaign to send postcards to young people in Georgia encouraging them to register for the first time to get out the vote.

Another postcard campaign from Postcards to Swing Voters more specifically encourages Georgians to vote for Warnock and Ossoff.

Please share this post widely on your social networks. If you know of any other resources to help people participate in this election, please let me know and I’ll update this post.

Movie Review: The Hate U Give (2018)


Title: The Hate U Give
Release Date: October 5, 2018
Director: George Tillman Jr.
Production Company: Fox 2000 Pictures | Temple Hill Entertainment | State Street Pictures
Summary/Review:

This movie, based on a young adult novel by Angie Thomas, addresses the issues of police violence and systemic racism through the story of a 16-year-girl Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg).  Starr lives in the fictional low-income, Black majority neighborhood of Garden Heights (the film never specifically states where it takes place, but is was filmed in the Atlanta area), but attends an elite private school in a nearby town. Starr reflects on the dual identity she feels from having to behave in different ways at home and at school.

While at a party, Starr meets a childhood friend (and sometimes crush) she hasn’t seen in a long time, Khalil (Algee Smith).  Khalil drives her home and on the way they are pulled over by the police.  The situation escalates and the police officer shoots Khalil dead. As the only witness, Starr is faced with speaking out for Khalil at the risk of retribution from the police, the disruption of her school life, and angering the local drug kinpin (Anthony Mackie), for whom Khalil had worked as a dealer.

The familiar story of police violence we’ve seen through all too many news cycles – protests, failure to indict the police, violence – ensues, but told through Starr’s point of view it becomes a deeply personal story.  The movie benefits from Stenberg’s absolutely stellar performance as Starr. It is also is willing to eschew a cut and dry narrative for real-life complications.  For example, Starr’s father, Maverick (Russell Hornsby) is advocates for his children to confront racism head on, teaching them to learn the Black Panther Party Ten-Point Program.  Her mother, Lisa (Regina Hall) wants the children to focus on education and avoid conflict.  Both parents are able to air their views but continue to be a very loving couple. Starr’s Uncle Carlos (Common), a police detective, shows how even Black police officers internalize systemic racism.

The movie also excels in the fact that while Starr is in the middle of this crisis, her ordinary teenage school life goes with things like attending prom.  Starr must contend with her white classmates using a protest for justice for Khalil merely as an excuse to skip class, and the fragmentation of her relationship with her closest white friend, Hailey (Sabrina Carpenter).  Her white boyfriend, Chris (K.J. Apa), initially offers clueless race-blind platitudes, but grows to become a supportive ally.

This is a movie well worth watching, not just because it speaks to our times, but because it offers a very human – and ultimately hopeful – story.

Rating: ****