Last Thursday I had the honor of attending Macy’s DC 2013 Black History Month Celebration, honoring the life work and celebrating 100 years of photographer/film maker Gordon Parks with the American Black Film Festival.
This was one of those events I’m glad I did not miss. The setup was lovely with the beautifully soulful sounds of The Chelsey Green Project as guests arrived. This album is being added to my collection ASAP! She and her band are the bomb and she can do some amazing things with that violin. We were served ho’r derves and wine throughout the evening. The wine was courtesy of Esterlina Vineyards of California. This is the only black owned vineyard in the valleys of California, check them out.
When my sister IChooseTheSun and I arrived at Macy’s, Mr. Parks work was displayed throughout the main level of the store.
But his story of dedication, hardwork, and resilience rang out through the crowd. And oh there was a crowd!
Once the panel discussion began there was standing room only. The panel was introduced and moderated by the lovely Jummy Olabanji of ABC7. The evening’s panel consisted of actor Malik Yoba, award winning cinematographer/film maker Hans Charles, and award winning writer/film director Cole Wiley.
These gentlemen expressed what Gordon Parks meant to them as individuals and their careers. They discussed a man with a vision who took charge of his destiny. A black man who came from nothing, yet made the world see through his eyes. Gordon Parks became the first African American staff photographer for LIFE Magazine in 1948 and the first major african american film director in Hollywood for “The Learning Tree” in 1969. But for those of you that didn’t know Mr. Parks by those accomplishments, we all know him for being the creative force behind the 1971 film “Shaft”.
Per the panel discussion African Americans have come a long way in the film industry. On screen and even making their way to the executive offices behind the scenes. But there is still more work to be done. We all play a role in how much further we go as a people. We can stay complacent in where we are or we can strive for greatness. We have greatness in black film! Although it has not become a priority within the film industry, we as a people have to be willing to support it. The question was raised, “What does black film mean to you?” Wether defined yet or not, are you willing to support it? I know I am! Let’s keep the legacy going and support our black films, writers, and directors. Thank you Gordon Parks for paving the way and Macy’s for this extraordinary event!!
Checkout my sister’s IChooseTheSun post inclusive of a storify recap of our live coverage.
I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere provided me with compensation for this post about Macy’s Black History Month. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.