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Prior to moving to Philadelphia, I made the acquaintance of Craig Johnston, my next door neighbor while I was living in New Jersey. Although I had moved to Philly, I had a client in Jersey, which meant I had to commute weekly back and forth. On one occasion while in Jersey, preparing to drive back to Philly, Craig and I decided to grab dinner and catch up.

At some point while living next door to each other, I mentioned to Craig that I worked in video and he mentioned to me that he was from South Africa. Both of these revelations came into play at our dinner. Now, I’ve known Craig for about eight years, but at our dinner, out of the blue, he preceded to tell me stories about his youth in South Africa during the era of apartheid that had my jaw hanging open. He told me about how all South African youth are obligated to serve some time in the military and he told me about some of the things he saw perpetrated on the black population in the townships. Of course, I was aware of the apartheid oppression, but Craig’s stories were detailed and specific, which made it all the more astonishing.

Then he told me about a radio station called Capital 604. He told me how, despite the overwhelming censorship of the South African government and the propaganda the government was disseminating over the SABC airwaves, Capital 604 was able to rise to cult status by broadcasting the truth, playing the music that was banned, telling the truth about the oppression of the black population and thereby playing a part in the groundswell that led to the demise of apartheid and the democratic election of Nelson Mandela, who listened to Capital 604 from his Robben island cell. Craig informed me that he had all the archival footage and contact info of many of the people who worked at Capital 604 (visit the Capital 604¬†Facebook page). He asked me if I thought that would make a good documentary. I said, “Hell, yes.”

That dinner took place not too long prior to the death of Mr. Mandela. From that time, Craig and I went back and forth on how to go about getting the idea started. And then we decided, despite the well-known adage that you never spend your own money, why not either fly to South Africa and get some interviews or fly one of the guys out here? Well, our schedules at the time dictated that we couldn’t fly to SA, as well as it being somewhat cost-prohibitive. Alternately, we decided to invite Mr. Anthony Duke, former Capital 604 program director out to Philadelphia; Craig paid for his flight, I paid for his hotel, Craig drove down to Philly from Jersey, I gathered up all my video equipment, set everything up in the hotel room and got an interview for the ages. Anthony was understandably jet lagged from his 20 hour flight to New York’s JFK International airport, then a four hour drive down to Philadelphia, but he gave us a great interview.

This trailer is just a sample of the story we hope to tell by way of a full-length documentary feature. It’s the story of a few men and women who wanted to be liberated from the censorship of the South African government, who felt that apartheid was wrong, and who realized that the general public had a right to know what was going on under their very noses. As we speak, Anthony Duke is visiting friends and acquaintances here in the U.S. who may be able to help get this off the ground. The trailer is rudimentary and much of the footage is borrowed. Again, it’s our hope we’ll raise the “capital” (no pun intended) which will allow us to acquire all the footage we need, hire the staff we need and move forward to launch this important story.

Please take a look, leave your feedback, your suggestions, your recommendations, your referrals. It is all greatly appreciated!

Radio Yogi

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Stephanie Gaines-Bryant, radio host and yoga instructor

Here’s a web promo I completed for a good friend who’s starting a new fitness business in the greater D.C. area. Check out her website, RADIO YOGI.

DRIZZLES: Obama Goes Between Two Ferns; “Lincoln Wouldn’t Have Done It.”

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This is amazing. Let’s see if I got this right. Obama is a politician. He sold the ACA on the caveat that young people have to sign up. Not as many young people sign up as expected. Conservatives complain. Obama goes to where the young people are (this fake talk show) as a clever marketing ploy to grab more young people. Conservatives complain. It goes to show you that conservatives and some of the mainstream media are completely out of touch and simply want Obama to fail because nothing he does is ever right.

As for O’Reilly…I was listening to the Afronerd show on Blogtalk Radio last night and Sergio Mims of IndieWire’s Shadow And Act called in, calling O’Reilly a fraud. O’Reilly’s not a fraud. I believe a fraud is someone who KNOWS he’s peddling horseshit. I think O’Reilly really believes what he’s saying, unlike say, Palin, Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Coulter or D’Souza. Either that or O’Reilly is an Oscar caliber actor, bar none. I watch how passionate Mr. WE’LL DO IT LIVE!!!! interrupts his guests, like Obama’s pre-Superbowl interview a couple years ago and how he passionately interrupted Jarrett a number of times during that interview. And we know O’Reilly is not stupid. He’s IGNORANT, as is evinced in his calling Common and Kanye West “gangsta rappers.” That’s ignorance, not stupidity. Like I say, this is a man who went to Sylvia’s in Harlem with Al Sharpton and made comments like, “it wasn’t as bad as I thought” or “everyone was well-behaved.” It’s stuff like that, that he could say that with a straight face, without any hint of irony or sarcasm, that convinces me this is one guy who believes everything he’s saying, even when he’s wrong.
We’ve seen presidents wiretap hotel rooms, get blowjobs in the Oval Office, have numerous affairs with celebrities, throw up in the laps of foreign ministers, and yet Obama cleverly goes after a specific demographic to bolster a necessary federal program and THIS is what they say is debasing the presidency??!! Yet, it’s OK for Mitt Romney to go into a black neighborhood in Jacksonville, make a “bling-bling” comment, that’s all right. Or it’s OK for Rand Paul to go and speak condescendingly to the student body of an HBCU. Neither of these two characters are president, but one was running for the presidency at the time and the other is a frontrunner for the 2016 campaign. First and foremost, they’re BOTH politicians. And at the end of the day, Obama is a politician. And for the most part, a smart one. Everybody else needs to get over it.

DRIZZLES – “My Dinner With Right Wing Andre”



So this afternoon, I was at Booth’s Corner, southeast Pennsylvania’s premier indoor farmer’s market/food emporium/Amish enclave, sitting at the counter of TJ’s Grill & Chill, waiting to munch on my weekly guilty pleasure, namely the best chili dog in Delaware County (they mix the chili with Sugar Ray’s BBQ sauce, but don’t tell anyone). Booth’s Corner is only open Fridays and Saturdays and in two years, I’ve missed my hotdog maybe only twice, three times tops.

This afternoon, seated to my right was an elderly Caucasian couple. My hotdog arrived and I politely asked the wife who was seated directly next to me if she could kindly pass the ketchup and onions. She obliged me and asked if I wanted the relish. I declined and thanked them. The owner of TJ’s, who knows me well (like I said, I’ve been going there for two years, plus, he’s a Colts fan) struck up a conversation with me about the umpteenth blizzard that’s set to hit the east coast this week. I responded with a weary smile, “What can you do?”

That’s when the kindly old lady who handed me the onions and ketchup piped up with, “Well, they keep talking about global warming and I heard that the leader of Greenpeace says it’s all a political scam. Politicians want to control the energy in this country. I saw it on TV just the other night.” Although she was still a charming little old lady, her voice had acquired a decided edge. I responded benignly, ” What about the fact that a majority of scientists agree that climate change is real?” To which she responded with a real diatribe: “Well, it’s a conspiracy for them to make money off us and I’m tired of it! They need to take that money and put it to good use. Help our veterans, give THEM the money!” The husband, who was far more feeble looking, also chimed in, “Wounded veterans,” which was met by a resounding, “Yeah!” from the wife.

Of course, anyone who peruses my Facebook wall knows I support our troops, both currently serving and retired. So I replied, “I’d like to think this country could do both. Fight climate change AND take care of our veterans.” She said, “Well, we’ve raised seven kids and back then, we didn’t have all the regulations we got today, you know, seat belts, helmets and the like, and we turned out just fine!”

I retorted, ” You’re right. BUT, why not just err on the side of caution?”

“Well, our kids are grown and they’re doing OK!”

“Right, but in the case of climate change, my kid is seven and I want HIM to have at least a twenty year lifespan!”

The wife continued, “Like I said, Greenpeace is denying all this climate change! None of the carbons we put in the air is really having any effect!”

It was then that it hit me. Part of me knew the answer to the question I was about to ask, but I was hoping I was wrong because I don’t like to feed into stereotypes. The question?

“What program did you hear that?”

Somewhat reticently, she turned away and uttered, “Well, I know you won’t like it.” She didn’t have to say another word. In the microsecond before she supplied the answer, I thought, maybe she didn’t say that just now simply because I’m black, maybe she said that because I’m espousing a center-left view. I mean, just as I don’t like feeding into stereotypes, I hope she doesn’t feed into them either. She continued. “Fox News.”

I stifled back a smirk that would’ve telegraphed my thought, why am I not surprised? Then, to add insult to injury, she added, “Saw it on Sean Hannity.”
Oh, God, I thought. At that point, I felt I had to address her statement proclaiming how I wouldn’t like her answer. I don’t know why, but I had to. I responded, “Well, I’m very familiar with Sean Hannity. I used to listen to his radio show consistently, along with Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Monica Crowley and Mark Levin.” Then my sarcastic smirk pummeled it’s way through my lips. “But I just had to stop at a certain point!” It was my way of disavowing her of the notion that if she thought I hated Fox News simply because I’m black…hmm, well, she’s right.

No, no, that’s not true! It’s not. There are plenty black people who watch Fox, I’m sure, and that’s fine. We’re not a monolithic, homogenous Borg mind pining away for the left, and that’s kind of a good thing. But this brother here watches Fox News only in the same way a jaguar watches a capybara on the Serengeti plains, so that he can pounce on it and devour it alive.

Anyway, after I made my statement, there was, what we call in the film biz, a pregnant pause. There was silence. I cannot recollect how, or even if the conversation continued from there, but I recall them finishing their meal and we exchanged genuinely pleasant “goodbyes” and “have-a-nice-days.”
But the conversation continued between the owner and me, and my veneer of pleasantry eroded.

“I mean, I don’t know, I’m in my late forties and I don’t ever recall seeing six inches of snow in Atlanta before,” making my point that I believe in climate change, not caring if the snowfall amount I stated was correct. “I don’t recall hearing about lower Manhattan subways flooding out during hurricanes like Sandy. And then there’s the Arctic shelf, where we see ice plunging into the ocean!”

He nodded politely and made the comment that some believe this is simply a natural climate cycle, that rather than attempt to measure if we’re experiencing climate change by studying the last twelve years, we need to study the last 200 years; well, maybe he has a point. But he also said that this is one hell of a cycle, so it may not matter who’s right or wrong, we’re still all in trouble.

To which I employed the strategy of the husband of the elderly couple, and just kept my mouth shut. Well, open enough only to chew my hotdog.

P.S.: Click here to read an article I found interesting in researching the wife’s assertion of what Sean Hannity reported in regards to Greenpeace.

DRIZZLES: Revisiting Man Of Steel on Blu-Ray

I watched Man Of Steel on Blu-Ray last night. In my original review, I gave the film 3.5 reels out of five, but wow, I don’t know if the home viewing experience tainted me or if seeing it a third time resulted in viewing fatigue, but I had far more problems with it than before. The word that kept coming to mind was “dreary.” Way too weighty for a Superman film. And far too much violence and destruction. What kind of a world do we live in where I have to think twice about letting my seven year old watch a Superman movie? Again, I don’t know if it was the smaller confines of a 46″ flatscreen vs. the theater screen, but the wanton destruction by the hands of Superman was far more off-putting on this viewing. And so many plotholes in regards to Superman’s secret identity that I must have simply overlooked before, but they’re gaping. If this were any other superhero character, I would drop the 3.5 down to two, but for those who read my original review, you know I’m biased when it comes to Superman onscreen, so as a result, I’m yanking just a half reel. 3/5 reels