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Higher Learning. A publication from Medium for the interested man.

Hollywood

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Movie studios and actors profit from the pain and names of political prisoners but rarely lend a hand in their fight

Courtesy of Sundance Institute. Photo: Glen Wilson

In 2018, the house in which Fred Hampton was assassinated went into foreclosure. Since then, his son, Fred Hampton Jr., who was still weeks away from being born when his father was killed in 1969, started a GoFundMe campaign to save his family’s Illinois home. By early February, “Save the Hampton House” had yet to reach its goal of $350,000. Promotion for the movie , which chronicles the events leading up to the Black Panther chairman’s death was in full bloom. …


Ending a central Black character’s life isn’t something Hollywood knows how to handle

Photo: Samir Hussein/Getty Images

Over the course of four years, actor Daniel Kaluuya has amassed a catalog of film work that has loomed large in pop culture discourse, especially among Black folks. Those movies are 2017’s , 2019’s , and this month’s .You could add 2018’s and to this list based on film quality and Kaluuya’s performance, but I want to focus on the other three because they all have one thing in common: They all featured Daniel Kaluuya playing characters who meet traumatic ends.

In ,Kaluuya’s Slim is brutally…


The antebellum series serves as a case study for properly retelling Black liberation by avoiding White messiahs

Photo: William Gray/SHOWTIME

In Hollywood, White people love casting themselves as heroes, historical accuracy be damned. You’ve seen the trope before: the White saviors in film and television who, in one way or another, always manage to swoop in and save the day, uplifting (or outright liberating) Black folks left and right. How rewarding it must feel to watch characters who are so… redeemable. …


The new standards will do little to solve #OscarsSoWhite

Photo: Genaro Molina/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences joined the growing list of organizations that have finally caved and established a comprehensive inclusion program. As an extension of its Academy Aperture 2025 initiative, the Academy announced new criteria for submission in the Oscars’ best picture category, including requirements for casting, story content, crew personnel, and publicity, all of which reflect people underrepresented based on race, sexuality, gender, and ability. The policy change makes for great PR. But if you tilt your ear toward Hollywood, that sound you hear is the high-pitched squeal of air exiting the teensiest hole…


This year just continues to take, take, and take. And just when you think something’s gotta give, 2020 takes some more. On Friday, the world collectively mourned once again, this time following the death of Chadwick Boseman, who…


Master Class

The ‘Insecure’ showrunner shares his keys to success

Photo illustration. Source: Getty / Bonchai Wedmakawand / Emma McIntyre / Staff

Writer, producer, and director Prentice Penny has spent his entire career making the best out of every situation — even though his break was a pretty damn good one.

Penny, 45, cut his teeth in the writers’ room of , an archetype of network sitcom longevity in the 2000s. He didn’t take being surrounded by other Black creatives for granted, especially after the Writers Guild of America strike that crippled the 2007–08 television season became a death knell for Black shows like the aforementioned. …

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