By Cash Michaels
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, “OBAMA IN NC” - Before I get into the rough stuff of this week’s column, let me first say “Happy Birthday” to my award winning film, “Obama in NC: The Path to History.”
It was Saturday, January 16, 2010 when, thanks to the sponsorship of YWCA Greater Triangle in Raleigh, and the Raleigh/Wake Martin Luther King Celebration Committee, the film premiered at the Hargett Street YWCA. With a jammed-packed house and a makeshift movie screen (the back of a large Y banner), the film rolled, and d I can’t tell you how excited, and pleased I was.
Needless to say, the standing ovation at the end (the first of many) told me that the year it took of hard work and toil in putting the film together was well, well worth it.
Since then the film has been seen not only all over the state, but many parts of the nation, and indeed, in Cannes, France last April for the MIPDOC Conference.
Hundreds of people have since ordered the DVD, and for the New Year, the film is already booked for NC State on January 25th, and at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Durham on Wednesday, Feb. 9th.
But there’s more.
This year, the film has been entered in two high profile film festivals - the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham (among the top film festivals in the nation) and the Brooklyn Film Festival in my hometown of Brooklyn, NY.
Entering Full Frame (which I wanted to do last year but was too late in finishing the film to do so) is self-explanation. If they actually select the film for competition in April, that would be an honor just to be considered among the world’s best.
I also chose the Brooklyn Film Fest because I wanted to proudly and officially take my work home so that family, friends and colleagues there could proudly see it on the big screen there.
Now I won’t know from either festival whether or not “Obama in NC: The Path to History” has been selected for competition until March. When I get word, one way or another, I’ll let you know.
So Happy Birthday, “Obama in NC.” With the exception of my family, it’s perhaps the best thing I’ve done ever. If you didn’t get to see it in 2010, see it this year. We’re still lining up free screenings at churches and community centers, and the DVD is still available online at www.ObamaInNC.com.
This film has touched a lot of people since it was born. I hope you get to see it this year.
MOM - Next week, on Jan. 19, will be the second anniversary of my mother’s death. One of the last things I did on December 31, 2010, was visit her grave and talk with her.
Yes, I said “with.”
Last Sunday, I took my youngest daughter, KaLa, to see and speak to her Grandma for the first of many times this year.
All that is good about me I attribute to that beautiful, strong, courageous and determine woman of GOD, so she’ll NEVER be forgotten in my heart.
Thank you, Mom. Stay with me.
NEW BLOG - This week, unexpectedly, I did something I’d been thinking of for a long time. I started a blog.
It’s called “The Cash Roc (http://thecashroc.blogspot.com/2011/01/cash-roc-begins.html). Even though I have a Facebook page (who doesn’t?), I still wanted to be able to have my own site where I can have a conversation with my readers, listeners to my weekly radio program “Make it Happen” on Power 750 WAUG-AM and www.Power 750.com (Thursdays at 4 p.m.), and also those who follow my films.
Why call it “The Cash Roc?” Well, they wouldn’t let me take The Cash Rock, which I originally intended, so I did the next best thing.
And what does “The Cash Roc” mean? Well many, many eons ago when I was a skinny teenager in Brooklyn, NY (YES, I was once a SKINNY teenager on THIS planet, believe it or not), I partied with my friends every weekend. Needless to say, I danced.
And needless to say, I was always needled about my dance, because I rarely took a step, but rather kinda did the Aretha Franklin “Rock Steady” move all the time.
Well, after a while, my friends would tease me on the dance floor, and ask me what in the world was I doing.
So I told them. I was doing “The Cash Rock.”
After a while, a number of them began to realize it move was cool, and they, to my amazement, started doing the “Cash Rock” too, and loved it! Kinda nice when your friends have fun doing a dance named after you.
Now I wish I could sit here and tell you that “The Cash Rock” was the rage all over New York and the nation, but it wasn’t. And I’m pretty certain once I moved from Brooklyn to North Carolina in 1981, no one ever did “The Cash Rock” again.
So, after all these years, when I finally decided to be the last human being in all the world to have his own blog (which surprised many people), and needed a catchy name for it, that was the first pithy thing I could come up with.
So let’s see what happens.
One thing I’ve always wanted for sure, is my own place to break news I did that on Facebook a lot (and still do), but FB has lots of limitations and hoops. Now I have my own blog to break news on, and I can link over to my Facebook page to send folks over for the full story.
That’s cool in my book, especially since I can also link video, photos and audio as well.
So bookmark my blog, “The Cash Roc.” As if I needed something else to further get me in trouble!
LEADERSHIP - The Tucson tragedy has saddened this nation. The wonton massacre of six innocence people - including a nine-year-old little girl - and the wounding of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords [D-AZ], was a frightening, vicious act of cowardice that left many, including myself, “Why?”
Despite the horror, there have been several bright spots. The fact that Rep. Giffords is still alive after having been shot through the head, and is expected to live after receiving excellent care from her surgeons.
The courage and bravery of David Hernandez, a 20-year-old intern who worked for Rep. Giffords, who ran towards her during the shooting, stopped the bleeding from her skull, and cradled her and kept her from going into shock.
That young Latino man saved her life under fire, at the risk of his own.
And finally, the president of the United States.
From the moment a stunned nation watched the news with horror of the mass shooting at an Arizona supermarket, Pres. Obama quietly, but firmly led us through it.
On Saturday, he spoke to the nation with words of both condolence and comfort, paying tribute to his friend “Gabby” Giffords, and urging the country to keep her, and all touched by the violence, in their prayers.
On Monday, Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama led the nation in a moment of silence in memory of the six citizens - which also included a federal judge - who were murdered by the crazed gunman.
And on Wednesday in Arizona, Pres. Obama, once again, led the nation with enlightened words of hope, wisdom and tribute, urging all of us to learn from this horrific event, unite, and try harder to be a better nation.
Many times of the past two years I’ve chided the president for not adequately connecting with the American people in times of challenge. Many have interpreted this “coolness” on the part of Obama as his being detached, or not caring. I’ve always known that is clearly not the case. This man cares deeply for the nation he leads. He cares deeply for all of its people. He just, many times, doesn’t emote in the manner that we’ve come to expect from previous presidents. It disheartens his supporters who look for the same fiery spirit, and ability to move people that candidate Obama displayed frequently.
But during this tragedy, and at this moment, the president has found himself, and has struck the right, dignified tone.
The tone of a leader. He spoke to the moment.
And in doing so, he has made us all proud.
Thank you, Mr. President.
SICKENING - Let’s be clear, the alleged gunman in the Tucson tragedy, based on all that we’re hearing plus that weird picture, is a definite mental case. If convicted, he will be legally, and solely, held directly responsible for the shooting of 20 people at the Safeway Supermarket in Arizona last weekend.
A mass shooting that claimed six lives, and severely wounded, among others, a United States congresswoman.
So we’re straight, he allegedly pulled the trigger.
But what there can also be no doubt about is the toxic, destructive, anti-government and hate-filled atmosphere that has been created in this nation, by the Tea Party and Republican Party, has made it apparent for some time that something was going to happen, and it wasn’t going to be pretty.
Indeed, we always thought that it would be President Obama that would be on the business end of this “get your gun” rhetoric that the right-wing propagated as they hatefully painted the nation’s first black president as a socialist, a Muslim terrorist, and an Adolf Hitler who was never born here who wants to take away our guns and kill your Grandma.
That garbage certainly pushed people over the edge, as we saw at town hall meeting after town hall meeting where people brought guns, and threatened congresspeople at the top of their lungs.
Here in the community, we were all saying, “Now if it were black people promoting all of this violence, you know they wouldn’t stand for this!” So we couldn’t figure out why the Tea Party was getting away with it.
What struck me was that given the hot button gun rhetoric of the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, Rep. Michele Bachmann, US Senate candidate Sharon Angle and now Congressman Allen West, if was almost as they wanted something to happen just to prove that their movement was kidding.
You see, there’s something we’re forgetting in the whole Tucson shooting event, and that’s the large number of reports we got about the number of people, with guns, who had openly threatened the president, and had been arrested.
And those are just the ones we know about.
So while we don’t yet have evidence that the alleged murderer in the Tucson tragedy took in any of the Tea party pro-gun madness, we do know the plenty of other crazies were stopped, and did have political murder on their minds.
We know because they were stopped.
And we also know that this president has had more threats against his life than any other in history.
Let’s stop fooling ourselves as to why.
And make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at www.Power750.com.
Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association, by Cash Michaels, honored this year as well by NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian your life. Bye, bye.