The Cosmopolitan Review: August 24 - August 30
Yvonne Delaney Mitchell | 8/24/2017, 12:54 p.m.
One day hot and sunny; the next cloudy and rainy. And so it goes. Regardless of the weather, you can’t keep a good girl down. Cloudy days on Martha’s Vineyard are just as much fun as heading for the beach. Heaven forbid it actually gives you a chance to slow down, catch up on some reading or go visiting. For a die-hard beach comber like myself, a few clouds didn’t stop me from dragging the crew to the nearby Joseph Sylvia State Beach, where we all sat close and listened to the waves, and when it did begin to drizzle, we snuggled up under the umbrella to stay dry.
The AKA Sorority gathered at, or should I say took over, the Inkwell with a conclave of members from near and far. It was a beautiful sea of pink and green, and even if you were a male or non-member, you were welcomed. Music was provided by a DJ, the sun was shining and everyone had a blast. Among those present were LaVerne Flowers, Sylvia Sandrich, Doris Connors, Karen Selsey and others too AKA to mention.
An advance screening of award-winning documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson’s “Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities” was shown at the Strand Theatre, Oak Bluffs to a [sold-out crowd]. This film examines the impact historically Black colleges and universities have had on American history, culture and national identity. Although Nelson has become a household name, he continues to amaze with his in-depth insight and perspective on matters that define Black culture in America. True artists can convey messages through their media that educate on a whole and motivate individually to help one find a place in society.
The continuity in Nelson’s documentary filmmaking process is a testament to his dedication and commitment to truthfully detailing the Black American experience. His first noted film was “Two Dollars and a Dream,” the biography of Madame C.J. Walker, the first self-made African-American female millionaire, released in 1989. It would be another 10 years before the Emmy-nominated “The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords,” a sweeping portrait of over a century of independent black journalism, was released in 1999.
Following his dream and his talent to make historical films that could advance contemporary social justice causes, the next year, 2000, Nelson, and his wife, Marcia A. Smith, founded the nonprofit production company Firelight Media. In 2001, Firelight Media produced “Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind.” This moving account of the life of the controversial early 20th century Black nationalist was also written and directed by Nelson, as was the 2003 documentary, “The Murder of Emmett Till.” Here Nelson gives a pictorial account of the brutal killing of a 14-year-old African-American boy in Mississippi in 1955. As horrific as it was, the murder of Till was an event that had galvanized the Civil Rights Movement. The film, which uncovered new eyewitnesses to the crime, helped to prompt the U.S. Department of Justice to reopen the case.