Sunday, January 31, 2010
By: Rev. W. Jeffrey Campbell, Houston, TX
On Friday night while attending the African American State of Emergency Task Force (SOETF) Gala I experienced a good damn dose of what some people really think. The SOETF is a conglomeration of agencies, churches and individuals who have joined together in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The gala is designed to create networking opportunities, to honor those who are doing the work and to allow time for structured discussion regarding the fight against HIV/AIDS.
This year the tables in the room were labeled according to the target audience that participants were either working with or a part of. Those tables included: Faith/Spiritual, GLBT (and yes, they were side by side), Women, Youth and Incarcerated. Each attendant was given a sheet of paper and asked to state how he/she felt the Task Force could better address the needs of their specific target audience. A panel of people was formed from each of the target audiences and I had the opportunity to represent both the faith-based community and the GLBT community. If you smell trouble, you are on the right track!
During the dialogue this comment was made from the audience, “the church needs to become more educated in regards to the GLBT community.” I was asked to address that comment. Before I said anything I made it clear that I love the Black church. Silly me, I should have known that would quickly be forgotten. I stated that I believed that the church did indeed become more educated in regards to the GLBT community and particularly noted that many people have and still do struggle in their journey because of the words that they have heard spoken in the church damning them to hell. My belief is that many times the wounds that people, particularly, black gay men experience, causes these individuals to make poor choices in the way they live out their lives particularly around sex. I spoke further about affirming churches (giving the definition that these churches are birthed to be welcoming and affirming to members of the GLBT community but are also welcoming to all people.) I challenged the church to become more educated and I challenged members of the GLBT community who attend affirming churches not to go into those spaces and cause havoc that destroys that which was built for them. I closed by saying that education breeds growth and if we don’t grow we eventually die.
I must say that it has been awhile since I have had this discussion in a diverse room. I guess I have been living in Wonderful because I need you to know that the good church people came for me like bulls to a red blanket.
Over the next 15 minutes I heard things like:
· “Yes, it is an abomination to God!”
· “It is no different than if I go out and sleep with a lot of men.” Her point was that being gay was the same thing as being a slut or prostitute…”It’s all sin!”
· “Sodom and Gomorrah!”
· “God didn’t make Adam and Steve!” This was from a preacher!
· Then my favorite, “But, I love you!” Like hell you do!
The other panelist, all of which were heterosexual, sat on the stage mortified! I sat patiently and waited for the microphone to come back to me. Several members of the GLBT audience had great rebuttals however the good church people were not hearing any of it.
As I sat on the stage I realized many things. First, I realized that these people that my same-gender loving colleagues and I work with love to work with us as long as we don’t say that we are okay with who we are and that God is okay with us. There was one preacher who we work with on a regular basis who was almost foaming at the mouth while he spoke about the Bible being the true word of God. Mind you, I never said I didn’t believe in God or the Bible, I said that I struggle with how the Bible has been misinterpreted. I guess for them that is saying the same thing. These are probably some of the same people who believe that Denzel Washington’s new movie, The Book of Eli, is an awesome movie because he was able to save the King James Version of the Bible in a near end of the world experience. I for one don’t believe that God will be trying to save King James’ version of anything at anytime. But, that’s just my take on it!
The other realization that I had was that the microphone was never coming back to me! Oh, but I thank God for technology!!!!! I looked out at the 30 or so members of the GLBT community who were in that room and realized that I had at least 10 of their numbers in my iPhone. Hallelujah! I sat on stage and pulled out my phone and sent the following text message to them: My brothers and sisters first I want you to know that you are not an abomination! Secondly, Sodom and Gomorrah is not about homosexuality it is about the lack of hospitality to strangers. I love you dearly and God loves you more!
I was hurting for each of my sisters and brothers who came into that room thinking that it would be a safe space for them. I was hurting for every person in the room who would not sit at the GLBT tables because they quietly live a closeted life and daily fear the possibility of being outed. I hurt for every parent who was in that room who has a gay child and heard those evil words being spoken. As I stepped from the stage having been given a good damn dose of reality from some good old church people in suits, ties, furs and gloves, I walked to every member of the GLBT community still in that room and said God loves you!
I’m troubled because I’m not sure that my words will be enough. The hurtful words that were spoken have been spoken over our lives for years and have taken deep root. The words, “God loves you” is hardly ever heard by a member of our community unless it is follow by, “It’s your sin that God hates.” To prove my point….I just received a text message from my colleague who organized the event. He has been out and proud before pepper was black. This morning this proud gay man, who sometimes gives us woman, is still hurt and angered by the comments that came from people that he works in community with. Once this article is done I have to call him and help him begin the process of repairing himself. I know he is not the only one. It feels like Haiti. So many lives damaged and not a clue as to where to begin.
I feel as though I’m babbling because I still am wounded as well. I suppose I should just close out with this……God is in love with you and your sexual orientation cannot destroy that love. God accepts you and your sexual orientation will not change that. You were created in God’s image and you carry the breath of God in you. Allow the love of this awesome God to consume you. Make good choices in your journey. Every chance you get take the time to tell someone else that God loves them too! Finally, stay buckled up because every now and then you will get a good damn dose of what some people really think. It’s just a part of the journey.
Until next week…ROTFL with WJC!
Please contact me at email@example.com for further discussion.
By Clay Cane
On Monday, legendary R&B singer Miki Howard appeared on BET's The Monique Show. Howard sang (she still has that voice!) and discussed her autobiography, Always Had Shoes. During the interview Howard chatted about coming up in the gospel church.
Then, the "Love Under New Managment" hit maker brought up the gay community as it relates to the church -- and bringing up the late Rev. James Cleveland who was closeted but known to be gay, which is the story for many in the black church. Howard said, "One good thing that I really wanted to talk about in the book is the gay aspect of church that we don't talk about in our community. I grew up in the James Cleveland church and it was really gay." Howard continued, "We didn’t know that people thought that was bad. We didn’t know that outsiders thought that was bad."
Mo'Nique, who has been consistently supportive of the gay community added, "I applaud you for addressing because most times we run from it because, like you said, 'For all our gay brothers and sisters watching please know that you are always welcomed baby. We love you -- the no judgment zone!'"
Big kudos to Miki Howard for bringing up the other side of the black church. These insecure power bottoms who laughingly fail at being hetero are extremely self-destructive to the black community, especially when they are getting their colon reconstructed at gospel conventions but have magic potions for "conversion." These "preachers" are claiming to be historians and psychotherapists on sexuality and gender when they have no training or education (some haven't even graduated from high school!). It's refreshing to see someone like Miki Howard, born and raised in the church, explain a different side. I will have to purchase her autobiography!
Saturday, January 30, 2010
My blog Zolra Nightly is all about talking, debating, and commenting on situations going on in everyday life, mostly around the gay community. I can't deny that a part of me is a commentator. Whenever or wherever there is something that I agree and disagree with, I can't help but comment on the subject.
Today I wanted to talk about my best friend. I'll call him Roller (because his life kind of feels like a roller coaster). Roller and I have been best friends for five years now. We don't talk much since graduation, but we keep in contact through emails.
Roller was also my first boyfriend, and I was Roller's first too. While still going through accepting me as a gay male through high school, he came into my life unexpectedly. Every time I look back, I began to feel like we rushed into the relationship too quickly. We became friends on a Thursday, called each other nonstop on the weekends, and became a couple on Monday. I think if we took it slow, I'm sure it would've ended up differently.
Before I knew it, our relationship was 4 years of breakups, makeups, arguing, mental problems, and dating other people. That relationship was something I would never forget. If we ever thought of dating again, I know things would be much better. We went through things that adults are going through now.
That's why when people talk to me about their relationships, I completely understand them. Roller and I were the embodiment of a real relationship. Many people thought I made a big mistake dating that boy. They are sadly mistaken. No one knew Roller the way I did. There are some things about him that only I know, and he hasn't told any of his friends yet.
One night, my protection towards Roller came back. I respect his decisions no matter what, but some of his choices makes me worry about him a lot. Roller is an independent man, but he has a co-dependency problem when it comes to relationships. After he gets out of one, I see him with another one immediately. Every time we broke up, I will be single for months because of the healing process, but I see him with another man sooner than I expected.
That night, he told me that he was in a relationship. Through his eyes, he's fall for this guy. Love is in the air. I was happy when he said that, but my smile turned into a frown after the next sentence came out of his mouth. He's eighteen years old about thinking about marrying his boyfriend.
Nowadays, people are against teens getting married. The world is for them to explore. They have all the time to settle down. Matter of fact, 20s are supposed to be the decade of having fun and getting your career together. Yet, there are some teens whom are wise and responsible enough to settle down, and gets married. After hearing the two perspectives, it got me thinking.
Can teens get married if they are in the right state of mind and independence to do so?
Glitter’s heart was racing in her chest from the sudden humongous growth of Chakra, and she was trying to figure out what was going on when she heard a voice that made the blood in her veins run icy cold. It was HER voice. The enemy of Emthira, the exiled Duchess Grandiosa, Switch!
“If you don’t tell me right now,” she began from just outside the conference room, “where the GeoSphere is, I’ll make you grow so huge Mr. Chakra that you’ll smother yourself and mush lil’ Miss GeoPhysm.”
“We…don’t…know…where it…is,” Glitter heard Chakra huff. She was deadly worried for him. The strain of all that weight on his heart must be unbearable, she thought to herself.
“You have one second,” to tell me, Switch continued, narrowing her eyes. “One….” KA-BOOM!!!
Glitter closed her eyes, startled from the sound of what sounded like a huge laser cannon going off, wondering if Switch had indeed made Chakra grow so large that he exploded!
“Leave this place at once,” she heard a familiar female voice say, “Or my next shot might not be so randomly aimed.”
Glitter opened her eyes, and to her amazement, both she and Chakra were at their natural sizes. Chakra was lying on the floor, trying to catch his breath.
“What happened?” Chakra asked Glitter.
“I don’t know. Are you okay?”
“I just need to rest. Where’s her royal nastiness?”
“Still outside,” Glitter replied. “I think Soleil and Plasma are back.”
Suddenly the power returned to the GeoDome. “Whatever happened,” Glitter continued, has put Ohm out of action, because the power is back on.”
“Are you okay, guys?” the female voice that Glitter heard earlier asked from the entrance to the conference room.
“J-9!” Glitter and Chakra exclaimed at the same time. J-9 was the unofficial ninth GeoGrand; unofficial because the team’s charter only made room for eight members, and she didn’t participate actively on missions. She instead served as support personnel for the team using her ability to invent machines and technological devices. J-9 wasn’t a genius though. Her abilities allowed her subconscious to figure out how to piece things together and perceive the potential and functional use of any machine she came in contact with. She often remarked that she had no idea how she invented her machines but she just put things together and they just seem to work out. If someone, including J-9 wanted to figure out how to replicate any of her devices, they would have to disassemble it to see how it was pieced together.
“No time for pleasantries,” J-9 replied quickly. “Where are the rest of the PolyGens? We need to activate the security protocols to chase them out of here.”
Glitter watched J-9 hurry to the conference room control console and punch in the codes that activated the GeoDome’s AI security system. “They will leave in a hurry once the security droids chase after them,” J-9 said. “Before I entered, I activated one of my Neutral Nets over the dome to neutralize all powers.”
“Oh, that explains what happened with Chakra and I regaining our natural sizes and why I haven’t been able to move my wings or generate any dust,” Glitter replied. “How do you feel now, Chakra?” Glitter asked.
“Better and better, he replied. “We should split up and make sure the PolyGens are gone.”
“Here take one of these,” J-9 said, handing Glitter and Chakra each a small laser gun. “It’s set on stun. Remember, no one has their powers, but we are outnumbered.”
“Thankfully the security droids won’t bother us,” Glitter said. “Let’s go!”
“I’m winning!” Soleil shouted over her shoulder as she skimmed over the Atlantic Ocean waters that bordered Coney Island. She and Plasma, in his cloudy-form were racing each other to the GeoDome after their shopping excursion in Manhattan.
“Not fair!” Plasma shouted back, partially materializing his flesh and bone body so he could respond. “You can almost travel at the speed of light!”
“Well, if you knew how to use your powers better, you’d figure out how to make yourself one with all of the Plasma on Earth, and just teleport to the Dome,” Soleil replied in a condescending tone.
Plasma didn’t respond, but took note again on another change he noticed with Soleil. Soleil was not an analyst. That is too say she wasn’t ditzy, but she never before displayed an ability or interest in the knowledge of how Geomen’s powers worked. As the GeoDome came into view, he suddenly became panicked.
“Soleil, wait!” Plasma shouted as he struggled to catch up to her.
“Uh, uh, you’re not tricking me!” she shouted gleefully.
“No! Something’s wrong!” Plasma explained. “What is a PolyGen ship doing next to the GeoDome?”
“Oh, no! Glitter and Chakra were alone! How did they find us?” Soleil said worriedly.
“Let’s go in to help, but be sneaky. Even with the two of us, and as powerful as we are, we’re still outnumbered.”
“Okay, she said,” in her normal quiet, submissive way. Plasma noted the quick shift in her mood again. “What should we do?”
“I’ll sneak us in by traveling through the air. Come here so I can convert you into your plasma form.”
Soleil was about to oblige, when she stopped and said, “Isn’t that your sister and Raptor flying away from the dome to the ship?”
“It is, and they look like they are in a hurry,” he replied.
“Look, there’s Switch, and the rest of ‘em,” Soleil said. “They look like they are retreating.”
“And now the ship is taking off,” Plasma said. “I hope you were right when you said they look like they were retreating. I’m worried about Chakra and Glitter. I wish we could follow them to see where their base is, but our teammates well-being is priority. Let’s go.”
After a few minutes, the two arrived at the GeoDome and were greeted by two security droids perched outside in guard mode. I know the security system is top-notch, but I find it hard to believe that the PolyGens retreated so easily, Chakra thought to himself.
As they entered the Dome, Soleil shouted, “Glitter!” and began zipping thorough the dome like a ray of light that suddenly entered the room after someone let up a window shade.
Plasma made his way toward the conference room where he saw Soleil almost near tears hugging and caressing Glitter, and J-9 and Chakra trying to comfort her. She really loves Glitter, he thought to himself. She also seems more like her natural self, which is good. “So what happened?” he asked.
After the explanation of the failed PolyGen burglary, and how J-9 had saved the day by surprising everyone with her sudden appearance and her NeturalNet, Plasma asked, “It’s great that you happened to be here when you did J-9, but why are you here?” He still wasn’t comfortable around his ex-.
“For two reasons,” J-9 replied, as she avoided looking Plasma in the eye. “The queen wants the GeoGrands to come back to Emthira permanently. I heard the teleporter was broken so I’m here to fix it.” Then she hesitated as if she were searching for the right words. “The rest of the team is missing. They were supposed to be in Emthira two days ago, and the queen can’t locate them telepathically.”
Suddenly the mood in the room shifted from one of relief to one of panic. Plasma closed his eyes and thought, When will this ever end? From one crisis to the next. The others have to be all right. “We’ll find them,” he finally said breaking the silence. “They are alive. They have to be.”
Friday, January 29, 2010
Gospel for Teens Program is a program of The Mama Foundation for the Arts and Vy's Higginsen's School of Gospel, Jazz and R&B Arts has grown to be a highly respected and influential program for youth between 13 and 19.
Gospel for Teens Choir Under the direction of the Foundation's seasoned music masters, the Gospel for Teens Choir has performed at various venues across New York City including the world famous Apollo Theater, the American Museum of Natural History, and St. Paul Community Baptist Church.
On Friday, January 22nd, the Harlem based youth choir song backup for Madonna for Haiti Relief Telethon.
"I've never taught a student as young as Stephen, and it's been amazing," said computer science professor Sonya Dennis. "He's motivating other students to do better and makes them want to step up their game."
Stafford began his college career at the age of 11, after being home-schooled by his mother. Stafford's mother said that when Stafford began to teach her instead of being taught by her, she knew he needed to be in a college environment.
Now THAT'S what I'm talking about. Stephen Stafford, in my opinion, represents exactly what black men are about: Intelligence, ambition and high academic achievement. This is not to disrespect men in other walks of life, but the truth is that you will never see Stephen Stafford's accomplishments promoted like a rap music video.
We must, as a community, applaud and uphold this young man. We must cheer for him as if he averages 40 points a game. We should converse about his achievements as if he had released a platinum hip-hop album. He should get the same respect as every linebacker, point guard or hip-hop artist in America.
Corporate America will not blow Stephen's trumpet, but I will. I also want all the other Stephen Staffords to make themselves seen. There are hundreds of thousands of Stephen Staffords out there who've been convinced by a culture of thuggery that they should do their best to hide their greatness. Rather than acing math class, they've been taught to measure grams and kilos or to memorize football playbooks that are 100 pages thick. Our young men can analyze the triangle offense in basketball and break down a nickel defense, but then become mentally deficient when it comes to doing algebra, science and social studies. The time for mediocrity is over, since education is the key to making your dreams come true. Sports only creates more nightmares.
Stephen will make more money than all of his athletic friends, because education produces economic empowerment. He will also have more personal freedom and professional fulfillment. He will live the black American dream, and I encourage all of you to make your own sons into the next Stephen Stafford.
The recipe for our kids is simple:
1) Spend as much time studying as you spend playing sports or working at fast food restaurant jobs. 2) Don't let anyone convince you that you can't achieve whatever you put your mind to.
Just by studying 4 to 5 hours per day (less than the number of hours they would put in to working a minimum wage job), almost any child in America can get a college degree and become a doctor, lawyer or whatever they want. It's actually just a matter of doing it. I've taught college for 16 years, and I can tell you that the term "college material" needs to be abolished. Every child is college material if they want to be. That's the truth.
By Buck Wolf
Many stars have had to fight persistent rumors about their sexuality. And in that way, Ernie and Bert are no different than John Travolta and Tom Cruise.
Of course, the sexuality of other cartoon characters has come into question over the years. Anti-gay groups have accused SpongeBob SquarePants and Tinky Winky of the "Teletubbies" of harboring a homosexual agenda, even while most people with half a brain were saying, "They're just children's characters."
'They Don't Exist Below the Waist'
The controversy hit a fever pitch in 1994, when the Rev. Joseph Chambers called for the characters to be banned. "They share clothes, eat and cook together and have blatantly effeminate characteristics. In one show Bert teaches Ernie how to sew. In another they tend plants together," the Southern evangelist said on his radio show. "If this isn't meant to represent a homosexual union, I can't imagine what it's supposed to represent."
At one point, the Children's Television Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind "Sesame Street," even issued a denial. "Bert and Ernie, who've been on Sesame Street for 25 years, do not portray a gay couple, and there are no plans for them to do so in the future. They are puppets, not humans," the organization said in a statement. "Like all the Muppets created for 'Sesame Street,' they were designed to help educate preschoolers. Bert and Ernie are characters who help demonstrate to children that despite their differences, they can be good friends."Years later, Gary Knell, president of Children's Television Workshop successor Sesame Workshop, would say, "They are not gay. They are not straight. ... They don't exist below the waist."
Now, let's look at some other Muppet rumors and scandals.
1. "D" Is For Dope: The phrase "Green Day" is San Francisco slang for a day spent sitting around smoking a certain mood-altering substance.One fine day -- perhaps while indulging on something -- members of a certain band known as "Sweet Children" were watching "Sesame Street" and heard Ernie exclaim, "It's a green day!" according to FlashNews.The rest, as they say, is history. Ernie, in fact, makes a cameo appearance on the back cover of the band's breakthrough album, "Dookie."
2. Broccoli Monster: In a country where nearly 25 million children are overweight or obese, Cookie Monster has been under a lot of heat to tone down his biscuit-binging ways. Five years ago, rumormongers started spreading stories that Cookie Monster would soon be known as "Broccoli Monster," or even "Fruit Monster." It took an interview with Matt Lauer to put this notion to rest. In a tongue-in-cheek sit-down, the munch-happy Muppet reasserted his claim that cookies are a "sometimes food" after he ate a balanced meal. In a looser exchange a few weeks later with Stephen Colbert, Cookie Monster owned up to his past. "Me like the Robert Downey Jr. of cookies," he said, before launching into one of his crumb-flying frenzies, which usually end in: "Aaaahhhh-num-num-num-num cookies!"
3. Muppet Sings the Blues: When you're a rhyming, scat-singing purple monster, sunny days aren't always enough to sweep the clouds away.
Children's Television Workshop/Getty Images
In the mid 1970s, Roosevelt Franklin, one of the original "Sesame Street" Muppets, got the ax amid complaints that he reinforced negative cultural stereotypes. Roosevelt's hair could make one think of Buckwheat from "The Little Rascals" -- an image many African-Americans loathe. Still, he was popular enough to star on his own record, "The Year of Roosevelt Franklin."
4. A Grouch in Any Language: When new countries embrace "Sesame Street," Muppets go through rapid cultural assimilation. In Pakistan, Oscar the Grouch is named "Akhtar" and lives in a rusty oil barrel. In Israel, he's named Moishe Oofnik, or "Moyshe the Complainer," and lives in an old car. In America, Oscar still lives in a trash can with his pet worm, Slimey, and maintains a relationship with his on-again, off-again gal pal, Grundgetta. They fight a lot, but what do you expect from a pair of grouches?
Rafiqur Rahman, Reuters
5. Bert & Bin Laden: In the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, Osama bin Laden's supporters marched through the streets of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, waving posters of the terror kingpin. What was most surprising was the person pictured next to bin Laden -- a sneering Bert, who seemed to have lost his little felt head and joined al-Qaida.
In truth, Bert was still a loyal American puppet. As it turns out, a bin Laden supporter had downloaded a manipulated photo that had been posted on the Internet as a joke.
The photos came from the Bert Is Evil Web site, which tied the unibrowed Muppet to just about every great crime of the 20th century. Bert was shown marching with Hitler, smoking dope with Charles Manson and gunning down John F. Kennedy in Dallas. If al-Qaida operatives only knew what people were whispering about our cone-headed friend, they would have known the joke is on them.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Ryan Anson/AFP/Getty Images
Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs announces the new iPad as he speaks during an Apple Special Event at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts January 27, 2010 in San Francisco, Calif.
Everything you know about computers just changed.
With its introduction of the iPad, Apple is likely to transform the way you do everything from read the newspaper to prepare business presentations. You might not experience these changes this year or next, but several years from now, you will likely look back on your current computer, even if it’s a brand-new model — yes, even one from Apple — as an archaic system that was clunky and frustrating to use.
The reason for this can be summed up in one word: touch.
The iPad is controlled with a 9.7-inch, touch-sensitive screen, and it heralds a transition from using a mouse and a keyboard for typical computing tasks to touching, tapping and gliding your fingers on a silky glass screen. Anyone who owns an iPhone or iPod touch, Apple’s other devices with a so-called "multitouch interface," knows how wonderfully intuitive and intimate the experience can be, especially when compared to a hulking desktop machine.
The iPad signals the moment when computers changed from being bulky products tethered to desktops and power cords to thin, portable devices you can carry in one hand and slip into a backpack. In Store APRIL 2010 for about $499
To read the entire story, go to: Apple's new I-pad
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
District 9: The Weaponry of Change
South African director Neil Blomkamp’s global sci-fi sensation District 9 is gearing up for it’s second life as it moves toward the home market and inevitably does the awards circuit for its incredible special effects. Much has been made of the politics of the film; inevitable considering its brazen treatment of apartheid
and handling of some stereotypes (the depiction of Nigerians as merciless, cutthroat baddies). What is overlooked about the film is the hopeful message of integration leading to empowerment and ultimately serving as a catalyst for real change.
When we first meet Wikus Van De Merwe (played brilliantly by Sharlto Copley), he has recently been promoted and is now the charge of relocating the ‘Prawns’, crustacean-like aliens, out of the township of District 9. The District in question is unquestionably a stand-in for white-anxiety about the living conditions inside the
townships during apartheid. The Prawns are depicted as vile, feeding not only on the scraps of industrial waste, but resorting to appalling violence. They are under constant policing with captors operating under the directive to confiscate all weapons; weapons that are in fact useless without alien DNA to operate them.
Van De Merwe uncovers a shanty in which the Prawns (an invective, rather than classification of species) are creating a mysterious, black fluid. The agent accidentally ingests the toxic material. From there begins the manifestation of white-horror from this
'exposure’; Van De Merwe begins mysteriously bleeding out of his nose and his ‘otherness’ culminates in the growth of an alien-hand on his human body. His co-workers and those in his life are terrified by what he is becoming. He has been marred. What is also uncovered is the fact that the exposure has allowed Van De Merwe to effectively utilize alien weaponry; he has become empowered.
Van De Merwe has become both a possible tool to be used in war and an outcast to be detained. The fear of his integration into District 9 culminates in a concocted news broadcast that flashes he has contracted a ‘virus’ from copulating with Prawns. The dated and damaging stereotypes by white anti-apartheidists about contracting HIV through inter-racial (or inter-special) sex could not be more readily apparent.
Now that Van De Marwe is empowered with the ability to utilize alien-technology, the tools to save both himself and the Prawns are laid bare. The alien-hand has become his boon. Without detailing t
he remainder of the extended chase and the exciting, extremely violent denouement, what is notable is this: Van De Marwe forges a partnership with the Prawns after this exposure, tossing aside his clipboard and seeing the aliens as individuals as opposed to a species. He has transcended mere empathy as he can literally feel pain in this unified limb.
The film employs a veneer of the Joseph Conradesque ‘white hero as bringer of light to the ‘noble savage’ mythology firmly rooted in colonial guilt. However, upon further examination, what is both most novel and transgressive is that rather than change the aliens to empower a civilization, Van De Merwe is not only changed by them, but into them. He must incorporate their physicality in order to become heroic. It goes without saying the film is worth a rental. With an all South African cast and the film shot entirely in South Africa, the film could be a push
for the South African film economy While the film is more entertaining than transformative, it certainly heralds a shift in the global cinematic landscape of which the future of South African cinema is clearly a part.