HBO present a Black List anyone would be proud to join
It’s a noble goal: reclaiming the pejorative term “black list” from its historical meaning as a tally of people to be avoided to “an assembly of short stories on race, struggle and achievement.”
That’s what longtime pop culture critic Elvis Mitchell tackles in his new, revelatory documentary for HBO, The Black List – a collection of 25 tales from known and unknown black notables told directly to the camera as if you were sitting in their living rooms.
“Almost all of the African American women writers that I know were very much uninterested in one area of the world: white men. That frees up a lot…(from) the establishment, the reviewers, the people who are in control One you erase that from your canvas, you can really play.”
Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize winning author.
“Journalists would ask me about negative stereotypes…do I think I’m confirming for white people their negative images about black people? This is a comedy…I grew up on the Three Stooges and I never thought: ‘Wow, white people are crazy!’”
Keenan Ivory Wayans, on creating the variety show In Living Color
“I had a black conservative tell me on a talk show once, ‘I didn’t make it because of civil rights. Civil rights didn’t write my resume.’ I said, ‘Yeah, but civil rights made somebody read your resume.’”
Rev. Al Sharpton, civil rights leader.
“Baseball statistically isn’t equal almost until the ‘70s…because that’s when you started to see bad black baseball players. True equality is the equality to suck like the white man…I want the license to be bad and come back, and learn.”
Chris Rock, comic, writer and actor
“I am less concerned about the actions of The Man and more concerned about our own behavior. ... We got brothers on the corner killing brothers, sisters stabbing sisters. He has effectively outsourced the hating to the community. Brilliant!"
Suzan-Lori Parks, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright
“You judge a tree's strength by how deep the roots go underground. And the black church was the roots for us. And I think that's what you’re seeing in the hip hop generation, this disconnect, this dislocation. We told them ‘You’re free now. Its beyond race’...and we gave them nothing to replace it. And then we look up in 10 years and say ‘What’s wrong with these kids?' What's wrong with them is there's nothing to ground them, nothing to violate, no legacy to continue. You’re connected to nothing. So manhood becomes thugism.”
— Rev. Sharpton
In this clip, Chris Rock uses boxing to explain his dad's theory that black people can't just win competing against white folks, they have to knock them out: