Posts from the ‘The Skinny’ Category

Welcome Wakanda!

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Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa. All Black Panther photos: ©Marvel Comics



‘Bout time!

As Whoopi Goldberg said on The View, I have been waiting 25 years for this movie. And then along comes Black Panther, satisfying yearnings I didn’t know I had until seeing them realized in 3-D splendor. If you skip the trailer, there are no spoilers in my homage to director Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station and Creed) and his phenomenal story, cast and crew.

Like the documentary I featured a few weeks ago, Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, in Coogler’s hands, Black Panther takes the moral and artistic high ground, using filmic elements of humor and innuendo to land succinct attacks on the oppressive slave narrative—a story we know all too well—and move on. For that I am most grateful.

“What’s so special about this film is that we see an idyllic society that has figured out its gender dynamics where women are allowed to assume their power, realize their full potential and the men are not threatened by it so that they can be of support to each other—which is the world we want to see.”— Lupita Nyong’o, on The View

How could we know that when our black superhero savior finally arrived he would be armed with not only vibranium, but a cast of powerful women, who like him, possess coolness, swagger and such beyond-Bond gizmos that, had I not been reclined in the new Loungers at Rowland Cinema in Novato, I would have fallen out of my seat.

“You create excellence it’ll be responded to. I’m thankful that Mr. Coogler and Marvel got together and created excellence. [the response] makes sense to me, I think we’ve been yearning for it.”— Danai Gurira, on The View

L-R: Danai Gurira (Okoye); Lupita Nyong’o, (Nakia)

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The illustrious Angela Bassett as matriarch, Ramonda.

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Latitia Wright as technogoddess, Shuri.

Of course, there’s no escaping violence in a super hero movie—sadly true these days for nearly any film you see—but Black Panther has one scene that crosses even that line for me. Since I have close to zero tolerance for violence in films, I’ll close my eyes next time. In his review, David Edelstein sites a “few sub-par computer effects” and I could surf and see what that’s about but—who cares!!? Black Panther does not disappoint and I can’t wait to see this already iconic film again. Altogether, right now: let’s cross our fisted arms over my chest and repeat after me: Wakanda forever!…


Director, co-writer, Ryan Coogler. Photo: Washington Post/Getty Images

POTUS & FLOTUS Official Portraits Unveiled

History was made today at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery with the unveiling of the official portraits for POTUS Barack and FLOTUS Michelle. As the first black artists to paint the first black US President and First Lady,  artists Amy Sherald and Kehinde [ke-HEN-day] Wiley—like their subjects —are the epitome of power, grace and cool.






BARACK: The flowers: chrysanthemums (official flower of Chicago), jasmine evoking his native Hawaii and African blue lilies in memory of his late father

Kehinde Wiley


MICHELLE ~ The dress: Designed by MILLY

Amy Sherald



~ #MyGivingStory ~ Asking for your VOTE

Click above to VOTE

This coming Tuesday, November 28th is #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving started in 2012. For America I think of it as a peaceful protest against the commercial gluttony of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and a powerful way to kick off the charitable season.

I serve as Co-Founder and Exec. Director of our small family foundation, The Gaines-Jones Education Foundation (GJEF) ~ dedicated to youth advocacy and college scholarships for African-Americans living in the San Francisco Bay Area and southwest Georgia. I entered an original essay telling GJEF’s story in the #MyGivingStorycontest. Between now and Dec 7th our essay needs your votes to move up in the contest.

GJEF’s goal from Giving Tuesday through the end of 2017 is to raise $5,000 to launch an on-going series of college readiness seminars for black 10th graders in Albany, Georgia.

Please read the Gaines-Jones story explaining our mission ~ then cast your vote.
• Prizes include grants up to $10,000

100% of these funds will go toward our annual scholarship awards and the launching of our college readiness seminars.

• You, your friends and family can vote once a day until Dec. 7th
EASY STEPS ~ Go to the page, wait a few seconds, a box will pop up with the essay and a green VOTE button in upper left corner. Prove you’re not a robot, enter email then click VOTE.
• Read the essay and VOTE HERE!

Please circulate to your networks! Problems with link? email me:


1996, Ann Arbor: My late sister, Dr. Betty Jean Jones, at University of Michigan, directing her final production: TOOTH IN CRIME.

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Hollywood, Washington and the Enablers (Republished from Bill Moyers)


Neil G“This is about the people who let the louts get away with their behavior: the enablers. This is about how we live in a culture of enabling where people are increasingly complicit in letting power define values, which is a way of letting our values steadily erode.” ~ Neil Gabler

Click to read the post by NEIL GABLER;
first published on

Melania Trump, Donald Trump, Georgina Chapman and Harvey Weinstein attend the after party of the New York premiere of NINE at the M2 Ultra Lounge, Dec. 15, 2009 in NYC. (Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for The Weinstein Co.)

NEAL GABLER is an author of five books and the recipient of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, TIME magazine’s non-fiction book of the year, USA Today‘s biography of the year and other awards. He is also a senior fellow at The Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California, and is currently writing a biography of Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Lena Dunham says “Speak Louder”

 Lena Dunham is speaking out RE: Harvey Weinstein and the Silence of Men. The American actress, writer, producer, and director is is best known as the creator, writer and star of the HBO series Girls, for which she has received numerous Emmy Award nominations and two Golden Globe Awards.

“When we stay silent, we stay on the same path that led us here.
Making noise is making change. Making change is why we tell stories.
We don’t want to have to tell stories like this one again and again. Speak louder.”
~ Lena Dunham in NY Times Op Ed piece

Read more…

“It’s Almost Like Praying” ~ New Music video for Puerto Rico Relief

Lin-Manuel Miranda knows what to do with a global platform. I love him for that.

His new song, “Almost Like Praying” was written and recorded to benefit hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico with proceeds benefiting The Hispanic Federation’s Unidos Disaster Relief Fund. He brought together a bevy of stars for the effort ~

The artists: Jennifer Lopez, Fat Joe, Camila Cabello, John Leguizamo, Rubén Blades, Luis Fonsi, Marc Anthony, Anthony Ramos, Ednita Nazario, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Ruben Blades, Juan Luis Guerra, Joell Ortiz, John Leguizamo, Rita Moreno, Alex Lacamoire, Pedro Capó, Tommy Torres, PJ Sin Suela, Dessa, Gina Rodriguez, Gloria Estefan






President Jimmy Carter: “Become a dutiful giver”

The past two weeks I’ve been in my hometown, Albany, Georgia, and today marked the 96th anniversary of my late father’s birth.

Most fittingly, I spent the morning in Plains, Georgia — a 45-minute drive from Albany — at the Maranatha Baptist Church; the home church of President Jimmy Carter and Former First Lady Rosalynn. The elegant country brick church sits in an old growth of pecan trees. 

By some miracle my friend Flora and I were up before the crack of dawn and on the road by 5 AM arriving at the church by 6 AM to park in the dark and wait to lineup. By 8:30 we had passed through The Secret Service “wanding” and joined over 320 others (a few church members, mostly visitors) in the sanctuary for President Carter’s Sunday school class. It was well worth the trip.

“We must look for opportunities to share what we have with others.”  — President Carter

The pastor, Brandon Patterson from Nashville, Tennessee, is only 23 years old. His sermon (Ruth 2:4-23) urged us to “become partners with God in this blessing business”.

President Carter spoke briefly and with heartbreaking sincerity about how we should try to have peace with North Korea; then moved on to his lesson: Giving & Serving (Romans 15:25-23), two things the Carters know much about.

“Take a look at yourself this morning and ask: what can my gifts accomplish? Why was I created?”                                           

He wanted to know if our lives were filled with joy, peace, happiness and purpose? Do we have peace? If not, it’s our fault. Starting right now we must ask; “What kind of person do I want to be?” Who is it up to? Nobody but ourselves. 

I was awestruck, sitting in the pews of the beautiful humble sanctuary with soft green walls, facing a beautiful hardwood cross carved by President Carter and placing my offering in a wooden collection plate he also carved (and signed on the bottom with his initials: JC).

This was a beautiful way to honor the birth of my father, Silas Jones, who grew up a few miles south of Plains in Putney, Georgia.

 I agree with my friend Flora Devine: who kept saying throughout  our drive back: “President Carter is a national treasure.”

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