Bill Gunn

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“Of course, the vast majority of black filmmaking in the U.S. has necessarily been independent—there has yet to be an African American CEO of a Hollywood studio, and, save for a handful of outliers like Warner Brothers’ The Green Pastures (36), the majors didn’t produce films with entirely or predominantly black casts (or “race films”) until the Seventies. Most black filmmakers have historically been forced to serve as producer and distributor in addition to writing, directing, and editing duties. While this is increasingly true of contemporary filmmakers of varying distinction in the age of digital, combining these roles meant something very different back then: it effectively shut these films out of block-booked, studio-owned theaters as well as out of many film publications, whose editorial policies restricted their coverage only to films with distribution. (Films made for public television usually suffered a similar fate.)"—Violet Lucca

Familiarize yourself with the history of black independent film in New York
, and if you live in the area, be sure to check out Film Society of Lincoln Center’s "Tell It Like It Is” series.

To the Black Male Children
  • To the Black Male Children
  • Bill Gunn
  • Beautiful Voices Project
Play

To the black male children. Philosophy is a prison. It disregards the uncustomary things about you. The result of individual is applicable only to itself. There is a dreadful need in man to teach. It destroys the pure instinct to learn. The navigator leans from the stars. The stars teach nothing. The sun opens the mind and sheds light on the flowers. The eyes shame the pages of any book. Gesture destroys concept. Involvement mortifies vanity. You, are the despised of the earth. That is as if you are water in the desert. To be adored on this planet is to be a symbol of success. And you must not succeed on any terms. Because life is endless. You are as nameless as a flower. You are the child of Venus. And her natural affection is lust. She will touch your belly with her tongue, but you must not suffer in it, because love is all there is. And you are cannon fodder in its defense.

8

Ganja & Hess (1973)

Ganja & Hess is a 1973 horror film directed by Bill Gunn and stars Marlene Clark and Duane Jones. The film follows the exploits of archaeologist Dr. Hess Green (Jones) who becomes a vampire after being stabbed by his intelligent, but unstable, assistant (Gunn) with an ancient cursed dagger. Green falls in love with his assistant’s widow, Ganja (Clark), who learns Green’s dark secret.

This film contains the only other lead role for Duane Jones, best known for starring in the 1968 film Night of the Living Dead (though he appeared in bit-parts in other movies). The film’s extras included the postmodern novelist William Gaddis and his wife Judith Thompson. The film was screened at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival.

Beauty and Loot
  • Beauty and Loot
  • Bill Gunn/Duane Jones
  • Beautiful Voices Project
Play

It’s a shock to any system to see perfection. To have perfection hurled at you, the result of centuries of war and pain. No casual pleasure brought about those features. Some great horde of peoples have suffered to bring about that nose, arched in such a way as to exert power over my every hidden appetite. She is black, as all things secret. Black is nature’s hiding place, where she stores her loot. At night, she dares to lie naked under the dark folds of her very own desires. She speaks to no one of night. But gives it, generously, to anyone who has the profoundness, to hunger for it.

To the Black Female Children

To the black female children. Indignation is a prison. It disregards the supernatural things about you. The result of individual sentiment is applicable only to the soul. There is a dreadful need in man to control. It disregards the pure instinct to love. The mother loves each child. The child promises nothing. The earth dismantles itself and gives birth to the water. Her heart determines the caliber of every land. Action destroys ignorance. Strategy undermines oppression. You, are the fetishized of the earth. That is as if you were lotus beside a skyscraper. To be fetishized on this planet is to be a symbol of envy. And you must ward off envy’s evil eye at every turn. Because your beauty is deathless. You are as indiscriminate as the breeze. You are the child of Venus. And her natural affection is justice. She will guide your belly with her song and you must learn to trust it, because love is all there is. And you are are here to triumph in its defense.

The Mindy Project: Season Two - Network Television's Best Sitcom

The Mindy Project has everything a great sitcom has: a cast of unique characters, romance, and above all, big laughs. Not only was the show able to maintain its tone, the second season outdid itself with character development and wittier writing. 

Writer, producer, and star Mindy Kaling is essentially the lead in a romantic comedy in television form. As Dr. Mindy Lahiri, she’s on a never-ending quest for love in New York City. There isn’t much to add about Season One story-wise aside from the subtle hints that she and her co-worker/best friend Dr. Danny Castellano (Chris Messina) will ultimately become an item. 

Season Two heightened the romance, which allowed a handful of guest stars, including Anders Holm (Workaholics), who was introduced in Season One as the reverend-turned-DJ Casey, Ben Feldman (Mad Men) as the sophisticated critic Jason, Timothy Olymphant (Justified) as the sexy skater Graham, Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) as the cocky lawyer Cliff, and Tim Daly (Private Practice) as the rugged detective Charlie. However, none of them can even compare to our man Danny Castellano.

The show went on a very-lengthy hiatus from December to April and us Mindy fans couldn’t wait to see where things would pick up after Danny finally kissed her. Unfortunately, their love affair caved in on itself almost immediately and practically pulled a Ross & Rachel for the rest of the season. But fortunately, they’re back on track as of the finale. 

If Mindy Lahiri was played by any other actress, she’d probably come off as unlikable. Judgmental, selfish, and narcissistic are some of her characteristics, but Mindy Kaling’s personality gives Lahiri humanity, showing the goodness in her and the everyday struggle to be the best happy-go-lucky person she can be. Oddly enough, this optimistic gal blends and clashes perfectly with Danny, who has the personality of a crotchety old man. Chris Messina’s charm and sense of humor save his character from being simply a miserable doctor.  

This season gave the supporting cast much-deserved attention. Former MadTV star Ike Barinholtz as Morgan Tookers is truly unpredictable. The things he says and does gets some of the biggest laughs. His silliness rivals newly added cast member Adam Pally (Happy Endings) as the very bro-tastic Peter Prentice. Most fresh characters have a difficult time blending with the others, but Peter’s the perfect fit. Xosha Roquemore doesn’t get much screen time as the dimwitted Tamra, but she does earn many of the show’s best one-liners. Ed Weeks, Zoe Jarman. and Beth Grant round out the great cast. 

This season was filled with guest spots. In addition to all those familiar faces, James Franco, Seth Rogen, Breaking Bad’s Anna Gunn, Bill Hader, Jenna Elfman, Ellie Kemper, and Kevin Smith all graced their presence on-screen.

Fox was wise enough to renew The Mindy Project for a third season despite the not-so-high ratings. To those who are still mourning over the horrific series finale that is How I Met Your Mother, look no further. The Mindy Project is the best sitcom on network television. Period.