Lazaro “Laz” Alonso (born March 25, 1974) is an American film and television actor. He is known for playing Tsu'tey in James Cameron’s science fiction film Avatar and Fenix “Rise” Calderon in the film Fast & Furious. Alonso has had roles in other films such as Jarhead, This Christmas, and Miracle at St. Anna.
African American soldiers of the 16th Training Battalion, Camp Wheeler, GA (December, 1941).
Members of this training battalion went on to serve with honor and distinction in the 92nd Infantry (Buffalo Soldier) Division. Spike Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna (2008) from the book by James McBride was a fictional account of the 92nd, but it was based on real interviews with members of this unit.
The 92nd Infantry Division was a part of the 5th Army that served in the Italian Theater during World War II. It was also the only infantry unit comprised entirely of African Americans to see combat in Europe. During their time in Italy, from August of 1944 through May 1945, the 92nd advanced over 3,000 square miles and captured 20,000 German prisoners. They also suffered heavy casualties with a quarter of the unit killed or wounded in action. The 92nd went on to earn more than 12,000 decorations and citations including two Medals of Honor.
(original US Army photos from our private collection)
starring Brad Pitt and a bunch of other white guys + one Mexcian. 'Twas a great World War II film. However, being a Black man with eyes wide open, my mind couldn’t help but wander over to thoughts of
12 Years A Slave
. "What do these two movies have in common?“, you might ask. Well, not much. I’m sure this is all old news to a lot of you now but what I was really thinking about was all those people, Black and white alike, who kept saying that they were tired of seeing yet another slave movie. I just heard Charlamagne Tha God say it again in his interview with Chris Rock recently.
I like watching WWII movies. I don’t know why but for some reason I do. One of my favorite movies happens to be
Saving Private Ryan
. There’s just something about that war. I don’t spend my good money to go see these films but I do enjoy them. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. Apparently so does the rest of America. Within the first few seconds of watching
, I felt the need to point out to myself, and now to others, that in my lifetime, I have seen countless, I repeat COUNTLESS WWII films. And upon release of these films not once did I ever hear someone complain that they were tired of seeing WWII films. I do however remember Spike Lee consistently having to explain himself on why he decided to make one of his own in
Miracle at St. Anna
; a major WWII film that finally dared to remind Americans that Black men fought and died in their war too. They made him explain his criticism of Clint Eastwood for the lack of Black presence in his WWII film,
Flags of our Fathers
. But shouldn’t white America have to explain themselves at this point? After all, we still live in a world where they think it’s perfectly acceptable to have ancient Egyptians played by an all white cast in
. This is white supremacy at it’s most comical. Seems quite silly, doesn’t it? Well to people like myself and all those who find themselves marching and protesting in the streets as of late, it’s more than just silly. It’s pretty damn insulting and no one seems to be ashamed. Heck, I’m ashamed. I’m ashamed to even be associated with the pro-white propagandists that we share the country with. I’m ashamed that I actually once considered myself a fan of
director, Ridley Scott, who also directed one of my all-time favorite sci-fis in
. I feel shame and they feel none. This is just another indication that white supremacy is working and working well.
Now before I go on, I would just like to point out that there really have not been many slave movies. In my lifetime, I can only think of three:
12 Years A Slave
. That’s all. I’ve looked it up. All other movies were either Civil War films or simply used slavery as a backdrop for white protagonists, like
So…..why? What is Charlamagne Tha God even talking about? Why do we make very little room for "slave movies” but can never have enough room for white WWII movies? For that matter, why do we have so much tolerance for our minds to be inundated with any & every kind of film lately? We can watch a million superhero movies, medieval films with white men on horseback, post-apocalyptic movies, mafia films, and war films in general without a problem. But we can barely let one more “slave movie” slip by. Why? As an artist and media maker it is a subject I have deep interest in.
The answer is simple: To mainstream America, Black lives just DON’T matter. It is written all across the silver screen and our television sets. Apparently no one cares to be reminded of true stories of Black suffering on screen unless it’s by the hands of another Black man. And though
12 Years A Slave
has had it’s successes, I continue to hear the same complaints about the film’s very existence. Yet, I did not hear enough outcry about the fact that we have seen way too many movies about African genocide which quite gruesomely show Africans killing other Africans.
I believe the blatant agenda/propaganda serves to remind us not only of how conditioned we are from birth to value the lives of whites as well as their history over Blacks, but also that the conditioning must stop. That we seem to have very little control over what we see of ourselves in mainstream media and we must take control. We must exercise our power. We must use whatever control we do have in a very conscientious way. For we have millions of stories to tell and are quite rich in history that indeed does go further back than slavery and is independent of white American involvement. This takes hard and very decisive work.
More importantly we should also be alert to the fact that all things are connected. The things we see do not just have an affect on the psyche’s of Blacks. They are coded messages that are subconsciously understood by all. "Black lives still don’t matter". This message is believed by far too many; particularly by the authority and unfortunately by ourselves. And as far as our media is concerned, why should we matter? So as we now see, it continues to play itself out in very real life & death scenarios throughout the country. And to argue with a people who are suffering while at the same time struggling just to have their voices heard, that ALL lives matter is so……it’s just dumb. But White America and White Supremacy is all we know and all we’ve lived. So many of us will do all we can to defend it.
Congratulations to our Governors Awards winners Gena Rowlands, Spike Lee, and Debbie Reynolds.
The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted Tuesday night (August 25) to present Honorary Awards to Spike Lee and Gena Rowlands, and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Debbie Reynolds. All three awards will be presented at the Academy’s 7th Annual Governors Awards on Saturday, November 14, at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center®.
“The Board is proud to recognize our honorees’ remarkable contributions at this year’s Governors Awards,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “We’ll be celebrating their achievements with the knowledge that the work they have accomplished – with passion, dedication and a desire to make a positive difference – will also enrich future generations.”