Two things come to mind after reading Ta-Nehisi Coates' pitch-perfect critique of the film "Nina": 1. How forces at work in casting this movie also inform the way we now listen to and appreciate jazz music at large. Were he alive today for exmaple, Thelonious Monk would not get close to winning the piano competition that bears his name because we reify his legacy while denuding its contemporary racial and cultural importance. 2. How Hollyweird has little trouble casting black women with African features to portray servitude and illness. (e.g. Hattie McDaniel in "Gone with the Wind," Octavia Spencer in "The Help," and Mo'Nique in "Precious," all of whom won Oscars). And yet it denies and denudes Simone's face? Coates' writing offers some of the most cogent observations on African American life available today. It's time to face the music.
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