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Archive for the ‘film’ Category

Untying the YouTube Knot (Videos)

The Title of this video is “Untying the YouTube Knot”You know, over the past few months, YouTube has been giving its content creators the blues. Some righteously and others not so much.  I was surprised that they came at me, but I am beginning to think that it was because of my video series debunking the rumor that Michelle Obama was a man, that got me so many views and subs, that my channel was no longer under the radar.

I really couldn’t understand why YouTube is acting so crazy, demonetizing my vids and now suppressing my views. It really doesn’t make any sense to me because I have a really small channel compared to some. But at this point, I am convinced it’s the message and not the size of your channel.
I even saw someone complaining about their views being suppressed back in 2015 before the big hooplah about the advertisers.  So, the Passive aggressive way of getting at you and staying on you is basically getting fine tuned as they blame it on the Algorithms, etc.
So, I just wanted to let my subscribers and visitors know what I am going to do. I believe that when one door closes another opens and many times the other door has more opportunities. I strongly believe that YouTube is gonna see what a bad move it was for them to squeeze out their content creators.
Of course, they are big enough that they feel they can do so, and suffer minor scraps and bruises. But the fact that they would do that to the folks who made YouTube what it is today, shows the level of loyalty they have and therefore they cannot be trusted with their new partners, the big Dogs!!! 
Everybody is in it for the money, and if the Big Dogs see YouTube is not loyal, they won’t trust them either. Instead of squeezing us out they should have created another Platform where we could flourish, but instead, they are using passive aggressive means to get us out. Suppressing views and demonetizing most channels, and then actually shutting others down. And they are doing it left and right.
When you look at the trending pages, even if your interests are extremely different, you don’t see what you used to see, now you see weirdness.  Then you gotta go search for your channels, when they used to be right there prominent on the Home Page.

Some channels are completely GONE, gone, others have moved to their back up and some have created 2 and 3 other channels only to have them shut down.
So, for me, I always say, if it don’t fit, don’t force it. Content creators are creative folks, and YouTube is just causing other folks to draw them in on other platforms. These platforms may not be as fancy as YouTube, but they are options and in a little bit, they will pan out to be a much better option than YouTube, because the content creators will not only leave, but take their subscribers with them. I don’t know whose idea it was to put the squeeze on us, but I don’t think it was well thought out.
When you are married for several years, you just don’t get up and leave, unless you really don’t need what you are leaving behind. Quiet as it’s kept, YouTube needs us, so kicking us out in the cold, will only make them wish they hadn’t. The funny thing will be if they try to bring us back. How many of us jilted lovers will crawl back to YouTube, no questions asked. I am sure some will, but we should not come back, because YouTube kicked us to the curb for no real reason except their cash register, and that’s not a good foundation for any relationship.
So, I want to let you all know what I have done and what I will be doing in the future.

Obviously, I cannot totally depend on my channel like folks with hundreds of thousands of views can, for revenues. However, the idea that they are suppressing my views is a bit infuriating. They went from demonetizing to the back way of doing so, by saying, ain’t nobody watching my videos and I know much better than that. In fact, I am wondering why the analytics say 1,620 view in the passed 48 hours but the actual view count on the vids, ain’t changing, sounds a bit fishy to me.
I am at Patreon, but I really have no patrons, even though I did the whole patreon push.
I am on Vidme and that’s pretty cool, got a couple of subs there.  Vidme, is straight no chaser, just upload your vids within the parameters of your membership, or upload by adding a URL of a video from somewhere else, which is really, really a cool feature and wallah, there’s your vid, with the description, thumbnail and all! Pretty niffty I might add.  So come over there an check me out.
I am on blaqspot.com, which is an alternative to Facebook and a decent place for African Americans, who primarily want to support a black owned business and get other opportunities like showcasing your business, uploading vids, and pics, networking, blogging, and announcing events, it’s pretty cool. When Blaqspot.com first started off it was free to join, but now they are asking for $5/month membership fee. It makes sense to me cause it takes money to do much of anything in this country! I like it because I know that my posts will be appreciated by a small group of folks who will holler back at me and let me know they saw it!
I am still on Facebook, but my days there are numbered. I really don’t care for it anymore, and since I don’t get much traction over there, I am slowly weaning myself off it.  They offer the opportunity to post ads, but if you don’t have a large following, your ads won’t do much as far as getting them duckets into the bank!!
I am still on Google+ as well, I like the interactions there much better, I also like the groups they have and the networking. People respond to what I post, I share theirs, and of course, Google offers so much other junk to rope you in, it ain’t funny. But no revenue. That is only through YouTube.
I am also onMinds.com, it’s seems to be a budding platform similar to FaceBook but not quite as overloaded with the newsfeed. There you get points for being on there, and they can be cashed in or used to purchase whatever they got going over there, but I get a kick out of watching my points increase.  Minds.com is working on sharing revenues with their content creators, but I gotta read the fine print about a hundred more times before I can make any sense of that.
I want to give a special shout out for the folks over there at BitChute though! I joined the platform about 6 months ago, and had no idea I was even accepted until someone posted a comment under one of my vids. I was like, really???? Then when I went there, I saw my channel and all my YouTube videos from the past 6 months. I was like, wait-a-second, when did that happen???? I ain’t complaining or anything, but I was not prepared for that! And that was soo cool.
Now they are using some sort of bit torrent thingamajig, and don’t get me lying, I ain’t got a single clue how that works or what the heck that is… but they were able to suck all my vids off YouTube via my YouTube ID and there were my vids, looking just as pretty and nice and wonderful and right there! I also have the option of uploading which is a new feature as they were mainly dependent on the torrent option, whatever the heck that is. If you know what that means, feel free to clue me in, in the comment section cause I am like “duuuuh” when it comes to that technology.
But what was super special was when I sent them a thank you message and got a response right away from the Big Guy over there who said he had been watching my vids for a long time on YouTube, and that I was one of the first folks to sign up, probably after I heard about it on the Corbett Report. Ditto, ditto, but I had no idea I was one of the first ones to sign up.
You know how you get that tingly feeling when you think nobody notices you and then all of a sudden someone does and you are like wow, and you didn’t even know it?? But even more than that, that you are appreciated!! That’s what I am talking about. Heck, I went to a small college and live in a small town and it’s the smallness that’s the greatness if you ask me. So BitChute might be small now, but they care and so I just wanna say thanks for that, and ask you all to come over and check me out there.
I am gonna move my I Ching videos over there. I was thinking of filling up another channel with just those types of videos, but some of them are still political, and YouTube has already demonetized a few of them. I mean, they are psychic reading videos, but because I am talking about Donald Trump, War, Syria, 911, and all they demonetized them, I couldn’t believe, especially since I thought, they wouldn’t dare demonetize those vids. They even demonetized my video on Michelle Obama that got the most vids on my whole channel!! And after it have been there for 2-3 months.  And, along with demonetizing they are suppressing views.
It’s frustrating, infuriating and depressing. You do all this work, not only for the money but because you have something you want to share with your subs and you can’t even tell if they even saw it, but you know they did, by the comments, cause pretty much, out of the hundred who watch it maybe one or 2 will leave a comments, so if you have 35 views and 10 comments, well that’s pretty fishy, don’t you think?? Well, I do anyways.
So, I am still juggling, this one woman show, trying to determine what the what, but I may just make my vids and upload them to the other platforms… cause you know what, it don’t make no sense that YouTube is giving us such a hard time!
I just wanted to let you all know where I was, and what I am thinking about doing. And what I will probably be doing from now on. Since I can upload to those platforms, I ain’t making no money over here on YouTube anyways, might as well stretch out there and get more exposure on these other platforms and build up an audience there. At 65, going on 66, ain’t nobody got time for that!!

Support My Work, it would be greatly appreciated. YouTube is doing its level best to make it hard for content creators.
Send a donation: www.paypal.me/nanabaakan
Available for Psychic Readings, Dream Interpretation and Workshops.

Contact: metaphysical.nana@gmail.com

"Venus Noire" ("Black Venus") Film & Review

“Venus Noire” 

(“Black Venus” – Controversial Hottentot Venus Film)

Part 1

Part 2

It’s been over a year since I saw Venus Noire (Black Venus) at the New York Film Festival in the fall of 2010, and it never received a stateside release; actually I’m not sure it got much of a release outside of the international film festival circuit and a few European territories.
So I’m betting most of you have never seen French/Tunisian filmmaker Abdel Kechiche’s problematic though worth-watching Saartjie “Sarah” Baartman, otherwise derogatorily known as the Hottentot Venus film, which starred newcomer Yahima Torres in the title role.
The subject matter certain isn’t one that will attract audiences to the theater en masse; and the fact that the film is almost 3 hours long, with subtitles, likely didn’t exactly make potentially interested American distributors salivate at the film’s box office potential.
But if you’re in Los Angeles during the month of February, and you’re at all interested in seeing the film, here’s your shot! It’s either now, or you wait for a stateside home video release (though it’s on DVD in parts of Europe and Canada; just not in the USA). 
But I’d recommend a theatrical viewing.

It’s a challenging work, and one that I’m sure will piss a lot of people off, not only because of its content, but also the manner in which it’s handled by the director. It’s just something you should see for yourselves.
I wrote a lengthy review of it last year, after I saw it; and, as I said in that write-up, I was left with conflicting thoughts on the film. Unfortunately, I never got to see it again, even though I wanted to. I’ll be at the PAFF this year, so I just might see it again on the big screen, if my schedule allows for it
In the meantime, below you’ll find my initial review, as well as a trailer for the film, a clip from it, and an interview with star Yahima Torress…

And finally here’s my 2010 review:
 So there I was waiting for the subway train after my screening of Venus Noire (Black Venus), and what did I see plastered almost all over one of those ubiquitous tunnel newsstands? Covers for various magazines, many unabashedly featuring the barely covered-up plump bottoms of predominantly black women in seductive poses – 2 dimensional images of voiceless bodies, objectified, exotified, envied, denigrated, and more; depending on the viewer.
And with that picture, Obvious Guy asks, so, really, has much changed in the 200 years since Saartjie “Sarah” Baartman found herself victim of the same kind of mixed gaze? Of course, there’s the perceived independence, and even false sense of power and control some might claim those in the present-day wield over their spectators (an illusory brand of feminism as I’ve heard others suggest), and they aren’t introduced in cages by a man carrying a whip (well, actually, some are), and Saartjie’s experiences were more direct and literal; but, frankly, the similarities can’t be ignored. I even considered that Saartjie’s torment was strictly race-based, and a result of its time; but I was able to dismiss that notion in realizing that there still certainly exists a racial “otherness” that precedes and influences the various gazes I mentioned above. For example, I still (unfortunately) hear stories about enthralled white women asking black women if they can touch their hair, ignorant of the sensation the request itself provokes.
The film opens in 1815, France, some time after Saartjie’s death, as a French academic, addressing what look like his peers, with a physical mold of Saartjie’s body on display, makes his scientific and historic case for why her “species” is inferior to theirs. The lengthy opening lecture is met with applause from his audience of all white men. The matter-of-fact nature of the entire sequence is revelatory in that it shows just how ignorant, yet assured of themselves these leaders of the world were, and helps explain their callous treatment of their perceived inferiors – a trend that continued long after they themselves perished.
Following that opening sequence, we travel back in time, 5 years, to 1810, London, some time after Baartman had been taken from Cape Town, with promises of wealth, via exhibition, in Europe. And so the tragic tale of the “freak show attraction” known as the Hottentot Venus began…
Like those women on the magazine covers, Saartjie is mostly mute throughout the film, her body language representative of her thoughts, and clearly, she isn’t exactly cherishing the spectacle that’s being made of her physical self – much of it some will find difficult to watch, as it should be. Writer/director Abdellatif Kechichemakes sure of that, with numerous scenes running quite lengthy – possibly 10 minutes or more in some cases.
Given the style in which the film is made, it felt almost like a documentary. Kechiche does little to distract from the narrative; the performances from the entire cast are realistic (you believe them), including Yahima Torres(as Baartman), Andre Jacobs, Olivier Gourmet, Elina Lowensohn, Francois Marthouret, Michel Gionti, andJean-Christophe Bouvet; there’s virtually no soundtrack (any music heard occurs naturally within the scene); the mostly hand-held camera moves but, oddly, you forget that it’s there – partly due to the stark nature of the physical settings, and also of the subject matter itself; you may feel guilty enough to look away, but you can’t.
In reading some early reviews of the film before I saw it, I expected to be turned off by what some seemed to suggest would be gratuitous on the part of the director. But I didn’t feel what they felt, and I do wonder if the reactions to Venus Noire will be similar to a film like Precious (a story about a character whose physical self was also arguably a character in its own right), in that they will be separated along color lines. I could certainly make sense of a white film critic being made uncomfortable by the inhumane treatment Saartjie endured; her captors are white. And as I’ve already suggested, one can’t help but see connections to the present-day race- and sex-based prejudices that still exist. There’s a reason (amongst many) that films that center on whites-as-saviors-of-“others” continue to be produced. They like to see themselves in that light. Rarely do we see stories told that detail the inhumanities whites have dished out intently and indiscriminately on the darker-skinned “others” across the world, without retribution. In a way, it’s like a revision of history.
But no one comes to save Saartjie here; she lives a brutal life, and dies just as punishingly, with the film not necessarily making it clear who we are supposed to point our fingers to, for blame.
Although, I felt numb to it all, and I wonder if my reaction would mirror those of other people of African descent. By most accounts, I should have been appalled, disgusted, and completely turned off by Kechiche’s lengthy scenes showing all the horror that Saartjie endured before her early death. But, little of it actually disturbed me.
In thinking about it further, I realized that it wasn’t necessarily because the filmmaker had failed in creating moments within the film that would elicit specific reactions out of me (although, who am I to say what the filmmaker intended); I felt numb because, again, as I eluded to above, we have and still are so bombarded with similar parades of images of women’s bodies (specifically black women’s bodies), accentuating specific attributes, whether still or moving, that what I saw on screen, as revolting as it was, seemed almost, dare I say, “ordinary” to me.
From music videos, to magazines… however, less obvious and even deceptive are those studies, surveys, investigations into the so-called black experience that suggest an “otherness;” different, and thus must be observed and studied like monkeys in a cage. Whether it’s CNN’s redundant, surface “Black In America” series, the recent article about how black people use Twitter, or more direct, scientist claims that people of African descent are less intelligent than whites, and so on.
I’ve rallied against most of these ideas and occurrences on this blog and elsewhere, and will continue to do so. However, the point here is that this long-standing, continuous assault on our senses, all suggesting an inferiority as the basis for marginalization of a group of people, have had an effect on how I react to similar instances (real or fictional). Numb – which can be a dangerous place to be, because it could lead to a lessened desire to act against like injustices.
Saartjie doesn’t speak very much in the film, as I already stated; usually only when spoken to; we don’t really get a sense for how she feels. Certainly, as I said above, her body language leaves little doubt that this isn’t the kind of life she thought she would be leading, or that was promised to her by the man who brought her to Europe (he lied, telling her and her slave owner that she’d essentially be a song and dance act, not the circus freak show he would eventually convince her to be); but I would have liked to hear her wrestle with her predicament; here she is, seemingly a willing (coerced) participant in an act, sharing in the benefits afforded by the booty (no pun intended), though unequally, with her captors; but struggling to come to terms with the truth of who (or rather what) she is to the ignorant, yet curious and enchanted audience that pays to watch her perform. To contemporize it, think of the strippers who are “trapped” by the money they earn used to feed, house and clothe themselves, but who struggle with the impact the work they do has on their lives, and the perception others have of them. Not exactly the same thing as what Saatjie endured, but I’m trying to make sense of what I felt was one of the film’s notable deficiencies. We see Saartjie through the eyes of her captors and the audiences that pay to see her – as a lottery ticket, and a spectacle respectively – but we get few glimpses into the mind of the woman that the body belongs to.
From the film, we know she despised her treatment, she’s outright defiant in moments, and the filmmaker does attempt to humanize her, giving her some 3-dimensionality; and I never once felt like he was being exploitative; but, as is, it’s still questionable just how much control she really had over her predicament (although we know that she was a slave). In the film, she remains something of a mystery, and I can’t say whether that was all intentional on the filmmaker’s part, as, I’d guess, he tried to piece together a personality based on limited availability of information, written by others about her.
There’s also that saying about the the presence of mental shackles even in the absence of tangible ones.
Director Kechiche’s film isn’t a lecture on the matters it documents. Each scene is presented “as is,” without any obvious commentary, you could say. It’s neither what I’d describe as a call to action. You are simply witness to an ugly injustice, an accomplice even, and your reaction to it is just that… your reaction, based on your own life experiences, which will also determine what you choose to do about whatever it is you felt, assuming you’re inspired to act in any way.
Don’t go into this looking for a biopic of Baartman, as you will be disappointed. It’s more a document of a very specific part of her life, that which she’s most known for. And despite the title of the film, she instead feels like one of several equal players in this tragedy, instead of its star center. There’s also what I’d call a disconnect between the filmmaker and the material. Like I said, he doesn’t necessarily take sides. In fact, the film played out more like a series of filmed news reports.
It does take a few creative liberties, however, the script remains fairly close to the true story of Saartjie Baartman. At almost 3 hours in length, some editing could have been done to trim it a bit, without losing its substance; and that running time makes it a tough sell for audiences outside of the expected art-house crowd – especially here in the USA.
Although, I certainly hope it does receive a wide enough release. I’m curious about global reactions to the film. I suspect most aren’t at all familiar with Saartjie Baartman’s story, or are even aware of the derogatory “Hottentot Venus.” In a way, I actually envy those who’ll be seeing the film ignorant of the real-life story it’s based on. Most importantly, it means that one is less likely to spend time comparing the film’s details to what they know of the historic figure the characterization is inspired by. I can only imagine what their reactions would be, but I expect sharply contrasting sets of opinions.
I’m left with conflicting thoughts on the film, and I wasn’t even sure how I would review the film. I feel like I could write volumes on the experience I  had watching it. But maybe that’s all a good thing. I think a second viewing might be helpful in clarifying my thoughts. If anything, it’s not a film one walks out of the theater and immediately forgets. Other reviews I’ve read thus far have expressed concern about the film being hard to watch – not because it’s a bad film, but due to the contemptible scenarios Baartman lived through as explicitly documented in the film. As I’ve said before, the subject matter is already controversial enough, that any film made about Baartman will find it impossible to escape controversy. Kechiche’s handling of it is obviously crucial, and I’d say he handles it better than I expected. It certainly should inspire further discussion, especially with regards to contemporary correlations.

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