OK, OK… not my best headline work. But some stuff popped up in my memories today, so it’s blog time.
First – today marks the first anniversary of Remembering Anarcha being released on VOD platforms all over the U.S. and Canada. And since then, it’s been released on even more streaming platforms, along with DVDs and Blu-rays. It’s been discussed by Columbia University‘s research department, mentioned in the Washington Post, and we’ve been contacted by other universities, nonprofit organizations, and interested parties about the film.
Related – Michelle Browder’s monument to the Mothers of Gynecology monument in Montgomery, AL, officially opens this Sunday – Mother’s Day. Find out more about her work at AnarchaLucyBetsey.org.
Second – two years ago was the date that the music video for the song “Carry the Wounds” off the album of the same name was released. (You can find the album on your favorite streaming platforms; links on the ‘Music‘ page.)
Aaaaand… third – some photos popped up of my old band Hail the Titans. We played a show on May 4 a decade ago. (Time, man… why it gotta be flying like that?) A photographer named Chris Barrett snapped some pics (below) while we were playing, and they bring back so many good memories of being on the road with that band.
Aaaaaanyway… thanks for taking this stroll down Memory Lane with me. Much love.
Today, May 4, 2021, is the official release day for Remembering Anarcha! The film my team and I started working on back in 2018 is now publicly available to purchase on many video-on-demand platforms across the U.S. and Canada.
You can find it on Apple TV and iTunes (special thanks to everyone who pre-ordered!), Vimeo on Demand, Vudu, Google Play, Microsoft, some cable and satellite VOD channels, and more!
There are also DVDs and Blu-rays available through online retailers.
On this day, I’d like to share a portion of a recent Facebook post:
I want to take a moment to give a shout out to a few people. First and foremost: Michelle Browder. Her art, passion, and activism inspired me to make this film, and she continues to educate and raise awareness about Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey through her “Mothers of Gynecology” project. (Be sure to check out https://www.anarchalucybetsey.org/)
I also want to give a shout out to my fellow producers: C. DeWayne Cunningham and Royce Williams. They came on board knowing that this was a passion project with no budget, and they have been supportive every step of the way.
And through this project, I made friends with author J.C. Hallman. His research is fascinating, and I’m looking forward to reading his forthcoming book “The Anarcha Quest.”
Thanks to everyone who has supported this project and pre-ordered the film. I hope you both enjoy it and learn something new. I appreciate the support. Much love.
The film will be available on-demand from multiple outlets across the U.S. and Canada, but pre-ordering on iTunes helps garner attention and get the film in front of more people. So if you use iTunes or Apple TV, this will help raise awareness of the film and the important subject matter the film addresses.
And while you’re clicking on links, be sure to check out Michelle Browder’s ‘Mothers of Gynecology’ project (click here.) Michelle appears in the film, and her art is what first caught my attention for this story. She’s gone across the country doing big things to raise awareness on this issue (and the shirt I’m wearing in the above video is from her project.)
As always, thanks for reading and thanks for your continued love and support. Much love to you.
Many thanks to the International Black Film Festival for awarding the “Best Long Documentary” award to Remembering Anarcha! The production team – C. DeWayne Cunningham, Royce Williams, and myself – celebrated with some Bowman Brothers bourbon, and yes, there’s a story behind that.
Part of the film was shot in Virginia. DeWayne had a previous engagement, but Royce and I took a road trip up to Fredericksburg in December 2018. While there, we decided to look for a place to grab a drink.
We Googled what was around us, and we found a distillery – the A. Smith Bowman distillery. According to Google, they were open, so we made our way over there.
We get out of the car and start walking toward the building. There were some other people heading inside as well, and we noticed that all of the people were dressed up. We, however, were not.
We walk in and look around… looks like a private event. It was. Apparently, we just crashed a corporate Christmas party.
Also, the distillery isn’t even open that late, so the info we got was wrong. But… while we couldn’t really stay, the friendly staff let us sample some stuff since we drove all the way up from Alabama. And I bought a bottle of bourbon.
I decided that it would be opened when all three of us could get together to celebrate getting into a film festival. But with COVID and life stuff and schedules, it took a little longer.
This past Sunday, however, we finally were able to get together, so we unsealed the bottle to celebrate our ‘Best Long Documentary’ win.
Thanks to everyone who has encouraged and supported us in this endeavor. We’ll let you know as soon as the film is available publicly for viewing. In the meantime, make sure to follow Remembering Anarcha on social media for updates:
In a blog post back in May, I asked, “Have you ever thought about how there is so much in the world that you don’t know?” And I’ve been thinking about that more lately, in a couple of ways.
In one instance, I think about how that applies to personal growth. I haven’t always been the person I am now, and I hope to be a better person tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after, and on and on.
In another instance, I think about how that growth and change applies to knowledge and my views on various issues. If we have a desire to continually learn about things and actually care about truth, we will evolve in our thinking. It’s OK if new information makes you rethink a position or change your mind about something.
Going back to the beginning of this: there is so much in the world that I don’t know or didn’t previously know. For example:
Today is Juneteenth. I don’t remember learning anything about that growing up. I don’t remember being taught about it in school. In fact, I’m pretty sure I was at least in college or older before I even knew the word, much less anything about it.
It was only this month that I finally took the time to actually sit down and make it a point to learn about Malcolm X.
It’s been very recently that I have tried to educate myself more about the history of policing in this country and what the calls to defund or abolish police actually mean. (Hint: It’s a lot deeper than a hashtag.)
I didn’t know about the Tulsa massacre or Black Wall Street until recently.
Until working on the documentary Remembering Anarcha, I knew very little about J. Marion Sims and the “mothers of gynecology” – Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey.
And even with the level of knowledge that I have gained at this point, I’m still not an expert because there is still so much to learn and so much I don’t know.
So… taking all of that into account, I got to thinking about many of the comments and arguments I’ve seen recently.
I’ve seen some people (mostly people who look like me, honestly) who have expressed how tired they are of everything going on in the world right now, or at least tired of hearing about it (i.e. the Black Lives Matter movement, the removal of Confederate monuments, rebranding Aunt Jemima syrup, etc.) And I think, if they’re tired of hearing about it, how tired are the people living it? I can’t imagine the exhaustion that people of color must be feeling right now.
(And really, the fact that so many people who look like me can go for years – sometimes entire lifetimes – completely unaffected by these racial and policing issues that are prominent in the news is an example of privilege. Yes, white privilege.)
And regarding these conversations I’ve seen recently, I think about motives, and how I attempt to decipher if someone is speaking out of ignorance or hatred, because I think those things are different.
Some people are just hateful, and I don’t think much can be done to help them see any other perspective. I don’t know how to make someone empathize if they don’t have the faintest desire to do so. I’d love to be wrong here, and if you’ve got the patience to try to reach them, by all means, give it a shot; I wish you luck and much success.
In others, however, I think maybe they have a good heart, but haven’t taken the time to actually listen and learn. Maybe they don’t have the experiences that come with a diverse friends group, or maybe they haven’t yet tried to ask questions or learn new things. I hold out hope for those people. I don’t know exactly what it takes to get through, but I do hope that something clicks within them.
And my reasoning for that goes back to what I started out talking about – I wasn’t always the person I am now with the level of knowledge I have at this moment. And hell, again, there’s so much I still don’t know, and I think personal growth is never done.
So maybe I can help someone else understand things that I’ve learned, or at least maybe help them to pause long enough to think about another perspective.
And in the meantime, I can listen to others and try to learn more myself.
Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep reading. Keep listening. Keep working for positive change.
Back in July, I announced the completion of my new feature documentary film Remembering Anarcha which examines the controversial history of Dr. James Marion Sims and the enslaved African women he experimented on to become known as the “father of modern gynecology.”
I also wrote and recorded some instrumental pieces for the score under my Glorious 70mm project moniker. That music is now available on Bandcamp.
Like all of the Glorious 70mm releases, I have this one set as “name your price,” even if zero. Yes, that means you can type in “$0.00” and download the music. However, if you’d like to help cover some film festival submission fees by throwing in a couple of bucks, my team and I would be grateful.
You ever want to talk about something, but you know you need to be patient and wait? Like a big announcement or something? Yeah? Me, too, which is why I’m so glad this day has finally arrived.
Last year, 2018, around April, I think – anyway, over a year ago – I had an idea for a new documentary project, and I approached two extremely close friends who happen to be filmmakers as well, and I asked them if they were interested in making this happen.
Both of them – C. DeWayne Cunningham and Royce Willliams – jumped on board as producers immediately, and together, we have completed a new feature-length documentary.
I have talked with people one-on-one, in person, about this project over the past year or so, but I haven’t made any official public announcements – until now.
So on behalf of my producers, I am pleased to announce the completion of our new film, titled:
The film explores the controversial history of Dr. James Marion Sims, who is known as the “father of modern gynecology,” or by his detractors as “father butcher.” If you haven’t heard of him, there are statues that were put up in his honor on the Capitol grounds in Montgomery, AL, the statehouse grounds in Columbia, SC, and in Central Park in New York City. The one in New York has been removed.
But along with his story, the film also explores the enslaved African women that he operated on while in Montgomery in the late 1840s. We know three of their names – Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey.
And within these historical stories, we explore issues of race, slavery, and ethics, and how those issues impact modern society and medicine.
So, I know some people will be asking where they can see the film. Well, we are in the process of submitting the film to various film festivals in the hopes that we can find a distributor. That process can take a while. (It can also be costly, so if you’d like to help us out, we are accepting donations – PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, checks… we’re open to any help we can get.)