Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Secret Lives (That's A Plural) Of Bees (Also A Plural)

This week, I took a time out to attend a press screening of The Secret Life of Bees--as it is grammatically incorrectly titled. After hearing the buzz (ha ha!) about the Gina Prince Bythewood-directed feature, I was eager to view it. Are you kidding me? We've got a black female director, a cast of well-known black female stars, and a story taking place in the south during the Civil Rights movement. It sounds like a winning formula, but this flick is no Mississippi Burning--nor Eve's Bayou.

Instead, it focuses on a white teenager named Lily (clever!) (played by Dakota Fanning) who, as a child, loses her mother and then runs smack dab into a family of black women beekeepers who end up taking care of her the way they used to take care of her mama.

No one can argue that this movie doesn't attempt to integrate blacks and whites, but it is heavy on white Lily as victim even though a black woman, Rosaleen, (Jennifer Hudson) is badly beaten by whites for attempting to register to vote. I never knew if Rosaleen had a mother or just magically appeared one day to knee-growishly guide Lily to her destiny.

Another character, May (portrayed by the super-talented and biracial Sophie Okonedo), is a sad creature whose twin sister's (April's) death often leads her to visit a wailing wall just outside of her home. I wanted to know more, too, about what drove May to the edge.

Curiously, the Watermelon Sushi film also has a character named April. In fact, while watching Alicia Keys (another biracial babe) playing June, I had a revelation that she could play April. For one thing, if you look closely, you'll notice that Alicia has very slanted eyes. Ha! Could she possibly be a Hapa Japa--someone who's half Japanese--passing for black/white? Hmmm. Unlike Watermelon's April though, Bees' June character is bold and brash. In fact, June acts more like April's sister, Michiko.

Did you get that? June can play April even though April acts more like May and Michiko acts more like June. Figure it out here:

And, no, I didn't read the Bees book so I'm sure there's plenty I missed about white Lily and her black female friends. If you've read it, please drop me a line.

btw, the last time I checked, the word "bees" with an "s" on the end indicates that it's a plural. So, what's up with this movie title?

On to more news. Tomorrow is the first day of the International Black Film Festival of Nashville. Besides Boris Kodjoe (yet another biracial actor--lookout, we're taking over!) hosting Saturday night's gala, the Watermelon Sushi trailer will be featured in a special category for films seeking finishing funds. Big ups to Jaz, Hazel and Ingrid for your efforts, and good fortune with the fest!

And, don't forget the sooner we sell more Hapa*Teez t-shirts, the sooner we finish making Watermelon Sushi.

Until next time, I remain...bzzz...bzzz...

Your Hip Hapa,

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