ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


Home Films today are filled with much sex, violence and profanity; this is a zero profanity film. When a couple of these elements are implied, there is nothing a parent would cringe at their young ones seeing  


Antwone Fisher — The Movie  By Kwaku Person-Lynn, Ph.D.


When thinking of somewhat recent favorite movies made by people of Afrikan descent, what comes to mind are: “Best Man,” “Soul Food,” Boyz in The Hood,” and the movie that defines its own category, “Malcolm X.” There may be some others not mentioned. The creativity of Denzel Washington in the form of his directorial debut movie “Antwone Fisher” rises to the highest level in the art of filmmaking. The substance is found in the meaning, the humor, the drama, and the story, the photography, the casting, the lighting, the acting, the editing, the music, the silence, and most of all, the importance of family. Nothing was over or under done. The only other time it seemed the Afrikan family was brought to such an exalted height was in the television series “Roots.”

One way of measuring the greatness of a film are the emotional levels reached while watching it. This film takes you from one end of the spectrum to the other, all of it riding on top of a subtle, gradual optimism. While many scenes in films are predictable, not in this film. The cinematic experience of the main character, Antwone Fisher, (superbly played by first time actor Derek Luke), evolves through his personal adventure to control his anger, struggling through his inhibitions in establishing a relationship with his girl friend, (perfectly and joyfully played by Joy Bryant), and hunting for his family, reach peak levels of what movie making is supposed to be.

Washington’s grasp of realizing the art form gives one the impression that he did not allow the smallest detail to go unnoticed. For instance, there was one scene where Fisher and his girlfriend were sitting on the ocean dock, late at night talking. The close-ups were done very artfully, and the lighting, giving the impression it was illuminated by the moon, could have been framed as a great piece of photography. Even the book given to Fisher by his psychiatrist, played by Washington (what can you say about the best actor in Hollywood) shows a high level of literary consciousness. Even so-called revolutionaries, who consistently and rightfully criticize Hollywood films, have to applaud.

One of the most poignant moments in the film was how Washington was able to venerate the presence of American Afrikan elders. The subtle grand manner in which it was executed was like observing a private ceremony in traditional Afrika, exalting the honor and glory of eldership. That one scene alone goes beyond anything one would expect to come out of Hollywood. It requires an elevated level of thought and awareness.

Films today are filled with much sex, violence and profanity; this is a zero profanity film. When a couple of these elements are implied, there is nothing a parent would cringe at their young ones seeing. The moral standard centers around one variable, quality.

 Although filmmaking is a business, and profit is the ultimate business goal, the importance of this film transcends just accounts receivable. Word of mouth is going to be very strong. It may not quickly burst through the ceiling as the typical blockbuster, but like the rabbit and the hare, it will slowly creep up the profit line to justify Washington doing whatever he wants. Video and DVD rentals and sales are going to go through the roof.

 There are artistic statements made in various creative venues that not only stand the test of time, but also make indelible impressions on the social fabric, eventually being held up as classics for the ages. If ever there was a film that meets that criterion, “Antwone Fisher” began reaching that status when the real Antwone Fisher wrote the first word of his story. If you miss this one, you have truly missed a very special film event.

Kwaku Person-Lynn is the author of On My Journey Now – The Narrative And Works Of Dr. John Henrik Clarke, The Knowledge Revolutionary. E-mail address:

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 – Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 – Don’t Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 – Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 – Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King

#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. “Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality.”—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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Hopes and Prospects

By Noam Chomsky

In this urgent new book, Noam Chomsky surveys the dangers and prospects of our early twenty-first century. Exploring challenges such as the growing gap between North and South, American exceptionalism (including under President Barack Obama), the fiascos of Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S.-Israeli assault on Gaza, and the recent financial bailouts, he also sees hope for the future and a way to move forward—in the democratic wave in Latin America and in the global solidarity movements that suggest “real progress toward freedom and justice.” Hopes and Prospects is essential reading for anyone who is concerned about the primary challenges still facing the human race. “This is a classic Chomsky work: a bonfire of myths and lies, sophistries and delusions. Noam Chomsky is an enduring inspiration all over the world—to millions, I suspect—for the simple reason that he is a truth-teller on an epic scale. I salute him.” —John Pilger In dissecting the rhetoric and logic of American empire and class domination, at home and abroad, Chomsky continues a longstanding and crucial work of elucidation and activism . . .the writing remains unswervingly rational and principled throughout, and lends bracing impetus to the real alternatives before us.—Publisher’s Weekly

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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update 3 January 2012






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