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 2005 has certainly turned out to be a breakout year for Terrence Howard. The versatile

thespian received rave reviews for his powerful performances in a half-dozen feature

 films, most notably, Crash, Hustle & Flow, Animal and Four Brothers.




Blacktrospective 2005


A Look Back at the Best (and Worst) in Black Cinema

By Kam Williams


2004 may have been the Year of the Foxx (Jamie, that is) but 2005 has certainly turned out to be a breakout year for Terrence Howard. The versatile thespian received rave reviews for his powerful performances in a half-dozen feature films, most notably, Crash, Hustle & Flow, Animal and Four Brothers.

He also appeared in Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and The Salon, and a couple of made-for-TV movies, Lackawanna Blues and Their Eyes Were Watching God. Just like Jamie, he has a shot at landing Oscar nominations in both the lead (for Hustle & Flow) and supporting (for Crash) actor categories.       

But Terrence wasn’t the only brother or sister in the industry to distinguish him or herself, so for better or worse. So without further ado, in the interest of celebrating excellence and of eradicating mediocrity in movies, permit me to present Blacktrospective 2005, an  annual report card which shines a light on black overachievement and underachievement in cinema.

Best Black Films of 2005

1.   Crash

2.   Coach Carter

3.   Hustle and Flow (Review)

4.   Hitch

5.   The Gospel

6.   Four Brothers

7.   G

8.   The Reception

9.   Guess Who

10.  In the Mix


1.   The Vanishing Black Male

2.   Calypso Dreams

3.   The Untold Story of Emmett Till

4.   Emmanuel’s Gift

5.   After Innocence

6.   Darwin’s Nightmare

7.   Aristide and the Endless Revolution

8.   Congo: White King, Red Rubber, Black Death (Review)

9.   Mad Hot Ballroom

10. The Swenkas

Best Actors

1.   Terrence Howard (Crash, Animal, Hustle & Flow, Four Brothers)

2.   Samuel L. Jackson (Coach Carter)

3.   Clifton Powell (The Gospel)

4.   Will Smith (Hitch)

5.   Ving Rhames (Animal)

6.   Larenz Tate (Crash)

7.   Blair Underwood   (G)

8.   Boris Kodjoe (The Gospel)

9.   Ludacris (Crash)

10.  Bernie Mac (Guess Who)

Best Actresses

1.   Thandie Newton (Crash)

2.   Wanda Sykes (Monster-in-Law)

3.   Taraji Henson (Hustle & Flow, Four Brothers, Animal)

4.   Paula Jai Parker (Hustle & Flow, Animal)

5.   Tamyra Gray (The Gospel)

6.   Zoe Saldana (Guess Who)

7.   Nona Gaye (The Gospel)

8.   Wendy Raquel Robinson (Rebound)

9.   Dianne Reeves (Good Night, and Good Luck)

10. Gabrielle Union (The Honeymooners)

Best Directors

1.   Hisani Dubose (The Vanishing Black Male)

2.   Thomas Carter (Coach Carter)

3.   Keith Beauchamp (The Untold Story of Emmett Till)

4.   Rob Hardy (The Gospel)

5.   John Singleton (Four Brothers)

6.   Christopher Scott Cherot (G)

7.   Kevin Rodney Sullivan (Guess Who)

8.   Angela Robinson (Herbie: Fully Loaded)

9.   Tim Story (Fantastic Four)

10. Billie Woodruff (Beauty Shop)

Worst Movies

1.   Get Rich or Die Tryin’

2.   Roll Bounce

3.   The Man

4.   King’s Ransom

5.   Death of a Dynasty

Worst Actors

1.   50 Cent (Get Rich or Die Tryin’)

2.   The Rock (Be Cool)

3.   Bow Wow (Roll Bounce)

4.   Ice Cube (xXx 2, Are We There Yet)

5.   Chris Rock (The Longest Yard)

Worst Actresses

1.   Tyler Perry (Diary of a Mad Black Woman)

2.   Regina Hall (Miss Congeniality 2, King’s Ransom)

3.   Rosario Dawson (Sin City)

4.   Nia Long (Are We There Yet)

5.   Kimberly Elise (Diary of a Mad Black Woman)


Note: Thanks to fellow film critic Wilson Morales of for his very  valuable assistance in researching this article, although all the lists strictly reflect the opinion of Kam Williams.  

posted 18 December 2005

*   *   *   *   *’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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Faces At The Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism

By Derrick Bell

In nine grim metaphorical sketches, Bell, the black former Harvard law professor who made headlines recently for his one-man protest against the school’s hiring policies, hammers home his controversial theme that white racism is a permanent, indestructible component of our society. Bell’s fantasies are often dire and apocalyptic: a new Atlantis rises from the ocean depths, sparking a mass emigration of blacks; white resistance to affirmative action softens following an explosion that kills Harvard’s president and all of the school’s black professors; intergalactic space invaders promise the U.S. President that they will clean up the environment and deliver tons of gold, but in exchange, the bartering aliens take all African Americans back to their planet. Other pieces deal with black-white romance, a taxi ride through Harlem and job discrimination.

Civil rights lawyer Geneva Crenshaw, the heroine of Bell’s And We Are Not Saved (1987), is back in some of these ominous allegories, which speak from the depths of anger and despair. Bell now teaches at New York University Law School.—Publishers Weekly

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The New New Deal

The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era

By Michael Grunwald

Time senior correspondent Michael Grunwald tells the secret history of the stimulus bill, the purest distillation of Change We Can Believe In, a microcosm of Obama’s policy successes and political failures. Though it is reviled by the right and rejected by the left, it really is a new New Deal, larger than FDR’s and just as transformative. It prevented an imminent depression, while jump-starting Obama’s long-term agenda. The stimulus is pouring $90 billion into clean energy, reinventing the way America is powered and fueled; it includes unprecedented investments in renewables, efficiency, electric cars, a smarter grid, cleaner coal, and more. It’s carrying health care into the digital era. Its Race to the Top initiative may be the boldest education reform in U.S. history. It produced the biggest middle-class tax cuts in a generation, a broadband initiative reminiscent of rural electrification, and an overhaul of the New Deal’s unemployment insurance system. It’s revamping the way government addresses homelessness, fixes infrastructure, and spends money.

Grunwald reveals how Republicans have obscured these achievements through obstruction and distortion. The stimulus launched a genuine national comeback. It also saved millions of jobs, while creating legacies that could rival the Hoover Dam: the world’s largest wind farm, a new U.S. battery industry, a new high-speed rail network, the world’s highest-speed Internet network.  Its main legacy, like the New Deal’s, will be change.

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Pictures and Progress

Early Photography and the Making of African American Identity

Edited by Maurice O. Wallace and Shawn Michelle Smith

Pictures and Progress explores how, during the nineteenth century and the early twentieth, prominent African American intellectuals and activists understood photography’s power to shape perceptions about race and employed the new medium in their quest for social and political justice. They sought both to counter widely circulating racist imagery and to use self-representation as a means of empowerment. In this collection of essays, scholars from various disciplines consider figures including Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and W. E. B. Du Bois as important and innovative theorists and practitioners of photography. In addition, brief interpretive essays, or “snapshots,” highlight and analyze the work of four early African American photographers. Featuring more than seventy images, Pictures and Progress brings to light the wide-ranging practices of early African American photography, as well as the effects of photography on racialized thinking.

*   *   *   *   *

It’s The Middle Class Stupid!

By James Carville and Stan Greenberg

It’s the Middle Class, Stupid! confirms what we have all suspected: Washington and Wall Street have really screwed things up for the average American. Work has been devalued. Education costs are out of sight. Effort and ambition have never been so scantily rewarded. Political guru James Carville and pollster extraordinaire Stan Greenberg argue that our political parties must admit their failures and the electorate must reclaim its voice, because taking on the wealthy and the privileged is not class warfare—it is a matter of survival. Told in the alternating voices of these two top political strategists, It’s the Middle Class, Stupid! provides eye-opening and provocative arguments on where our government—including the White House—has gone wrong, and what voters can do about it. 

Controversial and outspoken, authoritative and shrewd, It’s the Middle Class, Stupid! is destined to make waves during the 2012 presidential campaign, and will set the agenda for legislative battles and political dust-ups during the next administration.

*   *   *   *   *

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

*   *   *   *   *

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 /

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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 15 July 2012




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Related Files:  Silence: In Search of Black

Female Sexuality in America