Monday, December 14, 2009
What I did see of "The People Speak" makes me want to see it in its entirety, yet still I went to bed without checking to see if they were going to do an encore performance last night on The History Channel, which they did at midnight, so I missed recording it too. I can't find it on the schedule for any other time this week, If anyone hears of them showing it again, please give me a heads up.
I felt the format of celebrities performing readings from these incredible letters and songs from the era was very effective. It's a miracle that some of these writings have been preserved, they were often from just an ordinary person who simply lived in their own time period, but cared enough about the issues of the day to speak out. I was particularly moved by the eloquence of the letters from former slaves. To think of the struggle they had to go through just to learn to read and write, and then to take it to the next level of being literary.
The University of Pennsylvania's (Irvine Auditorium) was a stop on the tour to promote "The People Speak," a panel consisting of (L to R) producer Chris Moore and rappers Darryl McDaniels (founding member of Run-DMC) and Lupe Fiasco participate in a Q&A moderated by Professor Tufuku Zuberi.
I was not in attendance for this Q&A, the below quotes from rapper's Fiasco and McDaniels, is from Film Critic, Nathan Lerner's column:
Fiasco explained how he became involved with the project: “After meeting Howard Zinn, I was hooked.” He reflected, “You get to the eureka moment, where you realize there were regular people in history. It’s not all the generals and politicians from the textbooks.”
Fiasco recounted that he had been given the choice of several possible pieces to read as his contribution to “The People Speak.” Ultimately, he opted to recite a 1965 petition by the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party against the Vietnam War. “I think it was something that spoke to right now. The war is now and there’s something not right about it.” Fiasco remarked, "It really challenges you to question yourself.”
McDaniels articulated a strong independent streak. He disclaimed, “I’m not of the Republican Party, I’m not of the Democratic Party — I’m of the hip-hop party, and there ain’t nothin’ better than that!”
THE PEOPLE SPEAK
Sunday, December 13 at 8 PM
The History Channel
Using dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries and speeches of everyday Americans, the documentary feature film THE PEOPLE SPEAK gives voice to those who spoke up for social change throughout U.S. history, forging a nation from the bottom up with their insistence on equality and justice.
Narrated by acclaimed historian Howard Zinn and based on his best-selling books, A People's History of the United States and, with Anthony Arnove, Voices of a People's History, THE PEOPLE SPEAK illustrates the relevance of these passionate historical moments to our society today and reminds us never to take liberty for granted.
THE PEOPLE SPEAK is produced by Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Chris Moore, Anthony Arnove, and Howard Zinn,
co-directed by Moore, Arnove and Zinn.
features dramatic and musical performances by Allison Moorer, Benjamin Bratt, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Chris Robinson, Christina Kirk, Danny Glover, Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, David Strathairn, Don Cheadle, Eddie Vedder, Harris Yulin, Jasmine Guy, John Legend, Josh Brolin, Kathleen Chalfant, Kerry Washington, Lupe Fiasco, Marisa Tomei, Martín Espada, Matt Damon, Michael Ealy, Mike O'Malley, Morgan Freeman, Q'orianka Kilcher, Reg E. Cathey, Rich Robinson, Rosario Dawson, Sandra Oh, Staceyann Chin, and Viggo Mortensen.