How do you feel when you consider our history, both recent history and the not-so recent? For me I experience mixed emotions. I stand amazed and proud at the strength, resilience, dignity, resolve, and fortitude that our ancestors possessed. At the same time, I get overwhelmed with anger, disbelief, shock and grief over what they had to endure. So much so that I truly have to consider beforehand how much of our history I can digest at a given time. I have to be in a certain mood to watch certain movies or view certain exhibits. I experience these mixed emotions and usually end up in a reflective state. Usually I find strength to endure whatever I am facing because I know that if they could endure the unthinkable, then I can endure the challenges that come my way. Also I tend to consider all of the inequities and injustice that persists today and wonder what I can do to make a difference and advance the struggle. It is a heavy weight that quite frankly I am not always so sure that I want to lift. Yet at times I very much feel compelled to because there is work to do.
A couple of weeks ago, I learned about the Lifetime tv movie, Betty and Coretta. I set a reminder to watch it. What I did not plan on was seeing the film, Lincoln, just before. When I got home, I was already in this conflicted, reflective state that I wondered how much more I could take. But I decided to double-down and watch Betty and Coretta if for nothing else to support the endeavor and contribute to its ratings. Well I am very glad that I watched it. I just felt better. Lifetime did a great job in focusing the story on the women versus their husbands. Depicting such a sweet friendship was very heartwarming and a welcome contrast to all of the catty behavior portrayed on reality television. I absolutely love Angela Bassett. She and Phylicia Rashad are probably my favorite actresses. It was also great to see younger actors and actresses of my generation play such iconic characters. My generation and those younger are perceived to have no reverence for our forefathers and we are perceived as lacking historical perspective. Malik Yoba and Lindsay Pierre undoubtedly were humbled at the opportunity to play Dr. King and Malcolm X, respectively. I am sure Mary J. Blige felt similarly with regard to playing Betty Shabazz.
I wanted to learn more about the woman that Malcolm X loved so dearly. His autobiography was the first "history" book that I voluntarily read as a teenager. I remember having chills and being teary-eyed at the end of the book. Talk about a man reinventing himself. Betty Shabazz played a huge role in his evolution and I wanted to know more about her. With Mrs. King, I remember being told that she was more of the activist when she met Martin. It was refreshing to learn more about her as well. Lifetime is re-airing Betty and Coretta this afternoon. I am not sure how often it will be aired this month, as it is Black History Month. If you did not watch it, I strongly encourage you to tune in. It will warm you heart and make you feel proud.