Saturday, December 24, 2005 | By: Dusty Taylor

A powerful one-man show about a powerful man.

I couldn't sleep Friday night..I had worked over 14 hours and I was wired up bad. It started at 12:30am on Encores' Drama channel. It is entitled: A Huey P. Newton Story. It was directed by Spike Lee.

Roger Guenveur Smith wrote the Obie-winning play about Huey P. Newton, one of America's true and only revolutionaries. He wrote the play in 1996 and made it into a film in 2002.It starred Roger as Huey Newton. Its only 90 minutes long, but it was a fantastic, fast paced 90 minutes. It was produced for television by PBS. It goes thru the life of Huey Newton as told by Huey himself on a stark, dimly lit stage with only a solo spotlight on the character. It starts with Huey's birth in Louisiana and the family's move to California. He talks about his father and the impact he had on Huey's life. There are moments when actual historical footage of Huey and events surrounding his life are shown on a screen behind the character as he speaks. He sits in a chair and tells the story of his life, with insight into many of the events that made him one of the major figures in the rise of black enpowerment that Huey, Bobby Seale, David Hillard, Eldridge Cleaver and several others created inspite of the governments attempt to hold them down and discredit them.

I met Huey once in my life and I will never forget it. I use the term "met" loosely, I was not introduced to him. I was only a background person, I went unnoticed by the mostly black individuals in the room. I was young and impressionable. I was awed by the man. His fast speech, his ability to hold everyones attention by speaking in a low but unwavering voice. Roger captured Huey incredibly well, his speech patterns, his constant body movements. Huey Newton was very intelligent and he refused to be beaten down by the government and the white establishment at a time when America was in turmoil and did not know how to deal with the growing leftwing movement against the war, the creation of the Black Panthers and the awakening of black america who was tired of all the injustice foisted upon them for decades.

This film is a fantastic history lesson for those too young to have experienced that time in America's history. It delves into Huey's mind and what made him tick. The movie went much to quick for me, and I wanted more, I wanted it to go on all night as I sat on my bed and watched it in the darkness, the only light coming from my tv. I learned from the movie that Huey played the piano, classical piano. He was one of 7 children. He went to law school which was his parents wish. He was very shy and couldnt dance, he had no rhythm and this bothered him greatly as a teenager. He could quote T.S Eliot, Shelly and Shakespeare...but he could not dance. He talks about his father and the kind of man he was, working 2 or 3 jobs at a time to support his family.

See this movie if you can. Make yourself find it and spend 90 minutes learning about a man that many feared and few really knew. I know that it will show again Tuesday December 27th on Encore's Drama channel. The human side of a powerful man who's personal demons took him down when J.Edgar Hoover tried and failed.

9 people gave us their .02 cents:

IT-Chick said...

Is there anything you haven't done?

Merry Christmas you passionate lil' member of the big brass alliance.

dusty said...

C'est Moi my dear woman..Merry Christmas to you and the tough guy :)

I havent been to paris yet..and I really want to see the Seine..

IT-Chick said...

Ah, that just reminded me of that 3 Dog Night song, "Never been to Spain." That was one of their good ones.

Anonymous said...

The only disagreement I'd have with this post is that the persecution of the Panthers was a reaction to Left-Wing activities and anti-war movements. The reasons the Panthers were so demonised is because they were black.


Add to that the fact that the Black Panthers consistently embarrassed the LAPD, FBI, and every law enforcement agency dedicated to keeping African-Americans in a slave mentality, and the creation of drug-infested ghettoes literally pumped full of narcotics by the highest levels of American Justice, which activities were sanctioned by the highest levels of the American government, and I have to seriously suspect that any "true" story about Huey is what we in the security and intelligence industry call a "limited holdout."

Basically, a limited holdout admits to wrongdoing without stating any culpable facts, and then presents information about events in such a way that viewers will be required to spend an enormous amount of time and research to get even a passable idea of what really happened.

The truth is, slavery was not supposed to end, only the legal enslavement of blacks. This was not, however, an altruistic gesture to an imprisoned people, but rather an economic necessity.

White industrialists knew they would need former slaves to work in their northern factories during the Industrial Revolution, but if they "belonged" to someone, that someone (or more accurately, that WHITE someone) would be responsible for freight costs in transporting them to northern industrial centres such as Detroit and Chicago.

"Freeing" slaves meant they were free to pay their own way north, thus adding another insult against the people who made America's current global domination possible.

These "freedmen" were never intended to be assimilated, and the Civil War was NOT fought to ensure this. The only black regiments permitted to serve combat roles were strictly as cannon fodder, where white divisions would be moved in to mop up, and thus take the historical glory. This is an American military tradition, always perpetrated against blacks, but also Japanese-Americans in Italy (WWII), Asian-Americans in Vietnam, and Islamic-Americans in the various Gulf engagements.

By simple comparison, Huey Newton was a better man than George W. Bush. He was intelligent, and studied for his doctorate. He was honest, except when being honest was dangerous for his health. This was almost exclusively whenever he dealt with White America. Even the "drug dealer" who killed him was more closely connected with American intelligence than with organised crime.

By contrast, George W. Bush failed at every business venture he attempted, required special intervention in order to "graduate" from Yale. Avoiding his civic responsibilities, he was immediately folded into the establishment his father reshaped through the abuse of American legal resources.

Ask yourself, if the two were put through a three-round championship, involving a game of chess, a truth-telling contest, and a fight to the death, without possibility of outside intervention, who would history record as the better man? Doesn't Bush think chess is something down the dress of that Senator's wife he scoped last Xmas?

No, the truth about Huey Newton is, like all of black America, the puritanical powers that be are too insecure to allow even the hint of a capable community which can exist without their direct control and exploitation. It is sheer racist greed, with a sober, modern veneer.

Power to the people.

dusty said...

J.Edgar Hoover made it his lifes work to take down the founders of the Black Panthers and he for the most part succeeded. This of course was during a time when they could wiretap people without a warrant, they could plant evidence and shoot without just cause..they did all those things to the BP's and the party still thrived. The BP's fed hundreds of school children daily in Oakland but most people dont know that, they only know what the government said about them..radicals plotting to take down Amerika..which was partially true of course..they wanted an end to the war only to keep the government from stocking blacks as soldiers to fight their stupid got me going doc..

I think its time to make my xmas fucking dinner.

IT-Chick said...

Ya' know as a side note, the Indians and Irish that came over during the potato famine were also enslaved in the south.

dusty said...

Yes IT-chicklet the US has a lousy record of treating most minorities badly..regardless of ethnicity, religious beliefs or whatever makes them different.

IT-Chick said...

I am English/Irish and American Indian. The Irish and Indian got together in the south during the "bad times" as my family calls them. You can look at some family pics and they are sooooo dark, I am so light.. have you ever seen the movie the "human stain" great flick. Me, red hair white, white, it'll burn super fast skin. the tell tail sign if you look close is high cheek bones and a serious lack of hair.... no arm hair, and I shave every 8 or so weeks if I need it or not. . . . .mostly not

Ok... whatever, now you know.

on the cocktail,,,, the "horney orange". add a dash of malabu rum for more perfection.

It is like a desert.

Merry Christmas

IT-Chick said...

We (Irish) came here as Prots. fleeing because my great greatgrandmother was from Belfast and my Great great1Grandfather wad from devonshirgland england... so they figured out if they cam to the great america that no matter what happened... it couldn't be worse than the religious persecution there right? Nope, Their freaking daughter married an Indian... and well you can go from there.... Go figure