12 Years A Slave

2013- “12 Years a Slave”

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Director: Steve McQueen

Release Date: November 8th, 2013

Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o

I didn’t see the film when it first came out. I told myself that I would see, eventually. I told myself that it would always be there for me to watch when I finally worked up the courage to watch it. And watch it I did. I spent 134 minutes with a churned stomach, a tight throat, and tears streaming down my face. I couldn’t put into words what I was feeling. What I always feel when I think about slavery. About the fact that the ancestors on my fathers side were enslaved, while there is the unknown possibility that the ancestors on my mothers side did the enslaving. I still have no real words that would give reverence to this film or the reality of America’s greatest sin.

But Afroculinaria does. He said all the words that I couldn’t say and everything I hadn’t even had the ability to process. And on top of that, he brought back all of the emotions that I experienced when I watched this film.

Afroculinaria

12 Years A Slave: Why I’m Glad it Won Best Picture

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   “Joyce is right about history being a nightmare –but it may be the nightmare from which no one can awaken.  People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them.”  –James Baldwin, “Stranger in the Village.”

If you follow me through social media you know I’m used to visiting plantation landscapes and dressing in the type of clothing enslaved people would wear.  I’ve cooked the enslaved way in many states across the former Confederacy and Border states.  I’ve picked cotton and worked in tobacco fields. I’ve been in rice and sugarcane fields in the Lowcountry and Lower Mississippi Valley dodging teenaged gators and poisonous snakes.  Plantations blind with darkness don’t scare me and I almost take comfort from the spirits that have surrounded me.  I have been in their presence—for real—and the ancestors have been both welcoming…

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