The War At Home

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Naturally, my first sentiments were, “Who needs some white guy to illustrate to me violence and poverty in the Black community?  I can walk right over to Malcolm X Boulevard in my Bed Stuy neighborhood and see all the inner-city violence there is to print.�  Never did I expect to see the horrors going on right across the bridge from the swinging, affluent celebrity nightlife in Miami, Florida.  This devastated area, far from what can be referred to as a community, is a constant war zone that makes Iraq look like a trip to Disney Land. The people who inhabit this place – their utter existence revolves around seeing that their children survive another day in a wasteland they call Brown Sub.

Producer and director, George Gittoes was filming in Baghdad when he met American soldier, Elliot Lovett (23) during a rap battle.  Lovett told Gittoes, that Baghdad is a walk in the park compared to what is going on at home in Brown Sub, Miami. “At least here in Iraq, they take care of you.  Back home in the US, we’re on our own,� stated Lovett.   He told Gittoes if he really wanted a story, he should come and visit Brown Sub.   And so goes an emotional journey that will remain etched in my mind.  The occurrences witnessed in RAMPAGE were unimaginable even to me (but must be seen) – how people right here in the United States can survive under such horrific conditions is incomprehensible.  To walk out of your house every day expecting to be shot or stabbed – where the forefront goal is to get back into your home at the end of the day on your two feet and not carried out in a box.  I thought to myself, “How can this be happening right here in the US? 

Fat Joe said it best – “People like fantasy for some reason.  They pretend that nothing’s wrong.�  But it’s deeper than that.  It’s another example of racial genocide; causing social unrest and subsequent elimination of masses of Blacks.

But this story has so many lessons.   Lessons of hope and compassion in the human race. It’s also the story of a great humanitarian – George Gittoes, a native of Australia – who, not only has exposed these crimes of neglect on a people, but whom out of love, took the initiative to step up and help the Lovett family.  A family who, while in the midst of this actual documentary, lost a precious son – a brave, joyful and talented young man, by the name of Marcus Lovett -- murdered at the tender age of 20.  A young man who was full of promise and hope.  A tragedy. 

At one point, the movie shows how Gittoes embraces the entire family and takes young Denzell (14), haunted by the death of his brother, Marcus, and obviously traumatized from birth by the violence and carnage he has witnessed in Brown Sub, Gittoes takes Denzell to his homeland in Australia to remove him from the traumatic environment.  Denzell, hoping for a record deal in a desperate effort to rescue his family from Brown Sub, Gittoes takes him to New York and shops him to such moguls as Fat Joe, Swizz Beats, DJ Khaled, Steve Rifkin and Egypt.  Unfortunately, although all the major labels appreciated his talent, they would not sign him because his flavor was just too tragic and violent and “unbecoming of a child of 14.�  They feared, and rightfully so, that the lyrical content would be unacceptable coming from such a young child – lyrics illustrating such things as seeing half a man’s head shot off, and so on.  Gittoes has since stayed in contact with the Lovett family – in fact, they have since helped them get out of the house the mother, named Theresa, so deeply longed to move her family out of.

RAMPAGE is a masterpiece that should be seen by everyone.  In fact, it should be a mandatory part of the educational curriculum. 

These words, spoken to me by George Gittoes still echo in my mind – “If you’re in the dark and you want light, you must walk through the dark to turn the light on.�

RAMPAGE was part of the 14th Annual African Diaspora Film Festival (ADFF) – a collection of independent cinema celebrating the global Black experience.  African Diaspora Film Festival (ADFF) featured an array of documentaries, features, shorts and a number of world, US and New York premieres, in addition to appearances by internationally acclaimed directors and other film talent.  The 2006 ADFF was produced by ArtMattan Productions.

This opportunity was provided to BSN by Pauline Barfield, CEO of Barfield Public Relations, Inc.

Brenda Jeanne Wyche, Advocate for Solutions and Results is Managing Editor for The Black Star News and Harlem Business News, CEO of Winning Strategies & Associates, and Vice President of Public Relations for The Professionals Networking Organization.  If you have a solution, contact [email protected] .  Maybe we’ll talk.

To subscribe to or advertise in New York’s leading Pan African weekly investigative newspaper, please call (212) 481-7745 or send a note to [email protected]
“Speaking Truth To Empower.�


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