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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Black History Month: Three Documentaries On Netflix You Should Watch That Celebrate Black Excellence

February is Black History Month. I watched three documentaries on Netflix and wanted to share them with you. 

Floyd Norman: An Animated Life
Have you ever watched Disney's Sleeping Beauty, The Sword In the Stone, The Jungle Book (1967), Robin Hood, Scooby Doo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc. I'll just stop there. This is the man (storyboard animator-artist) that drew those amazing characters. He was the first african-american animator to be hired by Disney. He actually knew and worked for Walt Disney. He's worked for Pixar. He's worked on Sesame Street. He's had all kinds of accolades, awards and honors. But it hasn't been without struggles, ups and downs. You must see!

I Am Bolt
Everyone knows Usain Bolt. I always praised his amazing talent, but initially didn't care for (what I saw was) his cocky attitude. LOL Those were my first impressions. Over the years, I've learned you can't always judge a book by its cover. Sometimes it is what it is, but other times there's more to the story. After watching this documentary, I confused cockiness with extreme confidence and loyalty. In my eyes, Bolt has a lot of love for his family, Jamaica and himself. It's a super-size love! He's a gifted athlete. He's naturally fast. But this documentary shows the WORK, DAYS, HOURS, MONTHS, YEARS and OVERALL EFFORT he had to put in to win. It was a compilation of a lot of things that made his wins look effortless. This documentary also discusses his THOUGHTS, FEELINGS (mental aspect) along with INJURIES, PAIN (physical aspect) he endured. He's suffered from scoliosis. He's given to countless charities. He's encouraged other athletes. His story is inspiring. When you feel you can't go on, watch this and it will give you new life.

I first learned about Quincy Jones through Michael Jackson. He was the producer of MJ's Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad album. But to go back (his career spans six decades), Quincy Jones studied at the (now known as) Berklee College of Music, went to Paris to study under Nadia Boulanger whose students also included Igor Stravinsky and Leonard Bernstein, worked with Frank Sinatra, wrote arrangements for numerous jazz musicians (Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn etc), has written countless television show tunes. He's worked with Bono of U2 on a number of philanthropic endeavors. The things he's done in his life, seem to make up 1000 lives. His words are very raw. He doesn't bite his tongue. You may even be taken aback. But his talents are pure GENIUS.

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