ElectionGate 2016 – An Update with John Little

Whew,   This presidential election has wore me out.  All of my adulting skills of restraint and self-care have had to be used in order to no wig out on some of the social media posts that have been flying around.

But because I’m not an expert in politics (which for this election, I don’t think you have to be), so I followed up with my favorite social activist John Little.

I want to take the time to thank John for being my first guest on the blog.  I admire him for the exemplary black man, father, and conscious leader I perceive him to be.   Any and every time I’ve bumped into John in public or online, or needed his help he’s always been kind, transparent, and action oriented; ready, willing, and able.  I have known him from the days when we both thought we had a future in corporate, to us both following our passions,  and I am proud to call him my brother.  After our most recent meeting, I literally dropped him off in Edgehill Housing Projects as he was knocking door to door to spread the word about a current initiative.  John is a man who’s actions match his words and one I would look to for political clarity in this hellacious presidential election.  This is why I chose to have HIM share his opinion (which I’m sure are conclusions to which we have all come).

Quite a few things have changed since he and I last spoke in April of this year.  See below for the update as well as clarity on John Little’s role in social activism and education.

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Soul Cinema Sunday – Wattstax

How does one cultivate a sense of community and fellowship in a day in age when families barely sit down together for dinner?  Where are the culturally based, value-adding events and programs that seem to become lost among the shuffle of likes, trending topics, hashtags, and Instagram models.  Where boredom produces potential foolishness (I say “potential ” foolishness because sociologically, I understand the underlying motives for activities perceived as the uncultured) how do we as a people reinstate the community nature from which many of us are reared?

Enter 2nd Sunday Soul Cinema.  Each 2nd Sunday Thaxton Waters is bringing an extension of the Art History Class and Lifestyle Lounge to the lawn right outside of the lounge.  The event will provide guests with an opportunity to congregate within the north Nashville community and celebrate Black Music History Month.  This Sunday the featured movie will be Wattstax which was filmed in the 1970s, and true to the Art History Class Lifestyle Lounge’s nature is by all means a vintage movie in look and feel.  The purpose of the event centered around the musical documentary Wattstax is the filming of a benefit concert to commemorate the 1965 Watts Riots.   In the movie Wattstax, there is black power,  black passion, and  black unity. The imagery is bold and the message is clearly articulated through chants of “I am somebody.” I’m excited this movie is being shown.

Before OJ Simpson, before Rodney King, before black lives mattered,  there were the Watts riots of 1965.  The movie Wattstax is a musical documentary of a benefit concert commemorating the Watts riots of 1965.  Racial tensions are a part of American History. Wattstax attempts to document a benefit concert held in benefit of, and as a response to, racial inequality and typical prejudice messaging.  What I enjoyed most is the action and congregating of the benefit concert (versus a hashtag) and the many artists from across that camen from across the country to support the event including Isaac Hayes, Jesse Jackson, and the Staple Singers, with hum orous commentary from Richard Pryor.  What’s even more special is that there is Tennessee homage paid in the movie as Stax records was established in Memphis Tennessee.

Just like contemporary Beyonce’s Lemonade, Wattstax is filled with imagery that is black, unadulterated, and true.  Along with the other musical documentaries  and movies  I’ve watched – Fade to Black, The Show – the images set the tone and the music tells the story of never forgetting to be black even when among dominant society.

Wattstax is important to the black culture.   It gives us a glimpse of our legends – who have died and joined our ancestors – in action and in their element for us to observe, honor and to learn.  The time frame of the movie depicts a time when black was proud and not concerned with offending anyone.  The background shows a black community united, proud, and non violent in a time where black crowds can cause anxiety and suspicion.  The message is consistent – I may be black, on welfare, or not have any skills, but I deserve respect and I deserve to be treated like a human.

I hope to see everyone Sunday at 7pm  for food, music, history, and culture at the Art History Class and Lifestyle Lounge for 2nd Sunday Soul Cinema featuring Wattstax.


Karla is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University which a degree in Sociology, and is currently pursuing a MBA at Bethel University. She is a Nashville Native and Lifestyle Blogger; a Free Spirit, and a Music Lover. To subscribe to her monthly newsletter click here.  She can be reached via email: karla@nashvillesocialbutterfly.com

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