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Spike Lee’s ‘Da 5 Bloods’ Review: A Rare Look at Black American Heroes

written by Kimberly Jones

Spike Lee’s newest joint Da 5 Bloods tells the story of four Black vets who return to Vietnam years after they served to collect the remains of their dear friend and former commander Norman (Black Panther’s Chadwick Boseman), and to recover the gold they buried there years ago.

The cinematography in the opening scene alone leaves the audience instantly intrigued and at the same time overwhelmed. A compilation of images and clips of Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Muhammad Ali, protests in the streets of the US and injured children in Vietnam are all eerily similar to the images we are still looking at today.

Paul, the self-professed “leader” of the group, played by Delroy Lindo (known from his iconic roles in Crooklyn and Malcolm X) returns to work with Lee for the fourth time. Otis (Clarke Peters from HBO’s The Wire), Eddie (Norm Lewis, Scandal), and Melvin (Isiah Whitlock Jr., The Wire) are having a long-overdue reunion with their bond and brotherhood still intact. Paul, the wild card of the group, commands the screen in every scene. He has several irrational outbursts throughout the film, as he suffers from PTSD but still is in denial about the severity of the situation. Paul is confrontational the majority of the film but he is also comical – him playing a Black Trump supporter wearing the MAGA hat and campaigning for “the wall” is pure comedy. His personality comes off as a little cold and selfish because he only cares about himself and about getting his hands on the buried gold that he feels he is entitled to. Paul has been hardened by life and it shows in his attitude and actions towards his “brothers”.

Da 5 Bloods is unique in the way that it takes viewers on an emotional roller coaster through the raw emotions of Black men dealing with grief and family struggles, and their difficult journey to find closure. Paul’s estranged son David (Jonathan Majors from HBO’s Lovecraft Country) unexpectedly shows up and adds to his father’s stress – the two have a strained relationship. David grew up feeling like an orphan, his mother died in childbirth and he always felt that his father blamed him for her death. Otis returned to a major surprise – he had a daughter that he had never met. Because she was biracial, his daughter was disowned by her family and her community. Sadly, racism and the war had robbed Otis of the precious time with his now adult daughter.

The buried gold in the movie represents what was owed to these soldiers for serving a country that never honored them. Not only were they not honored as veterans but as black men in America. They fought a war in Vietnam and returned only to fight a war at home. Eddie even brought up the idea that the gold should be used as reparations for Black Americans. Lee used this as a reference to the 40 acres and a mule, a post-Civil War promise that was made to Black Americans but never fulfilled. Paul quickly shuts this idea down, however. This is something that is owed to him personally, and he does not have the slightest intention of sharing it with anybody.

Some scenes included flashbacks to the Vietnam war. Lee did not use younger actors for these scenes, which is somewhat confusing and very unrealistic. Watching these older actors active in war scenes is awkward and takes away from the authenticity of the scene because it is distracting. Lee may have chosen this route because he wanted to portray these men as present-day heroes. Unfortunately, this may not have been the best choice for the audience.

Da 5 Bloods is a complex story that explores the effects of war on Black soldiers. This was long overdue since war blockbusters in Hollywood do not usually focus on these types of stories. This tale of brotherhood is a balanced mix of politics, humor, heroism, patriotism and sorrow. Lee brought his vision to life successfully with great visuals, performances and, of course, with Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On? as the soundtrack. Although the album came out in 1971, the lyrics are relevant to our world today.

Spike Lee always has a unique way of telling black stories and giving voices to the voiceless. This film is no different. Da 5 Bloods could not have come at a better time. With the current climate in our country, this story can get the attention that Black servicemen deserve.

Da 5 Bloods is now streaming on Netflix.

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Mary J Blige’s Most Memorable roles: From Guest Appearances to an Oscar Nomination

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Mary J Blige has been a music icon for many years now. With 13 studio albums and many awards, she has made her name known across the globe. Today, however, her portfolio includes not only music-related accolades. The R&B queen is making significant strides in the television and film industry. One of the biggest of them was her 2018 Oscar nomination for supporting actress for her role in Netflix’s Mudbound. And this is just the beginning!

Here are Blige’s most memorable television and movie roles thus far.

I Can Do All Bad By Myself (2009)

Mary J Blige Acting Timeline

Tyler Perry gave Blige her first feature film role. She played an inspiring singing bartender at the nightclub. Before this, the singer/songwriter only had cameos on television. I Can Do All Bad By Myself also starred Taraji P. Henson.

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The 355: Lupita Nyong’o Talks Starring In Upcoming Female-Led Espionage Thriller

Black Panther’s Lupita Nyong’o joins an ensemble of fierce female spies – The 355. Named after one of the first woman spies in the United States during the American Revolution, the elite group of agents embarks on a mission to stop a criminal organization from launching a cyber attack that would cause global disruption.

Directed by Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Dark Phoenix) from a script written by Theresa Kinberg, the film also stars Jessica Chastain, Penélope Cruz, Diane Cruger, Bingbing Fan, Sebastian Stan, and Edgar Ramirez.

Nyong’o portrays an MI6 ally and cutting-edge computer specialist named Khadijah, a role written specifically for the Oscar winner. “There was no auditioning; the roles were developed for us,” she told HM.

The 355
Penélope Cruz, Jessica Chastain, Diane Cruger, and Lupita Nyong’o | ‘The 355’

The cast came together before everything else in making The 355. Nyong’o shared that producer-star Chastain initially reached out to her with just an idea, “There was no script, there was no writer, there was just her and Simon Kinberg who was going to direct it,” the actress said, “So the actors came into this before the script. Then the writers went off and came back with these characters that we played.”

Although the movie landscape may seem oversaturated with spy flicks, The 355 attempts to bring forth a fresh perspective on how women in action films ought to be portrayed. During her interview with Entertainment Weekly, Chastain revealed the inspiration behind the film was to create something that simply did not exist. “I was seeing all these films with male action ensembles, but I’d never really seen a female action ensemble that took itself seriously [and] didn’t make it silly that girls were actually good at the job,” the Oscar nominee said. “My experience on making Zero Dark Thirty, I discovered how many women are in espionage and how often they’re utilized. It kind of started from there, and I just went with a wish list of who I thought were the best actresses working today.”

Nyong’o was one of the sought-after talents Chastain decided to pursue. The unique direction of what was, at the time, a project in development appealed to her deeply. “It just felt really fresh, like it was filling a gap that I didn’t even know existed. I think that’s what makes it special and different.”

Viewers will get the chance to follow the thrilling mission of the fearless spy quintet in theaters this Friday, January 7. Watch the full trailer below.

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Sister Sister’s Marques Houston Welcomed His First Child

Marques Houston Welcomes His First Child

Actor and musician Marques Houston welcomed his first child. He and his wife, Miya Dickey, became parents to a beautiful baby girl named Zara.

The couple tied the knot in August 2020. They have faced public backlash due to their age difference. Some alleged that Houston started dating Dickey when she was still 15. However, the singer said these accusations were false. He made a statement via Instagram post that read,

“With all that’s going on in the world, my love life shouldn’t be a topic. But since it is, let me just give y’all the facts, so you don’t have to ‘allegedly’ believe or create rumors. This is not music or television, this is my family, my future wife, and my life. We have [our God] Jehovah’s blessing. So to all the rumors about me, none of it is true! And that’s the story. No twists, no turns, no scandals, just true love. There is nothing that can come to light because there’s no darkness in my life.”

Marques Houston Welcomes His First Child

Zara was born on Thursday, December 2. According to US Weekly, the parents did not announce the pregnancy before Baby Zara made her first introduction to the world. Houston and Dickey told the magazine there was no complicated scheme behind choosing their daughter’s name, “Miya chose the name Zara because she just felt like it was exotic. [There was] no special reason.”

Marques Houston played the twin-obsessed Roger from Sister, Sister. In the majority of the episodes, Roger would spend his time gushing over the twins, Tia Landry (Tia Mowry)  and Tamera Campbell (Tamera Mowry). Fed up with his loverboy shenanigans, they would tell Roger to ‘GO HOME!’

After his iconic role on the sitcom, Houston carried on the House Party movie legacy in addition to holding down a successful music career, which included time in the hip-hop group Immature, later renamed IMx

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