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Sheets in the Closet

Sheets in the Closet

As you know, Donald Sterling, the owner of the NBA Clippers, was forced out of the closet as a racist asshole by a secretly recorded conversation between him and his girlfriend(?). Now let’s get a few things straight. Yes, secretly recording someone who you say you love is a dick move. Yes, once the recordings were released, what was said on them is fair game. And no, the shit storm that people think they’re raining on him isn’t effecting him any more than a single turd would .

The people who want The Clippers players to abandon the team until Sterling is replaced as owner haven’t stopped to think who gets hurt by that. It sure as hell isn’t Sterling. If the NBA is able to wrestle ownership from his cold dead hand, the team will have to be bought. So, the players would not get paid and fall out of shape while Donald Sterling gets millions of dollars from the sell.

If he had never been around black people, never been their friend, I’d say he might be able to change. But the problem with people like him is, you can never change their mind, and anything you do to hurt them hurts you just as much.

I don’t know why the NAACP sent Sterling his money back. There is no way I would have given him back a dime. Every bit should have gone to innovative black entrepreneurs so that one day, his place as a decision maker would be taken by a new black millionaire. That would make more of a difference than a returned check.

Sadly, the majority of people think that racism is confined to utterances of the “N-word.” We can see this by the recent decision of the Supreme Court to allow the eradication of affirmative action. No black person could truly get a chance under someone like Sterling without prompting.

Truth be told, being called Nigger has never been as damaging to me as someone I trust revealing their prejudice. I know every one of those players was shocked that this man that they thought they knew and, probably, liked, felt that they were not his equals. It’s that shock that is the worst part about his kind of racism. I have never trusted anyone that has called me Nigger, so I was never able to be truly hurt by them. For those of you who can’t understand what I mean, pretend that upon meeting someone the first thing they said is how beneath them you are. That they hate you. Imagine they told you that you were not worth breathing the same air as them. You would be taken aback, wonder how they could think that when they don’t know you, but you’d move on with your life without them in it. You would never let your guard down around them, much less, share a part of your soul.

Only you can hurt yourself more than those you let into to your life as friends or loved ones.

The best piece of advice my mom ever gave me was never to lend anything I can’t afford to lose. The second was never do anything you have to hide your face for. Donald Sterling’s mama should have told him the second one.

I’m not your mama but I’m telling you anyway. If you’re about to do something you would never do if your peers would know about it, listen to yourself and don’t. It’s not right and you know it’s not right. Otherwise, you would smile for the camera… or the recorder.

Wow Wee. They Read Three.


scriptnotesEeeeeeeeeeeee! So happy that John August and Craig Mazin reviewed my three page challenge for the Scriptnotes Podcast (review starts at 42:19). When I heard it was going to happen I tapped, I paced, I boogied down. I was so excited my mom told me I was making her nervous.

They reviewed the first three pages of my screenplay Bass Reeves: Lawman. Outlaw. based on the true story of Bass Reeves. And yep, Bass is pronounced like the fish. And yes, I’m actively looking for a better title.

Very happy with their notes. That they got the action pleased me because it’s something I’ve struggled with in screenplays. It amazed me how many things I just couldn’t see anymore. The Fade In was there from a previous draft were I had a short voice over against a black screen before the visuals. I never caught that I started the rain before I started the rain (neither did the other people I’ve had read it.) It’s odd how you can get so you can’t really see things anymore.

Like any writer, I was disappointed that it wasn’t perfect. The thing that got me the most is what they said about those last three lines. I fought to get the last two lines within the three pages. Finally resorting to erasing the super of Spring 1876 and adding it to the slug line. I was so proud of this last part. I thought they were going to think it was so clever and funny. I knew it was going to be the highlight of the sample. But this is what they hated the most. When Craig said that these guys had just killed and escape being killed I realized what a horrible mistake I had made. I forgot to make sure these characters where real, with real thoughts and emotions. Instead, I went for what I thought was cute.

In fact, both times in these pages that I went for what I thought was good writing instead of a record of real people I messed up. That second line in which John pointed out the many faults and Craig called Yoda writing I had fallen in love with the words and my fabulous imagery. Maybe my struggles all these years to move away from prose writing to screenwriting is just as simple as it’s not about the words, it’s about the characters. We hear it all the time, a screenplay is only a blueprint. The words are not the final product. Now I understand what that means for me.

That revelation is not the only thing I’ll take away though. Craig Mazin said I can do this and John August said I’m a talented writer. The warm fuzzy feelings those words give me is something to cherish and hold onto for the rest of my life.

P.S. I’m black and I go out of my way to recycle. 🙂


UPDATE: My revised first three pages for that version of the script that was reviewed on the podcast can be viewed here.

However, this scene is no longer in the script. I rewrote the entire first act and changed the title. Read the entire script of The Black King on my Screenplays page.