2-Cent from New Orleans
By Jordan Flaherty Reviewed by Alan Wolfe
“Other generations marched, and we march too,” says Brandan “B-Mike” Odums. “But in this age we have a whole new range of weapons...I think Martin Luther King, Jr. would want to be on YouTube, to have his speeches distributed that way. Malcolm X would love to make mixtapes.”
The video is compelling. It depicts young people in the Lower Ninth Ward holding up signs that read: “looter,” “we’re still here,” “America did this.” Amid empty lots and damaged houses, poet Nik Richard delivers this message: “Hurricane Katrina was the biggest national disaster to hit American soil, and nearly two years later, this area is still devastated. But you know what? We made sure we preserved it strictly for your tourism. For about $75, you can take one of these many tour buses.”
The next shot: tourists drive by and people with cameras gawk. Richard looks directly at the camera and says, “It looks like there’s more money to be paid in devastation than regeneration. If y’all keep paying your money to see it, should we rebuild it?”
The short film New Orleans For Sale, which has garnered several awards, was made by 2-Cent Entertainment, a group of young Black media makers in New Orleans that creates activist videos. The group, which has about 10 members, made New Orleans for Sale to convey the frustration felt by many New Orleanians as the city has become a national spectacle and a backdrop for countless national politicians, while the aid the city needs to rebuild still hasn’t arrived.
In 2008, the film won several awards including an NAACP image award in a competition, called Film Your Issue, which featured a high-powered jury with the likes of news anchor Tom Brokaw and media executives from MTV Network...
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