Fascinating Places

2019 will be a fascinating journey for me. It has started with a bang.  I have spent the first part of January reading books that take me deep into the jungles of the African continent. I read the story of one of the last people brought to the United States on a slave ship. He spoke of what his life was like before being captured. He spoke of his family and their customs, the rituals to become a man and get married.

More important, he spoke of the process of being captured to be a slave and what it was like watching everyone he loved being murdered. Like the author of the book, for many years I thought that the Europeans had seized the Africans from their native homes. But in Barracoon by Zora Neal Hurston, the old African man told a different story.

He spoke of other African tribes who ruthlessly killed entire villages just to capture the young and strong people to sell to the Europeans.  These killers left their regular way of life, which was farming, to become slavers. Motivated by greed, they created soldiers that could terrorize and take out a whole village. These soldiers were paid by the number of heads they brought back. The skulls were collected as a prize by their king.

It made me think. As these greedy people sold off all of their strength for material wealth, they were not prepared to fight the colonization that would overtake and suppress them. It reminds me that the greedy people today won’t get away with their evil deeds. They are just getting prepared to be undone by something more evil than themselves.

Another book took me into a different part of the continent. I loved reading how Nelson Mandela’s father was the family historian. He could recount the family’s history for hundreds of years, yet he could read or write.  Our history was repeated by word of mouth through the generations.

Mobile

It reminded me of my own family who would sit and tell stories of the way it used to be.  Even today I question older relatives to the point of annoyance because I want to know more. I want to know what it was like and what they did. But I am finding that some of the secrets older people tried to keep, are coming to light.

But this part of the journey makes me appreciate a history told orally and through art, like masks and other sculpture. It tells us what is beautiful. What is powerful. What is important. The thing I appreciate about African Art is that it finds beauty in the work. It is not an exact replica of someone or something. It just is.

We need to do the same. We need to tell our children the stories orally of our family. We need to create art that represents what legacy we leave behind. Many of the previous generations of my family were poor and undereducated. They did not think they were leaving much behind, but the truth is they left a lot.

I love the story Nelson tells of the first pair of pants he wore. They were not a brand new pair fresh from the tailor. They were an old pair of his father’s pants. His father cut them off so they would fit, and used a rope around the waist to hold them up. Nelson said it was one of the proudest moments of his life.

Think about what legacy you are leaving your family. What kind of objects are you making to represent it? Do your children know your family’s story? Do you? Remember when you carve out your part of your family history, it does not have to look like someone else’s. Like the African mask, it only represents what you want it to.

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Family Tree

Movie Poster

Movie Poster

Family Tree is finally finished! I am excited. I want the first screening to be in churches. If you think your church would be interested in screening our movie, inbox me a contact name, email or number.
For everyone else, I will let you know where and when you can see this awesome masterpiece!

Family

Today I am thankful for family. DNA doesn’t lie. It can prove if there is a blood relation, but it can’t tell you if someone is family. Only time can tell you that. I have spent decades researching my family history and have been connected to thousands of people who may be relatives.

I have found amazing treasures from this research. Some of those gems are a group of folk in Oklahoma who blessed us by coming to our family reunion one year. Through the miracle of Facebook and email we have managed to stay in contact with them.

We have celebrated some of our victories and wept over our heartbreaks. This week was a heartbreak as our cousin Barbara Allen was taken to heaven suddenly.

We always think we are going to have another day to reunion on earth. The real reunion is going to be in heaven when we are all back together again, never more to depart.

My prayer for my family is that not one of us is left behind. It is going to be the Real Family Reunion.

Family Tree Movie Update

One of my goals for Family Tree was to make a movie you could watch over and over and laugh every time. I am almost there.

Not only are you going to want to see this when it opens, you will want to take a copy home with you. (smile)

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I can’t take the credit. The actors did a great job of telling the story. As I reviewed the footage, they had me laughing and I knew what was going to happen. This happens when you get a group of talented people and challenge them to take their skills to another level. They did that thang!
There are going to be moments in the movie where you just stop. You won’t be able to believe what they just did or said. It is going to be sooo fun.

I can’t ignore the larger force in this project. God brought all the right people together at the right time. Lately my prayer has been, “Lord, don’t let me get in your way.” Every time the situation seems impossible, He handles it. Sometimes He tells me yes and gives me the industries best. Sometimes He tells me His grace is sufficient. My goal is to stay in His will cause He has a plan.
I love what He has done so far.

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Another thing I started this weekend was Outtakes. I am compiling those into a presentation of its own. I promise to play these at the premiere. We spent a lot of time laughing and I will have to share. I want you to fall in love with cast. They have earned it.

Peace and Hair Grease
Karen
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Family Tree Auditions

Written by Karen Anderson, the movie is a dramedy that tells the story of an African American family that do not like each other, but is forced into having a family reunion by one of the members.  The story will explore family dynamics and what is family. Is it blood or relationship?

We will be holding auditions in the month of April for the movie. If you are interested send an email to uppcreative@yahoo.com. This is gonna be a knock down drag out comedy.

DD Ingram

We are still accepting funds for the movie. You can send it to UPP Creative PO Box 11082 Fort Worth, Texas 76110.