I was invited to attend a private viewing of "12 Years a Slave" with a world leader that I greatly respected.
After the film was shown with gasps and sobbing from the audience, he turned to me, surprised at how unaffected I seemed to be and asked me what I thought.
My response was that it was too soft... If you're going to tell the story, TELL the story.
At times, it would probably be more advantageous for me to censor my "honesty", but I haven't completely developed that skill yet.
All I could think of was truths like this, and how enslaved women were mindfucked as well by having to "perform" for their "Massa's" or watch their men and children destroyed for their lack of "enthusiasm".
I have since been criticized for continuing to bear witness to this and other horrific details of the dehumanizing brutality of the African American Holocaust... at times for good reason.
A brilliant filmmaker, who I admire and respect, told me of the greater need to express past that pain into a better reality. I used to feel that way as well. That is where my love for comics and Sci-Fi came from. Another also respected artist pointed out the metaphysical aspect of giving energy to that which you are opposed to, empowering it into a more significant reality.
But maybe stubbornly I believe that the history of this has mostly been erased... that an entire generation lacks the perspective of what a people's position in society is and where ours progressed from.
As a writer it is important for me to understand that my people were forcibly taught to sing church hymns while pieces of their relatives were displayed in store windows as trophies.
It teaches me not to gamble on the conscious of people who cut into and burned my ancestors as entertainment for their children.
More importantly, it educates me to respect the value of history and truth, even when writing ridiculous fiction.
And lastly, without disrespect to anyone else, it is the source of love for my people, who are still here and still glorious.
Protect your neck.