This weekend, I watched the movie “One Night in Miami.” I know I'm late. It's been out since January. I'm reluctant to watch any movie made in the last decade. I can't take the woke narratives.
Anyway, friends, including Uncle Jimmy, promised me I'd like “One Night.”
“One Night” fictionalizes boxer Muhammad Ali's activities after he beat heavyweight champion Sonny Liston on February 25, 1964. Ali, along with NFL great Jim Brown and legendary singer Sam Cooke, is summoned to the hotel room of then-Nation of Islam spokesman Malcolm X. The four men engage in a robust and provocative conversation about race, America, their responsibility to bring about cultural change and their future plans.
It's a terrific premise that fails because the script ignores the elephant in every American room in 1964 — Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Six months after King led his historic March on Washington and unveiled his “dream,” Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke spent hours confined in a hotel room combatively debating race and no one mentioned MLK. Really? I'm supposed to believe that?
This is not a small slight. It's yet another reimagining of history, a depiction of history that downplays the role of Christianity. The intent of the New York Times' 1619 Project is to demonize this country's Judeo-Christian roots and ethos. Judeo-Christian signifies America's Old Testament and New Testament biblical principles.
You didn't talk about race in 1964 without mentioning Martin Luther King. It's the equivalent of debating national-anthem protests without mentioning Colin Kaepernick. Christians, led by MLK, forced America to change for the better.
“One Night” cleverly taps into a theme that all movies directed at black audiences now seemingly require — angry black radicals forced America to change for the better.
“One Night” is the kindred spirit of Netflix's “Judas and the Black Messiah,” a movie that celebrated Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton. A movie painting Hampton, an unapologetic Marxist and atheist, as the messiah is both ironic and sacrilegious.
Hampton was called the “chairman” in honor of Chairman Mao Tse-tun, the founder of the People's Republic of China, an authoritarian ruler credited with killing millions through mass executions, starvation, and political persecution.
Hollywood movies subtly and overtly entice black Americans to abandon our Christian beliefs. Malcolm X is the protagonist of “One Night.” Sam Cooke is the antagonist. Cooke is the godless, money-hungry proxy for Martin Luther King. Cooke represents hope and faith in the American dream. X and Cooke verbally spar throughout the movie. X chides Cooke for failing to make protest music the equal of Bob Dylan's classic “Blowin' in the Wind.”
The movie concludes with Cooke performing “A Change Is Gonna Come” on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and Malcolm X seated on a couch at home nodding approval.
Here's my problem. In real life, Martin Luther King's “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered on August 28, 1963, inspired Cooke to write “A Change Is Gonna Come.” Cooke said so. Cooke performed the song on Carson's show on February 7, 1964 — 18 days before Ali fought Liston in Miami.
I like Malcolm X. I've read the Autobiography of Malcolm X several times. It's my favorite book. But Malcolm X had nothing to do with Cooke writing “Change.” X and the Nation of Islam did not cause America to erase its Jim Crow laws. The Nation should be celebrated for rehabilitating incarcerated men such as Malcolm Little (X). I'm all for that celebration.
But let's be clear on who were the primary drivers of the eradication of slavery and other forms of legalized discrimination.
Christians did that. They're rewriting history, making movies glorifying angry bigots and atheists, so they can convince you that you don't need the real messiah, and neither does America.
Hollywood wants to make Jesus and all his disciples disappear.
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