Short Film Of The Week.. “The Blue & The Beyond”

 

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Short Film of the Week courtesy of Rodos Film Festival Selection committee.

A brilliant short film directed by Youri Dekke

The Blue & the Beyond is the story of a young, imaginative man named Charlie, who is searching to find someone like him in a world where he is different in every way. 
BB_Poster
Credits:
Directed by: Youri Dekker
Produced by: Samia Khalaf & Kimberly Mucha
Visual Development Leads: Jonathan Apilado, Diem Doan, & Jasmine Truong
Character Design by: Ryan Eways
Supervising Animators: Kimberly Mucha, Nicki Yee, & Youri Dekker
Lead Animators: Rebecca Chan, Ryan Eways, Ariana Barton, & Casey Straka
Clean-Up Leads: Annie Hsu & Danielle Case
Layout Lead: Geoff Nakanishi
Compositing Lead: Alvin Concepcion
Musical Score by: Megan Carnes

Music Video Highlight – RICO PE$O$

Rico Pe$o$

As part of our media cooperation with Rodos Film Festival, we are highlighting the video submissions as well as the ones that have been officially selected.

There is no better way to start this section than introducing the world to Bog Entertainment Latin Hip-Hop owner and artist Rico Pe$o$. The strong contender for an first annual Best Music Video Award is currently on tour in the Dominican Republic but is expected to tour extensively throughout Europe the latter part of 2016 and/or early 2017.

Follow BOG ENTERTAINMENT
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RICODEPESOS

This Weeks Featured Film- “Makana”

http://Festival.Brikcius.com - FESTIVAL BRIKCIUS - 4. ročník cyklu koncertů komorní hudby v Domě U Kamenného zvonu v Praze & #BACH330 (podzim 2015) / http://Festival.Brikcius.com - FESTIVAL BRIKCIUS - 4th Chamber Music Concert Series at the Stone Bell House in Prague & #BACH330 (Autumn 2015)

We are honored to deliver a remarkable music documentary film Makanna. The documentary which is based around the novel Makanna – The Father of Miracles , was written by Jiri Weil  describes the rise and fall of a historical person – the 7th century false prophet. The novel Makanna was written in 1940 and published in 1941 under a cover name, whose owner was tortured to death in Mauthausen.

 “Unearthed from ancient times, this unfamiliar oriental world becomes in this novel a living, colorful picture reminding us of not-so-distant historical tyranny.”

The documentary which is in cooperation with the Jewish Museum in Prague and under the auspices of Sir Tom Stoppard and Vaclav Havel, is based on the novel of the Jewish writer .


The film premier took place at the Vaclav Havel Library in Prague to commemorate the 115th anniversary of birth of writer Jiri Weil. Under the auspices of the Mayor of Prague 1, the premiere was part of the Daniel Pearl World Music Days, the 17th Poetry Day Festival and the 4th Festival Brikcius.

For more details visit http://Festival.Brikcius.com and http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5346634

info@Brikcius.com / Brikcius@gmail.com
http://Festival.Brikcius.com / http://www.Brikcius.com

 

“Sheer Amazement”

“Sheer Amazement”
By: Jerome Fitts- April 2015

In wrapping up the the current documentary film “The WorthJourney”, we decided to include a few subjective thoughts and excerpts from scenarios that was cut from the final version of the film. We couldn’t fit what is written below into the film because the people that supported me filming did not experience the same challenges and adversities. So I thought the best way to clear my desk with the relevant experiences that wouldn’t go away, was to put it into a blog that one particular well-known publication is going to publish anyway. Besides in my opinion, the sole purpose of blogs, is to share the experiences and provide the social proof to back up the story.

Here goes:
Case 1:
In May of 2013, when I was going through passport control in the city that created the ingredients of “bullshit”- Los Angeles, I was asked; “How do you have two passports and why are you going to Ireland?” My reply was simple: “I live in Dublin sir”.

1
Dublin, Ireland 2014. Photo taken by J.Fitts

His response while stamping my American passport was; “Why, you’re not Irish and you certainly don’t sound Irish?” My response: “No of course I am not, but what does that have to do with my house, family, friends and paying tax in Eire over the last 20 plus years! I am using my American passport because I just want the easiest way to go through passport control bro. I have had enough of LA LA land.” Ironically enough, exactly a year after that incident leaving Canada with Tamara, I entered the States with my Irish passport and had no trouble. Tamara, who is Irish, was questioned..- Yeah go figure.

While walking through, after he stamped my passport, I told him that after going home for a few weeks I was going to Rodos, Greece for the summer then onwards to Sierra Leone my ethnic origin to start filming a documentary. His response was: “Well that is ok then, but where is that?”. Bro please.

Setting sail within the Greek Islands. 2014
Setting sail within the Greek Islands. 2014

Not only did this idiot at passport control provide more fuel for my fire for The WorthJourney, but I was also amazed how this guy, who was a person of color, held this position of control. You know I wonder why someone from Homeland Security or Passport Control wasn’t educated enough to know that people of color have been enabled to roam the planet as they choose for sometime. Perhaps we were equally amazed at one another but from two different perspectives. I felt like the guy in 12 years And A Slave that could read and the fellow slaves were pissed off at him for being able to and he just didn’t get it.

Leaving Santa Monica. May 2013.
Leaving Santa Monica. May 2013.

Was it because I looked like a basketball player wearing shades and nursing a hangover trying to being too cool that threw him off or was it because I didn’t flirt with him? Well I am heterosexual and if it had been an attractive female perhaps I would have- who knows? Although that did get me in a lot of trouble at the Greek/Macedonian boarder a year later, but man do I remember her smile. At any rate isn’t it amazing that this guy was giving me a hard time because he couldn’t understand how I was roaming freely without a care in the world?

Case 2:
It amazes me how many people hate America but love the programs, the freedom, the music and try so desperately to be American, even though they have never set foot in the land of the free.

During my trip through the Balkans region in the summer of 2014 and I couldn’t believe the amount of Yankees baseball hats there were as well as the amount of American Selfie poses there were. The world’s third largest country (Facebook) and the key holder of the Internet (Microsoft) were both created in America so why hate the land so much?

The world is a smaller place these days because of the latter, but it should also serve as some sort of platform for education and comparisons of traditions. Lets be frank, America doesn’t have any real traditions and in 2015 no true race. It’s still a new conquered land and a Big Party that has arguably or inarguably gone wrong. But is that the average hard working American fault? I love that Big Party, well at least in spurts.

Bill Clinton Statue.. In all places-- Prishtina, Kosovo. 2014
Bill Clinton Statue.. In all places– Prishtina, Kosovo. taken by JFitts. June 2014

If we all take the approach of accepting the Big Party that everyone wants to be apart of then perhaps we can concentrate on less negative attitudes towards the Big Party. Or else we could all shut up and stick to our own and not share, but don’t take from the Big Party and run home. Get it!

I get the political side of things and at some point who could disagree, I know most Americans hate the war(s) as well but someone has to maintain stability right?

None of this has anything to do with Fashion. That is a totally separate post altogether. I don’t think there is anywhere else in the world where people dress the same except in the 50 States that makes up America.

Zurich, Switzerland. late 2013
Zurich, Switzerland. late 2013- taken by. JFitts February 2014

Music and Television however seems to be a completely different story. The licensed television shows in different languages such as; the X-Factor, and the God awful reality shows are hilarious. With the exception of Ireland and England, there are more copycat programs exported from the Fat of Land than ever.

I wonder what Ice T and Afrika Islam would think of the kids that are trying to be what they were 30 years ago when they created hip-hop? Its amazing that some of those kids in either the Balkans or Greek Islands would tell  Ice T or “Izz” they got it wrong. Imagine that.. Funny right, well Google it.

It would be a sin to leave out G.A.S (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) in this but we have to blame the degenerate expats who wouldn’t go home after their service for allowing them to call hip hop “Black Music”. Isn’t that amazing that urban/hip-hop or soul could be considered Black Music and no one is offended. Hmm food for thought. If everyone is getting alone then why bother, or is it a case of keeping the blinds shut on equality.

Big Steve Def Jay Radio. Photos used by kind permission. 2015
Big Steve Def Jay Radio. Photos used by kind permission. 2015

What if Americans were taking traditional music from the Polish and singing it on street corners then tell the Polish they have it wrong. You guys want an example, put on a pot of coffee and research it.  

What’s the point I am trying to make? I was amazed that this is still going on. Is it about race? “No”. Is it about education? Hmm you’re the reader you be the judge. I personally think it has a lot to do with laziness and lack of communication amongst one another as people.

Irish Ferries. Copyright Controlled. 2015
Irish Ferries. Copyright Controlled. 2015

I miss those glory days of catching a ferry from Dublin to Holy Head, Wales after a great night out. Then meeting exciting people from all over the world that had very little fear and would buy each other beers.

Thank God for my local pub!

JFitts

Dr. A.G. Gaston- “The Entreprenuer of the Century”

When Arthur George Gaston, was approaching his 100th birthday, he was dubbed “Entrepreneur of the Century”.(1)

A.G.Gaston business enterprises consisted of providing jobs and recourses to the Africa-American community before and after the Civil Rights movement. Those enterprises still exist in 2015 as well as the results of his efforts. A.G. Gaston ideas, concepts and influence has made a difference.

The opportunities Gaston created was in the heart of Dixie in the state of Alabama. Most notably the communities within the cities of Birmingham and Mobile. He was also a key figure in the civil rights movement.

A.G.Gaston was born on July 4th, 1892 in Demopolis, Alabama. Gaston, who was raised in a log cabin that his former slave grandparents built, began his entrepreneurship as a child. Gaston would charged the neighborhood children a button and pin to play on the swing in his yard. He would later sell the button and pens to local women for their sewing.(1)

In 1900, Gaston and his mother Rosie moved to Birmingham, because his mother was hired as a cook for the Lovemanns.

For his preliminary education Gaston, attended the Carrie Tuggle Institute, a boarding school which was ran by former slaves. Although Gaston left the school in the 10th grade because he could not afford the expenses of the boarding school. To make ends meet, he began selling subscriptions for the Birmingham Reporter.

The year 1910 saw Gaston enlist in the U.S. Army, which he served as a sergeant in an all black unit in France during World War I. After he left the Army in 1918, he worked briefly as laborer at Tennessee Coal and Iron Company. While working there and with the help of his mother,  he sold lunch boxes to fellow coworkers for an extra income. It should be noted that he also loaned his coworkers money and charged them 25 cents on each dollar loaned.

In 1923, most blacks in the south did not have an option of burying relatives and love ones in traditional funeral homes because of cost or segregation. It was then he started “Brother Gaston’s Burial Society”.

Gaston’s policy, was to provide a respectful burial for those who perished in the African-America community.The policy that exist today was; the customers paid a regular fee in exchange for the security of a burial paid for when their love ones perished.

In 1932, the aforementioned business was incorporated as Booker T Washington Insurance. This was the foundation for many other businesses that prospered. One of those businesses was Booker T Washington Business College, which was set up to train clerks for Gastons other businesses.

The Booker T Washington Business College was, at the time, the only school that African-American women could receive a certificate for business training.

During this time he also suffered a business failure in Brown Belle Bottling Company. A.G.Gaston was quoted in 1986 by saying that: “The bottling company failed due the fact that this venture was formed to make money, where as the other ventures was created to serve the people.”

A.G.Gaston Motel was founded to serve black travelers when they were not allowed to stay in white hotels. The motel, which is today recognized as a historical site, was the headquarters for the SCLC (Southern Christrian Leadership Conference). The motel was also known for  accommodating Civil Rights Leaders and in some cases served as a safe haven.

Martin Luther King Jr. at the A.G. Gaston Motel.  copyright getty images. 2015
Martin Luther King Jr. at the A.G. Gaston Motel.
copyright getty images. 2015

 

 

When Martin Luther King was arressted in Birmingham, Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement it was A.G Gaston who posted the $150,000 bail from his personal finances.

Business Timeline:

1955- Vulcan Reality and Investment Corporation

1957- Citizen Federal Savings and Loans Association

1963- A.G.Gaston Home for Senior Citizens

1966- A.G.Gaston Boys and Girls Club– (It should be noted that the author of this post was a member of A.G. Gaston Boys Club).

1975- WENN-FM and WAGG-AM

1986- A.G.Gaston’s Construction Company

All of Gaston enterprises gave their employees stock options. The majority of his businesses was created to give the community (mostly black) an opportunity or something they needed.

“Becoming rich was accidental because my main objective was to serve the community”-Gaston said in 1992.” (4)

Dr. Gaston outside Citizens Insurance Building.  copyright getty images. 2015
Dr. Gaston outside Citizens Insurance Building.
copyright getty images. 2015

On January 19th, 1996 Arthur George Gaston died. He was 103 years old and still working. He is survived by great grandchildren and grandchildren who is now continuing his legacy of sharing and making the community of Birmingham, Alabama better.

Arthur George Gaston is without question the “Entrepreneur of the Century”.

References:

1. Retrieved on February 16th, 2015. By Jerome Fitts http://www.nytimes.com/1996/01/20/us/a-g-gaston-103-a-champion-of-black-economic-advances.html?

2. Retrieved on February 16th, 2015. By Jerome Fitts http://www.al.com/business/index.ssf/2013/03/where_is_todays_ag_gaston_blac.html

3. Retrieved on February 16th, 2015. By Jerome Fitts http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/g-gaston-financier-and-advocate-equality

4. Retrieved on February 16th, 2015. By Jerome Fitts http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-2062

 

The Father of Rock and Roll- Johnnie Johnson

By Jerome Fitts

This week we are celebrating the life of The Father of Rock and Roll. The recognition of Johnnie Johnson during Black History Month, should be appreciated and applauded by everyone.

Johnny was born on June 8, 1924 in Fairmont, Virginia but for the majority of his celebrated life he resided with wife Francis, in St. Louis, Missouri.

Johnnie Be Good:

For nearly 30 years, Johnnie was the keyboardist for legendary guitar player Chuck Berry. However the song that is considered the original rock anthem “Johnny Be Good” was written by Chuck Berry as a tribute to Johnnie.

Johnnie Johnson and Chuck Berry. Photo used by kind permission. Getty Images. 2015
Johnnie Johnson and Chuck Berry.
Photo used by kind permission. Getty Images. 2015

The song has been covered by thousands of bands from around the world as well as being highlighted in the movie Back To The Future. The musicians that have covered the song has ranged from modern day pop singers to heavy metal legendaries such as Judas Priest.

Bayersheroff Hotel, Munich, Germany 2003. left to right- J.Fitts, Johniie Johnson, Roy, Kim Kelly
Bayersheroff Hotel, Munich, Germany 2003.
left to right- J.Fitts, Johniie Johnson, Roy, Kim Kelly

In 2003, after a series of shows in Munich, Germany, I asked Mr. Johnson to explain Johnnie Be Good.

“I had served in the second World War and had returned to Detroit then on to St. Louis, which is where I met Chuck. I hired him one night because I was short a musician and that’s when our (Chuck and Johnnie) history started.”

“Chuck and I worked on other material together, but Johnny B Goode was a tribute to myself. Chuck wrote that one about me.”- Johnnie said.

Legendary Status:

Mr. Johnson, fellow Blues and Rock originators, from Keith Richard (Rolling Stones), Eric Clapton to George Harrison (Beatles), have gone on record to acknowledge that their inspirations came from Johnnie.

To question whether or not if Johnnie received his full recognition from the music world, would be irresponsible from the music industry.

However in 2001, Johnny was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

There is could never be enough recognition or accolades for the song that changed the music industry-“Johnny Be Good”. The legitimate argument would have to be directed at what has transpired within the music industry since.

Adversity Turned To Triumph:

Johnnie who faced adversity for several years during the 1970s due to neglect, recognition and LACK OF ROYALTIES from previous work, resurged in 1986. It wasn’t until Keith Richards amongst many other notable Rock Hall of Famers, guided their hero back into the main stage. Ironically enough that resurrection from retirement was in the Chuck Berry concert film Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll of that year.

Johnnie playing live with Keith Richards
Johnnie playing live with Keith Richards

Throughout the 1990s and early millennium, Johnnie enjoyed a successful series of solo records as well as constantly being in demand as a live act.

Johnnie Johnson died on April 13, 2005, a mere eight days after performing at the NCAA Final Four in St. Louis, Missouri. The Father of Rock and Roll, was 80 years old.

Johnnie Johnson we salute you.

Discography:

1987: Blue Hand Johnnie.

1991: Johnnie B. Bad (Warner) with Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, and Bernard Fowler
1991: Rockin’ Eighty-Eights (Modern Blues recordings) with Jimmie Vaughan and Clayton Love
1993: Blue Hand Johnnie (Evidence Music) with Oliver Sain
1993: That’ll Work (Elektra) with The Kentucky Headhunters and Jimmy Hall
1995: Johnnie Be Back (MusicMasters) with Buddy Guy, Al Kooper, John Sebastian and Max Weinberg
1997: Johnnie B. Live (Father of Rock and Roll Music) with Jimmy Vivino and Al Kooper
1999: Father of Rock and Roll (Father of Rock and Roll Music) – Accompanying CD with the book Father of Rock and Roll: The Story of Johnnie B. Goode Johnson, featuring all new recordings of Johnson and Berry songs.
2005: Johnnie Be Eighty And Still Bad! (Cousin Moe Music) with Jeff Alexander, Rich McDonough (guitar), Larry Thurston, Gus Thornton, and Joe Pastor (drums).

Hans Massaquoi; “Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany”

By:  Jerome Fitts
February 4th, 2015

To celebrate Black History Month, we, (WJ), are honored to feature individuals who are people of color, that set examples and standards for our society today. On February 4th, 2015 we are celebrating the life of Hans Massaquoi.

Hans Massaquoi (1926-2013)
Hans Massaquoi
(1926-2013)

Hans Massaquoi, a former managing editor of EBONY magazine (1957-1997) most noted for his award winning 1999 memoir; “Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany”. In the book Massaquoi, details his difficult, sometimes desperate life as a child and teen during a murderous time in modern history.(1) His book, has been recognized as the “sole” biography of the Nazi era from a black person viewpoint.

Hans Jurgen Massaquoi was born on January 19, 1926, in Hamburg, Germany and passed away on his birthday in 2013. He was the son of Al-Haj Massaquoi, an African business man from Liberia and Bertha Baetz, a German nurse.

His father (Al-Haj), who was the son of a Liberian consul general, left Germany because of the rise of the Nazi regime.

Hans Parents-
Hans Parents- Al-Haj Massaquoi and  Berthan Baetz

Unlike other German women at the time who were giving their “Brown Babies” up for adoption, his mother Bertha, decided to raise Hans in Germany alone instead of joining Hans father in Liberia.(2)

In his autobiography Hans mentions being taunted on a daily bases in regards to his colour stating his classmates would say ; “Neger, Neger, Schornsteinfeger!” (*Schornsteinfeger means chimney sweep in English)-Ed

It is highlighted in “In Destined to Witness”, that when Hitler and the Nazi Party came to power in 1933 he was fascinated by the uniforms, “goose-stepping” marches and the military might of the Nazi soldiers. Massaquoi recalled the first time Hitler’s motorcade came to Hamburg, and the thrill that he experienced watching the new “Führer” roll past.(1)

“Like everyone around me, I cheered the man whose every waking hour was dedicated to the destruction of ‘inferior non-Aryan people’ like myself.”- Massaqoui

tumblr_mh2xdnHtTD1qcw9y0o1_250As a 7-year-old boy in Hamburg, Massaquoi noted that his proudest moment was when a baby sitter sewed a swastika on his sweater. He also stated that the disappointment he had because a teacher told him he couldn’t join Hitlers Youth.

“Of course I wanted to join. I was a kid and most of my friends were joining. They had cool uniforms and they did exciting things – camping, parades, playing drums,”- wrote Massaquoi.

During his teenage years Massaqoui and his mother lived in fear because of the Nazi elimination of all non Aryans. He mentions that although he was not deported himself, he credited this to being black. He felt because he was black he was more of a rarity than a threat.

“Unlike Jews, blacks were so few in numbers that they were relegated to low-priority status in the Nazis’ line-up for extermination,” Massaquoi said.

When Massaquoi’s mother lost her job because she had a black son, he boxed as well as played saxophone in a “Swing Jazzband” to support himself and his mother. It should be noted that at the time and yet still today (February 2015), Swing and Jazz music as well as any type of Urban Music is considered “Black Music” in Germany. Massaquoi, who dreamed of immigrating to America as he followed the careers of African American sports heroes Joe Louis and Jesse Owens, boxed to earn extra money but was forbidden by law to take on Aryan opponents in the ring.(1)


He also revealed the kindnesses of German neighbors and friends who helped him and his mother survive during these difficult months. At one point, Massaquoi even attempted to join the Germany Army after recognizing that he was the only young man left in his neighborhood who did not wear a uniform. “This Lieutenant Colonel bawled me out saying how dare I even presume to ask. So that did it for me. That was the real turning point. By then, I had got all the Nazi stuff out of my head, and it was the final insult.”- Massaquoi recounted.

In 1948, Massaquoi left Germany for Liberia and lived with his father. However, he became dissatisfied with the black-on-black racism and applied and received a student visa for America.

Hans arriving in America. *photo used by kind permission.2015
Hans arriving in America.
*photo used by kind permission.2015

While attending aviation mechanics school in Chicago, he received a draft notice to fight in the Korean War, despite having alien status. Massaquoi was stationed in the deep south of America ironically enough during the start of the Civil Rights movements.

After the Korean War, in which he was never deployed to fight in combat, he returned to Chicago to resume his studies. Massaquoi began working at Ebony Magazine in 1957 in as an associate editor. By 1967, ten years after working at the prestigious publication, Massaquoi was awarded the Managing Editors position. He held this position for another 30 years until his retirement in 1967.

Encouraged by the late Alex Haley (Roots), he penned the remarkable “adversity turned triumphed”, autobiography “Destined To Witness; Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany.” (3)

Qouting Hans Massaqoui Jr in loving memory of his late father; “Hans Massaquoi lived to become not just a footnote in history, but a figure of note.” (4)

nie-hans

Hans Massaqoui, The WorthJourney not only celebrate your remarkable life, but we thank you for setting the example of creating and accomplishing your dreams.- J.Fitts

We encourage all of our readers to not only buy the book but read it!

http://www.amazon.com/Destined-Witness-Growing-Black-Germany/dp/0060959614

 

Career: Played saxophone in jazz clubs in Hamburg, mid-1940s; British Military Government, Hamburg, Germany, interpreter, 1945-48; National Association of Educational Broadcasters, Urbana, IL, editor, 1956-57; Jet Magazine, Chicago, IL., associate editor, 1957-58; Ebony Magazine, Chicago, associate editor, 1958-64, assistant managing editor, 1964-67, managing editor, 1967-.

Awards: Overseas Press Club of America citation, 1975, for coverage of Heads of Government Conference in Kingston, Jamaica.

References:
(1) Retrieved on February 1st, 2015. By Jerome Fitts http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2873200048.html
(2) Retrieved on February 1st, 2015. By Jerome Fitts http://inamerica.blogs.cnn.com/2011/11/20/germanys-brown-babies-still-searching-for-their-american-fathers
(3) Retrieved on February 1st, 2015.By Jerome Fitts. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/hans-massaquoi-who-grew-up-black-in-nazi-germany-dies-at-87/2013/01/23/3faaa5bc-64b1-11e2-b84d-21c7b65985ee_story.html
(4) Retrieved on February 1st, 2015. By Jerome Fitts http://www.npr.org/2013/01/26/170281062/ebony-editor-began-life-black-in-nazi-germany

Black History Month

Black History Month.
Black History Month February 2015.

To launch our ¨Event¨ page in February 2015, we realised it was a necessity and responsible to start with celebrating Black History Month!

We are all aware of this historical month and  we are proud to display the progress the world has made in regards to acknowledging those who sacrificed their lives for a better world.

However, we do feel responsible to also feature and highlight the inspirational stories from todays African communities.

We have decided to give our loyal readers a chance to honor and also acknowledge some of the individuals that were not recognized in the past. We are encouraging our readers to submit information and inspirational stories to our digital platforms. That information, which require to be supported facts, will be open for discussions and  responses from the public via our digital platform(s).

We are honored to have those digital panel discussions hosted by celebrated author, Tim Rice.

Mr. Tim Rice highly regarded book: The Missing Link

The Missing Link
The Missing Link

Available here:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Missing-Link-Simple-Living/dp/0990623408

Corporate Social Responsibilities in Sports… “Tackling Racism”

 Jerome Fitts

In January 2015, the stories published on racism in futbol has become boring. This piece is in regards to the lack of efforts from those who are involved in the current status of racism in Futbol.  It is becoming apparent that the efforts of  “Zero Tolerance to Racism” isn’t working.  We have to ask ourselves; “Is there a better way of dealing with the problem that is protecting the officials that can control the problem?”

If Gordon Taylor, the president of the Professional Futbol Association in England, has acknowledged the problem, then why haven’t there been more pressure on the sponsors to extend their “(CSR)-Corporate Social Responsibilities”?  There have been advertisements during major matches but a limited and controlled amount of responses from the coaches and players

Compared to 25 years ago, the sport of Futbol is led by the media which is financed by advertisements.

Ukrainian football fans with Nazi flag
Ukrainian football fans with Nazi flag. 2014.       Getty Images.

In the English Premiership, where shared media dominates the global networks, there is minimal coverage on racism in sports. The public knows it’s there, the organizations have always known, and finally, the players within their boundaries are acknowledging it. The difference in today’s game is the effect it has on corporate finance.

The business trading secrets of the game is becoming more restricted yet racism has become more exposed via the new age media platforms. The multi-billion-dollar question is: What are the Corporate Social Responsibilities of the sponsors?

Black Managers in Futbol:

It is a well-known fact that there are no Black Managers in top Futbol Leagues. The major clubs are displaying a lack of confidence in hiring black managers. The hiring of black managers at a prestigious club could mark a change in the opinions of the fans and supports of the club. Futbol is a tradition in the European society which is led by community influences and the aforementioned could be a historical landmark in the sport. Perhaps the advertisement banners from the head of the clubs could display “Change is what’s needed”, or “Trust in our decisions”.

Birminghams Chris Hughton. Courtesy of Getty Images
Birmingham’s Chris Hughton.
Courtesy of Getty Images

FIFA nor the top leagues are making it mandatory for the clubs to interview potential black managers. The published stories of comparing the Rooney Rule, which exists in American football is irrelevant. However, comparing the American Sports system to the rest of the world is not only irresponsible but delusional. The monetary value and sports marketing concepts have become similar, but the ethics within the E.U. are complete.

FIFA Commitment And Activation:

FIFA  creates campaigns to fight against spectator racism. They have sponsors and rely on the cooperation of the sponsors. Without giving to much attention to what more FIFA could do, those campaigns are making little difference. There has to be more pressure on league officials and the futbol clubs.

CSR (Corporate Social Responsibilities)

The sponsors, which employs all nationalities in their global offices,  have little to no choice but to act on the race issue. Sports marketing is entering a new frontier and finance garnered through the sport is measured in billions.

Lebron James attending a Liverpool FC match-
Lebron James attending a Liverpool FC match-

How would Lebron James, who happens to be a minority shareholder in Liverpool FC, react to his fellow brothers being called monkeys during the matches? Surely there has been some information transmitted during the due diligence of the currency exchange. Was the due diligence process based around ignoring race issues in order for Mr James to disburse a check?

Liverpool Futbol Fans. 2014
Liverpool Futbol Fans. 2014

Appointing Black futbol ambassadors would be ideal if there was an effort to build race relations from the governing bodies of futbol.

The Players:

All of the players, who are contracted to play the game as employees are aware of the racism. However, their reactions have limits because the contracts signed does not stipulate unconditional tolerance of spectators reactions or opinions.

The reaction to spectator discrimination is left up to the club officials who are predominantly white. The reality is racial comments have been made for years. The difference today is, those comments are exposed because of the new age media platforms.

It’s hilarious that all sports are dominated by people of colour but tackling spectator racism in sports is a mediocre priority. Why are we tolerating it? Does the money earned soothes the wounds or strengthens the blinds?

The most avoided question is; “Do they care?”

The European Union

“Is racism in sports exempt from the moral responsibilities of the European Union?”

The lack of inability from the governing body of Futbol to control racism in the sport is clear. Because of those inabilities, the E.U. has increased interest in imposing measures to protect the human rights of the players.

German Fans vs Ghana. World Cup 2014. Getty Images
German Fans vs Ghana.
World Cup 2014.
Getty Images

The Article 13 Treaty of Amsterdam, which protects civilians from racial discrimination throughout Europe was suggested, however it has little to no influence over spectators discrimination. Ironically enough the spectators who hurl the abuse are the supporters of the clubs without whom, the clubs would not exist.

To conclude the efforts thus far are duly noted, but those efforts do not represent the results.

End of Part 1.

Part2 (The year 2020!).