By Tenisha Renee Miller
SUN ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
What up doe! Da Rumor Mill is turned up and ready to transition in the New Year.
When it comes to transitioning, Magic Johnson’s son, EJ appears to be turning into a woman. EJ has shed a few pounds and is reportedly getting hormone treatments. He was recently seen partying at Catch LA in Hollywood wearing a grey mini dress, wig and knee high boots. He ain’t hiding in nobody’s closet waiting to make his big reveal. Word has it that he posted a video on Snapchat showing off his new look and singing a song.
While EJ’s shedding a few pounds, Caitlyn Jenner FKA Bruce is shedding clothes. Radar Online supposedly reported that Caitlyn took nude pictures and will reportedly publish them in a new tell-all book. Like EJ, Caitlyn has been working out to get a thot-like bod. Word has it that the Kardashians are mad about the upcoming book.
The Kardashians aren’t the only ones mad these days. Word has it that Tamika “Tiny” Harris is fired up over learning that reportedly T.I. knocked up not one, but two chicks during their marriage. Both chicks are allegedly due this spring. Tiny has already filed for divorce but was allegedly thinking about reconciling. Now, she really has something to think about, before she gives in.
T.I. ain’t the only one spreading his seed. Jermaine Jackson is about to become a grandpa any day. His son, Jermaine Jr. and girlfriend Asa Soltan Rahmati, of the reality show Shahs of Sunset, are expecting. The two have reportedly been dating for a few years. Congratulations to them.
Congrats also goes out to Chris Brown for attempting to move on from ex-girlfriend Karrueche Tran. Breezy was recently seen out at a New York club holding hands with his new girl. Word has it that she’s from LA and traveled to NYC to be with Chris. But, eyes can be deceiving. Word has it that he’s in training to get at Soulja Boy in a boxing match that is allegedly over his ex. So, has he really moved on? I guess time will tell.
On that note, it’s time for us to bounce. Peace out!
Film review: 'The Skyjacker's Tale'
By Bill Meyer
SPECIAL TO THE SUN
One of the most colorful and stylized political tales at TIFF this year is a documentary entitled The Skyjackers Tale. This totally absorbing and entertaining film, full of creative reenactments, tells the story about the murder of 8 people at the Fountain Valley Golf Club in St Croix, Virgin Islands in 1972. Pressured to find the murderers, the state apparatus rounds up several ‘guilty’ suspects, puts them through torture, a sham trial with forced confessions, even though they were represented by the famed progressive attorney William Kunstler, and sends them off to 8 life sentences. One of these unfortunate souls is Ishmael Labeet, the main subject of the film, who claims he never even went to the country club because it wasn’t his kind of people – meaning white.
His life prior to the conviction involved a dishonorable discharge from the military for him “refusing to kill people that looked like me and never did anything against me.” He went on to New York and joined the Black Panthers where he developed his revolutionary credentials. After returning to his home in St. Croix he hung with revolutionary groups that committed petty crimes – robbing to fund their work, and was eventually arrested for the murders.
After serving 14 years in American prisons, and they are described in great clarity in the film, he applies for habeas corpus. He goes back to St Croix, loses the case and is headed back handcuffed between two special agents to the US to finish his 8 life sentences when he chooses a much better option – he skyjacks the plane to Havana! Upon landing he is arrested and willingly serves 7 more years in a prison that “looks like a vacation compared to the ones in the US!”
The movie actually starts at this point with him in Cuba, and the previous activities are shown in clever and colorful flashbacks. The skyjacking is artfully re-created using testimony from interviews with passengers who were on the plane back then, along with many others who are relevant to the trial, his life in St. Croix, the military, the Black Panthers, and most everywhere along his lifespan. He apologized to passengers who at first were frightened, offers them all ‘drinks on the house’ and was eventually described as “the most polite hijacker.” The film explains how he got the gun on the plane, and how the whole hijacking took place, because Labeet is walking free in the streets of Cuba (location not revealed) and is interviewed at several locations, with many friends and family who know his remarkable story. He claims to be a revolutionary, not a criminal, and much better off than the other guys who are still in prison for the rest of their lives.
The cleverly crafted tale is directed by Canadian auteur, Jamie Kastner (Kike Like Me, Secret Disco Revolution) who traveled down to Cuba after conversations with his auto mechanic. “I went down to meet him after I looked him up online. Murderer! Hijacker! Revolutionary! I was curious how these work together. I thought I was going to meet a mass murderer. I met him and he claims his innocence and begins to tell me this amazing story. I am shocked and intrigued by each new revelation he made. He’s a compelling lead character, a star in Cuba, funny, bright, sexy, a charismatic guy, and you believe him.” Kastner continues, “But as a journalist I had to check the facts. So to have the cops and investigators in St Croix confirming the details that he was indeed involved with revolutionary gangs,” added credibility to his story.
I was curious about a ‘screenplay’ credit in a documentary and his creative use of re-enactments. Kastner responds, “There is no narration per se, although some scenes are reenacted over dialog from real interviews. Recreations can be challenging. But any aesthetic tool you can do well or badly. Thin Blue Line is an example of it being well done.” He defines docudramas as “creative non-fiction,” adding, “The curse of a documentary is always what are you going to look at other than talking heads. Archived footage is always an asset but in my film – and since the trial in St. Croix happened back when recordings and smartphones were not available – there is very little footage to utilize.”
When asked if he felt Labeet was innocent or guilty, Kastner responds, “in the end... the murder mystery is really about something else – the justice system, whether or not it works. It’s about a guy who took the laws into his own hands, rather than a story about his guilt or innocence. One of Labeet's defense attorneys says, “We can speculate all day whether these guys did it or not, but what we know for sure is they did not get a fair trial or anything else. There was a grave miscarriage of justice that was committed” and confirmed in this film.
And lastly, when reminded that Assata Shakur is the most well known American fugitive in Cuba, Kastner noted that, “just last month there was a list of about 80 American fugitives given asylum there over the years. But lets say if Assata is #1 on the list – Labeet is in the top 5.” Now with US-Cuba relations thawing, talks about swapping spies and prisoners are expected, and Labeet’s future is in jeopardy.
Bill Meyer writes a Progressive Cinema column for the Peoples World and Hollywood Progressive. He is a local activist and keyboardist who performs at Berts Jazz Club every Thursday evening with the RGB Trio Open Mic Jazz Jam, the longest running award winning jam session in Detroit.