New York Times: ‘Is America Ready for the Mind of Terence Nance?’

I hate articles that start with “Is America ready for….”, because they usually turn out to be a tiresome lecture from a morally superior author. Often the piece is on behalf of some NAM (non-asian minority) and presumably, if the featured endeavor does not succeed, it is the fault of bad white people who are insufficiently woke.

Here are headlines that come up early in Google when I put in this phrase:

* Is America Ready for Another Black President?
* Is America Ready for a Post-American World?
* Is America ready for socialism?
* Is America ready for Russian cyberattack on our election?
* Is America Ready for Kinder, Gentler Political TV?
* Is America ready for transgender people to be mainstreamed?
* Is America ready for a female president?
* Is America Ready for Universal Basic Income?
* Is America ready for President Oprah Winfrey?

I have never heard of Terence Nance and I doubt I’ll be tuning in to his HBO show. I guess I’m just not ready.

The New York Times article is by a Reggie Ugwu:

I guess I’m just not ready for Reggie Ugwu, who writes:

In late June, the writer and director Terence Nance, who has a luxuriant Afro and a mellow disposition, was facing a deadline to finish postproduction on his new HBO series, “Random Acts of Flyness,” when something in the news emotionally derailed him.

In East Pittsburgh, a black, unarmed 17-year-old named Antwon Rose was shot and killed by a white police officer. The boy had seemed to foresee his own destruction, pleading in a 2016 poem he wrote for school that his mother would not bury him, like the crying black mothers he’d seen on TV. On the news, a protester read the poem through a megaphone, and Mr. Nance, in a windowless, white-walled editing suite in Brooklyn, where he lives, watched through tears.

“It kind of shut me down for the day,” he recalled earlier this month in the same editing suite, flanked by computer monitors, a lonely snake plant and a vacant mini-fridge. The story had made him think of his own young nieces and nephews, and of the children he might one day have. The next day, however, he rededicated himself fully to finishing the show, which he saw as both an act of creation and resistance.

“The main function of white supremacy,” he noted later, paraphrasing Toni Morrison, “is to distract you from your work.”

…Before the era of industry-shaking blockbusters like “Get Out” and “Black Panther,” myths about the limited commercial viability of black films made it more difficult for black writer-directors to marshal the kind of institutional support that can sustain a career…

What exactly is white supremacy and how exactly does it derail non-whites?

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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