Skip to main content

The new Jackie Robinson movie, 42, "Brooklyn We Go Hard," and what's left out of the legend


It's inevitable that the Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets will aim to capitalize on the new Jackie Robinson biopic, "42," which opens Friday, April 12

After all, arena/team fractional owner Jay-Z called out widow Rachel Robinson during one of his arena-inaugurating concerts last fall, while mogul Bruce Ratner was honored last month by the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

But the movie plays "the legend card," as  Dana Jennings wrote 4/7/13 in the Times Arts & Leisure section, The Superhero Who Leapt Color Lines: Jackie Robinson, the Hero, in ‘42:
Robinson’s words bring us up short because, culturally, we want his legend — a cross-pollination of proud American mythology and exceptionalism — to be true because it makes us feel good about ourselves, about baseball, about our perceived progress on race relations.

But as I listened to the hip-hop bravado of Jay-Z’s “Brooklyn We Go Hard” on a “42” movie trailer, I wondered whether he knew that Robinson was a committed Republican who campaigned for Richard M. Nixon in the 1960 presidential election.
Indeed. There's another complications: when Jay-Z "runs base" in the song the rapper/persona is dealing drugs, as noted in the RapGenius analysis.




Also see New York Post columnist Phil Mushnick's comment:
And so the impossible — a wildly popular rapper relentlessly given to calling black men “n----s” — is chosen for front-and-center attachment to the new movie about Jackie Robinson.
Yes, Jay-Z fans would say the n-word as uttered by the rapper is different, though Oprah disagreed (and later came around). Either way, I doubt that debate can be aired in "42."

About the money

There's something missing in the movie,, the full recognition of the role of money. Jennings wrote:
As with many movies about sports, which tend toward the legend model, “42” runs the risk of making more out of ballplayers and baseball executives than what’s there. At heart Robinson was a four-sport star at U.C.L.A. (where he was a very good football running back) who wanted to play ball and earn a living. Rickey was a career baseball man who wanted to win games and make money. They needed each other.

...Because Robinson’s breakthrough came in the United States of America, it’s also a tale complicated by its sense of keen economic opportunity: you know, money. And “42” doesn’t shy from that fact. Mr. Ford’s Rickey says, “Dollars aren’t black and white,” and the Dodger manager Leo Durocher, played by Christopher Meloni, states, “We’re playing for money here, Mr. Rickey.”

But Robinson was blunter in his book. “Money is America’s God,” he wrote, “and business people can dig black power if it coincides with green power.” And on his teammates: “They hadn’t changed because they liked me any better; they had changed because I could help fill their wallets.”
And that closes the loop back to Jay-Z, Barclays, and the Nets, where seemingly every "community" calculation gets costed out.

The Nets and 42

Oh yes, the Nets' Jerry Stackhouse wears 42, inspired by James Worthy, his favorite player, who himself was advised by his father to choose 42. As the Daily News reported:
"One thing about it is that the number 42 is significant in all sports, not just in baseball," former Piston Rick Mahorn, who mentored Stackhouse in Detroit, said. "(Robinson) was a person who sacrificed and who stepped up for what equality is about... when Jackie Robinson was playing for Brooklyn, what he endured, that's something that I didn't have to go through or anybody later in on in life, as my kids grow, and their generation doesn't have to go through that anymore."
Of course, it's not just about equality, it's about money.

What Brooklyn gained, and didn't

And let's not forget (as I noted in April 2011), in his 2001 book, A Covenant with Color: Race and Social Power in Brooklyn 1636-1990, Brooklyn historian Craig Steven Wilder wrote:
It is a twisted irony that Brooklyn's politicians offered more vocal protests against segregated sports than they had against the construction of a black ghetto. By attacking Jim Crow in professional sports, local officials were able to grandstand as champions of racial equality without tackling the politically costly issues of employment and housing discrimination.

...Yet, the integration of its famous baseball team was a mild accomplishment when measured against Brooklyn's extraordinary social divisions.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

No, security guards can't ban photos. Questions remain about visibility of ID/sticker system.

The bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Community Update meeting June 14, held at 55 Hanson Place, addressed multiple issues, including delays in the project, a new detente with project neighbors,concerns about traffic congestion, upcoming sewer work and demolitions, and an explanation of how high winds caused debris to fly off the under-construction 38 Sixth Avenue building. I'll have more coverage.
Security issues came up several times at the meeting.
Wayne Bailey, a resident who regularly takes photos and videos (that I often use) of construction/operations issues that impact residents, asked representatives of Tishman Construction if the security guard at the sites they're building works for them.
After Tishman Senior VP Eric Reid said yes, Bailey asked why a guard told him not to shoot video of the site, even though he was on a public street.

"I will address it with principals for that security firm," Reid said.
Forest City Ratner executive Ashley Cotton, the …

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what might be coming + FAQ (post-dated pinned post)

This graphic, posted in January 2018, is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. Note the unbuilt B1 and the proposed shift in bulk to the unbuilt Site 5.

The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change. The project is already well behind that tentative timetable.

How many people are expected?

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park has a projected 6,430 apartments housing 2.1 persons per unit (as per Chapter 4 of the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement), which would mean 13,503 new residents, with 1,890 among them in low-income affordable rentals, and 2,835 in moderate- and middle-income affordable rentals.

That leaves 8,778 people in market-rate rentals and condos, though let's call it 8,358 after subtracting 420 who may live in 200 promised below-market condos. So that's 5,145 in below-market units, though many of them won't be so cheap.

As …

The passing of David Sheets, Dean Street renter, former Freddy's bartender, eminent domain plaintiff, and singular personality

David Sheets, longtime Dean Street renter, Freddy's bartender, eminent domain plaintiff, and singular personality, died 1/17/18 in HCA Greenview Hospital in Bowling Green, KY. He was 56.

There are obituary notices in the Bowling Green Daily News and the Wichita Eagle, which state:
He was born in Wichita, KS where he attended public Schools and Wichita State University. He lived for many years in Brooklyn, NY, and was employed as a legal assistant. David's hobby was cartography and had an avid interest in Mass Transit Systems of the world. David was predeceased by his father, Kenneth E. Sheets. He is survived by his mother, Wilma Smith, step-brother, Billy Ray Smith and his wife, Jane all of Bowling Green; step-sister, Ellen Smith Alexander and her husband, Jerry of Bella Vista, AR; several cousins and step-nieces and step-nephews also survive. Memorial Services will be on Monday, January 22, 2018 at 1:00 pm with visitation from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm Monday at Johnson-Vaughn-Phe…

Some skepticism on Belmont hockey deal: lease value seems far below Aqueduct racino; unclear (but large?) cost for LIRR service

As I wrote for The Bridge 12/20/1, The Islanders Say Bye to Brooklyn, But Where Next?, the press conference announcing a new arena at Belmont Park for the New York Islanders was "long on pomp... but short on specifics."

Notably, a lease valued at $40 million "upfront to lease up to 43 acres over 49 years... seems like a good deal on rent for the state-controlled property." Also, the Long Island Rail Road will expand service to Belmont.

That indicates public support for an arena widely described as "privately financed," but how much? We don't know yet, but some more details--or at least questions--have emerged.

An Aqueduct comparable?

Well, we don't know what the other bid was, and there aren't exactly parcels that large offering direct comparables.

But consider: Genting New York LLC in September 2010 was granted a franchise to operate a video lottery terminal under a 30 year lease on 67 acres at Aqueduct Park (as noted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo).

As…

Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website Matzav.com explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…