MELVIN VAN PEEBLES ON TV

On Saturday the 12th of February the Directors Guild of America presented a tribute to the late, great Melvin Van Peebles. A distinguished roster of filmmakers participated on the panel, including Michael Mann, Reginald Hudlin, Michael Schultz, Mario Van Peebles (naturally) and others. It was an invigorating look at Van Peebles body of work (and not just film–theater, music etc.) and such an inspirational afternoon that I began a deep dive into Melvin on Youtube. And as always Youtube didn’t disappoint! Above is a compilation of a series of news commentaries (more like social commentary really) that he apparently did for local New York television in the 1980s. His mischievous sense of humor and radical (and perhaps skeptical) take on life and events are given full vent in this very creative little series of vignettes. The dopey local news anchor, one John Roland, doesn’t seem to get it and isn’t shy about saying so. Shame on him, wherever he may be. Dig Melvin–a man who famously worked in so many different mediums–working in an entirely different medium, one which he may have in fact invented: local TV news satirical commentary. And look out for a brilliant idea he has concerning hookers and the homeless (‘sex workers and the unhoused’ to put it in a slightly more modern idiom…)

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