Thursday, February 05, 2009
I'm not a wholesale Skip Gates fan, but I must admit to being as all-agog watching African American Lives 2 as I was the first series. It falls right into a net of completely fascinating topics: genealogy (which I really love), identity, race, background, record-keeping, hidden stories and history...there's even a strong element of People mag in the whole thing, given the celebrities Gates focuses on. An odd This Is Your Life quality. Although I also think choosing famous people has a point. It would be valid with any famous person, in a way, but especially within a group of people whose ancestors weren't generally found worth of record-keeping at all in this country. I love watching it...I also love that you just never know what's waiting in a family tree--in any direction. That DNA can't lie. This episode focused a bit on people who passed, such as Anatole Br*yard. It made me think about my Jewish grandfather, who in a similar way thought he was cutting something off when he converted/passed/etc., when all it did in the end was raise questions.