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My Thoughts on the Passing of Chuck Berry

19 Mar

chuck berryIn the coming days, many attempts will be made to diminish Chuck Berry’s musical legacy through faint praise. But don’t be fooled. The mason who expertly crafted the only thing besides the Constitution that America is truly, deeply proud of has just died. Sex, drugs or the music itself didn’t kill Chuck Berry. He passed away at a ripe old age that those whose lives and careers are fashioned after his music rarely get to see. Chuck Berry’s innovative guitar, songwriting, vocals and dance have influenced everyone who witnessed his work. So much so, that he would arrive into the places he played at as a lone star, and his band was universal: it was the local musicians in every city or town he played in, whom he required nothing of except that they know his music. In turn, the one thing that could make rock musicians into legends was to be the closest thing possible to Chuck Berry, minus the African ancestry. His existence was so fundamental to the making of rock ‘n’ roll that submerging his legacy was fundamental to its myth. The problem was that Chuck Berry just wouldn’t die. Through each attempt of this culture define what rock ‘n’ roll is and who created it, Chuck Berry was still around to negate the lie. They even had to invent a future with a Marty McFly in it to travel back in time and teach Chuck’s fictitious cousin Marvin the “new sound he was looking for.” But Chuck Berry can never truly be diminished nor can he really die, because his music lives. And every time they try to crown a king of that music, the Pharaoh’s legacy becomes unearthed. xo

by Olufunmilayo Gittens

March 19, 2017


Olu Gittens interviews filmmaker Sharon La Cruise for NBC’s

29 May

Sharon La Cruise, filmmaker of ‘Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock’

I had the pleasure of interviewing documetary filmmaker/journalist Sharon La Cruise about her film Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock for video-centric news portal A venture of NBC News and the production team behind documentary film Meeting David Wilson, features breaking news, politics, health, business, and entertainment, which concern African-Americans.

It was great to find out about La Cruise’s seven-year journey to making this powerful, intimate portrait of Civil Rights pioneer Bates.

Check it out!


Byline + mention in Atlanta Post article on black film and TV producers working online

28 Jul

Instead of waiting for Hollywood’s permission — and dollars — black film and TV producers are giving themselves the green light to produce their own online series.

Black Filmmakers & TV Producers Taking Creative Control Through the WebThe Atlanta Post* article “Black Filmmakers and Producers Use the Web to Take Control,” penned by yours truly, takes an eye-opening look at African-American web series and digital content producers.

Al Thompson; Korey Coleman; Issa Rae; Pete Chatmon and Hannelore Williams; Brown Paper Dolls and Idris Elba, and many more are highlighted, along with the Black Women’s Entertainment Network online channel and media studies expert Aymar Jean Christian. There’s also a mention of me, writer/director Olu Gittens and Oh Gee Productions’ web series CHOICES.  Black digital producers are making moves on the web.

Great piece, if I do say so myself!


*The Atlanta Post is now Madame Noire, a division of Moguldom Media

Olu Gittens writes Atlanta Post article on black television writers

18 Jun

Ever since the days of Flip, Fred and Bill, African-Americans have been working hard behind the scenes to give us the television shows we love.

I got the chance to explore and share the topic of black television writers and writer-producers in an article for the Atlanta Post*. Writing “African-American Television Writers: Breaking Barriers & Creating History” was a great opportunity for me, as it allowed me to share information about people I admire.

The small screen, like the big one, is a place we go, not just for entertainment, but to connect with the images and ideas that matter to us.

Find out more about blacks making huge moves in TV today, with a bit of info about the ground breakers, too.



*The Atlanta Post is now Madame Noire, a division of Moguldom Media

Coco and Creme features Olu Gittens’ tanning salon piece

6 Jun

dare to be dark - coco and creme My personal essay Dare to be Dark: My Trip to a Tanning Salon has been published in the exciting new urban beauty and fashion online magazine Coco and Creme.

I welcome readers to check out the article and comment at Coco and Creme.