Tribute: Stanley Tookie Williams (1953-2005) Barbara Becnel

Tribute: Stanley Tookie Williams (1953-2005) Barbara Becnel
Describing this tribute as a documentary is not entirely accurate, given that the film is essentially a stationary shot of various eulogies at Tookie's funeral cut with a re-enactment of his botched execution. As such, Tribute is essentially a series of emotionally driven rants with little fact and much conjecture, leaving anyone not already attached to Tookie's plight out in the cold waiting desperately for something resembling an intelligent argument. Instead, we get a sermon from Louis Farrakhan that, in a different context, would be considered ignorant and offensive. While the implication that dominant infrastructures historically led by white men fear the organization of a black movement (or really any group that is not straight and white) may have some clout, the notion that the Cripps, a criminally driven gang, were unjustly victimized is puerile and hypocritical, not to mention the many strained connections to Jesus that are made. While there are many claims of Tookie's innocence in the robbery-related murders back in 1981, there are no factual arguments made, aside from more blind claims that people lied under oath. Had there been some proof of these lies, or even reasonable speculation, these diatribes may have come across as more than white noise, especially those from Reverend Jesse Jackson, which are so broad and lacking in fact that they are almost laughable. Some effort on director Barbara Becnel's part to introduce some evidence into the film may have helped. Thankfully, there are others who speak of the man himself and his important role in bringing peace to gang members and writing influential books, which is far more tactful and appropriate given that it is a funeral. All of this, however, may be hearsay, as the real question might have to do with judicial execution itself and its validity once someone has been in prison for 25 years. Included with the DVD is Stanley's historic message to gang members of peace, a brief read in with Jamie Foxx and Snoop Dogg, a PSA for gangs and the "Criminal Mind" music video with Maestro, Infinite and Gowan, which is kind of amusing. (Morningstar)