Saturday, 31 January 2015


Well, the credits start rolling, John Legend and Common can both be heard singing Glory and nobody in the room is moving. Perhaps they're feeling like me, caught up.

My feelings, well it's  taken a moment to gather them and I'm still processing them.
Let me start at the opening scene where we see Dr King (British actor David Oyelowo) and his wife Coretta (played by British actress Carmen Ejogo) in Oslo, Norway, getting dressed to go and receive the Nobel Peace Prize. This is juxtaposed with a scene where 4 black teenage girls are walking down the stairs into church, chatting about hairstyles when they are suddenly blown up and killed as a bomb explodes. The sound is terrifying and so unexpected that I found myself looking around me.

In the next scene we see a smartly dressed middle-aged black woman, Annie Lee Cooper, (played by Oprah Winfrey) waiting to hand in her application for her right to vote.  While Annie sits there, waiting, she just gives off an air of hopeless despair. As I sat watching I could literally feel her dejection before she even approaches the counter. Yet she still somehow manages to come across as determined, despite it all.

Her application is stamped DENIED.

My absorption into the film is now  complete.

For me, Selma was so much more than a movie. It was an experience.  It was an education. A thought provoking insight into how to persevere and to keep going and keep believing when everything really is against you.  Such was the case for Dr Martin Luther King Jr and such was the case for the people of Selma.

The entire movie is essentially about obtaining the right to vote unencumbered for black people. The bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church was one of the catalysts for the Selma march.

The film shows  the tough unbending negotiations, the political posturings and community uprising throughout the struggle. We see the dangers, the fears and the anger of an entire race oppressed; yet who decide non-violence is the  best way to achieve their rights.

As I watched a night march, a non-violent march, and see the brutality of the police officers who chase them down and beat mercilessly both young and old, men and women, I had to ask why?
All they were doing was marching. The reason? Demanding their constitutional right to vote.

We see a President Lyndon B Johnson (played by  English actor Tom Wilkinson OBE) who seems more concerned with his own legacy than anything else and was often seen trying to get Dr King to place the matter of equal voting rights on the back burner. At the end of the film he finally gives in and eventually signs the Bill into Law.

I especially liked that Dr King is shown  not just as a powerful and influential leader with a clear sense of his own destiny but also a human being. A man conflicted at times.  The film makes references to extra marital relationships but doesn't major on this.  I feel this is a good approach if the story you are seeking to tell is that of Selma.  For his accomplishments were in no way lessened by any personal weaknesses . There were times when he seemed unsure or uncertain of the next step or whether his actions would make a difference as the enormity of the task seemed to overwhelm him.

I liked the fact that the film shows him as human, one of us, and didn't try to make him an action hero with great oratory. He was simply a man on a mission with people who believed in him and who supported the cause; even to the point of giving their lives.

I saw David Oyelowo as a man of equal conviction; he says God told him he would play the role of Dr King. He absolutely embodied the spirit of Dr King throughout the film and never once simply appeared to be impersonating him. In those closing scenes you hear him speak, as though divinely inspired, the words  "Soon; we'll get there soon" you really do believe him, just like they  must have believed Martin Luther King Jr at the time.

When I got the chance to speak with David later , I asked him if 'soon' was here or if it was yet to come.  David told me that we are still in the process of 'soon'. 

'Soon' is already here as we have an African American President. And 'Soon' is still to come as we look at Ferguson.

All the actors in this movie played their parts with depth and passion and I got a real sense that to them this was more than a film and that they felt part of something much greater. Oprah Winfrey really impressed as Annie Lee Cooper - her fame did not impede her portrayal and she brings out the humiliation suffered by so many ordinary black people at that time.

The song especially written for the movie, "Glory" by John Legend and Common  (Common played John Bevel in the movie), captures the entire message of the story, carrying an essence and spirit  full of hope and faith for a triumphant future. It has been nominated for Best Song by the Academy Awards as has the film for Best Picture.

The film director Ava DuVernay has set forth a masterful piece of work here  and although she did not receive an Oscar nod which would have made her the first African American female director to do so; she can be truly proud with what she has accomplished in telling the story of SELMA to a new generation.

Masterful for many reasons but, for me, for no less reason that I did not leave the screening angry and upset at the treatment of black people by white people. Instead, I was empowered. Instead, I was reminded of the price that had been paid for freedom for people, like me, of colour. I saw clearly and understood entirely the power of knowing your own purpose and destiny and being ready to do all required to fulfill it, regardless of danger,  toils or snares. I saw many reasons to take pride. I also saw the power of faith.

All in all I believe Selma is an excellent film, everyone who took part can be proud. It's a film for all the family and does so much more than simply entertain.

Thanks to Kush Films and Marlon Palmer for the invitation to view. Truly appreciate all the fine work your company does in the film industry.

SELMA is on general release in the UK from 6 February.

Patricia Benjamin
Real Love Show

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Toxic Love Affairs

It's not unusual for people to be in relationships that are actually toxic.
Toxic meaning that the relationship is breaking them down, soul and spirit.
Sometimes the partner is absolutely no good for them, perhaps they are controlling,  they tell them what's good for them, what they can and can't do and when, they seem to have no power to make their own choices.
Sometimes the relationship is a Co - dependent one and they both enable each other in negative behaviour, for example drug abuse or other destructive behaviour.
Either way toxic relationships need to come to an end or be renegotiated to move forward.
I watched the Whitney Houston Lifetime movie at the weekend and it was clear there was love for each other but this couple were not good for each other.
Finally, after many years the break up comes but if you are in a toxic or even addictive relationship please don't wait that long.
First step is to admit you are in a toxic affair and own your part in it.
Then definitely bring in a third party to help you negotiate your new relationship boundaries.
Then begin to work on those areas in your life that need attention.  If possible a life coach, Relationship Coach or a counsellor will be most useful.
You will find that your confidence and self-esteem may need some work also. Again, a life coach can help you here too.
You may find you have to end the relationship for your own well being particularly if your partner refuses to see the need for change.
Take a listen to this week's Real Love Show and listen to myself and Ryeal RelationshipCoach Simms break down toxic love.
If you would like help in the form of coaching please feel free to contact myself at or indeed Ryeal via myself and I will pass this on to him 
Hear the show here

Patricia Benjamin
Life Coach and Relationship Coach
BEFFTA Best Radio Personality
Sound Women 200 List
Christian Women in Media International Leader
Top 100 Most Influential Black People in Digital / Social Media

Why Rape Victims Keep Silent!

Why Rape Victims Keep Silent!

Counsellor Janet McNish and Sex Therapist Alison Mitchell explain why many keep quiet about being raped and do not tell a soul ever.  We also look at the effects on not only the victim but their husbands and partners.

Listen in

If you have been affected by anything discussed on this show you may contact or or email myself at

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

The Break Up Season.....speaking with Natalie Lue

Hi guys,

How were the holidays for you? With it being the break up season, some of you may have experienced a break up in your relationship, or some kind of family drama, or turmoil. Why is it that at a time when there's meant to be peace on earth and plenty of goodwill to all men, it often turns out to be something very different!

There is a lot of expectation for the day, often family members have not crossed paths very much throughout the year and on this day expect everything to run smooth, sometimes there are blended family issues with deciding where children will spend the day, not an easy one. Sometimes there are difficult in-laws to contend with.

A friend told of visiting her mother in law on Christmas day with her husband and their 2 small children, only to be left completely by herself after dinner, as his mother whisked him away upstairs to conduct a private conversation for several hours.  Not really in the spirit of things really is it.......

One of my clients told me of her father, who's quite fond of a drop of whisky, and he would become very inebriated and then spoil the evening for everyone else. Happy Christmas not.....

This week on the Real Love Show  we spoke about those who had experienced being dumped. Sometimes it came out of the blue and in others it was expected.  I recall one of my friends decided, while Christmas was only weeks away, that she would have to give her boyfriend the old heave-ho but wanted to wait until Christmas was over as he had promised her a computer as a present! A bit naughty.....

Apparently, when she gave him the news, he said he had felt it coming. Very often when we say it was out of the blue, we have willfully ignored the signs.

A guest on the show shared a somewhat amusing story of The Green Tie.  Apparently he and his girlfriend often exchanged several gifts but on this day, there was just the one. A Green Tie. Kipper style. Plus, she actually worked in a tie shop. So she did not work very hard to choose that present. So the breakup that came mere days later was expected. He laughs now, but notes that she did much better in the gift exchange that year as he had bought generously.  Hear the Real Love Show here

My special guest was Relationship Adviser and blogger, Natalie Lue, who gave plenty of advice on moving on after breakups. One of the most important ones was not to try to convince your ex of their big mistake. Begging is not a good look. You will lose their respect.  Don't keep checking up on them and what they're up do via  their via social media. Don't try to be "just friends". I mean, how do you go from being in an intimate relationship with someone to a platonic friendship, it just doesn't work like that. Natalie calls it the No Contact Rule.

In order to get on with your life, its important to give yourself space and time.  Do not hold with the theory that the best way to get over an old love is to to get under a new one. BIG MISTAKE. You are not built that way. You need to re-discover yourself afresh. Don't be the kind of person who only feels validated if you are in relationship. Let your body physically get over your ex.  Don't get intimate with them, this will not help them to get back together with you. This will not help with keeping your respect and integrity.

Take time for you at this time.  Being single is much better than being with someone who doesn't really want to be with you. You will love again.

Find the Real Love Show on or Stitcher Radio for latest shows.

Ask Patricia