There are two contexts under which a man will say to himself – “Oh my God, I can’t believe this is happening.” One is the ‘good’ context, such as in that which a man realizes he’s about to win the lottery or he’s about to have sex with two hot chicks at the same time. The other is the ‘bad’ context, such as that in which a man realizes his firstborn son is about to get hit by a freight train at full speed…or he realizes he’s about to go to the movies.
We (black people) all hate movies whether we’ll admit it or not. We hate going to the movies because we know that, in almost all cases, there will be some kind of fucked up treatment of blacks (or other colored folk) in terms of their roles, portrayals, dialog and, in many cases, the complete lack of all of these.
There are all kinds of categories of fucked up film to choose from when you’re looking at it as a black person. There are some that I’m not even going to get into because it’s so trite and obvious, like the category of movies where the only significant black character is the first to die.
Stemming from this, though, we have the category that evolved from ‘Only Coon Dies’ – namely, ‘Every Coon Dies’. This category was spearheaded by the otherwise fantastic movie ‘300’, in which literally every single black person in the movie is killed in some horrendously miserable way: kicked into a bottomless pit and beheaded by a bizarre creature with fleshy blades for arms, among others. ‘300’ saw fit not only to kill us all, but to give us the most ridiculously insane deaths imaginable in a movie predicated entirely on ridiculously insane death.
Figure 1: THIS! IS! RACIST!
There’s the ‘Supporting Negro’ category that we’ve had to deal with since Hattie McDaniel won an Oscar for it in 1940 for her portrayal as Mammie in ‘Gone with the Wind’ (anybody else find it completely fucked up that her character was actually NAMED after a specific stereotype?) As time went on, black actors were forced into supporting roles even when they were better actors than the white leads they shadowed (Will Smith in ‘Bagger Vance’, Bill Duke in ‘Predator’, Djimon in ‘Gladiator’, Morgan Freeman in every fucking movie he’s ever been in).
Aside: Morgan Freeman
Morgan Freeman gets the Oscar for “Most Fucked Over Actor in Hollywood History”. He MUST have the shittiest agent on the face of the Earth, because this guy is constantly coming in second place to an increasingly talentless band of white actors starting with Matthew fucking Broderick in ‘Glory’ and ending most recently with Steve Carell in ‘Evan Almighty’.
Sub-Aside: Morgan Freeman as God
‘Bruce Almighty’ and ‘Evan Almighty’ tried to cover up Hollywood’s persistent racism by casting Morgan Freeman as God. They figured black people would be so happy with a black man portraying God that’d we’d overlook the fact that Morgan Freeman was playing second fiddle to a pair of hacks. They failed. Fuck Hollywood and fuck all of L.A. for that matter.
Figure 2: Why does God need to wear a fucking suit?
I can safely say that the only case where the lead actor was actually on or above his level was Tim Robbins in ‘The Shawshank’ Redemption, but I still claim that the movie would have been even more interesting if it focused more on the life of Freeman’s character. Enough of this shit already.
Let’s not forget, of course, those movies where minority roles are snatched away from minorities altogether and filled by whites. This used to be a category suffered almost exclusively by Native Americans in every movie from John Wayne’s ‘The Searchers’ to Daniel Day Lewis in ‘Last of the Mohicans’. Remember that ‘crying Indian’ from the Don’t Litter commercials? That fucker was Sicilian. Black people, however, are being newly banged in the ass with this category for the first time since the days of Al Jolson with Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal as a black man in ‘Tropic Thunder.’ I refuse to see this movie, because I know that as soon as I hear RDJ try to talk like a black person, I am going to go completely apeshit and stab myself with a barong.
Usurping of roles isn’t the only thing blacks and indians have in common when it comes to reasons to hate film. There’s the even more pervasive (and far more infuriating) ‘White Jesus’ category. These are the movies that pretend to be about blacks or indians, but just turn out to be a way to make white people look good because they involve a white man ‘saving’ the colored group, usually from other white people.
Figure 4: Fuck you.
With these films, Hollywood wants to dupe people into thinking that a movie about coloreds = a colored movie. Here’s a hint, you L.A. fucksticks: any movie with a white protagonist is a white movie, you aren’t fooling anyone, and you can go straight to hell. Shining examples of this are ‘Amistad’ and ‘Glory’ for black people, ‘Dances with Wolves’ and ‘Last of the Mohicans’ for indians, and ‘The Last Samurai’ for asians. If I could go back in time and nuke these movies’ sets, I swear to God I would.
So if we nig-gars are so damn unhappy with the mainstream film choices, then why not be happy with ‘black’ movies like ‘Love and Basketball’, ‘Brown Sugar’, ‘The Best Man’, ‘Dreamgirls’, ‘Diary of a Mad Black Woman’, ‘Soul Food’ or ‘Waiting to Exhale’?
Simple: all these movies are shit.
Almost all black movies that make it to the mainstream simply MUST involve at least two of the following: gangsters, sports, cheating black men, bitter black women, music, and Soul Food – the last item, which has a movie of the same name, is probably the most ridiculous of all. Do you think Tom Hanks’ white ass would ever star in a movie called ‘Casserole’?
Figure 5: Would never happen
The only really notable exception to this rule was ‘The Color Purple’ which, I believe, was a great movie if for no other reason than it didn’t involve the typical monolithic cast of modern no-talent black actors: Taye Diggs, Sanaa Lathan, Morris Chesnut, Nia Long, Omar Epps, etc. Understanding WHY black films can’t break the shackles of stereotypical subjects is the most enraging reality of all: they simply wouldn’t work.
Anybody who needs proof that racism isn’t dead and that black people and white people are nowhere near being on equal social footing only needs to think to himself why black equivalents of historical epics (a black ‘Gladiator’), existential pieces (a black ‘The Truman Show’), non-musical/non-sports biographies (a black ‘Capote’), horror flicks (a black ‘Exorcist’), adventure films (a black ‘Indiana Jones’), or sci-fi (a black ‘Star Wars’) generally aren’t commercially viable – it’s because white people ain’t interested in that shit.
Why aren’t they interested? This is why