FLY WITH BATS: See Red Tails because….
When I first saw the trailer for the movie Red Tails, a film about the legendary Tuskegee airmen which opened this weekend, the first thing that came to mind was “Wow, all black people in a Hollywood movie that isn’t Tyler Perry!?”
I’m more than sure I’m not alone in the shock to the Willie Lynch system these flashing images provided. A shock which shouldn’t even exist seeing as how so many in the media love touting the beautiful, denial flavored, cow manure filled mantra that “racism is dead because we have a black president.”
MLK’s dream has to be the most famous dream in the world. I’m more than sure that if anyone would’ve ever asked MLK if a black president meant his dream of racial equality in America had finally come true, he would’ve said every version of “yes” a thesaurus (
rex) could squeeze out..but honestly, dreams and realities rarely, if ever, #occupy the same space in the exact form that they were intended. If you dream it, it never really comes true exactly how your imagination conjured it. It’s like Man’s obsession with wanting to fly like the birds, he dreamed of Superman and instead got the airplane. Nothing’s wrong with the airplane it gave man flight, but was it the dream? It couldn’t be, our nature kryptonited that possibility from the beginning, so where Clark Kent laughs, Martin King cries and we’re all left in the middle and dying to be on the same page.
Racism is in our nature, because FEAR is in our nature. The old cliche’d truth of a statement that “we fear what we don’t understand” is, if not the main root, it’s one of the key roots (or routes) to why the hate may never end, or to keep the metaphor of roots in tact, why it may never stop growing. Straight up, the sects that we’re born into due to the differences in our pigments (and class due to unbalanced social structures and the like) divide us to the point that as a whole we hardly ever achieve natural understanding of one another, which breeds fear (which spurns hate).
Whatever your “race” you were probably predominately raised around the same color of folks. Naturally you learn and become comfortable with those same kind of people that you see, talk to, learn from, play with, fight with, f*ck and love on a daily basis making your bias towards those kind of people grow as well as your ignorance and fear for anyone not of your like. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the side of the fence that feels that their kind is superior or the side taught that your people are the inferior, the same will hold true every time that without the comfort of understanding as a whole, we’ll never get anywhere in this fight…or dream.
There will always be “the rich” and “the poor” no matter what, but racism is our society’s tumor and it won’t be excavated until words like “minority” and “race” are eliminated and everyone’s mentally (and possibly physically) interracial/mixed race…It may sound nuts, but does it make it any less true?
As the infamous Mr. Obvious can easily point out, our current generation is lightyears ahead of where society was this time last century, mostly due to ‘equality on paper’ sprouting more opportunities to succeed for people of color which causes more multi-race neighborhoods and schools than ever. From politics to business, civil rights to Hip-Hop we’ve made strides, hell, even hearing a white boy call another white boy a “nigger” is actually America being on the right track…but to say we’re intelligent enough to create sh!t like the I-Phone, nuclear weapons, fro-yo and Inception this train to equality should still have gone much further and faster than where it’s currently stalled. Instead of moving forward, at times it feels like we’re just making longer strides in the same circle.
All of this
long a$$ wind brings me back to the movie RED TAILS (again, which opened THIS weekend). If racial equality really existed, then seeing a trailer for a movie which featured all black folks would not only be ho-hum instead of shocking, but would probably spawn statements like “Wow, all black people in a movie? I haven’t seen a movie with people of all the same color in decades!”
I’d rather it be taboo and unusual to have an all-black cast, all-white cast, all-asian cast, all any one thing cast rather than all of us pro-black (a racist title which should really be pro-equality) folk having to gather together and guilt trip the apathetic blacks folks into going to see this movie with the “colored people” in it because if they don’t, we may never get another movie with “colored people” in it again that doesn’t involve “the hood”, coonery, NiggerComedy or Tyler Perry….and no, I did not just list four synonyms.
For the record, I have no qualms or hate towards Tyler Perry. He’s an astute business man that grinded from the bottom up (FROM NOLA) and only a bitch couldn’t respect that. No, I don’t mean a woman…I literally mean a bitch.
My problem, to liken it to the problem I have with the radio, is that while Tyler Perry may be the Lil Wayne of the black film industry…I don’t need to hear Lil Wayne on my radio 24/7, I’m not in the mood for Lil Wayne 24/7 and Lil Wayne is not the ultimate representation and personification of a rapper or the black man’s story. When Tyler Perry supporters said Spike Lee was hating on him, they missed the point and I think Spike Lee did a bit too.
The TP’ers missed the fact that all Spike Lee was asking for was variety in the marketplace, he wanted TP to use all of his millions to produce more than the same old sh!t, because Lee understood (from experience) that what the media portrays is often what’s perceived as the ultimate truth and if all they see is black people in the exact same light doing the exact same things having the same exact experiences, saying and reacting to the same exact
nonsense stuff then we are doing a disservice to ourselves and our rich and multi-layered community. And it’s not even about looking good for “the man” or looking good for “white folk”….it’s about providing the best image for the kids, to put it plainly. Future = everything.
Spike Lee missed the fact that his fight can’t be with Tyler Perry. Growing up in New Orleans of course I was a Lil Wayne fan, but at a point I became one of those stuck up Hip-Hop lovers that only wanted to listen to hip hop if it had a message, or metaphors, or a story, or if the rapper was meeting a certain quota that I had envisioned in my brain that all rappers should meet. Any rapper that didn’t reach this quota, like an idiot I wouldn’t listen to them. Like a fool I was discriminating on artists for no real reason and hypocritically I’d be the main one drunk in the club getting euphorically amped (and groping some a$$) to their music, or laid back with my girl sharing a moment as we recited the catchy sh!t in unison, or just going through a rough day and needing to release some steam and not wanting to have to think at all while I’m releasing it. Music is music, it all has a place (especially if it sells). Sometimes I just need to hear something ig’nant. Who is the same ALL the time? I became a Lil Wayne fan again when I stopped looking for him to be anyone else but Lil Wayne. You can’t put in Lil Wayne’s album and expect to hear Lupe Fiasco, he is Lil Wayne…
.Spike Lee is asking something out of Tyler Perry that Perry either isn’t capable of or hasn’t grown to be capable of. Right now, Tyler Perry is Tyler Perry and instead of bullying him, we should be searching for and helping to establish other directors, actors, producers, etc of color who share the same views that Spike Lee wishes for Perry to put on screen….hell, it doesn’t have to be Spike Lee’s views, we just need more voices of color, so more styles can shine. Wayne can’t represent us alone. Spike can’t represent us alone. Perry can’t do it alone, and now even the legendary George Lucas can’t do it alone…though they try, they need your help…..and when I say they…well, today I mean George Lucas and when I say George Lucas, I’m really referring to the first and only movie Mr.DaddyStarWarBucks ever made with a predominately black cast (hey, you’ve got to start somewhere)…RED TAILS (which opened this weekend).
“In interviews with Jon Stewart and elsewhere, he’s already complained about how he has had very little studio support in getting the film made (he bankrolled it himself and reportedly is even paying for the marketing and prints). But now, he also says he’s pretty much retiring from making movies like this.
Anytime anyone of George Lucas’ stature, and “race” (to put it bluntly), has to come out of pocket to get a film financed because it doesn’t have any notable white actors in it, there’s an undeniable glitch in the matrix of our media’s “Black president nulls race card” trope. Yes, it’s easy to pin the fact that Lucas had to come 93 million dollars out of pocket to make the movie because no production company would touch it on race, but the most important aspect that we should fixate on is the color that trumps black, white, yellow and brown…..and that’s GREEN.
A slave could’ve bought his way out of slavery if he had enough money….sure he probably would’ve been still murdered soon after, but that’s not the point. Back then our hands were tied, the excuse now is what? Where we spend our money is much like voting…people don’t make products that don’t sell, lets invest in a product that SHOULD #blackfilms…If RED TAILS (which opened this weekend) starred Leonardo Di’Caprio and not the OSCAR AWARD WINNIG Cuba Gooding Jr. (Leo has never won the big one, suprisingly due to politics) and if it had Brad Pitt in it instead of Terrance Howard (both nominated for Oscars in the past) then boatloads of cash would’ve been dropped into it and it’d probably be the most talked about movie of the year. Once again, NOT because Cuba and Terrance are black, it’s because Brad Pitt and Leonardo PULL IN BOX OFFICE CASH….race may have some underlying reason to do with it, but it’s only because the “majority” put their money behind their favorites, and the minorities only do it when Madea’s mugging for the camera. Hollywood only speaks dollar signs and if we want more movies with “colored” faces in them, or at least more of an even playing field then we have to put our $ where their mouths are…point, blank “.” ….ask Will Smith if I’m lying.
“While appearing on The Daily Show, [George Lucas] said he was shocked not only at the fact Hollywood wasn’t willing to get behind the film but also by the reason he was given: they didn’t “know” how to market a film with an all-black cast.The audience for Black films is almost exclusively Black. That’s pretty much a principle of filmmaking. Andrew Weaver, assistant professor of telecommunications at Indiana University at Bloomington, looked at how the racial makeup of films affected filmgoers. He found, among other things, that the “intended audience” for the film was far less likely to see the film when 70 percent of the cast was black. But Professor Weaver believes that this perception could be changed, “if more mainstream movies cast minorities. If multiracial casts became the norm and movies were marketed to all demographics, the stigma could fade away…” —-Mediaite.Com
Will Smith, Denzel Washington and only a handful of others (Halle Berry, Jamie Foxx, the list ain’t long) are the only money making blacks that we see on a regular basis and have been seeing their faces for the past two decades. Whose the new crop of stars?
“ol boy that played Tupac in the Biggie movie”
I won’t even lie, some critics hate the movie…while others like it, you’ll have to come with your own assessments and opinions of how you feel about it, but that’s with any movie, bottom line is it needs support. Promotion hasn’t been the best because it hasn’t had much backing, so people are shaky on what the opening weekend box office numbers are going to be. This opening weekend is when Hollywood really pays the most attention, but even if you can’t make it this weekend, lets try to give the movie some legs. Batman Begins was a movie that came out to pretty ok opening box office numbers, but over the course that it was in theaters it sustained enough good numbers that it spawned The Dark Knight Rises, one of the top 5 selling movies of alll time. The man put $93 million into his project, I doubt Tyler Perry ever put that much into anything he’s done yet, lets give him a return on his investment….his investment is in US (see: ‘black people’ if you aren’t black) after all. Hell, we need to have EVERYONE of every color putting the money in to this project if to take a step towards beating the stigma that black actors equal less money…that black equals less…THAT would show more than anything a forward stride in mentality, because the media dictates what “IS.” If art imitates life, what does our art say about us?
Shouts out to actor/director Bill Duke for his documentary ‘DARK GIRLS‘ shedding MUCH NEEDED light on the struggle of the dark skinned woman in America and colorism in our own communities.. Here’s a few excerpts from this great interview found on TheGrio.Com
“Well, it took some two and a half years to do the research. We discovered that the skin bleaching creams are a 40 billion dollar business. Imagine that. It’s people trying to be something that they are not. It’s an issue of self-esteem and the ironic thing for me is that as black women are putting in hair extensions and weaves, and bleaching their skin and all these things to look whiter, the white women are plumping up their lips, risking skin cancer in tanning salons, putting in butt lifts, and crimping up their hair to look more ethnic. Don’t you find that highly ironic?
Your next documentary, Yellow Brick Road, will focus on the challenges that lighter-skinned women face. Give us a taste of what we should expect.
As we do the historical research, the women who are, as they say, high yellow women who are supposed to be privileged and closer to white, are the result of “massa” raping their mammas…
Well, originally yes… for sure.
Yeah, so that whole thing of privilege, oh, they were in the house, but “massa” was raping their mammas in the house, and keeping them close, of course! But as we get into this, they had as many horror stories as dark-skinned women. I mean, being chased through the school yard because it’s assumed that they think that they are, the word is hoity toity, they think they’re better. Some of them had their hair pulled, they’ve been beaten in bathrooms, and had their teeth knocked out because the assumption is, “You think you’re better than us? We’ll show you!” Our ignorance limitless.
It sounds like there is no winning. You can’t be too dark, or too light! But we are doing this to ourselves. The woman who wouldn’t sit in the passenger seat? No one was really stopping her from sitting there, she was stopping herself, and that comes from low self-esteem. That comes from parents not giving their children a sense of pride — it needs to start at home, by telling your kids that they are beautiful.
Every day. Because they are getting the opposite message from everyplace else and we have to tell them every day that they are beautiful.
I also think that media commits the sin of omission and co-mission. Co-mission is when I actually say “you’re a fool,” you know, you’ve got your pants below your butt crack, and you’re disrespecting our women.
Or, I don’t know if you saw it recently, but the situation with the new Michael Jordan shoe, where we trampled each other for a $180 pair of sneakers. One of the kids came out and licked the shoe. Did you see that? He licked the shoe, tasted it, and said “I’ve arrived!” Ok, that’s the sin of co-mission. If you look at YouTube, there’s a 29-year-old black man with 21 children from 11 different women. That’s on YouTube, going around the world. What kind of message is that?
The sin of omission is whenever there is anything holistic, heroic, or positive, we’re simply not there. So a child who is watching that looks at TV, at films, or at magazine, and if there is something beautiful and she’s not there, then her assumption is that she is not involved in anything that is beautiful, or confirming in anyway, or positive
See RED TAILS! Find ‘DARK GIRLS’. Slum Dog Millionaire made money and won awards without one white actor in it, we can do it too. Striving for balance, to quote another one of my GumboMonster.com bloggers, call it a “Call To Arms”
Just my $0.02 to life’s $0.98….
Posted on January 21, 2012, in FLY WITH BATS and tagged Bill Duke, black cinema, black films, Cuba Gooding Jr., Dark Girls, Denzel Washington, George Lucas, grio.com, Red Tails, Slumdog Millonaire, Spike Lee, terrance howard, Tuskegee Airmen, tyler perry, will smith, Yellow Brick Road. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.