Blacks in movies

Jasmyne Cannick has written a story on an upcoming movie release that I find interesting.

I agree with some of Jasmyne's viewpoints and disagree with others. I agree with her that Hollywood couldn't give two shakes about the history of blackface or how Robert Downey Jr's portrayal will affect us as black women (and black people in general). But she states that "there won’t be any movies opening anytime soon that poke fun at or mimic their experience or their people." Um, Jas, have you seen Blond and Blonder??

She also says "when it comes to Hollywood, the history of Black people in this country, and our image as a people, it’s like, “how much money do you need and how fast can you get the film done?” I would be on my high horse, and ready to protest Tropic Thunder similarly, if it weren't for the fact that black people support coonery also. How many black people saw Soul Plane, The Nutty Professor, Meet the Klumps, Norbitt, etc? Those movies aren't being remade because black people boycott them, or they don't make money. Yes, theoretically, those types of movies could still be financial boons because of white audiences... but if there were no black support and a collective boycott against them, then they wouldn't fly. Hollywood doesn't care about political issues, racial sensitivity or women's rights -- it cares about box office sales. So if we want to see better, then we should do better.

I also look at Cannick's opinions as flawed, because this analysis was sparked by negative images of a 'black' man. How loud is the silence, when, black women are denigrated in film? How loud is the silence, when, roles that should be played by black women are given to women of other races? Yet it only seems to matter when black men are slighted. I take issue with the perception that the image of the black man is the image of black America. While I'm black, my issues, my image and the stereotypes surrounding my experience are uniquely different from that of the black man. We have shared experiences based on skin color, but brothas don't know what its like to be a woman or to be discriminated against because of your skin shade or hair texture (and the fact that its mostly black men perpetuating colorism, but I won't go there today). And the fact remains that black men are working to destroy their own images -- by having children out of wedlock, my committing black-on-black crime, and by selling drugs. Those are things that don't need blackface to make them look bad.

Cannick ends by saying:

If you still want to see Tropic Thunder, might I suggest a trip to your local
neighborhood swapmeet, where more often than not there’ll be a brother out front
ready to sell you a copy of Tropic Thunder for the ultra low price of $5.
I mean I figure if Robert Downey Jr. is going to get paid for a role that could
have easily been given to a Black actor, somebody Black ought to get paid, so
why not your local bootlegger. I’m just saying it’s a good way to stick it
to the industry and help a brotha out.

I can't condone protesting a movie by supporting illegal activities. How about we not go see the movie, period? Or, we tell 1-2 white coworkers why this movie stinks. Or, start a letter-writing campaign to Dreamworks execs, or or or.. but 'helping a brotha out' isn't really going to get us anywhere. Because, truth be told, ignorance is already bootlegged, and the movie studios are still getting paid. How about we start putting our money where our mouths are, and try to effect positive change in the film industry.