Okay, so I made the statement on FaceBook in reference to what I was doing, “Hating ‘Precious’ and ‘The Blind Side.” Stereotypes about Black folks are making a big comeback in 2009. Post-racial society my a**.
This spurred a plethora of comments that created a really interesting dialogue. See the exchange below:
AB: meeeee tooooo !! ~ it’s ridiculous :o(
FO: I’m not really feeling ‘The Blindside’ either based on the trailer but I was planning to see ‘Precious.’ Y r u hating it?
CM: Would love to hear what you have to say about both flicks…what was stereotypical about it…are they saying Black people can’t raise their kids again? Thinking about shows like Different Strokes…
AP: Haven’t heard of The Blind Side. What’s it about?
FO: @ Chris – that was my takeaway from ‘TBS’ trailer. ‘Different Strokes’ is a good reference except this time ‘The Great Hope’ is a woman, played by Sandra Bullock. I hate how they’re exploiting that young man’s life. Kilolo break down ‘Precious’ for me?
NR: I read “Push” (the book on which “Precious” is based) this week, and I’m looking forward to the movie. Nsenga, your complaint – while I think I understand it – reminds me of the exasperation we heard when The Color Purple was released many years ago. That’s somebody’s story, and it should be told. I wish there was more balance out there, too, though. Still love ya, girl ;- )
LH: @ Nichole: ( bumping fist) Now, I’m prepared to wince but I’m curious to see the adaptation.
NWM: Folks love to see us drugging, beating, molesting and just generally being ignorant and/or criminal. I am tired of it because there just aren’t enough positive counter images. It is just very discouraging.
CO: gotta agree with dr. burton. I am waiting on a remake of Amos and Andy.
JS: Ok…now you got me feeling bad about wanting to see this cuzzo!!! lol
GP: I’ve seen Precious. Liked it a lot. I don’t think it is what you are expecting. Very well done. And I do consider myself sensitive to the issues that you are talking about.
TC: Still interested in seeing Precious because my clinical work is largely based on treating survivors of prolonged childhood abuse. Curious to see whats depicted in the movie.
NB: Okay. @Glendon, Nichole and Lena – I hear you loud and clear. It just amazes me what films do get made in Hollywood. If you want it made and Oscar worthy, there has to be some perverted Black pathology involved. Lee Daniels has made a grip off of this (Monsters Ball), although Like Glendon, he is an interesting producer/filmmaker (Shadow Boxer). I … Read Morealso find it interesting that such strong female-centered narratives get to be told by men i.e. Daniels and Perry. I would have loved to have seen Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou, Talk to Me) direct this film. So it’s problematic on multiple levels, which is what makes me want to hate the film. I do have a negotiated relationship with it because it is an extremely well-done film, although a bit heavy-handed in some instances. The Blind Side is another dominant Hollywood narrative where some white person saves some black person from his terrible life. While that happens in society, black people and others I would argue do that too. Why is the same colonizing gaze/narrative being circulated in Hollywood all of the time? I know that it is an economics piece — we love that dominant narrative in our society for obvious reasons. When will we see black folks save other black folks? There are true stories of that happening. Some of us have them ourselves. Where are they? Must I continue to see some white woman or man intervene in the life of a Black person in perpetuity? It’s been 100 years. Time for a new, consistent narrative. Antwon Fisher and The Pursuit of Happiness demonstrate that there is a market for these type of stories. Let me be clear, there is room for so many stories which is why I question the constant circulation of narratives about black people that involve our pathology and need for rescue as opposed to our resiliency with or without the presence of whites.
MB: Hey girl, check this out:
I agree with Nichole — and like both you, I would love to see some balance. Unfortunately, we have ourselves to blame for a lot of this stuff. Our community doesn’t do the best job of demanding/investing in better. We can get the story of Biggie’s life to the big screen but Ben Carson’s… Read More? Not so much. He’s a movie of the week. How about Geoffrey Canada? Bayard Rustin? Ruth Simmons? Audre Lorde? What about bring Octavia Butler’s work to the screen? (Well maybe no because if the f it up, I will be pissed?) It’s true that Hollywood is more comfortable with us in certain roles. It’s amazing how the same f-ing movie gets made over and over again (you know the kind with the white folks to the rescue and with us full of gratitude, blah blah). Oprah should have known better with “Beloved” — you cannot leave that movies as a white person and feel good about yourself lol! That said — and God Bless her — it turned my stomach to see Halle Berry accept an Oscar for that madness. She chose that and too often we are choosing to support that.
CAW: Whoo hoo!
SBW: This is a great topic Nsenga. I can see if from both angles. There have been a few more good movies though. “Coach Carter” and “Aqueelah and the Bee” just to name a couple. But I think what we see on the big screen is indicative of what our counterparts see of us. It still amazes me how little, many people actually know about African-American … Read Moreheritage and culture. I work as a teacher on the Southside of Chicago. The majority of what I see is negative. But I am a caring black woman who decided I wanted to help my children. But I do see so much negativity and neglect everyday it is truly disheartening. As several people said, this is someone’s story. Just as “The Cosby Show” was someone’s story. I do remember people criticizing Cosby too, saying that it was unrealistic. Of course we still have a long way to go. But I think much of that has to do with us coming together “as a culture”. I think of Jesse Jackson getting caught on air talking about President Obama. I think if we supported each other more would could deliver more positivity in film.
NB: More info on the film: http://www.theloop21.com/news/interview-euphoric-lee