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Diary of Mad Black Filmmakers

by Anthony Kaufman
February 27, 2006 2:10 AM
2 Comments
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While the racially white dominated movie industry might not know it, the Oscars were preceded this past weekend by the NAACP Image Awards. While I don't endorse their taste (their chosen best picture was "Crash"), I do sympathize with their struggle to break down doors to an industry that has never been exactly welcoming. While this year's Oscar nominees may be politically left, they are still overwhelmingly Caucasian.

In a special Image Award issue of Variety published Friday, I wrote about some of the ways that the studios are telling stories about the African American experience that don't rely simply on guns and gangsters. Coincidentally, this past weekend bore this out further with the success of "Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion," the follow up to his "Diary of a Mad Black Woman." "Madea" had the highest opening grosses for any movie this year. I haven't seen the film and I don't suppose I'd like it, but I can't complain when little films target so-called niche audiences, rake in big bucks, and show just how out of touch Hollywood has become.

"The disconnect between Hollywood and black people," one producer told me, "was made clear by a friend of mine who told me a story about going into a pitch to a studio executive. The executive liked it, but told him to come back after he discussed it with some other people. They have a second meeting and the executive says, 'So help me out with the story: Why is it that the slaves want to be free again?' Even if it's exaggerated, it reflects how disconnected the studios are. I really believe that."

"Unfortunately, you still have a lot of bias in America," another industry insider acknowledged, "where it's very difficult to get people to watch movies with characters that don't look like them."

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2 Comments

  • Christopher King | April 20, 2006 1:05 AMReply

    Man you're not gonna' believe this:

    http://christopher-king.blogspot.com/2006/04/did-naacp-make-google-remove.html

  • Christopher King | February 27, 2006 10:04 AMReply

    I'll betcha' everyone goes to watch my movie when it opens:

    Watch the short films online at the website, and dig into this story, which shows the NAACP actually testifying on behalf of a white man who gets convicted for a HATE CRIME against a black man who was an NAACP volunteer.

    I'm not joking.

    http://christopher-king.blogspot.com/2006/02/naacp-image-awards-are-nice-but.html

    All is not well with the NAACP, most notably in the Northeast:

    First comes the summary. Rory Holland and I think the NAACP should stop and pay attention to its core values instead of throwing gala gatherings and aligning itself with the wrong/side and helping to stifle Free Speech up here.

    This includes agreeing with a recently-suspended Police Chief Martin Dunn in Jaffrey, New Hampshire who holds secret files on me -- a former legal redress chair -- as well as the Portland, Maine Chapter providing character witness to support Robert Kalex, who was found guilty of a Hate Crime against Mr. Holland -- a former NAACP court liason -- in Portland. You can surf into an actual Supreme Court Decision affirming a Hate Crime conviction……(more at link).

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