By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act February 23, 2012 at 10:56AM
Another day, another article printed in a prominent newspaper/magazine analyzing/critiquing Hollywood's perceived "resistance" to black cinema; another day with my email inbox full of messages from readers alerting me to the aforementioned article, asking for my reactions to it.
Like I said... bah-humbug!
Enough with this folks! I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.
As I've said a billion times - I've long stopped looking to Hollywood to provide the variety and volume of cinematic representations of our (black/African) experiences on screen. The arguments haven't changed; the solutions are still very much the same. But at some point, the words have to be put into action.
Enough with the talking about what's wrong with Hollywood; as I've pointed out on numerous occasions, these conversations have been had repeatedly over the years, since Birth Of A Nation was released, if not before.
Enough with the analyses and the dissertations on the matter. Tell me something I don't already know, then tell me how you're going to make a difference, and then finally shock me by actually acting on your words.
Naturally, this new piece penned by Gavin Polone (a Hollywood producer) for New York Magazine's Vulture, will spread across the web like a disease, and will lead to the same old discussions and debates that we've practically exhausted at this point; and in about a week or so, it'll all be forgotten; no one would care anymore; nothing will be done... until the next time another one of these opeds is written - usually it has to appear in a prominent newspaper/magazine/website for it to have any kind of reach and thus impact. We've been chewing on these matters on S&A for the last 3 years, since the site launched, which long-time readers will know; the length of the comments sections of some of these posts often run into the 100s of individual thoughts and reactions. So none of this should be new (or news) to any of you.
Polone's piece is titled The False Circular Logic Behind Hollywood’s Resistance to Black Entertainment; it's certainly well-written; he makes many solid points; and he even ends with solutions. But as I always ask after I read similar opinion pieces: so, now what? We've heard much of this before, so what happens now?
What tickled me most about the entire piece was his final solution to Hollywood's black-aversion *problem* in his last paragraph, which reads:
The best possible scenario would be if a new film and television studio were created that focused on African-American consumers. It would surely succeed, given how hungry and wide open the market is...
Gee, where have we heard that one before? I've been singing that same song for the last 7 years, since I penned an op-ed for NPR's now defunct News & Notes in 2005, in which I called for a black-owned and operated film studio - SPECIFICALLY one that rivals the 6 or 7 major studios (in terms of financial strength, primarily) dominating cinema across the world right now.
We're already on our way on the distribution side of things, thanks to AFFRM; so the question is, how do we replicate the collective, communal structure of AFFRM on the financing/production side? Imagine an AFFRM-like entity that churned out films by and about people of African descent - films that would then be turned over to AFFRM to distribute in theaters across the country? It certainly won't be able to compete with the mega studios and their billion-dollar+ annual output; but it doesn't have to.
Individualism reigns supreme; and that's unfortunate because, for us to see the kind of change we are constantly crying for, at some point, profit will have to take a back seat to progress; and we're most certainly at that point.
I'm just exhausted from talking about *the problems;* I'm much more interested in acting on solutions. So much for By Any Means Necessary. Somehow I don't think the Malcolm X we celebrate each year would be content with just penning op-eds about this *problem,* or lamenting it.
But if you'd like, feel free to read Gavin Polone's piece HERE. Just don't expect me to get all excited about it.
Also, you can now stop emailing me about it.