Tarantino's Candy (Slavery In The White Male Imagination)

Features
by Tanya Steele
December 27, 2012 12:50 PM
196 Comments
  • |

(NO SPOILERS)

Yesterday, I took time out to see 'Lincoln' and 'Django Unchained', back to back. Yes, in that order. I needed to get a glimpse of what slavery was like in the imagination of white men.

As a black filmmaker, I find that I wrestle with thoughts of 'responsibility'; 'who will see it', 'what impact will it have on the discourse in America', 'what images will I be projecting to our youth/to the world'. I've often noted, even in film school, white filmmakers don't have that burden. They were free to write, to be, to create without thinking about this stuff. I'm certain they thought about other things but, the burden of race was not in their baggage. There is such a thing as privileged Art, privileged filmmaking. We see it in the current slate of insipid films coming out of Hollywood. Films that are not responsible or accountable to anyone or anything.

There is so much response to 'Django' that I needed to see it. Spike Lee's words were instructive. I respect Spike. He paid his dues. He is someone who pays attention to representation. Having had him as a Professor, I know that he is someone who gives an ear and a hand to black filmmakers, actors, even people behind the camera. Spike does not need to justify his commitment to black america AT ALL. So, I was disturbed by the awful things said about Spike. For many blacks in and out of the business, Spike Lee champions us, he is a hero. But, hey, we don't really worship our heroes while they are alive. I saw this quote on Facebook, it was posted by someone that I, usually, find interesting. After he saw 'Django', he wrote, "Spike lost." I will return to this later.

I experienced mixed emotions while watching 'Lincoln'. Why is he focusing on this part of slavery? (Understanding, he did make 'Amistad'.) Why does he feel the need to focus on 'Lincoln' or that moment in history? Why isn't he showing what these white men were fighting over - the experience of the slave? But, I went with it, struggling every step of the way. Ultimately, I relaxed and trusted the storyteller. Yes, people are upset that there was no Frederick Douglass. The slaves appeared well dressed and weren't showing the scars of slavery. I did find that problematic. He chose to focus on the passage of the Amendment and the end of the Civil War.

As an aside, Colman Domingo and Gloria Reuben were refreshing. They were layered, not one dimensional, not noble. I was excited by this as I do believe that black actors are bringing choices, a complexity when portraying historical figures, a fierceness that can't be directed out of them. I'd like to think that Denzel's performance in 'Glory' has a lot to do with this.

I appreciated the fact that I had to listen during 'Lincoln'. Something we are short of in these times. I had to listen, follow, patiently, allow the story to breathe. And, it did. James Spader was a hoot. What a great character. He was akin to Falstaff. And, Tommy Lee Jones brought it. Casting that film must have been a dream. That moment in history was flawed, not noble, complicated, ugly, not how we view history. All of the characters were not one thing, did not think one way. There was back dealing, self-importance and arrogance. Lincoln, who seemed to only utter words that were dripping with poetic brilliance (he must have been annoying), was even flawed. This film was not about the noble white man. It is about white men who were dragged, kicking and screaming, into the future.

So, ultimately, I dug it. There was something earnest about the frailty of humanity. How people become impotent, intellectually and emotionally crippled in the face of a pure evil like slavery. Similar to the gun debate after the Newtown shootings. We create evil, we don't want it, yet, we are wed to it- rendered powerless by it.

So, what is slavery in the white male imagination? If you were born and raised in America, slavery will have crossed your path. I imagine, if I were white, had black friends and was an Artist, I would have to ponder slavery. And, I believe that Spielberg and Tarantino did or do. Spielberg tried to create an earnest rendering of slavery with 'Amistad'. However, like Tarantino, his imagination stops at a certain point. I would imagine that the horrors of slavery become too complicated after a certain point. One can't go around feeling guilty and apologizing all of the time. So, what happens? What do white people do with slavery?

Quentin Tarantino… I am not one to run to a Tarantino film. Violence in film can be too much for me. After 'Pulp Fiction', where audience members were laughing at gratuitous violence, I couldn't deal. So, I avoid Tarantino films if I think violence is the main staple. I did see 'Inglorious Bastards' and I liked that. I felt he gave respect to the survivors of the Holocaust. Yes, there was humor and it was playful, but, he respected the pain of the experience.

The black experience does not belong to black people. We wish it did but it doesn't. And, the highest bidder gets to do with it as they see fit. Our stars are available to the highest bidder. The one who will deliver the audience, who will maximize their cred, who has a proven track record of getting people in seats. Tarantino is a high bidder. He gets butts in seats. He is the filmmaker for our time. He gives us that sweet, sugar, violent laced fantasy that masculinity seems to crave. And, we women get the drippings, a taste, we go along for the ride because the candy looks and sounds so sweet.

Samuel Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio were stunning. Their performances were phenomenal. And, there were moments in the film that may have felt 'new' to those who haven't studied slavery. Things that we have not seen before on the big screen. There were moments, in the film, that were captivating. And, they were presented in interesting and playful packaging. Situating in the brutality of slavery would not make for a good film. I understand the need to divert, to fantasize, to create a new mythology around it, to distract us from the insanity that resides in this nation's past.

But, if it was as easy to escape slavery, as Django did, we would be somewhere else at this point in history. We would not have the extreme black on black violence in Chicago. We would not have extreme unemployment amongst black men. We would not have the extreme school drop-out rates, high illiteracy rates, high domestic violence numbers, etc. You get it. If it was easy to get out of it, we would have. We are a creative people. We used our imaginations to escape the physical horror that was slavery. That's why we could create something as complex and deep as Jazz, the blues, Jimi Hendrix. How advanced we were with music gives us some insight into how we disappeared into the imagination because we couldn't escape the physical.

At some point in a film, especially films that are socially relevant, you get a strong sense of the filmmaker's voice. There was a moment in 'Django' (that I will not reveal), where I got the sense that Tarantino believed if we weren't so submissive that we wouldn't be here. Django and his woman were the exception. The rest of the slaves accepted their lot, some happily. The slaves, other than Foxx, Jackson and Washington, were not believable. Tarantino's slaves were the exact opposite of Spielberg's slaves. They were not noble, they were caricatures/cartoonish.

The first female slave that Django encounters was so laughable, I wasn't sure if Tarantino was joking or trying to sincerely portray a slave. Even Jamie Foxx phoned it in, at points. Django was the 'super Nigger', the one who was unique, smart, rebellious, different from the rest. None of the slaves conspired to help Django. He was a man on an island. He was the unique Negro.

The other slaves were in step with their master. Django was on the opposite side of that. Although, he was sidekick to a white man throughout the majority of the film. In Tarantino's imagination, he could accept slavery if he thought of it as black people fighting back under the gaze of a white male. This works for a culture that does not want to confront the evils and system of slavery. We want to believe that it wasn't all that bad. That it was endurable, escapable, provided opportunities for heroics. Black people were slaves because we didn't fight back. Django was a character created by a privileged white male.

Perhaps Tarantino did consider our history. I'm certain that he is aware that President Barack Obama is a modern day hero to many of us. Perhaps he did see that our heroes like Dr. Martin Luther King, jr., who preached non-violence, was murdered. Perhaps he is aware that Malcolm X, who loved us with all of his might, was murdered. Perhaps he did see that Medgar Evars was murdered. And, Fannie Lou Hamer suffered beyond comprehension. That Harriet Tubman survived and liberated others while carrying a weapon. And, that Nat Turner fought and died as our hero.

Perhaps he has born witness to our carnage, our suffering and determined that black people need a hero in a black man. That we, black women, need a hero black man who would risk everything and kill everything in his path in order to be with us. Maybe Tarantino speaks in the language of hyper masculinity, where the body count determines who wins because he feels that it will embolden black males beyond self-hatred to a self love and strength that reshapes their internal dialogue. Understanding that we do have black men, in our history, who stood up with guns and fought back but their story isn't told. Perhaps Django represents them.

Tarantino is the perfect filmmaker for these times. We want our information fast, fun, presented in an interesting way and not too complicated. We want an 'idea' of something and not the whole truth. We want to know that there are soldiers fighting overseas but we don't want to see the coffins. Nor do we want to see what's in them. We want the 'idea' of the thing, not the thing. We want slavery but we want to escape from it. And, no, I don't want to see two hours of humorless, long suffering, brutal slavery, either. It's a difficult balancing act. There is a deeper, more interesting slave narrative to be told. One from the perspective of a talented Black filmmaker. Stories of slavery rival Shakespeare, they are worthy of a thoughtful approach. Stories that can teach us a lot about what it means to be a human being. I am anxiously awaiting Steve McQueen's '12 Years a Slave'.

People will give the argument, "it's the best that could be done with the subject matter". That argument doesn't hold. Think of 'Schindler's List'. Have you seen 'A Soldier's Story'? That wasn't slavery but it was about the repercussions of slavery. It was written by a black man and directed by a white male. Something about these films deliver the experience, ground you in the truth of it but don't leave you feeling defeated. And, yes, Reginald Hudlin and others were a part of the landscape but it was a Tarantino film. Tarantino's voice spoke the loudest in 'Django'.

Is the culture any worse because of 'Django Unchained'? I don't think we are better because of it. Will it deepen discussions around slavery? Probably not. Will it decrease violence in the 'hood? Probably not, if anything, the gun received more glorification and worship. Not sure black males or anyone else needs that. But, he had a right to make it. It's entertaining. It's has a funky and thoughtless soundtrack. It has beautiful people in it. It is escapism. It is a work of Art. We have spent eons escaping into the white male hero, why not a black one? 'Lincoln' is pensive. 'Django Unchained' is active. And, we are still on the outside, looking in, as others write our history.

Spike Lee did not lose. There was nothing to win. He was sounding the alarm. That's all. Keeping the flow of the river. Our heroes, while alive, hold up the flame as others bash them. They pass it on to the next generation, in spite of itself. Was this disrespectful to Spike's (our) ancestors? He believed so. May we all be thoughtful and caring enough to ask ourselves this very question, of one another, more often.

**And, before people jump on the 'how can Spike talk about the film if he hasn't seen it' bandwagon. There are several who read the screenplay and were offended by it. For some, that was enough**

Follow Tanya Steele on Twitter at @digtanya. Or on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SteeleInkOr visit digtanya.com.

Features
  • |

More: Django Unchained, Spike Lee

You might also like:
Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

196 Comments

  • Blue | November 24, 2013 6:20 PMReply

    A simple thought to consider. At one time or another throughout history, every nation went through some form of slavery. Regardless of color, plenty of people from many different nations experienced slavery and all the abuses, tortures, atrocities, and murder which came with it. To claim this as singularly a black, white, Hispanic, Jewish, or any other race specific issue is ridiculous. To say that it happened for a longer period of time for one group than another, and that this would be a defining factor, is ridiculous as well. The point can also soundly be made that every race has been guilty at some point in history of enslaving it's own or another race. Slavery is wrong regardless of who it has been perpetrated on, but to grandstand without actually knowing, living, and experiencing it firsthand is a far worse crime indeed.
    Spike Lee has made a living, for good or for bad, on race related issues. In some cases informative, in some educative, and in others just out right grand standing and exploitative. But for him to put himself in the shoes of his ancestors on an opinion of a film he hasn't even seen is just plain preposterous. He has nothing but books to tell him of the things they experienced, and will never know what actually living it was like, much less what they would have thought given the chance to see the film. I don't fault the man for this, I just feel that his opinion is no more important on a given film than anyone else. There is also a fine line between keeping the subject relevant and attempting to become a cult of personality by defining yourself with something you didn't actually experience.
    As for Django, this wasn't meant to be a historically factual or accurate film anymore than Inglourious Basterds was. Yet so many here want to pigeonhole it as a picture of what Quentin Tarantino thought those times were actually like, and for that you have to just be uneducated or just plain foolish. The film is a farce, a comedy, an action adventure, a spaghetti western, and first and foremost.... it's FICTION!!! Spike Lee weighing in on a fictional film and what his ancestors would have thought about it in modern times is about as ludicrous as a Jewish person weighing in on how their holocaust surviving ancestors would feel about half of the Mel Brooks' cannon. You may want to start asking yourself who the real racist is these days.... Who goes out of their way to make a point of interjecting race issues when it's just not necessary, and how doing just that impedes a quicker solution to any outstanding issues we currently still face.
    Just a thought.

  • APN | June 30, 2013 1:30 PMReply

    To the 2 guys Irish Born and Erik G Slavik, commenting on Irish/White oppression and slavery, I heard of the Irish being oppressed in early America, but how long did this oppression last? Were whites in chains , beaten, hung, castrated, have their families split up? Even after slavery , black people were not free because whites did not want to pay for prior slave labor. Blacks were jailed instead and rented out for labor. And we all know many were killed on sight, if whites felt like killing them. I really don't see the comparison. Do you know of any books on this subject? I would like to read them.

  • eatmyassniggrr | October 10, 2013 10:13 PM

    Actually yes, do you even read or learn about any history besides your jewish controlled brainwash fed shyt youve been aquiring as a legit source for the last 40 years?

    you act like your n1gger a55 is in chains now.

  • sarah elliott | May 27, 2013 2:08 PMReply

    i'm going with what spike lee said of the film.
    when he spoke out, I listened.
    my rental fee isn't going to make or break the film but...I won't be enabling what I feel is disrespectful to those who died for the freedom of others. I won't do it.
    tarantino's paying a lot for his whistle.

  • emf protection | April 29, 2013 6:59 AMReply

    I really like the blog.I have shared your site with many friends and family. It is always a pleasure to read.
    emf protection

  • Irish born | March 28, 2013 4:58 AMReply

    You know what would be nice if someone did a movie about white slavery in colonial America! Wait a minute no I don't if they did make a movie it would be so full of misinterpretations and lies it wouldn't be worth watching! Nobody cares about the suffering of WHITE slaves!

  • ..... | February 20, 2014 3:22 PM

    LMAO

  • Ln | March 18, 2013 11:57 AMReply

    "We want an 'idea' of something and not the whole truth. " ... Reading everyone you seem to all know the "truth" ....of how it was exactly ... How people were speaking/behaving/thinking... Just like if you were there ... I wasn't ... But i know for sure that every movies we see ... are only movies ... Historical or not it stays a movie ... Made from someone's imagination ... So i won't debate for Tarantino's view about slavery ... He made a great movie , and this is what it is ! A movie ! Now , about slavery ... What is the truth ? Tell me how it was ? Precisely ... Which movie reflects it the most ? What movie brings us back in time and make us feel the exact same way our ancestors felt ? Then we could pretend we KNOW the truth ... And legitimately judge others for distorsing it ... I don't have this pretention ...

  • tmtaz | March 10, 2013 9:18 PMReply

    Thank you for writing this, Tanya. I totally agree with what you said. Unfortunately your words will fall on mostly deaf ears because these days people don't care. They would prefer to eat up stuff like this instead of question it. Black people's general apathy towards black pride and critical thinking in the media has been on the decline for decades, but it's always good to know there are people who maintain these values like yourself.

  • Hmmmm | March 9, 2013 9:33 PMReply

    One thing that I have to address is that the "submissiveness of the black people" was a belief held by the film's villian, a fictional character, not the film's director. If you want the bad guy to "get his" you need a reason for the audience to hate him, that's all this was.

  • reggie | February 23, 2013 1:53 PMReply

    Actor Jesse Williams writes a great review of Django Unchainged that points out many of the things in the film that bothered me.
    http://jessehimself.tumblr.com/post/43450542625/me-tarzan-you-jane-me-django-you-chains

  • Akimbo | February 23, 2013 6:10 PM

    Jesse slayed & really broke it down. He did a companion piece for...CNN(?) in addition. Such a smart and incisive actor.

  • Jake | February 23, 2013 11:28 AMReply

    I went to watch a movie for pure entertainment, not to to critique it or find some subliminal messages in it or to be educated. I loved the movie, though the violence was a bit much for me. Who goes to the movies to critique a movie instead of enjoying it unless it is an educational movie.

  • Erik G Slavik | February 22, 2013 3:52 AMReply

    Loved the movie Django Unchained. Acting, directing, and production were on point. A great switch up from the normal slavery themed movie, and classic Tarantino.

  • brucemarrington | February 18, 2013 4:58 AMReply

    the movie is primarily about control, the prison industrial complex in america (today) and fear vs. love. i honestly couldn't believe what i was watching when i was in the theater. Also, floored by the fact i see little discussion of this online, and know i was potentially one of the few, if not the only dude in theater who could see this.

  • Breeze | February 13, 2013 2:42 AMReply

    It was to much and Spike Lee should of did his movie it would have been better.. It was just to watch and its not funy at all its a time when are ppl were treated like animals we black ppl have a long way to go..

  • arxvis | February 6, 2013 3:46 PMReply

    totally agree, beautiful article. i think that any artist has the right to digress on any matter at all. the question of being worth it - there's the catch! and i must confess: i don't know if i'd take seriously a lesbian movie made by a heterosexual man (please forgive me my foolish comparison).

  • The T is silent | January 17, 2013 12:27 AMReply

    Django is creating a lot more discussion and in a positive way. Youre thinking so hard about some imaginary meta-argument that you've completely lost sight of the bigger picture.

  • Jakethesnake | February 23, 2013 11:28 AM

    Agreed!

  • T.B | January 16, 2013 1:58 PMReply

    I have to say that I enjoyed Django Unchained, but probably in a different way from most viewers apparently did. I read a review before seeing the film about how people laughed at some of the moments in the film. When the film approached many of those moments, I didn't laugh once. Sure I found some of those moments mildly amusing, but I didn't feel that they warranted the level of explosive laughter that many of the moviegoers gave them. Of course being a Tarantino film, there is going to be humor involved; but I just found it difficult to laugh at some of those said funny scenes. I guess because I went in with the mindset that this another film about slavery, and I was more interested in how the black characters were depicted. The film presented slavery in a way that was probably easier to digest for the mainstream American audience. Yes there was gratuitous violence, like in most Tarantino films; but somehow it didn't feel as gory to me, since the days of slavery were very violent times to begin with. Yes a lot of the characters were comical in their own right, but at the end of the day I just felt sorry for many of them. The slave owners were dehumanized in the sense that they became rabid sociopaths with complete disregard for the humanity of Black people. While Black people were dehumanized through the institution of slavery; being viewed as nothing more than livestock or property. All the moments where people laughed, I just felt relief; because many of the evil characters in the film got what was coming to them. When I watched this film, I caught myself examining many of the interactions between Django and the other slaves. It made me think about some of the remaining scars that slavery has left upon Black society in general. I think too many people were distracted by the violence of the film and the whole hero saves the girl while he gets his revenge part of the film to fully pay attention to parts of the film, that I thought were important in fully understanding the film. I have to applaud Tarantino for his efforts in this film. Though it was not as historically accurate as he thought it would be, it was still quite convincing. In this article the writer says that the Black experience isn't owned by Black people alone; but we sure as hell are the only ones who will truly understand it.

  • ed | January 14, 2013 6:52 AMReply

    If black people where kept in slavery because they where so submissive, can we say the same for jews during the holocaust? did the jews go through the holocaust because they where so submissive? I dont think so. I think it is ignorant and misrepresentative of the fact that A minority of people where stolen from thier land and brought to a system that kept them in the most horific circumstance possible. Does a kid who is kidnaped and abused by a molester stay in captivity beacause he is submissive? Just a thought. best seller or not, I think this movie was disrespectful to the memories of the fallen slaves and the black race in general. thumps down.

  • john s | October 3, 2013 4:04 AM

    To Erik Slavik: Thank you for bringing the PERFECT Fox News white privileged attitude about slavery to this discussion.
    The old "we never took slaves, the Africans gave them to us" line is just precious and straight out of something like the KKK manifesto.
    Score ONE for ignorance.

  • Erik G Slavik | February 22, 2013 3:47 AM

    "Stolen from their land"?

    Excuse me? Stolen? Do some research. Kings and tribal leaders take prisoners and kidnap as much today as they did in the past in Africa. YOUR ancestors stole your ancestors. Your ancestors betrayed their own kind.

    If you find this movie offensive, appalling, racist, or disrespectful.. then it is you who is the racist. You're the one fueling the fire.

    When was the last time you heard an Irish person complaining about building the backbone of industrial America? When have you ever heard an Irish person complain about two thirds their population being killed off and or sold to the Americas as slaves? Never? That's because we are humble, have self respect, and dignity. My "race" doesn't expect special treatment, reparations, repayment for injustices done.. Why should you? Because your ancestors fought for freedom for an extended period of time? Guess what.. the Irish are right there with you.

    Get over yourself. Your a human just like me. Nothing special about you other than what you make out of yourself.

    Fucking racist..

  • Dozer | January 8, 2013 3:40 AMReply

    "The black experience does not belong to black people. We wish it did but it doesn't." Really? You wish artistic creativity could be "owned" by only those who have direct life experience? So you could only write stories about black women? And Geoffrey Fletcher could only write stories about black men? Do you think any white person reviewed the 25th Hour and thought, "who is this guy thinking he can direct a movie about white people". I think it's cool to get new and diverse perspectives. I think that's why Kathryn Bigelow's vision on a typically male dominated genre is so unique.

  • DOZER | January 8, 2013 3:59 AM

    Actually, thinking about this reminds me of the movie "Machete". A similar attempt to make a violent ethnic minority hero, but in this case, the writer/director was a member of the ethnic minority. Not sure it made for a better film, but I'm not as deep as y'all.

  • Joe | January 7, 2013 9:43 AMReply

    Step right up Shadow and Act and get your Django slave doll. Django Unchained action figures on sale @ amazon.com

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/01/06/django-unchained-selling-slaves-as-action-figures.html

  • edward t. | January 5, 2013 12:19 AMReply

    disgraceful. how can any black person love this crap. shouldve listen to spike and saved my money. black man hanging upside down naked with a man fondling his genitalia. im willing to bet that he didnt make it out of mississippi on horse back alive. bet the plantation on that

  • Joe | February 23, 2013 11:30 AM

    It was movie. Does a movie change the past? No. These things happened.

  • Porter | January 5, 2013 12:19 AMReply

    Django was the only brave, non passive African American. He was the side kick of a white man who enabled him to be the big bad negro is was. This is historically inaccurate. Nat Turner, Demar Vessey, Gabriel Prosser just to name a few stood up strogn independently. Slave uprisings were a contant occurence.

  • BLADE | January 4, 2013 6:21 PMReply

    O BOY WAS I DEAD WRONG ABOUT THIS MOVIE .I JUST SAW IT ON THE NET AND IT WAS FUCKING AWESOME!!QT BEST FLIM EVER I LOVE THIS, THE BEST FLIM OF2012!!

  • zee | January 4, 2013 6:18 PMReply

    Loved reading your article . " We want an 'idea' of something and not the whole truth" this is so true for much media output in the 21st century, especially now. Everything is so watered down and glossed. I think Hitler said something like, "you know what people want, they don't want truth, they want truth mixed with lies" (don't quote me) but this blur-fantasy-throwback-history-shot is what is offered to our generation and the simplistic history curriculum in many Western countries only serve vested interests who want young kids to look back with rose-tinted lenses.

    Rant done.

  • Jacquie | January 4, 2013 12:41 PMReply

    Wonderful! Your review is articulate and thoughtful. I love reading your reviews. I plan on seeing Django this weekend and I hope I am entertained because that is truly the purpose of the film.

  • Patrick Coker | January 2, 2013 7:27 PMReply

    That was a very well thought out critique of both films and highly appreciated. Thanks Ms. Steele, I will be following.

  • mswyrr | January 2, 2013 11:58 AMReply

    Thank you for writing this brilliant review. I've been reading quite a bit about the film and I really appreciated your perspective.

  • Jack Armstead | January 2, 2013 10:26 AMReply

    Thanks Tanya... I am even more intrigued by your review and will now go see the movie. Excellent analysis about story-telling and issues our country must still acknowledge and face.

    I will also go see "Lincoln" to get another perspective of slavery or of white men "who were dragged, kicking and screaming, into the future."

    Thanks again Tanya; excellent observations/analysis and Happy New Year.

  • Carl E. | January 2, 2013 5:08 AMReply

    Interesting article. Something worth noting, there is an implication of a proper black male in this article. "Slavery in the white male imagination" suggests a typified version of the black experience during this period according to the white male director so the converse, typified version of the black experience during this period must also exist in the black male imagination. That being the case, one might ask what category the black male falls under who does not subscribe to this other, "proper version" of slavery. In other words, who is the black male without a proper conception of slavery according to the author of this article? Obviously, he is not a proper black male.

    But if there are proper black males and those black males who are in some category of otherness, there may also be proper white males and those who are in some category of otherness. It is all an interesting conversation to have but at some point ethnicity, more to the point, color, simply fails to adequately represent let alone summurize individual characteristics. Who I am as an individual human being may or may not have anything to do with my ethnic background and speaking quite honestly, I hope my value as a human being is in no way attached to the extent to which I fulfill external expectations associated with my skin color.

    And I loved Django. Revenge flicks are naturally against all odds. It wouldn't make much sense to write a revenge story about a character who could easily have prevented or escaped the conditions which compel him to seek revenge.

  • Carl L. Williams | January 1, 2013 11:16 PMReply

    I have seen both Lincoln and Django Unchained, in that order. Lincoln is a historical drama about an actual historical occurrence: The effort by President Lincoln and his party (Republicians, hard to imagine isn't it) and abolitionists to get the House of Representatives to pass the Thirteenth Amendment (the Senate having passed it the year before). The film is not about the institution of slavery or the Civil War battlefront (the military campaign had not ceased during the time of the movie's portrayal of the maneuvers and strategies to garner the necessary votes in the House of Representatives). Thus, Lincoln, in the words of renowned historian Sean Wilentz, "...is primarily a film about the American political process..." As a political junkie, I was enthralled with the strategic jockeying by the President, Secretary of State William Seward, Thaddeus Stevens, et.al. ; for me, the movie is to be enjoyed as a film of political drama, cinematic presentation of Abraham Lincoln the astute political tactician, and the American political process at work during a pivotal moment in the still evolving story of American democracy.

    Django Unchained reminded me to some extent of the so-called "black exploitation" films of the "Shaft" genre; interestingly, my wife commented as we left the theater that it reminded her of film "Blazing Saddles." The movie was not intended--I'm certain--as a historically accurate depiction of the system of American chattel bondage any more than the "spaghetti westerns" accurately portray the American west. Slavery in America, like all of American history is complex, riddled with contradictions and paradox ( e.g. African Americans did own slaves); nonetheless it was, of course, a brutal and profoundly dehumanizing experience for African Americans, the consequences of which still resonate in our time. Our understanding and appreciation of this unique "peculiar institution" is neither diminished nor advanced by this film. It does, however, for me, elevate the acting skills of Samuel L. Jackson and Jamie Foxx-both performed magnificently.

  • Winston | January 2, 2013 9:20 AM

    Take note, Tanya. This comment is spot on.

  • Eustace | January 1, 2013 1:04 AMReply

    This article was pathetic! Did you see the same film as me! "I got the sense that Tarantino believed if we weren't so submissive that we wouldn't be here." THAT IS THE MOST RIDICULOUS THING PRINTED ABOUT THIS FILM! You are taking some feelings from somewhere else and trying to portray QT as so kind of racist and the black actors as pure fools! I am black and from south Georgia where the plantations can still be seen and my great grandparents were born slaves. I KNOW RACISM and about SLAVERY in ways you can only hope to fathom someday. You started out with a great premise for a great article but you lost your way early. You did not have to like the film but you injected personal HATE that either blinded you or you do not understand the CONCEPT of FILM! Many of your statements were based on unknown assumptions that you turned into foolish leaps to justify you support of Lee. Django was not a historical drama and to address it as so was extremely foolish. Do comment on how the female slaves were not noble freedom fighters was even more foolish. If you actually knew anything about slavery you would know the slaves played their roles to avoid repercussions and yes uneducated people behaved in an uneducated manner. To compare the slaves in Lincoln to the ones in Django was also folly. Spike Lee is NOT a hero! Hero's don't Tweet innocent peoples address and claim that the murderer Zimmerman lives there! Spike had and incredible voice and made great films, yes made past tense! But he is but a mere caricature of himself. I defend him and his movies all the time but the SIMPLE truth is you can not condemn a film until you have seen it! That is the problem Spike has the majority of America assumes he is a racist but they have not seen his films. Anyone with knowledge of movies and especially QT movies knows that the script changes frequently. Your personal misguided beliefs made this article a terrible failure of journalism. You should have mentioned that this was an angry opinion piece in the beginning so we could have expected the lack of journalistic integrity! Your love of Lee no matter how much of a fool he makes out of himself has tainted you view and you wrote this hoping he would see this. You elevate him as if he is some hero but he is far from it. He has failed himself and us with his behavior and comments. You act as if he is the only black person that has ever spoken out for black or black cinema. You and Lee both need to learn to think before speaking. I hope he gave you that pat on your back that you were fishing for when you wrote this.

  • UrFoolishness | January 12, 2013 11:17 AM

    You're and idiot!

  • film watcher | January 7, 2013 1:19 AM

    Horrible writer. Idiotic article. Who gave this non-writer column inches?

  • stefan v. | January 5, 2013 11:47 PM

    Excellent comment, much more nuanced then this terrible piece of writing posing as film criticism. if you come to see a film with a political agenda then you will miss the experience. I think Spike Lee could a few things from QT about making good movies especially now the putting crap like Red Hook Summer. Django is not a perfect film but it deverse more insightful writing then a purely soci0-political take. What about the directing, the plot, character development, the historical references. What doesn't she deal with that?

  • Amania | January 2, 2013 8:15 AM

    You took the words right out of my mouth. Excellent comment. I couldn't agree more.

  • Eustace | January 1, 2013 12:56 AMReply

    This article was pathetic! Did you see the same film as me! "I got the sense that Tarantino believed if we weren't so submissive that we wouldn't be here." THAT IS THE MOST RIDICULOUS THING PRINTED ABOUT THIS FILM! You are taking some feelings from somewhere else and trying to portray QT as so kind of racist and the black actors as pure fools! I am black and from south Georgia where the plantations can still be seen and my great grandparents were born slaves. I KNOW RACISM and about SLAVERY in ways you can only hope to fathom someday. You started out with a great premise for a great article but you lost your way early. You did not have to like the film but you injected personal HATE that either blinded you or you do not understand the CONCEPT of FILM! Many of your statements were based on unknown assumptions that you turned into foolish leaps to justify you support of Lee. Django was not a historical drama and to address it as so is foolish. Do comment on how the female slaves were no noble freedom fighters was even more foolish. If you actually knew anything about slavery you would know the slaves played their roles to avoid repercussions. To compare the slaves in Lincoln to the ones in Django was also folly. Spike Lee is NOT a hero! Hero's don't Tweet innocent people address and claim that the murderer Zimmerman lives there! Spike had and incredible voice and made great films, yes made past tense! But he is but a mere caricature of himself. I defend him and his movies all the time but the SIMPLE truth is you can not condemn a film until you have seen it! That is the problem Spike has the majority of America assumes he is a racist but they have not seen his films. Any with knowledge of movie and especially QT movies knows that the script changes frequently. Your personal misguided beliefs made this article a terrible failure of journalism. You should have mentioned that this was an angry period piece in the beginning so we could have expected the lack of journalistic integrity! Your love of Lee no matter how much of a fool he makes out of himself has tainted you view and you wrote this hoping he would see this. You elevate him as if he is some hero but he is far from it. He has failed himself and us with his behavior and comments. You act as if he is the only black person that has ever spoken out for black or black cinema. You and Lee both need to learn to think before speaking.

  • E.B. | December 31, 2012 7:09 PMReply

    I am a african-american male with an MFA in film. I work in the industry. Spike Lee was and is my inspiration to start making film and Tarantino is my inspiration to continue. So I'm a bit disturbed by his comments- because to me after seeing this film and having been fortunate enough to have met and shake hands with both of these talented gentlemen ( and Reggie Hudlin- for whatever that's worth) there has to be a certain kinship amongst artists that I believe Spike is guilty of betraying.

    A couple years ago ; I saw Dave Chappelle do a standup bit live in Hollywood at the same club that Michael Richards had performed his now infamous, off-the-cuff- "N-word" routine. Chappelle said he was torn, as a black man he was offended but as a comic he felt kinship with a performer who losing the audience and becoming frustrated and running out of ideas. Over the course of his career Spike has had to fight to get the mainstream to pay attention to him. So many of his films were being criticized without being seen... Why do this to a fellow filmmaker- The script is only half of the process.

    Once again I'm reminded that Spike pre-read the script to Goodfellas and asked Martin Scorsese, "why do you want to make this, there's nothing here." Then he saw the movie and after viewing said, "I'll never question your choices again."

    This film (Django) is as historically accurate as Blazing Saddles (which was really a film about prejudice)- but equally as entertaining. Maybe time is better spent analyzing the writings of a scribe who makes the poor attempt comparing "A Soldier's Story," and "Django" - Couldn't they also waste their time comparing "Soul Plane" and "Flight" because both movies have black pilots in them.

    Its unfair for any artist's work to be criticized without being viewed, Spike's lived through this professionally. I have the same ancestors, and I'd like to think that my ancestors were open-minded and possibly had acquired a sense of humor- even during rough times (slavery included).

  • Saturn76 | December 31, 2012 5:31 PMReply

    Django wasn't about slavery any more than The Good, The Bad & The Ugly was about the Civil War. Or perhaps more apropos, any more than Inglorious was about the Holocaust (and I must point out as others have your inconsistency here because you feel IB paid respect. DU is basically a companion piece - both are complete fantasies that feature imaginary heroes that take revenge on bad guys. I don't think anyone watching these films thinks "See, if only the historical participants had taken a stand against their oppressors"). That's just plain silly. Tarantino is a filmmaker that likes to pay homage to under recognized genres in a highly stylized way. He makes fun (if very violent) films. They are not meant to be treatises on their subjects.

  • Just an observer | December 31, 2012 5:28 PMReply

    Have we all forgotten that Tarantino made the white racists like the kkk look like idiots that couldn't be understood and the slaves were actually well spoken??? He wanted the black slaves to be the heroes in this film! The white people portrayed other than django's partner, were all villains!!!! Sooooo that means the Black ppl were all heroes. It's a movie not a portrait of real life. I would like to think that not every white person of that era believed and stood for slavery! But as a white man I'm not offended, it makes me look evil if I took it as a literal portrait. Slavery is not something to take lightly it was a horrendous act that unfortunately has plagued all societies until the modern era, but few seem to know that slavery did not start in africa. plain and simple...it's a movie. Schindlers list was enjoyed by the author, does that mean its ok for white people to be slaves? I'm confused by this author....I say watch it if u like and don't if u don't want to, it's not meant to be a history lesson, it's meant to entertain....period.

  • Gina | December 31, 2012 2:05 PMReply

    It was just a movie. It was not meant to degrade or upgrade. It was a movie. It was not "Birth of a Nation" or "Shaft". Your review raised questions. So, I have one for you. Did you like the movie? Or, not? Do you agree with Spike Lee that we should boycott the movie?

  • ..... | February 20, 2014 3:28 PM

    "It was just a movie."

    A film, by its definition as an art form (ergo, a form of expression) is never "just a movie." Your ignorance is part of the problem.

  • lol | December 31, 2012 1:17 PMReply

    inglorious basterds - you liked that. a exploitation film about the holocaust with laughs in it. from your perspective, thats okay. but with slavery it isnt? what is wrong with the girl writing this article?

  • ZBlock | December 31, 2012 12:19 PMReply

    This movies is not beneficial to black people. Not black produced or directed. No black in a break out role. Won't lead to more black movies being made. Won't garner awards or nominations for the black actors. Its typical exploitation no more no less. But the damages are enormous. The film trivializes the historical experience of slavery that has shaped the African diaspora. For a blog that tags itself as being "on cinema of the African diaspora" to give this film so much promotion is a travesty. But then I expected this. The blog's migration to indiewire.com was a clue.

  • Eustace | January 1, 2013 1:10 AM

    When you assume you make and ass out of yourself! You must not have even read the article the black producer was mentioned in the ARTICLE. This movie was produced by a black person and being in a QT movie will lead to the ability to do many more roles. It is obvious that you have not seen the movie and are spouting endless BS without an once of fact! The real travesty is that you have not a clue about what you speak, but you speak so passionately!

  • Michele | December 31, 2012 11:27 AMReply

    "The black experience does not belong to black people. We wish it did but it doesn't." ---
    The worst thing that can happen is when you allow yourself to be defined by someone else's perception. And I believe this is something that has gone on for FAR too long. So what's the real problem here? Is it what we are seeing or what we aren't? Hollywood is a system that has flourished on white supremacy and patriarchy, they don't give a f*ck about Open Letters and petitions. THEY. ARE. WINNING. They don't care when you preach to your own choir about what you feel they are doing wrong. Because they don't care that you care. But when you DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT and SUPPORT others that do. That's how things change.
    Happy New Year Everyone.

  • Kbace | December 30, 2012 11:04 PMReply

    'Django Unchained' is simply a movie. Nothing more, nothing less. It was not meant to be a documentary or an accurate portrayal of slavery. It was meant to be a 70's style spaghetti western. I am a Black man and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was entertaining. That's what I wanted - entertainment. I really couldn't care less about the race of the person making the movie or their sensibilities about it. People are sensationalizing something that really isn't a big deal. It's a movie. You'll either see it or you won't.

  • Lola | January 2, 2013 2:04 PM

    Well said. Some people all always looking for ulterior motives. Its a movie. Paranoia will destroy ya!!! Had to read 20 comments b4 I could stop Smh. Have a beautiful 2013.

  • FactChecker | December 30, 2012 3:52 PMReply

    Thank you, Ms. Steele, for a beautifully written, thoughtful piece. Your argument is valid and sound. And particularly refreshing critique since you are a filmmaker, and as a black woman, thus providing you with a very different sensibility, and lens, from which you view culture and movies. I have not seen either film and do not plan to. Nor have I read the scripts for either, but agree with you about Spike Lee sounding the alarm. One can make an informed decision about whether or not to invest in something based on prior knowledge and background. Spike, like most Americans, is discriminating in his taste. And his taste isn't QT. Those who went off on him are ignorant and should be ignored. I, too, am looking forward to Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave." ... Again, thank you for elevating the conversation.

  • Winston | January 1, 2013 6:55 PM

    Really, Tanya? Writing positive reviews on your own post? Not cool. Just go see the movie and stop pretending you did.

  • Eustace | January 1, 2013 1:16 AM

    You need to change your name from FACTCHECKER at once, because you checked no facts before you commented. Lee had no prior knowledge. Did you know that he was good friends with QT until QT became for famous than him? Did yo know that QT was even in one of his movies? No Lee was ignorant for judging a film he knows nothing about. That is why Lee does not make much money because people judge him without seeing his films but yet he encourages the same. If QT was black none of you would be complaining and that makes you as sad,pathetic and the same as the racist you despise.

  • Anderson | December 30, 2012 2:40 PMReply

    I don't agree with all of his choices with the the film, but I think some people criticizing the movie don't see things straight because of their race. The author said the slaves were caricatures. I'm not sure where the author is from, but for me, I see people like that all the time. To me many of the field slaves were too well spoken for slaves. The hillbillies in the film were hard to understand. There was one particular hillbillie in the film that noone in the audience could understand. I watched a documentary on HBO about blacks in Alabama and in the Mississippi delta in this decade, and you couldn't even understand a word of what they were saying. They needed subtitles. As a matter a fact, I caught a clip of Maury Povich the other day, and I heard a young man I couldn't understand. I had to come out of the kitchen to see who was talking. He made those white slave owners, the handlers, and the people in the KKK scenes look like TOTAL idiots with an IQ of 70. No one mentioned that. Were those caricatures also? I know the truth is hard to accept, but we really need to educate and examine ourselves. If you don't want to see us portrayed this way, do something to change our standards.

  • Smh | December 30, 2012 3:48 PM

    Fool, the klan was a well organized terrorist group.
    I guess blk people were afraid of " idiots" like qt suggested

  • AllPeople (AP) Gifts [soaptalk AT hotmail DOT com] | December 30, 2012 2:30 PMReply

    .
    There is actually no such thing as a so-called "Light-Skinned
    Black" person ... but rather ... such individuals and groups
    are actually people who are of a 'Multi-Generational
    Multiracially-Mixed' (MGM-Mixed) Lineage that some may
    have been pressured or encouraged to ignore or downplay.
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4160
    .
    People of Mixed-Race lineage should NOT feel pressured to
    'identify' according to any standards other than one's own.
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4157
    .
    The legal -application of the racist-'One-Drop Rule'
    (ODR) was banned in the U.S. way back in 1967.
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4162
    .
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/253286018082418/permalink/253341891410164
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4187
    .
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/253286018082418/permalink/253341281410225
    .
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    .
    Listed below are related Links of 'the facts' of the histories
    of various Mixed-Race populations found within the U.S.:
    .
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    .
    There is no proof that a 'color-based slave hierarchy'
    (or that 'color-based social-networks') ever existed
    as common entities -- within the continental U.S.
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4154
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4153
    .
    It was the 'Rule of Matriliny (ROM) -- [a.k.a. 'The Rule of Partus'
    (ROP)] -- and NOT the racist-'One-Drop Rule' (ODR) -- that was
    used to 'create more enslaved people' on the continental U.S.
    .
    This is because the chattel-slavery system that was
    once found on the antebellum-era, continental U.S.
    was NOT "color-based" (i.e. "racial") -- but rather
    -- it was actually "mother-based" (i.e. 'matrilineal').
    .
    http://www.facebook.com/allpeople.gifts/posts/309460495741441
    .
    There were many ways (and not solely the sexual assault
    and sexual exploitation of the women-of-color) in which
    'white' lineage entered the familial bloodlines of
    enslaved-people found on the continental U.S.
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4238
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4239
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4240
    .
    An 'Ethnic' category is NOT the
    same thing as a "Race" category:
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4236
    .
    http://www.facebook.com/allpeople.gifts/posts/300777016632181
    .
    Other Topics:
    .
    https://www.facebook.com/allpeople.gifts/posts/279223868853420
    .
    https://www.facebook.com/allpeople.gifts/posts/164203590359746
    .
    http://www.facebook.com/notes/%C2%ADallpeople-gifts/the-facts-on-m%C2%ADixed-race/321878451159708
    .
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    .

  • Edwanda E Brown | December 30, 2012 2:28 PMReply

    Your exposition of the film "Django..." helped so much in my organizing my thoughts about that movie and the many others that attempt to portray historical and/or contemporary African Americans. Thank you for the insight-& keep on inking!

  • RobThom | December 30, 2012 12:52 PMReply

    Aint that a fantastic image at the top that tarantino and the lib hollywood brings us 10 days after a tragedy involving gun violence that killed 20 children.

  • ScriptTease | January 4, 2013 3:31 AM

    ....and ain't it grand how the Rightwing Teabaggers paid their respects to the tragedy by going out and purchasing even more "assault rifles" to commemorate the occasion, and to exercise their 2nd amendment.

  • monkeysuit | December 30, 2012 10:00 AMReply

    Y'all seriously don't know what a monkey suit is? Nor do you know the definition of "coon." I'll give you a hint, it's not liking a movie made by a white man despite Deity Lee's reservations. And I think Malcolm deserves more credit for being a hero than Spike for making a movie about him. You act like Spike invented the man. So let me ask you this, is a hero not a hero until Hollywood deems him so? How simple minded is that?

  • SMH | December 30, 2012 12:57 AMReply

    Some of you Black Men should be ashamed of yourselves, really? I would be embarrassed to praise a white man for "giving you" a black hero.

  • Smh | December 30, 2012 3:44 PM

    @ Anderson are you slow?
    Read what I wrote before flapping your gums.
    Teens in 1992, fool.

  • Anderson | December 30, 2012 2:45 PM

    Who didn't know about Malcolm X before Spike Lee made a movie about him? Are you serious? You must be living somewhere far under a rock. Everybody knew who he was. Almost everyone I know 30 and older has read or heard of The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

  • RobThom | December 30, 2012 12:50 PM

    "I would be embarrassed to praise a white man for "giving you" a black hero."

    The lib media systematically undermines black peoples self esteem.

    It doesn't seem that way on the surface because they also glorify THEIR version of black people for a profit.

    But like a welfare state it also get black people hooked on the idea that the libs will be the supplier of the things that they need.

    Like rent money, heroes and self esteem.

  • monkeysuit | December 30, 2012 10:08 AM

    And another thing, Spike has proven himself to be ridiculous in the past. Do y'all remember him trying to sue SpikeTV to change the station name? Or how bout when he tweeted the false address of George Zimmerman causing the real occupants to vacate their house? And you think his work isn't problematic? Ask feminists about his treatment of women characters. My point is, no artist is beyond criticism no matter how great their work. Nobody is denying Spike is a legend and history will agree. That doesn't take away from the fact that the man is a narcissistic, publicity whore. I don't think it's simple to be turned off by his nonsense while still loving his work. You see what he did with his comments? Django Unchained has become a Lee vs. Tarantino battle. It's ridiculous.

  • SMH | December 30, 2012 9:41 AM

    Are you being an idiot on purpose? Why am I asking a person who calls himself "monkey"? Of course you are. I love how you try to play down Spike efforts to bring X to the big screen, but coon over Q. Spike's movie came out in 1992 which introduced X to the first real hip hop generation. Up until that point most black teens had only been taught about MLK. You had black schools taking field trips to see the movie. I did.
    You had black kids wearing baseball caps with the letter X on them and picking up the Autobiography of Malcolm X. Maybe you can get a " MonkeySuit" like Django. Blue with bows with a crisp white Prince shirt underneath.
    It's not your simple heart that disturbs me, it's your ( and others) simple minds.

  • monkeysuit | December 30, 2012 8:58 AM

    You're absolutely right. Spike "gave" us Malcolm X. Nobody knew who he was before Spike put him on the screen. And there's no room in our simple little hearts to love Malcolm X and Django. And we can't possibly criticize Spike for his words, while still honoring him for his work. No sir. It's one or the other. Y'all are a mess.

  • Smh | December 30, 2012 7:19 AM

    Do I seem like a person who would give a damn about what you just said?
    You are other thick headed people are attacking Spike over his comments on a fictional so called black hero, when Spike gave you a REAL ONE: Malcolm X.
    So yeah the slobbering is sickening. Some of you are going overboard to defend this white man that's silly and quite Coontastic.

  • QBN | December 30, 2012 2:58 AM

    Isn't that racist to deny him credit just because he's a White man? If it were a Black director that made the same film, then it would be okay? Seems silly.. to say the least.

  • Tina | December 30, 2012 12:45 AMReply

    I don't understand why you think the first woman slave Django encountered was a caricature. That was in 1858. I'm a black female English professor in Florida, and I've met black people in the South this decade in my classroom who are like that.

  • Judy | December 30, 2012 12:28 AMReply

    I don't understand why Spike constantly waist his energy criticizing movies starring other African Americans. He talked horribly and so disrespectfully about Tyler Perry. Tyler is a wonderful person who has given many African Americans jobs. Now a movie portraying an African or African American man willing to risk his life and kill anyone that gets in his way to rescue his beautiful African or African American wife doesn't meet Spike's approval. It seems the only time we hear from Spike these days is to voice negative comments about any show with African Americans. Some of his movies were very displeasing and negative in my opinion. I loved Spike Lee's Love and Basketball movie because it was a love story. I hated Do the Right Thing. What was the purpose of the fictional movie Miracle at St. Anna? I didn't find negative comments about his movies. I have always despised any movies, sitcoms or dramas that displays African Americans as thugs, drug dealers, burglars, robbers, etc. Even today, unfortunately most of the roles for African Americans are still these types of parts from white producers. If we had less of that crap, then perhaps there would be less black-on-black murders. More movies showing honorable African Americans, powerful highly intelligent African Americans (Scandal), wonderful historical movies, i.e. The Great Debaters and others that will hopefully be made in the future perhaps would impact the mentality of young African Americans and other nationalities. Throughout history it has been a known fact that not all black people like black people. Look at Adam West. He's a teabagger that hates President Obama. I wish powerful, wealthy, well known African Americans, such as Spike Lee and others would utilize their voice and complain about racist like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the entire Fox racist Network. Complain about idiots like Geraldo Rivera saying the hoodie got Trayvon killed; complain about George Zimmerman. Dunn who murdered a 17 year old for playing his rap music; complain about the massive weapons that killed 20 elementary kids. FOCUS ON MAKING THIS COUNTRY BETTER FOR OUR FUTURE GENERATIONS. Slavery is America's Holocaust.

  • mawon | December 30, 2012 9:37 AM

    Bwahahahaha! This comment is a joke, right? Hated "Do the Right Thing"?!?!? Loved his movie "Love and Basketball"?!?! I'm perplexed.

  • Jani | December 30, 2012 9:05 AM

    @Judy you are sitting on a damn computer and can't Google what Spike has said on other issues? Spike hasn't spoke out on racist and racism? You got to be kidding. So you miss the whipping Spike took over Clint Eastwood? Funny how years later Clint is on stage ridiculing Obama.
    Really? Newsflash, this isn't Jamie, Sam or Kerry's movie. It's Quentin's movie.
    As for Tyler some of his stuff is buffoonery. He and his BFF Sophia were out promoting that garbage movie Precious. Have several seats.

  • Richard Mellor | December 29, 2012 10:06 PMReply

    I'm in a bit of a rush and read this commentary quickly to return later but I wanted to mention one thing. I also dislike Tarantino and his violent films to be honest. Yes he is a white male, but there is not one mention of class or capitalism in this review. Is he a working class white male? he certainly is not so he sees society from his class point of view. I haven't seen the film but I will bet this and I think Ms Steel's comments confirm what I am about to say, I'll bet the collective is ignored and the individual is glorified. The slaves collectively are a passive mass while the individual is glorified. This is bourgeois art. This is a false view of history. White working class history is hidden. Black working class history is hidden. Black history month celebrates the success of the individual climbing in to the middle class, the academic, the inventor, the artist and we should applaud them especially those of color in this racist society. But the black workers and youth opened those doors in the face of the Klan and police dogs. But all art has a class base because consciousness is class based. It ignores the incredible struggles of black workers against racist cops, bosses and white workers who adopt these ideas. Malcolm X said that you can't have capitalism without racism, he is right about that I believe. I am not saying that racial oppression like gender oppression can be ignored by any means, just think that Emmett Till was hogtied and murdered in my lifetime, and his murderers got away with it. This is America and it's apartheid system. But class matters. Look at Obama, wiping tears from his eyes at this recent tragedy and murdering Pakistani and Muslim children in his defense of his class. It's not as simple as black and white is it?

  • mawon | December 29, 2012 10:41 PM

    But to answer your question, Tarantino grew up working class. What do you mean consciousness is class based?

  • mawon | December 29, 2012 10:37 PM

    Congratulations. You just criticized every hero film ever.

  • CareyCarey | December 29, 2012 9:27 PMReply

    Hello Tanya, as you know... I've been waiting for you. Many times I've said that I love you open and honest and unapologetic approach in your many article. Again, today, you have not failed me. After reading parts of Tambay's and Sergio's reviews (both of which had their own "flavor" and interesting points) I needed this to fill in the gaps. Listen, it's safe to say those who wanted to enjoy the movie... did just that. And those who, for whatever reasons, decided to find fault with it, would do exactly that. Anyway, because I've been so involved with my everyday life, I haven't had time to see Django nor Lincoln, but I had to drop by to again tell you that I love what you do. Btw, the only other person I really "listen" to in regards to movies is my daughter (We seem to be on the same page... I don't have to question her motives or her "politics"). And, she said she loved the movie.

  • Jerry | December 29, 2012 7:52 PMReply

    THIS FILM IS NOT ABOUT SLAVERY.

    When watching the film I was struck by the fact that the story, which is what the film is about, the "Brunhilda" story. Could've taken place in any time and place and still had the same impact. Set in another galaxy as a space opera, or in ancient Babylon, the story could've been told almost EXACTLY the same. So this movie is not about slavery. It's a action-adventure-revenge fairy tale.

    The fact that the film's context actually happened is merely icing on the cake. It is icing in the context of this movie only. If one wished to make a movie ABOUT slavery then slavery would be a full meal, with its own challenges. For no one is going to want to eat their 'accuracy-vegetables' raw with no seasoning.

  • Donella | December 30, 2012 3:31 PM

    "It's a action-adventure-revenge fairy tale." Whatever you say.

  • SMH | December 30, 2012 9:06 AM

    Did you yuk it up @ the Klan scene?

Follow Shadow and Act

Email Updates

Most "Liked"

  • Taraji P. Henson Drama 'From The Rough' ...
  • Electro (Jamie Foxx) Faces Off Against ...
  • Watch Omar Sy In Action As Bishop In ...
  • Black Movie Trivia - Congrats to our ...
  • Interview: Chatting with RZA About Paul ...
  • Sidney Poitier Made Oscar History Today ...
  • Critically-Acclaimed Doc 'The Trials ...
  • Weekend B.O. April 11-13 (Close, But ...
  • GLAAD Awards Honors Jennifer Lopez-Produced ...
  • A Look At Seattle International Film ...