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Watch Comic Short Film 'The Takeover' (The Old Switcheroo)

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by Sergio
February 16, 2013 10:20 AM
38 Comments
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Here's your look at filmmaker Shequeta Smith's comic short film, The Takeover, which is a satirical racial takeoff on what used to be called the old switcheroo.

Starring Chrystee Pharris and Lindsey Santefort, the film deals with "best friends Ashley, a Caucasian fashion designer, and Tisha, an African American comic book artist, who debate the difficulty of dating; each arguing that the other has it easier. After help from a friend and his potent espresso, the ladies trade places and experience the dating scene in each other’s shoes for 24 hours."

A finalist in the Sundance Filmmaker's Lab with previous experience in the music business, and on TV sit-coms and reality shows, Ms. Smith says that, the idea for the film came from actual conversations she had with one of her long time friends and former college roommates (who is white), about what would happen if they actually traded places.

In fact, she says that, just yesterday, she was interviewed by a reporter doing a piece on the film. However the reporter never once asked her about the racial undertones in her film, how the film came together, or even about her.

All he was interested in was in Santefort, the white actress, therefore proving her point in the film that black women are constantly being ignored.

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38 Comments

  • Akimbo | February 19, 2013 6:03 PMReply

    I didn't read the comments for watching, so I was completely blown away by how bad this short was. Overwritten, corny, shallow, and poorly acted. I was appalled when the two actresses swapped bodies and took adopted these completely stereotypical characteristics that the other never exhibited and embarrassed at the awful dialogue. I'm curious what material got the filmmaker into the Sundance Lab...is she typically a drama person?

  • Sweeta | February 21, 2013 1:12 PM

    "I was appalled when the two actresses swapped bodies and took adopted these completely stereotypical characteristics that the other never exhibited"

    THIS!!!

  • Melissaenafrique | February 17, 2013 11:35 AMReply

    Groveling at a black man's feet while he has his eye on a white woman seems to be the 'strong' black american woman's most visible talent. Heck I live in Africa and I am aware of the black american woman's broadcasted 'predicament'. There is no corner of the earth that doesn't know what bw cry about every night. If you want to retaliate and include african women in this fuckery, so be it. I personally think its a uniquely black american thing to care about who is dating who.

  • lauren | February 17, 2013 3:48 PM

    Bottom line is: Any brotha (or sista for that matter) who feels enhanced by dating someone of another hue or culture is not worth the bother...

  • CareyCarey | February 17, 2013 11:17 AMReply

    Conjunction junction, what's your function? Hooking up words and phrases and clauses. Conjunction junction, how's that function.

    I had to preface my comment with the jingle from Schoolhouse Rock's to highlight the thoughts behind the words WHAT'S YOUR FUNCTION?

    Having said that, I wholeheartedly agree with AFRICAMELEON'S comments. Of course I've said this before but if it was apropos a week ago, what about a time called now? Blogs are reminiscent of highway truck stops. Their functions are individualized by each visitor who stops or drive by.

    So now, here at S&A, we have Shequeta Smith stopping by to drop her wares. She's closely followed by Shadow and Act's opinionated viewers. Oh lord, what's their function, purpose and motives? I don't know... they all may have "good" intentions but only the shadow knows the good and evil that lurks in the hearts of men.

    But having visited a few truck stops, I've seen lounge lizards, truck lizards (we all know what they are, right?) pimps and hoes, good food, good conversation, and tons of mess. Families have been known to stop-in just to shop and watch other folks do their thang.

    Hmmmm... in many ways that's the ingredients of many blogs. However, today, my focus is on the "good stuff", which leads me back to AFRICAMELEON. She stayed focused on the good elements of the film (the rewards, the conversations and messages it can inspire) while trying her best not to be influenced by the cookie cutter "negative" voices of disapproval... "we have a right to bitch and moan and vent our frustrations... and don't call us haters b/c it's all constructive criticism". Yeah... riiiiiight.

    "I'm in the minority of people who liked the short or at least who are willing to acknowledge that I liked it and that there were some good points. But I will continue to be an un-silenced minority" ~ AFRICAMELEON

    Well Ms. Africa, I leave you with the following words that speaks to those who stand-up for what they believe in. And I know most of you are saying, "Thank God"

    "Many people fear nothing more terrible than to take a position which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion. The tendency of most is to adopt a view that is so ambiguous that it will include everything and so popular that it will include everybody" ~ MLK

  • CareyCarey | February 17, 2013 1:51 PM

    Blutopaz, absolutely nothing about you last statement rings true. So today, instead of going back-n-forth in an attempt to find a common ground, I bid you adieu.

  • BluTopaz | February 17, 2013 1:14 PM

    You can complain about seeing so many slave films, but still think you can dictate to women about what WE are tired of seeing. Pure bs.

    And you can skip the angry Black women implications too, CC. That ish is beyond transparent, tired, and you are not smart enough to attempt it.

  • CareyCarey | February 17, 2013 1:12 PM

    OUCH! Stop it Miktal, don't share your pain with me b/c I don't want to hear -- or feel -- your bad news. I mean, I know my words inspired you to look in the mirror. But the hurt, guilt and shame you feel is yours to own.

    Look you knucklehead, who's asking you to "support" anything just because it is black? That's definitely not the crux of AFRICAMELEON argument, SHEBABABY'S argument, nor mine.

    So go gobshite yourself.

  • CareyCarey | February 17, 2013 1:00 PM

    *LOL*... Nope Blutopaz, you've conveniently -- from your perspective -- condensed the conversation/argument/issue to "black women sangin' the blues". Nope, it's not about that.

    "It's economic, it's social, it's political, it's sexual, it's cultural, it's actually a big deal." and " in the desire to move forward or not be "cliche'" or "tired" we miss the opportunity for healing".

    So Blutopaz, to ease your pain and settle your soul, and not miss an opportunity to heal, maybe you should "go back" to singing Stormy Monday or Story Weather? I am sure you know the lyrics :-)

  • miktal | February 17, 2013 12:57 PM

    Jesus, what is this gobshite nonsense? Look, if you want to air your opinion on something then just do it. Why do you feel the need to print tee-shirts and badges to glorify that your voice goes against concensus? I will NOT support anything just because it is black. The recent Red Tails film, is a prime example. Apparently, we must watch it because it was about black people, and we`re supposed to just ignore the fact that the film is an abomination to film making and actually disrespects the memory of the Tuskegee Airmen! FUCK THAT!! Give me something creative, imaginative, not this juvenile, shallow, dumb nonsense.

  • BluTopaz | February 17, 2013 11:59 AM

    Addendum

    ...because anything that keeps Black women sangin' the blues and looking desperate is fine by me.

    Go back to writing b'rer rabbit fables, Carey.

  • jeftcg | February 16, 2013 11:14 PMReply

    This could/should have been 15 minutes shorter, particularly that opening scene that could/should be 2 minutes tops. Overall: a firm 5 on the 1 to 10 scale. Give it a re-edit.

  • lauren | February 16, 2013 10:33 PMReply

    Harmless and slightly entertaining... main problem for me was the acting not the concept.

  • Africameleon | February 16, 2013 9:39 PMReply

    I don't think anyone is on the "black men ain't shit" wagon here. I didn't get that from the film or any of the comments at all. I also think that is apparent at the end of the film, when "black love prevails." As corny as it sounds, I like that. So I'm corny, and apparently simplistic, but what ever. I think this is all a comment on how black people relate to and reaffirm each others existence and desirability in a country that continues to place meaning and social currency in one's race. It's about power, the power that exists in being able to choose and be chosen by others as a mate and a partner. It's economic, it's social, it's political, it's sexual, it's cultural, it's actually a big deal.

    On another yet related note.... I actually like the "What Black Men Think" documentary by Janks Mortan. So if anyone is thirsty for a conscious and admirable effort regarding black people and relationships and other stats that distort our varied "truths" about partner selection, then PLEASE watch Mortan's documentary. I'd also watch "Dark Girl" by Bill Duke. It speaks to some of the underlying issues facing not just black women, but sisters of a darker hue, our chocolate sisters who are degraded, discriminated against, and have their spirits hurt because of prejudice inside and outside of black communities. When black women are denied the kind of love that we feel we should receive from black Men or black Women (so let's not be hetero-normative) it hurts, it's not ok. It's a reality, but there are some instances of denial and rejection that black women endure that need to be commented on and if the short film or long film format is a space to do this creatively then that's great. But it's true, we should not just state this issue as a "problematic." But in the desire to move forward or not be "cliche'" or "tired" we miss the opportunity for healing and for new ways to both show love and make love.

    I know that last bit was real soap box-ish, but like I said, I'm corny - not patronizing.

  • Africameleon | February 16, 2013 9:46 PM

    Last thing... I'm thinking of DuBois and his comments on propaganda and the Negro having a right to our own propaganda, and I'm paraphrasing here.... Therefore, if the majority (white people) have a "right" to 1000 "Truth about Cats and Dogs" movies and other movies geared toward them, then so do we. I didn't like "Cats and Dogs," but it has a right to exist I don't have to watch it. And the reality is those films "get to" exist, over and over again. We need to stop stating that they do, and start asking why? Where are all of our soapy, teary, hopelessly romantic movies? They exist too, they're not all "top quality" - or what ever - but they do exist. So in closing... and I know most of you are saying, "Thank God".... I look forward to Ms. Smith's future projects.

  • monkeysuit | February 16, 2013 8:35 PMReply

    Finally watched it. I feel silly even commenting on this tbh cause it was that bad. I mean, I don't live in LA, and she did mention it's different on the east coast. But I'm still finding this soo hard to believe even when you consider her use of hyperbole for humor. I just never got on that black men ain't shit wagon.

    But even if you're going with the hypothesis-- that black woman are treated as completely undesirable by our men-- how can you equate that constant feeling of rejection to a white woman being bothered by creepers all night? I don't see what lesson the black woman could have learned here other than having her suspicions reaffirmed. When the white woman insisted it's better to be ignored and the black woman laughed and agreed, I almost turned the movie off at that ridiculousness. In what world is that true, honestly?

    And the end. When the bike shop guy reveals he wanted the black woman all along. Based on what? Her looks and the fact that she draws comic books? How is this romantic? He had a conversation with both of them, but he still chose the black woman who at the time was inhabited by the white woman. So he really chose the white woman when you think about it.

    This is a fucked up version of the Truth about Cats and Dogs. The politics are all messed up.

  • monkeysuit | February 16, 2013 9:34 PM

    Determined to be Negative Nancy? That's so juvenile. If we're putting the politics aside, this was still a poorly done film from the script to the editing to the actual story. Like let's just party and have fun in each other's bodies. Yay! Makes perfect sense. You don't have to be a Negative Nancy to see something wrong with it.

    But politically speaking, I'm not jibing with the notion that his penis doing the choosing is a good thing. Isn't that objectifying? So is the filmmaker saying at the end of the day that's all black women want? Ignore our minds, want our bodies. Like Bluto said, this is oozing in desperation. Sorry, I'm not feeling it. Sorry if that's too "negative" for y'all. Next time I'll try and turn off my mind and blindly accept what's presented me since a black woman did it.

  • ShebaBaby | February 16, 2013 9:14 PM

    Okay I had to go back and watch it again after your comment and you are really tripping. If you don't live in LA than obviously you don't know what she's talking about in this film. I live in LA and this movie rings true for everything that's happening here. Sorry that you don't want to believe it but my friends are living it.

    At the end when the black guy reveals that he wanted the black woman all along...she had just said five minutes before that the "penis does the picking" which is why she told her friend to go out with him. To break this down..this means that men only go for what they're penis' are attracted to. Notice he sat next to her during the party.

    The fact that he likes the fact that she draws comic books shows that they have something in common and that he's interested in her work and was actually listening to what she was saying. Apparently all of that flew right over your head since you are just determined to be a negative Nancy. I'm done.

  • ShebaBaby | February 16, 2013 7:59 PMReply

    Watched it, went away, came back to see if there was any real comments (other than Africameleon's) about the actual movie or it's contents and just like I thought, nothing. I thought it was creative and real. The comments here prove that black men don't seem to care about and aren't even interested in hearing what's going on in the minds of black women. But they really should because no matter who they're dating, their daughters are gonna be black women and are gonna be in the same predicament as the lead actress in this movie soon enough. But I digress.

  • ShebaBaby | February 16, 2013 8:26 PM

    Well the same thing applies to you as well. Have you even watched the film?

  • monkeysuit | February 16, 2013 8:15 PM

    Uh..what? I'm a black woman. Sit down.

  • Africameleon | February 16, 2013 7:43 PMReply

    This is not the coming of the apocalypse. As far as who black men are and are not dating, ummmmm wasn't there a hit film just last year on this topic? "Think Like A Man" I believe, so it's not 1980's urban -ish. I had issues with that film, but I was also entertained. There were also a FEW books published last year on this topic by academics and others, more specifically discussing why black women are/are not marrying. Though most of these books and films are problematic b/c they buy into stereotypes and data polls that misinformed and distorted realities, they do speak to the relevance of partner selection among Black women and men. So this is a contemporary issue, it's not as cliche' as some would think. "F* that noise," yes we need to F* a lot of noise. If you didn't like it then oh well. I would jump on the criticism band wagon if this film was terrible, but it wasn't. And nope, I don't like harsh comments b/c it doesn't move the conversation forward. I don't think this film should be dismissed, nor should we dismiss the issue of who black people are dating as "tired." It ain't nevah tired, trust! We aren't children, but some of us are acting like children. I wasn't patronizing, I complimented what the film tried to accomplish. It seems like I'm in the minority of people who liked the short or at least who are willing to acknowledge that I liked it and that there were some good points. But I will continue to be an un-silenced minority. The director has some work to do, but she's off to a good start!

  • BluTopaz | February 16, 2013 9:45 PM

    Thank you for the suggestion re: Mortan.

  • Africameleon | February 16, 2013 9:16 PM

    "Desperation"... I'm not even gonna comment on that one. But I agree with you on one point BluTopaz, we should all definitely support Harper and Powell's project(s). I actually like the "What Black Men Think" documentary by Janks Mortan. So if anyone is thirsty for a conscious and admirable effort regarding black people and relationships and other stats that distort our varied "truths" about partner selection, then PLEASE watch Mortan's documentary. It was excellent IMHO.

  • BluTopaz | February 16, 2013 8:30 PM

    Just because those films/books were released last year does not mean this topic has not been beaten to death, resurrected, and on life support. At this point in a media context, the only way this convo would move forward would be if a Black male filmmaker explored this topic, in addition to making a documentary about Black female strippers. Or maybe if Black men supported Hill Harper's and Kevin Powell's efforts in the same manner that so many thirsty Black women have made Steve Harvey a multimillionaire.

    But if you want to join the handwringing be my guest. There is no other race of women who broadcast their desperation like this, and this filmmaker has joined that sorority. To quote Sweet Brown, ain't nobody got time for that.

  • Africameleon | February 16, 2013 8:02 PM

    *drown

  • Africameleon | February 16, 2013 8:01 PM

    I seriously didn't think I'd wake up this morning and wave a flag for this film or any film for half a day.... But I'm gonna keep doing it!!! We don't have to walk on water, but we half to be willing to try.... and try harder. We might fail, but we don't have to drawn. So maybe, the director is learning how to swim and working her way up to walking on water. How about that? It works for me.

  • BluTopaz | February 16, 2013 6:59 PMReply

    I got to 3:07 and shut it off. My constructive criticism--in 2013 Black women should not be sitting around lamenting who BM are dating. That is so 1990's Essence magazine, and it was tired even back then. Plus the artwork in the opening intro is very 1980's urban lit-ish.

  • Bee | February 17, 2013 2:26 AM

    As a black woman, I 100% agree. This ish is played and just pathetic at this point.

  • Africameleon | February 16, 2013 2:35 PMReply

    I thought it was funny and creative. People laugh at "obvious, dated, and lazy" comedic tropes all the time - and there's nothing wrong with that. And if this is Ms. Smith's first film, then the sky is the limit! I applaud her for venturing into the subject matter in the first place. The scene at the party when White Ashly is surrounded by black men, and Black "Ashly" is on the outside.... that's exactly how it feels to be a black woman at some of these LA/Hollywood parties and clubs. Her depiction was extreme and satirical but there is a truth that inspired the scene I'm sure. It was entertaining, and I'm also glad to see a black female "comic book illustrator" as the lead character. This filmmaker is accomplishing a lot in this short film. Good Job!

  • monkeysuit | February 16, 2013 7:05 PM

    You obviously liked the film, which is perfectly fine. I haven't gotten to it. I'm just saying the whole "be constructive, not negative" argument is tired. Miktal didn't like it. She's entitled to that. She doesn't have to coat her comment in coddlery for it to be legitimate. You haven't been on this site for very long because folks get just as excited about films they like as films they don't like. They just want to talk, and there's nothing wrong with that.

    I'm a filmmaker. I don't believe in encouraging mediocrity for myself, my people or anybody out there. I don't care if you're black, white, brown, red or yellow, if your shit is wack your shit is wack. No patronizing or "encouraging" comments are going to change that. You want constructive criticsm? Show it to your friends and colleagues before making it public. After that, all bets are off. We ain't children, we ain't dumb, we're black. That doesn't give you concessions or passes. That doesn't mean your audience should hold back and be like "awww, you tried." Fuck that noise.

  • Africameleon | February 16, 2013 6:44 PM

    People... I was entertained. Therefore the film did NOT fail. Everyone is not going to like every film. The director connected with some and not with others. That's my take away. As for the criticism, really folks it too easy for people to criticize instead of being constructive. That's the base of my comments and opinion on the matter. I am not a filmmaker and I think it's impressive that someone would dedicate themselves to this form as Writer, Producer, and Director. It's not Shakespeare or a Spike Lee Joint, but it's also not Tyler Perry. We ask for excellence, yes. But the director doesn't seem like someone who is NOT striving for excellence, high quality, or to improve her craft. Now, why am I spending my Saturday debating with strangers about a stranger, I don't know. But if this blog is for film of the African Diaspora by diasporic blacks, then we can do better then just offering negative comments and opinions. We haven't even talked about the topic she covered in the film: "Black Women dealing with rejection and not being desired by Black Men." That to me is doing a disservice to the film, and to any other "high quality" film for that matter. To address this concern that many women have is daring, rather it was done simplistically or not. Fact is, I couldn't have done any better. So there! I'm impressed by people who are bold enough to do something I can't. If any of you are filmmakers and not just audience/critics like me, then good for you. I wish you the best in your future projects. If you are not filmmakers, then what the heck? And actually, it does mean a lot to me that a black woman can "just make a film" and have an outlet for her product. There's more crap out there being produced that poison's black peoples views of themselves and others views on who we are. This director is NOT the oppressor. So let's keep it in perspective.

  • monkeysuit | February 16, 2013 5:58 PM

    It is not sufficient to just make a film. You are making it for an audience. If that audience does not like it or get it, you are not successful. You do not get brownie points for gettin it done. If a chef cooks you something and burns it, you don't say to yourself kudos to him for trying to cook. You send it back. All art is up for criticism. If you can't take the criticism, then you shouldn't be an artist. There's nothing "snobby" about demanding a higher quality.

  • miktal | February 16, 2013 5:56 PM

    It`s called an opinion and I`m fully entitled to mine. And this notion of DIY if you dont like it, is a weak argument, as whether I do or dont, it wont make her work any better. The Internet is literally polluted with this very subject matter, so why should I single out this piece for any praise? No one is asking for a masterpiece, but is it too much to ask to be original??

  • Africameleon | February 16, 2013 5:15 PM

    Miktal, grab a camera and make your own film and stop criticizing and engaging in cinematic snobbery. If you are a filmmaker, then you know that NO ONE starts off making masterpieces. I think you are making jabs at the content simply because you can in this forum. Try elaborating on the good points of a film, before making quick negative remarks. No hateration or holleration necessary. As far as my point being self serving..... huh? I'm actually not invested in "proving" the richness of the film one way or the other. It doesn't seem necessary, why would we engage in that kind of discussion. Why not look at the issue she was trying to explore? If you can't see the appeal, then it's your loss. Stop being wack and enjoy your Saturday.

  • miktal | February 16, 2013 4:50 PM

    "People laugh at "obvious, dated, and lazy" comedic tropes all the time "
    Do they? When? You point appears a little self serving, if you dont mind me saying so. Also, how can it be creative if you admit that it is obvious, dated and lazy????

  • miktal | February 16, 2013 12:28 PMReply

    Jesus, and holly Christ are they annoying. They didnt even have a personality to swap in the first place!! If you really have something to say about the subject matter, then why do you, as a film maker, use the most obvious, dated and laziest manner in which to express it?? Just another celebration of modiocraty

  • Sweeta | February 16, 2013 11:39 AMReply

    What..?

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