Considering all the comments that Dan Simolke’s recent piece about Anthony Mackie (HERE) has gotten so far, and that S & A is all grown up now being four years old, I thought maybe I'd go back and ask the question again from one of my earliest pieces.
That question being - where have the all the manly men gone?
It started with a conversation I had once with one of my friends, and she brought to my attention an article by the African American film critic Wesley Morris, while he was writing for The Boston Globe (and who is now writing reviews for the website Grantland) about the lack of real, genuine, masculine men in movies nowadays, that are both American and under 40.
Think about it.
Practically all male movie stars that are both American and under 40 are really just over-sized boys who maybe haven’t really grown any pubic hair yet. They seem to lack a solid presence and, what I like to call, that “masculine weight”.
So my friend and I started to think about what well-known established Black American actors could fill that bill, and I’m afraid, we couldn’t.
O.K. sure Idris Elba would be the first to come to mind, and he’s 40, the cut off date. Then again, of course, he’s a Brit not an American.
Eamonn Walker? Another Brit and he’s 50 years old. Chiwetel Ejiofor? O.K. He’s 35 but, of course, another Brit.
C’mon there have to be some Black American actors.
Will Smith? Nah. First he’s over 40, and let’s be honest he’s never struck me, or anyone for that matter, as being a particularly “manly” man.
Denzel? Well over 40.
Jamie Foxx He's 45.
Anthony Mackie? He’s young enough. He’s 33, but he’s doesn’t have that "weight" I’ve referred to.
Don Cheadle? Over 40, and not exactly a “manly” man either. But perhaps you feel differently.
Morgan? Too old.
Samuel? Him too.
Terrance Howard? Kevin Hart???? Are you kidding?
Maybe Chadwick Boseman? Possibly, but he’s in his late 30’s already, so time is running out.
(And notice I didn’t bring up Tyler Perry, but do you really have to ask why?)
It’s a shame that if we need some masculine brothers in the movies, the first inclination is to go to the U.K. because the pickings here are real slim. Must be something in the water.
People who know me know that I’ve talk about this a lot. Where are all the real masculine black men in the movies today? Where’s the 21st century Jim Brown? Whatever you might say about him (and usually it’s women who have nothing kind to say about Brown) you cannot deny that he was the definition of true, hard, black masculinity back when he made movies.
So what happened?
Who in your opinion fits the bill? And NO rappers! I said ACTORS.
Someone who actually acts for a living, and not someone who does films because someone offered them a role, and still, even then, can’t show up on the set on time, knowing their lines.
Let's face it, you couldn't remake this film today... Are there enough black actors to convincingly play these roles?