Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Focus Features Picks Up Ruth Negga/Joel Edgerton 'Loving' Story (Based on Anti-Miscegenation Case) Focus Features Picks Up Ruth Negga/Joel Edgerton 'Loving' Story (Based on Anti-Miscegenation Case) HBO Drops First Trailer for 'Confirmation' HBO Drops First Trailer for 'Confirmation' Watch First Trailer for 'Roots' Reboot Watch First Trailer for 'Roots' Reboot Watch: Sri Lankans of African Descent Fight to Keep Their Culture Alive in 'Kaffir Culture' Watch: Sri Lankans of African Descent Fight to Keep Their Culture Alive in 'Kaffir Culture' Taraji P. Henson Will Topline Film Based on Story of Black Women Mathematicians Who Worked for NASA During the Space Race Taraji P. Henson Will Topline Film Based on Story of Black Women Mathematicians Who Worked for NASA During the Space Race Enter The New Normal Writing Contest From Issa Rae's ColorCreative & Project Greenlight Digital Studios Enter The New Normal Writing Contest From Issa Rae's ColorCreative & Project Greenlight Digital Studios Missed It Last Night? Watch 'A Ballerina’s Tale' in Full Now Missed It Last Night? Watch 'A Ballerina’s Tale' in Full Now Ava DuVernay Wanted for Two (2!) Major Sci-Fi/Fantasy Studio Projects (UPDATE: Lupita Nyong'o May Star in One of Them) Ava DuVernay Wanted for Two (2!) Major Sci-Fi/Fantasy Studio Projects (UPDATE: Lupita Nyong'o May Star in One of Them) Tonight: Nelson George's Misty Copeland Doc - 'A Ballerina’s Tale' - Premieres on INDEPENDENT LENS Tonight: Nelson George's Misty Copeland Doc - 'A Ballerina’s Tale' - Premieres on INDEPENDENT LENS Now Streaming on Netflix: Award-Winning 'Sand Dollars' (Dominican Republic's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Entry) Now Streaming on Netflix: Award-Winning 'Sand Dollars' (Dominican Republic's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Entry) James Franco Will Direct Film Based on Aziah "Zola" Wells' 148-Tweet Narrative That Went Viral James Franco Will Direct Film Based on Aziah "Zola" Wells' 148-Tweet Narrative That Went Viral Madonna's 'Blonde Ambition' Dancers Tell Their Own Stories in New Documentary 'Strike a Pose' Madonna's 'Blonde Ambition' Dancers Tell Their Own Stories in New Documentary 'Strike a Pose' Watch Episode 1 of PBS' New Civil War-Set Drama Series 'Mercy Street' + On-Set Visit Watch Episode 1 of PBS' New Civil War-Set Drama Series 'Mercy Street' + On-Set Visit Watch: OWN Previews New Primetime Series 'It's Not You, It's Men' (Tyrese Gibson & Rev Run Host) Watch: OWN Previews New Primetime Series 'It's Not You, It's Men' (Tyrese Gibson & Rev Run Host) LeToya Luckett, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Andra Fuller Star in New TV One Comedy Series 'Here We Go Again' LeToya Luckett, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Andra Fuller Star in New TV One Comedy Series 'Here We Go Again' TV One Aims to Change the Reality Genre with New Series, 'The Next 15' TV One Aims to Change the Reality Genre with New Series, 'The Next 15' Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton Is Heading to TV Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton Is Heading to TV Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Why White People Don't Like Black Movies

Shadow and Act By Andre Seewood | Shadow and Act January 17, 2014 at 11:18AM

932

But now we should consider a third and final important question:


Why should Blacks care if Whites don’t like Black Movies?  

With almost 14 Black films and films with Blacks in high profile roles scheduled for release from July to December of this year it would appear that another Black film renaissance (like the one in the early Nineties) is coming our way.  All we have to do is support these films with our dollars and it won’t matter if Whites like or don’t like our movies.  

Yet one of the deleterious consequences of narrowly defining Black films as films with a majority Black cast that situates Whites in peripheral or non-influential roles is that we are too easily convinced that Black films only appeal to a small domestic niche market.  Even after the success of THINK LIKE A MAN in overseas markets like South Africa and Great Britain foreign licensing rights are still a sensitive issue of negotiation between studios and Black filmmakers- and by sensitive I mean you don’t discuss them with the studio if you want to get your film made or seen.  

In addition, this narrow conception of Black movies encourages the studios to treat all Black films as one singular genre that appeals to one singular audience.  Budgets are mandatorily kept low, development schedules are reduced to mere months and the control over the kinds of images we produce of ourselves are held in tight control in a myriad of other ways from screen ratios, to ratings to the dreaded DVD only release.  All of this power is exerted upon images of Blacks by Whites perhaps because the only way to truly enjoy White power, privilege and control is when it is exerted against Blacks and other minorities.        

Because African-Americans have not held simultaneous control over the four essential aspects of filmmaking: finance, production, distribution and exhibition since the advent of the “talking” Motion picture, we have been at the mercy so to speak of those Whites and other ethnicities who have and do hold control of if not all four aspects then at least one.  The consequence of this “three card monte” type of power shuffle, for lack of a better analogy, is that even with the use of Kickstarter finance campaigns, AFFRM art-house releasing patterns, internet streaming, and on demand viewing Blacks are kept out of the “big arena”; segregated within an unequal global cinematic playing field.

A way out of this power shuffle is not the direct route of simultaneously having our own means of finance, production, distribution and exhibition- this ideal is both impractical and unwise given the amount of capital necessary and the constantly manipulated pitfalls of the cinematic industry.  Instead it is the narrow definition of a Black film that must be challenged in such a way that the threshold of empathy is lowered for both Whites and Blacks with agency (power, privilege, and control) alternating within an integrated and/or international cast.  Such an expansion of the definition of a Black film begins by challenging the stereotypes of race and class as they define our perception of social roles and agency.  

For the visionary Black filmmaker the task is really to destroy the notion of a singular Black experience of the world by any means necessary.

Don’t look for truths, look for lies. 

Andre Seewood is the author of SLAVE CINEMA: The Crisis of the African-American in Film. Pick up a copy of the book via Amazon.com HERE.   

NOTES

(1) “Human brain recognizes and reacts to race, UTSC researchers discover” by April Kemick, 4,26,2010 http://ose.utsc.utoronto.ca/ose/story.php?id=2135

(2) Ibid.

(3) “The Other Pleasures: The Narrative Function of Race in the Cinema” by Anna Everett, taken from page 122 of SHOTS IN THE MIRROR: Crime Films and Society 2nd Ed. by Nicole Rafter, Oxford, 2006.

(4) “I Don’t Feel Your Pain: A failure of empathy perpetuates racial disparities” by Jason Silverstein 6,27,2013.  http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/06/racial_empathy_gap_people_don_t_perceive_pain_in_other_races.html

This article is related to: Things That Make You Go Hmm...


Shadow & ActNewsletter