When I wake up in the morning I do so with no fear in me, I enter my classroom and am equally at ease. I go out to lunch and I do not contemplate if I, a black woman will be treated less then or like a stereotype. Why should I? Our president is black, Scandal a t.v show that centers around a black woman (Kerry Washington) is a huge success with all demographics. Not to mention Will Smith a perfect example of the changing times, a man who seems to destroy at the box office despite being from negro descent. So with these facts and many, many more like them, I wonder why films that not only pertain to black people, or just simply feature black people in stories everybody can identify with, aren’t a regular thing. My answer becomes very clear as I walk to the subway and am confronted with posters, that lack the premise of the film, but project a name, Tyler Perry. I remember as a preteen watching Oprah speak to Tyler Perry about his overnight success, I thought to myself this is so inspiring, but I was young and had no clue at the time what he actually did. Now I know many people within the community will say, they know people like the characters or as I say caricatures that he depicts on film. Yet, what I would say to them is, couldn’t a man that makes around four films a year, make one that pertains to other blacks within the community? See what happens, with the lack of variety of what it is to be black, comes the reassurance in stereotypes. If a Tyler Perry film was made by anybody, but Sir Perry it would be deemed a racist mess,bringing back the mammy figure complimented with religious allegories that would make even Jesus’s head spin. I don’t hate Tyler Perry because hate is a strong word, I just wish that a man that seems to be showing the world what black is (at least to the majority of the population) would be articulate or creative with his scripts and content of his films. I could go on and on about what is lacking in his films and how it is effecting the progression of our people in cinema, but it is a tired subject, instead I’m going to open your eyes. Open them to films and filmmakers that are creating wonderful pieces of art for and with people of color. Hope you take the time to check these out!
Beasts of the Southern Wild - A dwindling bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee harvests a six-year-old girl who lives with her hostile father, who is deathly ill. A storm is headed their way and the child feels the universe is at work and that things will never be the same.
War Witch - Komona a 14-year-old African girl tells her unborn child growing inside her the story of her life recalling on her abduction to the rebel army and everything she has seen at war.
Gimme the Loot - two driven graffiti artist embark on a journey to tag a landmark location that will bring them the fame they so much desire.
42 - the remarkable story of legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in the American Major Leagues.
Filmmaker to check out
- Gina Prince-Bythewood
- Olatunde Osunsanmi