(Today’s post is a response to each of the dozen or so people who’ve already asked me if I’ve seen Red Tails yet, and the dozens who’ll probably continue to ask me after today.)
1. The guilt-based marketing has completely turned me off.Â
I’m going to expand on this a bit more later this week at Ebony.com, but nothing makes me not want to do something I was already kind of “eh, maybe.” about than being told I need to do it. And, being beaten over the head for a month with the completelyÂ disingenuousÂ and manipulative ideaÂ that I must support Red Tails if I ever want to see a black face on a movie screen again has made me go from “eh, maybe” to “f*ck you.”
2. I don’t need to see black faces on screen.Â
Do I like to? Yes. Do I think it’s important for young people to see “positive”Â (more on this in a minute) stories concerning black people to help counterbalance the negative imagery they’re constantlyÂ inundatedÂ with? Sure.
But, while I do recognize the importance of representation, it’s not something I personally need as a moviegoer. I’m not interested in our stories or my story as much as good and compelling and entertainingÂ stories. If these good and compelling and entertaining stories happen to revolve around black people, great!
This isn’t to say that Red Tails wasn’t good and compelling and entertaining to many of the people who’ve seen it already, and I’m not so much of an asshole that I’d trash a movie I haven’t even seen yet. But, PG-13 CGI laden war movies just aren’t very interesting and entertaining to me, regardless of what color the pilots happen to be.
Also, I realize that certain duties — voting, voting for democrats, voting for black democrats, etc — are required to keep your black american card and the perks that come with it. But, maybe the handbook has changed since the last time I read it, but I don’t remember seeing anything about any obligation to make your leisurely activitiesÂ dutiful too.
3. I don’tÂ needÂ to see positive stories on screen either.Â
While positive movies are great and important and meaningful and sh*t, I don’t particularly need to see them to be “uplifted” or “fulfilled.” That’s what bacon and strippers are for.
4. Ok, I’ll say it. Nothing I’ve heard, read, or seen about it makes me think it’s going to be very interesting.Â
Yeah, I know what many of you are probably thinking right now. It’s completely unfair to make a judgement on a movie (or any art for that matter) you haven’t actually seen yourself. And, while I definitely see we’re you’re coming from, that sentiment is a big, fat, steaming pile of bullsh*t.
We makeÂ judgmentsÂ and predictions on sh*t we haven’t actually seen or done yet all the f*cking time, and reading a couple story descriptions and watching a couple trailers and thinking “Eh. This sounds kind of boring.” is no different than riding past a club you’ve never been to before, getting turned off by how the club looks/the people in line/’the fact that you used to bone the bouncer, and deciding to hit another spot.
Sure, maybe you would have had the time of your life at that place, but past experience has told you that you’re not very, um, “compatible” with clubs with those conditions.
For instance, although I (obviously) hadn’t seen the movie yet, I knew I was going to enjoy The Social NetworkÂ the first time I saw the trailer.
On the other hand, I first saw the trailer to Red Tails while atÂ Blogalicious.
And, while nothing about that footage screamed “bad movie” to me, nothing didn’t scream “I’ll guess I’ll catch it on TNT during Black History Month in 2015” either.
With all that being said, I’m actually glad Red Tails seems to be exceeding expectations at the box office. I hope they’re able to continue to ride their strong opening weekend, and I hope that its success helps blackÂ filmmakersÂ get their projects green lighted.
Still, I just can’t get behind supporting something I’m pretty sure I won’t enjoy, just because that something has something to do with black people. If I want a history lesson about theÂ TuskegeeÂ Airmen, I’ll go visit his office instead.
—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)