Why We’d Hate Coming To America If It Was Released Today

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Although there are Black movies (“Black movies” = “movies featuring Black people and/or Black stories”) that are better (Malcolm X, Glory, Do The Right Thing, etc), more important (The Color Purple, Shaft, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, etc), and even funnier (Undercover Brother, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, The Original Kings of Comedy, etc), none are as universally beloved by us as Coming to America. 

While it’s not definitely not loved by every single Black person, there’s no doubt it would appear on more of our favorite’s lists than any other Black film. There’s even less doubt that, if we took a vote, “Queen to Be” could replace “Lift Every Voice and Sing” as our national anthem.

Yet, after re-watching it last weekend for the 367234th time, something dawned on me: If this movie was released in 2014, it would not receive the same love. In fact, many of us would hate it. Not all of us, of course. Many would still enjoy it. But, considering today’s general mood about comedy — where certain types of humor seems to have to pass through a gauntlet of arbitrarily determined standards before considered socially acceptable — there would be so much negative pushback towards it that even the people who loved it would be loathe to publicly admit it.

The pushback would start on Facebook and #blacktwitter weeks before the movie was even released, as word about the plot and the people involved would begin to circulate.

“A White director making a comedy about Africa? #nocountryforoldappropriation”

“Apparently, Arsenio is in a wig during a scene. And a dress. I couldn’t make this sh*t up if I tried. Does everyone in Hollywood hate Black women?”

As the release date neared, and media people started to attend advance screenings, thinkpieces would start to formulate on Slate, The Root, Clutch, EBONY, Jezebel, and (admittedly) VSB.

Coming to America’s Big, Fat Africa Problem: What The Movie Gets Wrong About African Immigrants, And Why It’s So Upsetting 

Queen To Be? Not If She’s Dark: Coming to America’s Disturbing Colorism 

Lisa McDowell, Feminist or Fake?

Homies or Homie/Lover/Friends? Akeem and Semmi’s Very Peculiar Bond

From Mop to Fries in Three Years: On Slave Wages and Cleo McDowell 

Was it Selfish For Eddie and Arsenio To Play Multiple Characters Instead of Hiring More Black Actors?

By the time the movie was set to be released, there would be so many petitions and protests against it that the studio would pull it from the theaters. WorldStarHipHop would buy the rights to it, replace Shari Headley and Allison Dean with Erica Mena and Dutchess from Black Ink, and release it in six 15 minute long installments on their site.

I don’t know if there would be a sequel. Perhaps there would be one 14 years after the original film was released. Who knows? I don’t.

I do know, though, that no one would ever sing “Queen to Be” at their wedding.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Why Brown Skinned Women Stay Losing In The Oppression Olympics

Only a brown skinned woman could get away with this. Let a light OR dark skinned woman try this sh*t on a plane. SECURITY!

Have you ever noticed that when it comes to colorism in our community, it’s always the lightskinneded vs. darkskint? Even in the landmark ridiculous dance number in Spike Lee’s School Daze, it was a light versus dark thing. Somehow in all the hubbub, the brown skinned women never really get much shine.

And you know what? They don’t deserve any. Brown skinned women stay winning but always wanna ask why for come they don’t get any room at the table when people start complaining about skintoned ninjas on the Other Side Blocc. Nobody’s tossing greneades but they always trying to double dutch their way into the oppression olympics trying to steal the medals from the light brites and dark skint ninjas out there struggling in the struggle.

Oh, and I’d like to go on record her as saying this is relegated to women because frankly, when was the last time you really heard a man seriously lamenting the treatment he got because of his skin tone? Sure light skinned brothers aren’t in style anymore, but it seems like we never got that memo. Men just do men sh*t and rarely worry about it. Sure we joke and I’ve been called you ole light skinned motherf*cker plenty of times by my boys…but that’s usually right before somebody needs a homeloan or needs something from a white person. In Black Man America, we all benefit from being men first.

In fact, the only Black man that really cared was the cop in Boyz N Tha Hood who really needed a hug.  He (allegedly) hated black pepper AND the back of Forrest Whitaker’s neck. That’s self-hate.

Do you remember back in the day when you met somebody in a chatroom and you hit them with the A/S/L? Yeah, you remember. If those simple stats were to your liking then you skidadled on over to a private IM convo and started describing yourself to the other person. Men, we’re simple: we go light, brown, or dark. Women on the other hand…well, it’s a little different. And this is where brown skinned women stay winning and effectively losing at the oppression olympics.

Man: Hey girl, describe yourself.

Girl: I’m caramel complected.

Man: Damn girl. That sounds edible.

Brown skinned women are the only women who can get away with describing themselves in all kinds of sexxy food sounding good stuffs. I’ve heard nougat, pecan, caramel, (call me) almond, the color of love, milk chocolate, hot cocoa, sexual chocolate, etc. How the hell do you, brown skinned women, expect to get into the argument about who has it worse when everything you do to describe yourself sounds like something I want?

“I’m fudgy.” Ninja, I like fudge.

What’s a light skint chick? Soy milk? Ewwww. Ole lactaid heffa.

Or.

“Hey daddy, I look like black licorice! Or oil change.”

“I hate black licorice. Do you have any almond joy looking friends?”

One of our favorite go to insults is skin color. You can’t do that with a caramel chick!

“Ole light skint b*tch! She think she white.”

“Ole blue black b*tch! Pay your light bills ninja.”

Now, our brown skinned friend…

“Ole caramel, you sweet sexxy thaaaaaaang you, with nice syruppy legs walking away like ole … come back baby…you ain’t nothin’ with out me. The Temps without David Ruffin’ ain’t nothin’ but a bunch of fake ass Temps! With your sexual chocolate self. Make me want to bake a cake girl…aw girl. That’s why your glasses look like two wire hangers for elephant titties.”

Or something like that.

Simple yes, but it goes even further. Think about all of the songs with skin color attached to the title. It’s either Black woman, which is all encompassing, or “Brown Skin” or “Brown Skinned Lady” or “Doo Doo Brown”. I wish a ninja would make a song called, “Light Skinned Lady”. He’d have his ENTIRE Black card revoked by Blackness Anonymous and get drop squaded. But it goes the other extreme too. We are so pained by colorism, that if a man were to make a song strictly about dark skinned woman he’d either be assumed to be satirizing or trying to assuage some guilt he has. Or worse, just being patronizing. But noooooooooooooooo, brown skinned bombshells (<—–look at that, I did it subconsciously) get all the lyrical love. Sure, all black women can be “brown skinned ladies” too, but when you hear songs like that you don’t think Paula Patton. It drove her to a white man’s arms. With blue eyes. Devil.

That’s cool though. The honeybadger don’t care. The honeybadger don’t give a sh*t.

One of my favorite sites is Those Girls Are Wild, and Shannon (the lightskinnededed one) has a video where she talks about this very thing in more depth…calling on darkies and lighties to unite against the common enemy she calls medium toned women. Ridiculously hilarious. Peep that.

So good folks of the VSB, you feel me? Do brown skinned beauties have any place in the oppression olympics? Extremists…stand up.

Flashlight Mobb.

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka TANGLE JIG P aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

four reasons why i won’t watch precious

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i first heard about precious, the screen adaptation of author sapphire’s push, several months ago when overhearing a conversation between my mother and sister about the oscar buzz actress/comedienne mo’nique has received for her performance in the film.

since then, i (and every other african-american with a monitor and modem) have been inundated with myriad forms of precious propaganda. apparently, not only is precious a searing indictment on slavery, poverty, racism, education, america, politics, prison, the newspaper industry, kool-aid, the black woman in the popeye’s commercials, diddy, and diddy’s teeth, i actually am precious (who knew?)

yet, despite its critical acclaim and the fact that the movie addresses a few of my favorite talking points, i replied nah. not at all when a friend asked last week if i planned to see it.

here’s why

1. between ordering each season of the wire on netflix last winter so my girlfriend could catch up, brick city, cnn’s black in america 2, good hair, american violet, and derrion albert, i’ve already filled my yearly, “who cares if obama is president. we (black people) are still f*cked.” viewing limit.

because of this, watching any more black poverty p*rn this year will force me to dip into the yearly quota i’ve already set for 2010

2. the whole “white, or much lighter skinned people save undesirable darkies from themselves” movie motif became tired to me by the second half of dangerous minds. that was 14 years ago

basically, i’m not going to spend my money to support tyler perry’s odd obsession with casting colorism, even if said colorism results in a lesbian paula patton

3. liberal white people seem to like it a bit too much

this, btw, is the same reason i can’t really mess with trader joes, american apparel, or lupe fiasco

4. “poor black women abused” just isn’t entertaining to me

you know, a part of me feels like a hypocrite for watching (and enjoying) season 4 of the wire or a movie like antwone fisher, which both deal with many of the same issues (poverty, sexual abuse, neglect) turning me away from precious.

thing is, while that type of content is always tough to watch, it is, for lack of a better term, easier for me to view if the main party being abused isn’t a black woman. for whatever reason, black women getting abused on screen completely disintegrates the fourth wall and makes me feel like i’m watching a snuff film starring my nieces.

anyway, that’s enough about me. people of vsb.com, how do you feel about the precious phenomenon?

have any of you seen or plan on seeing it? if not, why?

also, do you think am i being too harsh with my assessment (especially since i haven’t seen it), and am i the only one who finds it harder to stomach a movie when black women are getting abused?

—the champ