Guest Blogger, Pop Culture, Race & Politics

Black Cinema, The Best Man Holiday, and Mainstream Malarkey

[Admin. Note: Sometimes a writer hits me up with something I was going to write about, beating me to the punch in some fashion with an interesting perspective. Today is one of those days. So open your minds and hearts to Tonja Stidhum. Welcome her to the house.]

"So let me get this right: I got a light skint negrro to my right and a white man to my left and this is STILL a Black movie? F*ck out of here."

“So let me get this right: I got a light skint negro to my right and a white man to my left and this is STILL a Black movie? F*ck out of here.”

I’ve always loved the phrase, “same difference.” My mama first introduced it to me when I was a kid, and just the pure wit of it attracted me. As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve noticed that it was more than a biting comeback… it was truth.

As a screenwriter, I am fully immersed in film culture and truly get my life from industry news. I’m the ninja that reads every Deadline dot com email and they send about a hunnid thousand trillion of those a day. No real exaggeration. I can talk for hours about dissecting a film, the politics of film, the soundtrack of a film, the film award season, and even how film relates to chicken.

One particular aspect of film culture that has always garnered my interest/angered passion is the term “mainstream.” For years, Black films have been in a cinematic struggle-fight, attempting to be inducted in this mysterious mainstream club. Black films aren’t films, they’re Black films. And there’s this secret mainstream formula that Black filmmakers haven’t figured out yet.

Ummm… except not.

The Best Man Holiday, the nostalgic-filled sequel to The Best Man, premiered in nationwide theaters this past weekend and it regurgitated this conversation in full-swing. The successful opening of The Best Man Holiday had Hollywood tongues wagging, pulling in 10.7 million bucks on its Friday debut. This was bawse-sauce as it was up against Thor 2, a superhero film, which is basically the equivalent of going up against Ali in the ring. As the weekend rounded out, however, Thor 2 ended up winning the weekend war, prompting yet another layer of the on-going conversation on “race-themed” films. Shout-out to USA Today for that gem. (-_-)

Here’s my issue: The idea that Black films are mutually exclusive of mainstream culture is the poopiest part of bull poop (I know… mature, right? Bite me. … Also mature). As much as Hollywood and society tries to straw-feed us that mushy mess, I rejected it wholeheartedly. The “mainstream audiences can’t relate to Black-themed stories” argument? I don’t even buy it with Monopoly money.

Sure, there are inside jokes and nuances of a Black film that everyone can’t relate to. But, guess what, Chicken Butt? All of those things are also in every other film/TV show ever. Let’s go with a “mainstream” example in media: Sex in the City. When that show was in its heyday, I remember one of the popular criticisms of that show was how unrealistic the lifestyle was. How the main protagonist, Carrie Bradshaw, was able to afford her luxurious wardrobe on the basic b*tch budget of a writer. Generally, the main demographic watching that show couldn’t relate to that lifestyle at all. And yet, somehow, that same demographic watched the show… in droves. And that “somehow” had to do with the core of any form of storytelling. The underlying themes. What the regular Jane Doe demographic could relate to were the themes of friendship and love. And that is the point of connecting with a film and TV show. It has little to do with being able to say, “Girl, I totes always buy a pair of Manolos on my way to the dancery!” and more to do with being able to say, “Girl, I totes know what it feels like to love someone and our timing is never right.” The latter is what keeps us staring at that idiot box every Thursday night and what keeps us paying 10 bucks (each!!!) for what is no longer a cheap date.

The Best Man Holiday, while rife with race-specific jokes and references, had each of those themes. The only difference was the the main ensembles’ skin tones. Which brings us to a very uncomfortable conversation. Because it forces us to break through all the bull… all the detracting arguments that never amount to anything real. Mainstream culture can surely relate to Black films, especially Black romantic comedies. What the French toast is more universal than love?!

Mainstream culture/Hollywood claiming that they can’t relate to Black films only tells me they’re watching films wrong. And I am hard-pressed to believe that is the case because somehow, the reverse happens all the time. Black audiences can watch “mainstream” (read: White) films and not relate to any of the nuances of those characters, yet somehow connect to the film’s overall theme/story. Black audiences definitely factor in the success of mainstream films so if we can do it, why can’t they?

Oh, but they can. And they know they can. The problem is… they refuse to. Ooooh… to piggyback off a filmic phrase: and the plot thickens.

We are all different in infinite ways and I embrace all of those. I think it’s the beauty of humanity. But, what connects us all… is how we’re the same.

Same difference, indeed.

What say you, mainstream blog nation? Do you believe it is possible to  replace  a White lead with a Black lead and it still be the same story, as it’s truly the themes that matter? Or do you believe that Black films are that far removed from everyone else? Speak on it.

Tonja Renée Stidhum is a screenwriter, lollygagging (in third person) in Chicago. Working on that “for pay” part. You can catch her occasional musings at embracethej.tumblr.com and follow her scatterbrained thoughts at @embracethej.

Filed Under:
Damon Young

Panama Jackson is pretty fly for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future.

  • Donovan X. Ramsey

    The film community should just be honest and say that they don’t think white and international audiences are interested in looking at black people. That’s really what this is about, right?

    • Val

      Haven’t they already said that though? Especially about European audiences not wanting to see us.

      • Donovan X. Ramsey

        I’ve never heard it said that forthrightly. It’s usually cloaked as “the theme is too specific” or “the culture is unfamiliar.”

        • Discolored Nigerian

          My question is this, real talk, if something is UNFAMILIAR wouldn’t one want to get familiar?

          • Jay

            Right… which is why you see so many black people checking for Bollywood and singing the praises of South Korean cinema. Gimme a break. There is some truth to what 2520′s say when they call us hypocritical. We’re not interested in diversity as much as we’re just interested in seeing more black cinema, you know… because we’re black. Nothing wrong with that. But we act like its such a crime because they lean the same way… the only difference is THEY RUN THIS $HIT. #justbeinghonest

            • Discolored Nigerian

              Jay, have several seats…(will back it up later in the day)

            • http://vagabondaesthetics.tumblr.com/ Ricky

              I am a fan of South Korean cinema.

              • Jay

                As am I. Park Chan-wook all day… and I f*ck with Bollywood. Fact remains, the majority of black people aren’t rushing out to become “familiar” with the “unfamiliar”. These are the films that I try to introduce my friends and family to because some of these movies are AMAZING and so different from the tired Hollywood BS that we’re so tired of seeing. I usually get hit with side-eye followed by a “Bye Felicia”.

              • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                I Saw the Devil was excellent. The body is amazing and can withstand some of the most brutal of injuries.

                • Jay

                  Yes. I Saw The Devil is dope. As is Oldboy/The Vengeance Trilogy.

                  • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                    Are those on Netflix as well???

                    • Jay

                      Oldboy is. You may have to find the other two online. Spike Lee is remaking Oldboy. I think its out next month. Make sure you see the original first. After watching it I remember thinking “that was THE darkest and most affecting piece of fiction that I have ever enjoyed.” It will literally blow your $hit back.

                    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                      YAY!!!! I’ll watch it tonight

                    • afronica

                      “It will literally blow your $hit back.” Truth.

            • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

              This is true. Do you want Black people to eat in Hollywood, or do you want someone to spend THEIR money catering to YOUR tastes? Believe it or not, the answers to these questions are not the same thing.

            • WIP

              I’m into the Bollywood; they dance like black folks (kinda).

              • Discolored Nigerian

                ummm, ma’m…..

            • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

              I’m into Bollywood for the women. I would strongly encourage more of them to do Hollywood. Heck, do some Tyler Perry flicks. I need some fresh and different eye candy. :)

          • Asiyah

            My thoughts exactly. I’d want to get familiar.

      • Cheekie Mae

        I’m not sure they’ve directly said it, though. Things like “widespread audiences can’t relate to stories with black leads” seems like a cop-out, IMO.

        • Asiyah

          Agreed. As if I can’t relate to a story with themes about love, friendship, family, etc. Just because I’m not Black doesn’t mean I can’t relate. It really is a huge cop-out and we need to (continue) to call them out on that bs.

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

      MUHFUGGAS NEVER LOVED US

      • Huh Bruh

        They did, when we were in our respective place…cooking and cleaning, and rearing their children. If we made movies about those things, I bet they’d win awards…oh wait.

        • Jay

          Ladies and gentlemen… we have a winner.

        • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

          checkmate.

  • Cheekie Mae
    • Soula Powa

      Congrats, Cheekie! Well done.

      I also don’t buy the idea that others cultures can’t rock with movies with a Black cast, other a cast of any other race for that matter. *shrugs*

    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

      wait, what exactly did you do? :-)

      • Val

        Cheekie wrote this post. I didn’t realize it either until this morning.

        • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

          Oh ok, why didn’t anyone tell me earlier :-( Y’all so fakeeeee!!!!!

        • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

          the picture comment should’ve been a giveaway

          • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

            I didn’t get it at all. I’ve seen Legally Blonde and know what that scene references but I wasn’t tying it to Cheekie writing this piece.

          • Val

            Lol. Yep.

  • Maris

    #RaceThemedTwitter was in rare form today. I almost think we don’t know how powerful we are as a collective.
    However, someone made a good point on there, and it is how do we remain true to our stories AND have them injected into the “mainstream” discussion while avoiding appropriation from the audiences we are trying to connect with? It just seems every time we get something of ours to go viral, we end up with another Miley.

    • minxbrie

      Or Lily Allen trying to make a “satire” out of Miley/Robin Thicke… YEAH, I said it!

    • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

      Word. I think people are trying to have it both ways and end up with hegemonic power at the end. It’s OK to want your culture to be *the* culture. That said, you can’t sit back and pretend people aren’t going to do other stuff with it. (And with Miley, it turns out she flat out plagiarized a popular Hollywood stage show called Beacher’s Madhouse. Thanks to her “excellent” education, a lot of racial subtexts flew right over her head when she stole it.)

    • Cheekie Mae

      I think the way to do this is to be comfy with the fact that we have just as much of a wide variety stories to tell as any mainstream movie. If you notice, even big films that are super ingrained in a sub-culture (such as films specially about ethnicities, etc) manage to tell their particular story while also touching on themes that everyone can relate to. My Big Fat Greek Wedding is one example. It’s clearly only about a very specific group (sheeeeit, I’m not even sure THIS movie was considered… race-themed… it did super well as far as box-office amongst various demographics), but the family themes are something something most can pretty much relate to.

  • NiqSpeaks

    Excellent read, my good buddy! Thank you for writing, in general, and for this piece, in particular! I ran into these same issues in grad school, with our Cinema/TV department. If we don’t voice our concerns, we’ll indeed be forced to live with our grievances!!! Kudos Tonja!!!

    • Cheekie Mae

      Word!! And thanks for the love, homeskillet!

      • Jay

        Ah, just now getting that you wrote this. Even though I disagree on some points, I really like your writing voice.

        • Val

          Me too, Jay. I didn’t know you wrote this until figuring it our this morning, Cheekie. Nice piece.

          • Cheekie Mae

            Thanks, homies! (I TOLD Panda to tell ya’ll it’s cheeks!!! LOL… but yeah tryna make a name for myself writerly… with my name lol… i guess i’m doing the “Damon”) I know it’s not a perspective everyone will agree with but I’m glad this is an open discussion. Which was totally my agenda. Ok, other than ranting. ;)

          • Cheekie Mae

            Thanks, homies! (I TOLD Panda to tell ya’ll it’s cheeks!!! LOL… but yeah tryna make a name for myself writerly… with my name lol… i guess i’m doing the “Damon”) I know it’s not a perspective everyone will agree with but I’m glad this is an open discussion. Which was totally my agenda. Ok, other than ranting. ;)

  • Bex

    I think a lot of times it also has to do with writing styles. ‘Black films’ aren’t necessarily the type of movies written for mainstream media. It’s funny because all the reviews for this movie talks about how bad the script is yet black America is IN LOVE with the film.

    A lot of times black people support black films because no one else will, not necessarily because the film is good. And I think best man holiday, along with half of Tyler Perrt’s movies, falls in that category too

    • Cheekie Mae

      The script was pretty hokey… I’ll say that. What’s funny though… is that is a trait of most big rom-coms (there are few exceptions lol). So even in its cornyness… it still has more in common wtih mainstream rom-coms than it differs, IMO.

  • Discolored Nigerian

    Loved this write up!

    Once you replace the lead character and they happen to be white, in as much as the story being told is the same, just a different color of person the ACKNOWLEDGMENT, differs. Then, it becomes just a story that can be understood by ALL.

    If the lead character is black, with a largely black cast, no matter how universally understandable the theme is, the story suddenly becomes a Black story that only black folks can comprehend.

    Fact of the matter is that we do not have any control whatsoever as to the labeling of our story by the MAINSTREAM aka white folks.

    Black films are not that far removed from everyone else. If anything, the mainstream wants no part of us. The isolation is not our fault.

    • Cheekie Mae

      Ya know, this makes me think of actors like Will Smith who seems to trump that rule. Or how about Whitney Houston’s character in the Bodyguard. She was supposed to be a white character… but she got it… they didn’t change the script at all, if I’m not mistaken. And it worked. ;)

      • Jay

        The director of The Bourne Identity wanted Lauryn Hill for the female lead… but, you know… bishes be crazy.

        • afronica

          That would have been *so* interesting to see. I loved Franke Potente (sp?) in that, but Lauryn? Wow.

          • Jay

            Right I can’t even begin to imagine the chemistry between her and Matt Damon…

            • afronica

              …and the character’s transformation. She goes from being a lowkey grifter chick with visa issues to being a mini me spyette to owning her own restaurant on a Greek island (and getting the guy). Would have been so dope seeing Lauryn stretching out like that.

        • Cheekie Mae

          LMAO

  • http://vagabondaesthetics.tumblr.com/ Ricky

    “Do you believe it is possible to replace a White lead with a Black lead and it still be the same story, as it’s truly the themes that matter?”

    Well it depends on the subject matter. Richard Lanklater’s Before Sunset/Sunrise/Midnight trilogy could be a couple of any race or mixing definitely. I see a lot of race bending for something like Batman which I think would take an ENTIRELY different context if Batman was Black. Heck, the context for a believable Black superhero is extremely different in my mind. The only way this is sort of side stepped within their assumed persona as a hero is if no one can see their skin. I think general romance movies can all pretty much be easily racebent. Something like say Fruitvale Station though could not because their are certain realities that you can’t really transfer over across race.

    • Inspector Ratchet

      How is the context of a believable Black superhero differ for you? Is it that you would expect him/her to deal with and address racial issues more? Or for those issues to have a more profound effect on him/her than we’ve seen in a comic?

      • http://vagabondaesthetics.tumblr.com/ Ricky

        Just the very basic reason of WHY a Black person would become a superhero and who would s/he protect. You can’t simply turn someone like Batman white. I couldn’t see the rationale behind a Black boy seeing his parents killed due to crime using that as a catalyst to become a superhero. Even among the most privileged of Black people they are conscious of the normality of gun violence/death among Black people. It would be heartbreaking and on his mind for the rest of his life but turn into a vigilante? Secondly, I couldn’t envision a Black person be so invested in deconstructing structural inequalities, but spend the vast majority of his time fighting petty criminals or loner super villains instead of spending time and effort into attempting to fix the corrupt Gotham police and judicial forces.

        It’s not even really getting into dealing with racial issues, it’s about how this person could even reasonably exist even in a fantasy world.

        • Inspector Ratchet

          I gotchu. Although I think it’s still possible to have a Black superhero be believable. His/her motivations for doing so wouldn’t fit into the standard comic book tropes, that’s all.

          • http://vagabondaesthetics.tumblr.com/ Ricky

            O, I definitely believe there are believable Black superheroes already! I was just answering Cheekie’s question about whether or not we can always just change the race and everything would be the same.

            • Inspector Ratchet

              Oh okay. Understood.

            • Jay

              I’ve said it here before but I still believe that Michael B. Jordan’s character, Steve, in Chronicle was perfectly written. If they didn’t kill him off he would have made a great black superhero. He was easily the coolest, funniest, and most charismatic of the 3 leads without being a stereotype. The fact that he was black seemed almost an afterthought.

              • http://daratmathis.wordpress.com/ dtafakari

                “The fact that he was black seemed almost an afterthought.”

                That’s what bothers me most about portrayal of black characters in films. We either have to be invisibly black or extremely black; but not black in a way that contributes thoughtfully to the character’s perspective and mannerisms. Why either/or? I don’t know if the culture of being black should/shouldn’t be an afterthought. We ARE people first, but culture is a strong driving force.

                • Jay

                  I guess that’s why I liked the character so much… he was black but in a very modern true to life way, a suburban black high school athlete. The most popular kid in school who went out of his way to befriend the poor troubled white kid. His two best friends were white but his personality was still black (whatever that means). Usually in movies black means poor and from the hood, or just to be contrarian, its a black character that doesn’t have a shred of black culture.

        • Cheekie Mae

          “I couldn’t see the rationale behind a Black boy seeing his parents killed due to crime using that as a catalyst to become a superhero.”
          Interesting. Not even like educated Black folks who devote entire movements against crime? You couldn’t see a frustrated Black man in a crime-ridden city like Chicago getting fed-up with the inaction and taking it upon himself in a vigilante fashion. I think I could…

    • Jay
    • kidvideo

      I’m a big fan of those “Before” films…Delpy is kinda sexy.

  • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

    All these new faces tonight! Hey y’all!

    POC are always and forever going to be stuck in this box as it relates to films with casts involving only POC. I don’t think it’s possible to “replace a white lead with any POC as lead though”. The story won’t be the same. It will turn into, that “black ________” as opposed to that character. Wouldn’t it be funny if we saw films and thought, ‘well that was an interesting white film and white people doing things that white people do’.

    I wish Panama and company would’ve warned me to bring my tissues to the theatre though -______- I was literally boo hoo crying in that theatre. It was an ugly cry too. Like that ugly Kim Kardashian faced cry.

    • Discolored Nigerian

      Kim has one of THE ugliest cry faces on earth. I just wish there was a way to stop her from crying. The face she makes would definitely had brought Lazarus back to life if he died during our times.

      • Discolored Nigerian

        so I take it that Kanye visits VSB and he won’t let Kimmey facts be great with the downvotes.

    • Val

      Did your team have a bye this week? I didn’t see them on any highlights.

      • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

        They will be playing the Patriots tonight. *prances around with chest out like a proud mama bird* KNOW DA SQUAD!!!

        • Val

          I’m not so sure you should be prancing considering they’re about to get their azzez kicked by the Pats. Just saying.

          • Inspector Ratchet

            Everyone knows this already, Val.

            • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

              Down voted. Watch yo mouf.

              • Inspector Ratchet

                The truth hurts. Don’t let that lucky win against the 9ers gas you up.

                • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                  Don’t let your recent resurgence back on VSB gas you. Next.

                  • Inspector Ratchet

                    I’m gassed up from a WIN. That’s that thing the Panthers WONT be getting tonight.

                    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                      ok

                    • Sahel

                      But if the Panthers can find a way to exploit NE depleted defense and hold Tom. Who knows

                    • Val

                      *sings* He has high hopes, He has high hopes….

                    • Sahel

                      I look at stats. I don’t get emotional over uniform and what city. Panthers have a terrible Cam Newton problem but a stellar defense. NE has Tom Brady and that guy can pick defenses apart. It can end up being a toss up

                    • Val

                      Being emotionally invested doesn’t change the facts though.

                    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                      Jesus. Listen. Patriots are 30th in the league with run defense. We are 10th in the league in rushing. We are FIRST in the league with time of possession. We are FIRST in the league defensively. If the Patriots are going to win then they will have to do a damb good job at shutting down both Cam and our defense.

                    • Val

                      Cam is liable to shut himself down though.

                    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                      Cam shut himself down in San Fran and defense saved his behind. I will admit our secondary scares they heck out of me but Cam is doing just enough to win even when he sucks. A win is a win regardless of whether or not Cam played well or horribly.

                    • Val

                      Well, we’ll see. And, I’m not rooting against the Panthers anyway. I hate the Pats. They’re a bunch of cheaters.

                    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                      Exactly. Idk why y’all are trying to fight me about my squad lol No one likes the Pats and we all want to see them crash and burn.

                    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

                      how could…you…just…say…i can’t even look at you

                    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

                      Cam is due for a 3 pick, towel on the head with a struggle face game…juuuust saying

                    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                      I’m so glad everyone wants to see Cam do horribly. I hope he does numbers tonight and gets over 300.

                    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

                      i actually like Cam, but this is business.

                    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                      You can go to the side of the room opposite of me with everyone else with your Panthers hate. I respect Brady as a QB but my squad is my squad. I’ve hated the Patriots since Superbowl 2003. I’ll continue to hate them. Squad Up. Panthers. Keep Pounding.

                      At least y’all can say y’all know a true Panthers fan when people start jumping on this bandwagon. AP been here since 95′.

          • Sahel

            Val,that was cold. But i will allow it

            • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

              Down voted. Watch your mouf.

              • Sahel

                Truth hurts. Y’all should have gotten Tebow for this game,he would have given you a prayer of a chance

                • Val

                  Okay, you’ve gone too far now. Tebow?

                • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                  And you should pray about your hermaphroditism. Next.

                  • Discolored Nigerian

                    I was discolored, now the color has come back as a result of this comment.

                    • Sahel

                      Your nigerian,that explains alot

                    • Discolored Nigerian

                      you assume a lot, but imma let you season and marinate.

          • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

            Down voted. Watch ya mouf.

            • Val

              Sorry. I wasn’t trying to be mean, just trying to ease the upcoming blow. Btw, did you check us out? We beat cheese head azz! Play-offs here we come!

              • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                I’ll fight everyone up in the comments who wanna talk slick today. I have everyone’s stats and I promise y’all don’t want to come at me unless your team is the Seahawks. Run up and get done up…….

                • Val

                  Lol. Come on now, I had to endure your considerable mouth for the first 4 weeks of the season.

                  • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                    And y’all still a ain’t ish squad too. Next.

                    • Val

                      You know the Super Bowl is a home game for us, right?

                    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                      You aren’t even making playoffs. Next.

                    • Val

                      That’s what ‘yo mout say, but yo mind be knowin’ different’. Lol

                    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                      Nope lol Val, y’all are what? 4-6 right now? Who’s post season are you talking about??? Y’all are watching from the couch this year. Get over it lol

                    • Val

                      Seriously, AP, have you seen the records of the NFC East teams?

                    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                      You’re 3rd in your division with only a single game advantage over the Redskins. Ma’am. You’re in no one’s race to get a Wild Card pick. Stop it.

                    • Val

                      Our next two games are against Dallas and then Washington. We have Dallas at home and Washington has already quit for the season. If we win both of those games we’re in it to win it! So, there!

                    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                      And should you lose even one of those games you risk everything……good luck with that.

                    • Val

                      Oh snap, then we play the lousy Chargers and we have Washington again. Lol Our only really tough game is against Seattle.

                    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                      You say all of this like you have a stellar team on your hands lol omg stop it Val. Seriously.

                    • Val

                      But, who needs a stellar team to beat San Diego and Washington?

                    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                      I’m saying that it isn’t a given that you will beat either team. You act like the Giants have it all together and from week to week. They haven’t shown any type of consistency at any position.

                    • Val

                      Four, count’em, four wins in a row seems pretty consistent to me.

                    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                      And are my Panthers five wins in a row not enough for you as well? We could make it all the way to the Superbowl this year, win, and still have people saying how sorry Cam is and how bad the Panthers are. We are the perpetual whipping boy.

                    • Val

                      If they win tonight then maybe but another loss is going to be a real problem for them.

                    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                      This is the thing. People keep saying the Panthers aren’t relevant. Oh you need to win this game. (Panthers win the game). Oh well that was ok I guess but you haven’t arrived til you beat this team on the road (Panthers win the game). I mean I guess your defense is ok but this NEXT game is tantamount to your relevance as a football team.

                      It’s a lose-lose either way. Y’all can’t decide what team the Panthers need to beat for them to be considered good. Just admit that the Panthers are a formidable opponent and get over it.

                    • Sahel

                      Nobody is saying the Panthers arent good. But let them run up against a proper QB and offense. Personally,i think the games against the Saints will be the decider

                    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                      This I will agree to. The Saints game is a game I’m really excited to see us play.

                    • Val

                      Dag, AP, I was really feeling your argument until you threw in “formidable”. Lol Honestly they’re way too inconsistent on offense to be considered that.

                    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                      So when we played the Giants what happened? Did y’all even make it onto the scoreboard? Oh. That’s right, you didn’t see a blade of grass in the endzone at any point :-)

                    • Val

                      Lol. Doesn’t matter though. We’re in separate divisions. And ours suck. So, it’s apples to oranges in that respect.

                    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                      Well Panthers are 6-3 and the Giants are 4-6. Apples to apples. Our record says we’re better.

                    • Val

                      But, that record isn’t going to get you in the play-offs, ours will.

                    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                      Val, you’re not going to the play-offs lol

                    • Val

                      Good night, AP. Lol

                      *eHug*

                    • Sahel

                      ‘Gets in the middle of this’

                    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                      Night Val!

                      *e-hug*

                    • Sahel

                      Val,your my girl and all but the city of Dallas has a greater chance of resolving it’s guilt over JFK than the Giants getting back to the Bowl

                    • Val

                      You just are seeing the big picture, Sahel.

                    • Sahel

                      I can give you the playoffs that may happen. But the bowl. I dunno

                    • Val

                      The last Super Bowl we were in we started the season badly. So, there’s that to consider. We’re late season bloomers.

                    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

                      Giants are a mediocre home team…even if pigs fly and they make it

              • Inspector Ratchet

                To be fair, that’s not saying much. The Packers are straight wee-wee now.

                • Val

                  A win is a win, especially in the bootsie azz NFC East.

                  • Shamira

                    dont listen to them Val, we actually had a solid offensive game, one of our best performances in a while. Aaron Rodgers doesnt play defense.

          • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

            Tell em

        • Shamira

          I sincerely hope you win, even if I have to deal with you puffing your chest around VSB tomorrow.

          • Val

            Lol.

          • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

            et tu mira…

            • Shamira

              i luh you but I hate Tom Brady and your Evil Sith Lord of a coach more. Sorry bew. We can still go together though. Just not on Sundays

          • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

            I’m ruining VSB tomorrow if we come out with the W. Changing up the avi.

            You.
            All.
            Will.
            Hate.
            ME.

        • Shamira

          also, the Chiefs got exposed last night for the frauds that they are, just like we predicted. Undefeated DEEZ.

      • h.h.h.

        “Did your team have a bye this week? I didn’t see them on any highlights.”

        you aren’t gonna see any highlights from them after Monday night’s game, either…

        *exits today’s post*

      • Shamira

        Val we’re on a run!!!!!!

    • LMNOP

      Why are people downvoting this though?

    • Rachmo

      I totally cried. I wasn’t ready for their truth.

    • Cheekie Mae

      “I don’t think it’s possible to “replace a white lead with any POC as lead though”. The story won’t be the same. It will turn into, that “black ________” as opposed to that character.”
      It’s unfortunate, because we have and LIVE stories that have little to nothing to do with racial issues. I do believe it’s difficult to get everyone else to see that, but I do think it’s somewhat possible. And actually… even if race is acknowledged (to be clear, I’m not talmbout anyone in the audience being “colorblind”) that doesn’t mean we can’t still tell universal stories. Because again, black audiences relate to films with white leads all the time. It’s possible.

      • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

        We relate to white leads because white leads are the norm. White is normal. POC are abnormal.

  • minxbrie

    While we’re on the topic of Black films… and I’m currently in the middle of writing an essay proposal for my Feminist Film Theory class… Does anyone know where I can stream/download “She’s Gotta Have It?” I spent all weekend searching and no luck.

    To answer your question: Would it be shade to say that the white mainstream media likes to steal everything they can from POC’s, may as well appropriate movie plots as well? “Maggie’s Family Reunion”, “Diary of a Mad White Woman”, “Maggie Goes to Jail!”.

    I’m not sure it’s as simple as replacing a White lead with a Black one. Mainstream media is unfortunately controlled by a very White hand and we all know what happens to black characters under that hand – they become essentialized into 1 dimensional characters who are only there to provide cheap laughs and “sass” (not saying that black films don’t do this because, uhm, Tyler Perry) but that’s really the problem with representation. White characters are afforded nuances while Black characters are reinforced stereotypes.

    But I’m also looking at this in terms of accessibility. Fruitvale Station/The Butler/12 Years a Slave (basically, any film with substance) are NOT accessible films where I live in Canada because I’m outside of Toronto, unless the locally owned theatre purchases it. “Nuances” in POC’s don’t seem to sell in widely mainstream theatres, bar the occasional hit.

    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

      There have been several instances where white people have been confused about The Best Man Holiday. Many seem to think it is another Tyler Perry film. I truly hate that he is so prevalent in the film industry and that his heavy presence has largely gone unchallenged in revenue and frequency by any other black film directors, writers, etc. I hate Tyler Perry…..

      • SororSalsa

        That is the one criticism of the movie that p*sses me off. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but I’ve read in several mainstream (ahem…white) publications that the movie devolves into Tyler Perry territory. Umm, please tell me…when did Madea drop by? Did that happen when I blinked? That is such a lazy assessment. I guess anything black and with a relatively light (re: not 12 Years a Slave/Fruitvale/The Butler) storyline gets the Tyler Perry comparison.

      • Discolored Nigerian

        No way ca we even try to pin a little or a lot of blame on Tyler Perry for this phenomenon.

        Who the heck is telling these white folks not to open their eyes well well when the credits are rolling.

        In any case, are they so daft as to believe that TP is he only black filmmaker?

        • Inspector Ratchet

          What’s worse, is that I noticed that a lot of Black people can’t name another Black filmmaker other than TP (excluding the obvious Spike Lee and John Singleton).

        • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

          wait what? I’m sorry, I am sitting here trying to mentally correct your sentence structures and I just…I cannot.

          • Discolored Nigerian

            I was typing from my phone…sorry oo

            • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

              No worries. Igbo? Yoruba?

              • Discolored Nigerian

                It’s OSHUN!!!!!!

                • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                  Lol I saw downthread AM bwahahaha

      • minxbrie

        TP is HIGHLY problematic, but he’s also a strong example to use regarding Black spectatorship and ideology in mainstream media since he’s dominated that “black” niche since 2002. I mean, he puts his name on EVERY title but he’s reached the point where it’s almost un-necessary to put “Tyler Perry Presents…” because everyone sees black actors and thinks, “Black film = Tyler Perry film”.

        • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

          That’s a testament to his success and an unfortunate truth. No one sees a supernatural film with an all white cast and immediately goes. OMG That an M. Night Shymalan film!!!!

          TP can go jump in a vat of bleach.

          Perpetuating foolishness and veiling it with Christianity. Fugg him.

        • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

          Say what you will about him, and Lord knows I’ve said plenty, but he is EATING. When you got enough money to convince Hollywood you can be an action star and play in Star Trek movies just ’cause, you can only hate on him but so much. He’s a walking example of how no matter how racist Hollywood can be, they love money more than they hate Black people.

          • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

            Hollywood has like 3 6′+ black dudes, Tyler bout to cash in on all them roles

      • Val

        I hate TP too. Sigh.

        • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

          But who are these people down voting this comment? lol what?

          • Val

            TP stans. Lol

            • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

              I bet they walk around neighborhoods on Saturdays asking people if they know who Jehovah is.

              • Val

                I don’t know, I think they might be too busy constantly go0gling TP to see who’s talking about him and then trolling those sites.

                • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                  Clearly. No sooner had you finished typing that up you got a down vote lol I shall revel in these down votes today though. They shall cover me and protect me. Ye though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no down vote from TP’s worshippers.

              • Discolored Nigerian

                *mortuary bound*!!

              • Rachmo

                **makes a harsh bark laughing sound at work**

      • Sigma_Since 93

        Hey Daughter!!!

        Hate him or love him, you gotta respect that TP has the amassed the clout we wished Spike Lee would have.

        • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

          Grand daddy!!!

          Down thread I low key praised him for his business acumen. Still, fugg him for painting us with a broad brush and no complexities.

          • Jay

            “Still, fugg him for painting us with a broad brush and no complexities.”

            Well said.

      • Cheekie Mae

        This really irks me, too. We’re so pigeonholed into one type that even films that are not even in the same zip code of style is compared to TP. Like… why is Spike Lee the “not” TP. You would hear of Woody Allen being mentioned in the same article as Apatow every dayum time you look up. Because they have different styles, and each are respected as such. We don’t get that same respect by a long shot.

        • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

          TP has every right to tell his story but when his story is becoming the “norm” for white America I take issue with that.

          Neither of my grandmothers is running around cursing people out, smacking people with fire arms, going to jail, etc. They are the quintessential black matriarchs of my family. I don’t have a grip of cousins in jail, on narcotics, etc. I don’t go to church every Sunday and no one in my family is pulling out rosaries and Holy water trying to force me to become a regular patron of the church. Christianity is NOT a mainstay in every black family. TP does more harm than good to the film industry in my opinion. He’s predictable. He’s one dimensional. He’s very flat. Anyone can make a film with a sassy black matriarch and use slap stick comedy to get some cheap laughs. TP is expendable. I’m ready for his demise.

          • BlueWave1

            “TP has every right to tell his story but when his story is becoming the “norm” for white America I take issue with that.”

            I that Perry’s fault or white America’s fault? Why should Tyler leave money on the table because some white people have a limited view of blacks? Their limited view of blacks was there long before Tyler Perry ever did his first chitlin’ circuit play.

    • Val

      It’s not on Netflix anymore?

      • minxbrie

        Sadly no. I’ve checked both Canadian and US Netflix and I don’t trust any of these “Sign up for free to view!” websites.

        • Val

          I just looked for it on a film indie film websites and Hulu. I couldn’t find it. Although it might be on Hulu premium.

          • minxbrie

            I guess I’ll just have to keep searching, thank you for the help though Val!

            • Sahel

              Do you have a TOR browser

              • minxbrie

                Ermmm… what is that?

                • Sahel

                  Type in VIOOZ and find your movie

                • kidvideo

                  Just buy it off Amazon…used copy can’t be that expensive.

    • Cheekie Mae

      “White characters are afforded nuances while Black characters are reinforced stereotypes.”
      THIS is the problem, indeed. It’s actually why I tried the “replace” method. Because if the script stayed exactly the same, the Black character would have nuances. And it would be realistic. Because we ain’t no monolith, blah blah blah.
      As for Tyler Perry-esque characters… I don’t even knock those because obviously there is an audience that relates to those characters. The problem is not that he exists (because he’s the buffoonery director just as say Judd Apatow is….), it’s that he’s basically our only option. He’s not our only representaive. Neither is Spike Lee, Malcolm Lee, etc. We have a wide range of black storytellers out there and the fact they can’t see the light of day is beyond disturbing.

  • Val

    In a vacuum, yes, films starring Black casts and films starring White casts should be judged on their merits as opposed to the ethnicity of the actors. But, that would ignore every other thing in this country (and the world). So-called race is how the power structure maintains its power. So, it’s important to ‘other’ non-White everything. That is unless the majority population decides to appropriate something.

    Black films are Black films for the same reason everything else we do is labelled Black no matter how many other people do the same. So, Hollywood is just continuing to play the same game America has always played.

    I’m not sure what the solution needs to be. Or even if there needs to be a solution. I mean, what’s wrong with a Black film? And, if some or most White people have no interest in Black films then oh well, too bad for them. The truth of the truth is, I at this point have very little interest in seeing most films starring White casts. Although my lack of interest probably stems from an overall resentment of the racial dynamics in this country and constantly being bombarded with White imagery.

    • WIP

      I have rejected films because of what I perceived was a blandness of the case and/or storyline (a bunch of white people doing white people sh**). I would say being “mainstream” could have negative effect as well. Directors, writers catering to the mainstream have to do more to be different.

      • Cheekie Mae

        I think more times than not, a truly successful mainstream film isn’t necessarily writing for what they believe the audience wants to see, but writing what’s real to them… and then realizing a lot of folks can relate. That is like… screenwriting 101 for us… they drill in our heads not to write what you think is popular. Because the audience can tell when that happens. They’re smarter than folks think.

    • Cheekie Mae

      I’m not a proponet of ignoring race entirely… that solves nothing. My overall point is that belittling our stories to nothing BUT race is condescending. We have stories that trascend race… we’re not just our race. We’re not JUST anything. We have a wide range of stories to tell just as anyone else.

      • Val

        I absolutely agree. I think most Black people would love to see us in all sorts of genres. But, I don’t want us to loose ourselves in the process of branching out into other genres. There is this whole conversation that goes on about Black actors being able to step into roles written for White folks. But, somehow that conversation is never in reverse, saying that White folks can step into roles written for us. My point, I don’t think we have to lose our “Blackness” in order to explore other types of films genres.

        • Cheekie Mae

          Agreed, we most certainly don’t.