12 Years a Slave Opens Today- I Ain't Going to See It -"Helplessness, Grievance and Martyrdom" AGAIN!
In case you've been under a rock, the Black web-viewing public knows that Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave Opens today. There have been no Red Tail-like declarations that if we don't go see the movie Hollywood will never make another movie featuring a Black character EVER - thank you movie marketers!
I'm a fan of many of the actors in the movie, but generally speaking I prefer to read books about the brutality of slavery, not hand over $10 to be "entertained" by it. So I will probably at some point in the next 12 months read the book that the film is based on.
Movie critic Armond White wrote a read-worthy review for the New York Film Critics Circle. No. Really, it's probably more entertaining that the movie. And he weaves American history with cinematic and literary history in between his zingers.
Depicting slavery as a horror show, McQueen has made the most unpleasant American movie since William Friedkin’s1973 The Exorcist. That’s right, 12 Years a Slave belongs to the torture porn genre with Hostel, The Human Centipede and the Saw franchise but it is being sold (and mistaken) as part of the recent spate of movies that pretend “a conversation about race.” The only conversation this film inspires would contain howls of discomfort. Armond White.
He compared it to the Human Centipede! I Luv him! And then he zings Henry Louis Gates ( The High Commissioner of Misogyny Enabling).
For commercial distributor Fox Searchlight, 12 Years a Slave appears at an opportune moment when film culture;five years into the Obama administration–indulges stories about Black victimization such as Precious, The Help, The Butler, Fruitvale Station and Blue Caprice. (What promoter Harvey Weinstein has called “The Obama Effect.”) This is not part of social or historical enlightenment–the too-knowing race-hustlers behind 12 Years a Slave, screenwriter John Ridley and historical advisor Henry Louis Gates, are not above profiting from the misfortunes of African-American history as part of their own career advancement. Armond White
Some of the most racist people I know are bowled over by this movie. They may have forgotten Roots, never seenSankofa or Nightjohn, disliked Amistad, dismissed Beloved and even decried the violence in The Passion of the Christ, yet 12 Years a Slave lets them congratulate themselves for “being aghast at slavery.”Armond White
This is the point where I remind you that Black people responded to slavery in many different ways. And our experiences weren't limited to Hollywood's narrow vision. African slaves were not all helpless martyrs.
Here is a trailer fro "Belle" about Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay the daughter of a British Naval Officer and a slave who was raised by an English Lord.
We don't yet have a Harriet Tubman movie about her time as a spy and a military operative. Her mission to disrupt Conferderate supply lines on the Combahee River would make amazine movie. Or stories about women like Mary Elizabeth Bowser and Mary Touvestre. Hollywood isn't going to make those movies- that means Black women are going to have to.
If I see one more Black male director create one more movie whose backbone is the brutilization of a Black woman's body- We get it y'all! It's so much easier for you to torture US than to torture yourselves.