It amuses me when films that seek to spit on (i.e. marginalizes, invokes blackface, involves blatant White supremacy and colourism, uses hateful stereotypical archetypes for characters that are people of colour, or completely erases the existence of Black women etc.) the lives of people of colour FLOP financially. It’s hilarious—when they can’t even break even for the costs spent to create the film. For all of the criticism that capitalism rightfully deserves, when the market speaks and advises that NO, we are NOT supporting this film, I laugh. It’s my civic duty.
Like I tweeted yesterday:
They won’t stop making bigoted films. You, however, can stop seeing them. Speak w/ the $ in this capitalist society. Support other films.— Trudy (@thetrudz) October 28, 2012
I mean these folks already told you that money = speech. So “speak out” against bullshit ass films. Don’t see em. Tell friends not to go.— Trudy (@thetrudz) October 28, 2012
Now, obviously there are times where money should NOT be even remotely connected to speech. Politics, for example. We’ve seen what that has done. So no, that was not my angle with those tweets. (Further, some propaganda…*ahem*…I mean films, are NOT made for financial profit. They are made for other capital. Social capital. To control and destroy. I recognize this factor, where NO humor lies.) I am speaking specifically about media/art that DAMAGES us. We are NOT required to spend money on this. We CAN support quality media. Like one of my favorite activists and writers, Son of Baldwin wrote earlier:
No. Actually, I DON’T go see movies JUST BECAUSE Black people may be starring in them. WHO wrote the story matters; the CONTENT of the story matters; the DEPICTIONS matter.
This speaks to something more important. NO, simply having a Black person (or other person of colour) in a project without regard to history, context and quality is NOT enough. Marginalized representation is NOT better than invisibility. In fact, it is a form of invisibility. If anyone REFUSES to allow you to just be or be portrayed as who you are, and insists that you solely exist as their negative, limiting interpretation, they do not see you. They do not see you. But see, Ralph Ellison already tried to tell us this. Some of us didn’t listen though.