On January 15th Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Pimp Smacked Black America. And this time they Pimp Smacked Black folks with a Pinky ring and powder. The 2015 Oscars will be the first Academy Awards since 1998 to have no Black nominees in acting categories whatsoever.
With a 99% fresh rating from critics on rottentomatoes.com Selma directed by Ava DuVernay was expected to receive multiple Oscar nominations for acting. However, the film got no nominations at all in acting categories. The only nomination the film got was for Best Picture.
And this is in spite of the clout of wealthy Black producers Oprah Winfrey and Lee Daniels.
Many are outraged. Some like Al Sharpton are crying racism.
But as Shawn sees it, this is par for the course with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The White Liberals in Hollywood are walking lock step with rest of the White Supremacists in Ferguson Missouri and Staten Island New York. Making a clear statement to the world that Black people do not matter to them.
I thought the message was clear to Black folks when Tina Fey and Amy Poheler took a moment to go on a thinly veiled racist rant against Bill Cosby at the Golden Globes disguised as comedy. But it took the Oscar nominations for most of the Black masses to see the truth about how White Liberal Hollywood really feels about Black people.
What made this Pimp smack symbolic was that the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who announced the nominations was a Black woman and that the slight happened on Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday. It’s a powerful statement about the Academy’s true feelings about the artistic contributions of Black filmmakers.
The liberal White Supremacists in Hollywood are showing their true colors to Black people. But clueless Black folks still think they can march n’ protest, shuck n’ jive and blame n’ shame their way into their acceptance into their film industry.
Black Hollywood has just had their NIGGER moment. Only most of the Negroes in the Entertainment industry are too busy putting their heads in the sand to acknowledge it.
What’s incredibly illogical about the Selma Screwjob is how these same Sellouts like Lee Daniels and Oprah Winfrey expected Academy to just change course and reward a positive movie like Selma with acting nominations after spending the last 15 years degrading the image of Black people to get those previous Oscars. That’s backwards thinking as I see it.
Black people have been producing minstrel shows like Monster’s Ball, Precious, The Butler, Tyler Perry movies, Soul Plane, The Help, No Good Deed, Scandal, Black-ish, Empire and reality shows like Real Housewives and Sorority Sisters for fifteen straight years. And after that decade and a half of producing minstrel shows degrading the image of Black people to win those Academy awards these same Sellouts who tarnished the image of Black people automatically expected acting Oscar nominations from White people for a positive depiction of the Black experience like Selma?
That kind of thinking is as crazy as that Black Lives Matter Slogan these Negroes carry when they go out to March and protest at Eric Garner and Michael Brown rallies these days.
Black people, how can you expect White people to value the artistic work of talented Black directors like Ava DuVernay when Black producers like Lee Daniels, Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry have been presenting half-assed poorly done minstrel shows to the world as the standard for Black filmmaking for the past 15 years? How is the rest of the world supposed to believe that Black film matters when Black people THEMSELVES have dragged the craft of Black Filmmaking into the sewer by breathing new life into old stereotypes? What’s so special about a movie about Selma when we’ve had a decade and a half of Black folks buckdancing and cooning in similar Black period films like Precious, The Help, The Butler, and 12 Years a Slave?
The truth of the matter is even with a 99% fresh rating from RottenTomatoes.com the story of Selma wasn’t special from a cinematic perspective. How many Dr. King movies have we had in the last 40 years? How many Civil Rights period movies have we had in the last 40 years? Didn’t 12 Years a Slave win Best Picture last year? And didn’t we have Lee Daniels’ the Butler come out the same year as well?
One of the three questions a screenwriter like myself has to answer when they’re writing a screenplay is: Why should we CARE? And it’s hard to CARE about Selma from a creative standpoint. Yeah, we need films like this to teach Black history. But how about doing something truly CREATIVE? How about doing something DIFFERENT?
For all the talk about diversity from Al Sharpton, the media pundits, and even the Black female AMPAS president, there has been next to no diversity on the creative side of Black cinema over the last fifteen years. Black filmmakers like Lee Daniels, Oprah Winfrey, and Tyler Perry have been making the same kinds of movies over and over again.
The Black experience goes FAR past the Slavery and Civil Rights period films that Black folks and White liberals in Hollywood love showcasing. How about a film about Black Wall Street? A western about Black cowboys like Deadwood Dick or the REAL Lone Ranger? A film about Marcus Garvey that’s as epic as Malcolm X? A film about Crispus Attucks or Benjamin Banneker? A film with BLACK Egyptians? A film about Hannibal? An adaptation of a Black superhero like Static? Or let’s truly get out of the box and produce a Black Sci-fi or fantasy movie adapting something TRULY DIFFERENT like my Isis series books or the Temptation of John Haynes. ?
Plain and Simple Black Cinema has been BORING for the last 15 years. As the Black elite in Hollywood have made efforts to desecrate the image of Black people in the hopes of fast-tracking Oscars for themselves, the craft of Black film has FALLEN OFF. Instead of picking up where Spike Lee, Mario Van Peebles, Robert Townsend and the Hudlin Brothers left off in the 1990’s, with unique stories and fresh perspectives from the camera, Lee Daniels, Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry and Lee Daniels took the craft of Black film into the GUTTER.
Over the last 15 years most of the Black folks working in the film industry have gotten LAZY focusing more on box-office than art, craft, and story. And as a result of the financial success from bland romantic comedies, Tyler Perry coonfests, and period dramas, Black cinema have devolved into a series of bad movies with poor shots, uninspired to terrible acting, and horrible direction. Most Black movies aren’t getting nominated for Oscars because most Black movies today just aren’t any GOOD.
And when a truly exceptional Black film comes out like The Great Debaters, Pride, Black Dynamite, Night Catches Us, or I Will Follow, Black folks buying brands instead of STORIES REFUSE to support it.
The only difference between the movies I previously mentioned and Selma is that they don’t feature a story where Black people are shown as victims of White people or the racism of White people. So they don’t fit the narrative of the White liberals in Hollywood or the Race hustlers across the country. Again, how can Black folks ask for the Academy to make quality Black films matter to them when they don’t matter to Black people?
Black folks need to realize that in order for the rest of the world to see the value of their artistic works like film, they have to start seeing their value themselves. If the Black people producing images of Black people don’t love themselves enough to put the best images of themselves to the forefront, how can they expect the world to love what they produce?
Black People like me who value the work of other Black people don’t get upset when a White institution like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences does not acknowledge them. Because the White man’s Oscar is not our STANDARD for excellence and quality. No, we create work that meets our own standards for excellence and quality. For too many years Black people have been giving their power away to White Supremacists and working to meet their standard. It’s time we started taking it back. If India can have Bollywood, and Japan, and Latin American countries can have their own standard for films, then why can’t Black people establish one for themselves?
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