Originally Posted @ We Are Respectable Negroes — While we wait for the epic sonning that Tom Brady, the Hooded One, and Josh McDaniels are about to put on Mr. Tebow this evening (that trio sounds like a country rock group, no?) here is something to pass the time.

There is a good conversation on Clutch magazine’s website about the interracial gender politics of Red Tails, George Lucas’upcoming Tuskegee airmen movie. One of the primary tenets for those who study the politics of popular culture is that audiences (or “publics”) receive, process, interpret, and circulate ideas on their own terms. Of course, there aren’t any number of corollaries and complications to this argument. But, the basic idea is that populism “matters”; once a “text” is out among the public, part of our work as critics is understanding the “why’s” and “how’s” of their investment (or not) in it.

I reviewed Red Tails months ago. There, I made mention of one aspect of the story–the romance between a black airman and a white Italian woman–that I thought was superfluous to the plot and could easily be left on the cutting room floor. I did not read this plot point as subverting the overall story, or as being deeply symbolic of the state of the family and love relationships in the African American community in the twenty-first century. Moreover, there were many love and sexual relationships between black GI’s and European women in all theaters of World War Two. Given the “historical” nature of Red Tails, a wink to this fact would not be out of order. Ultimately, my observation was based on efficiency in story telling. It was not some deep aversion to the idea that a young man far from home would find comfort in the arms of a beautiful woman.

Populism can be empowering. It can also be confusing, distracting, and lead to any number of interpretations–some of these are cogent and compelling, others much less so. What strikes me the most about the comments on Clutch magazine’s site is not how some readers (in a vacuum not having seen the movie) are making impassioned claims, but how short the leap is from Red Tails the World War Two action film, to “black women in Hollywood are misrepresented all of the time and hated by the mass media,” to “black woman are unloved by black men and Red Tails reinforces this fact,” to “Red Tails should be boycotted because there are no black female love interests.”

It would seem that there is much pain in parts of the black community, where the seemingly trivial and benign are interpreted as the significant, the poignant, and the meaningful.Thus, I must ask: Are matters really this dire?

Originally Posted @ We Are Respectable Negroes

Like Us On Facebook Follow Us On Twitter
  • Tjb

    I understand the disappointment. However, I feel that the boycotting will only send a message saying that black movies are unsuccessful at the box office. Plus if the entire cast was black, it would labeled as a “Black Movie” in which only black people will go see it. I believe George Lucas was trying to create a more diverse audience. However, he could have gone about it in a different way.

    • DivineBrown

      And it it were an “all black” movie what exactly is the problem? We’re being told not to look at race. It’s implied that others don’t look at race and we’re the only trivial ones who do. So whether it’s an all black movie or an all white movie…shouldn’t both do well if “One love, one heart” was really happening? And if we agreed other people only support 1.)themselves on screen and 2.)what they want, then this whole discussion of black women “boycotting” something that 1.)doesn’t show them on screen and 2.)that they don’t want is really the height of hypocrisy. It’s amazing how trained people are without knowing it. If one can admit “others” don’t support all black casts then how can they get on black women for refusing to support people who don’t want to see them on screen? If we have to “get over things” shouldn’t everyone else? They constantly put us in this position to war over our depictions or lack thereof and we get shamed for our REACTIONS.

      In a nutshell, we’re being told to accept less than what everyone does or be seen as (insert whatever negative here) for it. Big LOL. Not *I* says the cat…

    • Chrissy

      Exactly, Divine Brown!

      “Other” people wont see it…what does that tell you?

  • Mwatuanghi

    Thank you for being able to distinguish possibly superfluous plot points and images that reinforce or promote stereotypical imagery! People want to sanitize history so much that it sickens me. If that’s who those guys were with, then it should be shown; it’s not an anomaly to find interracial relationships developing while being stationed in other areas- that’s how my parents met.

    • DivineBrown

      And it’s certainly not abnormal for WHITE men to have gone EVERYWHERE during times of war and mated, procreated, and bastardized indigenous people, and yet, surprisingly, those stories aren’t told. Truth is truth right? Let’s tell it ALL. Not once, but over and over. Even when it’s NOT truth. Let’s tell it. Hmmm. Oh but wait, next up is the “taboo” excuse. Oh lord. Until, they FINALLY break down and tell you that people(especially white women) just don’t want to see a black woman being loved and appreciated on screen. This is right before they go on to tell YOU(black woman) that YOU should be fine with not being casted and the white woman getting even MORE praises for stuff she DIDN’T do. And even though your womanhood and femininity is shitted on. The black female youth is never shown people will crawl to fire to win them over, still be as feminine as the white woman.

      Always a defense or rationalizing the marginalization of black women. It’s so funny how instinctive it is for people to do that. Everything is always somehow “ok”.

      LMAO. White men and every other ethnic women should be in this movie. NOW THAT IS ACTUAL EVENTS. More accurate than this malarki being pushed.


    • AJ

      So agree, Divine!

    • AJ

      @Mwatuanghi: “If that’s who those guys were with, then it should be shown; ”

      Congrats to your parents,…

      But the point is that’s NOT who those guys were with.

      “Those guys”, the Tuskegee Airmen in the movie were with BW.

      Doesn’t matter anyway.L Unfortunately, Lucas and McGruder will make millions anyway. So sad, too bad. That’s life.

  • NY’s Finest

    Black women or not judging from the previews that I’ve seen. the movie doesn’t look like it’s going to be any good so I won’t be seeing it for that reason.

    • malik hemmans

      agreed it look like another movie about blacks overcoming and i only see about 2 talented actors and plus I’m sick if seeing r&b singers and rappers in film they CANNOT ACT

    • EssDot323

      Everything that NY’s Finest and Malik said. I’m not interested in seeing entertainers, athletes, and sub-par actors in films.

  • Nik

    Sometimes…I just want to watch a movie because it looks interesting to me. Simple as that. I understand and enjoy dialogue about certain things in film and television, but I really just want to see the film because I WANT TO.

    If you don’t want to see the film for whatever reason, fine. Don’t see it.

    And someone brought up a post about this from What About Our Daughters on Tumblr. I’m a black woman and I don’t care for that site, but I’ll just…stop my comment there lol

  • LemonNLime

    I think it is also important to note that just because I don’t want to spend my money to see it doesn’t mean I am telling others not to. It is your money, spend it how you want. I am not boycotting anything, I never saw those crappy Twilight movies, that doesn’t mean I was boycotting them. I am just not wasting my money on a movie that doesn’t serve my interest or people that look like me. If that is boycotting, fine.