Because in the age of a Trump presidency, Dylan Roof and #BlackLivesMatter, white power fantasies are exactly what we need.
A gent by the name of Josh Inman said it best, “Everybody wants diversity…….until it happens.”
As many of you may know, in addition to being a published author, an equal rights activist, and a nerd seraph, I’m also a pop culture analyst.
Whether it’s comic books, video games, blockbuster films, or music albums, it is absolutely paramount that we critique our media if for no other reason than to analyze its influence in molding minds and shaping society.
Originally published at Fangs for the Fantasy
A gent by the name of Malcolm X once said, “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”
Many people often wonder how I’m able to reconcile being a spec fic author with being a social justice activist. Malcolm X’s quote is that very reason.
Because while the media has the power to control the minds of the masses, it’s also a platform to hold a mirror and expose inconvenient truths such as bigotry to a society who is still plugged into the proverbial Matrix of privilege and institutional oppression.
But in order share the truth, marginalized artists have to make many decisions that can play an impact on our careers, our art and its potential impact on society.
In the age of #BlackLivesMatter and the Trump administration, bigotry and institutional oppression have been front burner topics more than ever before on social media and in 3D-space.
Needless to say freedom fighters such as myself are speaking our truths and shining light on the darkness that is racism and other forms of bigotry.
Unfortunately when you tell the truth and shame the devil, the devil will move heaven and hell to try to silence you.
This has been an amazing ten months for Black cinematic culture. We had Beyoncé’s Lemonade in April 2016. Donald Glover’s Atlanta and Ava Duvernay’s Queen Sugar both premiered on September 6, 2016. Luke Cage’s entire season broke the Internet on September 30. Barry Jenkins’s Best Picture Oscar winning Moonlight dropped October 2016. So did Issa Rae’s Insecure. And then the wicked mind of Jordan Peele unleashed Get Out, this past weekend. There were other films, television shows, videos and the like, but damn. Look at this trajectory. It would be so easy to label this a Black Cinematic Renaissance, but I don’t think I want to be that optimistic.
This will be a collective review between Edward Hong and Josephine Chang. First, Edward provides a bite sized non-spoiler review for Jordan Peele’s Get Out while Josephine will go in deep to discuss the film in full detail. So for those wary of spoilers, you are safe!
A great bard by the name of Toni Morrison said it best, “I’m always annoyed about why black people have to bear the brunt of everybody else’s contempt. If we are not totally understanding and smiling, suddenly we’re demons.”
A few years back I had a major Come To Jesus moment while promoting my debut novel, Hollowstone.
In a scene in Hidden Figures that is all too familiar for Black women viewers, or really anyone from a historically marginalized group, Taraji P. Henson’s character Katherine Johnson rushes to enter the NASA control room where she has just handed off crucial calculations for astronaut John Glenn’s safe return from orbit, and has the door summarily slammed in her face. The camera lingers on Henson’s profile, as she grapples yet again with the devastating knowledge that although she may be a useful “computer” for spitting out numbers that may make missions successful and even save lives, she is still not seen as fully human in the eyes of her peers and superiors. Indeed, in Henson’s capable hands, viewers ourselves experience the physical and emotional pain of being barred from entering the halls of power for absurd reasons beyond one’s control — in this case, race and gender.
At this point, it’s damn near impossible to keep up with the onslaught of Netflix original programming. Along with all of the film and series content, the tentacles of the entertainment Kraken inevitably started reaching out for more international collaborations. Around Thanksgiving we were treated to the Brazilian series 3%. In terms of originality, it doesn’t score high: another variation on the theme of a future world where young adults do what they have to do to survive.
It does have its points of deviation though from say The Hunger Games and Divergent with a touch of Elysium. Brazil has had a long and appalling history of income inequality, which I’m sure is where the idea of the tagline came from: “In a dystopian future there is a clear divide between the rich and poor, but when a person turns 20, they have the opportunity to cross the divide.” As implied, by free will all the candidates get to try to make it from the miserable mainland to the utopian island Mar Alto; that looks kind of like Recife to Fernando de Noronha on the map. The tests they undergo are less physical and more psychological until they are whittled down to the fabled 3%. The setting, albeit futuristic, feels closer to present as we undergo our own survival in the collapse.