Hollywood’s Irrational Allergy to ‘Black’ Films

Roland Martin, CNN, January 14, 2012

Who knew that 70 years after African-American pilots had to work hard to overcome the prejudices of whites in the U.S. armed services, and the nation having its first black commander-in-chief, the men known as the Tuskegee Airmen would still be doing battle with an entrenched institution of white power brokers, all based on the color of their skin.

Many of you may have seen the flashy commercials advertising “Red Tails,” the major motion picture that chronicles the amazing and true story of true American heroes: black pilots who went overseas in World War II to fight for the freedom and democracy that they could not enjoy at home.

The film opens January 20 in theaters nationwide, and for its producer, George Lucas, it has been a 23-year odyssey.

You would think that someone considered one of the most powerful players in Hollywood, a man who has made billions with blockbusters such as the “Indiana Jones” and “Star Wars” franchises, would have been able to get “Red Tails” approved without any hesitation. Yet many African-Americans have long known that in Tinseltown, the color of your skin—or that of the people in the story you want to tell—often falls victim to racial pigeonholing.

{snip}

When Lucas approached the major Hollywood studios about backing “Red Tails,” he was told: Thanks, but no thanks.

“There’s no major white roles in it at all . . . I showed it to all of them and they said no, we don’t know how to market a movie like this,” Lucas told Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.

Let’s juxtapose that against some other facts:

—In 2008, 69 million people voted for Barack Hussein Obama as president of the United States;

—The most talked-about woman in America over the past 25 years was Oprah Winfrey, who redefined the talk show genre;

—Which athlete has the top-selling jersey in the NBA? LeBron James;

—Who is considered the top-grossing actor? Samuel L. Jackson;

—Arguably the greatest entertainer of all time is Michael Jackson;

—The greatest golfer in the world? Tiger Woods;

—The most dominating players in women’s tennis? Venus and Serena Williams;

—The top singer today? Beyonce;

—And hip-hop, an outgrowth of black culture, is a worldwide phenomenon. And 80% of the consumers of hip-hop music in America are white kids.

So whites all across America have come to accept African-Americans in a variety of public media, but Hollywood continues to want to tell us that somehow seeing blacks on the big screen is anathema to their values.

Maybe what no one in Hollywood wants to own up to is that in many ways, it is a close-minded society where it’s hard to find African-Americans in positions of true power.

{snip}

Part of Hollywood’s problem is that when looking at a movie that has, like “Red Tails,” a mostly black cast, it is cast as a “black” film.

“Red Tails” isn’t a black movie. It’s a war movie. It’s an action movie. It’s a story of true American heroes overcoming great odds to succeed. That was the conclusion of Alabama head football coach, Nick Saban, who showed the film to his team the night before they demolished LSU for the BCS national title.

{snip}

George Lucas has clearly expressed his fears with “Red Tails,” hoping it opens huge so it will send a message to Hollywood that a big-budget action film with lots of black folks can be successful. The downside? If it fails, it will be seen as a failure of ALL black action films.

{snip}

If so, maybe the libs in Hollywood will finally realize that great stories, when sold as such, and not as a “black” film, can bring people of all stripes to the movie theater.

There used to be a time when whites could sit downstairs, and if blacks were allowed in the movie theater, had to sit upstairs. Today, it’s clear that such a racial divide is no longer in place in the seats, but now on the screen, and that’s a damn shame.

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  • Which athlete has the top-selling jersey in the NBA? LeBron James

    The NBA’s players are overwhelmingly black.  It would be hard for a black man not to have the top selling jersey.  And James doesn’t have the best of reputations these days, with is taking his talents to South Beach and all.

    Arguably the greatest entertainer of all time is Michael Jackson

    Yes, that’s very arguable.  Gotta dominate in more than one medium to be the “greatest entertainer of all time.”  Hint:  Bob Hope, Al Jolson.

    The greatest golfer in the world? Tiger Woods

    Certainly not now, and probably not the best golfer of all time.  Jack Nicklaus has 18 majors compared to Tiger’s 14, and more than that, Nicklaus has 19 second-place finishes in majors, which makes in aggregate almost a decade full of 1st or 2nd place finishes in majors.  Jack had more strenuous competition, too, including in the early part of his career, Arnold Palmer.  Force me to bet the farm on match play between Tiger in his prime and Jack in his prime, and I’m betting Jack.

    The top singer today? Beyonce

    Oh no, don’t tell that to all the Justin Bieber cultists on Twitter.

    And hip-hop, an outgrowth of black culture, is a worldwide phenomenon.
    And 80% of the consumers of hip-hop music in America are white kids.

    80% is way too high.  I’ve heard and quoted 70%, but I’m even having a problem believing that.  Even if it is true, it’s young whites, not mature adult whites, who are consuming the garbage.  They’re probably not much interested in a movie like this.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, all those “best”, “greatest”, “finest”, “most popular” attributes directed toward a bunch of forgettable black folks made me laugh.  Who will ever care about these nonentities even twenty years from now?

  • Anonymous

    —Who is considered the top-grossing actor? Samuel L. Jackson
    What? By who?  Jet?  I seriously doubt Samuel L Jackson, who plays exactly the same character in every movie I’ve ever seen,  is the top grossing actor in the world.  

    Nor do I believe that white kids buy 80% of rap music.   In fact every time a black brings it up the percentage seems to increase.

  • Just take a good look at the release of ATLAS SHRUGGED, Part 1. 

    For those of you who know the book well, a certain character,  Eddie Willers, the assistant to the main character,  Dagny Taggart,  is stated AT LEAST 3 times to have blonde hair and blue eyes. I know, I found 3 places where he is described. 

    BUT, in the recent movie, he is a  very DARK Black man. Why? Well, I having family currently in the movie business, have been told that EVERY SINGLE motion picture to day MUST have a black actor in a “leading” role or there will be consequences.  Hmm. 

    The producers of Atlas Shrugged, Part 1 HAD to cast a black in the film and they choose that character to race-shift.

    Where was the protest? NONE. Imagine the making of a  movie about Martin Luther King Blvd, Jr.  Imagine if they have a WHITE actor play him or Jesse the Jackson. The Africans would rise up in vicious righteousness.  Whites would run and hide. But when WE are forced to totally change the race of a character in the #2 Best selling book of all time,  we go along like the defeated people we are.

    This is why Abraham Lincoln wanted the deportation of all  Africans after the war. He knew as did millions of white people, that there would be nothing but hell for white people if the Africans remained in our nation.  Well, we have yet to pay that hell.

  • Just take a good look at the release of ATLAS SHRUGGED, Part 1. 

    For those of you who know the book well, a certain character,  Eddie Willers, the assistant to the main character,  Dagny Taggart,  is stated AT LEAST 3 times to have blonde hair and blue eyes. I know, I found 3 places where he is described. 

    BUT, in the recent movie, he is a  very DARK Black man. Why? Well, I having family currently in the movie business, have been told that EVERY SINGLE motion picture to day MUST have a black actor in a “leading” role or there will be consequences.  Hmm. 

    The producers of Atlas Shrugged, Part 1 HAD to cast a black in the film and they choose that character to race-shift.

    Where was the protest? NONE. Imagine the making of a  movie about Martin Luther King Blvd, Jr.  Imagine if they have a WHITE actor play him or Jesse the Jackson. The Africans would rise up in vicious righteousness.  Whites would run and hide. But when WE are forced to totally change the race of a character in the #2 Best selling book of all time,  we go along like the defeated people we are.

    This is why Abraham Lincoln wanted the deportation of all  Africans after the war. He knew as did millions of white people, that there would be nothing but hell for white people if the Africans remained in our nation.  Well, we have yet to pay that hell.

  • Just take a good look at the release of ATLAS SHRUGGED, Part 1. 

    For those of you who know the book well, a certain character,  Eddie Willers, the assistant to the main character,  Dagny Taggart,  is stated AT LEAST 3 times to have blonde hair and blue eyes. I know, I found 3 places where he is described. 

    BUT, in the recent movie, he is a  very DARK Black man. Why? Well, I having family currently in the movie business, have been told that EVERY SINGLE motion picture to day MUST have a black actor in a “leading” role or there will be consequences.  Hmm. 

    The producers of Atlas Shrugged, Part 1 HAD to cast a black in the film and they choose that character to race-shift.

    Where was the protest? NONE. Imagine the making of a  movie about Martin Luther King Blvd, Jr.  Imagine if they have a WHITE actor play him or Jesse the Jackson. The Africans would rise up in vicious righteousness.  Whites would run and hide. But when WE are forced to totally change the race of a character in the #2 Best selling book of all time,  we go along like the defeated people we are.

    This is why Abraham Lincoln wanted the deportation of all  Africans after the war. He knew as did millions of white people, that there would be nothing but hell for white people if the Africans remained in our nation.  Well, we have yet to pay that hell.

  • B

    Roland Martin is just trying to find some new racism to report on. It’s called job security.
    This story is just more of the typical CNN liberal racial propaganda they put forth on a daily basis.

    The one and only thing that matters to Hollywood is profit. If they thought that film would make money they would not care at at all if every actor in it was black.

  • Anonymous

    people need to boycott Hollywood and not see movies anyway, it just promotes the worst moral degeneracy of society. The sooner it bankrupts the better

    • Anonymous

      I stopped going to movies years ago and I don’t watch many on DVD.

      I got tired of the ‘hidden messages’; the black character who more logically should have been white, the ubiquitous preachy monologue by a character about some alleged historical injustice,  unreal inter-racial relationships where no one seems to notice race UNLESS they’re a racist in which this fact is pounded into the minds of the audience.

      Most films (plays, novels) present and past  have incorporated social propaganda.

      • Anonymous

        That is why I like netflix. Lots of series, classic movies, foreign movies, etc… No need to EVER subject yourself to unwanted propaganda. On the very rare occasion that I select a movie that DOES have unwanted elements I just click the back button and choose another.

    • Anonymous

      Oh?  I had not known that watching “Moneyball” made me into a degenerate.  Maybe it’s time for this absurd anti-Hollywood meme to be discarded.  

  • Anonymous

    They always screw around with the movies.  White characters are always changed.  Samuel L. Jacksaon as Nick Fury.  In G.I. Joe , the Ripcord character, a redheaded character, is played by Marlon Wayans.  In Thor, the character of the “whitest” god , Heimdel, is played by a black guy.  In I am Legend, Will Smith plays the leading white  character from the book.  In the new Conan movie, you have a non white playing the original white role. In  Dolphin Tale, Morgan freeman plays the Dr. role, but the real doctors were white. Etc. Etc.

    Then they make a movie like this. Nobody wants to see it or fund it. It is made from liberal white guilt.  It is a mythical  tale used to hero worship blacks.  As I have said before, it is propoganda.  Why must whites fund black propoganda?

  • Anonymous

    When is the NAACP going to fund “The Jared Taylor Story”? Taylor could be played by Morgan Freeman or Eminem.  In this hollywood version, Taylor starts out as a brainwashed hick from the south, a former klansman. He hates all non whites.  But through a life changing encounter, he sees that his “racism”  is wrong. Maybe he meets the “magical black negro” ,Like in the shawshank redemption. He overcomes his white hate and white privilage, and starts American Renaissance. An Organization  that promotes diversity and multiculturalism to dumb, inbred, mouth breathing  whites.  Much better than “The Help”.

    Ofcourse this would come with the label, “based on a true story”.  It would win an Oscar for best Drama.

  • I am surprized that the article did not mention Tyler Perry, who has been the most successful Black filmmaker. Forbes Magazine named him the highest paid man in entertainment in 2011 earning 130 million. A lot of  so called progressive Blacks see Perry’s films as stereotypical presentations of Blacks. But the majority of his fans are Black church going women.

  • Anonymous

    I dunno…that article smacks of BLACK SUPREMACY to me!!!

  • Anonymous

    The list of black bests is selective and more opinion than fact. The author is only speaking of contemporary figures of which he is aware.
     
    It would appear that Mr. Lucas got the free publicity he wanted. Yet another myth becomes fact and spreads like wildfire in the black media.
     
    “Red Tails” isn’t a black movie. It’s a war movie. It’s an action movie. It’s a story of true American heroes overcoming great odds to succeed. That was the conclusion of Alabama head football coach, Nick Saban, who showed the film to his team the night before they demolished LSU for the BCS national title.
     
    Red Tails is a black movie since the story is about blacks with a large black cast in leading roles. Blacks will certainly be drawn to the film for those two reasons.

    As I said on the previous post, black films are a niche market. They largely appeal to 12-13% of the US population. Any decision not to make this film by a studio was only because it was expensive to make and will either lose money or make a small profit.

  • Anonymous

    George Lucas, Hollywood outsider going against the grain of commercialism for the sake of artisitic integrity.

    Right. Tell me another one.

    By the way, I know Roland Martin is an off-the-charts insane race hustler, but isn’t suggesting that fans of hip-hop are a potential audience for this film even a bit much even for him?

  • Bardon Kaldian

    I’ll put in a few words to add a European perspective. AFAIK, apart from golf & basketball (which hardly anyone watches here, at least American scene): the male entertainers people here watch the most are Damon, Wahlberg, DiCaprio, Clooney, Penn and a few others. Will Smith is a clown, and only black actor that commands some respect is Laurence Fishbourne.  As for music- hardly anyone listens to rap, hip-hop, whatever… Michael Jackson is boring & inflated hysteria over his death has sizzled out. Another bore, this time female- Madonna Ciccione Ritchie.

  • Anonymous

    Not Vietnamese. He’s a Thai-coon.

  • Anonymous

    Get lost, troll. No one will make a high-budget movie for 12.6% of the population unless they are being threatened by a lawsuit.

  • Anonymous

    I’m still waiting for the return of “Amos and Andy” reruns.

  • Anonymous

    No, was he dressed as God this time?

  • Anonymous

    Yeah. I saw it. With lame, neutered, Ricky Gervais. And ofcourse, I could barely stand “the help” related awards and sitting them in the front row, how PC. And the Morgan Freeman worship was odd, they never mentioned his sleeping with his granddaughter.  I was hoping that Roman Polansky would give him the award. But all that you got was the incoherent Sydney Poitier. I doubt Sydney knew he was there.

    • Yes, I too was annoyed with the obsequious “brown-nosing” at the Golden Globes.  I have enjoyed many of Morgan Freeman’s performances but they all seem to be variations of the same role: the wise, magnanimous, fortitudinous black man who is ever-superior to those around him.  That doesn’t demonstrate much of a range as far as acting goes.  And the sychophantic treatment of “The Help.”  Please.

  • Anonymous

    I would say that anyone who went to see Brokeback Mountain didn’t go to prove a point; they went because they had taken leave of their senses.

    • Patriot4evermore

      I was watching tv one night, and, skipping channels, happened upon a “cowboy” movie.  I yelled “What the he11” when I saw a scene I never saw in a John  Wayne film.   I, of course turned that nasty Brokeback Mountain off as fast as I could before my kid could see anything.

  • all 5 of Tyler Perry’s films opened at #1 or 2 at the box office. All of his movies have made money, which not too many directors can say. Obviously, he must have a sizable white audience that watches his films in order for them to be successful.

  • Anonymous

    The movie Red Tails is getting poor reviews from the critics – usually 2 stars or 2 1/2 stars. I am pleasantly surprised that the MSM critics have freedom to give this movie bad reviews as I would think that the powers that be would demand cheer leading for an all Black film celebrating Black heroes who fought the evil RACIST NAZIS and over-came racism in the US military.

    Check out the reviews for yourself:

    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/red-tails/

  • Anonymous

    Apparently Redtails, the George Lucas movie did very well at the box office this week taking in 35 million dollars. This is much more that the expected 15-18million.  

    • Anonymous

      Which once again proves P.T. Barnum right: “There is a sucker born every minute.”

  • Anonymous

    Yep.