The film Red Tails comes out next week. The film has an all black (main) cast (Cuba Jr, Ne-Yo, Terrance Howard) and the film was also produced by George Lucas. It centers around a crew of African American pilots in a training program. They deal with the issue of segregation from their white pilots and how the black pilots were ground for most of the war.
Last week, while doing rounds of promotion for the film, George Lucas said how hard it was for him to get this film made. He tried years ago to get it made but nothing happened. Eventually he had to finance the entire film himself because studio just wouldn’t back a movie catered entirely to black audiences. Because like many ignorant people think, movies with women are only for women, movies with guns are only for men, and movies with black people are only for black people. I have many issues with this, and I probably have absolutely no ground to stand on with this issue, but it’s an issue and I have a tissue, so let’s go!
Lucas is not wrong as it is very hard to produce two types of films in Hollywood: one’s that star a majority of females and ones that star a majority of black people. He isn’t wrong. I mean, what was the last, truly, African-American movie you saw? And The Help does not count. The Help is a movie about black people, for white people. Nothing more. It let’s white people sympathize for African-Americans and it let’s them pretend, for 2 hours, that they understand the issues of race. And why? Because a white person HELPED the black people. I enjoyed The Help, I thought Viola Davis was outstanding, but The Help is the whitest movie I’ve seen in a long while. Tyler Perry movies aren’t actual movies and make a mockery of the African-American community. I’ve had this conversation with many people recently and my vote is still The Color Purple, which was made over 25 years ago. So, that’s where we’re at.
Hollywood has a lot of issues. They have issues with race and they have issues with sex. But by glorifying the moments where they try to be racially friendly (like when The Help gets a Best Picture nod) does not help the matter. It actually makes it worse. Rumor has it, President Obama will be hosting a viewing party for Red Tails. That’s great. For sure. And I get why he is doing so but why can’t it just be a film that people will go and see? No one had a hosting party for 50/50, you know what I’m trying to say? And why isn’t this movie being released during February? You know, during Black History month? At the end of the day it kind of makes Lucas seem more egotistical (if that is even possible). I’m not trying to break him down for producing this movie. That’s a great thing and I’m glad this is his passion project BUT imagine if HE himself were black and NOT George Lucas with all his Star Wars money, would this movie have been made? That’s the question because the biggest name with this film is the producer, who is a white guy.
At the end of the day it comes down to moments of segregation and classification. Audiences need to be directed to which film they have to see. That is why the word genre exists. People do not like the unknown, people are scared of the unknown. So by going around and telling us how hard it was to make a movie with an all black cast, about black issues, for black people, makes this movie seem like it’s only for black people. Is it for them? Is this Hollywood’s civic duty? Here is my biggest issue: why can’t any movie just be for any one. If you want to see whatever, go and see the fucking movie. I won’t see Red Tails and it’s not because there are black people in it, it’s because I just do not care to see it and I’m scared of Ne-Yo’s scalp. But that does not mean other don’t want to see this movie.
I really don’t know where I went with this post and was planning on going but I hope you get my point.