So happy 2013 everyone. Can I still say that or has the phrase happy new year past? Whatever, happy 2013 a-holes. So one of the last things I did for 2012 was go and see Django Unchained, with Spike Lee. That’s right, after all the anti-Django hoopla Spike created on his Facebook account, I convinced the old codger to grab his best 40 acres and a mule baseball hat, and come down with me to the mulitplex. What can I say? Spike loved the film! He took back everything he said about Django and in fact, snuck into a later showing of the film. We had popcorn and sodas. We laughed and cried. Then went to Ikea because they were having a midnight madness sale, and we needed a bunk bed.
Ok sometimes I try to be funny.
Despite my best efforts, Spike still won’t see Django unchained. He still says he’s boycotting the movie because “American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western.”, and that it was “Disrespectful to African Americans”.
Here’s why I think Spike Lee is wrong. Django is art and like most good art, it leaves you with more questions then answers. Which is why I’ve always believed you can’t (publicly) talk smack about art without witnessing the piece in question first. Especially when said art is dealing in complex subject matter. It’s the very reason why I despise Justin Beiber.
Secondly, the idea that Django is ‘Disrespectful to African Americans’ is ludicrous. What’s disrespectful to African Americans is the living conditions many are forced to endure in most major American cities. Or the fact that an unarmed African American male can get shot in broad daylight in Florida and there are actual laws that protect the shooter. Let’s dial it back a bit Spike. It’s just a movie.
I’ve heard people complain that the movie is violent and graphic and that they say the N-word waaaay to much. To those people I say there was nothing shown in that movie that would come close to the amount of violence that slaves actually endured. There are horror stories and accounts of African Americans enduring violence from white slave owners and even after slavery was abolished during the Jim crow era, from white folk in general. Hearing the N-word as hard as it is to hear for some was a reality during that time. Have we gotten so far away from slavery, we can’t even handle the faux reality of it?
I watched a video where Minister Farrakhan explains why the movie is so dangerous, “it will start a race war”. He goes on to say that with the climate in America being what it is, it’s irresponsible for the film makers, writers, and producers to make this movie. Let me say this, Farrakhan. Why do I have to live in a world where the stupid decide what I can watch, listen too, and play on my ps3? I mean, if someone is dumb enough to think an entire race of people now have a revenge lust against them, then that person is going to think that way with or without a movie’s influence.
What I find wrong with Django Unchained is that there are only a handful of black directors (who are all male) and the only person who could ever get away with releasing this movie is the white guy. Not even the highest paid Black director (Who made his money by wearing a dress on screen) would have the amount of clout or pull to get Django though the studio system. The amount of systemic racism, that is justified by the fear of loosing money by isolating middle America is why much like Django‘s white partner, Quentin had to ‘Shultz” this movie though financing, distribution and finally release.
I don’t have a problem with Django. I loved it. I loved watching horrible tropes being destroyed on screen. I had no problem with Quentin making this movie, nor whether it was ‘mockery of slavery’, or they said the N-word to much. I was glad to see something different done in film about this period of time. However, in the film, Leonardo DiCaprio talks about Django being “1 in 10,000”. Un-ironically, the same might be said about Jamie Fox becoming a Oscar award wining lead in Hollywood. Coincidence? Maybe. Or maybe it’s Quentin Tarantino’s way of saying things haven’t changed all that much. You can read a lot into this movie if you really want too because that’s what good art does. It creates questions and makes us feel. But that’s just my opinion. What’s yours?
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!