Films of substance that boast strong material, continue to elude black actors and actresses, and this is not satisfactory.
There have been numerous complaints from blacks regarding the dismal amount of quality black films being produced. Year after year, individuals are expressing the same thoughts-Why aren’t more blacks seen in movies with strong subject matter? Why are we only seen in comedies? When will a black film score big at the Oscars?
Well, the answers to those questions are simple. Black people simply do not support strong black films. We will go to the theater to see the latest Tyler Perry flick, but will wait to see a historical piece for when it arrives on bootleg.
Spike Lee’s latest film, “Miracle at St. Anna,” a stunning motion picture centering on a group of Black soldiers, practically flopped at the box office. If people do not go see these films, they will not be produced anymore, and the chances of Oscar worthy features starring blacks shrink. The film, which opened nationwide Sept. 26, debuted in ninth place and has now sunk to the 14th spot.
Could this justify my case?
Tyler Perry’s latest film, “The Family That Preys,” which debuted in the number two spot with a rather impressive $18 million, garnered a ton of black moviegoers. Time and time again, Perry has proven that his comedies collect a substantial amount of revenue, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, it does prove that blacks are fond of funny movies opposed to dramas. The same thing applies to movies crammed with violence.
In 2001, Academy Award winner Denzel Washington scored a box office hit with, “Training Day,” a movie in which he portrayed a corrupt detective. According to Entertainment Weekly, the film debuted at number one and stayed in the top 10 until its seventh week. In 2007, Washington tried his hand with a more family oriented feature in “The Great Debaters.”
Unfortunately, the film debuted in the number 11 spot. I do believe the contrast is evident.
In order for blacks to land in films of substance, we have to learn to support the few solid films that we get. We can sit and complain, but the proof is in the pudding. In order to have more superb black motion pictures, we have to spend the dollars to see those superb black motion pictures.
Only then will deserving black actors and actresses receive their moment in the spotlight.
Jay Christie is a senior magazine production student from Tallahassee. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org