Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Economics of Holly'hood

The Economics of Holly'hood:
Why Hollywood Ain't Talkin' to Me:
Min. Paul Scott

I ain't gonna front. I've been feinin' to see "Talk to Me" since I peeped the preview when I went to see the Fantastic 4 months ago. So when July 27th rolled around I was really hyped to see the film. I wiped down my sneakers and even brought a brand new fitted baseball cap, just for this auspicious occasion. So, I loaded up the fam and rolled around town preparing to stop at the first theater that I saw with a poster of Don Cheadle. But at every theater, instead of Petey Green, there was a poster of a Black man with a diamond earring and loud, tacky golf shorts...

I know those who are going to accuse me of hatin' on "Who's Your Caddy" are saying "well, at least it doesn't show a young black Brotha blastin' a store owner because his 40 oz bottle of malt liquor was too warm." But you have to admit that to have "Caddy" playing in every hood and hollow in America while you have to hop a commuter flight to see the critically acclaimed "Talk to Me" is outrageous.

According to that one cool white dude with the Barry White voice who talks over the trailers for all the hood flicks, the movie is about a rejected rapper who turns a lilly white golf course into a Hip Hop strip club. It's not like we haven't seen the "there goes the neighborhood" plot a million times before. So, it's kinda like a hip version of "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" with fart and phallic jokes.

Hell hath no fury like a rapper scorned...

Hollywood has also had questionable standards in regards to what it chooses to show Black folks as entertainment. I remember back in the early 90's films such as "Daughters of the Dust" and "Sankofa" couldn't find a home in the same theaters that had no problems finding room for the Boyz in the Hoods and Menace to Socities. I can't remember last fall's "Color of the Cross" playing in too many places, either?

Black television shows haven't faired much better, as I can recall the protests over the cancellation of quality black shows such as "Frank's Place," "Roc" and "NY Undercover."
Pop Quiz.

Can anyone name one program that paints a realtistic portrait of Black America? (And no, wise apple, BET's reruns of "The Wire" don't count.)

Is this a case of racism? Does white America have a fear of showing a film about a member of the "lumpen proletariat" who rises from the ashes of prison to become an important media personality who challenged the system?

I remember how white folks thought that Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" was going to spark a mass uprising in an America where Black folks were still ticked off about Howard Beach and Virginia Beach?

Or is it more a case of stupid-ism, where the theater owners feel that the social relevance of "Talk to Me" may float high over the corn-rolled, bandana sportin' heads of the audience while the slap stick comedy of "Who's the Caddy" might strike home?

Also, I've heard that the real money in theaters is made from the concession stands.
Maybe they think that the people who watch dumb movies eat more popcorn and juju beans than intellectuals.

Well I, for one, am not going to take this laying down!

So call me the "Hip Hop Howard Beale."

Just like that old dude from the 70's movie "Network," I say that it's time to get mad.

So get up out of your chairs now and go to your windows....uh, I mean laptops, sidekicks and iphones and let the movie theaters owners know

We're mad as hell. and we're not going to take it anymore!

Min. Paul Scott is a writer and activist in Durham NC. His blog is He can be reached at (919) 451-8283