Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The "Django Unchained" Controversy

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So Spike Lee is back in the news again along with Katt Williams, why is that you ask? Well it's because of Quentin Tarantino's movie "Django Unchained". Recently Spike Lee tweeted;

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Being a critic myself, I can totally understand the right to have an opinion on something, as everyone is entitled to theirs...that is of course if you're entitled to it. I have a rule of thumb for criticism and it goes a little something like this...
  1.  DO NOT criticizes someone who is able to do something that you cannot. Example: I don't know how to play Football, so I can't criticizes a football player. I can criticizes a writer because I'm a writer myself.
  2. DO NOT criticizes it until you do it. Example: I haven't seen "Argo", from what I hear it's a great movie and I'm pretty sure it is, but I'm just not interested in seeing it. Not because it looks bad, but because I'm not interested in seeing it. Simple as that. Because I didn't see "Argo" I have no strong feelings about the movie one way or the other. I DID however sit through The "Twilight" Series therefore it's entirely within my right to criticizes it.
Full disclosure, Spike and Quentin used to be cool, Quentin even did a voice over for Spike on "Girl 6", apparently they had a falling out and that's all I know. Anyway, it amuses and frustrates me that the VERY SECOND someone who isn't Black makes something about slavery, Black people get up in arms, much to his credit Al Sharpton said nothing about "Django Unchained". Full disclosure, I've never cared for Spike Lee or his movies, he seems like a jerk in interviews and his movies aren't my cup of tea, and I've seen a few, none of them were exactly memorable in my eyes. Fast forward, we have Spike Lee talking about how the movie is "disrespectful", okay Spike, in what way? He can't answer that because HE HASN'T SEEN THE MOVIE!!

Here's some facts, is it bloody? Yes. Is it violent? Yes. But is it an honest portrayal of slavery and the attitude of The Whites in the South? Yes. So where's the disrespectful part come in? I think the only unfortunate thing about "Django Unchained" is the fact that Django isn't real. I can't see where Spike is coming from and he can't see it either because again, HE DIDN'T SEE THE MOVIE! Now I know there is a couple of other things I can mention; for example people have been saying that the "Mandingo Fighting" is false and there is no evidence that anything like has taken place. Okay, I can grant that, but at the same time it isn't a stretch of the imagine for something like that to happen in the South. After all Slavers got Black slaves to whip other slaves, so why is it a stretch for slavers to get slaves to fight?

I'm all for sharing of opinions, if you saw "Django Unchained" and didn't like it, no problem you're welcome to not like it. But if you don't like "Django Unchained" and you didn't see it, then what don't you like about it, YOU DIDN'T SEE IT! I can see if the trailer didn't interest you or it's not your kind of movie, but to call it disrespectful and then NOT see it...well...you really don't have a case. Furthermore I think "Django Unchained" is just another avenue where slavery can finally enter into the pop cultural realm. I say it's a good thing because once works of fiction start to address certain topics the public becomes aware of it and is more open to talk about it. The Holocaust has been exploited in SEVERAL works of fiction; Magento is a Holocaust survivor, "Schindler's List", "Sophie's Choice", "Apt Pupil", "Inglouirous Basterds", and "American Horror Story", even going so far as to have one of the inmates confess to being Anne Frank. If you wiki films about The Holocaust, you get SEVERAL entries, wiki films about American Slavery and you get a total of 14 (not including the adaptions of "Uncle Tom's Cabin").

People don't know about slavery because people don't want to talk about it. If Spike Lee is so angry about "Django Unchained", then why doesn't he make his own movie about slavery? And sure, we can get into the argument about Film Industry not wanting to let a Black man make a movie about slavery but in all seriousness Spike Lee's production company is named "40 Acres and A Mule", that ship has sailed for him, The Film Industry knows exactly what Spike Lee is about. Now, here's another point of discussion; Clint Eastwood is allowed to kill guys left and right in "The Dollars Trilogy", BUT a freed slaved who frees slaves and rescues his wife in the face of danger is disrespectful? There's a scene when Django hesitates to shoot a criminal because his son is present, yes, clearly Django fits the "Angry Black Man" Stereotype. Django is no different than "The Boondocks" Catcher Freeman (oddly enough both their names are "Freeman"...interesting).

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"Say what ?"

If a guy like Django actually did exist he'd be a folk hero among Black people, much like Nate Turner and several others, so I really don't see what Spike is getting at here. For once in a LONG time you have White people dealing with the evils of slavery, the horrors endured and rooting for a BLACK HERO! I was in the movie and I was seated next to two Arabic girls, and in the scene when Broomhilda was being whipped one covered her mouth in shock and the other whispered a little "Oh no.", when all they were probably taught about slavery is that Black people picked cotton.

This wasn't a minstrel show and it wasn't some hood gangsta flick where Black people are acting foolish and dealing with their Baby Momma. This is a movie about a guy who's willing to do anything to rescue his wife. Hell, "Django Unchained" and "Taken" are essentially the same movie, except for one takes place in the 1800s and the main character is a slave. But ultimately it's the same. So I have NO clue what Spike's problem is and he should honestly just sit down, shut up and try not to ruin "Oldboy".

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I swear Spike, if you ruin this movie...

Next up on the list is Katt Williams...and I like Katt Williams, I really do, he makes me laugh, he's the only guy who's voice is just as aggravating as mine and he makes it work. But when he doesn't have a microphone in his hand, Katt is a rather surly dude. So much so to the point where he said this;

"Quentin Tarantino thinks he can say the N-word. But I checked with all of Ni**adom and nobody knows where he got his pass from. I hope he didn't get it from Samuel L. Jackson and Jamie Foxx cause they aren't going to help you when I see you."- Katt Williams

First of all, Samuel L. Jackson spent 2 years in a correctional facility for holding a school board hostage, he attended Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral and he attended a segregated school, if Samuel L. Jackson can't get you a hood pass then I honestly don't know who can. Second, yes...how dare Quentin Tarantino makes a movie about slavery and use the word "Nigger"...yes, shame on him for being historically accurate. This is a stupid complaint coming from the politically correct world we live in where these dumb asses wanna take "Nigger" out of "Huck Fin". I understand there's some real sensitivity with that word, after all I'm African American myself, BUT in the historical context it's forgiven and accurate. Furthermore, it's not like Quentin is sitting around calling people "Niggers", do you really think someone who's been involved with The Black Power Movement like Samuel L. Jackson would allow that?

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Hrm...how about that...

Katt Williams is just bitching something serious, rather than being proud that we have a bad ass Black hero who wins in the end, instead Katt Williams wanna get all up in arms because Quentin dared to write a movie about slavery and use the word "Nigger". Now don't get me wrong, "Nigger" was used in several other Quentin Tarantino movies, but it wasn't used in a context where it wouldn't be. Example, in "Reservoir Dogs", Nice Guy Eddie mocks Mr. Blonde by suggesting that he was raped by "Niggers", BUT THEY'RE CRIMINALS OF COURSE THEY'RE GONNA HAVE FOUL MOUTHS! No one said jack-squat when Tony Soprano called Meadow's friend a "Moulignon", not to mention when Christopher lied to Tony about dating a Black woman, Bobby jovially said "You're banging a Shine?!". So don't come crying when criminals with foul mouths use a racial slur in a movie, GET OVER IT!

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When I saw "300", I didn't trip at all when most of Xerxes men were Black, why? BECAUSE IT WAS HISTORICALLY ACCURATE! Just about every country south of Greece is populated by colored people and guess what, THAT'S WHAT XERXES RULED! Katt Williams is making a fool of himself and doesn't have a leg to stand on. Quentin Tarantino is clearly no racist, nor does he think he's Black, Quentin is a guy who really loves what he loves, which is Japanese culture, spaghetti Westerns, Grindhouse movies and crime flicks, and that's why I like him, because he's an honest filmmaker who doesn't try to pretend he's more serious than he actually is. He's a guy who's having fun with what he does. In conclusion, Katt Williams and Spike Lee need to sit down, shut up and find something valid to bitch about other then a movie.

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