Yesterday a friend of mine told me he was watching Braveheart when he came to an epiphany–so many movies about the white man’s hero journey is about “white girl tears.” Movie after movie, from Avatar to Zeus, the hero’s main motivation is for the love, protection, or avenging of his woman.
I decided to ask my Facebook friends if they can think of any movie at all where the African American man’s hero’s journey centered around the damsel in distress is a phenotypically black woman, in which the hero is motivated by the love, protection and avenging of his woman. For example, is there a Dirty Harry series depicting a black man seeking revenge on others who have violated his woman, and those evildoers are black? I tried to think of some but came up short. There was Django Unchained, but I have to wonder if the motivation of the hero was more about killing whitey. Django says at one point when he mulls over a partnership “Kill white folks and get paid for it? What’s not to like?”
But I have to give the movie credit–it allowed for the character played by Kerry Washington to be soft, feminine, and worthy of saving. Quentin Tarantino, a white man, directed the movie. Speaking of white men saving black women, there, of course, is The Bodyguard. Another recent movie in which a black woman is depicted as feminine, fragile and worth a man’s protection is Loving, the story of Mildred and Richard Loving and their fight to stay in their interracial marriage.
But when I think of all the Tyler Perry movies, or movies starring black male comedians or sexy leading men, or rappers, I have to ask, where are the Taken movies, the Twighlights, Gladiators, and Titanics? Where are the movies written and produced by black people that show little black girls and women that they are worthy of the ultimate sacrifice?
One commenter really crystalized the argument:
Hmmm, let me try a live experiment….the last big 5 black movies to come out, what were the gender relations in the film?
Acrimony – Well to do woman marries ex-con who cheated on her, and he eventually married the mistress.
Black Panther – female army protects the black king, closest confidantes are his female general and his ex-girlfriend.
Girls Trip – 4 women have a crazy trip – 3 are single, and 1 is married and being cheated on. The husband got the mistress pregnant.
Moonlight – gay black male coming of age tale.
Fences – married couple, the husband cheated on the wife and got the mistress pregnant.
Portrayals of healthy, heterosexual relationships in which a BM is FAITHFUL, and cherishes, provides, protects, and produces for a BW = 0. (Black Panther almost fits the bill, but T’Challa and Nakia are ex-lovers.)
The commenter also says that these same dysfunctional narratives are depicted on television:
TV too. Queen Sugar, dead daddy wreaking havoc by mismanaging his farm and leaving his kids to deal with the mess, and cheating on his wife and having a baby with his mistress.
Atlanta – a guy who refuses to commit to his baby mama because he likes their casual sexual arrangement. The preschool teacher even called them out that they would provide greater stability for their gifted child if they were a cohesive family unit!
Insecure – Issa living with her “hobosexual” boyfriend, a broke unemployed guy mooching off of her for FOUR years.
The only healthy black tv couple I know of are Beth and Randall–who was adopted by a white family–from This is Us.
Let me ask you this. What value lesson do these narratives drive home on a subconscious level? What does this teach our girls to expect from the men in their lives?
According to one angry commenter on my page, expecting to be treated like a soft woman is to expect much more than our station allows.
According to this woman, I need a swift reminder that I’m black, and as a black woman, I need to remember that I ain’t white, and only white girls should expect such pedestalizing. Mind you, this is another BLACK woman, telling ME that I need to remember that black women are unworthy to be saved. If that isn’t a proof of what this indoctrination does to us, then I don’t know what else will convince you.
My opponents may come to this thread and accuse me of bashing black love. I assure you, I am not. I am simply forcing you to take a long, good look at the media messages and what they propagate. And if you want more depictions of healthy black love, then DEMAND it. Or better yet, make them yourself. YouTube is free and Final Cut is $300. Stop saying the “black woman is god” and then expect her to fight like a man and take a punch like one.
I’ll be talking more on this tonight on my YouTube channel. Make sure you subscribe and push the bell so you can be notified when the video is live.