So since the hot mess that surrounded Django has died down I feel like I can now throw my two cents in. Well after Brother Lee has come to the “defense” of his ancestors, as an aspiring African-American filmmaker and human rights activist, I can say that this film was nothing short of Amaze-balls.
Absolutely Tarantino and nothing short of brilliance. You have this German man bring in this brilliant “European” (Yes, you philosophical genius, its more of an Eastern thing, but just go with it) perspective, teach a man a trade and he will be able to take care of himself and his family (Yes, a violent trade, but let’s overlook that for a sec). Then you have Django (in case, you forgot the D is silent) who will stop at nothing to free his little troublemaker, Broomhilda. Then you have Leonardo DiCaprio in what I believe has been his best role to date. Why you ask? Because I fell in love with that blue eyed bastard when I was 10 and was heartbroken the minute his face got fat for the Aviator for fear that he would never be able to really act again. (Sorry, but I have felt that way since then he hasn’t adjusted to his face well. Talk about a late bloomer.) But he surprised me, this character was so out of left field and he had Candie down to an art. Not to mention he and his face connected again. Although the villain, I could not be prouder of him as an actor. Least of all, I feel like I’ve become desensitized to the “n” word, not sure if that is a good or bad thing. In a few hours, Tarantino did what Steven Spielberg and Spike Lee failed to do for race theory in film. (Yes, I went there.)
But let’s get back to the real story at hand: the German tale of Broomhilda (Brynhildr). According to imdb.com: “In the legend: the beautiful Broomhilda is captured and imprisoned in a tower on a mountainside that is guarded by a dragon and surrounded by hellfire. Her lover, Siegfried, rescues her, facing the mountain and dragon simply because he is brave, but overcoming the hellfire out of his love for Broomhilda.” Django’s Broomhilda is a house slave known for beauty and her bilingual skill. But after the film Broomhilda, Washington, and Tarantino are called out for her lack of fiercefulness or gun-slinging skills. This has been hashed out already, but why? I really want to ask that question because there is such a distinct feature attached to the modern female, moreover the modern black female, that we at all times must be fierce, independent, and strong. We’re women and that’s obviously part of our design, but is there a time when this idea or concept is perverted/twisted to extremes. Obviously, yes especially when it comes to the black female.
We’re taught from very young ages to be strong, more than capable, to more than a woman and in many black families, which means to be both the man and the woman. That’s hard and to be honest impossible. It goes against our design as women (I’m coming from a very Judeo-Christian perspective, so please bear with me and just forget about the weaker sex thing right now). In the Hebrew mindset, both men and women are leaders. The man’s Godly design is to work in the midst of the fire. The woman’s design is to stand beside God at all times and support/guide her husband. To check him, when his purpose is not driven by his faithfulness to God and to her. He cannot do his great work without her guidance and her strong connection to God. He is essentially lost without it. So they both are partners, leaders, and warriors.
Let’s go back to the male design, again he is designed to work in the midst of the fire. Without woman, he cannot fulfill his purpose. In the story of Broomhilda, he will let not allow hellfire, dragon, or mountain keep him from the woman that his heart is designed for. That is the magic right there and what is often forgotten. Women, you are worth walking through hell for. You do not have to be this fierce warrior at all times. As mere mortals, there will be moments when you are weak, its inevitable. Black women ,we are so strong and passionate, but it feeds into a stereotype and misconception that we are that way at all times. We all know those women too well, Mammy and Sapphire. There is strength and beauty in vulnerability and femininity. Sometimes all you should have to do is let your hair down and sit f***in pretty. Now I’m not saying to be that way (vulnerable) at all times, if someone comes at you or the people you love, its time to turn on the lioness/warrior and fight. That’s also part of your design, but we as leaders must also know when to choose our battles and intuition, ladies, we are not short of.
What made me fall in love with Broomhilda is the fact that in film or television it is RARE to see a black female character to be held in such high value that any man (in this case, not only 1, but 2 men, a black man and a white man) will fight to the death so that she is free. Now, many people stated that she did nothing to protect herself or aid the men in this quest, fainting and dropping thing. My question is why should she? It’s about damn time for men to see that black women are worth fighting tooth and nail for and it’s about time we do too. (For all the individuals, who already knew that: give yourself a pat on the back). First off, Tarantino did not fully develop Broomhilda’s story of life on the plantation. We do not know if she fought off her attackers. We do know that she attempted several time to escape. To attempt to escape in the context of those times is a courage that many African-American females today have lost and must be recognized and respected. Secondly, she may have been a house slave, but she had a skill, which again in the context of those times was rare and valuable. She spoke another language. A skilled house slave with the courage to face death in order to escape, possibly to find her husband, when her marriage was not even recognized as human or legal, to me, sounds to me like a hell of a woman, one worth fighting for.
Culture has dictated for over 400 years that black women are property, of low grade and value, and are more male than female. That mindset, although it may take another 400 years, must change and that starts with you and me. If you’re here, you most likely know that you’re valued more than rubies. That you deserve happiness in every way. You are beautiful. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are worth walking though hellfire for. You are worth it. Now, don’t go out and buy some L’Oreal, but I want that to sink in, especially for the youngins here. We are told that we are not worth it WAY TOO OFTEN. This lie must be exposed. We don’t have to be defensive or warriors at all times. To be vulnerable is a strength that is often unnoticed. But that is a big part of where our beauty and femininity comes from. It is not weakness, it is strength. You are priceless, women. Its time to live our lives as such.