Monday, May 2, 2016

African American Movies - Original ideas or sequels. Which do you want?

Barbershop 3 premiered last month.  The third movie in the series of films.  It follows sequel mania that has become popular in American films over the past 30 or so years.  If a blockbuster film worked the first time, create a sequel to cash in on the first one.  Making money not creating cinematic works of art is the key of the sequel.  As of today Barbershop 3 has made $44 million dollars.  It is said to have cost $20 million to make so it is now in the profit zone.

The movie is an economic success for the producers and artists involved.  But, what has it done to promote new stories being depicted about the experiences of African Americans?  Are our stories limited to only showing sequels for a few successful movies?  Surely there are stories about the experiences of African Americans and our progress since the Emancipation Proclamation?  Stories about individual struggles to success. Stories about families overcoming hardships to become successful.

Instead what are we given to view?  Stories about slavery, sequels from previous movies, and stories about maids and butlers.  Yes we see black actors and actresses in the role of the President of the United States.  But,  now that is nothing new right?  Unfortunately we are caught in a dilemma.  We want to support black made films.  We want to see ourselves on the movie screen.  We also have a right to demand different types of movies with new ideas and new characters and story plots.

Those successful movie makers do owe us movies with original ideas.  We've supported their sequels and financed their continued financial success.  Now give us some originality, creativity in ideas and excellence in the form of really original film making.  Tell a story about an African American experience that hasn't been told.  Give us a good dramatic story that defines the multifaceted nature of our experiences.   Don't just give us Ride Along 3, and Barbershop 4.  We are smarter than that and deserve much better cinematic efforts.

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