Originally Posted @ We Are Respectable Negroes — While we wait for the epic sonning that Tom Brady, the Hooded One, and Josh McDaniels are about to put on Mr. Tebow this evening (that trio sounds like a country rock group, no?) here is something to pass the time.

There is a good conversation on Clutch magazine’s website about the interracial gender politics of Red Tails, George Lucas’upcoming Tuskegee airmen movie. One of the primary tenets for those who study the politics of popular culture is that audiences (or “publics”) receive, process, interpret, and circulate ideas on their own terms. Of course, there aren’t any number of corollaries and complications to this argument. But, the basic idea is that populism “matters”; once a “text” is out among the public, part of our work as critics is understanding the “why’s” and “how’s” of their investment (or not) in it.

I reviewed Red Tails months ago. There, I made mention of one aspect of the story–the romance between a black airman and a white Italian woman–that I thought was superfluous to the plot and could easily be left on the cutting room floor. I did not read this plot point as subverting the overall story, or as being deeply symbolic of the state of the family and love relationships in the African American community in the twenty-first century. Moreover, there were many love and sexual relationships between black GI’s and European women in all theaters of World War Two. Given the “historical” nature of Red Tails, a wink to this fact would not be out of order. Ultimately, my observation was based on efficiency in story telling. It was not some deep aversion to the idea that a young man far from home would find comfort in the arms of a beautiful woman.

Populism can be empowering. It can also be confusing, distracting, and lead to any number of interpretations–some of these are cogent and compelling, others much less so. What strikes me the most about the comments on Clutch magazine’s site is not how some readers (in a vacuum not having seen the movie) are making impassioned claims, but how short the leap is from Red Tails the World War Two action film, to “black women in Hollywood are misrepresented all of the time and hated by the mass media,” to “black woman are unloved by black men and Red Tails reinforces this fact,” to “Red Tails should be boycotted because there are no black female love interests.”

It would seem that there is much pain in parts of the black community, where the seemingly trivial and benign are interpreted as the significant, the poignant, and the meaningful.Thus, I must ask: Are matters really this dire?

Originally Posted @ We Are Respectable Negroes

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347 Comments

  1. TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    I am not seeing for three reasons:

    – Not really interested in it and neither is my husband
    – I will not support any movie with an abuser, whether he be Terrance Howard, Michael Fassbender or Chris Brown
    – I will no longer support any movie that continues to ignore and eliminate black women. There are 4 men in the movie and they could have had women of all major racial and ethnic groups represented, but they chose not to. Every single war movie I have ever watched has had white women represented as mothers, siblings, wives, girlfriends, etc. But somehow when it comes to a war movie with black actors, they can only have one woman and she must be white?

    I’ll be happily boycotting.

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    • aUssIe

      Invite whites to see the movies as well! I mean they all seem to love Boondocks (read between the lines people).

      Bottom line: They could have gotten popular, racially ambiougous black women for any role:
      Paula Patton
      Real Skinny Lady from Norbit
      Beyonce, heck maybe Solange
      Rocsi from 106 and Park
      Zoe Zaldana or someone we ALL love….. REGINA KING!

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    • yeah. kind of like abg where they wrote it so only truly compatible person is a white guy. you mean like that? no. of course not. lol.

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  2. Oh my…….I don’t know. I just read that jazmine sullivan got cut from the film.

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  3. jamesfrmphilly

    my understanding is that lucas has three stories out of this. the training took place in the US. there would be black women there. the fighting took place in europe. there would be white women there. the return would be to the US, there would be black women there.

    lucas has released the middle story, the fighting. historically there are no black women involved. as far as i know the brothers all married black women when they got home. some black soldiers had flings with white women while in europe. this is history.

    lucas is showing the historical record. i don’t understand why some black females are upset. i will be going to see the film. i have met with the TA and they have my full respect. they are real black heroes. sad that some black females cannot see this.

    here are real black male role models. why you boycotting sis?

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    • Dude, you’re older than my dad, and you’re creeping around on a young black women’s blog calling black women females, and trying to argue for a movie that doesn’t even have black women IN IT. If you REALLY wanna help George Lucas collect dollars from other people, go to some of the black male blogs and convince them.

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    • BlacknAmazed

      AND it’s also so HISTORY….that many black men back then were stand up men too! So let’s talk history. I don’t care if people picked up whatever and sleep with who ever. The human side of these men should always be important enough to factor in. When you are discussing history. They could have shown one of these guys leaving a black girlfriend or wife behind. To say that these guys.. people… didn’t play a part in molding them….or gave them the will to want to make it back home… is ridiculous. ….We have gotten this far because of each other…and that’s a histroy fact. ..RUN TELL THAT.

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  4. Shannon P

    Well our Black brothers are in this movie soooo… lets support it. Additionally, the director is a brother.

    Listed on IMDB…there is a black female actress accredited; her name is Edwina Findley.
    Perhaps this movie will open up more doors for other movies to be depicted about us. Its all based on money and what the public demands anyway… so if you do not support something like this.. statistics will show no one wants to see these types of films and the funding won’t be there for other films like this. So I am going to support it!

    Shannon

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    • Blah Blah Blah. There’s a movie every two years without black women that I’m supposed to “support”. Ray, The Hurricane, , etc… They’ll make another one.

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    • Barbara

      Black women who support this are the reasons why black women will never go anywhere past the whores of men.

      Yall support your absence in the name of “supporting the brothas”

      Tell me sista, when’s the last time brothas was supporting you?

      Hence why I cant deal with most African American females I come in contact with- we are too ready to celebrate our ignorance, absence and anger. But shun happiness and acceptance. Then we want to complain about being lonely on ABC?

      Do you WANT to be treated like a human or like a sheep-you cant have both!
      Black women need to WAKE UP. Other women GET THIS. But we are the only ones who make excuses to remain miserable and never confront or let go of black men who do NOTHING for us- especially never standing up for us.

      The only person associated with that film that is with a black woman, is the white guy, George Lucas.
      Your “black kings” dont even see you fit enough to be married to you or seen around you- and THIS is what we support?

      Smh ….we are never going to get it.

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    • LemonNLime

      @Anon – Right! Why is it ALWAYS on us to support? Are we suppose to just give and give and give even when we get nothing in return? If this was just about supporting black people in a movie then ALL these Tyler Perry haters would think of him as the second coming of Black American cinema because at least he is keeping black people working. Everytime there is a movie with lots of black people in it everyone yells “If you don’t support it we won’t have another one!” People need to take those empty threats someplace else. That is was marketing people do to drum up numbers and fill seats. This movie isn’t going to change anything.

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    • Tonton Michel

      Ray didn’t have black women in it?

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  5. DivineBrown

    WOW ANOTHER topic on Red Tails? What’s the problem? Can’t I refuse to see a movie if I don’t want to? Can’t I keep my money? Don’t I have the right to refuse a good or service? Why is this so drawn out? Especially for people who say black women are “complaining”. People “confused” over supposed hypocrisy. I see they sicked Tyler Perry on black women. Like only they could do because they know black women are fools for Perry. That last article was despicable and flew right over most people’s heads. Nothing more than sending “your own” to do their dirty work because they know it WORKS. He’s like the neighborhood drug dealer. Send him in to “sell” it to his own people. Remember, it was him, along with Oprah, who SOLD you Precious and you LISTENED. He sure came through for George Lucas laying it on OH SO THICK with that subtle(well not really) touch of Hysterics(“Oh NooOooooOOoooooo!!!!!! Black movies are going EXTINCT…RUN DON’T WALK TO SUPPORT THIS. MAKE SURE YOU TELL A FRIEND AND BRING YOUR WHOLE HOUSE…QUICK QUICK!!!!!!!!!”)

    Here’s the funny thing though… if the excuse given by Lucas and Perry are valid ones then it doesn’t matter if we support this film or the next. The OTHERS still haven’t changed. You know, the “OTHERS” who don’t flock to see “black movies”. The OTHERS who you have to appeal to. So in essence, they keep telling US to support it so that WE give them their dollars back. And WE’LL have to be the ones to support future endeavors since the OTHERS go unchallenged as to why they can’t PUT RACE ASIDE and see a “good film” NO MATTER IF IT’S AN ALL BLACK CAST OR NOT. What mindf-kry.

    Also, if THIS does do well, then all that says is a black MALE cast WITH a non black woman will WORK just fine. It STILL won’t break glass ceilings like some of you are claiming. LOL. Aren’t black women tired of being pimped and used? What am I asking? Of course not. That’s why they sent in Tyler to raise his Pimp hand.It’s so strong. If a PASTOR writes in next, then I’m through. LMAO they got black women down to a SCIENCE. So educated yet easily manipulated. I’m embarrassed…and I shouldn’t be.

    Oh and btw, for all those saying it’s a movie about the MEN and no need to highlight the love story. Um LOVE and WAR sells. The movie, TOP GUN was about airmen, focused on them but guess what? Tom Cruise(Maverick) had to have his leading(white) lady.

    4 topics on this ONE movie. There is no more life in this horse left to beat.

    PPS. Even the men should be ashamed. Checked the trailer. It last all of 2 seconds and then all you hear is Redtails…Friday. Like they’re HURRYING up as not to UPSET people. In 2012, where ONLY black people are “Reverse Racists” and hung up on race are they TELLING you a movie like this was hard to produce. Black movies don’t do well overseas. And doing a SHORT ass trailer..not even giving a great synopsis and showing awesome scenes to get you HYPED. Now, black men you get…”Redtails…Friday”

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    • aUssIe

      @DivineBrown, your info was LONG and in the beginning you had me shaking my head but around 2nd paragraph…. girl you were making sense to me! Yes, we always have to spends our funds in support of the movies because they “represent” us but not the others.

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    • befree1619

      Fanned..LOL..

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    • binks

      ^5

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