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

  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    Fiore: I haven’t seen it myself, but these idiots keep ruining it for me arguing nonsense. Who cares about the IR relationship? It is about rewriting history and completing eliminating any role for black women. I don’t know if these men are just dense or being purposefully obtuse.

  • D-Chubb

    As a Black woman who is not going to see “Red Tails”, I’ll say this…It’s my money, I’ll spend it where I like. I’m going to go see “Pariah” instead. It’s directed by and stars Black women. And from what I’ve heard, it’s a better movie.

  • Mr Scott

    Don’t be so easily manipulated. SMH Please support this movie.

  • AJ

    Pardonn the typos!!


    I feel like its a personal choice. I do not think there needs to be any big movement to boycott this movie.

    I think BW who are concerned should voice their opinion on this movie, like I did, and the leave it up to people’s intelligence and personal motivations to decide if they want to support an industry that doesn’t support them, their humanity, or their history.

    Myself? I will not be seeing this movie. Not at all. I will not give money to any ideology that says it’s wrong or embarrasing to be seen with people like me because we are BW, even though they existed in reality.

    There are other versions about the great Tuskeegee Airmen that I can see that are not about wiping out my image, and are closer to the truth and inspiring to both sons and daughters.

    But for other people, do what you want. There are much worse movies that I think SHOULD (or SHOULD HAVE) definitely been boycotted, like American Gangster and Django Unchained. Like literally marching in the streets with picket signs, and closing down theaters. They were, or will be, that damaging to BW and girls.

    But Red Tails is not one of them. The changing of history and removal of BW is wrong, but the overall story is not a horrible negative like some other Hollywood monstrosities.

    As for the Brits and other foreigners on this blog who always try to derail the conversation into hatred of IR, they are wrong, self-serving, and know nothing of our history and culture, so they have zero say in this argument.

    BTW, What About Our Daughters is a great blog! Keep looking out for us!

    Luv ya too, Clutch! Where else can BW have such riveting conversations? Sometime contentious, but always on point!

  • apple

    not wasting my time on it.. i would be more likely to boycott Precious’ image of being obese,poor,uneducated,raped by her mother and father,hiv infested, 2nd kid by her father at 15,mom cheating the welfare system,seeing herself as white in mirror,wanting to be light skin with long hair with a light skin boyfriend, stealing chicken image (aka all black stereotypes into one person) than this no image movie.

    Just don’t go see it yall!

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