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Quentin Tarantino’s Western epic Django Unchained opened to impressive box-office numbers despite what many called a controversial abuse of the n-word. The repeated use of the contentious word threatened to derail the slave redemption/love story, as respected African-American director Spike Lee called for a full-scale boycott of Tarantino’s passion project, claiming the film was disrespectful to his ancestors (he expressed his sentiment although he has yet to view the film).

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Django Unchained, which stars Oscar award-winning actor Jamie Fox, grossed impressive numbers across demographics, but especially strong with African-American audiences, with over 42 percent of tickets sold in the first week went to African-Americans.

Django is playing well to African-Americans and to audiences across the board. You can’t have these kind of numbers otherwise. It’s getting everybody,” The Weinstein Co. president of distribution Erik Lomis said.

And those numbers have translated into what may turn out to be Quentin Taratino’s biggest movie ever, in terms of sales.

Django has grossed $77.8 million so far in North America and has a strong shot at becoming Tarantino’s most successful film at the domestic box office, eclipsing the $120 million earned by Inglourious Basterds in 2009. Sony is TWC’s partner on Django and will handle the movie internationally.

It looks as if black audiences have embraced Tarantino’s masterful storytelling ability, and looked past the word that too many, black and white, take out context.

  • Erin

    This movie was really nothing like the negative things that the critics that didn’t see it beforehand had to say. It was great to me. Hilarious in certain instances, hard to watch in others but Django and Broomhilda really won in the end. Which makes me say this, how about people actually go see something first and then have an opinion on it. Definitely one of the better movies I’ve seen in a long time.

  • http://urbanexpressive.com/ J.Nicole

    I saw the movie; it was great. My only complaint is that I usually don’t like giving Hollywood my money. But then again, my ticket was free…

    Anyway, as much as I hate the n-word, the truth is it was used freely during this era. Was it excessive? By todays standard, yes. But I would say (without spoiling the movie for anyone who has watched it), there are many racist white characters in the movie so yea, they will use the word, hence seeming excessive. If nothing, the movie was entertaining and will provide all parties involved with more money any of us will ever see.

  • http://beautifulmindtss.wordpress.com beautifulmind

    The movie was good. The N-word was definitely overused though. Tarantino acted like that was all Black people were called. Can’t recall hearing “negro” or “boy” or any other common term.
    Also the movie really wasn’t realistic. This may be a small thing to some people but I’m a history guru, so small things like a slave girl having a perm, or modern clothing in pre-civil war times threw me off. As another blogger pointed out, slave women weren’t lounging around the plantation doing nothing as was shown in the movie either. So as long as people who go to the movie don’t take any ideas from the movie as being accurate then I have no problems with it.

  • Chillyroad

    I haven’t seen the film yet but I really appreciated Tariq Nasheeds take on the movie. I recommend it to anyone who has or haven’t seen the movie. He gave me a lot of things to look out for when I get around to seeing it.

  • Sasha

    Tarantino never maintained that this film was historical or stuck to the story of many slave narratives that have been written. Additionally this film’s genre is listen as action, drama and western (according to IMDB) again no where was historical used as a descriptive word for this film. In fact, some actually viewed it as a comedy. Spike Lee and the many other detractors insult their own ancestors by even for a second taking anything about this film at face value.

    I have not yet seen the movie however I look forward to it. I’m one of those people who believes that in order for one to have an opinion about something, you’ve got to at least witness/ feel/ experience it first hand. This isn’t true with most things but when it comes to the arts I practice this 100%. If you want to see it but don’t want to pay for it, hit up someone who didn’t give you a Christmas gift or something for your birthday last year.

  • lauryn

    1. This movie was beyond intense. For me, some scenes were entirely too violent; on the other hand, some were pretty funny (i.e., the sheets). There’s a lot going on in this movie- modern day parallels, metaphors, etc.- so much so that it is foolish to simply focus on the use of the “n-word”. It blows my mind.

    2. I wasn’t there or anything, but I feel confident that the “n-word” was used quite frequently during the time period in which the movie was set. And it’s the South? Come on!

    3. And I don’t think the problem is with the excessive use of the “n-word”; the real problem is that it is excessively used by a white filmmaker. I mean really, who bats an eyelash when a rapper uses the word so profusely? I’m not excusing the use of the word, I’m just making a point.

    Overall, I have to say Tarantino provided quite an interesting take on the topic.

  • Sasha

    Tarantino never maintained that this film was historical or stuck to the story of many slave narratives that have been written. Additionally this film’s genre is listen as action, drama and western (according to IMDB) again no where was historical used as a descriptive word for this film. In fact, some actually viewed it as a comedy. Spike Lee and the many other detractors insult their own ancestors by even for a second taking anything about this film at face value.

    I have not yet seen the movie however I look forward to it. I’m one of those people who believes that in order for one to have an opinion about something, you’ve got to at least witness/ feel/ experience it first hand. This isn’t true with most things but when it comes to the arts I practice this 100%. If you want to see it but don’t want to pay for it, hit up someone who didn’t give you a Christmas gift or something for your birthday last year.

    *sorry if this posts twice, computer issues*

  • http://gravatar.com/missinformation7 Ms. Information

    Tarantino simply allowed a black character to get cinematic revenge on the evil whites of that time. Certain parts of the movie made me want to cry, certain parts were funny, what was even funnier were the reactions of white movie goers who seemed astonished that white were being painted in such a way,,LOL…typical over the top Tarantino…

  • Sasha

    I listened to his take on the movie any by minute 4 I had a direction where this was going but I listened to the rest with an open mind. All of this said, Nasheed’s take is incendiary; in short he is an agitator. I do not mind conspiracy theories at all and he said some things that made me raise an eyebrow but overall by the end of the rant, my pearls broke from being clutched so hard. He is not offering anything new to the dialogue and his condescending “smarter than thou” way of speaking is extremely off-putting. Him and Spike Lee should definitely go have a beer.

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    i will not offend my ancestors by seeing it.

    when black people PAY a white man to call them the N word, the brainwashing is complete. when we PAY a white man to tell OUR story we will continue to have problems. i believe the current generation of black people is lost. minds blown.

    i would like to know what other ethnic PAYS to hear slurs used on them?

    QT made a film about jews and nazis. i don’t recall ONE slur used. co incidence?
    i don’t recall dwelling on the horrors of the camps. co incidence? i don’t think so.

    QT knows exactly what he is doing. he knows he can get PAID calling black people the N word. he knows who to abuse and who to respect.

    black people have no pride. sad.

  • P

    Django..I had so many mixed feelings after seeing this film. A part of me is in agreement with Spike Lee. I didn’t like the majority of the comedy (laughed at one part). There is too much history yet to be told, and I’m still learning more every day [after] majoring in African and African American History. As we know that era was so dark, generational scars have been carried over, and yet Slavery from mainstream America doesn’t share the same sentiments as the holocaust. Our history isn’t taught in some schools, but yet a movie has been made within a fashionable “western –comedy” style coupled with an unrealistic sense that a black slave could have escaped to slavery within those compounds. Even with the apologies (acknowledgements) of the evilness of slavery from former President Clinton/Bush Sr. (I don’t recall any others), I still believe slavery isn’t of an importance to society; therefore, how important is the black race to America? I don’t expect mainstream America to feel sorrow or apologize, but what I DON’T agree with is that time in history as having “laughable moments”. The truth of that era needs to be told, not shunned, and not made light of.. Our ancestors had to sing their sorrows away or cope with them thru spiritual hymns. I personally don’t see how a joke could be made around a people who died from broken hearts because your family was sold off, raped, or watched one of them being beaten to death. It does appear as if a mockery was made in regards to our ancestors. I think if they could see this film, they would walk away sadden.

    The other aspects of the film I actually enjoyed were the unconditional love shared by a husband and wife, retribution, and a happy ending to freedom. I think if it was not for a great love story associated with this film, I wouldn’t have liked the movie at all. Not only that, it was further confirmation that more films such as Amistad, Rosewood, and Malcolm X to name a few should come to the big screen and we should support them. We should teach ourselves and our kids “our history”, at the same time, the film industry is a powerful teaching tool. If we are not aware of what we watch, we will be misled. The sorrowfulness of our history isn’t as compassionate as other; we still need producers such as Spike Lee. In the end I think it would have taken a Tarantino to bring this film to the big screen.

    Overall, I think our history is headed within the wrong direction with films depicted such as Django.

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    “I don’t think the problem is with the excessive use of the “n-word””

    i think that is exactly the problem…

  • Nick

    The movie was great. Pretty funny. A bit excessive with all the blood. But it was a typical Imaginative Tarantino production. All the hoopla is unnecessary! Find something more important to be mad about. Spike Lee needs to be quiet and pay attention to what he’s doing. Theres nothing more annoying than a self righteous person. I’m sure “nigga” has fallen off of his tongue a few times.

  • IW

    The film is a satire. In no way is it supposed to be taken as a historical fiction. It’s like Blacksploitation meets Spaghetti Western meets Comedy. Django is Tarintino’s world “loosely” based on history. If you just go on his ride you’ll enjoy the film, but if you question it and fight it, it will be pointless. Think of what it would be like if Shaft and 007 were the same person in 1850′s Mississippi. Hilarious!
    How can you take it seriously with John Legend and Rick Ross as a soundtrack in the middle of the film?

  • The Bishop

    During that time the term nigger was used more than boy or negro. They didn’t start using negro and/or boy more frequently until after the reconstructive period in history 1940′s-1960′s.

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    izz all right nigger, we jus kiddin?

  • Keepitreal

    One thing (too many) black people LOVE doing more than anything is giving “passes” to white people. smfh

  • IW

    What is your point? Have you seen the film? I’m talking about Django as an art form in it’s entirety, not just the n-word. Are you familiar with the work of anyone that has worked on the film? Please give me a break.

  • P

    My earlier comment wasn’t saved. Overall, I had mixed emotions in regards to Django. I didn’t care for the comedy at all. However, I appreciated the unconditional love aspect of the movie.

  • Mademoiselle

    @IW I think jamesfrmphilly’s point is your comment makes it seem like it’s ok to laugh at anything as long as we’re told it’s just a joke.

  • Ask_ME

    It took me a while to figure out this was in fact satire because from all the interviews I read it was portrayed almost like the second coming of Roots with a “Kill Bill” appeal.

    There were parts of this film that made me laugh (the Klan scene) and then there were parts that made me scratch my head (ex. Sheba was dressed to the nines and eating lobster with the master. I was trying to figure out if she was in fact a slave, his mistress or what?!? This chick was even dressed to the nines at the funeral! What kind of slave was she?)

    Overall, I will say the movie wasn’t what I thought it would be. I didn’t hate it and I didn’t outright like it either. I guess I’m lukewarm about the film.

  • dirtychai

    Every time some one tells me to “Go see Django!” all happy and sh*t — like it’s the best thing since grilled cheese, it just makes me more hesitant to spend my funds on it because I’m likely to hate it. I’ll wait until someone I know buys the DVD.

  • beauty85

    I often wonder about the mentality ofblack people, its as though we will support anything, as long as its coonery, foolery, and just plain nonsense. Is this what I ancestors wanted for us I think not. Haven’t we gotten to stage where we were more than just slaves, didn’t we come from Africa? Don’t we have a history that is more than just America, lets try telling those stories, how about making our african history apart of school curriculum, and then maybe the mentality of some black people will change!

  • Ask_ME

    I don’t think this film fits into the “coonery, foolery and just plain nonsense” category. While it is far from historical…it’s just a good old western action flick…starring black folks. Nothing more…nothing less. This is not a Tyler Perry film.

    “Don’t we have a history that is more than just America…”

    Question: Can you trace YOUR personal family history outside of America? Most African Americans cannot. It seems rather pointless for us to learn about Africa when we are people of African descent BORN AND RAISED in America for the last FOUR CENTURIES.

    Our mentality is not going to change by learning African history because today’s AFRICAN AMERICANS have NO connection to Africa.

  • Lena

    She’s his wife. Well that’s what I gathered from other comments on the film. Another possibly is that she could be a well pampered house slave turned mistress/wife after his white wife died or something.

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    as long as we get OUR history SOLD to us by a white guy we will have a problem…

  • Ask_ME

    His wife?!? Wow…okay!

  • ruggie

    It was no masterpiece but I’m glad I saw it.

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

    “black people have no pride. sad.”

    ‘Some’ Black people have no pride. I personally think Tarantino is a racist who gets off on using the N word and gets off even more on having Black people give him their money to see his films in which he uses the N word.

  • The Other Jess

    “as much as I hate the n-word, the truth is it was used freely during this era”

    Actually, that’s not the truth. Not trying to be rude, but I think Black people believe whatever comes out of peoples mouths without doing the research. In fact, the standard word to describe Black people during and right after slavery was Negro, and sometimess Negress (when only speaking of women) and Colored.

    N*gger WAS used very commonly but almost always as a spoken slur. Publications and documents (even ‘for sale’ flyers), almost always used Negro or colored.

    And Black people RARELY used N*ggger inpublic, particularly before white people because during the time it was SUCH an insult.

    The use of N*gger in common language among Black people began with blaxploitation cinema in the 70s.

    SMH. We really need to learn our history and stop parroting the false assumptions made by uneducated white men onlyinterested in our dollars.

  • The Other Jess

    Not true. Negro and boy/girl/aunty/uncle were the common terms – check out slave documents and you will see. N*gger was an insult batted around by whites and Blacks VERY RARELY used it in public, particularly around whites.

  • The Other Jess

    I do not think we need to see a film first to garner an opinion – early buzz and script releases gave very detailed portraits of what the movie would be about and what it would eventually become. Of course, the movie has had some changes from the original script, but the majority of the original storyline has remained.

    I’m a firm believer that propaganda and social engineering is promoted through Hollywood films – films released to tell us what to think, to tell us how we should see history, to tell us who to love or not to love, to tell us what Black history is. That’s propaganda and the U.S. film industry has a long history of using it.

    Thus, if you don’t want to fall victim to social programming, you research BEFORE a movie release and then make the informed decision on whether to see it or not. Enough information has come out to let me know that I will not be seeing this movie. If you see it first, even if you end up in disagreement with it, the damage has already been done, the poison internalized.

    It’s like at court trial when a witness blurts out some interesting announcement and the judge instructs the jury to ignore the statement and says “strike that from the record”. Sure, the statement is technically no longer usable in court, but the words stay with those jurors who heard it, influencing them. The words have been internalized no matter how hard youmay try to dismiss them from your psyche.

    I don’t like propaganda being pushed that somehow tells us that black women were treated better than black en during slaver, or that we were pampered princesess in flowing gowns during slavery, that we were willing whores to slavemasters, etc, etc, etc.

    I also don’t like any form of rap or hip hop being used in conjunction with the evil institution of slavery. Hip hop and rap have become tools of degradation, misognyy and hate in black communities (which is why i think black people are so easy to accept being called n*gger 110 times in a movie) and has done as much – or more – harm to American Black communities than even slavery itself.

    I choose not to see it.

  • The Other Jess

    when we pay a white man OR white woman toinsult us, the brainwashing is totally complete. I 1000% agree, JamesFromphilly.

    N*gger 110 times on Christmas day no less??? Brainwashed completely.

  • I got sense!

    What pass? It’s a movie for entertainment. Either see it or don’t but all these underlining meanings are outrageous. Who did I give a pass to and what pass did I give?

    Y’all are too much, lol.

  • I got sense!

    I’m glad I didn’t listen to the critics because I would have missed a great movie. Propaganda or not, it’s a film that some will choose to see.

    My issue is that so many black people gt so upset when “Hollywood” code: white people make a movie about black people but so many of our communities look like a toilet. South side Chicago is a war zone. No action just talk from so so many and so many n*iggas in rap music since the 80s and they are still strong. It seems so contradicting to me for those black people that throw a fit about something like this but are fine with the violence, music, OOW kids, HIV/AIDS, high school drop out etc.

  • http://melodymoose.deviantart.com/ Catpopstar

    I’m kinda tired of seeing movies like this. Can’t we get movies with black protagonist that are more like a fantasy with dragons and unicorns or a Si-Fi film? And I want it to be a big budget movie.

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    see : THOR

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    see : DEJA VU

  • http://gravatar.com/eynapanirb B.Payne

    If the Jews enjoyed Inglorious Basterds because it was entertaining and gave a twist to history, how come we can’t do the same? Would it have made a difference if the director were the Hughes brothers? or anyone black?

    As a follower of Tarantino, I didn’t go in with expectations of being enlightened…I went for entertainment and I was. It was funny to me and it made Jamie’s character a hero with his BLACK woman which is why I can’t understand the issue with some ppl.

    I’m not saying EVERYONE should see it as it’s up to the individual but seriously…

    NONE of us were around during slavery to feel the pain and if you want to boycott entertainment condoning the N-word, how about we start with our beloved hip hop!

    ***AND STOP ACTING LIKE NONE OF YOU GUYS EVER USED THE N-WORD BEFORE….ESP WHEN DESCRIBING LOWER LEVELS BLACKS (thugs, baby-mamas, etc)…STOP IT!

  • MommieDearest

    “While it is far from historical…it’s just a good old western action flick…starring black folks. Nothing more…nothing less. ”

    No. “Posse” was a good old western action flick starring black folks.

  • Ask_ME

    @Mommiedearest

    You have your opinion and I have mine. Don’t like the movie…don’t see it. It’s that plain and simple.

    I will never understand why people make it their business to police other grown adults. Everybody here I assume is GROWN…which means they have the right to like/view/see whatever they like.

  • MommieDearest

    @AskMe

    Please fall back. I’m not policing anything. I’m simply disagreeing with your assessment of the movie and, because I am GROWN, stating my own opinion.

  • Ask_ME

    @Mommiedearest

    No, YOU need to fall back.

    You and many others here think you can tell OTHER PEOPLE what they should view/like/spend THEIR money on etc. Again, mind your business and stay in your lane.

    To you posse was a good film. To me it was boring.

    One opinion doesn’t invalidate the other yet you thought it was your place to invalidate MY opinion of THIS film (recall you responded to MY comment…not the other way around).

    Again, stay in your lane.

  • Ask_ME

    @SMH

    Or just plain old honest. African Americans don’t give a ish about black American history…what sense would it make learning about African history? *Blank Stare and face palm*

  • MommieDearest

    AskMe

    This is a public omments section on a public blog; there’s no such thing as “minding your business” here. People are supposed to dialogue about the subject at hand- that’s what comments are for. Just as you are free to comment on the article, I am free to comment on it. I can state my opinion just as you can.

    How you can turn my original comment/statement into a diatribe about me telling you what to think and how to spend your money is beyond me. Getting defensive just because someone disagrees with a statement you make on a message board is not a good look.

    You say “Posse” was boring to you. GREAT! And guess what? I’m not getting my panties in a bunch just because you disagree with me. You know why? Because that’s YOUR opinon and it’s OK for you to have it.

    So you can fall back, stay in YOUR lane and chill out.

    As I find it highly annoying when people hijack threads with back-and-forth bickering, I’m done with this exchange; whether you choose to reply or not. Either way have a nice night.

  • Mimi

    Oh please…

    It’s historical satire. I’m pretty sure the N-word was used frequently back then….

  • I got sense!

    Too much common sense in your post. They don’t like that, lol.

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    “AND STOP ACTING LIKE NONE OF YOU GUYS EVER USED THE N-WORD BEFORE….ESP WHEN DESCRIBING LOWER LEVELS BLACKS (thugs, baby-mamas, etc)…STOP IT!”

    stop assuming that everybody does it. stop it!
    i have never used the N word.

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    and which category do YOU fall into?

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    because QT told you so, right?

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    it has passed the $100 million mark

  • http://gravatar.com/rastaman1967 rastaman

    Django Unchained is as much a historical movie as Inglorious Bastard. It’s a cartoon with the over the top dialogue, scenes and plot. I enjoyed it because I am a fan of the type of movie genre it pays homage to: Blaxploitation and Spaghetti Westerns. Do I think the use of the word *igger was gratuitous?
    Yes, but so was much of the film. I find it a little disturbing that so many critics focus so much on the over use of a slur in the film but so little on the amount violence portrayed. Because from where I sit, violence in our communities are doing far more damage than the slurs.
    But even in this cartoon, I think QT has brought to back the forefront my mind the sheer inhumanity that was slavery. I believe this is an opportunity for us to re-visit one of the worst periods in the history of America where black people were subject to conditions akin to domestic beast. Use the publicity of this movie to remind people of what Africans forcefully bought to this nation experienced because I don’t believe too many of us know enough about this or we have conveniently forgotten.

    I saw Roots for the first time when I was 12 and I still remember to this day how deeply it hurt my psyche to watch that story unfold, Django Unchained is not Roots and I I have not heard anyone claim it would be. So rather than spend time debating whether *igger is used too much in a film lets talk about the larger issues of violence, inhumanity and the legacy of African slavery. I know its much easier for some of us to be righteously “Black” or Blacker than thou” but while that may make you feel better it does nothing to advance consciousness.

  • LMO85

    THANK YOU FOR THIS COMMENT. Sigh.

  • Natalie

    But what you forget is that most of the people who used the word in the movie were antagonists and were meant to, not only portray disrespect, but also excessive hatred towards Black people. For this reason, It is fitting that they would use the racial slur so much.

    And the only Black person who used the word so much in the movie was Samuel L Jackson character who’s meant to be an indoctrinated “Uncle Tom”. It would also make sense that he’d use it so vehemently.

  • Natalie

    I agree with the “perm” observation lol. But people stay confused about this movie and Taratino’s other movie themes. It’s not supposed to be realistic. It’s a simple, gory story set in a parallel reality. Remember Inglorious Bastards? Yea, Hitler wasn’t really blown up in a movie theater.

    It’s nice that people are pointing out how unreal the use of the “n-word” seemed to be and the perms the women had, but they fail to notice that it’s totally unrealitic for a slave to pose as a bounty hunter, pull white man off of horses, and one-handedly kill dozens of white men in the pre-Civil War Deep South.

    #EveryonesACriticButNoOneTookAFilmClass

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