Growing up, Roots was a staple in  my house.  For some reason we ended up watching it every Christmas, like clockwork.  It got to the point where I could pretty much recite the whole movie.  Queen wasn’t released until my teens, but it just didn’t compel me the same way Roots did. Before Queen, I was probably the only kid under thirteen that read The Color Purple numerous times, so when Stephen Spielberg’s adaptation finally came out, I was left in awe. Then there was Amistad, another Spielberg slavery film.  With each of these films, whether fictional and factual, both shed light on America’s shameful act of slavery and racism.

Over the last couple of years the film industry has had a revitalized interests in slavery and civil rights films with Quentin Tarantino’s, Django Unchained, to Lee Daniels’, The Butler. With next month’s Steve McQueen’s film, 12 Years A Slave, being released some people seem to have grown weary of the rebirth of the slave narrative.  In a recent post for The Guardian, Black-Canadian author Orville Lloyd Douglas says he doesn’t plan on seeing Lee Daniels’ The Butler or 12 Years a Slave because they were created to engender white guilt.

Douglas writes:

Lee Daniel’s new film The Butler is a box office success, already generating Oscar buzz, but I am not interested in seeing it. I’m also skipping British filmmaker Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, another movie about black people dealing with slavery.

I’m convinced these black race films are created for a white, liberal film audience to engender white guilt and make them feel bad about themselves. Regardless of your race, these films are unlikely to teach you anything you don’t already know. Frankly, why can’t black people get over slavery? Or, at least, why doesn’t anyone want to see more contemporary portrayals of black lives?

The narrow range of films about the black life experience being produced by Hollywood is actually dangerous because it limits the imagination, it doesn’t allow real progress to take place. Yet, sadly, these roles are some of the only ones open to black talent. People want us to cheer that black actors from The Butler and 12 Years a Slave are likely to be up for best actor and actress awards, yet it feels like a throwback, almost to the Gone with the Wind era.


Douglas then goes on to lament about people who just think about being black way too much and how he doesn’t care about slavery:

I don’t know about other black people, but I don’t sit around all day thinking only about the fact I am black. I think about the problems in my life: the struggles, the joys, the happiness, most of which don’t involve the issue of race. As a black person, I can honestly say I am exhausted and bored with these kinds of “dramatic race” films.

I might have to turn in my black card, because I don’t care much about slavery. I’ve already watched the television series Roots, which I feel covered the subject matter extremely well. Of course, I understand slavery is an important part of any black person’s history, but dwelling on slavery is pathetic. It ended in North America over 100 years ago, yet since Django Unchained made over $400m last year, more slavery movies emerge.

So here you have one black man, confessing that he doesn’t care about slavery, or how he doesn’t sit around lamenting about being black.  Well it must be nice up there in Canada not to have to worry about being discriminated against because of the color of your skin.

The dialogue that Douglas attempted to open is a question/statement I’ve heard a lot from black people. They’re just tired of the slavery and civil rights movies.  But isn’t the purpose of a movie is to shed light on issues that’s shaped and perhaps to some, still shaping the world we live in?   Although Django and Roots were both fictional (or as Haley liked to say “factional”) accounts,  Amistad and 12 Years A Slave are both non-fiction.  Of course both films obviously use creative license, but the stories are still a part of history.

On the subject of white guilt, I have a gut feeling white people will be fine. And if a random white person does suffer from an ounce of guilt, what will they actually do about it? My guess, nothing. So why even worry about it?

Maybe people are tired of seeing the harsh realities of slavery, but it happened.  Imagine if a child in history class stood up in protest and said he was tired of learning about slavery? What would you say to that child?

There’s a solution for those who are tired of slavery and civil rights era movies, simply don’t go see it.  Personally, I’m tired of Tyler Perry and Lee Daniels’ films for different reasons, and I’ve made it a point not to see either films from those two directors.  On October 18th I’ll have my $11.50 ticket in hand to see 12 Years A Slave, I’m actually thankfully that Steve McQueen brought this story to light, because it wasn’t a part of the history I was taught in school or a story I was familiar with as an adult, and I’m quite sure I’m not the only one. There are many stories about the atrocities of slavery and the Civil Rights movement but only a select few will be told.

Are you tired of slavery & Civil Rights movies? If so, why? 

  • Cocochanel31

    While I can do without the Django Unchained’s ..I love history, in particuar black history,so wil never tire of slave movies or movies about black history/black expriences. With so many foolish/silly black movies being made, is it that serious to not watch a non fiction account of a slave once every 30 years?

  • Laura Charles


  • Philygurl

    I can tolerate a true slave movies narrative than the minstrel mess that it considered entertainment now. I plan to pluck my money down to see this one.

  • Laura Charles

    “The narrow range of films about the black life experience being produced by Hollywood is actually dangerous because it limits the imagination, it doesn’t allow real progress to take place. Yet, sadly, these roles are some of the only ones open to black talent. People want us to cheer that black actors from The Butler and 12 Years a Slave are likely to be up for best actor and actress awards, yet it feels like a throwback, almost to the Gone with the Wind era.”

    This was the only part of his statement I agreed with. Remembering, researching and teaching about slavery is extremely important. I’m going to even go on a limb by saying most people probably don’t even know the half or much more than they were taught in school. That, Mr. Douglas is also very “dangerous”. It’s important for us to know about every ounce of our history including those in the diaspora.

    With that said, I agree that we have MANY stories that need to be or should be told. These slave/servant movies are what folks in hollywood love to watch and therefore get more attention, funding and win Oscars, Golden Globes and SAG awards. Also “dangerous”.

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    Not necessarily, I think these movies has a place and an audiences and I don’t mind watching them (if they are a truer depiction and not loaded with Hollywood’s agenda) but I am kind of fed up with the fact with that it is the only narrative being told.

  • JN

    Errrmigudness YES!

    Can we get stories on more nuanced Black stories? Like, say for example, a movie on a Senegalese Muslim woman trying to make it here in America?

    Or a movie on Zora Neale Hurston?

    Or a movie depicting four or five students affected by Affirmative Action (including a White student, a Black descendant of slaves, someone from an African country, and a mixed person)?

    How about a movie in which a Southern man tries to gain employment in a Northeastern city, thereby addressing the divide between mainstream media and how the South has become more covert in maintaining racism?

    I mean they don’t have to be stories like what I just suggested above but you know what I mean. I mean, why is it that some types of people, like the Jewish, know how to create stories that are nuanced? You’ve got Seinfeld, you have the movie School Ties. I am not saying we haven’t had nuanced movies-because we definitely have had- but it would be nice to see a lot more mainstream Black movies right now. This year has given me some hope–maybe movies like Fruitvale Station, 12 Years a Slave, and Mother of George will get us going again by 2014 or 2015.

  • Apple

    I am sick of them. I love to see a movie about basic life without it being abo civil rights, slavery or racism. We have lives outside of that you know. I have seen all I can with the other topics (1970-1990s did a much better job of showing a true picture)

  • Flo

    All movie genres—from historical to action/adventure to comedy—are more than twice-told. How many super hero movies exist? Superman and Batman movies? How many comedies exist? How many Holocaust movies exist? How many civil war movies as well as Lincoln films have been made over time? Granted many more diverse African-American stories can, and hopefully, will be told. Slavery is part of the American historical narrative and as more little known stories are discovered and new perspectives unfold, more such movies will be made. The key is that we have movie viewing options. Perhaps not enough variety and it may have taken a long time in coming, but we’re getting there.

  • Allie

    I think Douglas’s comment is b*llshit because to say that these films create white guilt would imply that white people feel bad about slavery, which they don’t considering their wild fascination to romanticize slavery and black servitude every chance they get. In most of the recent movies there is always that one good white person that helps the often times passive black protagonist (ex. Emma Stone in The Help), if anything this eases white guilt, and erases the responsibility white people should take on for the things that have happened and the legacy it’s left behind.

  • Philygurl

    Exactly, they were comfy with Django because in the narrative a white man had to show a black man how to free himself, I guess an actual movie about Nat Turner would have taken away the sense of control.

  • The Other Jess

    YES, I’m tired of them because they are only being made – contrary to Douglas’ statements – to make BLACK people feel bad about themselves, make whites happy reminiscing over when they brutally ruled over us, reinforce the idea that we were only slaves, and continually distract us from the fact that we as Black people have made great strides since slavery.

    For example, I hear the brutality against the main Black woman in this movie is terrible, from constant rape to a 10-minute whipping scene. This to me is no different than how that Spanish magazine portrayed Michelle Obama as a slave – the world can’t handle the fact that Black people are in some powerful positions, some positions that are highly influential and required great education and success. It irks them to no end, so they KEEP making these movies to say like “don’t forget, just because there is a Black President and Black First Lady, you all were stll slaves, ruled over by whites”.

    Not that McQueen was trying to say this, but the fact that the blacks who keep getting chosen to make films are those who generally write about slaves, butlers, precious, etc says something about Hollywood. It’s all about “staying in your place” and “blacks-as-victims-nt-victors” propaganda, imo.

  • TR

    Are you tired of slavery & Civil Rights movies?
    Yes. No disrespect to McQueen, but I’m not interested. I’ve read plenty of books about slavery. I’ve read up on Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington and many others. And I’m talking biographies that tell exactly how it was back then. So I am in no need of a film to inform me of the horrors of slavery. I don’t want to see black women be raped on screen. I don’t want to see black men being brutally humiliated.

    Is there some greater message at the end of it all? Sure. But the journey (2+ hours of misery) kind of makes it all moot. There needs to be a moratorium on Civil Rights films and slavery films.

  • Allie

    OK! but really. Blacks doing shit for themselves is too much for white people.

  • SE

    Nope. I’m not tired of them. I don’t have a problem with them.

  • Treece

    No, I’m not tired of them. They teach some of a very wide and long history of Blacks and Africans that aren’t taught in school, only touched on in February. Our kids are not learning this stuff in school. They spend years and years in public school (those that go to public schools) not being taught anything about free blacks, or any of the harsh realities of slavery They are not taught the extensive history of the Civil Rights Movement. They don’t know the extent of the attrocities white ppl comitted against us. White ppl like to keep that stuff silent and sugar it up and dumb it down. Even if it is on the big screen, our kids need to see this “great country” that people like brag about at it’s worst. And if it’s in a good film with great direction and acting and a great script, even better.

    Now, having said that, I would LOVE to see more of our history told on screen that tells stories that arent particularly about slavery or the Civil Rights Movemement per say. I would love to see a bio-pic about someone other than MLK or Malcom X. I’d love to see a movie about our history as Kings and Queens all over Africa or at least one of them. I would love to see black casts in a movie that is current and not slapstick comedy, or romantic comedy, or about violence and crime. I’d like to see more diversity in black films for sure, but that doesn’t mean I don’t support movies that show the ugly truth about the founding of this country and that reminds white people on who’s backs this land was really built.

    If the only place my kids (not that I have any, but figuratively) get to see in real live action the ugly truth about what Africans and Black Americans really had to endure at the hands of white ppl is at the movie theater, then so be it. I will make sure to teach any future children I have our history (our whole history from the beginings in Africa to current) but I don’t see the problem with them looking at movies about it either. I don’t see a damn thing wrong with reminding people that often America is the land of the pot calling the kettle black, and any reminders we can put out there to make sure people know otherwise, then great.

  • http://gravatar.com/geenababe geenababe

    Yes, because this seems like the slaves/maids/servant movies are the only ones Hollywood likes to green light and congratulate. I mean they show you films like this but I haven’t seen a preview for a movie made about Nat Turner. There is an agenda going on when it comes to these movies. Why are movies like these always nominated or given awards? I will never say forget slavery or our history but you have to wonder why a one sided view is always presented. It’s 2013 why are so many slaves movies coming out?

  • K

    Ill get tired of them when people acknowledge and admit the damage slavery has done to the psyche of african americans as a whole. As a group, they are still effecting our community although these events “ended over a 100 years ago” so we should be over it. Furthermore I cant take seriously a black canadian whose ancestors had a different experience than ours, hell our ancestors were trying to run to freedom in his ancestors country.

  • The New Jemima

    Wow!! I can’t get over the ignorance expressed by this Douglas person. He obviously isn’t a movie lover, otherwise he wouldn’t be dismissing the virtuoso work of the likes of Steve McQueen, Chiewetel Ejiofor, and Michael Fassbender.

    To assume that McQueen, who gave us films like Hunger and Shame, would give us another TV series like Roots or even another Django Unchained is the height of stupidity! As if a master black filmmaker would even function on the same level of white male storytelling when it comes to slavery!

    That this joker can’t discern the difference is embarrassing and I’m ashamed the Guardian gave him editorial space to show his cinematic ignorance.

    And this is why Black Art Cinema can’t thrive. We don’t have an informed enough audience to appreciate the nuances when black film makers tell our own stories.

    I for one will trust the Toronto festival audience and will be lining up when this opens in theaters.

  • GlowBelle

    Somewhat, but I’m okay with them for the most part. Unfortunately, slavery and servitude is a part of our history and I do feel that there is a space for movies that show the terrible struggles we’ve been through, especially if they are a done well, because a lot of times these movies show how far we’ve come. It was why I was surprised at how good ‘The Butler’ actually turned out to be because it was more than just him serving, it showed the progression and change of Black people through generations, and it was a really good character study, something that I don’t usually see in a lot of Black movies as of recent so it was refreshing. One of my favorite movies is ‘A Soldier’s Story’ with a young Denzel Washington and Robert Townsend, it’s a great character study type of movie that I wish could be more often done today, but more so touching on our lives in the present.

    There is no reason why we can’t have movies that show families working out everyday struggles, and kids and teens coming of age in the 21st Century. I grew up watching comedy/dramas like ‘Sixteen Candles’ and ‘My Girl’ and wondered why there wasn’t a movie like that for someone like me. While I appreciate films like ‘Fruitvale Station’ and ’12 Years’ we should have a balance of not just show the bad, but the good as well.

  • http://gravatar.com/loveraine loveraine

    We need to see movies that enhance us (period) Can someone do a movie on Nefertiti? The Egyptian pyramids? The different kingdoms within the African History? African Americans new millennium style? I would rather spend my 15.00 bucks to see ourselves on the big screen with even the common human emotions. I will even take Sci-fi. Not serving, not getting bond and beaten, not depressed and poverty stricken or shot. American History told by Hollywood is going to exaggerate the truth. So with that being said PSA to all aspiring Black Screenwriters, Black Writers, Black Film Directors we need you!! Show us in a light that we have yet to see. Prospering.

  • Angelique212

    Please read this real-life account/the narrative. It is mind-blowing and honest. It is not a white woman’s take on black maids. It is not the take of a misogynist former “drug peddler to the stars” on the FICTIONAL accounts of the life of a REAL man and his family in the White House where, in order to “bump up the script”, he chooses to vilify the decades long, LOYAL marriage by characterizing the wife as unloyal and ,,, (you don’t want to know what was edited out). 12 YEARS A SLAVE gives a perspective of the enslaved African that we have never gotten in all the previous sanitized accounts. If there were to be just ONE movie dealing with this theme, “12 Years a Slave” would and should be it.

    Please be open to this movie… it is so important. TRUTH is so important and because Americans have never dealt with the issue without skewing its truths, we have never had a satisfactory account. This Black Briton, who exists also a result of the Triangular Trade, is bringing not just America, but Black America its truth.

    This movie is important. PLEASE GIVE IT A CHANCE.

  • RJ

    This was just a black conservative using the deluge of black films to voice his conserative views about race. He sounded just like a white person telling black people to get over slavery.

    You notice he does not mention anything about the films that talk about civil right which was a movement that happened 100 years after slavery in 1965.

    These incognegroes get on my nerves sometimes.

    That being said. I would like to see more movies dealing with the here and now of black life and the diversity. The last time I felt this way was when every black movie was about the hood (after the success of Boyz in the Hood).

  • BeanBean

    No I am not tired of them. Especially when they are well made and truthful films about black history! Believe it or not there are a lot of Americans that still think slavery ‘wasn’t that bad’, segregation ‘wasn’t that bad.’ As long as this attitude continues these types of movie will need to be made. Eventually the light will turn on in the heads of some of these ignorant SOBs.

  • Ads

    For u and ur hypothetical kids – please check out the book “lies my teacher told me.”

  • Starla

    No and no. I am who I am, I am the descendent of slaves and I will not be ashamed of their story being told. I wish there were more first hand account stories available to be made into movies.

    What I am tired of is zombie and vampire movies. I am tired of every other movies in the theater is about the dead, or the undead. Or some gory bloodfest that is simply a celebration of suffering and pain culminating is some brutal, graphic killing all in the name of entertainment, these are the movies that need to stop being made.

  • lea

    edwidge danticat’s story of
    ‘ breath eyes memory ” would be a good one or a dominique dawes biopic would be great. DD was my childhood athletic shero.

  • NY’s Finest

    Oh I loved “Breath, Eyes, Memory.” I never thought about it, but that would be a great movie

  • The New Jemima

    I would like to add, for those who seem to be resistant to the idea of “yet another slave movie” (how many of these do we actually have, compared to the number on the Holocaust? Do we even has as many such movies compared to the Batman series?), there are a bunch of new movies coming from Black filmmakers that are NOT about slavery, which we could all support.

    1. There is another movie by another Black British filmmaker, this time a woman – Amma Asante – who has a period costume drama film based on a mixed-race daughter of a slave woman growing up among the British aristocracy. It’s called “Belle,” and also premiered at the same Toronto Film Festival.

    2. Also at the Toronto Film Festival was the Nelson Mandela biopic, “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.”

    3. Outside of the festival circuit is a Nigerian-American movie, starring the Walking Dead’s Danai Gurira, titled “Mother of George,” which looks fabulous (and has nothing to do with slavery).

    And that’s just to name a few.

    In other words, we’ve GOT choices and different films exploring different aspects of Black life – past and present.

    Having a slave drama and other black films NOT about slavery is not a mutually exclusive issue, especially this year when we’ve got different films to choose from.

    The real question, it seems to me, is NOT whether we’re tired of certain movies with certain themes but WHY black filmmakers across the pond are getting funding to explore these themes in innovative and poignant ways, compared to black filmmakers stuck in the Hollywood system.

    “12 Years a Slave” is coming to us in a year of Fruitvale Station, Lee Daniel’s The Butler, and the above-named films. All centered on Black Life!

    And yet, we want to complain because we finally have a film about slavery, told from a black man’s perspective, directed by a black man, and adapted from a narrative written by a black man, filmed in a way that’s brave enough to capture the horrors of slavery without sugarcoating it (including the institutional rape of black women that no Hollywood film has ever been able to capture without denying it happened or reducing it to pornography)? Are we serious?!

    How short-sighted of us, if that’s the case, and how unappreciative of the ability of black cinema to elevate our stories.

  • NY’s Finest

    I don’t mind movies about slavery as long as they’re accurate depictions of slavery and not that storybook crap. But I would also love to see current black films, movies about modern times.

  • The Other Jess

    I have no idea how you could even get one thumbs down for your comment – you are so on point! Thumbs up all the way! People only think that non-Black people, especially white people, are good enough to be shown in their full spectrum of humanity.

    White people don’t always have to see how they were repressed, depressed, conquered, in servitude, raped and ravaged all the time – and trust they definitely were, at different points in their history. Instead, this is what we get all the time – reminders of the most horrible history or horrible daily occurrences so that we can never move forward, so that we think we only were slaves or only live in abnormal, pathological situations and didn’t come from better, and aspire to better, or to always think we were nothing more than victims while white women and men brutalized us.

    White people get love stories, and adventures and imaginative worlds for their kids, movies about their inventors and technology innovators, and cartoons that teach them to see themselves as beautiful and to imagine, etc all the time. Black peopel are the ones who always get these lopsided portrayals, skewd in favor of the most terrible.

  • The Other Jess

    Actually, the majority of non-immigrant black canadians are directly descended from enslaved black people in the U.S. and colonies, who were able to escape to freedom in canada. so there experience isn’t different really. they were enslaved people who just were able to escape further north. Read about Josiah Henson (the man that “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was based on). He fled slavery in Maryland to live in relative freedom in Canada. His cabin is a tourist site and is still in existence in Canada today.

  • http://gravatar.com/yesimthatleah Yes, I’m That Leah

    No. I don’t mind these movies, as long as a black director is directing it. We need to make our movies….and tell our own stories!

  • K

    I am aware of Mr Henson and while I understand your point, it still doesnt compare to me..here is why. The slave experience fluctuated greatly from the 1700s to 1865. Sometimes Africans were granted more opportunities and rights..sometimes not (for example, right after the revolution many sued and won their freedom, by the time the early 1820s rolled around a slave suing for his/her freedom was unheard of).

    On top of that slavery was outlawed in Canada in the 1830s still giving those who ranaway from america a good 35 year (im being generous) gap between establishing themselves as free people. This cannot compare to those who were still here until the end of american slavery and saw and quite different experience.

    also, i dont know much about canadian politics and laws but I image the experience had to be slightly better dating all the way then even having a 30 years head start and in a country that in present day hard global times gives free healthcare to its citizens.

  • Lisa

    Just watched ‘The Butler’ and these stories need to be told, unfortunately there doesn’t seem, to be a release date for the UK, i would love to take my young brother, every generation needs to be aware of this history. I love that the story showed the rise of the black middle class and the dignified men like Eugene Allen who worked with honour as a butler so that his children would have better opportunities.
    I loved seeing black couples enduring through difficult times.
    It was a great movie.
    I just wish these were not the only black stories told.

  • joe

    Excellent comment! I saw Mother of George ove the weekend and it was outstanding. I will definitely see 12 Years a Slave. I think there are many of us who believe that a film that doesn’t sugarcoat the horrors of slavery will increase black animosity towards whites. Slavery and Jim Crow have lasted for 350 years. That is all but 50 years of our existence in this country. As far as I am concerned not enough films have been made depicting the TRUE horrors of slavery. There have been countless movies made about the holocaust and you never hear jewish people complain.

  • Mr. Man

    Compelling story I’m sure, however I’m done for a good minute. Emotionally I can handle only so much, currently my cup is full. Also too, I can’t sit and witness a rape scene on the screen ever, just because it happened doesn’t mean I need to see it to believe, it’s the same with the beatings, and 10 min ? No thank you. I don’t do we’ll at all with such visuals.

  • http://gravatar.com/jenettaangel _passionandlove

    I feel conflicted. Although I want to support 12 years a slave, there is still something about the cinema that lingers with blaxploitation. Not how ridiculous and over the top it was back in the day, but why are we the ones on the big screen? Everyone else has their history in textbook (the irish, the jews etc). We do as well, but why are there no movies about that? I love my blackness and my history, but i dont truly like these movies and shows signifying our culture.

  • http://gravatar.com/cmama06 cmama06

    I think these movies are great, but I’m personally ready to see some positive movies outside of slavery and civil rights. If we really think these movies are supposed to teach people things, then maybe lets teach them more. I’d love to see movies about the George Washington Carvers and the Madame CJ Walkers, people who’ve achieved things in business, the arts, and the sciences outside of sports and music. Our history is so much richer than what has been depicted in recent movies and media

  • http://knicolewilliams.blogspot.com/2013/09/black-movies-from-butler-to-baggage.html K.Nicole

    Our history is important and should be shown on film, but it should be balanced out by contemporary films featuring black characters as well. I wrote about this subject on my blog last week (click my name for my blog post).

  • Treece

    Thumbs up x 10,000! You are on point with this one

  • MimiLuvs

    Are you tired of slavery & Civil Rights movies? If so, why?

    To answer your inquiry. No, I am not tired of watching films that depicts slavery or the process of Civil Rights. I grew up in a household where my mom (not so much my dad) taught us about slavery. And when my brother and I were old enough, she would send us down to Virginia/South Carolina to stay with our “oldest relatives”, or “The Real O.G.’s” as my brother likes to call them. We were told stories about their youth (either they’re parents were sharecroppers/slaves) and about their lives. They provided me with lessons about life that I didn’t learn in school or college. They were definitely my “standing in front of the ocean…” moments.
    IMO, these films are important because chances are black children are not going to learn anything from their schoolbooks. From what I’ve heard, parents (You can guess who) wants lessons about slavery to be taken out of the history books. Pretty audacious, huh?

    “…I’m convinced these black race films are created for a white, liberal film audience to engender white guilt and make them feel bad about themselves. Regardless of your race, these films are unlikely to teach you anything you don’t already know. Frankly, why can’t black people get over slavery?…”

    When I read this bit of passage, I swear, I felt a sharp pain shoot up in my brain as well as my a**hole squeeze tight because I was so irritated. I wonder if Mr. Douglas would write an op-ed, where he asks Jewish people to stop moping over the Holocaust? Or, in about twenty years from now, will he write another opinion piece where he questions the victims/families of 9/11 victims to stop “memorializing” their loved ones and get over it?
    I’m not going to say that ALL black Canadians are like this, but I do know twelve of them who have the same opinion.

  • WhatIThink

    The issue isn’t the topic of slavery or civil rights, the issue is how it is presented. How come all of the movies about slavery show black folks being passive about their ill treatment? How come no movies on black folks fighting back or escaping to places in Canada. There are many,many stories that can be told about slavery is the point but somehow we only always get the same narrow slice of the slave narrative over and over again. Show us something we don’t know, give us something that helps us understand and not simply the mammy and sambo show. These were real people with real flaws and real lives, on both sides of the fence.

    But the bigger issue for black folks is that black history isn’t limited to slavery. Black folks have been on this planet longer than any other population yet in hollywood the only black history is slavery. And it is that issue that makes most black folks tired.

  • stef

    Civil Rights Movies? YES, Exception if they make a Fannie Lou Hamer movie

    Slavery Movies? NO Why because they still has never been a slavery movie that has ever been to lets say Schindler list level. Hope 12 yrs a slave is great. Would Love to see a John Brown movie( i know he is white, i dont care ) or Denmark Versey Movie. But hollywood is not having that

  • joe

    Elie Weisel said that to forget the holocaust is to kill twice. The African holocaust lasted 350 years and anyone who believes that we are not suffering from the long term effects of that nightmare needs to be re-educated.

  • MCross

    Yes, I would like to see more diverse films about black people’s lives that don’t include Tyler Perry in the credits. However, we have had “Beast of the Southern Wild” , “Red Hook Summer”..etc. No, I will not forget about slavery and neither should anyone else. Especially white folks. I dont care about white guilt. However, white people should focus on how slavery has affected the current situation in America now. I wont hold my breath on that. There are actually black movies about other aspects of black life , unfortunately they arent as popular as the civil rights and slave movies though..hummm I wonder why…

  • Gina

    I sure as hell am not!

    Every freaking year, we have to deal with white people’s historical dramas. I.E. Jane Eyre, Anna Karenina, The Great Gatsby, The Kings Speech, etc etc. I see reboots of the same story told and the one year that black people are getting more attention, people are complaining. I don’t think there has ever been a time more in history where black folks are finally getting a lot of rolls in hollywood. And these roles ARE varied. Just because a slave movie came out doesn’t mean that its the SAME story.

    I definitely think we should do more black history films. I would love for hollywood to delve into African folktales too.

    Honestly, I’m tired of watching movies about the white experiences. I for one want these black dramas to keep on coming. I think its imperative so that black faces are normalized in mainstream hollywood.

  • GoldenRa

    I am looking forward to seeing 12 years a slave just because Soloman Northup’s writing gives us a completely different viewpoint of someone who did not grow up as a slave.

    On the other hand I do think that ‘slave movies’ lull people who are not people of color (whites) into believing as long as no one is enslaving you, beating you and placing different race signs at the water fountain that they are not racists or benefiting from the society in place today. I think ‘slavery’ movies make them more comfortable and is used instead to say “see, at least we are not treating you so bad, you will be okay’.

    I would rather see movies that focus on the reconstruction period and after on American History or even how slavery was established in the colonies to begin with. Or even the book “Kindred” being made into a movie which mixes the past with the present.

  • https://www.facebook.com/DawnTheScreenwriter ScriptTease

    I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THESE TYPES OF FILMS. But give me a documentary and I will watch all day long.
    Okay people I am an Aspiring Screenwriter working on something big, and I will need the help of Clutch and the Clutchetts. I plan on catapulting my writing career on January 6, 2014. I’m taking the steps to make it happen. I am the Original Awkward Black Girl, so I’m trying to get my self right emotionally, mentally and physically, as well as trying to get my Screenplay up to par. I cannot go into detail, but just be aware the film is an intense “Black Love” story (nothing stereotypical), and I have more than one. I will be contacting the owner of this here website when the days draw near. You guys can also help me out by liking my Facebook fanpage too, she’s looking a little scanty right now, but hopefully that will change. Just click on my user id for the link or (dawnthescreenwriter) on facebook.

  • ScriptTease

    When that is our only selection to see ourselves on the Big Screen, then YES… I am tired of them. As I said earlier, I prefer to see Black History in a documentary format. When I go to the movies, I want to forget about my problems, even if for two hours. I don’t want to leave the theaters pissed. I love knowing my history, but must this be our only selection?

  • Tired of the Dissemblance

    Thank you! Given all of the making, remaking, remixing, etc. etc. etc. of the same old superhero films, romantic comedy plotlines, stories celebrating white patriotism, etc., the only type of films that he tires of seeing are those about slavery, race, and civil rights?!?!?! His ire clearly stems from something more than repetition and redundancy. I have met too many Black folk who feel that we should feel ashamed of the history of slavery and I get a strong whiff of such shame from this guy. Why should Black folk feel ashamed? Why are the enslavers, rapists of slaves, etc. not the ones held accountable?

    The fact that the specific racial categories and hierarchies that govern this society are still in play goes to show that we are still living in slavery’s and colonialism’s aftermath. Further, until people like the old fish-eyed fool who wrote the article come to terms with the fact that slavery is world and western history, not exclusively “Black history,” and see that history still holds ramifications for our present, then there is still more teaching to be done!

    And I have yet to see a film about slavery or a slave in the North (e.g. Sojourner Truth or Harriet Wilson). And the films about slavery that I have seen set in the Caribbean or South America are from the 1970s!

  • ScriptTease

    I feel you on that Starla, I’m tired of the same old Zombie crap too, but what about BALANCE in Black Film. How about a Black Love story without all the gang-banging and cooning and clowning. etc….? Just a film staring Black Folks without making reference about their race. Just a Black Man moving heaven and earth to make sure his Black Woman is taken care of? What about those films? Can we get one of those films…. and I’m working on such a film. :)

  • Pepper

    All what “Slave/Civil Rights” movies??? The Butler, Django, 12 Years a Slave….that’s only three (3) movies; so I’m trying to figure out where the (ALL) comes in??? I enjoyed Butler, and Django. Won’t make any special effort to see 12 Years a slave. I especially enjoyed the Butler because I could relate to the time period (late 60s early 70s): the WONDERFUL FASHIONS, AND MUSIC!! It’s a time period that will probably never be replaced as it relates to music, i.e., Motown, Memphis, and Philly sounds (when artists actually sang, and a lot of them also played instruments). But I digress; I don’t hear any one complaining about the constant influx of Iron Man, Fast, and Furious, Shoot Um Up Bang Bang, or Friday the 13th movies

  • Tired of the Dissemblance

    BUT IT ISN’T THE ONLY ONE! Damn…stop repeating that lie!

  • ScriptTease

    I think the real issue is, that it seems to be our only choice. White folks when they want to see themselves on the Big Screen, they have choices. They can watch themselves as DEVILS in our Slave or Black issue films, or they can choose to watch, any other White Film depicting them as “happy as hell, life is great” or what have you. Whereas we have Slave Films, or films depicting some sort of Black struggle, and somewhere in the film, it will be known (if I’m blind), that the main character is black. Black folks want variety, we are not saying we don’t want to know anything about our history, we’re saying we want a choice to watch Twelve Years a Slave or a Black version of “The Way Way Back”.

  • ScriptTease

    I’m working on it as we speak Loveraine… Nothing dealing with History, but just a positive Black Love story, and no rom-com either.

  • Pepper

    Mimi: I agree “chances are Black children are not going to learn anything from their school books.” Harvey Weinstein who’s company produced The Butler said his 15 year old daughter asked him after seeing the movie…those things really happened??? Duuuuh yes they did happen. And, I’ve personally encountered numerous young people that don’t have a clue about what happened during the civil rights movement. Like it, or not….movies like The Butler can be tools for learning. Do we need to dwell on it….NO; but there’s definitely reasons for these type of stories to be told

  • ScriptTease

    Include all the films starring black folks that points out somewhere in the movie, that the characters are black.

  • ScriptTease

    Let’s see, Baggage claim and The best man, the rest is dealing with some sort of black struggle. This is not including straight to DVD movies. I don’t need to know the person is Black when I watch a film, I can see.

  • Laura Charles

    Oh, I definitely plan on seeing “12 Years a slave”.

    Thank you for your comment. My “YES” reply was to the question “Are you tired of slavery & Civil Rights movies?” Even though this film has promise and an amazing cast, I am still yearning to see films that explore other themes and aspects of history. We have so much to offer from our rich and colorful past as well as the lives we lead today.

  • http://creativegirlinacorporateworld.wordpress.com Esta Fiesta

    I’m personally kind of over these films dominating “black movies” as well. I don’t deny that Western slavery is a significant part of American and even worldwide history but why do slavery and Civil Rights seem to be the only part of the black experience that matter? Both periods were VERY real, and we do need to continue to remember that they happened but you know what else is very real for African-Americans? Gay rights, dating, growing up, working, friendships, family, etc. Not everything we do is either a struggle or how we overcame a struggle. We’re human beings too. Which is why I’m very much in favor of movies like The Wood, Love & Basketball, and Just Wright. Those are regular movies which, barring the specifics of AAVE dialogue and what not could easily about ANY person – a group of young men coming of age in Cali, childhood sweethearts who bond over a shared passion, finding love at work.

    Not every white film is about the revolutionary war or Great Depression so there’s no reason the majority of ours should center around two of the most horrific periods for us in American history either. Can we have positive films, or better yet modern-day films? All these period pieces make me feel like black people are extinct!!!

    We’re people like everyone else. We have relationships. We fall in love. We lose our jobs. We have good times with our friends. Fight with our families. Can more films focus on these less romantically tragic stories? Let’s show that there’s more to us than picking cotton and sit-ins at diners.

  • Soulfulindustry

    good luck :) Thank for working on it!

  • Soulfulindustry

    er thank°s° rather… that should show you how excited about a positive black love story I am :)

  • chinaza

    I understand his point about broadening the themes of black movies. It does not refute or deny our history as slaves because that can never be diminished. It happened and it must always have its place.
    But what of our history before Trans-Atlantic slavery? The civilizations of Kemet, Nubia, Kush and Malinke?
    Or modern science? Biopics on Helen Ranney or Dr. Yvette Francis-McBarnette who pioneered life-saving work in sickle cell anemia, a genetic disease of black persons?
    Has a movie ever been done on Chinua Achebe’s literary classic ” Things Fall Apart”?
    Or Dr. Maya Angelou’s ” The Heart of a Woman”?
    There is such wealth of culture and history plus the endless possibilities of fiction.
    We are more than just oppression and suffering.

  • http://gravatar.com/loveraine loveraine

    Awesome! +1 for the support ScriptTease :)

  • http://gravatar.com/loveraine loveraine

    Thanks! The Other Jess;) I am just ready for something different. Our History did not start with the Slave ships. it goes beyond that. Let’s explore that part and put it in the movies, the love stories and epic trilogies. I want to see us with some light that’s all.

  • Ms. Write


  • Raine

    You know what? One of my favorite movies ever made was an old school movie made back in the 1990′s called “I like it Like That”. It featured a Puerto Rican couple and their family trying to make it in the Bronx, all kinds of drama included. It was so well written and acted – funny, emotional and real all at the same time. It was just the day-to-day struggle of a lower working class family, shown in an entertaining, relatable way. It was not a story showing how Puerto Ricans were enslaved and degraded in the worst way. No Puerto Rican woman was getting sexually assaulted 24 hours a day, no Puerto Rican man was shown playing the Butler. And this is despite the fact that Puerto Ricans WERE enslaved during the TransAtlantic slave trade. Why is it that African Americans always feel the need to bow down to the idea of abject suffering and victimization? That is not our story, at least not in its entirety.

  • Spintha

    The civilizations of Kush, Nubia, Kemet is NOT our history. Our ancestors came from West/Central Africa. West Africa is rich with history but still gets ignored in favor East and North Africa. smh

  • Laura Charles

    “The civilizations of Kush, Nubia, Kemet is NOT our history.”

    You are WRONG! It is most definitely a part of our history.

  • http://cruelteafree.wordpress.com cruelteafree

    Well I’m tired of seeing movies about white people featuring white people about problems experienced through the white gaze.

  • http://cruelteafree.wordpress.com cruelteafree

    I encourage all the people making suggestions for movie topics to take those ideas and run with them. Nothing is stopping you from writing a screenplay. *One* of the beautiful things about the society we live in is freedom of expression. You have the power to tell any story you want. I think it’s important for people of color, and ESPECIALLY BLACK people, to tell stories.

    Furthermore, I think it’s sad that there are black people that have disdain for these types of movies. Our history and stories have been neglected, dismissed, misrepresented, lied about for decades. I’m 23 and I can remember my elementary school years where we DID NOT learn about black history, the SIGNIFICANT role our people played in the construction of the USA, and more. This was because the truth was deliberately dismissed. Unfortunately, so many people seem to fall into the trap of not giving a fuck because it’s “too brutal” or “too sad and depressing.” That’s just what the history erasers wanted.

    So to the question at hand, I say “FINALLY!!!” I will never tire of these types of movies. And I’m always on the lookout for films made by black people.

  • The Other Jess

    The TransAtlantic slave trade was cross-continent, and touched North, East and Southern Africa as much as West Africa. And because of it, the people of the Diaspora are a mix of many many groups of Africans from all across the continent. Thus, Kush, Nubia, Khemet, Egypt are as much our past history as Songhai and the Dogon of Mali. I feel and wanting to learn about all of African history. white supremacists dogma discourages us from knowing our true history and backgrounds. I try to learn some about all of them.

  • http://creativegirlinacorporateworld.wordpress.com Esta Fiesta

    Newsflash Spintha – there are people with dark skin living in the US of East, North, and Southern African descent. Maybe their ancestors didn’t come to this hemisphere as a result of the trans-Atlantic slave trade but they are still American, they are still black, and thus these are STILL parts of their (and ALL OUR) history.

  • Nika Haynes

    No, if I’ll will never be tired of seeing movies about Civil Rights or slavery. It is history…American History. Are you tired of movies on the Holocaust or World War II?

  • http://thesovereigntysolution.blogspot.com Matt Hicks

    Much the same thought crossed my mind. Additionally, the telling of ourstory is CRITICAL since EVERY other group tell theirs and advances their people’s interests thereby. The slave narrative and all of our subsequent experiences in this country must be make the case for justice. Rectifying International Injustice – Principles of Compensation and Restitution between Nations, the book by Daniel Butt applies to us most particularly. But b4 we can be recognized as a nation/people, we must rally around ourstory..

  • john e johnson

    How about a movie about the invasion of south america by Spain and Portugal with a true depiction about the “conquering heroes” why is that story sidestepped? Oh yes, that’s right only white people are evil with muderous intent

  • Tracey

    Why? These are not the ype of movies that the people seem to be tiring of.

  • Truth

    Why are all these slavery movies made by Jews? the Jewish people who owned the slave ships, the Jews who as a percentage owned far more slaves than white gentiles. The Jews unlike white Christian gentile deny their role in slavery because they never take responsibility for their crimes. You just need to look at famous slave merchants like Aaron Lopez as proof. The Jewish run movie and media industry is nothing more than propaganda, Spielturd and the others hide the Jewish involvement in slavery and paint it purely as a Christian crime. Also there’s so many slave movies coming out, is this good for black people, or is it bad for their self esteem? some claim it’s meant to be empowering, but I think if slave movies are to be made they should be made by BLACK people not JEWISH people.

  • Misty

    I don’t have a problem at all with these stories being told. It’s an important part of American History or history in general and should be told. I however do get tired of whenever movies are made with black people, they are usually about black suffering or are limited to black history starting with getting taken from Africa, put on ships and sold into slavery and the fact that history involving black people doesn’t extend anywhere prior to that. White people get a variety whether it be history or fantasy or drama or whatever, but our options are more limited than needed because of that “white savior” belief that still exists in Hollywood. There were kingdoms and Empires that existed there. I personally think it would be really cool to see Morgan Freeman or someone like him play King Mansa Musa of the Mali Empire in a biopic of him, if Hollywood would dare make a movie about a black man being a powerful person in history prior to Western Europe colonizing the world.

    One can try, but that will be a challenge

  • Misty

    Kush, Nubia and Kemet are. And so are Ghana, Mali and Songhai. as well as the Ashanti, Oyo, Benin, Dahomey, etc.

  • John

    People have been enslaving each other since the beginning of mankind. Every nation, tongue and tribe at one point or another has been guilty of the act of slavery. There were also black slave owners in the United States. Whether these black slave owners were outnumbered by whites or not, the point is that they existed. Institutionalized racism doesn’t exist like it once did, but we still have racist people. We will always have them, just like we have murderers, rapist, thieves, etc… We must take individual responsibility for ourselves and cease to identify with people that excuse their failures on everything but themselves.

  • Guest

    Yes I am tired of these movies and I am not going to support any more of them. And I give a shout out to NICK CANNON for addressing this on social media last year. Why do people think WE need reminding of a subject that WE will clearly never ever forget? Hell, it’s 2013 and our society is STILL shaped and structured with the scars of slavery and white supremacy. NO, I don’t want or need that type of reminder of something that I have full awareness of and that I will never ever forget.

Latest Stories

10 Things We Can Learn From Olivia Pope On “Scandal”


Struggling To Tell Black People Apart? Watch David Alan Grier Hilariously Break It Down


Carol’s Daughter Files For Bankruptcy


Should Schools Enforce a Dress Code For Parents?

More in 12 years a slave, opinion, slavery movies, the butler
Street Harrassment
The Five Kinds of Street Harassers I Met In Washington D.C. This Weekend

‘12 Years a Slave’ Wins Top Prize At Toronto International Film Festival