Best Man Holiday, Hateration and Holleration

by Alisha Tillery


After reading the various box office number reviews for Best Man Holiday, the mantra for the African-American moviegoer this weekend should be: Can I live?

We were all excited and eager to see one of our favorite casts reunite after 14 years. Our anticipation was sparked by the film’s smart media promotion, and we showed up in grand numbers, laughed, cried, screamed and rode with the emotional rollercoaster with Harper, Lance, Jordan and the rest of them. We came out a little drained, but refreshed and feeling good like we’d caught up with old friends. Judging by the early sellouts (I had to purchase tickets at another theater after the remaining evening shows were sold out by 7 p.m.), we knew the box office numbers would soar, and we were right. The film is currently at $30.6 million, but official numbers will post tomorrow.

We support, and yes, we do enjoy cinema of all kinds. This isn’t still a secret, is it?

News outlets have really been sensational in reporting Best Man’s Holiday’s success. The headlines and stories are written in shock, snubbing Malcolm D. Lee and the experienced actors who have graced sets, silver and small screens and stages with other stellar black and white counterparts. Makes me wanna holler! titles its report, “The Best Man Holiday Gives Thor a Run for Its Millions: Surprise success of this low-budget rom-com-dram proves that black is the warmest color.”

*slow blink*

USA Today is in hot water for a snarky headline, “Holiday Nearly Beat Thor as Race-Themed Films Soar.” In just a few hours, it’s been changed to a simple “Best Man Holiday Nearly Beats Mighty ‘Thor’” is a race-themed compared to a predominately white casted film because they are the standard.

USA Today

Sanaa Lathan
Sanaa Lathan serving face for the box office haters

Again, can we live?

Hey folks, we came out for a few reasons: (1) We STILL want to see ourselves. Hello? The movie industry still doesn’t understand this concept? We look at YOU all day, every day, and it’s cool. We want to see US, and that’s perfectly okay. I supported the movie because, yes, the cast IS all-black, and even 14 years ago, I loved seeing young professionals dealing with the ups and down of life, relationships and spirituality (I was freshman in college…le sigh), but there’s more.

(2) African-American audiences create relationships with characters like everyone else. What draws you in to any art form is the ability to connect or identify with it on some level. You identify with a song lyric, a storyline, book, sitcom or movie character. You see yourself or a friend, a family member, an ex them. Newsflash: Best Man is a must-have in most of our movie collections, just like any other “American Movie Classic” would be like Pretty Woman,The Godfather trilogy or Sex and the City (the first one). Has it occurred to you that we missed those characters from 1999? We wanted to know what happened in their lives, who was married, had children, divorced or on the brink of the next big thing, so we showed up.

(3) More than seeing black folks, we showed up because the stories were so great, we had to know what was next.  That’s what quality writing and storytelling will do.

So don’t be shocked when we knock it out of the park on opening weekend. Best Man Holiday will be another added to the movie collection, and the success is well-deserved. In fact, try checking it or some other movies that have casts that don’t look like you, not because you want to see what “we” like or are like, but because you want to see experience a good story. We do it all the time, you know, and it’s not so bad.

  • Faida Law Waring

    This guy needs to be mentored by Don Lemon. There is so much beauty in our culture, if what he sees in the current does not strengthen him he needs to go back in our history……past slavery to find his sense of pride.

  • Faida Law Waring

    This guy needs to be mentored by Don Lemon. There is so much beauty in our culture, if what he sees in the current does not strengthen him he needs to go back in our history……past slavery to find his sense of pride.

  • Faida Law Waring

    It seems like he was adopted by a non black family and was devoid of access to the tools he would need to cope with the skin he’s in.

  • Faida Law Waring

    It seems like he was adopted by a non black family and was devoid of access to the tools he would need to cope with the skin he’s in.

  • Macfille

    Word! I get so sick sometimes of how “they” act so shocked when we react like everyone does, I.e., we like to see movies and TV shows and books and other media that reflect us and our lives, and we will back that preference up with our cash! It ain’t all about “you” boo, so have a seat in the Thor theater and let us be! *smh*

  • seriously?

    I. Just got through posting how I kept reading to many reviews that was written not just with surprise but with fear like “0mg! Thor almost got overthrown! These successful black movies are becoming a trend!”
    Like really? I got so annoyed with it all. My sis and I was suppose to see Thor next weekend now im like nah ill bootleg it and go back and watch this new “trend”

  • vintage3000

    I saw this on another blog and everyone was all heated up about it. Why do you let the opinion of white headlines stress you like this? Who cares how they refer to this movie, if you enjoyed it that’s all that matters. I understand the power of media and how successful, attractive and positive Black people still makes some White folks gasp but so what. We need to stop being worried about every freaking thing they say, think, etc.

    And I know it’s just light entertainment, but as a film snob (no apologies) I am more concerned that this movie is being treated like the Second Coming of Black American cinema.

  • recola

    Someone is just mad that after a 14 year reunion.. there was no botox,fillers, plastic surgery etc needed. The cast looked better in this film, than they did 14 years ago! and the movie was great.. i was not expecting it at all.

  • MimiLuvs

    The most common comment that I keep reading (off of blogs) is something similar (in regards to the whining and moping) to the “Why can’t white people have a ‘White History Month’?” comments that I occasionally see.

  • Laura Charles

    This “shock” is bullshit on hollywood’s part. In the late 90′s we had a bunch of black romantic comedies that did well… “The best Man, The Wood, The Brothers, Love Jones, Two Can play That Game, Love & Basketball etc.

    They know good and damn well a predominantly African American cast can do well at the box office. They just choose to not care and to continue to turn down scripts from black writers and directors, pretending they won’t do well at the box office. These writers have to fight to get their stories to the screen, meanwhile, how many crappy, flopping Rom Coms with mostly white casts do we see in and out the theaters on a regular basis?!

  • Laura Charles

    Ain’t that the truth! Everyone looked amazing still 14 years later, the men and women!

  • New Jemima

    Steve McQueen only gets $20 million to make 12 Years a Slave, and Brad Pitt helps a brother out in producing it. Yet, before Toronto Film Fest and the Telluride Fest, nobody predicting the Oscar race was checking for the film until it scored Toronto Film Festival’s Audience Award. Despite all the critical acclaim, Fox Searchlight is still slow-rolling this film out. I’ve seen it twice and I’m hearing from friends around the country that the film has yet to show up at their local movie theater. The timidity of releasing this film is ridiculous at this point!

    Meanwhile, Malcolm Lee gets $17 million to make The Best Man Holiday, despite the success of rom-coms like Think Like a Man and the Tyler Perry effect. And despite this film already having a following.

    But folks still want to act “shock” that it did so well? Really?!

    Please note, folks, that both 12 Years a Slave and The Best Man Holiday both earned back their budgets, no thanks to a very timid film distribution system that continues to underestimate the turnout of black audiences and (gasp!) the wider appeal to non-black audiences. When I went to both 12 Years and Best Man Holiday, I saw more than enough white, Asian, and Latina faces in the movie theater at both films.

    Hollywood is sooooo behind the times and they need to understand that

    1. Just like we will watch TV shows with diversity (Scandal, Sleepy Hollow, American Horror Story: Coven)


    2. Just like we all showed up and got Obama reelected as President (shocker! OMG! White folks ain’t running this no more!!!)

    we also have power at the movie box office.

    Deal with it, Hollywood! Now develop a better distribution system for black cinema. Cause I’m still waiting for Mother of George, Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete, Blue Caprice, Black Nativity, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, and Belle to show up at my local movie theater.

  • greendoondoon

    Girl, yes! Gee whiz, black people have rich, interesting, multifaceted, complex lives. We meet cute, we fall in love, we fall out of love, we realize we’ve made a giant mistake and try to recapture lost love. We are geeks, manic pixie girls, utterly swoony heartthrobs, the girl next door, the brooding, sensitive type. We are the hero, the knight-in-shining-armor, the damsel in distress.

    We live in the town, the country, the village, the suburb, downtown, uptown and by the sea.

    I get so sick of awful trash like “Precious” (although I can’t fault Gabby Sidibe’s and Monique’s acting) being more accepted than a bunch of high achieving black people doing their thing. I know a lot of professional, well-to-do black people. I know no one who lives a chaotic life like “Precious. I’m sure that this is the case for most black people. I will be seeing the Best Man Holiday once it hits the UK. Oh and I’mma need Sanaa’s lip color.

  • MM

    I’m a film snob too and I think it as well as 12 Years a Slave is the Second Coming of Black American cinema(no apologies). It was brilliantly written, acted, directed all that. I hope that these films usher in a resurgence of what we saw in cinema in the 90s as another poster mentioned earlier when referencing Love Jones, The Wood and the like.

  • Kelley Johnson

    So true. So damn true.

  • vintage3000

    @ MM–If rom-coms are “brilliant” to you, your cinematic standards may not be very high.

    Yes I’m glad these Black movies with diverse plots are doing so well. And I am naive enough to hope these films help Black screenwriters going forward, because green is the most powerful color above all. I am sure BMH is a fun, entertaining movie with very pretty Black people and there is nothing wrong with that-and congrats to the cast and filmmakers. But “brilliant”?-lol. Different strokes.

  • recola

    Can yo imagine “another ” film being remade 14years later. The cast would be unrecognizable or look like a Golden Girls remake..

  • Felicia

    With more and more black movies and success comes more and more anger from jealous nervous whites who just can’t be happy for us. They always want to be number one

  • Felicia

    Wrong, because we all know black don’t crack

  • Simone L

    White folks, you have to do better. If it were a cast of all white faces, it would be a regular movie. An all black movie is considered “race themed.”. When there is a movie portraying slavery or racism, you scream with all your might that we’re trying to incite “white guilt”. Guess what? Have several seats. I know you don’t flinch when European standards of beauty are being pushed on people who aren’t European but have mercy on the world if other races shine. If they could have it their way, the only dealings they would have with mexicans would be Cinco de Mayo and lawn maintenance. The only dealings they would want with blacks are where we are subservient to them. sorry. we have stories to tell, we matter and we will represent our own. Go away.

  • Knotty Natural

    Black Buying Power…It’s about time we used it to support out own!

  • Marisa

    So every show or movie with a all white cast should equally qualify as RACE THEMED since turn about is fair play, and what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Of course not which is why they had that dumb ass quote, once again proving white people look at themselves from a completely different mirror than they do others when everyone is doing the exact same thing as them.

  • Mahogany

    Shock for what??? It was a good movie. Point blank. PERIOD.

  • recola

    clearly, that was what I was implying…

  • London

    RACE THEMED MOVIE?? Wtf? I know I shouldn’t give white people the time of day when they show their ass, but I was just wondering if they thought the following movies were RACE THEMED movies as well?

    Bride wars
    Something Borrowed
    He’s Just not that into you
    As Good as it Gets
    What Women Want
    Knocked Up
    Sweet Home Alabama
    My Best Friend’s Wedding
    Sleepless in Seattle
    The Runaway Bride
    Pretty Woman
    50 First Dates
    When Harry Met Sally
    Bridget Jones’s Diary
    The Princess Diaries
    The Notebook
    And many, many more….

    The above movies have ALL WHITE CASTS! Where is the outcry from these media outlets when all these white themed movies come out and there is no diversity? I’m confused.

  • Tara

    I think that you missed her point.

  • recola

    @felicia, that was what I was implying.. “ANOTHER ” film/cast wouldn’t have looked this good after 14 years …

  • The RealKay

    *sigh* Yes, it’s race themed. Cuz no one else can possibly relate to subject matter like friendship, mortality, trust, love and forgiveness. That would all infer that Black people are actually human. And no one wants to believe that. *roll eyes*

  • BeanBean

    The film industry and the writer of this USA Today need to sit down. So apparently if it doesn’t involve whites it’s considered a ‘race film’? Just stupid. The film industry needs to learn what the television industry has just started learning, diversity works!!! All the top new shows on tv now all have diverse casts, some of them even have black female leads, and people still watch like crazy!!! Hollywood and ignorant white people need to get their heads out of their butts and look at the outside world.

  • MommieDearest

    This is a prime example of how white folks view themselves as the “default.” Everything begins and ends with them. Everyone else (read: non-white folks) are “other.” White privilege at work once again.

    Meanwhile, they don’t call out movies like “The Butler,” “The Help,” or “12 Years a Slave” for being “race themed” because they are COMFORTABLE with the portrayals of black people in those films. I swear, sometimes people can be so transparent…

  • binks

    Bingo! But didn’t you know white people and white people’s experience are “the default setting” where everyone else experience exist in a bubble therefore everybody should relate to white people. We are expected to see them and relate to them and think their experience is the only experience that is universal and make us feel…sighs…this is just another sign of their privilege. I just find it funny how they can see everybody else race on screen but when you ask them to notice of their overrepresentation in media and the lack of other people of color representation then they are automatically blind. I swear if you aren’t praising white people, making them feel sorry for you or making them the unsung hero in movies that deals with black characters and the black experience then it is bad and unworthy of them to see and thus “race/black movies”. I am glad the movie did so well (in fact I am not surprised or shocked that it did) I never brought into the lie Hollywood try to sell about black people, leading black actors/actresses not going to movies, supporting movies, or being able to carry movies, etc.

  • MommieDearest

    Totally random….

    I’m LOVING the “face” Sanaa is serving up in here. The red lips are everything! Get it gurl.

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