Not So Black and White…

So I don’t know how this came up, but I was speaking about this movie the other day. It’s one of those films that didn’t really go anywhere or never got mentioned again so you wonder if it ever actually existed or if you made it up in your head. But sure enough, I remember seeing the trailer for this movie when I saw “Panther” in the theatre with my mother. As a kid, I remember thinking,’wow, this is the most interesting Plot ever!’.
but now as an adult, as I go back and watch this Melodramatic and albeit Cheesy 90’s VHS trailer version, it occurred to me, what is it saying?

It’s painfully obvious that there’s a statement being made here. The film was presented in a way to spark controversy – whether or not it did, we can figure out by how many of you reading this have even heard of this movie.

What’s the most interesting to me is that the filmmakers chose to make this plot situational and based on 2 opposing families mainly, but begs a question that’s pertains more to a bigger social arena. It asks what if things were reversed? That’s a WTF question for sure, cause at first I’m wondering..is this a white person’s acknowledgement that they actually control most of the known world??

But no, this is actually the creation of  a Japanese American – the same writer behind such a true to life gritty urban classic as American Me.

I thought it would be pretty ill if this question was approached in some kind of surreal setting where it showed life in general in a way where blacks/minorities were on the higher side of the global spectrum: more affluent and privileged and carried a sense of entitlement.
Now I can only speak from viewing the trailer, because I never actually saw this movie, but the fact that it focuses Primarily on John Travolta and Harry Belafonte’s grossly exaggerated characters and seems to rely on heavy cliche and archetypical imagery to display the disparity that exists between the races, downgrades everything. It ‘s almost counter productive because if this question is what if the roles were reversed between Blacks and Whites, what is it saying about Black People on average??

Is the everyday Black Man a barely Blue Collar, poorly accented, country sounding, angry and inevitably violent guy, struggling to make ends meet? If that’s the case, then I’m surprised that John Travolta’s character is even at home with his wife and kids! You know Niggas don’t do that!

And on the other side of that coin, is it saying that the average White person is wealthy and could care less about the plight of his fellow man?

That being said, it’s still the only movie like this that I’ve ever heard of that was released by Hollywood. Clearly this is from the John Travolta comeback Period after Pulp Fiction raised his career from the dead and he was taking on any role that would be a standout. And tho it looks like something Robert Townsend would create, with less than Tongue-in-cheek attempts to be thought provoking and emotional, I still think it makes one curious enough to find it (if you can) and watch to see what the hell they were on when they made this.

And with that, I’m off to Netflix or the Video store. Who’s coming with me?

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2 Comments

  1. Whoa…now this clip makes you think. I totally agree with your synopsis, why does Travolta have to sound that way??…genetically inferior…I need to check this out in it’s entirety…thanks for the post!

  2. I’ve never heard of this movie, but perhaps it is saying that blacks are poorly educated & violent, & whites are wealthy & could care less about his fellow man. Do movies as a whole, have a social responsibility to be accurate & truthful? Im playing devils advocate here, but on one hand, I applaud the director for attempting the impossible. Perhaps, however grossly exaggerated, he was trying to portray the real disparities that exist between whites & blacks in America. Having said that, as a black woman, Im tired of seeing the same archetypal characters. As a person who dabbles in creative writing, the most difficult part for me, is creating characters who are human with layered emotions & conflict. Whats unfortunate is that he took the easy/lazy way out.


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