HELLO AMERICA!—I recently viewed a film that was so insulting and demeaning I refuse to mention the title. The location of the story-line took place near Harvard. It painted a picture of so-called Black life filled with raw, common, ignorant Blacks with nothing decent to offer on any level of respect within human society. It was the kind of film which could easily have been produced during the early years of the 20th century.
It highlighted two so-called young comedians attending Harvard. How this was possible is something filled with mystery; once they arrived on the campus, they invaded the campus with drugs, disrespect of their professors, disrupting the entire academic life and affecting everything considered decent or humanly admirable
For years, in our industry as people of color, we have struggled and fought for the ability to write, produce stories which would present positive, hopeful images of ourselves, so the world might change their view of who we really are. However, even though there are a few Black so-called artists who insist on painting one side of who we are as a people, the world still views us ignorant, backward savages who exist on a level of jungle inhabitants. Of course, every culture, race or nationality has a darker side of their human existence. It’s been that way since man existed but people of “color” have always experienced a rougher journey based on the long history of Africa and slavery. We were considered on a level of cattle, existing to serve others of a different color for the purpose and pleasure of the existing primary owner.
Of course, there are those who genuinely attempt to change this view and that’s commendable. They are gifted, intelligent younger artists who struggle to paint a healthier, acceptable picture of who they are as simple, gifted people with a dream as anyone else in our kind of society. There are very few films or those stemming from Broadway which represents who we really are as simply human beings with dreams. Usually, those selected to portray characters of color, they are those reminiscent of a Hatti McDaniel or Butterfly McQueen attitude which were perfect for the time of “Gone With the Wind,” as Hollywood pictured it. Then, too, these actors were funny for what it represented, but now it is 2018, there should be a different respect and projection of people of color and not only Blacks, but that of other races who are playing an important part in American life.
Unfortunately, millions of Blacks fill the theaters supporting what is offered by the creative community because there seems to be no other choice. They quietly accept the crap which still projects who they are and laugh along with the group. What a sad commentary on a people who don’t realize what poison they are fed to be controlled and considered a joke to a world which eagerly needs something or somebody in which to feel superior.
This is one reason, why it is such a pleasure to have Atlanta businessman, Levi Miller, someone who understands how urgent it is to change the view of what Blacks are faced in films, books and generally in the arts. When he decided to become the executive producer of our play, ”I FEEL SIN COMIN’ ON WITH MUSIC,” he did so because it represented a Black family without moaning and groaning about the past but decided to stand up and do something about it. This is the kind of thinking and action which will affect our country, something that seems quite a job for politicians with obvious different objectives!