Why Are We Expected To Line Up For Red Tails But Not Pariah?

149 comments
January 17, 2012 ‐ By Charing Ball

"charing ball"I went to go see Pariah over the weekend and actually, I really enjoyed it.

The film, which was written and directed by Dee Rees (protégé of Spike Lee’s protégé’), is a coming of age story of Alike, a 17-year-old Black girl from Harlem coming to terms with her own sexual identity as a lesbian and must waver the waters between her conservative mother, played by Kim Wayans, and her contradictory father, played by Charles Parnell. The film has been getting lots of praise for highlighting the invisible voice of black female queers in the community; however, the intense and strained relationship between mother and daughter has such a universal theme, which makes it relatable to just about anyone, who once struggled in their youth.

Yet the awesomeness of Pariah has been pretty much been overshadowed by the hype over Red Tails.  Despite the film, which centers on the plight and fight of the Tuskegee airmen, being well in the works for well over two decades, the hype around it didn’t start until recently, when folks began to spread the fear of God that if the film is not a box office success than all hope for the future of black films is doomed.

It all started when George Lucas, the Star Wars guy and creator and financier of Red Tails, appeared on The Daily Show to promote the film and started talking about racism in Hollywood.  In a follow up interview, Lucas hinted that if Red Tails was a failure, it could have negative repercussions for black filmmakers: “I realize that by accident I’ve now put the black film community at risk [with Red Tails, whose $58 million budget far exceeds typical all-black productions],” he said. “I’m saying, if this doesn’t work, there’s a good chance you’ll stay where you are for quite a while. It’ll be harder for you guys to break out of that [lower-budget] mold. But if I can break through with this movie, then hopefully there will be someone else out there saying let’s make a prequel and sequel, and soon you have more Tyler Perrys out there.”

Oh great, more Tyler Perrys.

Interesting enough, Red Tails was created by the same guy who brought us Jar Jar Binks, the computer-animated character who appeared in the Star Wars prequels and which generated much controversy over its racially charged, Rastafarian mimicry.   So why there is such a heavy emphasis on supporting Lucas’ Red Tails while genuine black films like Pariah are left to their own devices?

First off, I take issue with what is essentially has been a fear and race-based marketing campaign by Lucas to persuade moviegoers, particularly Black moviegoers, to see this film. We are told that if it would be the end of Black filmmaking as we know it. Never mind, if the film is interesting or compelling or even entertaining. We have a racial duty to unite to see this film or else we make Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. weep?

And never mind that Hollywood has been operating with the same M.O. for decades and decades. The industry will not likely change even if the film magically breaks box office records, which it will probably not. Why? Well stories told from the black perceptive have always had trouble finding dedicated audiences outside of the community. Point blank, the mainstream is less inclined to see films featuring black actors. And if we are to go on the long rationalized reason that Hollywood is a business, than we can be certain that Red Tails, even if it is moderately successful, will not inspire the business to take a chance on us.

But of course, Black filmmakers have known this little secret, which Lucas appeared to just discover, for years. This might explain why Black filmmakers haven’t been waiting around for Hollywood to give the proverbial green light to make and finance their own films. They may not get the big audiences and big box office numbers as their mainstream counterparts but the lack of financial support from inside tinsel town isn’t stopping brothers and sisters from picking up cameras.

However, all may not be lost in the world of Black filmmaking if Red Tails tanks. As reported, Rees is currently working on a project for HBO that will feature actress Viola Davis and a thriller flick called “Bolo.” And on Sunday night, Pariah received a special shout-out at the Golden Globes by legendary film actress Meryl Streep. Likewise the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement, also known as AFFRM, has been steadily pushing for the theatrical release of quality independent African-American films through simultaneous limited engagements in select cities including I Will Follow and Kinyarwanda.  In short, the future of Black film – with or without the success of Red Tails – will survive.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the effort of Lucas to bring more Black films, or at the very least a black film funded by a white man, to the big screen, but if this flops, I think it is less likely that we can count on him bringing a sequel to the screen. And that is all. So folks can stop with the “must read” emails and Facebook invites for bus trips to the movie theater. There is no more of a moral obligation to see this flick as there would be for any other mainstream film, which lets us carry the lead.

Long gone are the days that we should have to feel a need to prove anything to Hollywood.  If anything, it is the reverse.  And if Hollywood is as racist as we all know it is why should we feel the need to let the decision of what images gets green-lighted continue to be placed in the hands of those, who don’t see us as human beings? I mean, the last time Hollywood took interest in the black market we got a bunch of one-dimensional Blaxiploitation and gangster flicks in both the 70s and in the 90s.

Instead let’s throw our support – and dollars – behind filmmakers, who continue to make conscious efforts to not only make films despite not having the blessings of mainstream Hollywood but make good films period.

Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.

 

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  • Melissa

    A different issue – only touched upon here, but brought up more extensively in other discussions of Mr. Lucas’ behavior – is the fact that there is an assumption that white people won’t see films with majority black casts, or films with black-centric themes (not always one and the same.)  I tend to disagree; I don’t think I’m exceptional in any way, and I am a Caucasian female interested in such films. However, I find that if I attend such films alone, I attract a lot of negative attention from other moviegoers who are not Caucasian. Sometimes, thought not always, it’s not just “hmm, wonder what she is doing here” but “how DARE she.” I’ve noticed that it depends on where the venue is.  More “indie style” films such as Precious or Pariah are often found at theaters that focus on such films, and I’ve found those theaters more racially mixed and my presence there unremarkable. However, going to see something such as “The Best Man” or “Love and Basketball” at a mainstream theater, the audience was almost exclusively black and I got some negative attention.  Some people merely looked surprised to see me (someone like me), but other people definitely seemed displeased. I’m not a shrinking violet but on the other hand I’m not interested in too much hassle, especially as it’s not my intention to infringe on other people’s comfort or enjoyment. I admit these experiences have made me more cautious about going to see certain films in the theater. I am reminded of going to see step contests in college years ago. I’d never heard of them and my black girlfriends were happy to take me and introduce me to the fun. But some of their sorority sisters were plenty pissed off about it and weren’t shy about showing it. I wonder how many other Caucasian people would rather watch on DVD than see a movie in the theater for such a reason?

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  • Samjetjr

    R U serious? First of all, no one is forcing anyone to see anything. Red Tails is based on factual events. It’s not a “Black” movie. It’s a movie about a squadron of black men who fought valiantly to protect the country that continued to oppress them despite their bravery to do what no white man would. Personally, I am glad the story is being told, no matter the color of the producer. It is history that has been kept from us for decades. So why not support it, why not go see it, why not take your son or daughter with you, so they can see the truth about what real bravery is, what a real hero is. Not Kobe Bryant, not Lebron James, not Michael Jordan, or any number of other athlete’s of every color, that have been branded and looked upon as heros. And you are comparing it to a well written, well acted movie about a 17 year old lesbian in harlem who is coming to terms with her sexuality. HUH?!?! 17 year old lesbian? That’s what you think we should take or daughters or sons to see? Not yet seasoned enough to know much about anything, yet she knows she is a lesbian….smh. My point is, just because a film is written, produced, or directed by an african american should we support it. Every film I belive should be taken for what it is. A good film is a good film, a bad film is a bad film. No matter the color behind the camera. These two films are not of the same genre, and should not even be mentioned in the same sentence. That’s my opinion…..

  • Ericasmi36

    Support our heroes who
    serving our nation. Support our troops that safeguard our safety. A good place
    tailor-made for personnel in uniform:uniformedkiss*C0*M. It brings together those working in professions
    such as the armed forces, police, navy, security, medical, ambulance, prison,
    air crew and fire fighters, for friendship, love, romance, marriage and even
    more.

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  • Garret Davis

    First of all using the word queer in this article seemed a lil odd but I digress, I get a bit tired of the works black film when we are humans and just because there .might be a plethora of black humans in a film why is it a black film instead of a story about people who happen tip be black.When we go see films with white people in them are they called white films.We pay right into the hands of the people who tell us our sorties and the films that have us in them, that they don’t sell overseas.One of the very reasons that you liked Pariah was because this story crossed all color lines, this story could have happened in any race of people.Instead of making black films we should make films about our experiences period.Let me add that one of the reasons Red Tails was asn important film to see was because of its chronicling of the history men who were denied their rightful place on or history books.Yet I do age that all our stories are important and valid.

    • Samjetjr

      Read my comment

  • http://twitter.com/EchoedNightmare Lil’ Miss Nightmare

    It’s interesting to think that you have to have money to make an impact in the movie business. Yes, lots of money to make a film will make it a heavier marketed movie, & have all the glitz of hollywood, but it doesn’t make a bigger impact than a lower budget movie. Most of my favorite movie are low budget films that have become cult classics. And there has been more than one big budget hollywood film that went down in flames.
    Before this article I have never heard of Pariah, but because of some of the content described in this article I will probably make the effort to see it, not because of the George Lucas, big money, or making Dr. King weep talk, but showing an honest portrayal of homosexuality in the African American culture is something, I believe, is worth seeing & knowing more about. 

  • Omega64

    Red Tails is a part of our history, if not for this movie
    our story will fade into obscurity in the next 15 years, why? because all of
    the men who lived the movies (Tuskegee Airmen) will be gone and with them there
    story that played a great part in American History. This not casting any disparagements
    on Lakeshia, it just shows how limit some of her generation is when it comes to
    knowing  the contributions of the African
    Americans to America and the world. The first African American to be granted a pilot’s
    license in was a women (Bessie Colemen) that might be good for the younger
    generation to know.  

  • Priscilla

    This article is so negative and counter-productive. “We” are where we are because of this type of thinking. Speak life. If you want to promote Pariah or other “black” films, do it. But leave the negativity out… We all know what happens to crabs in a bucket. Smh.

  • Priscilla

    This article is so negative and counter-productive. “We” are where we are because of this type of thinking. Speak life. If you want to promote Pariah or other “black” films, do it. But leave the negativity out… We all know what happens to crabs in a bucket. Smh.

    • Samjetjr

      Read my comment

  • Msolankeuk

    very well said.  I saw an email proporting to be from Tyler Perry about this and encouraging black folk to go see the Lucas film.  It came across to me as a scare mongering marketing ploy. Those white folk who claim to be progressive should encourage their communities to support black films.  If he’s not doing so already perhaps Mr Lucas should invest some time and energy doing this with his peers and contacts …..

  • Snow’s Cousin Ice Train

    Well, Pariah sounds…boring. Sorry, but regardless of who made it, Red Tails sounds more like my kind of movie.

  • http://twitter.com/freekeith Keith Gill

    I dig the piece and I agree with most of your points however I would say that it is important to note that Hollywood is a business. As such the respond to condumer markets. If Hollywood really is racist then its because the consumer market is inherently racist.
    Red Tails being a box office success does alot for what Hollywood sees as  a “market” for serious Black films. If it translates to dollars for the big movie houses then it helps give legitimate black filmakers a better oportunity to have their work get to a bigger stage….. Yeah so the success of a this very big budget film has reprocussions that can be very beneficial for the likes of Dees Rees.
    Plus in supporting a movie like Red Tails you are also supporting the talented Black Actors that find it increasingly difficult to get quality roled in Hollywood. 

  • Yellowtiger

    Why is it that black people over analyze everything!  It really makes me sick sometimes.  As an African -American woman, I have had my shares of side eyes and smdh, especially when it comes to some of the crap the Hollywood puts out (White Chicks anyone?) on just the assumption that black folks only like funny, stupid,silly and sometimes downright offensive s***. (Soul Plane) But this movie, Red Tails, has the naysayers coming out of the woodworks.  Asking questions like “Why should I go see it?” blah blah blah, snarl, frown, stomps feet like small child. Stop over analyzing the message and just be comfortable in knowing that some of us would like to see a movie that does not make our I.Q drop. 

  • Mademenentertainment

    Blah Blah Blah…….George Lucas paid his dues AND Red Tails was AWESOME…….THAT’S WHY!

  • Nik

    I never heard of Pariah until I read this article so no matter the hype of Red Tails, Pariah is not being marketed heavily. As far black people flooding to see Red Tails, I feel as if this article implies that most of us that choose to support the movie are mindless. I have no fear of the end of black film because as a people we are too talented & intelligent for that but I do believe it is a film worth supporting. It’s history and without this & many other milestones none of us would be where we are today. In essence never feel “obligated” to do anything you pay your money for but as for me I happily pay homage to my past & present

  • Djsqwyd

    Seriously?

  • Jeri

    Your attempt to bring awareness to the Black Indie film market seems less like an effort to gain support, but more like a shameless opportunity to shine light on the film I shall not name. 

    I love and support Indie films especially those done by talented African Americans, but this (IMO) was distasteful and comes off more like a Kanye moment.

    Red Tails and the movie I shall not name, are of two totally different genres and with two very different goals. For if it was NOT for the heroic Americans (that just so happen to be of African decent), and their sacrifices that were depicted in the movie, THIS movie (the one I shall not name) would not be possible.

    So before we go on the attack and compare apples to oranges, let’s think about the bigger picture here. Surely, you can think of a more productive way to garner support! #thatsall

  • Alphamael

    First off, I take issue with what is essentially has been a fear and race-based marketing campaign by Lucas to persuade moviegoers, particularly Black moviegoers, to see this film. We are told that if it would be the end of Black filmmaking as we know it. Never mind, if the film is interesting or compelling or even entertaining. We have a racial duty to unite to see this film or else we make Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. weep?

    Lucas’s statement wasn’t a shot at the black community..it was putting nonblack america on blast for its hypocrisy.. lets stop putting the onus on us when its not our fault..

    • Wynona

      I don’t see it that way. I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. He stated facts that nobody in Hollywood wants to own up to and it just so happened to put the spotlight on their a$$$es I see nothing wrong with that

    • Jk

      thank u son finally someone said it. 

  • Jrpejones

    Not about to see a movie about a lesbian…sorry!

  • 123

    We’re not expected to line up for this movie b/c homosexuality is wrong, an abomination, and against GOD, so we shouldn’t support it.  It will do horrible in the box office, and rightfully so.  Realize the life you are living is destined for hell and straighten (pun intended) your path. 

  • Allie Emet

    Great article!

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  • Isos

    I understand the article and its points about the black film industry , I just think a different movie should have been chosen to go up against Red Tails.. these are two different types of films. this article almost seems like a publicity stunt to get Pariah out there.. now if there was a movie out about The Men of Montford point and Red Tails going head to head this article would seem more genuine to me it just seems like a fake rapper beef to get more airtime. I had never even heard of Pariah and truth be told after reading about it. I don’t want to see it anyway, It doesn’t not appeal to me

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Najah-Husser/649022329 Najah Husser

    Thanks for shedding more light on this subject, however I see it a bit differently. Pariah and Redtails are too very different projects regardless of how they were funded. You can’t ignore the name “George Lucas” but the story is about Black history, fighter pilots and the racial injustice that was the Tuskegee experiment. Now, from the trailers I’ve seen of Pariah, it’s a coming of age story of a Black teen in Brooklyn struggling with her sexuality. In the Black community alone, this is a subject we don’t really need to pay money to see as it’s up close in our own backyards. Also, I compare it to Precious in a way – that didn’t get the real buzz until the likes of Oprah stepped in (= big bucks to distribute).  I think if the subject matter was not one of homosexuality and had my sh*ts and giggles, the Black community would support. We’ll just wait and see…

  • C.L.

    Myth: If we support films about black folk, then Hollywood will put out more movies about black folk. TRUTH: I been hearing this for over 3 decades. If we are still singing this song, then we (again) have been deceived.This is a numbers game. If non blacks don’t see movies about blacks, then it will always be a challenge to create “black blockbusters”

    Myth: Red Tails is going to teach folk about our history.
    TRUTH: What did people learn about the Airmen that they didn’t already know? That they were black fighter pilots? Their story has been around for over half a century. There have been other movies, books, tours, and lectures. Learning about them outside of making someone else money is not difficult.

    Myth: George Lucas deserves credit for telling this story.
    TRUTH: Why? Others have told the Airmen story w/o any of the fanfare or hype. including the Airmen themselves. Why does Lucas deserve credit for something others have done years before him. No one does a movie if they don’t think they will make money. This was a business move by Lucas; not a selfless act to tell an untold story of American history.

    FYI –  just because Lucas has a black girlfriend almost half his age, doesn’t give him anymore license to tell our story than the next person. I seen someone mentioned he sleeps w a black woman; so did Storm Thurmond.

  • Erick_fields

    Great piece. And to everyone who ran out to go see a typical action film with an all black cast then I commend you for trying to support. But I want you to consider this the marketing strategy of this movie because it had a inferior story was that George Lucas was taking such a big risk putting this movie out…how can it be a risk he will make his money back on the DVD sales alone plus he will also make money on the sale of the rights to premium networks….he got on TV to get those of African Desent to feel obligated to go see the movie…but if we go or if we don’t it doesn’t matter we don’t have enough numbers to make this a Box Office smash and he knows(How many Black Women or in Star Wars,and 2 Black Men? Yea I’ll wait) if you want to be a sheep and go see something that before he started talking about how Hollywood is racist no one wanted to see..then do it but please stop trying to justify your pathology. It’s kind of pathetic. And the difference between me and most people I can say this with conviction,George doesn’t even take losses on garbage Star Wars movies you think he gonna loose on this

  • Steve J

    Wait so even if I don’t want to see a film abut back lesbians, I have to see it because it’s a TRUE Black Film. HUH? I loved RAY and it was done by a White man,  it was awesome; and I have nor reason to see Kissing Jessica Stein or any movies because they are authentic. That’s a crock

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  • Vince

    Ms. Ball:  encourage all to support both and other like films.  That’s a win win! 

  • iTal

    as some one who DOES NOT live in the US; my point of view, as far as black films from South America, Africa, Europe and Asia, (YES ,ASIA) do not have the privilege  or standing that “hollywood” do. We tend to get bypassed by the mainstream market. The movie Pariah, that you just mentions will not get ANY play in my locality unless someone makes a bootleg and brings it (or sells it online) just as most of the US might not promote a Ghanian, or South African movie with out american backer, 
    I say good for Lucas for at least trying to even the playing field from his end (yes the tyler parry comment is unfortunate but ill chalk that one up to slight ignorance of the black film industry) ;  even though we, internationally, ALL know the racism of hollywood, getting backing from respected and well known sources will  make it more obvious to the international industry (who extremely marginalize and ignore black film and filmmakers outside of the US) that black people can, have, and will make great films and yes profitable too.

  • EtanielBenCYehuda

    I hate to say this on a national forum, but Black Americans are so gullible!  Americans, in general, are not critical thinkers and lack an inkling to research things for one’s self.  This is why the same stale formula of Hollywood always works.  This is the why the same stale formula of politicians always works.  Why are Black Americans so adamant about “living up to the standards” of Euro Americans?  Aren’t these the people who have blatantly and maliciously violated our Ancestors?  Aren’t these the people that run the courts and police precincts with little/no regard for the life of Black Americans and Hispanics?  Wake the hell up already on last week!  GL is using the story of Black people for a career resurgance.  Dear people, please let’s look and operate beyond our emotions!  Thank you.

    • Vince

      I disagree with you wholeheartedly! 

      Blacks, worldwide, are a savvy people.  And, we MUST be at the table (in the big house), in all industries and professions.  Historically, successful change has been generally effected, assuming many variables, from within, not from without (in the fields).  Yes, worldwide Blacks have had and still have to a large degree, lemons, but among many others, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, Red Tails, Serena Williams, Oprah, Lewis Hamilton, Dr. Ben Carson, Colin Powell, Spike Lee, Mellody Hobson, Fela!, and Pariah are lemonade.  And, while their distributions differ, both Red Tails and Pariah are in the movie house!  And so should we be. 

  • Lord Have Mercy

    As a Black Man I’ll go any movie that portrays Black Men in a great and positive light, because way too often we are portrayed in such a negative light. As far as “Pariah” I saw the trailer and I may check it out. I don’t have anything against gay people, live and let live is my motto, but gay theme cinema & books do not appeal to me. It all comes to one’s own personal taste, I hate horror movies and Tyler Perry Movies so I don’t watch them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=768944147 Brandon Easton

    Folks don’t fully understand
    the nature of the business and retreat to the “Black pride” argument as
    if that takes money, distribution and cultural impact/influence into
    account. I happen to hate those Tyler Perry movies and therefore I do
    not support them. I try to support Black indie movies by seeing them in
    the theater AND THEN buying them on DVD/Blu-Ray. I’m not a complainer, I
    act and support things that NEED support. Right now, Hollywood is not
    going to produce anything with Black leads – and what’s worse, they
    won’t HIRE BLACKS to work on film behind the scenes. It’s easy to say
    “do it ourselves” but when the marketing and distribution is still under
    the control of the larger system, we can do it ourselves all day long
    and then no one will ever see our films. It’s complex and problematic on
    so many levels, but the worst thing we could do is boycott RED TAILS
    because of some short-sighted allegiance to displaced racial
    nationalism.

  • truest

    I’m sorry, this is what happens when folks are completely ignorant about their history and thus the significance of the movie is lost. It’s not simply just another movie with black people in it. How many movies have been made about the heroics of black men and women in World War II? Do you realize that if it weren’t for their brave sacrifices, we as black people would not have the freedoms we enjoy? Without the valiant efforts and sacrifices of black men and women like the Tuskegee Airmen who overcame enormous prejudices and barriers to fight and die for a country that did not treat them as equals, there would have been no integration of the armed forces. Please understand the significance – it was the first federal act of integration of this nation. It is was what in fact LED to the civil rights movement of the 60s, with the belief that if black people could fight and die side-by-side with white people for this nation, why can’t they live as equals in society and enjoy the same rights and privileges? Now, compare how many movies you’ve watched related to the civil rights to the number of movies made about folks like the Tuskegee Airmen. I’ll put it another way – it is folks like the Tuskegee Airmen who demonstrated to America that black people are capable and equals thus paving the way for notables like the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to later come along and successfully champion for equal rights for black people in all sectors of life. With the Tuskegee Airmen, there would have been no platform for a Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. 

    Sure, it might not be the “best” Tuskegee Airman movie out there. But their story need to be told so that folks understand and appreciate the true significance of what they did. In fact, my disappointment with Red Tails is that it perhaps doesn’t convey this enough, seeing the various critical comments about it being made here and elsewhere. And I hope it inspires someone to make an even better Tuskegee Airman movie that incorporates the important issues left out in this one. 
    The problem isn’t entirely Hollywood, the problem is US black folks as consumers and movie patrons. It’s what we choose to support and not support that is the problem. This is true across all forms of media and entertainment (books, movies, music, etc.) For lack of better words, we seem to patronize a whole lot of garbage. Turn on your urban radio and what do you hear. What sort of black films do we mostly see on the big screen or on TV. While I certainly appreciate Pariah as a body of work, point blank, outside the realm of art, I don’t see much value of such a film for our community at this juncture in our history. While Pariah is exceptional in its writing and presentation, it is indeed not the first, second or third black movie about messed up family relationships, sexual identity, etc. Yes, I know, we find such emotional roller coasters appealing – we love such drama. But fact of the matter is such material does not enrich us as a people. It’s fiction, it’s fluff. And we seem so addicted to this fluff that we lose sight of reality, the real treasures we have in the black experience. Right now, more than ever, we as a community need films that inspire our people, particularly our youth, to do and live better. We as a people do not know and appreciate our history and are suffering greatly as a consequence. What do you think the perception of our community would be if say Pariah does a whole lot better than Red Tails? What sorts of movies would Hollywood be more apt to make and promote then? Nevermind that I asked this…. anything to get Hollywood off of its white men sleeping with black women pre-occupation would be welcomed right about now. 

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  • JP

    The reason we need to go see this film over Pariah is that white people are going to go see Red Tails too, since a famous producer is backing it. So with our support, plus white people, the film could be a success, therefore making white people more comfortable with seeing black people on screen.

    That’s just the way I see it. 

  • JPie612

    I could not agree more. Blacks have spending power and if we threw it behind the black movies that managed to make it to distribution (instead of buying them from the corner on bootleg) there would be more of a market. So what if mainstream isn’t crazy about our leads? Unless of course they’re a 6 foot man wearing a dres & toting a gun. Our stories must be told. As a black filmmaker, the work you put in to getting your film made is just as important as the film itself. In fact, one could argue that it sweetens authenticity. Regardless of Lucas’s pseudo-caveats, hats off to Miss Rees and the Pariah cast and crew for one hell of a film.

  • Jdavisis

    Pariah isn’t in all movie theatre’s. Red Tails is more accessible b/c it’s in more theatre’s. Furthermore, marketing for “Pariah” isn’t advertised as much in comparison to “Red Tails.” It isn’t even advertised where I’m located at all. I dodn’t even realize it was coming out. I only knew of the movie from reading an article Kym Wayans was quoted in.

  • http://progressivepoc.com/ princss6

    Hah!  I had to stop at the bit about Tyler Perry!  That was my same reaction to Lucas’ comment about Perry!  Reading on!  

  • k j

    I’m sick of high and mighty black folks acting like this is not a black movie. If it had been done by a black director and got the distribution it is getting folks would not have this complaint. There is so much support for Pariah so much so much support for Pariah. Folks are going see it twice. Yes, more Tyler Perry’s would be great. More black filmmakers with their own studios making films with  studio backing and who are millionaires. I would love to see that! As long as we are the only ones supporting this independent black filmmakers they will make money but many will be struggling their whole career and wind up with that one good movie. Things are the way they are for a reason outside of black support. For real if you aren’t supporting the white man behind the movie support the actors. Why do we have to be picky about which black casts get support period? You all whine about our black images black people are not going to be perfect on screen. Pariah was good! I bet you weren’t supportive of Precious either or The Help. If you want to praise one movie do it without crapping on another. 

  • Ricoshade

    I’m really not sure whats going on with people. Do we always need to find something to complain about? I had never heard of Pariah until today when I posted a go see Red Tails because of the fact that the studios wouldn’t make it and it was hard to find a distributor because of its all black cast. A friend of mine commented “I would recommend supporting a black film made by black people” I don’t get it. 
    White people don’t make black films. And when one finally does we have the nerve to try and locate a flaw, or hidden agenda in his intentions. There have been nothing but remake after sorry remake in the film industry. Mostly films that would not call for a African American character unless they were a servant. Finally a movie made by a white person that does not depict our black men as pimps, gangsters, pushers, or crack heads and we have to find something to complain about.   
    But here we have a man that stuck his neck out, put his own money up and made it happen. And we are hesitant to support a historic event because of the producers skin color….How we have turned our backs on the principles that Dr. King has tried to instill in us all. 
    He is right. He could not find funding for a film because it was a black cast. He’s freaking George Lucas, not Joe Smoe from up the block and he could not find funding. They don’t know how to market a film with an all black cast..that’s crazy. Black cinema is almost extinct. Who’s making black movies right now besides Tyler Perry in mainstream? I’m not talking about these small theaters that most of us know nothing about unless you are someone who follows events like Sundance, or The Pan African film festival.  But instead of trying to support apart of history, because this is an historic event, we want to push attention towards another project that I have to drive 30 miles from my house to even see. Which I am going to see, it looks like an awesome film. 
    But do you not realize that the reason why films like Pariah are only in a limited amount of theaters and are not getting the promotion they need is for exactly this reason here. Instead of fighting the big fight and making sure the seats were filled this weekend, we are finding reasons not to support Red Tails.
    I mean we are all entitled to our opinions but ppl we have got to see the bigger picture. And im sorry but most straight people are NOT going to want to go and support Pariah because its a black film. Because of the content its sad to say they would more then likely NOT want to support it.   There is a way to support both. But I feel it is  majorly important to support Red Tails, at a time when you can count on one hand how many black films were released in 2011 at a major level. 

  • Chaz2esq

    Let’s be honest, the movie going public is more interested in war/action movies than coming of age stories. When you boil it down to its essence, that’s the real story. The only time I ever heard of Pariah is when I came on this site. Don’t get mad at George, get mad at Pariah’s distributor.

    If this movie was made by someone from the Spike Lee directorial tree, where was Spike putting HIS clout behind it?

    • k j

      spike has no pull anymore

  • Kori Mac

    I applaud you for stating this; yes we must remember always the struggles and the heroes that have grinded and paved the way for us, but that being said we have so many heroes today, with stories untold. Hollywood may attempt to place us in a “one trick pony” category (which is not a surprise)….but there are so many amazing Africa American filmmakers out there, thanks to AAFRM WE KNOW WHO THEY ARE!!!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YVDAWSBBBEGFRTJBV43NECPC5U ron

    You are comparing APPLES and ORANGES.  Big-budget vs. independent.  Clearly BOTH films have there place and it should not be an “either – or” type situation.  Although Pariah is an important film in its own right, RED TAILS also has a significance of its own.   And yes,  it is true that the box office success of this film will dictate where Hollywood invests its dollars in the future.  I saw RED TAILS today, and in my personal opinion – the script was mediocre – at best.  However,  that still does not dilute the significance of the fact that RED TAILS is a first of its kind:  A MAJOR BLOCKBUSTER film with an ALL-BLACK CAST being distributed by a MAJOR MOVIE STUDIO.  The success of this film will open doors for other films – like PARIAH – for instance to get green-lighted, produced, and marketed on a completely different level and reach audiences that otherwise would be unattainable.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lloyd-Moore/100000829804194 Lloyd Moore

    I don’t understand why BOTH cannot be supported…is the question suggesting African Americans are narrow minded? I am very disgusted that a movie depicted POSITIVE, STRONG, FOCUSED, IMPORTANT, VITAL BLACK MEN, is causing this kind of negative stir? It doesn’t make me go hmmmmm, It actually frustrates me and disgusts me..White people are going to see Haywire, Underworld, Contraband and anything else they wanna see…What does the author mean to imply?

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  • Robert

    Pariah is a mainstream Hollywood film.  It is distributed by Focus Features (NBC Universal).  This article is clearly written by someone who has no Hollywood experience or background. Going to see “Red Tails” is important because in order for blacks to break the glass ceiling on the film and television industry, our films and television shows must be traditionally financed – which means, they must be studio backed pictures.  The reason George Lucas says that “Red Tails” must do well in order to produce ‘more Tyler Perrys’ of the world, is because Tyler Perry owns his own studio, which means, that he has the power, independent of the mainstream studio system, to make any movie that he wants. Typically, those movies are films he stars in or television shows he writes, directs and produces. Mainstream Hollywood only took notice of Tyler because he discovered how to distribute his projects on his own, by selling DVDs via his traveling roadshows. Ironically, that distribution system is not that far from the average brother or sister who cut a demo tape and sells it in the parking lots of black grocery stores.  IF “Red Tails” fails, and IF you don’t go show support for a big movie ($58MM), then the only luck black films have of ever seeing meaningful distribution is for another Tyler Perry to come along. And while I’m not a fan of Tyler Perry’s films, and many people want to categorize Tyler Perry as ‘artless’ or ‘cookie-cutter,’ to diminish the man’s accomplishments or consider him to be a dime-a-dozen, is foolish and frankly ridiculous.  In other words, Tyler Perry’s talent and achievements in film are as unique as Tiger Woods in golf or President Barack Obama in politics.  He is not only the first, but he is the ONLY.  Spike Lee didn’t open his own studio; Sidney Poitier didn’t; Denzel Washington didn’t; Eddie Murphy didn’t; Bill Cosby didn’t; even Oprah didn’t.  “Red Tails” posting a successful box office means that we don’t have to produce superhuman artists in order to get a substantial release. 

  • Rojoyta102391

    Wow! Tell it!

  • Lordanicon

    The problem I have is we have a choice to make if we can’t beat them join them. Either boycott all white films or shut up. This is a 90 million dollar investment on a hunch. He has every right to protect his investment. But greater we need to protect his investment. I am tired of watching subpar “black films”. It is time for more A list black actors. It is time for us to see more than black triumvirate( Sam Jac, Mr Freeman, and Mr Washington). The only way that will happen is good big budget black films. Get off the bus or drive it. Make a choice.

  • Tayloredpoet

    Why does there have to be an either or? Why can’t we enjoy and relish the fact that we have two possibly (I haven’t seen either) dynamic films that celebrate aspects of the black experience? We should in fact line up for BOTH films in droves.. after all the black dollar goes a long way too… right

  • Ted Richards

    you just sound like those people i dislike most, those who complain only for the sake of complaining. If you don’t even understand what supporting the brothas in a big budget means for future films, then you can’t be expected to understand much of anything

  • cleva

    Completely out of context really.  One has a major distributor which comes with its own political game and the other is an independent.  Both should be supported. 

  • Kieraht

    Aren’t we a lucky bunch that we actually have options at the box office?!
    We’ve got to stop tripping all the time!
    The Color Purple was nominated for 11 Oscars and won ZERO! A big reason why is that NAACP protested the film for its depiction of Black men. That movie is an American movie classic and it got ripped off because we didn’t stand behind it. Don’t let that happen again.

  • trw

    I went to see Red Tails tonight instead of Pariah because frankly, I’d never heard of Pariah until just now when I stumbled upon this article. I also went to see it because its a movie that tells a story that isn’t told enough. Yes, Lucas heavily encouraged, and put some fear into people about this movie during his interviews. And right or wrong, it got people into a movie to see and learn about a story we should all already know but we don’t. And, I’m sure the theatre, at least my theatre was filled with people who also spend their money to see every Perry movie made. If it took some fear to get them in that theatre then I say the ends justify the means in this case. I’m not saying people shouldn’t see Pariah, or another great movie, this weekend. What I am saying is that Red Tails was worth seeing for the story alone. 

  • Alex Loves Disco

    I’m Black in LA and I’ve been working in movie theaters for years, never heard of Red Tails. I don’t know who they are targeting but thankfully its not me. Pariah was great, it doesn’t need George Lucas’s funding. Word is spreading fast.

  • Fikre1

    I agree, please support the independent filmmakers. However, if Red Tails does not receive enough support we may never see another big budget film staring people of color. Forced to live in a cursed world starring Tyler Perry films or Hollywood crap with stereotypical blacks and Latinos, guns, drugs, and gangs.

  • Sharon

    I did my part by seeing the FIRST Tuskegee Airmen film. No? #okaybye

  • Poeticjenn23

    What George Lucas is saying is that Hollywood would not back an all black cast with the movie being about African American history. Hollywood can back movies where we are laughed at, where we are poor and struggling dramas but not our history. It’s a shame that a white man had to be the one to step up and say hey we can have an all black cast and its a history flick. Maybe if we all go out to see it and make the box office money as big as Tyler Perry movies we can have more movies to choose from in the future. Don’t be mad that the marketing was better between one movie and the other. Support both in hopes that more black films can be created. 

  • Hunnee999

    Ok I don’t think a story about lesbians cam compete with our history which its lost tothe last two generations. Who cares who made it..If you can’t understand that you can’t understand nothing.

    • KC

      That’s a rather homophobic reply. “Pariah” is about personal identity and also about one thing black people are scared to talk about out loud – the reality of same-gender loving people and their feelings and lives.

      It makes no attempt to be a major-time war drama, but small movies about interpersonal relationships are every bit as valid as ones about historical events. Both films are about “us” and different aspects of us, and if “Red Tails” can teach you about your past, “Pariah” can teach you about the realities of your present and your future.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Casher-Oneil/100002427586133 Casher O’neil

        Call me “homophobic” if you will, but I do not care to see a movie about lesbians.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KYWVN5FF7CEEPQRDFVSXVAEVJA J

          I don’t think that was a homophobic reply.

          Pariah isn’t like to be a heavy competitor of most films. For one thing, most people don’t want to sit through a depressing account of someone wrestling with sexual orientation, much as it may be a topic worth shedding light on.

          Of course Red Tails will draw all the eyes. It may be a ghetto-ized account of history, but it’s a Hollywood action flick with all the hooks backed by a director that everyone in the world probably knows.

  • 05girl

    Isn’t pariah just limited release?  I think that plays a factor.  In general folks don’t line up for indie films very often.

  • Saundra B

    I don’t think that we are limited to seeing one BLACK picture at a time, even if they come out at the same time. Unfortunately what happens is that independent filmmakers don’t have the money or the connections to bring their films to light in the way that George Lucas can. The story of the Tuskeegee Airmen deserves all of the “hype” it gets and should be supported and celebrated regardless of who made it as long as it is historically accurate and correct. It is also a piece that any of a number of African American film makers could have made if they so desired. As we deal with the recent issues of our people, we seem to be forgetting about our history, which holds great legacy. Personally, I don’t care who makes a picture that paints us in a positive light in the same way I deplore the buffoonery of black movies made by our own people. I agree with you that this will not change Hollywood’s perspective about the value of movies about African Americans. This is evident by the fact that George Lucas had to fund much of the project himself, pretty much the same way we do. Nevertheless, if we can get our GOOD stories on the big screen and “amp” our people up to see them-especially our youth, then I think that is a good thing, and we should do it by Any Means Necessary. I am going to check the local theaters for Pariah and check it out. Thanks for letting me know it exists.

  • Dobalisa

    I think people would go see Pariah if it were in more movie theaters. I think comparing the two movies is like comparing apples and oranges especially since they have completely different distribution plans. One movie was made by a big movie company and the other is a small independent movie. Why pit the two movies against one another? This is a missed opportunity to talk about why we need a major black-owned distribution company/movie company so that more diverse stories are produced and marketed!! The crabs in a barrel narrative is old and tired.

  • mdn41578

    I understand the point you’re making but I don’t agree. From the late 80’s to the early 00’s, there was a wider audience for black films and studios took notice. Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Kid and Play (yes, even them), Ice Cube, Spike Lee, John Singleton and many others FORCED the industry to deal with them because their product was in demand by a wide audience. Coming to America and Boomerang weren’t just hits for black movie-goers but with all movie-goers. When these movies came out, they weren’t even marketed as “black movies”, they were jsut movies that happened to have a bankable black cast. Denzel Washington and Will Smith have been successful for a long time and that’s because they’ve chosen roles that don’t pigeon-hole them. With all due respect, I believe our problem, for the most part, is us. 

    Yes, it is harder to get a black film financed and distributed by a major studio, no doubt. And, because it’s harder, we have to be more selective about what we put out. That is the point, I believe, Spike Lee has been trying to make about Tyler Perry’s movies. Once a certain type of film has massive success with a certain demographic, the studios begin to believe that ONLY THOSE FILMS will resonate. So, they begin looking for ONLY THOSE TYPES OF FILMS to greenlight. Anything that deviates from that formula will be dismissed..unless, for course, there is a bankable star attached. 

    For instance, I appreciate films like Friday and to a MUCH lesser degree, Soul Plane.  However, the success of those films has made it harder for blacks who want to tell a different kind of story. Studios now believe that Friday is what we want to see so Friday is what they look for. I hate to put it this way, but we have to stop allowing the films that appeal to the lowest common denominator within our community become the most successful. If this trend continues, the Pariah’s of the world will never realize the type of success it should.  

    • mdn41578

      Just to sum up my point: I appreciate a movie like Red Tails…Lucasfilm or not. It is the type of film that, if successful, forces studios to expand the scope of what they’ll finance. Same goes for Pariah. We should support both for the good of our actors, filmmakers, set designers, etc…

  • Grqcine

    Wasnt there a black jedi in star wars? Hmmm Samuel L. Maybe black directed/produced films should also show other cultures in a positive light. The needs of the directors message is not always in line with what the audience wants. Black folks like sci-fi too you know..your synopsis was good until you hit the the “why wont hollywood do this for us” moment… Hollywood is a money machine, and people love action or drama. Thats what makes money like the Color Purple…. Get off the “we need another transgender movie to prove a point” arguement. Its saturated. Its on every show, sitcom, and independant movie.. thats hollywood as well which commands alot of money. Next !

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=768944147 Brandon Easton

    Yet another article that is a thinly veiled attempt at trashing the accomplishments of Black men. Lucas hired a BLACK DIRECTOR and a BLACK SCREENWRITER to produce this film. I don’t see how Red Tails is a less “genuine” Black film experience. Sigh.

    • KC

      That isn’t the point. The point is that both films should be supported, and that Lucas should not be parading around the interview circuit foretelling the doom and end of African-American cinema if every Negro in America doesn’t go out and see his picture.

  • Tiffane

    Paraiah. I Will Follow. Frankie and Alice. Three movies that I want to see having heard a lot of praise about them. But only one is being shown in my city and it’s only at one theatre. I hate that we have to prove that “our stories” are vauable but we do and we do that at the box office. You’re kind of talking about apples and oranges with Paraiah and Red Tails, in terms of distribution and promotion. Lucas has a voice that says something different than Rees: if I can’t make this and it be successful, it’s not worth making films like this in Hollywood. And no offense or disrespect to Rees: is she even as old as Star Wars is? Hollywood is going to judge him harsher than Rees .I am going to see Paraiah, which I first heard about on Facebook. I have tickets to see Red Tails, of which I’ve seen countless commercials and promos.

    • Tiffane

      Hmmm. And let’s make sure to spell “Pariah” correctly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Keith-Josef-Adkins/616583301 Keith Josef Adkins

    Thank you SO MUCH for this point of view. I have been underwhelmed by Lucas’ sudden stance for black rights in Hollywood. I’ve been a bit exhausted by the thousands of black folk who are waking up from comas to spread the good word about Lucas’ Red Tails. I certainly think we should support and/or participate in the momentum of black movies, but we should also be able to call a spade a spade. Lucas reshot many of Anthony Hemingway’s footage and scenes. He also did major rewriting of John Ridley (the final screenwriter on the project) script. My point? Lucas’ foot is not just in the financial end of the project. It’s his baby.  Pariah was a great indie film. I’d love to see more advocacy for that just because it’s good, not because a white man has spoken therefore it must really mean something. Thank you again for this piece. 

  • Skegee Alum

    I’m not going to lie, im not really interested in the storyline for pariah. Its not something I can identify with. However, if I were what’s wrong with supporting BOTH movies? I went to Tuskegee University and am a very proud alumni. I love when my school gets attention and I love the rich history of it. I’m flattered that someone was willing to invest that much money to tell our story. There are people who still don’t know who the Tuskegee Airmen are and why they were so important. So yes I am going to support this movie, not out of obligation but rather out of pride for my school, support of black actors and my appreciation of good action movies. I don’t think we need to be divided on movies though. TU!!! U KNOW!!!

  • http://twitter.com/Ethanstokes88 Ethan Stokes

    As much as I understand and love this article. I have to disagree with it a bit. Red tails being a film that is opening everywhere makes the studios say that we can make money in doing these films. Pariah and movies like it will continue being made as long as there is people that love making those movies and others willing to finance them. But as a person working towards my break in the industry living in the midwest for the time being if i do not read the industry papers or check out movies in depth i would now know some movies have been made because they are now shown in mass amounts of theaters. 
    So in a business stand point we do need these movies to do well because if they don’t than movies that will come behind it will be great at film festivals and independent theaters which there is very few now. 

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  • Danielle

    Pariah simply has not had the marketing of Red Tails.  I knew of Pariah only becuase I used to work in the industry so I make an effort to read up on new films.  Thankfully you all have made more people aware of this extraordinary film.  Also very few, and I mean few, films have dealt with homosexuality in the black community.  The film industry may not be ready to take a financial risk with a larger budget for this subject.

  • Kyag57

    your position does not make sense .

  • Christianlefty

    I saw Pariah and I have recommended it to others. I will support George Lucas for making Red Tails and telling Hollywood that this story was worth making. We have to stop being so petty. We see movies with White stars all the time. How great that we can see Pariah and Red Tails. Bottom line, support films starring Black people and more will be made.

    • Kinnico2000

      Exactly!!!…I want to see both movies. Money moves Hollywood. A/A spend tons of money at the the movies. Let’s use that power to get more of what we want by supporting GOOD black movies.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alison.crockett2 Alison Crockett

    I really appreciate this.  It’s hard to keep up with what’s out there.  I as a mom need more easy ways to know what’s interesting to see and keep up with it. It’s hard not to get caught up in the fear because, as an artist, I see audiences of color shrinking in a sea of whiteness.  I don’t mind anyone coming to my or my fellow artists shows, but it’s nice when your own supports you; and I imagine filmmakers feel the same way. 

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1005668603 Jonathon Carrington

    While I do understand your concerns about black cinema and issues surrounding the marketability of both Pariah and Red Tails, it does sound to me that your emotions and feelings are bit misdirected. Both movies are in totally two different categories, genres, and budgets. I do agree that Pariah has stronger social commentary, however, it is considered an indie film. Red Tails is considered a mainstream movie. Pariah is considered a drama and Red Tails is an action movie, actually the first African-American action movie in history. Pariah was a movie done with a much smaller budget, while Red Tails is a film with a 23-year history and a $58 million investment. So, it is evident that these movies strongly contrast each other. I do empathize with your frustration, however, it does seem as if the real question becomes: what is relevant? What stories need to be told? If you are making an  argument that Red Tails is less relevant than the story in Pariah, then you may be making the case for a much stronger discussion on this issue.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1005668603 Jonathon Carrington

    While I do understand your concerns about black cinema and issues surrounding the marketability of both Pariah and Red Tails, it does sound to me that your emotions and feelings are bit misdirected. Both movies are in totally two different categories, genres, and budgets. I do agree that Pariah has stronger social commentary, however, it is considered an indie film. Red Tails is considered a mainstream movie. Pariah is considered a drama and Red Tails is an action movie, actually the first African-American action movie in history. Pariah was a movie done with a much smaller budget, while Red Tails is a film with a 23-year history and a $58 million investment. So, it is evident that these movies strongly contrast each other. I do empathize with your frustration, however, it does seem as if the real question becomes: what is relevant? What stories need to be told? If you are making an  argument that Red Tails is less relevant than the story in Pariah, then you may be making the case for a much stronger discussion on this issue.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1005668603 Jonathon Carrington

    While I do understand your concerns about black cinema and issues surrounding the marketability of both Pariah and Red Tails, it does sound to me that your emotions and feelings are bit misdirected. Both movies are in totally two different categories, genres, and budgets. I do agree that Pariah has stronger social commentary, however, it is considered an indie film. Red Tails is considered a mainstream movie. Pariah is considered a drama and Red Tails is an action movie, actually the first African-American action movie in history. Pariah was a movie done with a much smaller budget, while Red Tails is a film with a 23-year history and a $58 million investment. So, it is evident that these movies strongly contrast each other. I do empathize with your frustration, however, it does seem as if the real question becomes: what is relevant? What stories need to be told? If you are making an  argument that Red Tails is less relevant than the story in Pariah, then you may be making the case for a much stronger discussion on this issue.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1005668603 Jonathon Carrington

    While I do understand your concerns about black cinema and issues surrounding the marketability of both Pariah and Red Tails, it does sound to me that your emotions and feelings are bit misdirected. Both movies are in totally two different categories, genres, and budgets. I do agree that Pariah has stronger social commentary, however, it is considered an indie film. Red Tails is considered a mainstream movie. Pariah is considered a drama and Red Tails is an action movie, actually the first African-American action movie in history. Pariah was a movie done with a much smaller budget, while Red Tails is a film with a 23-year history and a $58 million investment. So, it is evident that these movies strongly contrast each other. I do empathize with your frustration, however, it does seem as if the real question becomes: what is relevant? What stories need to be told? If you are making an  argument that Red Tails is less relevant than the story in Pariah, then you may be making the case for a much stronger discussion on this issue.

    • http://www.facebook.com/monetsykes Monet Sykes

      Sooo if Red Tails had a small budget made by a black person or anyone else, you wouldnt go see it?? Im confused!

    • http://www.facebook.com/monetsykes Monet Sykes

      Sooo if Red Tails had a small budget made by a black person or anyone else, you wouldnt go see it?? Im confused!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=551680935 Eric McDaniel

    You CAN see both. Just pointing out the obvious. A lot of times in the black community we act like we have to choose. Beyonce or Kelly. Mary J. or Keyshia Cole. Jay Z or Lil’ Wayne. Alicia Keyes or India Arie. Grilled Chicken or Fried Chicken. We don’t have to choose anymore. We can support both or neither or one or the other. Acting like we have to be for one and also be against the other has been stunting our growth as a community for decades. Let’s move on, shall we?

  • Danni

    i think you are comparing apples and oranges on sooo many different levels. the fact that GEORGE LUCAS sunk 58 million in an ALL black movie is priceless……what other major blockbusters have you seen that cast the entire cast as heroes?? i’m tired of tyler perry being the one to put out movies that have 1/2 a plot when it comes to us and discretely casting us in stereotypical roles and situations….George wanted a movies where black people were the heroes because he felt it was important and had never been done. Of course it was the 1st time he felt like a black director, he’s white. Where was Tyler Perry on that one??  If he were smart he would have been an investor…i wonder if lucas reached out to him…n e 1 know??

    • R.A. Mathis

      According to Mr. Lucas himself, NO ONE stepped up. As for Pariah, living in the ATL, it showed in 1, count ‘em, 1 theater that you could not find! No ads, no posters, no nothing!

  • Kayla

    If george lucas had been black, this would be a different story

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1231170476 BeautyIz HerName

    So are you saying that you’re NOT going to support Red Tails because it is being pushed when other good black stories are not? I think that people like you are a part of the problem. Why can’t your article be about supporting ALL of the GOOD black stories as opposed to JUST supporting the ones that have lower budgets?? That seems pretty backwards if you ask me. I’m going to see Red Tails because if it were a story like Pearl Harbor with a white cast it would break records at the box office. So what makes this story ANY LESS VALID?!?!? I believe in GOOD STORIES black OR white, but unfortunately because of the way this country operates, the black ones need a lot more help and I DO feel obligated as a black person, as a young actress hoping that my support of good stories like Red Tails will continue to open the doors for me and other young black actors, writers and directors with dreams of telling good stories. 

    • NayaHri

      Amen! Comparing these two films is like trying to mix oil and water. Both are great films and both we should support. While “Pariah” is a film that some of us can relate to our present, “Red Tails” is a film we can ALL relate to our history, and need to. In addition, we are expected to line up for “Red Tails” and not “Pariah” because the first film is playing in far TOO MANY theatres not to go see it. “Pariah” is limited screening, and many (like myself) would have to drive -and in some cases, fly- to other cities and states just to view it. But that is not our fault. Blame that on the company that is marketing that film. If they wanted us to turn out in droves to see it, then they would have promoted that film and its director like no one’s business. But they didnt. Now when “Pariah” is released on DVD (which is how many of us will eventually get to see it) then should be expected to go out in masses and buy it. But until then, I’d say this a pretty ridiculous question that shouldnt even have been asked.

      • KC

        It’s not a ridiculous question, because if there were more of a demand for “Pariah” in the major cities it’s already playing in, it would be distributed to smaller markets as well because there would be money to make.

        But “Pariah’s” not getting Facebook posts and email chain letters sent out about it – well, it might be, but I haven’t gotten any. “Red Tails”, on the other hand….

        The other point – and the main thing that makes the discrepancy between the hype for either film puzzling – is that “Pariah” is getting rave reviews left and right and “Red Tails” is, well, not. I suppose no one short of Oprah can get black people to support their own indie films?

        • Claire

          If a film doesn’t do well in the box office, the blame doesn’t solely lie with its audience. 

          “But “Pariah’s” not getting Facebook posts and email chain letters sent out about it – well, it might be, but I haven’t gotten any. “Red Tails”, on the other hand….”
          It sounds to me like there’s an issue with Pariah’s marketing. I was once on a street team of sorts for an independent film. Folks were told to research, post, write, etc.  Efforts were focused that’s for sure. They were also persistent. I don’ t know how organized he people behind Pariah are concerning the film’s marketing. But they need to realize that they have a hand in determining how successful it is.

  • Mike

    You can’t really compare Red Tail and Pariah
    at all. Lucas tried to get Red Tail made for two decades years as a
    studio production. But no studio would touch an action film with an all
    black cast. And so 21 years later, he independently financed it, and
    then brought it to the studios hoping they would put up the money for
    marketing and advertising. But again, no studio would even touch it
    saying they didn’t know how to market the film. So now, Lucas not only
    independently financed the entire production of the film but is now
    financing the P and A. There is such a “push” for audiences to go and
    see the film as if it does well, it will be sending a strong message to
    Hollywood that a film with a black cast not made by Tyler Perry can do
    well at the box office – that there is an audience who will seem them.
    Pariah is an independent film that was never intended to be a mainstream
    studio Hollywood flick. If audiences turn out in droves to see Pariah
    it will make no difference to the studios and send no message to
    Hollywood as a studio or big hollywood financier would never back Pariah
    even with an all white cast simply cause the topic is too taboo. Of
    course black cinema will survive, though aside from Tyler Perry likely
    only through independent pictures like Pariah and Precious. But Lucas
    is trying to show with Red Tail that there is an audience for an all
    black action flick and that it can do well at the box office. If
    successful, I’d bet you’d see a few more in the next years.

  • Imoteda

    I completely agree with this ariticle, as I usually do with all her articles… by the way good job young lady. I look forward to reading your pieces as they are usually articulate and straightforward in a non condescending way.

    However I do kind of see G.L’s point. Black movies generally do not do well in theatre. Apart from Takers, I cannot remember the last black movie that made it all the way to my tri-city area in Ontario Canada and that movie only showed in one theatre (one theatre out of all the theatres in all three cities). If a huge big budget black movies fails I can somehow understand the reasoning that there will be little interest in funding another big budget black movie. I will be going to see Red Tails coz I think it will be interesting even though I find the cast very iffy. it is showing in every movie theatre I have checked, even in my 89% white and asian city.

    Now as for Pariah, I only found it showing in one theatre that’s a two hour drive from me and then I have to drive to the states to see it. Ridiculous. I didn’t hear much about this movie. I actually saw a post on it a while back and thought I should see it and that’s been pretty much the only place I’ve heard of it. It may be a great movie but there was no advertising, build up or media exposure before the release (or at least non that I didn’t have to search for).

  • Imoteda

    I completely agree with this ariticle, as I usually do with all her articles… by the way good job young lady. I look forward to reading your pieces as they are usually articulate and straightforward in a non condescending way.

    However I do kind of see G.L’s point. Black movies generally do not do well in theatre. Apart from Takers, I cannot remember the last black movie that made it all the way to my tri-city area in Ontario Canada and that movie only showed in one theatre (one theatre out of all the theatres in all three cities). If a huge big budget black movies fails I can somehow understand the reasoning that there will be little interest in funding another big budget black movie. I will be going to see Red Tails coz I think it will be interesting even though I find the cast very iffy. it is showing in every movie theatre I have checked, even in my 89% white and asian city.

    Now as for Pariah, I only found it showing in one theatre that’s a two hour drive from me and then I have to drive to the states to see it. Ridiculous. I didn’t hear much about this movie. I actually saw a post on it a while back and thought I should see it and that’s been pretty much the only place I’ve heard of it. It may be a great movie but there was no advertising, build up or media exposure before the release (or at least non that I didn’t have to search for).

    • http://www.facebook.com/monetsykes Monet Sykes

       Hw much advertising would it take you to go see it? Didnt you just read that Lucas shelled out 58 million? The writers and supporters of Pariah DID not have that kind of money, but it made it in theaters. If you support it, more theaters would open up. To me, all these comments are saying… Im going to see red tails because there were alot of advertising, but Pariah, well, they didnt have the money so I wont even support them.. SHAME!

    • http://www.facebook.com/monetsykes Monet Sykes

       Hw much advertising would it take you to go see it? Didnt you just read that Lucas shelled out 58 million? The writers and supporters of Pariah DID not have that kind of money, but it made it in theaters. If you support it, more theaters would open up. To me, all these comments are saying… Im going to see red tails because there were alot of advertising, but Pariah, well, they didnt have the money so I wont even support them.. SHAME!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003085266535 Courtney Small

    George Lucas decided to risk things, and make an all-black movie. And he should be commended. He actually has a point. Maybe black actors can do more in hollywood besides Tyler Perry flicks, if these big studios see that “Red Tails” does well.  Why does a black film always have to be Tyler Perry-esque?  The fact that he still stood by his movie after being shot down so many times, and he’s white at that speaks volumes.  Sometimes having an ally on the other side so to speak doesn’t hurt one bit.  if it wasn’t for George Lucas do you honestly think films from AFFRM would make it to main theaters, probably not, they would have thrown it in the Tyler perry-esque category, to never be heard of again.

    • http://twitter.com/WSIABPFilm WhiteSugarBlackPot

      Wait a minute….decided to risk things? What is the risk? To make an all-black movie? Is that what is called a risk? Whatever happened to passion and inspiration as a director for a story? The fact that his endeavor is viewed as a risk and it is marketed that way points to the problem within itself!

      Not all “black” films are Tyler Perry-esque. And if the general audience did more research and pushed themselves to find more than what is fed to them, they’ll soon agree. 

      An ally in this case would be someone who wants to portray dynamic black characters within the reality that they exist in. I don’t care if he used special effects and had actors of color working the green screen. If he is not 100% TRUTHFUL to the REALITY that the characters exist in, well then it is nothing that should be lauded and commended. If this is a HISTORICAL ACTION FILM, then let it remain truthful to the history. And TO OMIT IS TO LIE! It’s about the ENTIRE STORY. It is either all or nothing! No settling or compromising. Black women must advance with Black men. For years, media has tried to separate and divide, but we must be more wise. 

      George Lucas didn’t do black people any favors, and we cannot view it this way. If you are into action, well then go see it. But don’t make it seem like we all have to go out and support a film because it features people of color – especially when it doesn’t sit right with everyone. We need to do ourselves a favor and continue to share quality films featuring portrayals of people of color that is TRUTHFUL TO THE REALITY CREATED and NOT SAUNTERING FOR PRAISE JUST BECAUSE IT INCLUDES A BLACK CAST. That’s the minimum. We must continue to form stronger networks, and organize to get these films to the mass audiences of all races. Our films are both black films, and american films. Not either, or, one or the other, but BOTH.We have to reprogram our minds and empower ourselves. No one source is going to provide the answer or solution. This must be attacked from all angles. Be wary of anyone who instructs you otherwise.

      • Chaz2esq

        What is the risk?!?!?!? Seriously? How about that Lucas put up millions of dollars out of his own pocket!!!!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003085266535 Courtney Small

        All that passion stuff is great, but in hollywood $$$ talks. Do you think “The Help” had a hard time finding funding ? probably not, it’s not so much that Red Tails is an action flick it’s more so that the all black cast isn’t acting like a bunch of coons. which makes the big hollywood exec, mad.  You seem like the type of person to go blindly support Tyler Perrys coonery, smh

      • Claire

        “Wait a minute….decided to risk things? What is the risk? To make an all-black movie? Is that what is called a risk? Whatever happened to passion and inspiration as a director for a story?”
        Big-budget movies of certain genres that feature predominantly black casts simply ARE NOT MADE in Hollywood. People on the small screen have trouble getting their projects produced as well. Outside of a comedy, where else have you seen a majority-black/non-white cast?

        “don’t make it seem like we all have to go out and support a film because it features people of color – especially when it doesn’t sit right with everyone”

        Well, fortunately, seeing Red Tails is something that sits right with *some* people.  If you don’t want to see it, fine. But other people should, and thankfully, will.

      • Mademenentertainment

        Please know what you’re talking about before you speak….”the risk” is: he spent his OWN 58million to make this film, plus advertising and marketing……so I’d say that’s plenty of risk!!!!!!

  • http://www.womenaregamechangers.com/ WomenAreGamechangers

    I only know of Pariah because someone else told me. I want to see Redtails because I love action movies and of course some of the men in the movie. Now to say that we are being fed a marketing machine to go see Redtails is right. George Lucas has the money to market his film. Pariah on the other hand does not. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it until it’s a reality, If we want to see quality films then we need to invest in people who are making quality films and support them. We can’t keep complaining when we don’t go out in huge numbers and support little known films w/ an all black cast or when our own media does not give them a snowstorm of media attention. If you want us to have quality anything then we need to put our money where our mouths are.

    • Vince

      And yet Blacks shouldn’t, as a strategy, do it alone (w/ only Black dollars).  We should knock on all doors, e.g., President Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaign.  Black film makers can’t simply draw investment lines based on race — that’s a doomed strategy.  See Gary S. Becker’s “The Economics of Discrimination.” 

      • http://www.womenaregamechangers.com/ WomenAreGamechangers

        NO they should not but we as a community need to begin to invest in our movies first. We shouldn’t expect support if we don’t support ourselves first. I do believe if you have a quality film such as Pariah you should definitely go and seek investment. I’ve seen Pariah and loved it. I really wish it was wide release. But I am not saying stay with your race. I am saying start there and branch out.

  • R.A. Mathis

    First to Kayla, the Lady that Mr. Lucas sleeps with is A/A. Trust me he knows. He financed this movie out of his own pocket, no support from H’wood. The story may not appeal to everyone, understandable,this is history, nad many of the men that were red tails, are still alive today. The tribute is to THEM, not to the actors portraying them. As for Pariah, I would love to see the film, but have never heard of it. Where is the support for this film? If we as a people don’t support ANY black films, no matter the subject matter, then truly Black Hollywood, will not survive. As a person who saw MLK murdered, my take and opinion is a bit different. As a person who was in Cali during the rise of the black movements, it is a lot easier said than done about what one will and will not support, and what it means to all African Americans. 

    • MademoiseleOgus

      Thank. You.

    • XYZEBRA

      Please R.A. Mathis, tell me I didn’t read that right! “the Lady that Mr. Lucas sleeps with is A/A.”
      Is he married to her? No. Does he portray a black woman as the female love interest in “Red Tails”? No. Does he squeeze in a white female love interest into the story, even though all the Tuskegee Airmen had black wives? YES.
      There are other films and documentaries about the Tuskegee Airmen, as well as BOOKS. We don’t have to see this movie to honor them. Whether we choose to support Pariah or Red Tails, or both, we all want to see black film survive.

      • Claire

        So in spite of the fact that Mr. Lucas is in an interracial relationship, he isn’t supposed to depict one on screen?

        Also, the success of big-budget movies such as Red Tails will have an impact on how all forthcoming black films are perceived–both commercial and independent.  That’s a fact, not some sort of imagined hoopla.

      • Vince

        On the love interest, it was fictionally WW II, in Italy.  I surmise the idea was that no sisters lived in that Italian village — though historically, even in the 40’s, there were people of African descent living in Europe.  Just not many.  So, I’m not mad at Lightening.  When in Rome ….  And really, so what.  It was just one element of the story. 

        Support both films, please!  I live on an island w/, apparently, the wrong demographics, and so was peeved that I had to go to the mainland to view the film.  I’ll search out Pariah to support it, as well.

        C’mon, this isn’t Herman Cain vs. President Obama.  These are two relevant films (Pariah and Red Tails) that  portray our drama, our story.  The more we support them both, hopefully, the more we’ll see like them.

        And in fairness, your gripe is valid and drama worthy of a story as well as Herman Cain’s story.  And if yours and Mr. Cain’s story are depicted in film, I’ll support them as well.  After all, we are not a monolithic people.  We’re multi-layered, like Shrek’s onion analogy to the Donkey (Eddie Murphy).  All of our layers matter, even if some make you cry.

        Support all Black films! 

      • Trbutts

        Does it matter if Lucas and his significant other are married? Seems irrelevant. As for the depiction of the love affair between Lightning and Sophia in “Red Tails,” my guess would be that it was meant to highlight the racism and discrimination these patriots faced at home while fighting for democracy abroad. It also highlights the fact that abroad, these black men were accepted as human beings. Sophia and her mother did not turn him away because he was black. Yet, these men are treated as second class citizens by their fellow white officers. Had they been at home, Lightning would have been strung up for approaching a white woman. Yet he can fight for his country.

        • dee

          Thank you!!! Some black people get sooooo color struck that they miss the message in this. I’m glad I’m not one of them!

    • XYZEBRA

      Please R.A. Mathis, tell me I didn’t read that right! “the Lady that Mr. Lucas sleeps with is A/A.”
      Is he married to her? No. Does he portray a black woman as the female love interest in “Red Tails”? No. Does he squeeze in a white female love interest into the story, even though all the Tuskegee Airmen had black wives? YES.
      There are other films and documentaries about the Tuskegee Airmen, as well as BOOKS. We don’t have to see this movie to honor them. Whether we choose to support Pariah or Red Tails, or both, we all want to see black film survive.

      • Sonya

        Mr. Lucas is married to a socially conscious African American woman. Why can’t people see both films? So what that one of the characters had an Italian love interest, they were in Europe…! They didn’t cover the families of any of the characters, white or black, which was my biggest problem with the film, lack of character development.

        • Ijs

          They are not married.

          • Sonya

            Yeah, I double-checked my comment and found that out. Thanks for the correction.

      • Jamie Myrick

        I had the honor of meeting some of these men and their wives 15 years ago. They are full of amazing stories. I am sure they clearly shared details that were important to bring the story together. Also remember this time the story focused on their battle scares and challenges, the wives were state side, the understated story this time was a single man who comes to the realization that he was in love with a woman and if he returned to his own country could he walk into the officers club. Well…. only after he saved hundreds of white officers. Many men served as Tuskegee airmen I look forward to viewing on the BIG screen more of their stories. Because on that one afternoon I spent with them at one of their reunions, was one of the most amazing days of my life. They are stories that need to be presented to a large audience not just the African, Negro, black, African American history fanatics like myself. If my students understood their stories they would perform better in the classroom. The more I teach secondary school the clearer it becomes that Asian students succeed because many attend some form of Satuday school that support teaching them to honor their culture and history. — I’m just saying sometimes we got to move away from sex, drugs roc-hip hop rap AND I DON’T CARE WHO PRODUCE IT!

        • I95rollr

          Hmmm…African, Negro,  black,  African American. Asian got a capital letter as well. Got a problem with Blackness my friend? Therein lies the problem with us. We all wanna be something other than what we are. We devalue ourselves systematically. Smh. They laugh at us for wanting to be a part of their culture. I don’t blame them.

      • I95rollr

        @ XYZBRA…I’m with you on that. “The Lady that Mr. Lucas sleeps with is A/A”. That’s a laughable statement. Lady? A/A? She’s a Black woman. Sad that he doesn’t respect her enough to marry her. That’s nothing to brag about. Gotta put some White faces in it to sell it. Fact. Infidelity? Gotta give the people what they want. Thanks again for stating other venues of discerning history. This is DEFINITELY HISstory. People need to stop underestimating the resilience of Black people. Whether this film is big or not…They can’t stop us from rising. Except…those of you who delegate the power to “Them”. Me? I’m gonna stand behind ANYTHING productive that a Black person does. MISTER Lucas. Are you kidding me? Mister Lucas now eh? GEORGE Lucas. That’s what he was before this movie to me. That’s what he STILL is. I hope you refer to our Commander and Chief: PRESIDENT Obama, and not just Obama. I can’t rate the flick, I didn’t see it. Maybe I’ll catch it on HBO, when it comes soon. Stay Black! I will.

  • Kayla

    I wont be supporting Redtail. I saw the Tuskegee Airmen that was amazing. George Lucas clearly knows nothing about black people if he thinks we would waste our money on films starring Terrance Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr, neither of those two men exhibit any interest in black issues or causes. A film with Denzel,Isiah, Jessie or Anthony Makcie would have got big box office.

    • Le’ Hcyar

      RIGHT! I saw the movie… a major focus was on one of the Airmen and his Italian (white) love interest. NO black females were in this movie. There was no depiction of the black families and their sacrifices in this movie. I left the theater feeling bated into seeing this movie ( with it being “black” and all) by ALL the current and up-and-comming black male actors…and Neyo. I’m actually starting to feel this way about all the “black” films. Its black and white directors and producers throwing together a mob of black headliners ( prepare yourselves for this Steve Harvey movie mess) to lure black audiences into theater seats. 

    • Mademenentertainment

      It’s not about what he knows about black people……he’s shedding light on black history and you morons continue to hinder and hold back as crabs in the barrel, its not about what he knows, the movie is based on FACTUAL acts, its not for him to know, its history, there were even REAL Tuskegee Airmen on the set and involved to insure its accuracy……..and Spike Lee hasn’t made a relevant movie in almost 2decades, I’m not rushing to see his flunkie about a movie that you can see on any corner(a black gay woman), and come on, w/ Kim Wayans, who hasn’t been seen since In Living Color…..her brothers won’t even put her in movies….and as stated by someone else, this movie is in like 4 theaters nationwide, low budget, no marketing or budget for advertising…..so what’s the argument here!?!?!??

      • http://www.facebook.com/monetsykes Monet Sykes

         Sooo your saying you would only support a major black movie in all theaters , just not a gay one? Typical…

      • http://www.facebook.com/monetsykes Monet Sykes

         Sooo your saying you would only support a major black movie in all theaters , just not a gay one? Typical…

    • PJAlex

      You must have forgot that Cuba was in the Tuskegee airman too …

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1103506194 Abeautiful Mess

    you are confusing to different needs as a viewer, finding a story you are genuinely interested in and the the needs of a producer to tell a story that he feels needs to be told. I am interested in both films but in Charlott, where I live there is not a big enough market for Pariah to be distributed here. George Lucus is a big timer whom may have access to more resources than a creater of independant film.

    • http://twitter.com/ActorsOfColor CastingActorsOfColor

      Well executed point. . .and I agree. If Focus Features will stop toying with PARIAH and give it the proper national distribution it deserves.

      • Flirt

        And that is the point…THEY WONT…

        Red Tails being succesful sends a message to the few companies that control Hollywod…It says that producers can work around the system and the power brokers…the desicion not to pick up and distribute red tails is racism under the guise of buisness….if an all black movie can be viable with no big studio or distributer support then it will embarass the holywood gate keepers into treating black actors and film producers with the respect they deserve….hopefully we will never have to put up with racist hiring practices and writing again simply because someone showed up the big wigs for the weak racists they are…Red Tails success sends the right message to everyone who matters in hollywood Sorry…Pariah while being excellent art is totally irellevant to the business or politics of Hollywood as are most if not all of the “black” movies…Greater than 80% of the american domestic market is white. As they see it they can safely ignore and marginalise african american film relegating our best actors, directors and producers to independent film, type cast roles, and redundant plot…Face it….Tails is a watershed moment in the politics and buisness of film

        • http://twitter.com/freekeith Keith Gill

          I super agree!

    • KC

      Charlotte is not a small market. “Pariah” is only in 24 theaters nationwide because Focus Features hasn’t put any extra distribution force behind it. What they do with it depends entirely upon how it does in the cities it’s currently playing in, and the rollout is being done excruciatingly slow – it JUST opened in Atlanta last week.

    • http://www.facebook.com/djundergroundatl Eric DjUnderground Cummings

      I TOTALLY agree, I haven’t heard of this film until now…..

  • http://twitter.com/JustLakeshia Lakeshia

    Thanks for this piece. I was just telling my boyfriend that I really don’t want to go see Red Tails, but feel “obligated” to support. I love historical films, but I’m just not interested at the moment. Lately I’ve been THIRSTY for films/TV shows that capture the Black experience in a new, modern-day light.

    • Sugar_Spice

      You hit the nail on the head for me, this is exactly how i’m feeling.

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    • 123

      Your name is Lake-shia.  so of course I expect you to say something ignorant.  “Red Tails” does show the black experience in modern day times.  The type of racism they endured is the same we endure today (the “black experience”), and this movie puts a modern day twist to it.