All Articles Tagged "black movies"
In 2006, when black movies usually dealt with themes of drug deals, poor choices and the ghetto, Akeelah and the Bee represented a stark contrast. The film, which featured heavy hitter actors Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett, was uplifting and inspirational. It was a message audiences of ages, races and backgrounds could enjoy. We’re sure you remember this movie, but we bet you don’t know
Though Akeelah took years to come together, once the funding and the actors were in place, the movie was filmed in just 31 days. The film was relatively small budget at just $6 million dollars. During it’s opening weekend, it made that back and 3 times that much ($18, 811, 135) when it closed in July of 2006. Filmed in 31 days with a budget of $6 million.
We all love our classic films. We love to see a good story beautifully told through the vehicle of film. But every now and then, it’s alright to…indulge in something that’s a little less high brow and a little more ridiculous. That film is Booty Call. You probably haven’t seen it since it was released in 1997, so to refresh your memory, check out the trailer below.
Now that you’ve been updated on the storyline, let’s get into the behind the scenes secrets.
From The Grio
Whether you love him or hate him, it seems as though Tyler Perry is the only game in town these days when to comes to movies targeted specifically at black audiences.
His melodrama Temptation is set to hit theaters this weekend and will surely do big business, but will its success be a tribute to Perry’s popularity or largely a reflection of a minority movie-going audience that feels underrepresented and under-served?
Director Spike Lee, who once averaged about one film per year, has become far less prolific in lately. And his colleagues like John Singleton and the Hughes Brothers have transitioned from making epic urban films to helming big budget genre pictures with multiracial casts.
What is a “black film”?
Meanwhile the definition of a ‘black film’ has grown more fluid in the age of Obama.
It’s now no longer groundbreaking for an African-American A-lister like Denzel Washington or Halle Berry to anchor a film by themselves. And while the smash hit Django Unchained touched on distinctly black themes with a bevy of African-American stars, its appeal was broader because it reflected the vision of its white director, Quentin Tarantino.
Just twenty years ago, the multiplexes presented a very different picture of black Hollywood.
There were a variety of choices for black film fans: There were star vehicles (Sister Act 2, Philadelphia,The Pelican Brief), biopics (What’s Love Got to Do With It), comedies (CB4, Cool Runnings), action (Demolition Man) and hard-hitting dramas (Poetic Justice, Menace II Society).
In comparison, last year there was the romantic comedy Think Like a Man, the WWII drama Red Tails, and three different Tyler Perry vehicles. Perhaps it’s no wonder that black audiences are frequently nostalgic for the 90s.
Read more at TheGrio.com
Confession: Believe it or not, the reality of America’s racist past didn’t become real to me until college. (Insert gasp!) And I live in Georgia. (Insert disbelief and head shake.) While I grew up knowing about Martin Luther King Jr.—as my elementary history books glossed over the depths of slavery and segregation in America and presented him as the great savior that made all people get along now—I didn’t know much else. Stories of Malcolm X, W.E.B., and others came across my eyes by way of my mother, but my shallow understanding of racism and my upper middle class status left me thinking racism was a thing of the past that had no real effect on the present or future. Yes, I was downright ignorant.
It wasn’t until I went to college and practically minored in African American Studies (Why didn’t my counselor tell me I was one class away from having that credential?) that I found myself in my dorm room crying as I viewed pictures of lynchings and read articles that addressed racism as an institution whose effects have been deep and wide. America’s veil was torn. I realized that by those stars and stripes, we were not healed. But I was also awakened to the legacies of brave souls like Ida B. Wells, Frederick Douglass, and the countless individuals whose stories haven’t been told but to whom we owe our current freedoms. I’d never been more excited about academia than I was then, because I was discovering my own past. And a sense of responsibility, dignity, pride, and accountability to my ancestors filled my heart. There’s something about knowing scores of individuals either had to fight for or never had the opportunities you currently have (and possibly squander) that inspires greatness.
Seeing Jackie Robinson’s life depicted in “42,” this past weekend did just that. Watching the Major League Baseball player turn the other cheek while being barraged with racial slurs, letting the example of Jesus instruct him in the face of persecution, was nothing short of inspiring. But I couldn’t help but leave the film wondering whether my generation is too far removed to be inspired by such a film. Do these films become mere one-time experiences that have us reflecting for roughly a week but then going on about our business as usual afterward? I might sound like an old timer, but I think we’ve forgotten where we came from. And many young people have no real clue where that even is. We are growing up with a black president — dare we think we have arrived?
As I was also remembering MLK’s assassination on April 4, I couldn’t help but wonder how we’ve gone from a people who fought for our dignity and right to be educated — with our greatest threat coming from outside — to a people whose youth don’t see value in education or one other. Of course this is a generalization of a people of great accomplishment, and I realize that the effects of racism still stain us and affect our betterment, but is our culture headed for doom? Are we stuck on N***a Island? If so, how did we get here and is there any hope for getting off?
While “42″ finds Dodgers’ president Branch Rickey quoting Bible scriptures left and right, what the film doesn’t highlight is that it was Jackie Robinson’s own faith that gave him courage, and it’s what truly made him great. Perhaps that element of our culture has been lost, and we need to get it back. While he is keenly aware that there are no quick fixes to the many issues that plague African Americans, Sho Baraka (an artist whose Talented Xth album draws from W.E.B. DuBois’ work on how black culture can be uplifted), believes the decreasing importance of the black church has played a role in our decline. “I don’t believe the church is a important as it once was. Mainly because of the lack of a universal Black problem. Once Black people could comfortably live in suburbs with whites, their problems changed and we no longer have a common struggle.” Well, we know what Frederick Douglass had to say about that: “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”
Am I saying we need to enter back into the chains of racial degradation? Heck no, we won’t go! But perhaps we have forgotten the lines of those ol’ negro spirituals that sung of our Great Emancipator as we find ourselves floating in that vast ocean of material prosperity MLK spoke of — unaware that we are headed towards a fool’s paradise. And our youth are paying the price. We need to remind ourselves of the struggle and educate our young people on our history. I don’t say that as a passing statement; I believe it plays an integral role in combating our current trajectory. We are as grateful for what we have today as we are cognizant of what we didn’t have the days before. We must remind them, because it will give them hope to become more. And we need them to have this hope because if “there ain’t no hope for our youth, then the truth is there ain’t hope for the future,” as 2pac so eloquently told us. They need to know that while entertainment and athletics are worthy arenas to aspire to thrive in, they can be more than rappers and athletes. They can be leaders and role models.
Jackie Robinson breaking into major league baseball is much more than a story of athletic prowess. It is a story of claiming and maintaining one’s dignity and having the guts to fight not with carnal, but divine weaponry. We must embark on that same fight for our people’s dignity. We owe it to those before us and behind us, and we owe it to ourselves. But most importantly, we owe it to the God who created us all equal.
Big screen adaptations of novels written by black authors are few and far between, which is precisely why we shouldn’t just support black movies, but black books as well – especially considering African-American achievements in literature are highly underrated. So definitely give these movies a watch, but do yourself one better and pick up the original books, because we already know that the movies are never ever as good as the original literary work
So, I decided not to let all my black bourgeoisie film-critic friends keep me from going to see Tyler Perry’s Temptation this weekend. I too have shaken my head at many of the overly dramatic scenes and “coonery bafoonery” that can often cripple his films, but a conversation with a good friend who appreciates Perry’s efforts to tell black stories and employ black actors, made me give this one a chance. Plus, I think we’ve unfairly put the accurate and vast, yet still noble, depiction of our entire race on his shoulders like he’s that one black kid at an all-white school who has to represent us well. I think it’s time we (myself included) gave him a break.
This Easter weekend, spirit of grace and Jurnee Smollett-Bell (who I wish had grown up more in Hollywood like her Olsen contemporaries, then again, maybe not) got me out with all the other black people for our family reunion at the movies. You know, that’s another thing about going to see a Perry film—it’s an experience you get to have with your theater cousins and aunties who are laughing and giving their commentary right along with you. I’m pouring it on kind of thick, huh? Well I’m not going to go as far as nominating this one for an Oscar, although I hope one day he makes a film worthy of one, but I do think this is a movie worth its ticket price.
While some moments linger too long, his flare for the dramatic still takes center (maybe left center this time) stage, and there may be a hiccup or two (Why doesn’t Brandy appear aged at the end, while the other characters do?), I appreciate this film for all the questions it made me ask myself. I’m all about that. And while centered on infidelity, it poked at the human experience in many ways, beyond relationships.
The storyline and its characters asked, “Are we satisfied with our lives?”
Maybe there is more that we should pursue (unless you are married, please just tell your husband to keep pursuing you), or maybe we need to learn the secret of contentment.
They prodded, “How far will we go in pursuit of satisfaction?”
So many of us are unsatisfied with our careers and relationship status that we’re willing to quit our jobs or lower our standards to be happy. But as ol’ girl from “Rock” reminds us, the pursuit of happiness can lead to a dead end or be a thrilling drive in the wrong direction—count the costs.
They challenged and pleaded, “Have we already compromised ourselves?”
While our closet can be full of new clothes and shoes, when we look in the mirror, we should still know who the heck we are! We must establish immovable boundaries in our sober times, so while we’re focused on progressing we don’t get drunk off success.
Finally, they left us asking ourselves, “Do we know our own worth?”
Having a firm identity will give us expectations for ourselves, our jobs and our significant others, and keep us from being lured away by something or someone who promises to buy us. Our self-worth cannot be found in something or someone else. It must be established by and in the unchangeable.
Yes, I got all that from Temptation. So, thank you, Mr. Perry, for teaching us a few lessons on life and love without the bodysuit and wig. I think we’re willing to learn from you, if you take yourself as serious as you should. I, for one, am now.
Movies, reinvented with an all star black cast, make for huge talent and entertainment. Actors must ‘bring’ it, providing their own twist to the original version of the story in order to make viewers fall in love with the film all over again. At times, the remake may prove to be better than the original, while in other cases, they may as well have ceased production rather than infiltrate TV screens with a version worse than the original. We know some folk question why there’s even a need for black remakes in the first place so when it comes to the following movies, should they have left well enough alone? You be the judge.
Steel Magnolias (2012)
Queen Latifah heads this all-star, black cast, replacing Sally Field’s heart-wrenching role, in the recent LifeTime movie. Alfre Woodard, Phylicia Rashad and Jill Scott take over roles played by Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis and Dolly Parton. Did you all pay attention to the reception music? Wedding patrons were grooving to Wobble With It; one of the many cultural differences in the movie.
More times than I can remember, I’m sitting with a group of black people I’m just meeting or don’t know too well and the conversation drifts to Tyler Perry. The myth, the man the legend. And what self respecting black person can talk about Tyler Perry without bashing his movies? When this happens, as it often does, I sit there waiting for my turn. Then I hit ‘em with the zinger.
“I actually like a lot of Tyler Perry’s movies.”
The atmospheric pressure changes as folks start judging me. I can almost read their minds.
Is she educated?
Is she from the south?
She must be a staunch Christian.
Is she related to Tyler Perry?
While I will say that Tyler Perry could stand to grow artistically, I’ve been entertained by a majority of his films– with the exception of Meet The Browns and Why Did I Get Married Too? And I say I’ve been entertained because I don’t need every movie I see to cause me to think deeper about the world, to expose me to some universal truth, make me cry or change my way of life. Sometimes, I just want to chill out and have a laugh or two. And Tyler Perry, Madea, and the overly dramatic story lines do that for me. I don’t need Tyler Perry to make Spike Lee-esque films. Spike Lee does that. If people would stop expecting Tyler to be Spike, the world would be a much happier place.
In fact, let’s just rest there for a minute. One of the main gripes people have about Tyler Perry is the fact that his characters and story lines rely so heavily on stereotypes. I won’t argue that they don’t; but so do most forms of the entertainment we unashamedly claim to love. Reality shows, hip hop, sitcoms etc all rely on stereotypes. And some of ya’ll tune in every week…religiously. What we need to realize is that though stereotypes can be harmful, when consumed by the wrong people, most of black folk who see Tyler Perry’s movies know enough about other black folk to realize we’re not all the same. Every black person is not a Christian, every black woman is not in need of a man to save her from her sense of entitlement. And every black grandma, doesn’t swear and carry a gun. But let’s not pretend that these women and characters don’t exist. In fact, most of us know somebody who’s a little something like Madea. Whether you want her broadcast on an international stage is more of a personal issue than it is about Tyler’s artistic abilities. As a free man, he chooses the stories he wants to tell. And since people continue to see and support his work, including the highly revered like Oprah, Maya Angelou, Cicely Tyson and apparently Ntozake Shange, I doubt he’ll be disappearing anytime soon.
Now, that I’ve professed my love for Tyler and his work, let me tell you why I’m seeing Temptation this opening weekend.
1. Jurnee Smollet is a very talented actress. If Tyler was going to cast a woman who can seamlessly tackle a range of very difficult emotions, I think she’s the one to do it.
2. Tyler employs black actors. It’s been said before but it bears repeating. Though Jurnee has been working since she was a little girl on “Full House,” as an adult actress the roles have been a little sparse. Why? I don’t know. (Though, I have a couple of guesses.) What I do know, is that Tyler Perry employs black actors who we might not see otherwise.
3. The trailer just looks juicy as hell. Nothing like watching someone else’s personal life crumble, to reassure yourself that you’re not doing too bad after all.
4. I can ignore Kimmy K. Do I really want to see Kim Kardashian in a movie? Not really, but just like I do on the internet, I can look past her, if necessary, when she’s on screen.
5. Two words: Lance Gross. More words: From the trailer, it looks like we’ll be seeing a woman willingly betray Lance for a man not nearly as attractive. I must know why.
6. It looks like it’ll be entertaining. Plain and simple.
What do you think about Tyler Perry’s movies? Do you plan on seeing Temptation?
If you ask me, Why Did I Get Married was one of Tyler Perry’s best movies. Sure, it was still overly dramatic at times; but I know I was invested in the characters and their stories. It was funny, heartbreaking at times–especially when Mike was dogging Sheila out– and it even provoked a little discussion. You know the plot…in fact, you have the DVD at the crib; but, we bet you don’t know what the stars of the film had to say about the process. Check it out in the pages to follow.
Before 2004, Jamie Foxx was a comedian, known for his standup and his role as “Wanda” on “In Living Color.” Sure, he’d been in a couple of movies; but he’d only really flexed his acting chops in Any Given Sunday. Booty Call won’t necessarily go down in history as a classic. But all of that changed in 2004, when Jamie Foxx landed the role of a lifetime, portraying legendary musician Ray Charles. From that moment on Jamie was an actor, a true thespian. You saw the movie, you were amazed by the performances but we bet you don’t know these behind the scenes secrets. Check them out.