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What films need to be blockaded from view today?


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IMO, films and other artistic works should not be censored from view or hearing. 

 

Art paints a picture and provides a record of the environment and conditions that influence it.

 

Beyond entertainment, we should use the best and worst of art to educate as well. 😎

 

 

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Daniellegfny, I am a retired Senior News Editor who ran his financial news magazine's newsroom. I gave guest lectures at Baruch College while still a reporter. 

I abhor racist individuals and ignorance.

Sidney Poitier was the first Black to win a Best Actor Oscar. 

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@daniellegfny I would had said HAttie... going along to your thinking, Clark Gable, a white man,  was going to boycott the oscars, but hattie mcdaniel said no.

As well as McDaniel's relatively well known quote saying, she will rather play a maid than be one.  

But, I can comprehend why many black people in the past detested,  or now detest, or will detest the character hattie mcdaniel portrayed. The question of culture wars in art, is always about the communities in power side the communities not in power and the culture either has which is rarely the same.

 

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1 hour ago, richardmurray said:

But, I can comprehend why many black people in the past detested,  or now detest, or will detest the character hattie mcdaniel portrayed

But they will love Superfly and Sweetback. We really need to get with understanding more and lose the hypersensitivity.

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@daniellegfny In defense, many black people don't like superfly or sweetback. I can comprehend why they didn't, they do not, and they will not. 

Danielle, I know you know that for a time our forebears were enslaved to whites. But, doesn't that mean black people have the freedom to interpret the usa as they want? MAny of our forebears didn't want to be part of this country. I am not saying all. But no one can deny many black people forced from their home an ocean away, didn't want the trip, and died not getting what they wanted. Freedom from white people/the colonies of britian or the usa that came after it. So, in modernity, I don't see why any of us have a problem with some black people having an extremely different opinion to the arts , let alone anything else, when it isn't like our forebears planned for us to be here. 

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Do you know the Earth Wind and Fire did the music for Superfly? Also I think Melvin Van Peebles ran out of money during shooting. He got the funds from black entertainers. I believe Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte were among the donations

 

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Curtis Mayfield one of the most conscious black artist did the music for Superfly. He said it was a story about redemption.

 

Sweetback is a runaway slave narrative. Which is referenced in a NWA track 100 hundred miles and running

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4 hours ago, Delano said:

Do you know the Earth Wind and Fire did the music for Superfly? Also I think Melvin Van Peebles ran out of money during shooting. He got the funds from black entertainers. I believe Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte were among the donations

Is that to justify the negative impact they have had on the Black Community? My positions on the matter is that it is wasteful and self-defeating when we fall into the book banning and burning community. @richardmurray

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The entertainment industry dictates everything from Hattie McDaniel in "Gone with the Wind" to blackploitation films, 1970s sitcoms, gangster rap, black reality shows, etc.

 

AfroAmericans have to own studios, distribution companies, movie theaters, TV channels, radio stations, etc., in order to control the art they produce and narrative.

 

As long as AfroAmericans are signing contracts and taking out loans to produce art, they're at the mercy of the money folks. 😎

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 ProfD I’m afraid if we owned all the means of production and distribution of our entertainment, we would succumb to the same market forced White folks do and produce simulator or even worse material.   
 

“blackploitationfilms, 1970s sitcoms, gangster rap, black reality shows,…” are all are easy to create and make money.

 

people who produce culturally important entertainment usually struggle. Are there any recent counter examples?

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@Troy, whether it is art or entertainment or food, the junk usually makes more money.

 

I go back to the McDonalds analogy.  Junk food filled with high fructose corn syrup, fats and salt far outsells that which is more nutritous.

 

Art or culturally important entertainment is no different in that regard. Whether it's movies, TV, music, books, etc., the junk food equivalent will outsell the higher quality content.

 

Folks producing culturally important entertainment are analogous to traditional Jazz musicians. The struggle to make money is real.
 

Still, there's room for both low and high quality art and entertainment. Owning outlets for production and distribution insuring control is important.

 

Ultimately, we still have a choice in the art or entertainment we choose to consume.😎

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Choices without the freedom to choose is meaningless. 

 

Which is difficult unless you can free yourself from cultural, societal and environmental issues.

 

For example being entertaining has a higher value than being truthful. 

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@daniellegfny you quoted @Delano but asked me? why?

I concur to no banning, but from my position as an artist. 

But, negativities from all art exists, is your argument that the art of superfly or sweetback which has more black artists in its influence has more negativity than the art of gone with the wind? 

@ProfD   great point, OWnership is the key, the usa financially is based on ownership, not labor, 

@Troy great point, never assume, but alot of white artis make quality work, so even if black financial dominance in entertainment will yeild more commercialty, it will also yield more quality work as well

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On 1/22/2022 at 1:27 PM, ProfD said:

IMO, films and other artistic works should not be censored from view or hearing. 

 

But what about children? Sometimes, I feel that today, they are being exposed to some disturbing ideas through films. 

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10 hours ago, richardmurray said:

your argument that the art of superfly or sweetback which has more black artists in its influence has more negativity than the art of gone with the wind? 

That’s a valid conclusion. The number of Blacks has no bearing on whether the content is beneficial. Why do you think the genre was called Blaxploitation Films. They were just as negative if not more. In one you have a black in a position by force, while in the other you have self destructive volunteers.

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17 hours ago, Chevdove said:

 

But what about children? Sometimes, I feel that today, they are being exposed to some disturbing ideas through films. 

I thought this thread was about film censorship within the black community at large. 

 

Otherwise, it is a given that parents should censor/monitor consumption of movies, TV, music, internet, etc. when it comes to their children.

 

Unfortunately, too many parents are using entertainment to babysit and raise their children. But, that's a different  thread topic.😁😎

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On 1/23/2022 at 12:36 AM, Delano said:

Do you know the Earth Wind and Fire did the music for Superfly? Also I think Melvin Van Peebles ran out of money during shooting. He got the funds from black entertainers. I believe Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte were among the donations

 


Wrong movie. Melvin van Peebles ran out of money for "Sweet Sweetback's Baaadassss Song." The was a 1971 film. I refuse to label it a Blackploitation movie because that is the term Whites employ.

My favorite movie from that era is 1973's "The Spook Who Sat By The Door." 

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13 hours ago, daniellegfny said:

But not the first Black to win an Oscar. The press tries to hide Hattie’s accomplishments.

 

I said Hattie McDaniel was the first Black to win an Oscar. Go back and read my comment. 

The press or the media is not trying to hide anything. History books are. 

Stop watching Fox News.

 

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1 hour ago, Chevdove said:

 

okay, so I'm off topic. 

But yes, I agree with this comment.

@Chevdove, nothing wrong with taking the thread in another direction. I was joking that we could start a new topic based on that subject.😁😎

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@daniellegfny As a black artist I Will take 100 superfly's or sweetback's over 100 gone with the winds. cause even if a black thespian gets an oscar for 100 films in a row, I rather the black producers/black directors/ black writers/higher quantity of black thespians opportunity for 100  films in a row

 

@Chevdove

@ProfD

no problem at all, I asked a simple straightforward question, it shouldn't require that much debate , please go on

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Sweetback and Superfly are the stories of  Black men dealing with crooked cops and trying to get out of the system. So if you look past the antagonist's character you would actually see the narrative. Sweetback was trying to get to Mexico and Priest was trying to retire out the game. Both characters really that were  players in a game stacked against them. Which is an entirely different position than Hattie McDaniels, from my perspective. 

Two crucial contemporaneous assessments of Sweet Sweetback help illustrate the ideological and cultural investments in the film in its time. In June 1971, Huey P. Newton, cofounder and minister of defense of the Black Panther Party, read the film as a modeling of Black revolutionary struggle: “It is the first truly revolutionary Black film made, and it is presented to us by a Black man . . . It shows how the victims must deal with their situation, using many institutions and many approaches. It demonstrates that one of the key routes to our survival and the success of our resistance is unity. Sweet Sweetback does all of this by using many aspects of the community, but in symbolic terms.” In September 1971, Lerone Bennett Jr., a historian and the executive editor of Ebony at the time, took issue with Newton’s analysis, the film’s pornographic content, its conception of a Black aesthetic, and what he saw as its stereotypicality. Sharply, yet in the key of respectability, he dismissed the film as “neither revolutionary nor black. Instead of giving us new images of black rebels, it carries us back to antiquated white stereotypes, subtly and invidiously identified with black reality. Instead of carrying us forward to the new frontier of collective action, it drags us back to the pre-Watts days of isolated individual acts of resistance, conceived in confusion and executed in panic.”

 

https://www.criterion.com/current/posts/7545-sweet-sweetback-s-baadasssss-song-i-m-gonna-say-a-black-ave-maria-for-you

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3 hours ago, richardmurray said:

a black artist I Will take 100 superfly's or sweetback's over 100 gone with the winds

I say you are woefully uninformed. You fail to acknowledge the social conditions and seem to think that one insult is better than another. It was the best they had available at the time. Where are the collections of these actors work 

https://screenrant.com/best-black-actors-old-hollywood/
 

we need to be growing not suppressing.

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@daniellegfny I have ignorance as all do, but it isn't a lack of social conditions. You know very well black people, like michaeux,  made films before gone with the wind.  In the same way I will take 100 of the sweetbacks or superfly's over gone with the wind, I will take 100 within our gates, or blood of jesus over gone with the wind. Whatever perceived insults any may have to any of the movies mentioned is not my point. My point was, I will take opportunities for more black artists over fewer. And the examples I gave were before or after gone with the wind. 

5 hours ago, richardmurray said:

 As a black artist I Will take 100 superfly's or sweetback's over 100 gone with the winds. cause even if a black thespian gets an oscar for 100 films in a row, I rather the black producers/black directors/ black writers/higher quantity of black thespians opportunity for 100  films in a row

 

 

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The Black films of the 1970's were made so that we Black people could see ourselves on movie screens. Yes, they had plots, but they were mainly financed and produced for entertainment.

Some people will read too much into bowl of corn flakes. 

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1 hour ago, Stefan said:

The Black films of the 1970's were made so that we Black people could see ourselves on movie screens. Yes, they had plots, but they were mainly financed and produced for entertainment. 

Facts. In addition to the folks onscreen there were a whole lot of Black folks behind the scenes earning a living too....music, lights, cameras, caterers, wardrobe, drivers, make-up artists, beauticians, barbers, etc. Look at the end credits of any movie to get an idea. 😎

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I honestly knew little about who was working behind the scenes on those 1970 films. But I do know that most of the folks toiling on movie theater and TV show sets belonged to unions.

A close friend of mine was an associate producer on the first Equalizer TV show. She made a decent salary. I also knew a few actors, professional comedians and Broadway show carpenters and scene set-up men. But I was still in college and working on my degree. Despite two offers for acting, I was not interested in being before the cameras.

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Scrolling through the comments on this thread, I was struck by the unanimous acceptance of the idea that art and entertainment are two different categories.  As if art cannot be entertaining and entertainment cannot be art. Art is made up of genres and "art imitates life" is an apt quote. If a black exploitation film is done well, as in being well-produced, well-acted and well-plotted it can become a classic.  All art doesn't have to be highbrow. Comedy and tragedy are 2 sides of the same artistic coin-  a familiar depiction in images of smiling and crying masks.

 

White Charlie Chaplin was considered a comedic genius, as was black Bert Williams a popular performer during the 1920s. Black character Step 'n Fetchit was later given his props as a comedic actor,  as opposed to previously being branded the epitome of an Uncle Tom, a role he was portraying as an actor during the times when those were the only parts available to blacks. Similarly, Amos 'n Andy were eventually re-evaluated because their 1950s TV series featuring black actors rather than the white ones who played them on radio, was simply a sitcom comparable to the ones about white ethnic types. And, -  it was funny!   

 

As a matter of history, I was around when "Gone with the Wind" first came out in 1939 and have seen it at least 50 times over the ensuing years. greatly appreciating Hattie McDanial's acting skills.  i don't know now many time i have seen her Oscar acceptance speech in film documentaries, and among my  contemporaries it was common knowledge that she was the first black person to win a best supporting actress Oscar, preceding Dorothy Dandridge who was later nominated for her starring role in Carmen Jones, a contest she lost..  In my circle, Sidney Poitier has always been referred to as the first black male to win an Academy award. So it just depends on where you are coming from when you make observations about black film. 

 

BTW, there is a film written and directed by black women being streamed on am*zon Prime and is entitled "Passing". It is based on the book by Nella Larsen, who was a Harlem Renaissance figure. It takes place during the 1930s and is an impressive recreation of how black films looked in this era- very much in the vein of Oscar Micheaux. 

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22 minutes ago, Cynique said:

BTW, there is a film written and directed by black women being streamed on am*zon Prime and is entitled "Passing". It is based on the book by Nella Larsen, who was a Harlem Renaissance figure. It takes place during the 1930s and is an impressive recreation of how black films looked in this era- very much in the vein of Oscar Micheaux. 

I've seen that movie and it was very well done.   😎

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@Cynique the director of passing is black... what if a person or group of people don't accept the one drop rule, or invert the one drop rule? 

 

 I know of nella larson's work.  I think we black people need to use the term new negro movement. white people pushed the harlem renaissance label.

 

The film in question , in terms of fashion, reflected the dresscode of a certain community in the black community of the usa. The black community in harlem at that time was very unique among black communities in the usa. the small black towns in the south where most black people lived did not have jewish apollo theaters. 

 

 @ProfD the book itself is straight forward. LArson was clearly intentional in the book, with her purposes and the film, whose director went through a personal background epiphany, was equally intentional. From a story telling perspective, the film and the book that inspired it had main creators who were totally committed to the messaging in the story, that helps 

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3 hours ago, richardmurray said:

 

The film in question , in terms of fashion, reflected the dresscode of a certain community in the black community of the usa. The black community in harlem at that time was very unique among black communities in the usa. the small black towns in the south where most black people lived did not have jewish apollo theaters

@richardmurrayDuring the 1930s black people also  lived in midwestern little towns as a result of the great Northern migration. My folks certainly did.  From old photograph albums and my memories, they dressed very much like the characters in the movie "Passing".  The town i grew up in is a suburb of Chicago, and there were black venues comparable to the Apollo theater there. 

 

Langston Hughes dismissed the  "new negro" reference to that era, saying that the negro literati had always been around and were not "new", -  that they were just not recognized.

 

Passing was a choice some people did make if they could back then. Obviously one drop of black blood was insignificant, no matter what a racist society decreed. 

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@Cynique I realize now when I said the black community in harlem was unique that suggested to some I said it was the only, i apologize, I wasn't suggesting harlem had the only black community at that time of such a character. My point in rephrase is most black communities at that time were not reflected fashion wise in the the black communities similar to harlem's. 

 

alain locke and side many other black leaders supported the term so... you dismiss the term today as hughes in the past, i support the term today as locke in the past. I still call on that term being used instead of renaissance... to what you state hughes referred to... this is now into the realm of philosophy... my stance is the following, asking none to concur to me, but suggesting any do... The concept of the new negro wasn't about the negro literati alone, it is about the negro community. In harlem a place exsts that was once properly called striver's row,<half the people there are white now so it is inappropriate but still named> because the black people there strived for better and helped each other. The word renaissance meaning rebirth was falsely applied to harlem and the historical context to the italian renaissance is strategically different. the roman empire no longer existed and the italy at its founding grew in arts/banking/militaristic power, thus a rebirth or renaissance, but harlem was a white community of wealth before the harlem of hughes and was before that a white farming community and before that a native american community. So, harlem at the time of hughes was in no way similar to a time prior, thus it couldn't be a renaissance. While the new negro term reflecting an empowerment of the black community in all ways was the larger goal of the black community of harlem. It sadly took longer than many wanted, but the time of adam clayton powell jr brought black elected representation for harlem/black labor even in white owned businesses in harlem <as most businesses in harlem were white and didn't employ blacks during hughes time > alongside another edition of the black artists movement with the bebop era upon us. So, use the term you want cynique. All I asked was for new negro to be used, I didn't say anyone had to.

 

please quote your answer to the following question, cause I want to make sure : what if a person or group of people don't accept the one drop rule, or invert the one drop rule?  

 

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4 hours ago, richardmurray said:

please quote your answer to the following question, cause I want to make sure : what if a person or group of people don't accept the one drop rule, or invert the one drop rule?  

 

i can only speak for myself.  If your  blood  is not pure, you  are mixed.  Society's  criteria always tends to be more about anthropology than physiology, but the ruling class prevails. This is why the dominate white society was able to ignore the converse of the one drop of black blood rule. Obviously the one drop rule is just that; a rule not a reality. Those whose genes enabled them to deceive the eye, beat The System - often with tragic results.

 

4 hours ago, richardmurray said:

All I asked was for new negro to be used, I didn't say anyone had to.

Well, the resistance to this term might have something to do with the word "negro" which now has a negative connotation.  i don't know that Hughes was showing a preference for the word "renaissance". it could have been more about the word "new".  The type of black people who came into prominence during the era in question  were moreorless the elite among their race and this elite class was not "new".    

 

 

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@Cynique ahhh your first point alludes to the purpose behind my question. My question wasn't about who is dominant between black or white, or the legitimacy plus truth in the rule, or challenging individual viewpoint , or  dictating majority viewpoint in the black community. 

I find most to all of us blacks, myself included, tend to not mention that the black community, globally as well, in the usa do not utilize any collective conferencing when it comes to what will be decided to be black. 

IT seems to me, the black community, as with the terms new negro or renaissance for the black community in the usa or harlem in particular, utilize an individualism in labels. The exhibit A is the labels: black american/african american/negro/black these terms you probably can't get the average black person to define separately, whereas getting at least two black people to concur to the definitions of said phrases/words is near impossible. 

That is the point of my question. You said passing had a black director. And... I ask myself, where is the black communal council to dictate which labels go where or how they are defined? Now, do I know about the resources or lack of resources in the black community? yes. I ask myself cause it is clear, the black community, globally, is hindered by allowing individual labeling to be appropriate. 

I utilize new negro or renaissance. If you are I are making a speech , for the same thing, and I use one term and you use the other. Neither of us are wrong or right. But is it good for a community to allow for the individual philosophy to be utilized. 

Many black people argue about communication issues, but how can they be better when we don't have a collectively accepted , and yes I know 100% will never concur to anything, set of terms about black people? 

Either each black individual has an epiphany where all individual black mindsets become similar OR the black community creates some sort of organization that most, over 90%, black people <whomever that exactly is:)> accept as the rule maker to labels. 

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1 hour ago, richardmurray said:

That is the point of my question. You said passing had a black director. And... I ask myself, where is the black communal council to dictate which labels go where or how they are defined? Now, do I know about the resources or lack of resources in the black community? yes. I ask myself cause it is clear, the black community, globally, is hindered by allowing individual labeling to be appropriate. 

@richardmurray OK, i hear ya.  Personally, if i am in doubt about someone's ethnicity, i go by what they say they are.  In this case, both the director and screenwriter for "Passing"  claimed to be black women and i mentioned their being that because these are jobs rarely held by women of color and i wanted to give them their props.

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