Do the right thing by supporting diverse talent.
Throughout Black History Month, I decided to support more Black artists. Although I am good at watching diverse work, I could be better. So, I started binging my main man’s work, Spike Lee. You cannot categorizes Lee. He can make anything from thrillers to powerful civil rights film. Of course, no one can match his humor. However, I need to support more talent. (I had to wake up!)
Netflix recommended that I watch the documentary series, They Gotta Have Us. In a nutshell, I learned that any Tyler Perry movie and films like 12 Years A Slave were categorized the same: “Black Films”. Like comedy, drama, and thrillers are all genres, Black Films became a genre. Instead of being seen as comedies or dramas, any film with Black characters became a statement. However, filmmakers hate this. It forces them into another racial mold.
Many of you know that I love movies (the good, the bad, and the ugly with anything in between). Lately, I’ve felt lost in finding good content. The movies I want to see are getting bad reviews while binging at home makes me a distracted viewers. But, choosing to support only Black artists for a month destroyed that lost feeling. I exposed myself to stories that I hadn’t heard of. I reacquainted myself with classics then introduced myself to soon to be classics.
I avoided content that had black characters solely as token diversity characters. Furthermore, I avoided white savior films. And, I watched interviews with Black artists who discussed what inclusitivioty actually looked liked it in films. I streamed content that focused on “Black issues” and content that simply let their Black characters be characters.
Throughout Black History Month, I learned two lessons. First, that diversity sells at the box office. Movies with diverse leads make more than twice their budget. But, hardly get recognized for it. Second, the Black filmmakers do not like to be labeled as “Black filmmakers.” This means they want to be seen as filmmakers who can make a range of films. For example, Spike Lee can make films about the civil rights movement and comedy musicals set in college.
As audience members, we should not only expose ourself to more diverse content but also recognize the importance of supporting it. If you haven’t already, please watch They Gotta Have Us on Netflix.
Short and sweet. That’s all I have for now.