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Dr. Boyce Watkins: Three Reasons Why This Black Man Loved “Django Unchained”
Black Blue Dog ^ | 12/26/12

Posted on 12/27/2012 6:10:41 PM PST by drewh

After reading this week about the objections that director Spike Lee had about the new film “Django Unchained,” I was both curious and concerned. I wanted to see the film myself in order to determine if Spike actually had a point in his critique. I also hoped that Spike would explain himself a bit more, instead of making brief, even cryptic, remarks about the project on his Twitter feed. I love Spike and his films, but the nature of his criticism didn’t make much sense to me, given that he’d never seen the film in the first place. I’ve seen several Quentin Tarantino films in the past, and I honestly find the man to be brilliant, creative and extremely weird. I wondered if Spike had a point.

But after seeing the film, I have to say that I think the great Spike Lee might have been wrong on this one. By the end of the movie, nearly everyone in the theater was clapping, the story was powerful and the cinematography was stunning. Tarantino hit the nail on the head, and he’s probably going to win a few well-deserved awards. If you want to understand this film, imagine a mainstream version of the John Singleton film, “Rosewood,” with a lot more action. To be honest, only a white guy could have made this movie and convinced so many white people to pay money to see it.

I had my own reasons for loving “Django Unchained,” and here they are:

1) There was a legitimate African American hero: Django, played by Jamie Foxx, is one of the few serious black heroes ever produced by Hollywood, a place that tends to put black people in a really degrading box. Django wasn’t just a sidekick or comedic buffoon. He didn’t have some ridiculous set of character flaws like Will Smith’s conflicted hero in the movie “Hancock.” He didn’t need a white man to save him, like most other fictional or non-fictional accounts we see on screen. Instead, Django was simply a strong, brave, highly-skilled black man who loved his wife enough to put his life on the line to save her. In fact, I dare say he was downright inspirational, which is more than you can say about the black men in “T’he Color Purple.”

2) It had a beautiful portrayal of black love: Far too many Hollywood films enjoy highlighting the incessant conflict between black men and women. We live in a world where love and marriage are consistently replaced by abuse, addiction and baby mama drama (just watch nearly any VH1 show or listen to the radio to see at least 25 examples of what I’m talking about). Django’s’ deep love for his wife and desire to save her from her slave masters struck a cord with anyone who has had a first hand experience with meaningful love. It was awesome to watch a black man show bravery in order to protect his family.

3) An in-your-face portrayal of slavery: Most of us are given the polite story about slavery when we’re in school. It’s as if the period of bondage was but a moment in history, followed by Abraham Lincoln giving us our freedom, and Martin Luther King giving us a speech…..oh, then we got a black president. This film, to the extent that it is historically accurate, probably mortified many of the people in the audience by showing the depths of dehumanization that took place during the greatest holocaust in American history. Unfortunately, this film will be the best education on slavery that many of the audience members will ever receive, but it’s certainly better than nothing.

The bottom line is that “Django Unchained” was a great film, and I think Spike’s criticism might have been unwarranted. I don’t think that every depiction of slavery has to be a purely educational endeavor which turns the movie theater into a history class. It’s OK to laugh, fight, love, live and learn, all at the same time. Even Quentin’s liberal use of the n-word in the film didn’t seem in the least bit out of context (you can’t say the same about his n-word rant during “Pulp Fiction”). I argue that he went out of his way to be respectful.

No matter how we feel about “Django Unchained,” we should be sure to remember that the best way to have our stories told is to tell them ourselves. Gaining the ability to finance our own projects creates both the opportunity and the responsibility to make films that present a more accurate representation of black humanity and the black experience. Life does imitate art, and if we want to put an end to some of the shucking, jiving and buck dancing many of us still see in our communities, then managing the imagery of ourselves in both film and music might be a great place to start. I would personally rather see young black men become inspired by brave men like Django than by the rapper 2Chainz…..Django was willing to go to the ends of the earth to protect and preserve his family….2Chainz could only appreciate Kerry Washington if she were a “big booty hoe;” those are two very different interpretations of black masculinity.

I congratulate Quentin, Jamie, Kerry, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Samuel L. Jackson for an extraordinary film. ”Django Unchained” was a classic for the ages.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a professor at Syracuse University and author of the book, “Commercialized Hip-Hop: The Gospel of Self Destruction.”


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: django; hollywood; moviereview

1 posted on 12/27/2012 6:10:45 PM PST by drewh
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To: drewh
FTA:...desire to save her from her slave masters struck a cord (sic)...

"cord"???? And this guy has a doctorate???

Django Foxx's intemperate remarks on this film ("got to kill all the white people") and his blasphemous remarks as regards Obama makes him and his work dead to me.

2 posted on 12/27/2012 6:25:43 PM PST by T-Bird45 (It feels like the seventies, and it shouldn't.)
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To: drewh

Oh why doesn’t he just tell the truth instead of slinging this crap! He likes the movie because it has a BLACK hero killing WHITE people! Just the kind of movie we need to De-emphasize our differences and bring us together as a people. I for one will just ad this to the list of Hollywood crap created by Hollywood elitist idiots.


3 posted on 12/27/2012 6:26:07 PM PST by Mastador1
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To: T-Bird45

“oh, then we got a black president.”

That is SO $#$&# racist.


4 posted on 12/27/2012 6:27:07 PM PST by omega4179 (Kenian retro ad infernum)
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To: T-Bird45

yup. won’t be watching it. won’t be renting it, not even for $1 from the red box. won’t ever be watching anything else with Jamie Foxx in it either.


5 posted on 12/27/2012 6:29:57 PM PST by RC one (From My Cold Dead Hands.)
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To: drewh

Who really cares about Spike Lee? What a non-story and waist of effort.


6 posted on 12/27/2012 6:30:22 PM PST by ConservativeInPA (It is impossible to have a good faith negotiations with terrorists or any Muslim.)
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To: drewh

The movie is in bad taste. We are on the verge of a racial war in our country. Blacks are already senselessly angry and are taking out their rage on everyone. Adding fuel to the fire is irresponsible.

If or when this whole thing explodes, the Democrats, Torintino, Foxx and the rest of the racial hustlers will have as much blood on their hands as the people in the streets.


7 posted on 12/27/2012 6:31:33 PM PST by FreeAtlanta (bahits.com)
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To: RC one

This one ranks right there with “Brokeback Mountain”. I have never seen and have no interest in seeing.

I even added this summer’s tiger movie to my don’t see list when I saw that the director is the one who directed the pc mountain movie.


8 posted on 12/27/2012 6:34:13 PM PST by FreeAtlanta (bahits.com)
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To: drewh

A slave cost $150,000 adjusted for inflation. Most slave owners took out life insurance policies on their slaves. Why would insurance companies insure slaves if the slave owners were going to abuse and starve them to death. It would be like a farmer buying as John Deer Combine and beating it with a baseball bat and running it without maintenance and destroying it, that just doesn’t make sense.


9 posted on 12/27/2012 6:34:24 PM PST by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: FreeAtlanta

Agreed, this movie is an incitement to riot.


10 posted on 12/27/2012 6:34:44 PM PST by Tijeras_Slim
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To: FreeAtlanta

Foxx is taking heat now from his own side of the aisle..http://www.inquisitr.com/456051/katt-williams-says-jamie-foxx-is-gay-slams-django-unchained-nsfw-video/.


11 posted on 12/27/2012 6:34:44 PM PST by drewh
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To: omega4179

Oh, then we got a black president........and he crashed western civilization. More accurate.


12 posted on 12/27/2012 6:34:52 PM PST by The_Media_never_lie (Actually, they lie when it suits them! The crooked MS media must be defeated any way it can be done!)
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To: Mastador1

Your remarks are right on target.

Spike Lee is bad-mouthing the film because he didn’t make it. Spike would have loved making a movie about a black man killing whites.

You don’t have to worry about this white man ever spending a dime to go see it.White people who go to watch this garbage have a screw loose.


13 posted on 12/27/2012 6:36:58 PM PST by Venturer
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To: Mears

bfl


14 posted on 12/27/2012 6:40:55 PM PST by Mears
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To: drewh

A rhetoric question at best

BUT

Would there be such an eloquent(??) review if it had Buford running amok and mowing down the slaves then have the actor get on a couple of National TV shows commenting how much fun he had making the movie and saying “I killed every black I saw”, “HOW WHITE IS THAT”

Somehow, I don’t think so.


15 posted on 12/27/2012 6:46:55 PM PST by xrmusn (6/98 "It is virtually impossible to clean the pond as long as the pigs are still crapping in it")
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To: drewh

Spike Lee just thinks no one but him should be making movies about black people.


16 posted on 12/27/2012 6:48:07 PM PST by TigersEye (Who is John Galt?)
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To: T-Bird45

Watkins has a PhD in finance from Ohio State University. Mentally unstable. Sees everything as racism.


17 posted on 12/27/2012 6:49:22 PM PST by whitedog57
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To: drewh

“There was a legitimate African American hero: Django, played by Jamie Foxx, is one of the few serious black heroes ever produced by Hollywood, a place that tends to put black people in a really degrading box.”

=

Huh?

I guess the last movie this idiot saw was “Gone With the Wind.”

.


18 posted on 12/27/2012 6:50:09 PM PST by Mears
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To: drewh

Appreciate your viewpoint. I was hedging about whether to see it but think I will. I like much of Tarentinos work. Over the top with absolutely no regard for political correctness. Uninhibited adolescence. I don’t sense a lefty political tilt. More of an unleashed comic book store nerd who wants to make wild movies to satisfy himself. To be honest I liked Inglorious Bastards too. For that matter I liked A Clockwork Orange by Kubrick too. Another violent movie with an anti-hero. Anyway, Tarentino isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, my wife hates him, but I don’t believe he is a sanctimonious left-winger either. With tax hikes, gun confiscation, and Obama’s attempt to destroy our economy, this is pretty small change.


19 posted on 12/27/2012 7:08:40 PM PST by ozzie
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To: central_va

American slave owners also allowed their slaves to reproduce because it cost so much more to transport them to America, unlike the Arab countries, who either bought only females or castrated the males.


20 posted on 12/27/2012 7:10:57 PM PST by Amberdawn
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To: whitedog57
Oh, OK, a doctorate in finance, that only requires that your numbers add up, not that you have a command of the English language. Sorry, I don't know where my head was... /s

I'd pay good money for Doc Watkins and his philosophical "brother", Doc Skip Gates, to join Drs. Sowell and Williams in a debate. The question of the hour: Resolved - Twentieth Century US social, economic, and political evolution was beneficial for minority populations. I don't care about winnner or loser, I just want to see the fireworks while appreciating the ability of Sowell and Williams to skewer their opposition.

21 posted on 12/27/2012 7:12:23 PM PST by T-Bird45 (It feels like the seventies, and it shouldn't.)
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Pathetic.

1) Jamie Foxx, is one of the few serious black heroes ever produced by Hollywood.

Nonsense. Blacks are rarely cast as villains in the Hollywood films I've seen over the years.

2) It had a beautiful portrayal of black love: ...We live in a world where love and marriage are consistently replaced by abuse, addiction and baby mama drama

A relic of the past? I guess hooded, biotch-beating gangstas aren't that appealing in the "slave theme". Is the beautiful portrayal of Black love too much for today; is it too much like Whitey love?

3) An in-your-face portrayal of slavery: Most of us are given the polite story about slavery

A true portrayal should cause Blacks to change their party affiliation to Republican.


Was it the professor's intention to romanticize the days of slavery as the unrivaled moment of achievement and honor for Blacks in American history? An odd, but interesting commentary on the modern state of the Black community.

22 posted on 12/27/2012 7:15:05 PM PST by Gene Eric (Demoralization is a weapon of the enemy. Don't get it, don't spread it!)
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To: Gene Eric

So, is Denzel Washington chopped liver? Book of Eli - Man on Fire - both were very compelling and DW was great, as usual.


23 posted on 12/27/2012 7:33:53 PM PST by Sioux-san (c)
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To: drewh

Dr. Boyce seems to miss the irony that yet AGAIN a white man (Tarentino) saves the black man. A movie only a white man could make...


24 posted on 12/27/2012 7:41:05 PM PST by Chaguito
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To: Sioux-san

Book of Eli was very good. Haven’t seen Man on Fire. Nonetheless, DW is a great contribution to film.

Once enjoyed SLJ, but his racial politics are too distracting.


25 posted on 12/27/2012 7:59:20 PM PST by Gene Eric (Demoralization is a weapon of the enemy. Don't get it, don't spread it!)
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To: drewh
Whaddya'expect? Boyce Watkins is a gibbering racialist chickenshit. Read his own words, and prepare to vomit. Don't waste my time otherwise.
26 posted on 12/27/2012 8:00:00 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: drewh
This film, to the extent that it is historically accurate, probably mortified many of the people in the audience by showing the depths of dehumanization that took place during the greatest holocaust in American history.

Sorry dude, but the biggest holocaust (I refuse to say 'greatest') in American history started in 1973 with Roe vs Wade and is still ongoing.

Let's see Quentin Tarantino do a movie about that.

27 posted on 12/27/2012 8:17:18 PM PST by uglybiker (nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-BATMAN!)
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To: ozzie
Appreciate your viewpoint. I was hedging about whether to see it but think I will. I like much of Tarentinos work. Over the top with absolutely no regard for political correctness. Uninhibited adolescence. I don’t sense a lefty political tilt. More of an unleashed comic book store nerd who wants to make wild movies to satisfy himself. To be honest I liked Inglorious Bastards too. For that matter I liked A Clockwork Orange by Kubrick too. Another violent movie with an anti-hero. Anyway, Tarentino isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, my wife hates him, but I don’t believe he is a sanctimonious left-winger either. With tax hikes, gun confiscation, and Obama’s attempt to destroy our economy, this is pretty small change.

I'll pass on this. I don't like Tarantino's films for the most part. I. Think he's a film buff and former video store nerd who knows a lot about films and filmmakers and who makes highly derivative movies. They are directed and photographed well, which makes them look 'arty' to today's audiences.

The only film of his that I really liked was PULP FICTION. I liked KILL BILL PART 1, but found Part 2 talky and pretentious. I hated INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS. A film about Jewish soldiers scalping Nazis and then wreaking vengeance on the Nazi high command just seemed in bad taste considering that the Jews were lambs to the slaughter. I failed to see the cleverness of having them win some sort of fantasy version of WW2.

As to whether QT is a big lib, I still remember him announcing Michael Moore's Oscar at the ceremony and declaring "Michael, this wasn't political". I'm also gonna pass on this because I do think it is inflammatory. Yet another movie trying to make the point that 'whitey still wants to keep the black man down' and starring an idiot racist to boot.

28 posted on 12/27/2012 8:20:44 PM PST by Sans-Culotte ( Pray for Obama- Psalm 109:8)
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To: Gene Eric

yup, that was pretty dumb to slam your audience, but these actors just don’t seem to care. DW may agree with SLJ, but he has the good sense to keep it to himself.

I remember when Linda Ronstadt went off during a performance and someone in her audience told her to just shut up and sing. She was very offended and didn’t want to entertain anyone who didn’t share her political views even if it meant she lost out on the money.


29 posted on 12/27/2012 8:33:31 PM PST by Sioux-san (c)
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To: drewh

I will NEVER watch this movie!! I will NEVER watch another Jamie Foxx movie again as long as I live.

Boycott Django!!

https://www.facebook.com/BoycottDjango


30 posted on 12/27/2012 8:35:44 PM PST by Bon of Babble (Instant Human....Add Coffee)
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To: Gene Eric

Man on Fire is one of those movies I watch whenever it is on because it’s that good.

Pretty dumb of SLJ to slam 90% of his audience, but these actors just don’t seem to care. DW may agree with SLJ, but he has the good sense to keep it to himself.


31 posted on 12/27/2012 8:36:07 PM PST by Sioux-san (c)
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To: drewh

It’s racist. The star is a racist “joking” about killing all the white people. Don’t watch it. Put the radical left’s race hate and baiting out of business. Black racism is as violent and disgusting as any white racism we have seen in the US.


32 posted on 12/27/2012 8:38:50 PM PST by SaraJohnson
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To: uglybiker
Sorry dude, but the biggest holocaust (I refuse to say 'greatest') in American history started in 1973 with Roe vs Wade and is still ongoing.

There are times that I wish FR had a "like" button like FB does. This is one of them.

33 posted on 12/27/2012 10:15:27 PM PST by wittyone (Cogito cogito, ergo cogito sum.)
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To: drewh
I'm really tired of Lefties blaming the whites such as my ancestors who gave their lives for the North in the Civil War the same as the Democrats who owned virtually all the slaves.

Save the 'kill all of them' crap for Africa, where it belongs. I'm not going to pay anything to watch this movie.

34 posted on 12/27/2012 10:59:53 PM PST by Post Toasties (Leftists give insanity a bad name. 0bama: Eight years of failure and fingerpointing.)
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To: drewh

will someone tell this idiot that slavery still exists, and it exists mostly in Africa and the Mid east....


35 posted on 12/28/2012 1:37:01 AM PST by cherry
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To: FreeAtlanta
the blacks ferals causing violence are not angry about anything in particular.....they just have been given the get out of jail card and feel omnipotent about imposing their will on anyone and everyone....

be careful folks....most of us are targets now....don't be a victim...

36 posted on 12/28/2012 1:38:54 AM PST by cherry
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Comment #37 Removed by Moderator

Comment #38 Removed by Moderator

To: drewh

Crap racist movie. “You mean, I get paid to kill white people?”

Crap racist movie for morons. Won’t get a dime of my money.


39 posted on 12/28/2012 6:40:45 AM PST by James Cona
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