Opinion: Industry just now realizes "Black" films appeal ...
By Kyra Kyles
We like to do a feature here on JETmag.com called “What Year Is This?”
Essentially, we call out current day events that definitely belong in this country’s not-so-distant past, for example a lawmaker saying he’d vote for slavery if that’s what his constituents wanted or an Italian gymnast remarking she wanted to paint herself “black” so she could win like Simone Biles.
Welp, it appears it’s time for another edition.
This time, pertaining to The Best Man Holiday and its extremely impressive showing this weekend, on Saturday tracking to beat the $33-million mark and threatening Thor‘s domination.
No sooner had the Malcolm D. Lee written and directed film surged in the box office, the breathless remarks by White critics began.
A few samples of the snatched pearls in action:
“We all like to act surprised over and over when Tyler Perry scores again or when Kevin Hart’s concert film breaks out in limited release. But black audiences like seeing themselves onscreen. More importantly, they really like seeing black characters onscreen in starring roles in films that don’t necessarily revolve around racially-based adversity.”– Forbes
Say word? It’s news that people want to see representations of themselves in pop culture that don’t include fighting The Power or being whipped into submission by Leonardo DiCaprio or Michael Fassbender? Egads!
Moving on to another gem, though it doesn’t rate as high in the “duh” factor as the aforementioned example.
“From Universal, Best Man Holiday — projected to top out at $20 million — sees Morris Chestnut, Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, Monica Calhoun and Melissa De Sousa reprising their roles. The first film, opening to $9 million in 1999, is credited with helping to usher in the era of aspirational African-American comedies.”–Hollywood Reporter
What, may I ask, is so aspirational about Black people in love? It happens every day. Not to put the full weight on that particular article, but I’ve seen far too many of these quotes when it comes to movies where those of us with brown skin are gainfully employed, not running from the po po or trying to rescue the loves of our lives from cruel slave masters.
Why are the well-heeled characters that make up the cast of “Best Man,” “Best Man Holiday,” or even “Why Did I Get Married” so jaw-dropping? Hell, I have friends like this and am confident my pals of other hues can relate to the plot points.
I mean, what? Do Hollywood suits actually believe people relate more to a mythological beefcake with a magic hammer than a group of friends reuniting for the holidays?
Think about how some of these reviews and performance recaps sound. Have you ever seen an article excitedly exclaiming that “Avatar” was a win for blue skinned Nav’i?
Odd how the average moviegoer can stretch his or her imagination in those clearly outlandish examples, but only “the Blacks” want to see a romantic comedy with a stunningly gorgeous cast, smart humor and 90s-era nostalgia.
I am absolutely excited and inspired that the “Best Man Holiday” is turning some industry heads. I will be even more thrilled if after some of this amazement (reminiscent of similar sentiment after the success of “Think Like a Man), results in more movies with diverse casts hitting the silver screen. And that doesn’t seem too much of a reach in an era where we have self-driving cars, talking smartphones and the ability to send Lady Gaga to sing in space.
Update on 11.17: Check out what hilarious writer and JET honoree Awesomely Luvvie had to say about this. CLICK HERE. Turns out USA Today had the nerve to take this “Black” movie ball and run with it. **throws hands in air.**