I think I can answer this:

First of all, I don’t think people understand that there is a difference between “slave movies” and movies about people who were slaves.

What’s the difference?

A thread.
Amistad, 12 Years a Slave, Django, were “slave movies.”

Notice anything about them?

They were all made by white people.

And in these movies, slavery actually DEFINED the black characters. For instance, Django is essentially a superhero movie. But What was his superpower?
He was smart, fearless and a deadly shooter DESPITE being a slave. What’s even more interesting is that he got his superpower from a white man.

Even in 12 Years a Slave, & Amistad it was white people who gave them their freedom as if it was a gift bestowed upon them.
But even though the characters are defined by slavery, the villains are not “slaveowners,” they are are human beings.

In Django, ALL THE BLACK PEOPLE were slaves and Leo DiCaprio’s character was an evil man who owned slaves but Christopher Waltz was a decent dude.
Same with 12 Years a Slave and Amistad.

The white people were nuanced human beings while the Black people weren’t just subjected to an institution created by white people, they were slaves. It’s all they were.
Now let’s juxtapose that with movies written & directed by Black people (I’m not talking about the quality of the movie, just the actual movie).

Look at Harriet or Antebellum, or Sankofah, which are films about HUMAN BEINGS who were in an INSTITUTION. You didn’t root
To be honest, that criticism extends past slave movies. It seems like white filmmakers cannot seem to find a way to make Black characters relatable or human unless there Black character dies, cries or screams “WHYYY!”

One of the best examples of this is “hood movies”
White people LOVE “hood movies.” They don’t make or watch movies about human beings who live in Black neighborhoods but fucking LOVE movies about saving Black people from gangbangers, drugs & “the inner city.”

In “Dangerous Minds,” Michelle Pfeiffer saves kids from “da hood.”
Hillary Swank does it in “Freedom Writers” & so does Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side.”

“Bring it on” is essentially a movie about a white cheerleading squad who saves a whole inner city cheerleader squad through cultural appropriation

Here’s the thing about those movies
They are “slave movies too!”

The Black characters don’t have personalities or dimension. They are reduced to being defined by their oppression and circumstances.

When I watch white movies, I actually play a game called “Who’s the Slave?”

Take “Monsters Ball” for instance
It’s a movie about a prison guard who is a widower with 2 sons and a racist dad who falls in love with a woman who is defined by her tragic circumstances. How do they fall in love?

He literally takes her to da hood.
In “The Help,” the Black women are defined by their circumstances until a woman with dreams, talent & ambition miraculously sees their humanity and becomes their friend.

How does she do it? She goes into “da hood” (the place where the maids work and talk)
“Hood” movies work!

Contrast that with actual movies about da hood made by Black filmmakers.

“House Party” is a movie about PEOPLE who lived in a neighborhood having a party

“Do the Right Thing” was a movie about all the different PEOPLE who lived in a Brooklyn Neighborhood
One of the best at this is Ice Cube.

All the “Friday” movies were about a day in a South Central LA neighborhood.

The Barbershop movies did the same thing. The audience was invested in their humanity, NOT their tragic circumstance.
AND it is interesting to note how these movies, even Boyz in da Hood, manage to depict a kaleidoscope of Black characters AND WHITE CHARACTERS with nuance. You understood Remy’s motivation in Higher Learning. You felt for Sal in Do the Right Thing. They were not the slavemasters.
What’s even more interesting is that these movies aren’t considered “great movies” even though the Black AND WHITE characters are more three-dimensional and more nuanced than the white movies that win Oscars. In White Hollywood, Black characters are just “black characters”
That’s why the only people who won Oscar’s either have to play someone who actually lived, someone who is suffering pain and tragedy, or the BLACK FRIEND of a white person who is suffering pain & tragedy

Don’t believe me? Look at every Black Oscar Winner & tell me I’m wrong
You can extend this metaphor to ANYTHING. You ever notice why you always hear about football players who grew up poor in a single parent home with a mom on crack. Of course, that’s the typical athlete, right?

Well actually it’s complete bullshit.
The MOST COMMON trait of Black athletes is that they grew up in middle-to-upper middle class homes with their fathers. There are actual studies that looked at this phenomenon

That’s why white artists like Post Malone etc emulate Black rappers by talking about guns drugs & violence. Because they overlook the nuance when Tupac rapped about crying tears or when Jay-Z rapped about the conflict between his mother’s concern and providing like a man
Or when politicians claim we are “playing the victim,” they can’t see the nuance in because THEY ONLY SEE THE SLAVE.

No one objects to movies about slaves. They object to white people’s flat, one dimensional depictions of Black history & humanity on film


Slave movies


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More from @michaelharriot

Feb 17
If you think Moses Dickson’s story is crazy, there is a lot I couldn’t include because it was tew much.

A thread:
For instance, around 1856, there seems to have been an increase in the number of uprisings by enslaved people. There are historians who wonder if this increase was just people reporting more uprising of if Dickson’s secret national network had a part in this.
Dickson was basically a traveling barber on a steamship which allowed him to see almost every part of the south & meet a bunch of board certified RNs (please don’t be in the comments explaining what that means). A Barbershop is basically every hood’s central intelligence agency
Read 13 tweets
Feb 11
For the past few weeks, America has been debating whether or not the NFL is racist because they don't hire Black head coaches. So I wondered: Could an actual economist help @theGrio answer this question?
Luckily, I know a guy.

A thread:
Of couse, the most obvious question is: How does one define racism? Is it when someone hates someone of another race? Must the definition include intent or is it the RESULT of an action or a system?

Fortunately, I found the answers in a very obscure book called a "dictionary"
Cool, so all we have to do is show that the NFL used race as a fundamental determinant in how they chose coaches, or:

That the NFL systemically oppresses one racial group to the social, economic or political advantage of another

Or that the NFL is a system founded on Racism...
Read 21 tweets
Jan 27
There’s actually a good reason why @washingtonpost didn’t call on other presidents to nominate an “impartial” Supreme Court Justice until today

The problem is, understanding this op-Ed requires something that we shouldn’t discuss right now:

Critical Race Theory

A thread:
First, I invite you to read the entire piece. If you don’t have a subscription, we’ll look at the relevant parts.

After you read it, you should know one other thing…

Let’s be clear, I’m not calling ANY of these people racists. Neither would CRT. In fact, the entire discipline of CRT doesn’t even concern itself with racist individuals.

But there has also been 120 SCOTUS justices in the history of the country…
Read 26 tweets
Jan 24
Maybe you don’t know.

Why is “Jim Crow 2.0” an apt description for the new voting laws?

A thread
First you gotta understand how Jim Crow even started. In the election of 1876, Southern whites claimed the election was stolen. Southern states (& racist Oregon) filed lawsuits, claiming the areas where black voters cast ballots were fraudulent.

Sound familiar?
To settle the dispute, a bunch of white men got together and certified the election for Rutherford B. Hayes in exchange for allowing the South to treat black people however they wanted, with no interference…

Otherwise known as Jim Crow
Read 16 tweets
Jan 18
Well, for one, a bank account, getting a check or any other thing that requires an ID isn't guaranteed by the constitution.

But here's the real reason - A thread:
First of all, many of the people who make this argument usually live in cities where you can easily obtain an ID.

In some cities, especially rural places, there is literally no place to get an ID in the town. I grew up in a town with one taxi company & no public transportation
The DMV was in the county seat, which was actually SMALLER than my town. It was open from 8-5 & ALWAYS crowded. People would literally line up at 5 AM to take the DL test

Someone who can't afford a car has to lose a day's work and PAY SOMEONE to get ID

WHo does this affect?
Read 20 tweets
Jan 14
But I wake up late, race to the airport & make it on the plane. My seat is in the middle of the plane, right where they keep those carts. I notice the lady in front of me looks kinda like the vampire plane lady ( or at least the one in my dream). Plus, she figured out a finesse:
Because we’re in overlapping cart territory, she basically has 2 different l flight attendants serving her. & she’s sucking down bottles of Sutter Home the way I imagine the Kardashians would do if they were vampires and found a bar that serves locally-grown Black people’s blood.
I’m not really paying attention and I have on noise canceling headphones. But I notice people looking in my directions & turn on transparency mode.

The lady’s making guttural noises & twitching. They ask if she’s feeling ok but I’m like “this mf finna go full vampire!”
Read 15 tweets

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