23rd Oct2004

The One Where I Tear Apart The African Heritage Movie Theatre

by Will

You ever had something you really needed to say, but KNEW you shouldn’t even open your mouth. I’m at that point now. Something’s been bothering me for years, and I just have to talk about it. I’ve gotta warn that this is my “Bill Cosby Goes Apeshit on His People” speech, so if you’ve got a weak stomach, scroll down to where I talk about comics or something. I just know the Council’s gonna take away my rhythm and love of chicken…

First off, Black people need to make better movies. This mess is unwatchable. You see, about 10 yrs ago, some corporate entity created the “African Heritage Movie Theatre”, where each month, some syndicated station shows a movie that’s supposedly “important to our heritage”. Well, Black folks don’t exactly have a “Citizen Kane” to be proud of, so the bar was set a bit lower. When the whole program started, you might get “Coffy”, or on a good day, “Cooley High”. But over the yrs, they’ve been moving through the decades. As the yrs rolled on, the quality got worse.

Plus, as some kind of bastard caveat, each movie has a cameo by Ruby Dee and/or Ossie Davis. You see, these two are, somehow, the oldest married Black couple alive. If you can’t tell, Black marriage survival rates ain’t the best, you know, with divorce, abandonment, and hypertension running rampant. So, Ruby and Ossie were like the first black actors or something. And how cute? They ended up getting married. So, for some reason, every Black movie from the past 40 yrs has them in some capacity, even if Ossie plays “garbageman #3”. I think it’s in the contract for every movie: “Find a role for Ruby or Ossie!” So, to cap off this cute little nothingness, Ruby and Ossie host each presentation of the African Heritage Movie Theatre. And it’s so damn cheesy. Ruby’ll say something like, “In this next scene, watch for the garbageman. I thought he was such a hunk!” and then Ossie will follow up with something like, “Oh, go on, now!” Such trifling married banter. But I’ve gotten off-topic.

Bad Black movies. Why can’t we make a good, entertaining, substantial film, without the Wayans’ involvement, and without a Snoop cameo? I had no life in high school, so I’ve watched this mess since the beginning. On a good Saturday, I might’ve gotten “The Color Purple”. But not anymore. Today, I got “Graffiti Bridge”, with Prince and Morris Day.

Now, let me say that “Purple Rain” was a good Prince movie. But there is NO such thing as a good Morris Day movie (Yes, I KNOW he was in “Purple Rain” Forget about that for the moment). In fact, I’ve spent the last few years trying to even understand Mr. Day’s popularity. So, Morris was the poison of this film. That, and the fact that it’s Prince during his religious kick. Which brings me to my next off-color remark: Black people have an interesting interpretation of the Bible.

Prince, or TAFKAP, or “The Artist”, has ALWAYS oozed sex, but even at his holiest, he couldn’t give up the women. I’ve noticed over time, and this is NOT a blanket, groundless generalization, that in the Black community, adultery isn’t really looked at as a “sin”, per se. It’s more of a “that nigga done fucked up.” It’s less about what God’s gonna do to you, and more about what “yo’ baby mama’s” gonna do. I’ve always found that strange. It’s like everything in the Bible pertaining to sex, Black people seem to have regarded as “Oh, that’s something The Man put in there to keep us down!’ I’ve never been able to get down with such devout pick-and-choose religion. If you’re unsure about something that major, then you’re unsure about a lot of the tenets. But don’t act like you’re on your way to Glory as you’re scanning the club for easy prey… Wow, that was kinda preachy.

But please, just make some good movies. ‘Cause one of these days, I’m gonna have to spend time with my kids. You know, it’s gonna be court-ordered and shit, so I’ll HAVE to do it. And what easier way to kill time than watch TV? On the path we’re traveling, it’s only a matter of time before ‘Soul Plane” is deemed worthwhile to our heritage. I’m sorry, but Mo’nique squeezing into a stewardess uniform ain’t really gonna enhance the Civil Rights Movement in any shape or form…

But wait, there’s more! Black people, please stop marrying ugly people. I swear, it’s like Black ugly people are seeking out other ugly people, and it’s bad for our future. Just look at the Jet or Ebony society pages. For the uninformed, Jet is that magazine that hangs out next to Soap Opera Digest, you know, with all the Black people on the cover. Half of these brides look like horses, while the guys just look like they’re glad they chased down SOMEBODY. But let’s look to the future. These creatures are going to have offspring, and two wrongs do NOT make a right! Let’s nip this in the bud. Stop ugly intermarriage.

Man, I went too far today….