2001-07-07 / Editorial/Opinion

"Pootie Tang"… Give Me A Break!

"Pootie Tang"… Give Me A Break!

Will someone tell me what the hell has happened to the Black film industry over the last several years? I cannot believe the level of crap that has hit the big screen lately, and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight.

Hollywood seems to be fascinated with producing films that illustrate Blacks as nothing more than buffoons, pimps, thugs and sluts. It is very rare that great actors like Denzel Washington, who was superb in "Remember The Titans," or Cuba Gooding Jr., brilliant in "Men of Honor," get the opportunity to portray upstanding Black citizens because the garbage films generate all the profit. Washington, appearing on "60 Minutes", stated, "I don’t get many scripts. The ones I do get are insulting to me and I won’t do anything that degrades Black people." I wish others would follow his lead.

"Pootie Tang," the latest installment from Chris Rock, is an example of how some Black celebrities will stoop to the lowest level for the sake of profit, especially if it means putting out degrading images of their race. I can only imagine the level of stupidity that will be featured in "Rush Hour 2," which stars Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan. After sitting through "Rush Hour," and hearing Jackie Chan’s character refer to the Chris Tucker character as "his Nigger," I refuse to plunk down my money to support this sequel and the degradation of Blacks and Asians.

With a history as rich as ours, more focus should be placed on the production of films that inspire and teach us about such heroes as Marcus Garvey, Medgar Evers, Lou Brock, Wilma Rudolph, Shirley Chisolm, Thurgood Marshall and Paul Robeson. Sadly, films like these would not survive in today’s market, but there is no reason why they could not be made by a Spike Lee or John Singleton for scholastic purposes. Being able to profit from something does not always have to involve money.

Gary G. Toms

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