Friday, February 5, 2010

Black History Month Heroes: Alpa Chino from "Tropic Thunder"

"Keepin' it real." This phrase does more to describe the Black line of thought more than any sentence that can be uttered from the mouth of Black person.

Continuing our journey through the fictional titans of Black History Month - since the same tired and worn out real-life figures trotted out each year are fading in importance and relevance - SBPDL is honoring those outstanding Black individuals who work tirelessly to create positive images of Black people through the fantasy world of film.

It will be difficult to "keep it real" in this post, for the subject matter includes one of SBPDL's favorite performers and rappers, Kanye West, the "no homo" espousing pariah whose antics leave us speechless for all the wrong reasons.

Wait? "No homo"? What are you talking about SBPDL? We once discussed rap music going soft and one of the reasons behind this startling development has been the rise of "No Homo":
"It's crazy how you can go from being Joe Blow," West begins his rap, "to everybody on your dick—no homo." No homo, to those unfamiliar with the term, is a phrase added to statements in order to rid them of possible homosexual double-entendre. ("You've got beautiful balls," you tell your friend at the bocce game—"no homo.") No homo began life as East Harlem slang in the early '90s, and in the early aughts it entered the hip-hop lexicon via the Harlem rapper Cam'ron and his Diplomats crew.

Lil Wayne brought the term into the mainstream, sprinkling "no homo" caveats across cameos, mix tapes, and his Tha Carter III LP, which was 2008's best-selling album. (Jay-Z has used the word pause in a similar way.)"
The subject of homosexuality and Black people is a discussion paved with fact-filled IEP that threaten to derail any honest conversation about homosexuals are depicted in society, especially among fellow Black people.

It is quite difficult to "keep it real" when the defense-mechanism of "No Homo" is constantly utilized in the general speech of Black males.

Black people were the primary group behind California's unsuccessful attempt at legalizing gay marriage, as the Black community showed up at the polls to simultaneously elect Mein Obama and say "No Homo" to gay marriage on November 4, 2008.

The failure of admittance for homosexual proclivities and other depravities among Black people leaves a "back-door" open for the spread of HIV/AIDS to heterosexual partners, as the CDC has confirmed that the virus is primarily growing in the Black community.

Worse, the mantra of "keepin it real" among Black people is replaced with sorrowful sound of silence when the chance to join Black gay pride parades is afforded, as Black people worrying about the damage "outing" themselves might do to their reputation keep it on the "down low":
"Some health experts believe that a double lifestyle by men, called being on the "down low," contributes to the spiraling AIDS rate among blacks. While figures show that some white and Hispanic men also hide their sexual orientation from their heterosexual partners, for African-American men, the pressure to hide is greater.

"There's very little research here," said John L. Peterson, a researcher from Georgia State University who has studied AIDS in African-American communities. But Peterson said that blacks who identify themselves as gay face ostracism from their families and communities. Many black men are reluctant to admit their sexual identity even to themselves.

The phenomenon of hiding sexual identity may account for recent findings from the CDC indicating that 64 percent of all women who get new HIV infections are African-American."

Thankfully, not all Black males are afraid of admitting their predilections for the same sex and Hollywood has produced yet another fictional Black character that warrants mention. From the timely 2008 comedy "Tropic Thunder" comes Alpa Chino, a Black rapper that exudes machismo. We are first introduced to Chino in commercial before the film starts, that underscores Chino's hyper-fecundity enhanced demeanor.

Chino has ambitions to be a cross-over star in film, so he joins the cast of misfit actors attempting to make a war film that inadvertently puts them into a real war:
"Tropic Thunder is a 2008 American action satire comedy film directed and produced by Ben Stiller. The film stars Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey, Jr. as a group of prima donna actors making a Vietnam War film. When their frustrated writer and director decide to drop them in the middle of a jungle, the actors are forced to portray their roles without the comforts of a film set."
Throughout the course of the film, Chino - played by Brandon T. Jackson - drops innuendos that he might be "batting for the other team", which Kirk Lazarus - played by a Black-faced Robert Downey Jr. - picks up on:
Alpa Chino: No, I always wanted to. I guess I just never had the courage to ask. It's complicated.
Kirk Lazarus: Nah! It's simple as pie man, you plant your feet on the ground, you look her square in the eyes you say "Hey! baby, you and me's goin' on a date, that's in the story"... What's her name?
Alpa Chino: ...Lance
Kirk Lazarus: You say 'Listen here, Lance'... Lance? What the fuck did I just hear? Lance?
Kevin Sandusky: Did you just say Lance?
Alpa Chino: No! No, I didn't say Lance. I said Nance.
Kevin Sandusky: It sounded a lot like Lance.
Alpa Chino: Dammit, I'm Alpa Chino! 'I Love Tha Pussy', aight? Lay yo ass back down and look at the stars.
Kirk Lazarus: When you wrote 'I Love Tha Pussy', was you thinking about danglin your dice on Lance's forehead?
Despite the attempts at selling "Booty Sweat" using his purported 'I Love Tha Pussy' as a selling tool, Chino is secretly in a relationship with Lance Bass, the former boy-band singer.

This doesn't stop him from chastising Robert Downey Jr.'s Black-face character throughout the movie, thereby showing his true allegiance to Black pride, in the face of white impostor:
Alpa Chino: And why am I in this movie? Maybe it's because I just knew I had to represent, because they had one good part in here for a black man and they gave it to Crocodile Dundee!
Kirk Lazarus: Pump your brakes, kid. That man's a national treasure.
Alpa Chino: I just wanted to thrown another shrimp on your barbie!
Kirk Lazarus: That shit ain't funny.
Kevin Sandusky: Hey, fellas... it's hot! We're tired! It stinks!
Alpa Chino: I ain't fuckin' with you, Kangaroo Jack. I'm sorry the dingo ate your baby!
Kirk Lazarus: You know that's a true story? Lady lost a kid. You're about to cross some fuckin' lines.
Kevin Sandusky: Guys, relax!
Alpa Chino: You know what? Fuck that, man! I'm sick of this koala-huntin' nigga tellin' me-
[is cut off as Lazarus slaps him; goes to punch back]
Kirk Lazarus: [blocking the punch and pulling Alpa into an embrace] For four hundred years, that word has kept us down.
Alpa Chino: What the fuck?
Kirk Lazarus: Took a whole lotta tryin' just to get up that hill. Now we're up in the big leagues, gettin' our turn at bat. As long as we live, it's you and me, baby...
Alpa Chino: [pulling away] That's the theme song to The Jeffersons. Man, you really need help.
Kirk Lazarus: Just because it's a theme song don't mean it's not true.
Alpa Chino is a shining example of "keepin it real" that the Black community can be proud of during fictional Black History Month. While Black men ashamed of their queering ways try and keep it on the "down low" and infect their heterosexual partners in real-life with HIV/AIDS at an alarming rate, Chino had the audacity to declare his gayness for everyone to know.

"No Homo"? Not for Alpa Chino.

Stuff Black People Don't Like is proud to welcome Alpa Chino to the Black History Month celebration of fictional Black heroes worthy of celebrating. He came out, so that the lie of a life he lead could be shown to the entire world. Black people on the "down low" should follow his lead in real-life, so HIV/AIDS can be quelled.

Pause... only in fiction.


Anonymous said...


Moving away from race and politics for a minute, I have to say Tropic Thunder was an awful movie.

-Black guy

Stuff Black People Don't Like said...


I thought it was funny the first time I saw it, but had a difficult time sitting through it the next.

A few funny parts, maybe, but Ben Stiller all follow the same formula.

I haven't seen a really good - original - comedy in years. Any suggestions?

Charlie Sierra said...

It's funny because all the years I've been working out at the local Y I and others have been approached by a large number of "down low" black dudes, usually sporting boners, either wanting to blow somebody or as one young black guy requested: "Make me yo' bitch". I don't have anything against gays (I'm straight by the way) just about dishonesty as some of these black guys were married. These same guys who are begging for dick in the shower/sauna at the Y are the same "macho" acting guys in the baggy sports team outfits you see outside when you leave the Y. Oh yeah, as a side bar it seems the "big dick" myth is just that, a myth. Not bragging but I've never seen a larger black penis than my own white one, all hype and bs about Blacks being "well built" down "there".

Anonymous said...


Phalluster said...

I would nominate Julian from 'The Shield', a down-low brother who "did the right thing" and married a nice church-going sister with a Sunday crown. He was also a Player Hater Extraordinaire, constantly keeping tabs on Vic Mackey to assure that Vic did not misuse his powers of white prestige for mischief. I believe that Julian trumps the performance of Detective Kavanaugh because he represents a more wholesome lifestyle path.