Monday, March 7, 2011

Intersection of Madness: Are Black people being rejected in popular culture?

Has there been a white-out in popular culture?
I'm working on a theory about over-saturation of Black people in sports (NBA and NFL) and the repudiation of Black people by those consuming other forms of entertainment (comics/graphic novels, movies and television, professional wrestling, video games, enjoying the outdoors, skiing, the beach, etc).

People are under the impression that sports equal a meritocracy (which it is not: just ask Peyton Hillis) and that the athletes in the NFL, NBA and at major colleges represent the best available. Though college athletes might not be best students -- and could cost a coach his job for their academic failures -- the perception that Blacks are the best athletes available require a toleration of their off-field antics.

Virtually every other form of entertainment -- outside of music -- amounts to a complete repudiation of Black people. Black comic books and characters have never sold to consumers and have failed to pick up an audience (the ultimate reason why so few Black super-villains exists); despite major pushes from promoters, wrestling fans rarely get behind Black professional wrestlers; movies are lily-white as ever, prompting some to believe that Hollywood discriminates against Black actors (sadly, it is movie-goers who discriminate against films with Black actors by not paying to see them); video games rarely have Black characters (unless it is a sports game and don't get us started on Black zombies); and worse, television can't keep a Black sitcom on air long enough for the narrative to take off (nor do people desire watching fantasy love shows with Black people cast in them).

This is one of the reasons why the uproar over Thor has upset a large segment of the population desiring the creation of a new Black phenomenon in pop culture.

Idris Elba -- whose last film Obsessed was a huge hit among Black people -- has been cast as Heimdall in the upcoming Marvel film Thor and he finds those who question a Nubian playing a Nordic God to be idiots:

"It's so ridiculous," Idris Elba says of Web sites that criticize his ability to play "the whitest of the gods."

When Kenneth Branagh cast Idris Elba as Heimdall in the upcoming summer tentpole Thor, a furious debate erupted among fanboys, with some insisting it was wrong for a black man to play a Nordic god often described as "the whitest of the gods."
Fumed one fan in an online foum: "This PC crap has gone too far! Norse deities are not of an African ethnicity! … It's the principle of the matter. It's about respecting the integrity of the source material, both comics and Norse mythologies."



But the London-born actor (who starred as Stringer Bell in HBO's The Wire; his 2009 film, Obsessed, grossed $68 million domestically) has no patience for the debate.

"It's so ridiculous," he said Feb. 24 at Rutgers University in Newark, N.J.

"We have a man [Thor] who has a flying hammer and wears horns on his head. And yet me being an actor of African descent playing a Norse god is unbelievable?" he went on. "I mean, Cleopatra was played by Elizabeth Taylor, and Gandhi was played by Ben Kingsley."

Beyond that artistic defense, though, there is an even more basic reason black actors welcome colorblind casting: There is a ceiling on the amount of business black-themed movies can achieve, so the opportunities for black actors and actresses remain limited unless they can also claim parts in mainstream entertainment.
In the past decade, black actors have been losing ground. In the early 2000s, blacks played 15 percent of roles in film and TV. Today, it has fallen to 13 percent, according to Screen Actors Guild stats.

This past Academy Awards lacked any Black actors, actresses, directors, set designers, costume designers, composer's, illustrators, etc., even nominated for an award.

 We have reached a point where white consumers of sports have been conditioned to believe the only legitimate sports are football and basketball -- because Blacks excel at them -- and sports lacking Black involvement are somehow tainted (see baseball).

Paradoxically, by every conceivable metric consumers spurn Black people in entertainment that doesn't include NFL or NBA stars. Black musical acts might sell on iTunes and zoom up the Billboard charts, but concert goers seem infatuated with white acts.  

Don't get us started on books, especially those written by Nicholas Sparks.

You have to laugh that the only way to get a Black actor into a comic book is to hypocritically cast him as the "whitest of the Gods."

I'm sure Hollywood expected no one to notice the casting of a Black guy as a Nordic God, but they did. That people laugh when Afro-centrists claim that Cleopatra was Black -- sorry to burst your bubble Elba, but she wasn't -- is upsetting to Black people desirous of creating myths that are inherently unbelievable.

That the only positive images of Black people come from sports is interesting especially when you realize consumers of popular culture, entertainment, and the activities they seek out for fun and recreation have insignificant and only token Black representation.

Does the over-saturation of Black people in sports make consumers uninterested in watching movies and television shows with Black actors and actresses? Why don't consumers of comics books read Black books? Why don't Black wrestlers attract support in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)? White guys tolerate rap and hip-hop because white girls like to dance to it, and this fad will ultimately pass. Then again, why is Journey so popular?

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why is Journey so popular? Because, man: some will win, some will lose, some were born to sing the blues.

Anonymous said...

"This past Academy Awards lacked any Black actors, actresses, directors, set designers, costume designers, composer's, illustrators, etc., even nominated for an award."

Yeah, but did you notice that after the memorial segment ran they trotted out Halle Berry to say "as a woman of color" what a noble, courageous, beautiful person was Lena Horne. What was the purpose of that? Why didn't they say something nice about Tony Curtis, who also recently died? It's all about the blacks. I'm sick of looking at them all over commercials, sitcoms, sports. Over-saturation! No kidding.

Hirsch said...

The black actor Anthony Mackie was recently asked why there was this paucity of quality movies made by blacks right now. He said that blacks in Hollywood were "lazy right now." His words, and rather direct. I'm frankly surprised that Elba and others have not mentioned one of the grossest switcheroos from old Hollywood, wherein John Wayne played Ghenghis Khan. That's right, the Duke was a Mongol. I've been told that many of the parts of Indians in old Cowboy movies were actually played by Italians.

I read comics when I was younger and I seem to remember that Spawn was a black man before he was hideously disfigured and became a batman-like ambivalent hero.

TC said...

Are there any statistics recorded concerning black super villan on white super hero crimes?

Anonymous said...

"We have a man [Thor] who has a flying hammer and wears horns on his head. And yet me being an actor of African descent playing a Norse god is unbelievable?"

The Flying Hammer is an actual element of Thor mythology.

An African/Norse god is not.

Does this fucking idiot not see the difference?

If accuracy doesn't matter, should we also add space aliens, velociraptors, and sharks with lasers??

Anonymous said...

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wrote "Good Will Hunting" because they couldn't get quality parts. Instead of declaring "Dat racis!" they wrote a great movie. How many black actors would take the time and energy to write a movie?

I'd guess that 95% of screenwriters are white and white people will generally write white characters (write what you know). Black people are incapable of fixing anything including a paucity of good black roles as that would require work. Whining will be the order of the day but at least they have Tyler Perry.

Don said...

I have the distinct feeling that "Thor" will be a commercial flop of epic proportions!...Why?:

Well for a start people are growing dog-tired of political correctness in every walk of life & casting Elba as a Norse deity is so "in your face" PC that I feel many people WILL see that for what it is...Movies have been for the most part an escape from reality & a chance to imagine other worlds & realities, we don't need some leftists inane social/political vision shoved in our faces!.

Also, hard times ARE heading our way.. The chaos in the middle east (which will radically affect the worlds oil supply). A dollar on the cusp of insolvency. A growing sense of despair over the radical demographic shift our lands are taking & what that means for our futures..This means that people will absolutely yearn for an image of a simpler time. A desperate desire to get back in touch with our roots. With home & hearth(i.e.,the "Volk")...When this manifests itself in the movie theaters, expect to see a plethora of films akin to "Lord of the rings" or "Master & commander" or "little women" & other such types. Films about courage, honor, duty, self sacrifice & above all, family!...The love of nature & beauty, of science & history & wonder.

One thing that will be most obvious when these times hit is the complete or near complete dearth of black characters in such films. The black value sytem is a complete flip of the white value system. Concepts such as self sacrifice, honor, courage, the innate desire to help one's fellow man, the desire to remain faithful to ONE woman!..These are alien concepts to blacks...When these times hit, the films will reflect the new socil order.

White Guy said...

"I'd guess that 95% of screenwriters are white and white people will generally write white characters (write what you know)"

I'm an amateur Screewriter and Novelist - my stories usually have a token who is, at least, in-part, the cause of conflict - never resolution.

Sierra Nevada said...

Hey, here's an idea - get rid of your cable TV. Save 75 bucks per month. Got rid of mine 5 years ago, and the only time the TV is on is for Netflix or PS3.

Only Americans are dumb enough to actually PAY to be propagandized to. Oh, and what about sports? Ok, limit yourself to following one sport. Go watch at a bar or friend's house.

Cry me a river said...

Damn straight Black people are being rejected in popular culture. Most Black movies follow the same formula. The white devil is oppresing the struggling black folk. After some ups and downs the black man eventually prevails. Black people don't act nothing like they way they're protayed on the big screen.

Idris Elba also said "I was cast in Thor and I'm cast as a Nordic god. If you know anything about the Nords, they don’t look like me but there you go. I think that's a sign Damn straight Black people being rejected in popular culture. Most Black movies follow the same formula. The white devil is oppresing the struggling black folk. After some ups and downs the black man eventually prevails. Black people don't act nothing like they way they're protayed on the big screen.
of the times for the future. I think we will see multi-level casting ... and I think that's good". I

IF the movie bombs Hollywood would probably think twice about casting non whites in white roles. Either be PC or lost a profit.

Black people are being rejected in popular culture because no one can relate to them.

Desiree said...

They don't need a black guy to play a Norse god. I don't know what they were thinking. Obviously the creators just wanted to do a spin on the tale. It really isn't that serious.

We all know Cinderella wasn't black, but I remember enjoying the version that had Brandy as Cinderella and Whitney Houston as the fairy godmother. Also, Whoopie Goldberg was queen and married to a white king and the Prince--their son--was Filipino.

I'm sure this is the identical mindset in terms of casting and vision for the 'Thor' creators. Unrealistic, sure, totally PC, yep, but nice, nevertheless.

Black people are not being rejected in popular culture; it's just you are beginning to see how ridiculous--truly ridiculous--the concept of BRA really is. Wake up and smell the coffee, snowflake! The concept is fun for blogging and getting people excited enough to purchase a book that can be read online for free but it is hardly applicable to real life, SBPDL. No such thing. PoCs are not rejected, but invisible or not in existence. Real blacks are played by Afro-Latino confections, or Halle Berry.

By the way, the Nigerian film industry creates about 2000 movies a year, many of which are made for $10,000. There is no good excuse for blacks to have just Tyler Perry. He doesn't know what the hell he's doing behind a camera. He sucks; I hate him.

Cry me a river said...

I notice some of the commentator's are dropping the word "nigger" like it was candy. One time this guy said he thought less of me for using it. I thought less of him for thinking less of me when he obviously never been around black people.

It's like that movie "Babe". I understand why white people call all blacks niggers. Cause white's are all on their own. And I like living in White America. There's enough non whites in the world already.

Anonymous said...

hmmm. Liz taylor got away with playing Cleopatra because Cleopatra was Greek. Ben Kingsley doesnt look wierd playing Gandhi because he's an indian with an English stage name. Nice try Idris.

Anonymous said...

Then what was the problem with the blackface character from the 23s/30s? This crap only runs one way with the PC crowd.

Anonymous said...

Journey is my all time favorite band.


"'Id guess that 95% of screenwriters are white and white people will generally write white characters (write what you know)"

Plus the fact that:

1. Most white people don't give a rats ass about the ins and outs of black culture. Why should they?? We already know the truth - no matter how hard you try to portray blacks in normal settings, in the real world, they are ruining our country and completely out of control.

2. Most white people don't even DARE try to comment on or portray black culture in film. We just don't understand the black mindset, which is foreign to us. As blacks always say, "It's a black thing, you wouldn't understand". OK, so you can have it.

Blacks have a monopoly on the black victimologist routine and whites have learned to stay far away from them. Blacks are always sniffing out racism and chances for reparations, and so white people have learned that it is easier to just leave blacks alone.

Anonymous said...

"How many black actors would take the time and energy to write a movie?"

I think most blacks prefer to wait around for whites to create opportunities for them. Like the phenomenon SBPDL created, And then?? And then?? etc.

Commercials including blacks are always written by DWL whites who are trying to improve the image of blacks in the eyes of white people. They will get more DWLs to buy their products or pay to see their movie if they do a little pandering and include a few token blacks. I don't think blacks create anything of value on their own.

At least I can't think of anything.

Anonymous said...

Here's Samuel L. Jackson lamenting that black actors weren't even used as presenters at this year's Academy Awards. He says that blacks know how to read teleprompters. Boy, he's sho' nuff right about that!

http://www.tmz.com/2011/03/01/sam-jackson-oscars-academy-awards-black-actors-mistake/

bupkiss o'toole said...

Revulsion

Anonymous said...

Blacks instead of helping themselves whine and gripe about what the whites aren't doing for them. Then of course DWLs always stepped up and do the Amen shuffle for the sniveling blacks.

Anonymous said...

Ben Kingsley is perfect for playing Gandhi because he is actually Indian. His birth name was Krishna Pandit Bhanji.

Hizirch iz in da house, my ninja said...

Here's a kick for sore balls. The movie "Glory," much like the movie "Mississippi Burning" is rife with inaccuracies that highlight white wickedness. In "Glory," the soldiers are portayed as former or runaway slaves who face beatings and inferior treatment at the hands of their wicked white superiors. Denzel even got his first Oscar-nod for taking a Lamar-Burton-like ass whipping at the hands of a slavemaster.

Fine, except the 54th was composed entirely of freemen, and there were no whippings, and the white officers corps were the ones who lobbied for the black soldiers to receive equity and pay benefits.

http://www.ashbrook.org/publicat/oped/owens/00/patriot.html

Another historical inaccuracy that has nothing to do with race deals with "Fort Sumner never being taken" by the Union. Bullplop and Hogwash. There were so many dead blue coats laying around the Fort after the initial assault that the Rebs were forced to flee because the dead had contaminated their groundwater supply.

Anonymous said...

"The movie "Glory," much like the movie "Mississippi Burning" is rife with inaccuracies that highlight white wickedness."

The list goes on forever...

"Hurricane", "Glory Road", "The Great Debaters", etc etc etc

map said...

I think there is an Asian Norse god as well.

Anonymous said...

SBPDL, please stop the "Hizirch iz in da house" comments. He's so annoying, and he hardly makes any sense.

LBD said...

Kenneth Branagh did this before in his movie of Shakespeare's "As you like it". He cast the black actor Adrian Lester in the main role, as Orlando. Orlando is supposed to be a noble, handsome youth who captures the hearts of the young maidens (white actresses cast in those role, natch. The "black men are so groovy" propaganda is relentless.

It was unwatchable. I was disappointed and disgusted because my husband and I are major Shakespeare enthusiasts, and there aren't many film versions of this play

Jeffrey of Troy said...

@Desiree
"We all know Cinderella wasn't black, but I remember enjoying the version that had Brandy as Cinderella and Whitney Houston as the fairy godmother. Also, Whoopie Goldberg was queen and married to a white king and the Prince--their son--was Filipino."

That was a psychological warfare operation.

Lionel said...

Presumably African Americans would be agreeable to seeing Jack Black star in a biopic about Martin Luther King.

Anonymous said...

Let's be a bit more realistic. Not Jack Black to play MLK. Alvin Greene.

Now there's a film I would pay to see.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why there aren't more blacks in films. It seems like the audience is ready for it. I see it every time I'm in a theater and a single black mother brings her five kids to run around and play up and down the aisles during the film. That's six paying tickets. When that mom is texting her "girl," that's another potential ticket sale. Seriously, there's money to be made here.

Anonymous said...

Oh please. Black people don't pay for movies. If they are in the theater, it's because they snuck in through the exit door. If you see a swarm of them, maybe ONE of them paid, to get access to the door to let the herd in.

djf said...

Yeah, Kenneth Branagh ruined several of his movie adaptations of great Shakespeare plays by inserting Black actors into parts that made no sense. Hamlet's buddy in medieval Denmark is Black. The duke in Much Ado About Nothing is black. Why? Just liberal PC Hollywood masturbating. I still can't forget Morgan Freeman in Robin Hood, as some kind of Black African Muslim buddy of Robin, pulling out a telescope to look for bad guys, (suggesting it was invented by Black African Muslims), only about 450 years before telescopes were really invented (by white people in Europe of course).

Chuck said...

Interesting thought. I was just thinking about it after having read a bell hooks essay in which she basically blames white customers for financing gangsta rap and the culture of misogyny. but then you bring up a point: why don't whites pay to see black people perform in other ways besides sports?

It's a good rebuttal to hooks' point.

Anonymous said...

Ben Kingsley is INDIAN. His real name is Krishna Bhanji. Idiot.

D J said...

"...why don't whites pay to see black people perform in other ways besides sports?"

They did at one time. They paid to see Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Nat Cole, Johnny Hartman, Billy Eckstine...

Anonymous said...

A nigger playing a Norse God...LMAO...FUNNY..REAL CUTE...NOT.