mercredi, août 23, 2006

Life is Not a Fairy Tale



Recently there were two made for television movies where Black people or Blackness was the focal point: Life Is Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia Barrino Story and The Ron Clark Story. Beginning with Fantasia, her story though contrived was interesting both for the omissions and what was featured. Fantasia's rape, low self-esteem, abusive relationships with men, and poverty were large parts of the story but her illiteracy, a large part of her story (and surprisingly not that uncommon in this country), was left out. Directed by Debbie Allen, Fantasia played herself, her acting not very polished or in many parts believable. Fantasia's father in a Hansberry-esque Raisin in the Sun moment, at the beginning of the show, signs a contract with a record company only to have his partner's writing contributions scratched from the final disc, he goes into a bout of rage breaking all the CDs and promising a showdown with the executives who produced the CD. The image of Fantasia's father is very interesting, characterized by anger, Fantasia's father is a bastion of frustrated dreams, figurative impotence as a provider, and privvy to extreme bouts of anger. In a radio broadcast shortly after Fantasi'a win as idol, Fantasia spoke about the horrific "whoopings" her brothers would receive at the hands of her father. This was of course not in the show but makes perfect since after watching it. Fantasia story of pain and low self-esteem while framed within poverty and a religious upbringing were very familiar.

Only a slightly different tangent, we have yet again another white teacher saves the Black students movie (i.e. Michelle Pfeiffer and Jami Gertz) with Matthew Perry's The Ron Clark Story. A small town kind-hearted North Carolina teacher (Perry) moves to New York and teaches at one of the worst schools in Harlem in order to make a difference. One thing I hate about these movies is the notion that Harlem is the same as Iraq, both battlefields where warfare can take place at any moment. Black malehood is coupled with violence in much the same way as it was in the Fantasia Barrino story. Black womanhood is associated with aggressiveness as well though verbal. I'm interested in the Blackness and class are interpreted via the popular media and next week will engage in a post each day that details my own musings about class and Blackness. Stay tuned... :) And I hope you all watched When the Levees Broke. More on that later this week...

expiate -- transitive verb: To make amends for; to atone for

“What treaty have the Sioux made with the white man that we have broken? Not one. What treaty have the white man ever made with us that they have kept? Not one. When I was a boy the Sioux owned the world; the sun rose and set on their land; they sent ten thousand men to battle. Where are the warriors today? Who slew them? Where are our lands? Who owns them?....What law have I broken? Is it wrong for me to love my own? Is it wicked for me because my skin is red? Because I am a Sioux; because I was born where my father lived; because I would die for my people and my country?” -- Sitting Bull