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Help me out for a second.  What’s the name of that one movie?  You know, the one where the slave is set free then he goes to free other slaves and find his wife.  It got about 4 or 5 Oscar nominations.  Yeah that’s right Jamie Foxx was in it!  DJango!  Yeah that’s it.

Oh, but what about that one movie everyone was talking about? The one with Oprah in it.  Oh yeah and Terrance Howard.  The movie where they kiss. Um, I think it’s the one where the little black boy grew up in working in the cotton fields down South. He escapes the cotton fields then becomes a butler, Oh yeah; it’s called The Butler!  I heard that movie is getting all of the Oscar buzz.

No, wait! What about the movie that everyone is REALLY talking about now?  It’s the movie where the man is a free man but then he gets captured and sold into Slavery. I heard it’s like 10,000 times better than the movie Roots.  It doesn’t star any big name actors but they say it’s a big Oscar contender.  What is the name?  Is it 12 hours of slavery…12 slaves for Christmas…oh yeah 12 Years A Slave!  Man, there are some good movies coming out this year and they are getting all of the Oscar buzz.  But wait a minute…

Why is it that three of the most compelling, gripping, and Oscar worthy movies of the year have something to do with the oppression of black people?  Is it the year of the slave or something?  Look I’m not one of those super sensitive, conspiracy theory thinking types of people.  I’m very intelligent.  I love movies.  And I love anything that compels us to think and share our thoughts in an effort to be better people.  But as I read all of the Oscar buzz talk surrounding these movies I keep hearing the same things (struggle, slavery, brutality, etc.).  Jamie Foxx had early Oscar buzz for playing a slave who impersonated a black slave master in order to get to the bad guys who held his wife.  Oprah is now getting a lot of Oscar talk for playing an alcoholic wife of a butler who was once a modern day slave in the 20th Century.  And 12 years a slave is being deemed one of the most brutal slave movies of today and has a huge Oscar buzz.  (and coincidentally one of Kanye West’s most popular songs is called New Slaves…geez)

I guess my point is that I feel both writing, producing, and directing movies takes creativity and talent.  I know we have to acknowledge our past because it is our history and the stories of triumph and perseverance have inspired us to continue to push forward.  But why can’t that same creativity be used to tell the modern day stories of oppression, wrongdoing, and the triumph over it?  Why can’t we make movies about escaping the gang life or not being institutionalized by the prison system? Better yet why can’t we make movies about black people becoming successful?  Or what about a compelling love story (not the ‘Baggage Claim’ type of movie though) Believe me there are some very messed up things and great things happening in this generation and they would make for a great movie content.    I heard someone say that all the critics were talking about how 12 Years A Slave was ten thousand times better than Roots and I wondered how could it be?  Is the beating that much more intense?  Is the slavery in this movie on a whole other level?  I just couldn’t see it being a good thing.  I just want to hear black actors names being included in the Oscar race for something other than playing a struggle character.



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