Is Precious going to be the last and only compelling Black drama of this decade? If films like Madea’s Big Happy Family and Jumping The Broom are any indication of what is to come, then it doesn’t look promising. Why is it that the only successful Black drama I can recall that wasn’t about hood life or wasn’t a biography is, in fact, Precious? And, I’m not talking about drama that involves finding out the main male character is gay, cheating or having a baby by another woman.
I hate to say it, but I am bored with Black cinema and its bland storylines and unimaginative plots. I need more. I understand that humor is what sustained us as a people through years of oppression, but I am ready for Black filmmakers to BRING THE DRAMA. Can we make ONE film free of cameos by the next hot comedian; void of jokes, shucking and jiving, and playing the dozens?
Unfortunately, it seems like the only producer consistently bringing any drama these days is Lee Daniels. I became familiar with Daniels’s work long before Precious, after I attended a screening of his 2005 film Shadowboxer, starring Helen Mirren and Cuba Gooding Jr. Daniels has produced other critically acclaimed films, such as Monster’s Ball, the film for which Halle Berry won the highly coveted Oscar for Best Actress, and my personal favorite, The Woodsman starring Kevin Bacon. It was refreshing to finally see a Black filmmaker producing films that evoked an emotion other than jubilance, and introduced characters with depth and relativity. We need more of this, but Daniels can’t do it alone.
What’s Spike up to these days? He totally fell off the map. Someone, please help! I’m so over these feel-good films about how it used to be “back in the day,” doused with one-liners and random references to the classic film, The Color Purple. I’m ready to see films where great acting is required, not optional, where “real” actors who actually studied acting, can properly showcase their talent. Please stop making Black cinema a platform for former rappers and current singers “who always wanted to try their hand at acting” to fulfill their pipe dreams. Acting is a craft. Let’s treat it as such.
Furthermore, I think we, as a people, have perfected the romantic comedy, bank robbery, and dance flicks. Let’s think outside the box. If I see one more preview for a ‘D’ movie that’s supposed to make me laugh, it will likely have the opposite effect and make me cry. We need to make more films about subjects that everyone can relate to, not just other African Americans. What’s the problem? Are Black screenwriters not writing films like this or are these types of projects simply being overlooked by the powers that be? More importantly, who do I need to talk to change the game?