Earlier today, I saw the video posted below and it made me see so clearly some of the major issues we face when fighting for progress -- Divisive, Bull-Headed Folks. The video below is about Spike Lee's new film, Red Hook Summer, but he touches on Tyler Perry a little and then on the controversy George Lucas faced putting out Red Tails. See the video below and then my views are below.
Full Q&A from Sundance's Red Hook Premiere (Part in question at 15:30)
Life and death is in the power of the tongue, I feel like we've been killing ourselves, instead of breathing life into our businesses, communities, industry, and people. In reality we have to think beyond "Why?" It is now bigger than why did this happen or why did George Lucas have to say something to bring attention to the plight of Black films, instead use this as an opportunity to capitalize off of the attention & energy, just as Lucas will benefit (whether that is his intention or not) off of the ticket buying power of African Americans who went out in droves to support the film (which is AWESOME by the way!).
Now, we need to say: "Look George got some attention...let's capitalize off the moment (smells like the perfect time to create a movement to me! Now that's revolution...)" and HOLD Lucas accountable to be part of the conversations that happen moving forward concerning the appreciation of black films. We have to work Hollywood like Hollywood has worked us for damn near a century...with intelligence and diplomacy.
Granted he is probably frustrated, but now your frustration is received as being bitter and people are not trying to hear you. All that voice, all that passion, is now misinterpreted and Red Hook Summer and your next movie, too are still funded straight out of your pocket. Well today work smarter not harder, is my message to Spike... don't get lost in your emotions so much that you can't remember the mission! Your voice and the voice of African-American film makers is needed TODAY...let's make that our focus. The topic of quality African American film being widely distributed is not old hat it's happening right now, in front of our faces, therefore, use the impression that Red Tails is making to strengthen the point, galvanize communities, and alert people of color about what they truly are supporting when they give their dollars to a movie theater. I just feel like Spike can drive progress in this instance, especially because he is one of the best directors of our time, use all these variables to make a difference...and to ensure your work hasn't gone in vain.