� Aegis | Main | Amazing Cool Page �

May 23, 2004

Soul Plane & Minority Pride

Saturday morning was fabulous. I made my semi-regular trip over to Ofari's. This time I was there to meet some folks who are helping me get started with my chapter of the CCR. It turned out, however, to be a real blockbuster of a visit.

Although I didn't take complete advantage of it, I had an opportunity to meet with Bernard Parks, the Councilman of the 10th District and former Chief of Police. I don't know why people still take seriously the notion that Magic Johnson's destiny is to be Mayor while Parks is still around and interested. Again, I didn't speak with him, but I'll tell you that he's larger than life.

The main panel before Parks consisted of Anne-Marie Johnson who is a political animal of fearsome breeding, the legendary basso profundo Lee Bailey of Radioscope fame, a woman whose name I forget who runs the country's largest black film festival, and my frat brother Joseph C. Phillips (!). The subject was Soul Plane, the latest ghetto fabulous production out of Hollywood. Our panelists were generally full of piss and vinegar about the matter, especially Johnson, but all conceded that this is the way the market works. I keep forgetting to hog the mic when I come to Ofari's, then again I have a blog for my full set of opinions.

I am of two minds when it comes to ghetto fabulous entertainment. The first and foremost is the Uppity Position, the second and significant is the Belle Isle Picnic Position. In either case, it speaks to a real difference between real people, but as far as black pride goes, you have to be proud of who you are. Take care of your family and values, and stop worrying about what other people think. Be a minority within a minority within a fragment of a demographic sliver. Just be proud of it.

Uppity Position
I don't know what's wrong with people who even care about what Hollywood films say about black people. If you can't get the right 'message' out there, so what? If it isn't taught at university it's just peasant bullcrap anyway. Why lose sleep over that? Anything 'other' people think about you and your people is not confirmed or denied by Soul Plane or Scary Movie 3 or American Pie or whatever. Stop whining and ignore this trash, and don't respect anyone who takes it seriously. Period.

Belle Isle Picnic Position
If you do like watermelon and biscuits for breakfast, then you should count your blessings that there is a ghetto fabulous movie for you. Here is mass entertainment for the masses, isn't it nice that it's a black mass? These stereotypes weren't picked out of thin air, they represent real black folks. Real tacky black folks but real nonetheless. Give the tacky people a break and be happy for them. This is their movie. What does that hurt?

As for me, I'll probably get the bootleg.

But seriously for a moment, I should reiterate that I don't believe in the moral persuasion nor effectiveness of consumer boycotts. It underscores the market forces without making a significant difference. The consciousness attending such efforts is fleeting and only gratifying to activists, who aren't truly leading anyone but glomming onto the demographic already targetted by the manufacturer. The attention given activists is codpendent on the marketing budget. So their agenda is also controlled by the manufacturer.

So the thing that really annoys me most is that those people who have the Uppity Position (who are something of a minority when it comes to what Hollywood percieves to be the African American market) spent too much time hating on what the Belle Isle Picnic people are obviously going to pay to go see instead of pubbing up their own efforts. Why did I not remember the name of the woman who runs the biggest African American independent film festival? It's precisely because everyone on the panel spent too much time grumbling about the significance of the negative, and what that 'means' about race and stereotypes.

Again, the little white man in some black heads still isn't dead. Worrying about what whitefolks think will drive you to drink. It's precisely because there will always be some who believe just what you fear. What these insufficiently proud African Americans forget is that Hollywood is irrelevant to that racist thinking. The Klan doesn't need Soul Plane as an excuse. And nobody needs white liberal guilt shushing people in sensitive response to the bleating boycotters.

I blame Ofari because this is the way he does things. What needed to happen was to pub up the Film Festival and dis Soul Plane en passant. Then again, maybe so many people wouldn't have shown up if they didn't have a chance to spit on Soul Plane.

Posted by mbowen at May 23, 2004 12:31 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Why did I just know you were an Alpha. Laughing out Loud. Well Bro, I wont hold it against you. I dissagree with about 90% of your conservative philosophy, and God forbid I would ever vote for that intellectual cripple in the White House, but I have much love and respect for a brother who can carry the debate forward in an intelligent way, and that you do and do well.
I would even join your group of Black Bloggers if it were not limited to your side of the fence as you said. I think that I would be quite the unwelcome soul on "that" side of the fence, nevertheless, I respect both your opinions and the remarkable clarrity by which you express them.

David Anderson
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity
Scottish Rite A.F.&A.A.M. 32nd Degree Mason
Fellow Capitalist and Globetrotter

Posted by: David Scott Anderson at May 23, 2004 01:53 PM

Thank you bro. You have the right attitude as far as I'm concerned.

Understand that I have no LOVE for the Republican Party, but I have a USE for them. My love is for the Old School, and I strongly believe that they should represent in the GOP. Nothing is achieved without struggle. It won't be a walk in the park, but it will definitely be worth it.

What I'm envisioning now is a Right Black blogring and a bipartisan group blog. I'm not sure how much we could cohere under a general 'black' banner and don't *even* want to see that forced. So in the short term, I think a left and a right league would work nicely, and at some point in the future several group blogs.

I'm going to write this up separately because I think I need to say a few things more clearly as I move forward.

Posted by: cobb at May 23, 2004 02:31 PM

I will keep following the thread my Brother. And dont sweat the politics, Armstrong Williams is a Sigma, and while I dissagree with him on most of what he says, the alternative to not having a possitive, intelligent black voice(s) on the right, is too frightening to imagine.
In my opinion our people are conservative in many of their beliefs, as am I, but have not seen the left side of our agenda addressed. I have read your blog without comment for some time, and truly enjoy it. You and P6 are eloquent spokesmen and true examples of strong Black Men who are able to elaborate on a vision with strength and intelligence, something I admire and respect.
My Blog tends to express moral outrage moreso than deep thought, but then again it serves as more of a stress valve than anything else for me.
Thank you for reminding me of my hometown. I am a long way from there, but your narrative brings me home every time.



Posted by: David Scott Anderson at May 23, 2004 02:48 PM

I think you're right on the money. Offer an alternative while (or instead of) cutting down the opposition. While you playing, I invested massive money in Soul Plane on HSX.

Posted by: Lester Spence at May 23, 2004 10:43 PM

I was surfing in when I found your blog,I consider myself a moderate/liberal with an emphasis on common sense. So we are of diffrent political stripes but my concern is for the African-American community,"Soul Plane" is another problem on what I call the "black culture wars" and frankly we are losing the battle because we will not engage the enemies for fear of being called an Uncle Tom. I would rather be called those names and say this is not the best that African-Americans can produce and if that's the case, I would rather not deal with what is modern Hip-Hop culture and film and would rather watch Akira Kurosawa and Louis Malle and look foward to a Spike Lee Joint.

Posted by: Eric Daniels at May 24, 2004 05:15 PM

Right on for Kurosawa. Ran is my favorite.

Posted by: Cobb at May 24, 2004 09:57 PM

The sister who runs the largets black film festival is Tanya Pendelton (???)

She runs the Hollywood Black Film Festival.

Sounds like a great panel. I enjoy reading your blog. I think it is great!



Posted by: Karen at May 26, 2004 11:37 AM