Sunday, October 9, 2016

GABRIELLE UNION AS NATE PARKER'S KEVLAR VEST

"Nate Parker, however, seems to want to somehow un-save himself. Despite countless attempts to help him remove his own foot from his own mouth — and even actually successfully doing it for lack a week — he seems hellbent on placing it back in there and keeping it there for perpetuity. Like he likes the taste of size 12 Timberland and can’t get enough of it....
Below is a small list of people who have either allowed Nate to explain himself ....
1. Fans of Nate Parker
2. Classmates of Nate Parker at Penn State
3. People who’ve seen Birth of a Nation and believe it’s an important movie that needs to be seen
4. People who haven’t yet seen Birth of a Nation, but wish to and recognize that it’s an important movie that needs to be seen
5. The homie Britni Danielle at EBONY6. Jesse Williams, in a way
7. Fox Searchlight
8. Gabrielle Union, who, by sharing her poignant and powerful words about her own experience with sexual assault, has practically made herself Nate Parker’s kevlar vest
http://verysmartbrothas.com/support-birth-of-a-nation-or-not-but-just-know-that-nate-parker-is-probably-peak-fuckboy/


 * * * * *

from September 2016

Of course they asked Gabrielle Union for her opinion on her co-stars rape trial. Of course, people wanted to know. I wanted to know, especially since she identifies herself as a feminist.

But I was very disappointed. I didn't like Unions answer. I thought it weak and more than a little cowardly despite the fact that I'm not sure I could have done that much better.As thoroughly disgusted as I've been with Nate Parker, I'm still trying to put myself in Unions's place.


I'm trying to imagine what it's like to have known some for a year or more, have them be pleasant to you wind up thinking he's a good guy or a good enough guy --average in his sexism like most men--- before finding out about a rape trial. 
Then you read about your co-worker in court documents and think...what? What do you think?  No matter how you read the court documents or what you think the legal definition of rape should be,what he did was reprehensible. 
And then he says he never thought about what he did to that woman again? How does a Christian repent if he doesn't think about how he's harmed other people? How does that work exactly?  What church is he going to? The church of me, myself, and I? The church of ONLY BLACK MEN MATTER?
How does a rape survivor wrap her mind around this and say a thing that's even half way like a defense? I don't get it.

Maybe if I knew him personally, like Union does,  I wouldn't have so instantly drawn the conclusion that inviting other men to rape your unconscious date makes you a rapist yourself.

Maybe.

Maybe Union has an excuse for essentially saying, "Well...we don't know what happened. We weren't there." Maybe she was stuck having to protect the movie she's attached to for professional reasons. Or maybe she's just not that bright.

I still remember how long it took for Phylicia Rashad to reluctantly some forward to defend Bill Cosby when he's probably responsible for 80% of her current wealth. She doubled back with a quickness when people came for her head. But I could tell she didn't want to say anything the first time.

It can't be easy to look at a black man, respect him personally, and respect his work, then find out he is foulness itself. Black women are conditioned from birth to think black men have it harder than black women, conditioned to coddle them too. Regardless of all that maybe a loyal person's mind can't move that distance from friend to foul but so quickly.  

Still, I'd like to think I could jump that hurdle of calling myself "judgmental" and/or "petty"to try to make a new estimation of my friend, acquaintance, or co-worker if I saw evidence that made me pretty sure he's a rapist.

I don't know. Maybe I shouldn't look at Union's defense of Parker too hard.

Maybe...

Unlike Union, I suppose, I saw problems with Parker before I heard the rape accusations.

http://thankherforsurviving.blogspot.com/2016/02/nate-parker-chris-rock-and-fourth-wave.html

But this problem of black men seeing black men as the only black people with white racism problems is hardly unique to Nate Parker and his defenders.

That's why I wonder if, for black actresses, working with a lot of black men is just like working with white people. 




As a black person, you wear the mask and ignore white racism while you're at the white dominated office. Maybe a black woman wears a different mask and ignores the black sexism while at the black male dominated movie set.


I guess I'll never know.

 But I  actually recoiled when Union said she plays a rape victim who doesn't speak in  The Birth Of A Nation.

Now, no two feminists have to be alike. But she allowed herself to be used as a piece of background that motivates the real hero of the story? And she's not playing the usual black-female-background to the real story either --wife or mother who pats the black male hero on the back and says "go get em" then is never seen again. No, Union is playing a raped piece of background for the story to launch from.

To me her character, the rape victim herself, not being valued enough to speak sounds like Nate Parker's Nat Turner has a female possession in the form of a wife that he must avenge rather than wife as person


--just like 95% of all rape victims 
portrayed in male created movies
where the woman is NOT one of the main characters. 



In the male created movies where the male hero is the central character and his girl or his wife is raped, it is the male hero who is REALLY damaged. I've watched entire movies where the male hero is out avenge the weeping raped wife who doesn't care about herself but wants her husband/boyfriend not to get hurt on her trifling behalf. 

I hope black female body as doormat/launch pad is not what's in this movie. But I don't know how Union's character could be anything else if she doesn't speak --especially if this rape that never happened in real life was made up by Nate Parker and Jean Celestin.  

And even more important than the
potential e-race-sure of black women
from pro-active blackness
in a historical movie
is the fact that rapist
is creating the image of a rape victim. 

I can't imagine that a person that refuses to understand what rape is can possibly create anything but a stereotypical, trembling virginal rape victim. It is unlikely that people like Parker can think any other type of woman CAN be raped.

So now I'm wondering if the black women in his movie stiff-upper-lip it after being raped, if they go on as the stereotypical strong, praying, black woman slave usually does or if his rape victims stands around tearful but strong, waiting around to be avenged as is more usual for white-woman damsel-in distress character.

It's likely that there are only a few ways a silent rape victim being played by an actress of Gabriel Union's stature, who has her own TV series, can be portrayed by a man like the unrepentant Nate Parker .

Again, I'm pretty sure one cannot create art that deviates very much from who you are. 

White people have proven this to us again and again that you can't create art/fiction/movies that deviate much from you are. 
For example: When white people create movies about black characters you get movies like The Blind Side, Black and White. Both movies are mixtures of white savior complex and the idea that white racism is a slight misunderstanding. Both of these white fairy tales that are a hellacious mess compared to black people make movies about themselves like  "12 Years A Slave,  Selma, Do The Right Thing, Devil In A Blue Dress, Eve's Bayou, Hollywood Shuffle"    
And when a man who has raped but doesn't think of himself as a rapist (because he probably doesn't believe ho-s can be raped and says "You put yourself in that position" and "We ran a train on _____".) makes a movie, why wouldn't he create a rape victim with virginal image draped in white who doesn't need to speak?

The pristine-good-girl rape victim is the backdrop against which the black male hero can shine and Make Black America Great Again sans any black female agency.


Again, no two feminists have to be alike. But I don't understand how Union allowed herself to be used in this way.  Even if she'd never heard about the rape trial, why would she think it important to play a non-speaking, pristine looking rape victim that just reinforces a stereotype that only "good girls" can be raped? Why would she let him pour gasoline on that idea even she'd never heard of his rape trial?

And if the depictions of black women are as ridiculous as one reviewer has said, why didn't her reading of the rest of the script let her know to stay away from The Birth Of A Nation?  I mean, she read the whole script right? She said she read 700 pages of the trial transcript because she was a rape victim herself. Yet all she came up with when talking about Parker was the equivalent of "Well....we weren't there so we don't know what happened."

Weak answer

Cowardly

Maybe her career depended upon her helping her studio or a studio she might need in the future not losing all 17.5 million dollars they invested in Nate Parker. Again, maybe I wouldn't have done much better.

Maybe.

But I'm still annoyed.

In any case, there are other black folks you can see at the movies. I can recommend two movies.

1) Westerns don't come along every day. And Denzel Washington is in damn near every scene. (He's getting like Tom Cruise that way). So go see THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. It's not problem free by any stretch... But it was entertaining. 









THE QUEEN OF KATWE had some adult themes. But I would think a kid above 12 or 13 could handle it.  Women of color made, this is a true Disney film. It's one of those David and Goliath films. I loved it. Lupita Nyongo stars in it along side, Madina Nalwanga, a new little girl actress I hope we're going to see more of.