Sunday, April 24, 2011

Audience Responsibility...

Before I go into this week's rant, I ran across a tweet on my time line from Pierre Bennu, a writer/producer/filmmaker I first peeped through Mark Anthony Neal's Left of Black. On Bennu's site, Exit the Apple, he retweeted a piece he wrote on audience responsibility (I don't know how I missed it). In the piece he bigs up one of my fav movies of all time (I am a Capoeirista so I am biased) and asks some questions that we all need to really ponder. I am sure that most of you all are sick of the beef between Tyler Perry, his critics, and Spike Lee, but check what Bennu has to say. I think its important and very central to the discussion we have about race and popular culture.

Enjoy and SUPPORT:

No Better Blues: on audience responsibility & the quest for better film

Have you ever been eating with somebody & then they taste something disgusting and immediately offer it to you to share in the experience? “YUK! Here, taste this!” I have never understood that exchange.

I also have never understood why so many folks claim to despise negative stereotypical images fed to us, but continue to support them.

I believe Melvin Van Peebles was the one that once said Hollywood has an Achilles wallet: if it makes money no matter what it is they will make it. So it could be said that Hollywood and televison are artistically/politically/morally neutral – they couldn’t care less if it’s a movie about Madea or Mumia as long as it makes money. Examples range from corporate support and wide distribution of Michael Moore’s antiestablishment documentaries, to the Kwanzaa cups at McDonald’s. It could be further said that the responsibility lies with the audience then, to make quality decisions that in turn effect the quality and content of the material. But it seems to me that every time there is an award show on BET or a racist misogynistic reality show or a poorly written melodramatic farce celebrating contemporary coonery, folks FLOCK to it in unprecedented numbers.

Some claim intellectual curiousity, some say they can’t comment unless they see it, some just love it as a guilty pleasure – all of which are fine. My issue comes with the fact that if you put money into supporting these projects then they will continue to make them – even bigger and more frequently. My greater issue comes with the fact that we collectively as audience members don’t find and support the alternatives with the same amount of enthusiasm. We don’t search out and support and vote with our dollars for the films, shows, movies and art that enhance and cleberate our mythology.
(read more here.)

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