Hi I’m Black: and I Loved Tarantino’s “Django: Unchained.”
Quick pre-text: I am going to periodically and randomly do a post called “Hi, I’m Black” and sort of delve into racial discussions—no worries, we can all learn something from seeing a different perspective and learning is fundamental amiright?
Unpopular Opinion Time: Quentin Tarantino directed a movie called Django Unchained starring a bevy of superstar actors (Foxx, DiCaprio, Washington, Waltz, and even Don Johnson!). The premise is that a freed slave becomes a bounty hunter and tries to get his wife (who was sold to a different owner at auction) back. I keep reading the same TIREDtiredTIRED excuses for why we shouldn’t all go see it, but I did see it, and I loved it, and I’m putting this crap to rest.
1. “Tarantino likes the N-word and says it too much so we can’t go see it!” This is a civil war era film, set in the South, during slavery. Those three ingredients mean that there was probably even more N-word slinging that occurred than Tarantino could fit into a 2-hour movie. Also, I didn’t see you all raising your hands in my Kentucky high school when we had to read “classic literature” that was just “the N-word” broken up by a few verbs and some punctuation. Nobody said a thing. So it’s funny that now that there’s a movie about a FREED SLAVE avenging himself, we’re worried about what people are calling him…
2. “Kerry Washington plays a wilting flower and I can’t believe Quentin Tarantino would make the first black leading female character he writes weak!” For starters, no, Quentin Tarantino had that character from Kill Bill (played by Vivica A. Fox) who fought like crazy until she got shanked through a box of cereal—so this is not the first. [EDIT: A few good friends pointed out that I’ve completely forgotten Jackie Brown, which in itself is a good enough rebuttal to this claim] This is the same static I heard when Mindy Kaling decided to play a pretty, vapid Indian woman on her hilarious sitcom instead of a stereotypical smart, nerdy, sexually invisible character. Maybe it’s fine that Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) wasn’t some crazy super heroine. Name one film about Black women where they are allowed to just be human instead of having to be super strong, tough, and against what is typically considered feminine. I think it’s good in some respects that Quentin Tarantino wrote a black female character that was depicted as worthy of saving and delicate and deserving. Also, I think we can all agree that Kerry Washington is the best and you should all start watching Scandal on ABC if you don’t already.
3. “I heard there’s a scene that makes light of the KKK. I’m against that.” Well you didn’t see the movie, so shut up. It doesn’t make light of the Klan— it very distinctly makes fun of the Klan. It is uproariously hilarious to make fun of the Klan, because they are not worthy of serious consideration. They are abysmal, and they get what they deserve in the movie. Go see it. And while you’re at it, watch this sketch from Chappelle’s Show.
4. “Spike Lee said to boycott it, so…” I respect Spike Lee in the highest, but you all need to think for yourselves. Spike Lee doesn’t want you to see it because Spike Lee has a personal feud with Quentin Tarantino about filmmaking. I’m sorry, Spike, but you decided to come out with Red Hook Summer, and it wasn’t as enticing as this film was. Get over it. Make another poignant film like “Do The Right Thing” and maybe I’ll take your cinematic suggestions to heart.
5. “There’s too much gore!” It’s a Tarantino film. There will be blood. There will be ladle-dropping-into-tomato-soup-splashy blood. If that makes you squeamish, then by all means skip it. That’s like the only valid argument I can see for choosing not to see the film.
We all need to be more open-minded and think for ourselves. Do you seriously think that Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, and Jamie Foxx would agree to do a movie that would cut down a group of people instead of raising them up. As a black woman, it was probably one of the only Civil War era films I could commit to seeing more than once.