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Are People Really Complaining About Couples’s Retreat? (Misplaying the Race Card)

November 18, 2009

In our “post-racial” age, going for the race card is like grabbing that axe that you get from the “break in case of fire” case.  When you pull it out, you’ve gotta be sure there’s a real fire.  Otherwise, you just might have glass on yourself.  Sharp, painful glass.

There are times to play the race card and there are times where you just don’t.  In the case of racism against Black folk, it’s always been easier to assert the existence of racism during antebellum times up until Jim Crow and even through the 80s, when whole communities of people were still being enslaved, hosed down, bitten by dogs, abducted, lynched, given crack, you name it.

Now, finding ourselves in a modern age confronted with sporadic and isolated incidents–NY and California area police shooting people dozens of times (often out in the open), minority-aimed subprime mortgage steering, FEMA’s solutions for Hurricane Katrina victims and a curious and unrelenting vitriol which has seemed to have underscored many right-wing attacks on President Obama’s character (and citizenship) into the initial stages of his candidacy, it seems we’ve had slightly less opportunities for which to justifiably call out for the existence of “racism.”

Thus, we’ve got to be careful where we play that card.

This brings me to entertainment.

But really–today, I heard there was some “controversy” over the fact that Columbia Pictures removed images of Faizon Glover and Some Actress I’ve Never Seen from a one-sheet for “Couple’s Retreat” that is to be used for the film’s promotions in the UK.

Before - The U.S. One-Sheet

After – The U.K. One-Sheet

Now I’ve seen this one-sheet, and I gotta say, I don’t want to see it no matter who’s on it at any point in time.  The film doesn’t interest me.  I see Vince Vaughn doing his Vince Vaughn thing, Jason Bateman (who I generally like), the woman that played Charlotte, from Sex in the City, and what appears to be two tokened Black folks.  Not my thing.

But the basis for this argument against Columbia Pictures seems to be that the studio itself is racist, or at least, culturally insensitive because of the fact that (correct me if I’m wrong) they’ve removed the only two colored folks on their one-sheet for promotions abroad, in spite of the fact that they’re actually in the film.

But really?  People are really making an argument for this?  I’m just like…I can’t name the last thing that Faizon Love did and I don’t even know that woman’s name.  Obviously, from the way the picture is taken, they have small roles.  Of course, the U.K. one-sheet does look a lot more Eurocentric, but I mean, I really feel like that’s Columbia’s call.

In my view–Columbia Pictures has the right to sell this movie in any way they want.  It’s their damn film.  It’s their investment.  I think if they had mixed feelings (lol) about their previous promotion, it’s their right to change it to the way that they think will allow them to make the most money.  It’s not like they had Denzel Washington and Angela Bassett standing in the back of the one-sheet and chopped them out once the film was marketed abroad.  You’ve chopped out Faizon Love and “Kali Hawk,” who I’m not sure would make me want to see this film in the first place.  I ain’t seen Faizon since “The Parenthood.”

Out of everything going on in the film/entertainment industry, people wanted to jump on Columbia Pictures and their campaign for “Couples’s Retreat?”  Come on, now.

How about the fact that heads, execs and other influential people of many major studios have sometimes been quoted as saying that they don’t even think that Black films (films with mostly Black casts, often made by Black people) can appeal to “non-urban” audiences, especially if the content itself is not “urban,” whatever the hell people have chosen that term to mean at the time.

Then, as a slight aside–

“The Wire” still doesn’t have a fucking Emmy, for God’s sakes.  I said “The Wire” never got an Emmy.  THE WIRE NEVER GOT AN EMMY.  NOT ONE.  Have you seen “The Wire?”  It was probably one of the best written, most epic shows to have ever aired on television, ever.  Got damn.  Let’s talk about that one.

That’s all I’ve got to say.

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