Is “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” (Really) A “Black Movie?”

Posted: August 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

The butler flag image

What I have learned over the years from my own personal experiences, is fancy titles (like –  Executive Producer)  given to black people (by white people)  often have LITTLE TO NOTHING TO DO with who has the REAL POWER in that situation.

Giving  “titles” is another way of showcasing black people to make it appear that blacks have real power and to make the black masses believe that “things have changed for the better” for black people — even while those masses are being victimized.

I suspect this is especially true in the entertainment industry because this industry LOVES giving dozens of people often meaningless titles, like:

Executive Producer, Executive Co-Producer, Co-Producer, Head, Co-Head, Vice-President, Senior Vice-President, Executive Vice-President, Co-President, etc.

After appearing as a guest on a program this past Friday evening (August 16, 2013) by the host of Black Talk Radio, Scotty Reid,  I began to wonder if “The Butler”  really was a  “black movie” — meaning did black people write the screenplay, direct the movie, produce the movie, and have the last word about the final product that appeared on the movie screen –

OR  was  “The Butler”  a movie that just happened to have some black people in it and associated with it?

First Things First:  What is a Black Movie?

In my opinion, a BLACK MOVIE is a movie that is WRITTEN, ACTED, and PRODUCED by black people. There may be some random white and/or non-black people involved in the acting, production, and financing of the movie but the GUTS of the movie come out of the MINDS of black people. Definitely, the DECISION MAKERS are black people.

The WORDS that come out of the actors’ MOUTHS come from an AUTHENTIC BLACK EXPERIENCE and BLACK PERSPECTIVE,  which can ONLY come from a BLACK PERSON.

That is MY definition of a BLACK MOVIE.

So, I did a little digging to see what I could find and thought I would share what I found with you and let you draw your OWN conclusions.

Some Basic Questions and Answers about “The Butler” Movie
(I will use this title even though the correct name of the movie is, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”)

1. Who wrote the screenplay for the movie, The Butler?

danny strong solo pic  Danny Strong, Screenwriter for ‘The Butler’

Danny Strong Is ‘Incredibly Proud’ Of ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’

Strong was hired to write “The Butler” in 2009, a year before Daniels even signed on as director.

“I’m incredibly proud of the movie,” Strong told HuffPost Entertainment about “The Butler,” his first feature film script. “The movie was such a labor of love for so many of us. I think Lee’s done a wonderful job. It’s definitely not just another writing job.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/09/danny-strong-lee-daniels-the-butler_n_3728196.html

2. Who Owns the (Distribution) Rights to  the movie, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”?

Harvey_WeinsteinHarvey Weinstein (Co-Chairman – the Weinstein Company)

David GlasserDavid Glasser, Weinstein Co. COO,

The Weinstein Company Acquires Lee Daniels’ THE BUTLER.

New York, NY – September 24, 2012 – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that they have acquired U.S. rights from Butler Films to distribute THE BUTLER, directed by Academy Award nominated Lee Daniels (PRECIOUS).

http://www.deadline.com/2012/09/weinstein-company-acquires-lee-daniels-the-butler/

3. Who are the Producers, Executive Producers and Co-Producers of “The Butler?”

Laura ZiskinLaura Ziskin – Executive Producer (deceased)

Hilary_ShorHilary_Shor – Executive Producer

Adam-MerimsAdam Merims – Executive Producer

Buddy PatrickBuddy Patrick – Producer

sheila-johnsonShelia Johnson – Producer

Lee Daniels 2Lee Daniels – Producer

American Film Market - Day 4Cassian Elwes – Producer

The movie, ‘The Butler’ had a total of 41 producers — who raised a total of $30 Million dollars to make this “Black Movie.”

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/why-lee-daniels-butler-has-605011

4. Who makes the most money percentage wise from a blockbuster movie that makes millions of dollars?

From what I gathered here’s some info on payouts that may not apply to all movies

  • Typically, directors are paid less than actors and are paid a SALARY, not a percentage of the box office receipts. Even name directors will only make as much as B-list actors in their contracts. If you’re comparing a director to an actress or actor like Oprah or Forest Whitaker, they will be making more than the director on that project.
  • A HUGELY successful movie means it’s likely that the producers will make more money than the directors
  • The share of Box Office paid over to distributors (like the Weinstein Company) varies between territories. The typical exhibitor’s share in the US is 45% to 55% and in the Rest of the World 55% to 65%. Royalty deals, under which the distributor usually keeps more of the revenues, tend to be more common. In other words, the DISTRIBUTORS (Movie Studios) make the LION’S SHARE of the box office receipts.  Keep that in mind the next time you want to “support” a “black movie.”

5. Who were the major decision makers during the production and filming of the movie, “The Butler?”

Obviously, I can’t answer that question BUT I try to follow the logic.  Since the majority of people involved in this project, especially the people who provided financing and distribution, were WHITE, I think it is safe to say that WHITE PEOPLE were the MAIN decision-makers for this “black movie.”

And I suspect that Lee Daniels had the LEAST amount of control over the picture, even when it came to NAMING the picture after himself.

Lee Daniels on ‘The Butler’ : “I Don’t Feel So Good About the Title (Video)

Lee Daniels doesn’t “feel so good” about the new title for his upcoming movie about a longtime White House butler, he tells The Hollywood Reporter. But the film’s stars seem to feel fine about the title and the attention generated by The Weinstein Co.’s highly publicized dispute with Warner Bros. over the name of the film, which resulted in it being called Lee Daniels’ The Butler.

In July, The MPAA’s Title Registration Bureau ruled that The Weinstein Co. could not use the title The Butler, which is also the name of a 1916 Warner Bros. short film. Weinstein appealed the decision and tried to get Warner Bros. to back down, but TRB’s appeals board agreed with the earlier decision, so the title was changed to Lee Daniels’ The Butler.

During the dispute with Warner Bros., Daniels was concerned about the title and frustrated.

“Lee was like ‘What are we gonna call the movie?’ ” co-star Oprah Winfrey recalls.

Lead actor Forest Whitaker, who plays longtime White House butler Cecil Gaines, says, “I was talking to Lee about it, and he was frustrated by the process and he was just trying to finish the film and stuff, and I just tried to offer support.”

Castmember Cuba Gooding Jr. explains that Daniels wasn’t sure about having his name in the title.

“Lee was very insecure about the fact that his name would be mentioned,” he tells THR. “But I said, ‘No, Lee, now they’ll know that this is you, all-encompassing of what you do and how great a filmmaker you are.’”

Daniels admits he’s still not comfortable with his name in the title of the film.

“I try to touch impoverished kids and try to teach them that they … can become filmmakers. I don’t want to say ‘look at me.’ I’m not ready for people to look at me,” he tells THR. “I don’t know if they’ll know what you know, which is that the MPAA forced this decision on me.”

But he has another week to make his peace with it.

“Hopefully next week I’ll feel better about the title. Right now I don’t feel so good about the title,” he says.

(to see the video and read the entire article, click on the link below)

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/lee-daniels-butler-i-dont-603539

After doing some research on this movie, things are actually worse than I thought they were — AND my initial suspicions that this is movie is little more than WHITE SUPREMACY PROPAGANDA disguised as an entertaining and enlightening slice of “black civil rights history.”

That being said — it is up to every individual to answer the question for themselves:

Is ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’ — a “black” movie? 

After I watch the movie–and that won’t happen until a FREE COPY is available at my local library–I may write another post on what I think about the entire movie.

However, at the present time, I am pretty much convinced that this movie does NOT fit the definition of a BLACK MOVIE — but is in fact, a movie with some black people connected to it — USING some very well-known BLACK FACES to PROMOTE the CONTINUED SUBMISSION and SERVITUDE by black people to white supremacy, white power, and white people.

As Oprah Winfrey said to her black son in the movie, “Everything you have, you owe to that butler.”

The underlying question to me is:  who does the Butler owe everything to?

(inferred answer:  The white man)

Comments
  1. ontereus says:

    white people are very smart they put the civil right and black panther movement in this film I believe to get the focus off the real agenda is that black people are meant to serve white people or maybe that in the coming year that what black people will be doing since black people unemployment rate is at a high. also you know white folks still hold on to them good old Jim crow day.

    • TrojanPam says:

      @ ontereus

      I agree, it’s no coincidence that these ‘SERVING WHITE PEOPLE’ films are coming out at a time when black unemployment is sky high.

      Blacks in rural America are literally BEGGING rich white farmers to hire them to PICK CROPS for minimum wage or less

      white supremacy is going from the fourth stage — refinement — BACK to the first stage: ESTABLISHMENT aka SLAVERY

      and that is something that a lot of us don’t believe can happen but it’s happening right in front of our noses

    • TrojanPam says:

      @ ontereus

      something else to think about

      if there was a new movie about some aspect of white history, say WWII, coming out in the theater next month and the screenwriter was black, the producers were black, but the director and some of the actors were white, would white people call that a “white movie?”

      would white people line up outside the movie theater, KNOWING that a BLACK PERSON was in charge of their images and stories? Would they allow that?

      I highly doubt it

      Given that our history has been distorted and whitewashed from the first encounter with whites, it is DANGEROUS for us to KEEP allowing them to tell our stories and control our images then wonder why our children are so low-self-esteemed, angry, and confused.

  2. aconservativevoice says:

    Hollywood is owned and operated not just by white people but by Jewish people…Jews have a less conservative approach towards sexual topics than Christians/Muslims. And violence is a money-maker so that is always used liberally.

    • TrojanPam says:

      @ aconservativevoice

      I agree, it’s obvious who controls Hollywood and the media.

      I think money is only part of their goals, I think the biggest reason is PROGRAMMING, using sex, violence and racism to confuse and poison the population against itself

      and then you just walk in, rob them blind (because we’re too busy fighting each other), and take over EVERYTHING — and that everything always includes money.

  3. TrojanPam says:

    Just had another thought.

    “Lee Daniels, The Butler”

    is the same thing as saying Lee Daniels IS a butler

    I’m not nitpicking but words are very important

    and if someone is skilled at using them, they can insult you without you even knowing it.

    • ontereus says:

      wow someone getting better with their critical thinking skills lol. pam that flew over my head and yes I need to no doubt pay attention to how they use their word cause I cant lie they slip that title pass me.

      • TrojanPam says:

        @ ontereus

        I working on it lol
        because it flew right over my head until last night

        maybe that’s why Lee Daniels didn’t want his name in the movie title

    • sam anderson says:

      The Correct title is: LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER. There’s a possessive and not a comma! But this fact does not deter from your observation about Brother Daniels’ relationship with his white funders and screenwriter. We all need to remember the daily struggles of Spike Lee- a truly Black filmmaker (whether or not you like his films, he’s got control over the productions and finances of his films).

      In 2008, Brother Lee came out with a WWII/murder mystery film -Miracle at St Anna -from the perspective of a Black soldier. It depicted the heroic roles that Black soldiers played during the War. and the interracial relationships that inevitably develops from intimate long term stays in a war ravaged country .. and a multidecade payback waiting to happen. Spike raised $40,000,000 for this film, but the film grossed less than $10,000,000.

      Why?

      Too Black/Too Strong for white film critics. It was panned by them… and Black moviegoers programmed for negro follies, murder and sex could not relate to a serious movie.

      PLUS, there was no central white heroic figure. Just Black ones. There were interracial relationships from a Black perspective… and not some tragic-comedic guilt-ridden perspective.

      This is why Spike has opted to use social media’s crowdfunding technique to raise money for his next film. So far he has been successful in reaching his funding goal. I believe he plans to advertise and distribute his next film via the social media network so as to avoid the white supremacist lock on Hollywood.

      The butler will make a lot of money for its mainly white investors… and put Sista Billionaire Oprah in a financial/cultural space for her NEXT BIG MEDIA MOVE. What will ordinary Blackfolk get out of this movie? Is it a Teachable Moment for the Post60s generations of Sisters & Brothers?

      If you are a good teacher or organizer, any film can be a Teachable Moment. But, nowadays we have so very very few good teachers and organizers. I fear Lee Daniels’ The Butler will be another piece of racist propaganda that bleaches and emasculates Black Pride/Black Power/Black Resistance/Black Struggle while a handful of mainly Zionist whitefolk go smilinng to the bank and a couple of rich Black actors get nominated for Academy Awards while we cry for joy and race pride.

      • All of what you say might be true. I am a big Spike Lee fan and it is interesting that the main point you neglect to mention, in my opinion, is that The Miracle at St Anna wasn’t a good film.It simply was not. So…you would be better served coming up with a film that was at least good and then come up with other reasons that it wasn’t a success.

        • icope says:

          Why was it not a good film? Please give us your analysis so that it may shed light on how we should analyze “The Butler.”

          • TrojanPam says:

            @ icope

            I am waiting for the movie to come to my local library. I will not spend ONE DIME to see this RECONSTRUCTION-era-type movie that promotes black subservience.

            But once I see it, I’ll write a post about it

            (and just for the record, I don’t have to see an entire film to have an opinion about it, anymore than I have to see ‘Birth of a Nation’ from beginning to end to know it’s a racist movie, or see the entire and more recent movie, “The Purge” to know that a black male being chased by a white mob in the movie trailer is not a good thing. I wrote two posts about “The Purge”, here are the links.

            The Purge

            UPDATE: A Review of the Movie, “The Purge”

        • TrojanPam says:

          @ Rupert Kinnard

          I am a fan of Spike Lee also, and if he was the director of ‘The Butler’ movie and hired a white man to write it, I would have similar concerns about the real agenda and perspective of this movie about a BLACK person.

          My premature “review” of this movie has nothing to do with Spike Lee’s films so I won’t be doing any comparisons.

          I believe my objections to this movie stand on their own. It is up to you and anyone reading this post to agree or disagree

      • TrojanPam says:

        @ sam anderson

        Thank you for the info, I will make the corrections to the title of my blog.

        I never heard of this film but I’ll see if I can find it on DVD. Thanks again, for that info

        I agree with you on all points, and found your last statement thought-provoking and worth repeating:

        “If you are a good teacher or organizer, any film can be a Teachable Moment. But, nowadays we have so very very few good teachers and organizers. I fear Lee Daniels’ The Butler will be another piece of racist propaganda that bleaches and emasculates Black Pride/Black Power/Black Resistance/Black Struggle while a handful of mainly Zionist whitefolk go smilinng to the bank and a couple of rich Black actors get nominated for Academy Awards while we cry for joy and race pride.”

        I think that is a brilliant idea, USING current (and not so current) movies as teachable moments for black youth.

        That might be the ideal way to get and keep their attention, since most are used to having their noses glued to one tube or another. I hope I can plan something as ambitious as this in the near future

  4. cris says:

    were u people born with these stupid ideas or just need something to complain about

  5. cris…”u people”…..no question about your complaints and where u r comin from with”these stupid (racist) ideas!”

  6. Mbeti says:

    Excellent investigative work…
    Instead of idle speculation you’ve provided soild evidence.

    Also heard you on the cows radio show and you did a good job there as well.

    One thing that nags at me is the utter necesscity for us black people to create our own content while at the same time avoiding thiers like the posion it actually is.

  7. monique says:

    I assumed the same thing. When my friend asked me to go see the movie i really did not want to go because these movies insult my intelligence. my friend did ask several times and i agreed only to go and take notes. at the end i did write down some of the credits executive producer,etc and when i got home i did look up danny strong and i was not surprised at all but my more confused friend was. i am in the process of trying to get her to look at these movies for what they are and it is really hard to get her to see that they are not entertainment for black people

    • TrojanPam says:

      @ monique

      All you can do is plant the seeds, give your opinion, and the rest is up to her.

      Unfortunately, the real value of “The Butler” movie for black people is MORE WHITE VALIDATION

      I believe, while we’re watching movies like this, we’re REALLY imagining white people watching it and seeing how “good” and “noble” and “decent” black people can be.

      We don’t really care what the OTHER black people who might watch this movie are thinking, because they can’t VALIDATE US in our traumatized state of mind

      only white people can do that

      that’s why so many blacks are SO thrilled that white people made this picture, INSTEAD of being SUSPICIOUS as any normal thinking people would do when under attack by white supremacy.

      but our minds have been damaged for so long and so deep that we haven’t recovered.

      I’m trying to get the mindset that, “I tried to give some food for thought and if they reject it, I did what I was supposed to do. The decision is theirs.”

      and that way I (hope I) can reduce the desire to bash other black victims and drive myself crazy and just ACCEPT it.

      • Pro black says:

        Your intentions are well meaning…keep up the good work! As the saying goes, you can lead black people to freedom…but the problem is, some of them don’t know that they are slaves!

      • icope says:

        Yes! You are on point here!

        We have to be both vigilant and optimistic in our Black Consciousness-Raising efforts. Keep in mind- among many Black Heroes and Sheros who fought against humungous odds during slavery to free our often physically and mentally enslaved ancestors. For example, Sister Harriet Tubman said that she would have freed more Blackfolk… if they only knew they were enslaved!

        • TrojanPam says:

          @ icope

          What we are looking at — in my opinion — is our DESPERATE NEED for white validation in a time of rapidly rising racial hostility and intolerance from whites collectively all across the country.

          We feel comforted when white people are paying attention to us, are showcasing us, patting us on the back, and approving of us.

          AND that is the main message in this film, that black people — after hundreds of years of slavery — are still BEGGING white people to accept us, notice us, embrace us, love us and in that “attention” lies our black salvation

          that’s why one of the black characters in the movie said black people should show white people LOVE, (meaning we hope they will love us BACK — even when we don’t love ourselves)

          (a WHITE MAN wrote those lines, come on now..)

          I suspect some of the black people who may be angry with me for writing this post have NOT asked themselves what their TRUE motivation is OR what they’re really angry about

          because, frankly, me — one person — who CHOOSES not to support this movie with the dollars I worked for, should not bother anyone as long as I don’t PHYSICALLY stop anyone from entering a movie theater.

          we are all free to agree and disagree (without any rancor)

  8. Ty Lawson says:

    Having worked on The Butler, I have to disagree wit h your claims. First off I was not made as a black movie. It is a movie with black leads and mostly black cast. Secondly, if you area oping to attack a film, check your facts. That is NOT a picture of Davis Jacobson you have displayed as co-producer. I know David and he hired me, a black male to work on The Butler. Please recognize the bigger problem is with the system not semantics of whether or not a film is black. I am an emerging filmmaker . With a very powerful script for a black movie but can not getting any sort of support from the black community. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. Thanks you, Ty Lawson, Creative Producer

    • TrojanPam says:

      @ Ty Lawson

      I can appreciate your very personal viewpoint — which is to be expected from those (blacks) who have BENEFITED from this movie.

      My position is, regardless of those handful of blacks who benefit from this movie or any other “black” Hollywood movie, that does NOT negate the NEEDS of the masses of black people who may be misled by the white supremacist messages in this film.

      There are many independent black filmmakers but (white) Hollywood is not going to put most of these films — regardless of quality — in their theaters BECAUSE black people are telling our OWN stories and creating our OWN images and that is – with a few exceptions — taboo.

      Even Spike Lee, an accomplished filmmaker, can’t get financing for his new film and had to resort to “cloud sourcing” to raise the money — after he was recently fired from a movie about Malcolm X and a WHITE PERSON was hired in his place.

      (what is it we don’t get about that?)

      After I check out the details of Spike’s newest venture, I will be contributing to this BLACK MAN’S BLACK MOVIE.

      I disagree. This movie was promoted as a “Black Film.” The widespread perception among blacks (and probably whites) that this was a “Black Movie” was DELIBERATELY CREATED when they slapped the names and images of Oprah and Lee Daniels on it.

      IF that wasn’t the intention, WHY didn’t they promote the WHITE screenwriter who wrote the movie? And why were people calling it “Oprah’s movie?

      What has taken the place of “black movies” AND black people telling OUR OWN STORIES are movies MADE by white people telling black people’s stories. How is that acceptable to a self-respecting people who are still dealing with an astronomical level of white oppression?

      Do we honestly think that OPPRESSION is not going to filter into the scripts written by white people and into the movies produced by white people?

      Why more black people don’t have a problem with that scenario only proves the level of psychological damage that has been done to our collective self-esteem since slavery.

      In fact, many blacks are THRILLED at the idea of white people making these movies, as though their participation alone is PROOF of our black humanity and worth. Unfortunately, we still CRAVE that white validation and attention that has crippled us from being able to VALIDATE BLACK SELVES.

      Would the Jews allow a black filmmaker to tell their stories?

      Would whites allow a black filmmaker to tell their stories?

      I don’t even have to answer that question. Would someone — anyone — please name ONE HOLLYWOOD PICTURE written and/or directed by a black person that told the history OR the stories of Jews or whites. (Seriously, I’d like to know if I’m incorrect that such pictures don’t exist).

      If NO ONE can name ONE film that fits that description — that alone SPEAKS VOLUMES so loud that only a willfully deaf person could not hear them.

      How can we be so comfortable allowing whites to tell our stories when they have all but OMITTED our accomplishments from their history books — and in fact — are currently RE-WRITING the history books so they don’t talk about slavery or the history of black and brown people?

      Movies like “Lee Daniels, The Butler” only REINFORCE the stereotypes and SUBSERVIENCE that was forced upon blacks prior to so-called integration, and may be a prediction of where black people — who are suffering from double digit UNEMPLOYMENT, hundreds of black schools closing, new prisons being built, and the economic gains of the last 40 years being wiped out — may be headed economically in an economy that is literally self-destructing.

      That reality is something we should all be thinking about, NOT whether this movie was “entertaining.”

      I would like to invite you to listen to a sound clip by Mr. Neely Fuller, Jr., who has studied white supremacy system for over 40 years. I have dedicated a blog to his work.

      Racial Showcasing

    • TrojanPam says:

      @ Ty Lawson

      I had my doubts about Jacobson’s pic. I will remove it in the interests of being as accurate as possible.

      However, making that error does NOT change one word that I wrote.

      I totally disagree that PERPETRATING a film produced and written by whites as a “Black Film” is simply “semantics”

      The widespread perception among blacks (and probably whites) that this was a “Black Movie” was DELIBERATELY CREATED when they slapped the names and images of Oprah and Lee Daniels on it.

      IF that wasn’t the intention, WHY didn’t they promote the WHITE screenwriter who wrote the movie?

      And why were people calling it “Oprah’s movie?”

      Yes, it is difficult to get support from the black community BUT movies like this ONLY serve to drive the dagger of inferiority even deeper – which is the REAL problem: our massive black inferiority complex which was GENERATED by the white supremacy system.

      This movie is a STEP backwards, and I don’t mean to be disrespectful to you personally, but again, this issue is bigger than YOU or ME, or our money, or opportunities, or careers

      and frankly, that is another HUGE problem among black people today

      putting our OWN individual interests and ambitions ahead of what is good for our own people.

  9. […] Is “Lee Daniels, The Butler” (Really) A “Black Movie?” (racismws.com) […]

  10. Ty Lawson says:

    Having worked on The Butler, I have to disagree wit h your claims. First off it was not made as a black movie. It is a movie with black leads and mostly black cast. Secondly, if you area hoping to attack a film, check your facts. That is NOT a picture of Davis Jacobson you have displayed as co-producer. I know David and he hired me, a black male to work on The Butler. Please recognize the bigger problem is with the system not semantics of whether or not a film is black. I am an emerging filmmaker . With a very powerful positive script for a black movie but can not getting any sort of support from the black community. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. Thanks you,

    Ty Lawson, Creative Producer

    • TrojanPam says:

      @ Ty Lawson

      I had my doubts about Jacobson’s pic. I will remove it in the interests of being as accurate as possible.

      However, making that error does NOT change one word that I wrote.

      I totally disagree that PERPETRATING a film produced and written by whites as a “Black Film” is simply “semantics”

      The widespread perception among blacks (and probably whites) that this was a “Black Movie” was DELIBERATELY CREATED when they slapped the names and images of Oprah and Lee Daniels on it.

      IF that wasn’t the intention, WHY didn’t they promote the WHITE screenwriter who wrote the movie?

      And why were people calling it “Oprah’s movie?”

      Yes, it is difficult to get support from the black community BUT movies like this ONLY serve to drive the dagger of inferiority even deeper – which is the REAL problem: our massive black inferiority complex which was GENERATED by the white supremacy system.

      This movie is a STEP backwards, and I don’t mean to be disrespectful to you personally, but again, this issue is bigger than YOU or ME, or our money, or opportunities, or careers

      and frankly, that is another HUGE problem among black people today

      putting our OWN individual interests and ambitions ahead of what is good for our own people.

  11. Daisy says:

    “Because African-Americans have not held simultaneous control over the four essential aspects of filmmaking: finance, production, distribution and exhibition since the advent of the “talking” Motion picture, we have been at the mercy so to speak of those Whites and other ethnicities who have and do hold control of if not all four aspects then at least one. The consequence of this “three card monte” type of power shuffle, for lack of a better analogy, is that even with the use of Kickstarter finance campaigns, AFFRM art-house releasing patterns, internet streaming, and on demand viewing Blacks are kept out of the “big arena”; segregated within an unequal global cinematic playing field.

    A way out of this power shuffle is not the direct route of simultaneously having our own means of finance, production, distribution and exhibition- this ideal is both impractical and unwise given the amount of capital necessary and the constantly manipulated pitfalls of the cinematic industry. Instead it is the narrow definition of a Black film that must be challenged in such a way that the threshold of empathy is lowered for both Whites and Blacks with agency (power, privilege, and control) alternating within an integrated and/or international cast. Such an expansion of the definition of a Black film begins by challenging the stereotypes of race and class as they define our perception of social roles and agency. ”

    http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/why-white-people-dont-like-black-movies#.UffJq8w30nM.facebook

    • TrojanPam says:

      @ Daisy

      I agree with you that black people have been denied access to all aspects of the film making industry — deliberately — with only a few exceptions (like Spike Lee) who is still given very little respect. That is to be expected in a white supremacy system.

      However, what black people CAN do is NOT support this industry AND find ways to support those independent black, African, and Caribbean filmmakers who produce some very good films on low budgets.

      We don’t need a “Cineplex” theater — we can rent a big screen and sett it up in a church, a school auditorium, or any building that can seat people. We must get more creative and STOP seeing our opportunities to do things ONLY through the white prism of white entitlement, as we constantly stand outside those steel doors, our faces pressed against the bullet-proof glass, begging to be let inside

      ENOUGH

      We are NOT a helpless or unintelligent people, but we have been PROGRAMMED to believe we are (despite all our bluster, bravado, big talk, and even bigger egos, we feel very small collectively compared to the white Hollywood machine.

      but the TRUTH is, we don’t NEED them, they NEED US to keep fueling their racist empire with OUR ticket money.

      Black people — from what I understand — make up at least 50% of all box office sales.

      Why can’t we turn that MONEY around to help ourselves PRODUCE REAL MOVIES about us FOR us, that show our HUMANITY instead of a degraded one where we are begging for crumbs from the white table and mistreating each other?

      If you look at the MAJORITY of “black” movies created over the last decade, almost every one shows black people as DYSFUNCTIONAL and contemptible people, not raising our kids (The Blind Side) abusing our kids (Precious), murdering our kids (For Colored Girls), being crooked cops (Training Day) and thugs, and pimps (Terrence Howard), and white men’s whores (Monster’s Ball)

      What is it we don’t understand about embracing these WHITE-GENERATED images?

      really, there is nothing more I can say.

      Everyone is free to drink their own poison and I’ll choose to ABSTAIN.

      • Ali McBride says:

        Wow…this is a VERY GOOD response to a question that has been haunting us collectively as a people who are still mind wrestling with our position here in North America! You are speaking my language! We have to learn to do things differently, coupled with supporting Black film. I saw “Mother of George” and “Blue Caprice” and both films were good in my opinion but with Blue Caprice, some of the aforementioned comments made in the posting hold true to this movie. Who produced it? Who distributed it? Although the French do a better job than White American in their depiction of us, as the French film director did in Blue Caprice, is is ironic that he chose to do a movie about the snipers that terrorized the north-east for a few weeks? These are questions that we really have to ask ourselves when it comes to the selfishness of racial survival.

  12. […] Is “Lee Daniels, The Butler” (Really) A “Black Movie?” (racismws.com) […]

  13. Joe says:

    Great post. Well thought out and informative. Also great show on Friday.

    • TrojanPam says:

      @ Joe

      Glad you found it constructive (the post and the program)

      Please share the link to this post with others, it’s time we STOP FINANCING our own degradation!

  14. My Own Voice says:

    You know what…it was a story needed to be told. It displayed so many truths, that lynchings happened in cities, slaver went deep into the civil rights movement. That at the core of almost every racist person you knew it was wrong, yet you did it because society told you to do as such. That Kennedy wasn’t always pro black and Reagan was just a man pushed around by his wife who wasn’t totally anit-black. The fact that a lot of major decisions were discussed one on one with that Butler, and what he saw in his lifetime. How some people ignored racism, accepted the society and just did what they felt was right. How his son and he himself fought different sides of social issues in two distinctively different ways. The issues of the black family and how having a voice took away having manners and respect to some degree.

    Life sometimes is about perspective…I am PhD student in the dissertation phase of my program. I decided to years ago because so many black men just don’t go this far into education. Most of the time I am alone as the youngest black man in most of my classes. Truth is whites embrace me more, because my older black peers see me as some threat or exhibit. I didn’t grow anywhere but the west side of Chicago which taught me how to be special…yet I am exiled by my kind for reaping the benefits of my ancestors hard work. As a culture sometimes we tend to be hypocrites and exist on the negative playing field and we have got to stop.

    I will never deny someone’s reality, my 93 year old grandmother from Mississippi will never like white people, and I am okay because what she saw in her lifetime I cannot blame her. She also respects the fact that I don’t hate them, and is happy that I don’t have to feel the same way she does when they approach her. Yeah some stuff happened in the making of the film, and yeah Lee Daniels had his name slapped on it, but he gets to hold that glory. No matter all the lies, deceit, and treachery a great story was told that needed to be heard. Don’t negate the story.

    • TrojanPam says:

      @ My Own Voice

      I can appreciate your perspective BUT there are bigger issues at work here

      #1 – we live under a system of white supremacy. That cannot be disputed

      #2 – black people are under conditions of WAR — via economics, education, law enforcement/criminal justice, and the media is a MAJOR PROPAGANDA machine that is being used to promote white supremacy/black submission UNDER the guise of “entertainment”

      #3 — only a people who WANT to stay slaves would allow their enemies to TELL THEIR STORIES. Why does (white) Hollywood refuse to let black people tell our OWN STORIES? Because they tell the stories in the perspective that best suits white supremacy.

      It is very telling that the black father (the Butler) is hostile toward his son for wanting to fight against his own oppression — as an SELF-RESPECTING human being should do — and instead tells his son he wants to “fight” for a country that treats black people like dogs(?) How is that self-respecting? And the Black Panthers (of which I had a family member who was one) were demonized as thugs for stating they had the right to defend themselves if attacked.

      Bottom line, EVERYTHING that comes out of Hollywood that tells “black stories” is a WARNING that the clock is turning backwards on black people.

      I know you may not see what I am saying, as I have lived a lot longer than you (didn’t say I was smarter) so I would strongly advise you not to disregard what I have said and perhaps keep it in the back of your mind for future reference and food for thought.

      My blog is NOT about negating a story, it’s about encouraging black people to UNDERSTAND that we are in a system of white supremacy and that, this system NEVER takes a break, because it is functioning 24-7 — and that we cannot afford to SLEEP ON OUR JOBS — even when being ‘entertained’ or having white people “tell our stories.”

      Unfortunately, I suspect you might understand in the near future exactly what I am talking about. I hope you’ll check out my “Counter-Racism Boot Camp” which can be found at the top menu.

      Thanks for sharing your story!

  15. Rupert Kinnard says:

    I truly appreciate what My Own Voice had to say. I have a number of issues with quite a number of TrojanPam’s assertions along with and a few of the other comments featured here on this page. I was born in 1954, so I wonder if TrojanPam has lived longer than I have. I don’t think it much matters.

    First of all I have no doubt that the vast majority of those who have posted here will have any change of thought when confronted with another point of view, so I have no expectation of that. I do have some degree of respect for what seems to be the “group thought” of this post.
    Someone commented, “Excellent investigative work…Instead of idle speculation you’ve provided soild evidence.” I am having problems with that statement. I didn’t think that the post seemed to have very much need for “solid evidence” given that the initial premise that Lee Daniel’s The Butler “was meant to be considered a “Black film”. You, TrojanPam, didn’t think it fit into your opinion of what constitutes a “Black film”. It would seem that most of the people who have commented agree with her. I simply respect your opinion as one way to look at it.

    I think your asserting that the film was deliberately being promoted as a “Black film” by white people is purely your opinion and simply the way that YOU want to see it. There are NO facts connected to that. Why did they “slap” the names and images of Oprah and Lee Daniels on it? How about because Daniels was the director and Oprah was one of the stars of the film. Why were people calling it “Oprah’s movie?” She has the advantage of having this little thing that might be considered name recognition…and a bit of an international following. WHY didn’t they promote the WHITE screenwriter who wrote the movie? Name a well-known film where the screenwriter was promoted more than the actors and the director.

    Using your criteria there are a number of my favorite films which I consider to be great black films that would not fit your definition…mostly because of the films not having a black producer; Lady Sings the Blues, A Raisin in the Sun, Do the Right Thing, Sounder, Cooley High, Native Sun, The Spook Who Sat by the Door, Beloved, Eve’s Bayou, Ali and The Tuskegee Airmen just to name a few. If, as a proud black man, a film strikes me as revealing truths about Black people as the central characters in a powerful and emotional fashion that rings true to me, I consider it to be a black film. Certainly if a great black writer and a wonderful black cast pulls together a great “black film” and all the white producer does is believe in the project and has respect for the filmmaker and the cast AND their vision and helps finance the effort, the film can become a great movie that can move all people.

    Given the passion of your feelings against this film as representing such a huge problem for black people, it must be painful for you to realize that the film has managed to attract enough people in this country to top the North American box office chart for three consecutive weekends. I have seen it twice and the second time I saw it, here in Portland, OR there was a truly wonderful discussion held in theater where a colorful mix of people could talk about the themes of the film and how it affected them. Of course you are free to share with other all the problems you have with The Butler, but clearly for tons of others viewing the film was a meaningful experience.

    I agree that as black people “…our minds have been damaged for so long and so deep that we haven’t recovered.” and “As the saying goes, you can lead black people to freedom…but the problem is, some of them don’t know that they are slaves!” Unfortunately I also know that both of those quotes manifests within the black community in many ways. Many of the attitudes in response in what you have written and the responses also reflect the negative effects of racism on us as people of color. There are more than one way to not “know that they are slaves!”

    Of course you are free to share with other all the problems you have with The Butler, but clearly for tons of others viewing the film was a meaningful experience.

    • TrojanPam says:

      @ Rupert,

      who said: “You, Trojan Pam, didn’t think it fit into your opinion of what constitutes a “Black film”. It would seem that most of the people who have commented agree with her. I simply respect your opinion as one way to look at it. I think your asserting that the film was deliberately being promoted as a “Black film” by white people is purely your opinion and simply the way that YOU want to see it. There are NO facts connected to that.”
      —–

      Me: The FACT that the title of the movie is–“Lee Daniels’ The Butler”– and Lee Daniels is a BLACK MALE, (who, incidentally didn’t even want his name used in the title) would lead a reasonably logical person to conclude that this movie is being marketed as a BLACK MOVIE.

      You can disagree, that’s your choice — and your opinion, and speaking of “opinions,” of course, I’m posting my opinions. Isn’t that what a blog is for? The blog owner’s personal opinions?

      You said they’re using “name recognition” to promote the movie, which DISPROVES YOUR OWN POINT, that you do not agree that they are marketing this movie as a “black movie,” using TWO black people: Oprah and Lee Daniels.

      Who is that marketing aimed at? Jewish people? White people? Norwegian people? Irish people? Or black people?

      Let me ask you a question. When’s the last time white Hollywood made a film about a slice of white or Jewish history and used a BLACK screenwriter? I’ll be waiting for your answer.

      My definition of a black movie is not as rigid as you seem to think — because I said in my post that random white people might be involved in a “black movie” which means they could be a producer or director, BUT the one thing that makes it a BLACK MOVIE is a BLACK PERSON WROTE THE MOVIE from a BLACK PERSPECTIVE.

      Just like a black screenwriter would NEVER be allowed to write the screenplay for “Schindler’s List” because he or she is not JEWISH.

      Black people are so used to having white people control our images that we think this is normal.

      It is NOT

      But it does explains why there are a TON of negative images of black people in movies, music, and television.

      No, it’s not painful to me, I expected it for the reason I stated above, and considering the HIGH level of confusion within the black collective, especially among those who are living in predominantly white areas and states and possibly/probably having sexual intercourse with white people.

      As far as your claim that “…a ton of others found viewing the movie a meaningful experience…” doesn’t change ONE WORD I wrote.

      If I was trying to go along with “a ton of others…” I wouldn’t be doing this blog.

      Just because a lot of people do or like something doesn’t means it’s correct or logical or sensible or self-respecting.

      A lot of black people listen to music and comedy that degrades black people. Does that make it “meaningful?” Not in my opinion.

      Like Jiddu Krishnamurti said, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

      And I’ll add one more axiom: “The one who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd.” – Albert Einstein

      You’re absolutely right, I’m free to post my opinions and will continue doing so until I run out of them.

  16. […] déduite : à l’homme blanc). Source : Racism is White Supremacy (RacismWS.com). Traduit de l’anglais (Etats-Unis), par RC pour Etat d’Exception. […]

  17. pope says:

    obama is now – the chicago jews in bnai brith freemasons – new butler

  18. […] Is “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” (Really) A “Black Movie?” […]

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