Is #GodsofEgypt proof that Hollywood misrepresents and strives to lighten the legacy of Black history and their true cultural identity prior to slavery and the civil rights movement?
Essentially another film whitewashing the whole cast of the land of my ancestors which will further perpetuate a myth for another generation, who still don’t believe that ancient peoples of that land built those great structures and had a rich culture of technological, mathematical and spiritual advancement -many of those forming the basis of what was to follow ie Christianity etc, were black. Again?
Here’s a quote from Ridley Scott defending the casting of another ‘whitewashed’ film, last years Gods and Kings (source).
I can’t mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such, I’m just not going to get it financed. So the question doesn’t even come up.
Director Ridley Scott defended his decision, claiming it was for commercial reasons, which proves to me that Hollywood really isn’t for black people nor popular music and major label record deals. They both do more harm to the reputation and misrepresentation of black people due to their roles; criminals, maids, butlers, strippers, gang bangers, drug dealers, lazy, unemployed, uneducated, ignorant rappers, etc.
I guess we can probably trace Hollywood not being for black folks and their misrepresentation to The Birth of A Nation (1915), which was a silent film adaptation of a KKK novel. It had white actors in blackface portraying black men as unintelligent and sexually aggressive against white women. It seems to me that these same stereotypes are widely held today, but rather than them being conscious of where it comes from, it seems to be widely perpetuated through media stereotypes, the hyper sexualised and violent culture of modern day rap that major labels, owed by individuals who would rather see misrepresentations of a people educate the young and become their role models to continue a cycle of decline rather than something to uplift, empower and elevate.
In writing this I realise the importance of why the black diaspora needs its own, standalone entertainment and business infrastructure -not a puppet show funded externally. This is the only way where we can focus on the issues of the black diaspora, tell the stories without any punches held or dilution, teach the real culture, invest in research and present that to our audience, report on what’s happening in our own diaspora and connect with communities across the globe. Until blacks are at the forefront and control their own cultural export wholeheartedly, no culture vultures or those who retell our stories to fit their own ends in some form of extreme cultural appropriation can be held accountable.
It’s the same thing UNIA and many before and to the present day have talked about for ages, maybe rather than selling our cultural enterprises to the highest bidder who is often someone seeking to subdue and crush the competitor from outside of the cultural interest, we should think about the cultural and educational aspects such a providing jobs for those who are often marginalised, ensuring you represent the cultural and be the truth that these youths look up to instead.
These are my thoughts on the matter, let me know what you think in the comments and please share across all networks.
Peace and Love