Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Red Tails Versus Tuskegee Airmen

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African American pilots to fly during World War II.  In a time of racial segregation, racial injustice, racial violence and racial degradation these men STILL rose and fought for the country they called home.

Red Tails is the major motion movie adaption of their story as produced by George Lucas of Star Wars fame.  George Lucas has said that he used $100 million of his own money to produce this since Hollywood had no faith that a movie with a majority all Black cast would be beneficial.
Red Tails, according to IMDb,
A crew of African American pilots in the Tuskegee training program, having faced segregation while kept mostly on the ground during World War II, are called into duty under the guidance of Col. A.J. Bullard.

I have not seen this movie and it is doubtful that I will get to the theaters to see it.  However I will most likely buy the movie when it hits the stores on DVD.  There was a big push and MANY debates about the viewing of this movie.  People of all shades of black were saying how IMPERATIVE it was that "We" as in the African American community go out in mass and watch this movie.  I guess the rationale was that if Black people showed up in droves then Hollywood would all of a sudden "GET IT" and collectively say "WOW Black people do pay to watch movies, Black money spends JUST LIKE white money, We NEVER KNEW"!!  Or maybe Hollywood would collectively say something like, "WOW, Black people can act, who knew!!"  But me personally, I think that Hollywood is collectively saying, "That George Lucas is one talented mofo! He can make a smash hit out of anything"!!
Don't get me wrong this is DEFINITELY a story worth telling.  Which brings me to my next point.  With the drama surrounding the movie Red Tails, my question is, "What is the main issue with this movie?"  Is the point to teach black people about the history of the Tuskegee airmen OR is the point to prove to Hollywood that a movie starring a largely black cast can bring in millions proving once and for all that black actors are valid?

Rather than spend $9.50 per ticket for my family and I to go to the theater and see Red Tails, I paid less than $10.00 and bought the movie Tuskegee Airmen which was an HBO made for television movie which came out in 1995.
Tuskegee Airmen, according to IMDb,
The true story of how a group of African American pilots overcame racist opposition to become one of the finest US fighter groups in World War II

So as you can see I get the same HISTORICAL story, I watched it in my home where we got the chance to discuss it and answer questions and explain anything that my youngest child wanted to know.  I go to the movies very rarely and when I go it is to see a movie that I choose to see, not a movie that society is trying to pressure me into seeing because I am black.  Frankly it is NOT Hollywood's job or George Lucas' job to teach me or my family, or the Black community our Black History.  That is my job and the job of the Elders, Mentors, and Activists in our communities.  As with other movies that I own, I always try to give my family the view of the original and the view of the remake to compare and I will buy Red Tails when it hits Amazon just to add to the library.

To learn more about the Tuskegee Airmen (No, not the movie but the real Tuskegee Airmen of history) PLEASE go HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.  Knowledge IS Power!

And whether or not George Lucas recoups his $100 million, well that is not my problem now is it?

Be Blessed All,

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I'm not sure why a remake was needed, but I guess someone thought the way to get people to get the story, was to make it over again. Personally I have a problem with remakes. Classics should be honored for what they are - CLASSICS. It should be OK to show a movie that is a classic without having to make it over. IJS

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