I just returned from the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland, Ca. It was made clearer to me earlier today that support for the new release, “Red Tails” is not only needed, but necessary. Initially I was not buying George Lucas’s sense of self-importance. After learning more about the controversy surrounding the production and release of this film, I was successfully coerced into believing my patronage was crucial.
Overall, an entertaining flick. Although, I was expecting a bit more. I’m waiting for the Facebook/Twitter updates to roll in over the course of the weekend testifying to its greatness and its importance. Oh, hold on, incoming…
Years ago I was informed (via Facebook status updates) of how “Avatar” was quite certainly the greatest movie ever made and of its social significance (I was not impressed until I just happened to see it playing recently on TNT or something and decided to watch it for its aesthetic quality).
As I mentioned, I enjoyed the movie. The dogfight scenes were spectacular and the acting was, um…aight. Throughout the movie, several people were clapping. I admittedly clapped twice, once during something something and once at the end. Just after clapping, however, something else occurred. While I could hear several people openly crying during the film, I myself did not find a moment in which such a thing was necessary. That is, until the movie was finished and the credits started to roll. Now, I didn’t begin weeping or anything, but I was overcome with a recognizable sadness I have experienced from time to time. Many were clapping and weeping at the heroics and the few sad moments. Not I. What caused my eyes to well up momentarily was imaging what those, then proud Black men would be returning to. Those that know our history know full well the heroics of the Tuskegee Airmen were only lauded on the battlefields on the other side to the Earth.
The sadness I experienced was the knowledge of the hardships these men, these men who believed they were risking their lives and dying in the name of freedom, would face when returning home. After all the heroics, the successful missions, the camaraderie shared with their brothers-at-arms, even the respect and gratitude gained from their white, fellow countrymen, these heroes would return to a home in which they would be forced to surrender the well earned title “American Hero” for the lesser, more popular title in America – Niggers. Yes…after all the lives lost, the fighting for dignity across the world, these men, their children, their children’s children, and their children’s children’s children would still have to fight, still have to burn down cities, still have to riot – still have to play the same old game they and their ancestors had been playing since the early 1700s.
A friend offered the following via text after I expressed my sadness:
Aren’t things getting better though? If only slowly?
I’m truly sorry for sounding like such a pessimist, however things have been “getting better…if only slowly” for far, far too long. All deliberate speed is pacifying us. Smothering us into an illusion of progress. My heart hurts for the Tuskegee Airmen. Truly, it does. You shouldn’t have had to return home to this:
Los Angeles 1943 (Zoot Suit Uprising)
Peeksill, NY 1949
Little Rock 1957
Rochester, NY 1964
Benton Harbor, MI 1966
Plainfield, NJ 1967
Cairo, IL 1967
Buffalo, NY 1967
Washington D.C. 1968
Kansas City, MO 1968
Louisville, KY 1968
Camden, NJ 1971
Attica State Prison 1971
Tampa 1987, 89, 1992
Los Angeles 1992
Benton Harbor, MI 2003
Oakland, CA 2010, 2011…
These men didn’t deserve this.