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What Did We Win?


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Oscar. So what did they do when black people complained about last year’s Oscars? They came back and found the saddest images of black people and reward them. People are not going to like what I’m saying and that might be because most blacks just want to fit in no matter the cost to their human dignity. They just want to be rewarded by their beloved Hollywood and they could care less about the implications and negative effects on the masses.

This year the Oscars award images of weakness in black people over the powerful images of blacks fighting for the liberation of their people. Hollywood says you can have images of black men as gays and drunkards but under no circumstance will we acknowledge heroic images of blacks. I know some confused people will not understand what I’m getting at. Those people are going to make this about something other than what it’s really about. Those people will call me names and place stigmas on me but those folks are the same ones fighting against stigmas. The whole thing is kind of funny when you think about it.

Some people are going to say it’s about my hate for gay people or my unrealistic desires to not face the facts of life. Just what facts of life would they be speaking of? Let me just say I have no problems with drunks (#Fences) and gay people (#Moonlight) because I myself, am a drunk and I have gay people in my family. However, that is not the point and those issues have nothing to do with the issues I’m trying to address. My point is about imagery and their need to always promote the image they see as fitting for blacks. My other point is directed at my people and how come we are so eager to have their approval in everything we do. We wish to be a part of their so much that we would take anything they give us without think of the larger issues at stake.

I watched a lot of movies over the last few years and some of the works by black actors and actresses have far surpassed what we seen awarded this year. For me, no movie was more powerful than #TheBirthOfANation by Nate Parker, yet when the awards are handed out movies like Birth of a Nation are placed in the background or shadows.  Everything about Nate Parker’s movie was epic from the cinematography to the subject matter but no praise from the industry. Instead of playing fair with Nate’s movie the Hollywood played games and did a black-bag job on the movie to keep it from being as successful as it could have been.

Given what’s been happening in America with regard to race and the rise of the new Nazi party over the last few years one has to wonder why they chose now to award black artist. Also, why do they always choose to award the blemished images of black people on screen before they honor noble images of black men and women? I could care less either way but I still don’t get why my people need to have their stamp of approval on our works before we find our own work worthy of praise? I guess we still have a long way to go as a people in America? Some will say we are never satisfied but those same people never settle for less than the best for themselves and why shouldn’t we feel the same?

You can make what you want of this but I’m simply saying I have had enough of them trying to control our image. We need to start walking away from some of the things they offer us, especially when what they offer diminishes who we are as a people. You may ask how an Oscar awards diminishes us. Well to me it gives them power over our images and who our heroes should be in life and on film. I believe they have had that power for too long in Hollywood and its high time we reject what they have been offering us. The last thing I want to say is imagery is powerful and it’s dangerous to put that power in the hand of others. Also given the history between Hollywood and black people we should really scrutinize whatever they give us especially when we know the hateful history of Hollywood towards blacks.

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Sengbe Ben Yosef ©2017

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