Another major upstart of authentic Black creativity in film is welcomed
Black people have been represented in American movies for a considerable amount of time now, but the recognition and reward for their talents have been sparse, specifically in the creative department. In the 90 years of the Oscars, Jordan Peele was made the first black man to win the best screenplay award for his unforgettable indie film, Get Out. He was only the fourth black person to be nominated for the award. It is an uplifting and deserving achievement that should inspire an uptick in fresh ideas by more black filmmakers. These ideas also need to be approved more often than not.
Unfortunately, nowadays we have gotten news of a number of rumored and confirmed renditions for black television shows and movies such as Martin and House Party. They could end up being worthwhile efforts but what is there to really gain from this? Rehashing old ideas could possibly be for the wrong reasons. It could be just a money grab taking advantage of black nostalgia.
New black ideas for movies and television shows have slowed down noticeably in this reboot era and when there is a black film that is not a reboot, it usually follows the same storylines and archetypes that are far too common. Different styles and ideas from black innovators are entirely and especially necessary in the current climate.
Indie films are more artistically glorified because they are not as systematically built to succeed as any Marvel film. There is no big budget production company behind an indie film. Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It and Rick Famuyiwa’s Dope succeeded and are memorable because of their distinct originality, not hefty advertising and marketing. If a movie is incredible, word will spread. Independent films made by black people may be one of the best ways to implement authentic black narratives onto the big screen. We saw this with Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight as it won Best Picture last year. The sincere and unfiltered artistic expression is something to be respected and supported.
Rapper turned film director Boots Riley has a movie he wrote, directed, and produced arriving this summer. It’s a sci-fi comedy that has been branded by critics as “the WTF film of the year.” It’s inventive and button-pushing, as follows the life of a black man working in corporate inside an obtuse world. It’s called Sorry To Bother You and it’s the satiric comedy that is necessary for black spaces.
The irregularity of the film can be noticed by just watching the trailer. We follow the utterly bonkers life of Cassius Green (played by Lakeith Stanfield) as he rises through the ranks of once dead-end corporate career. The reason for his evolution is because of his “white voice”, which is regarded as the key to success. The white voice is used by multiple characters in the film. The black characters who remove a bit of identity are celebrated mightily.
Boots Wiley is known for his opinions as he is an integral member of politically charged rap group The Coup. He is also an active political and social organizer. Sorry To Bother You is actually named after the group’s latest studio album. It should be noted that the setting of his movie is in a different version of Oakland, the city he was raised in. Black people have always been outspoken about their troubles in the working world, so this film already has the relatability factor. A more important thing to praise is its overall uniqueness. It’s not hard to find out the basis of what the movie is via the trailer, but it should be obvious to people that its way more than that.
This independent film looks promising and a proper performance may inspire more black filmmakers who want to restructure the black film industry. Make sure you catch Sorry To Bother You in theaters July 6th.