in recent years, whenever that citadel of wealthy pedophiles known as hollywood has decided to sell a piece of mutilated Black history back to the very people it stole it from, there’s been backlash from potential Black filmgoers on social media. while hollywood deserves to be put to the torch like any other plantation, this backlash hasn’t been directed at the u.s. army & CIA-propagandizing capitalist film industry as a whole, but rather narrowly at Black actors who aren’t from the united states playing the roles of Black u.s.ian historical figures on screen, a frustratingly incomplete reaction that doesn’t seek justice for all Black people, but instead intellectual property rights for one set of aspiring Black bourgeoisie over its perceived competitors. of course, most major Black celebrities, including A-list actors, are as devoted to slaveholding society as the nonblacks they serve…but Daniel Kaluuya & Cynthia Erivo aren’t any more or any less opps than Denzel Washington & Morgan Freeman. it’s all the same people who give them their lines & market their brands, anyway.
prioritizing Black amerikans—a group defined by their identification with the borders of the united states of amerika—above other Black people in this way, without a meaningful consideration of the anti-Black terms on which mass-market entertainment is produced and distributed, necessarily means prioritizing collaboration with nonblack slaver-colonizer amerikans, since it is that group which created those borders and enforces them to its own benefit.
if one attempts to define Black “amerikanness” by some sort of shared experience outside of national borders—for example, a shared culture, a shared language, or a shared experience of oppression—it would quickly become apparent to any honest student of the Black past & present that these shared experiences are transnational & cannot be circumscribed to the united states alone.
what cornerstones of Black amerikan culture are meaningfully independent of influence from other Black national cultures? (certainly not hip hop, born in the Bronx: one of most nationally diverse & immigrant-rich Black communities in the country.)
what forms of Black amerikan speech are absent of influences from the Black diaspora as a whole?
what experiences of Black oppression are unique to those within the united states, when the global project of Black chattel slavery is the foundation of such experiences?
if we as Black people seek an end to our oppressions, diverse national experiences should be cause for diverse and thoughtful forms of collaboration. the u.s. entertainment industry stands as a barrier to this kind of work by design, not by accident.
& when Black people outside the united states, united kingdom, & other oppressor nations take part in inciting reactionary diaspora wars, they are typically mobilizing their experiences to demand a seat at the master’s table—while at the same time Black people within their own nations would rather burn down the house.
properly contextualized, it should come as no surprise that the loudest demands for imperial chauvinism in “Black” entertainment come from the reactionary, xenophobic #ADOS/#DACS movement, which openly appeals to the most conservative sector of white society—and even gets heard.
two months after the emergence of a slave revolt which sparked solidarity uprisings across the world, colonizers are seeking a return to “business as usual”—Black death as mass spectacle. why fight for the right to have the chicago police department break down your door & fill your body with bullets while you sleep?