Guest Post: Just Say ‘No’ To Django

by Laverne Merriweather

There appears to be a lot of buzz over the new movie from director Quentin Tarantino starring Jamie Foxx, Samuel Jackson, Kerry Washington and Leonardo Dicaprio titled Django Unchained about a freed slave turned bounty hunter who vows revenge on the men that have kidnapped his wife. The movie is getting much praise from critics and talk of several Oscar nods.

Still, because of the subject matter, it has caused a lot of controversy too. Now, having written that, I have to admit on paper it sounds like a pretty kick ass story, and Lord knows after years of movies with the long suffering black folks at the hands of ‘whitey’ it would be interesting – to the say the least – to see how a tale of payback would play out. However, like a number of black people, I have a bunch of problems with this film for several reasons and I haven’t even seen it yet.

First off, the fact that ugly bighead Quentin Tarantino is involved in any way is enough to make me want to cringe. For those of you not in the know, I can’t STAND Tarantino. He’s an arrogant, snide, pissy, egotistical little prick who tries to use his so-called artistic license to get away with being a rabid racist cuntbag. What’s worse though is that he’s never really had his feet held to the fire by black people. Something I have yet to understand. Are we disgusted with the n-word or aren’t we? Because if we are, then we have a very questionable way of showing it.

Granted, the movie is set in slavery days, and to not have the word used would be disingenuous, but Tarantino is someone who has used and abused the n-word even when it wasn’t appropriate. My sister told me about a scene in one of his earlier movies True Romance where Dennis Hopper, in a fit of rage, called Christopher Walken the n-word. Ummmm WHAT?! Not only is Mr. Walken white, he is super pasty white, and if he’s getting called that word, then the person who came up with that idea is hiding behind his use by saying that he’s a ‘filmmaker’. Yeah, bullshit punk. You are a sorry ass racist, and no amount of song and dance about how you are an artist or how it’s just a movie will sway me or make me think this is only for the sake of the movie and not something that you would say in private company when you know none of the people you try to fool will hear you.

Even if the movie were directed and produced by somebody else like say John Singleton or Ang Lee, I would still take a pause, but the fact that a self- absorbed a-hole who gets off on celebrating a word of pure hatred and cruelty will definitely make me think twice about spending my dollars on it. I like to be entertained as much as the next person, but paying for the wealthy lifestyle of a pussy little bigot is not my idea of good time. And for those of you who say, “well it’s only a movie” so was Birth of a Nation. Should I also happily celebrate that piece of garbage as well?

I know there are many black people who are completely done with those Hollywhite slave movies where black people are the perpetual victim as they spend damn near every moment of the film being either a punching bag for their white master or an unwilling object of desire having to wait for some benevolent white soul to come and save them while screaming for a call to end this violent horror (cough Amistad cough). There actually were a few slave revolts back in the day. The most famous one being led by a man named Nat Turner, but I think we all know how badly that story ended.

While the whole notion of getting even is a sweet one, it’s also not the least bit realistic. And before anyone goes back to the ‘movie’ argument, if you are going to do a film about slavery, then at least attempt to put some believable enough humanity into it. Slavery was no fairy tale. If anything, it was quite possibly one of the most fucked up experiences any group would ever have to go through, save the Jews and the Holocaust. So, to reduce that sickening tragedy to an ‘angry black man getting even and it all ends happily’ story is insipid at best and downright insulting at worst.

This reminds me of those so-called really, really bold black folks who love to brag how if they were back in slavery days, Jim Crow days or in any day where black people had to hang their head and pick their battles when what they actually wanted to do was open up a can of whoop ass. The only reason why you get to say that is because all the smoke has cleared, and if you were to truly find out what it was like to be a slave, you would behave the exact same way they did and that is someone who appreciates breathing so much that they are willing to suffer some of the shittiest indignities you could ever imagine someone having to.

Playing dress up and trying to rewrite the past doesn’t change it or erase the pain of it. All it does is exacerbate it by your thoughtless insensitivity. If this movie were being done out of respect and not just to make a buck, then I might consider seeing it on the big screen, but since it’s not, they will just have to contend with a very empty seat and my middle finger.

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42 thoughts on “Guest Post: Just Say ‘No’ To Django

  1. Oh man not you tooo!!!! I have got two bad reviews from people so far and that is not good. If I get a third one I am not sure what I will do.

  2. Great post, I think I’m going to pass. This does’nt sound like something I should be supporting. I like Kerry Washington as an actress, but I’ve probably got to pass on this. I don’t like what I’m hearing. But I’ve heard mixed reviews as well. I somewhere in the back of my mind did’nt want to admit that I thought Tarrantino was a racist. I thought because of Samuel L. Jackson that It was about artistry. But I don’t think I can kid myself any longer. I think Tarrantino is a racist and he thinks he’s got a black pass and he can be down with the black folks so it’s ok to take liberties and insult our intelligence. I’m getting annoyed with Samuel L. Jackson, I’ve kind of lost respect for him too.

  3. Brotha Wolf & Laverne; Get ready for this Django action figures. I saw this on the clutch magazine blog. This is just shameful if it’s true. Jamie Foxx and Sam Jackson ought to be ashamed for selling out like this. SMDH. Shameful.

    1. I saw about that already on TMZ and of course because Harvey Levin has three tokens working for him he thinks he can be a voice for black people. Namely by saying the usual white trope of ‘it’s not that big a deal’ and ‘people need to get over it’ SMH!

  4. You know white folks going to eat this up. Tarrantino has just gone too far. He is a ugly little piece of human body waste.

  5. Any movie involving Quentin Tarantino, I avoid like the plague. I was told by other Asian friends to avoid watching Kill Bill for that same reason. I was told that movie practically had a lot of asian clichés. To quote my young cousin and I’m referring to Tarantino here, “He sucks, dude!”

    1. I only saw a clip of Kill Bill and I already recognized several Asian cliches. The clip itself turned me off to the whole movie. I immediately turned the channel to a music station.

    2. I also noticed that when Uma got her revenge the first people she went after were the two women of color not the least bit surprised.

  6. Another excellent article. Though it’s the second time in 24 hours that I’m reading comparisons of the Jewish Holocaust to Slavery. I think we should re-examine that. Slavery lasted for hundreds of years. The Jewish event was comparably like a bad day. Never mind so many other disparities.

    1. Actauall I wasn’t comparing the two I know slavery was a million times worse I’m just saying that very few groups can say that the have endured what black people have and continue to.

  7. @Lavern great post. I know I will probably pay for this but I am going to say it anyway. I think that slavery of blacks in america was much worse than the holocaust, if only because it lasted A LOT longer. Jewish holocaust was from 1930 something to exactly 1945. The Holocaust is officially over. Jews like everyone have their issues and so forth, but nobody is sending them to prison camps anymore. Africans, however, are still getting screwed on every level because of their appearance. How else do you explain companies where the few blacks present have the most stellar qualifications, and are in the same think that most sane people would pick the same as mposition as their white coworkers? How else do you explain Trayvon, Jordan Davis etc? If I had to pick between slavery and Holocaust, I know what I’d pick. This diatribe is by no means intended to dismiss the plight of the Jews.

    1. Not only was slavery longer, but the Nazis actually practiced their “Final Solution” on Blacks first. Research Shark Island in Namibia where from 1904 – 1907 it was a concentration camp to exterminate members of the Herero & Namaqua tribes in German West Sout Africa.

    2. Sorry if it sounded like I was comparing I’m just saying there are few to any situations as fucked up as slavery here in America.

  8. I cant for the life of me understand why some of us uphold this movie and even put down Spike Lee for saying he wouldn’t disrespect his ancestors by seeing the film.
    Everywhere I read, black folks say, “well the N word was used in slavery times” as if it was acceptable then and we should accept it in the film. Quentin is a sleazy punk whose smart enough to get away with his little mind-fucks by having Samuel L Jackson, ace boon coon in the pocket for all his films. Now Jamie Foxx too. Some people are so easily mind-fucked, though, and it’s distressing to me.
    What blows my mind is an older brother I know who is highly intellectual and is a leader and teacher in the church I used to attend has hailed this movie as something that black men can hold dear into posterity!! Fucking mind blowing to me! A brother who searches out the subtleties of racism in the bible, misses ALL the signs in this movie! So stuck on the payoff of the black man “riding off into the sunset with the girl”, he was willing to suspend his reasoning in every other aspect.
    I told the brother that I havent seen nor will see Django. I already have seen it back in 1980 with Driving Miss Daisy or some other movie like that. He told me it’s wrong to judge the movie without seeing it. He said I should go see it to judge it. Hell to the NAWL! I aint paying Quentin to call me a nigger 110 times!

    1. Not defending him, but he probably likes that he sees a Black man killing Whites in the movie as a sort of payback move. Subconsciously, that may be a payoff to him as well.

    2. ‘Ace boon coon’ God that’s a good one I hope you don’t mind if I steal it! And for a better film about black men getting revenge in the West may I suggest “Buck and the Preacher” starring the legendary Harry Belafonte and Sindey Poitier.

  9. A lot of black people are drawn into this movie for different reasons. Mostly we are starved to see ourselves represented on the big screen in certain archetypal ways. For black men it’s finally getting to see themselves as the hero of a western. Many older black men grew up watching westerns on TV. For black women it’s the lure of seeing ourselves finally represented as damsels in distress worthy of rescue. We grew up seeing white women get rescued in many films and fables. Since the film provides us with these longed for images we are willing to ignore the problematic aspects of the film. It’s like a bait and switch move by Tarantino.

    1. You can’t rent some films by Oscar Micheaux a black filmmaker from the silent era and beyond. He made great westerns

  10. I haven’t seen Django and it’s an extremely high probability that I will not go to see it. I’m just perplexed at how Blacks could be so easily duped into being an actor in such a movie or as a mere spectator at the cinema. On a personal level, Django cheapens the inhumanity of slavery; one of the most atrocious encroachment of one group has ever made against another group of people. The aesthetics of a movie should never be able to diminish the terror, brutality and horrors of slavery. I’m afraid that with this movie, Tarantino just may have an opportunity to do just that.

    Just because Henry Louis Gates may have been consulted QT, is not at all an appeasement to me. I have a lot of respect for Mr. Gates, just not as much as I had once before. Moreover, Mr. Gates is the one who wrote an article for the New York Times in April of 2010 in which he essentially stated that Africans and Europeans are equally culpable for the Atlantic slave trade. I’m still befuddled as to why Mr. Gates would say such a thing because the entire African continent was without a slave shipping industry, unlike Europe. However, Mr. Gates was soundly trounced by Dr. Molefi Kete Asante in his rebuttal essay targeting Mr. Gates: The Slave Trade and Reparations: Closing the Gates

    Additionally, I understand that quite a few Blacks in particular accept this movie as a wishful escape hatch or a buffer against the true realities of slavery. I surmise that most Blacks don’t truly want to somehow envision or feel the pain and psyche ache that our ancestors surely endured from sun up, until sun down; from childhood until the balance of their lives were spent.

    In short, I’m unwilling and therefore I cannot accept, and I will not accept this movie as a trope in the uplifting of Black Americans or some imaginary revenge story. This time period (slavery) is irreducible to nothing short of self governing.

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