I rarely take the time out of my already busy day to sit down in front of my idiot box and watch half-assed awards shows. I mean, if the awards shows were actually worth the corn kernels in my turds, I am sure I could find a way to squeeze in a couple hours of my time to partake in their overdone, Hollywoodsy, showbizzy, primetime, red carpeted dramatic bullshit. But just to avoid slap-boxing the air after a particularly fucked up awards pick – I simply choose to not watch.
Besides, what’s the point? The Oscars are whitewashed as fuck. It’s not like I’m going to see many, if any, people of color Cupid Shuffling across the stage to church hug and fake kiss the presenters at the podium anyway. So why tune-in to them, right? Ever since Kendrick Lamar lost to Macklemore for Best Rap Album of the Year, I’ve pretty much concluded that I’m just going to boycott the Grammys altogether. And now, I’m on some “Fuck the Oscars and they mama” shit, too.
Why? Because they’re exclusive. Literally. That’s why.
The same must also be said for commentary and criticism. It’s Brady-Bunched all the fuck up. It’s bland as hell. And sure, it’s peppered here and there with a few Black & Brown faces and a handful of White folks that are ultimately down with the swirl when they want to be. But for the most part, rhetoric and literary reaction is reserved for Wonder Bread-eating MFers that are extremely unqualified to critique, much less comment, on what it is to eat, sleep, and live blackness.
That’s why we need our own.
I mean, we already have awards shows if we want to be all technical. The BET Awards and the Soul Train Music Awards exist. And I’ll keep it one hundred with you, their mere mention is at the height of which I will ever positively comment on those two. But at least they’re there, which is more than I can say for other platforms.
And let us not forget we also have Black film critics like Wilson Morales and Rebecca Theodore. Or Wesley Morris and Roger Ebert and…
…Ok…Roger is not Black. Hell, he’s not even alive. But he’s always been a fair & distinct mind when reviewing Black films. Plus, his widow is a sista…so there’s that.
The point is we need more. A lot more than the above mentioned voices. And we need them to focus on just our shit because the Wonder Breads of the world are already overexposed as fuck.
You see, film, as well as television, has become the most important form of mass media and artistic expression up to this point in human history followed closely by music. Therefore, it’s important as a billion and one fucks for our artwork to be measured, critiqued, built up and/or picked apart, by other Black folk.
This is not because we should feel the need to destroy what we build, but because we need to be held accountable for what we build by our esteemed peers. We also need the encouragement to build more. The motivation too. And finally, we so sorely need the gawd damn recognition when we build something completely and expressively amazing as fuck — and too often it feels as if we’re simply overlooked for something less Black and more middle American. We need to hear and have the ability to say what is great and what isn't great about our work. Our own criticism, whether we want to admit it or not, is what creates our legitimacy.
Now, I know in this age of information and social media that everyone is essentially a critic. The dodgeball of opinion is tossed around from family to friend to coworker and back again. And by the time you’ve finished playing catch with the idea of possibly seeing the latest Denzel Washington movie, you’ve subconsciously have had your opinion already shaped by a bunch of MFers that not only half-assed watched the film, but also lack the context and facts to judge so harshly or praise so profusely.
Therefore, we need a more dependable vehicle for our opinion. We need something that places less value on sales numbers and traffic…and more value on intelligent people of color that know the craft.
Take the blog TheUndefeated for example. It was created by ESPN specifically for Black people and specializes in the intersectionality of athletic competition and culture. And right there, on that domain name, an impressive collection of some of the best sportswriters in the Black community all unify to form one, giant journalistic machine as if they were some sort melanin-injected Voltron. Imagine we create more sites just like it…but for film and music?
I’ve already decided to focus my own blog toward that direction. But my case is that we need more than just me. We need a family of opinions. We need to set standards for our own stories and arts and not look to whitewashed interpretations of our problems on film. But of all these things, what’s need most is for people to read our pieces. Follow them. Let others know you exist. Then, and only then can we collectively with pride say, “And the winner is…”