I’m sure many of you have heard about the controversy surrounding George Lucas’ new film Red Tails. The film tells the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first all African-American fighter pilot team during WWII. They established African-Americans in the military both competent and a necessity to winning the war. It took George Lucas 23 years to get this film made, finally giving up on making it through the studio system and funding it himself with a $58 million budget. After the film was completed, he spent an additional $35 million for marketing and distribution because the studios still refused to back the film.
We live in a diverse world and have a black president, yet Hollywood refuses to acknowledge the changes in the world. Like the views of the military during WWII, Hollywood does not believe that there is market for films with a majority black cast, and in turn ,no way of making money. If there is no market than why is every Tyler Perry film financially successful and liked by audiences? Or must the African-American be dressed in drag to make a profit? In response to Hollywood’s ignorance of this film, an Occupy Red Tails movement was started online, encouraging moviegoers of all races to support this film and send a message to Hollywood: WE WANT TO SEE DIVERSITY ONSCREEN. Prominent celebrities spoke out in support of the film. Tyler Perry thanked George Lucas “for having the courage to do this [because] movies starring an all African-American cast are on the verge of becoming extinct.”
I saw the film Friday at the Grove and was impressed by the turnout. The theater was half full at 1pm with an array of ages and races.
Spoiler Alert: The audience applauded during the Red Tails first mission when they killed 10 fighter planes and a German base. At the end of the film, when the Tuskegee Airmen were shown decorated with honors, the audience actually stood up and cheered. If we really are as narrow-minded as Hollywood thinks, than why are audiences having such a strong reaction to the film?
I usually don’t watch action movies but I did enjoy the film. It was refreshing to see an educated black cast. Most of the Tuskegee Airmen came from educated, middle class families and graduated college, many with the intention of becoming doctors and lawyers after the war. The film provided a nice history lesson from an often unheard of point of view. And for you action movie fans, there are plenty of aerial battles and things blowing up.
So far, we have proven Hollywood wrong by opening number two at the box office this weekend behind Underworld. To date the film has grossed $19.1 million with an A- on CineScore.
*Article originally posted here
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