Lynne d Johnson



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01.16.07 07:42 PM

Resurgence of Black Films


Perhaps not since the days of John Singleton and Spike Lee's early successes have we seen African-American themed films take over the box office--and the awards in such a manner. For Dreamgirls, it was easy. The motion picture did not stray too far from the original Broadway production. Also, signing the likes of Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy, as well as Beyonce for that matter, was a sure bet at pulling in mainstream audiences as well.

But when it comes to the success that Stomp The Yard realized at the box office this weekend, I'm a little more baffled. Some might say there was little competition at the box office this weekend, but I beg to differ .The Pursuit of Happiness and Night at the Musuem were still there, and Freedom Writer had its opening.

I believe that the advertising/promotion for this film drew as much interest from the general marketplace as it had from the African-American consumer base. Visually arresting images of young black men charged with passion and stomping around--who wouldn't want to see it?

Though there's a brief you'll get a very brief lesson on what being Greek on an Af-Am campus means (very brief indeed), the film instead dumbs down what pledging or being in a fraternity or sorority really means, but dresses it up with dynamic choreography (a la You Got Served). Stomp The Yard isn't a great movie, but it is an enjoyable one, and perhaps it was a bit of luck that it was released on a weekend in which no cinematic masterpieces were released. Yet that doesn't mean it wouldn't still have met the fate of one of Tyler Perry's films and ended up doing well just because. Just because-- even after all of this time, African-Americans still don't see enough of themselves in mainstream movies, which leads to a choice of African-American themed content over the mainstream fare.

And finally, the movie was released on MLK Jr. weekend. So a movie like Freedom Writer, where some white do-gooder comes in to save the day at a minorty attended school, just doesn't have a chance when people are reflecting on or thinking about the advancements of their race.

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