Black Classic Movies
Cannes Film Festival 2014 is having some classic movies thing going on. I have my own classic movies from remarkable men such as Oscar Micheaux, the African American director who made black and white movies at great odds, no, make that zero odds.
Fast forward to Chris Rock director and star of Head of State. His character is running for the highest office in the land, the President of the United States of America, with his brother (Bernie Mac), a bondsman as his running mate.
He doesn’t have money and blows all his chances for donations because he questions businessmen who make alcohol for babies.
I thought Head of State, which Rock co-wrote with Ali LeRoi was just that, a comedy about the impossibility of having a black man in the White House. Guess who is laughing now? Head of State is therefore a classic in my book.
Barack Obama took the oath of office on January 20, 2009 as the forty fourth president of the United States, which makes him the first African American in the Oval Office. I can imagine him and the First Lady, her mother Marian Robinson, Malia and Sasha screening it at home, wiping tears from laughter.
Buck and the Preacher is a classic. O.K. It is a buddy film, a staple Hollywood formula that drives me up the wall but a classic nonetheless. I was never a great fan of westerns because they were so predictable, but I bought a VHS copy of Buck and the Preacher which was directed by Sidney Poitier.
What I thought was just a buddy film turned out to be a film about the Fugitive Slave Law which allowed former slave owners to hunt freed slaves and drag them back to bondage.
The hired killers want Buck (Sidney Poitier) dead or alive because he helps freed slaves to cross hostile borders until they find land they can call home. The Preacher (Harry Belafonte) was on a different mission, to con them out of their meagre savings.
The film also taught me something about the untold story about African Americans and their relationship with First Nations of America.
So much history, so little time for research.