My Tug-Of-War With ‘Harriet’

Disclaimer: Spoilers, I guess.

So, let me begin this post by saying that I have not seen Kasi LemmonsHarriet movie yet. In fact, the current plan is for my wife and I to see it at some point this weekend. Side note, I know that I’ve previously expressed my exhaustion with slave movies. But, I also said that I still wanted to see this film. In any case, after hearing about the inclusion of the Bigger Long character, I was slightly taken aback, son. All in all, I don’t know what to make of that storyline, man.

Ok, for those who are unaware, the internet is currently divided on what to think about Bigger Long’s presence in the Harriet movie. Now, in regards to the plot, Long is a Black bounty hunter who was hired to catch Harriet Tubman by her slave owner, Gideon Brodess. Moving on, despite being the catalyst for Long’s pursuit, Brodess ultimately kills him before he can harm Tubman. With all of that being said, a number of people, including myself, are thrown off by the fact that a White slave owner ends up saving a Black woman from a Black man.

Now, to be fair, I’m fully aware of the fact that there were Black bounty hunters during slavery. Sadly, there were a couple of reasons why a former slave would take up this profession. First, there were individuals who were looking for a way to provide for themselves and ended up selling out their own people in the process. Second, there were just some evil ass bastards who inexplicably hated their own kind. Either way, it was a fucked up way to live, fam. Moving on, the main issue with the film is the fact that no one can find a record of anyone like Bigger Long in Tubman’s history.

Look, let’s keep it a buck, bruh. Shit, against better judgment, people tend to take biopics at face value, son. Meaning, it’s easy for folks to just blindly believe what’s being presented to them. So, for anyone who isn’t willing to do the research for themselves, they’re going to leave the movie theater thinking that a Black man was trying to kill a Black woman and a White man saved her. I mean, no matter how Lemmons tries to justify it, that’s exactly what that scene means, man. Now, I’m not going to sit here and pretend like that’s the crux of the story. Mainly because I haven’t seen the movie yet. But, why add this dynamic to a story that didn’t require it, fam? Like, it’s not as if Lemmons added some random ass friend to the plot. She added an entire Black villain, kinfolk. Listen, Tubman’s life was wild enough without the added racial ambiguity, brethren.

In the end, I’m not sure if my issue is with Lemmons or Hollywood, in general. Ultimately, Black people always campaign to be represented by major studios. However, when we get the chance, our stories are dramatized in unnecessary ways. Then, to make matters worse, the community is guilt-tripped into supporting because “we might not get another opportunity.” So, we’re forced to deal with inaccuracies in fear of getting nothing at all. At the end of the day, I’m fucking conflicted, son. Like, I want to see the movie, but I don’t want folks, even women like Lemmons, to take needless liberties with our history. *Sigh* I don’t know, man. Frankly, I’m just thinking out loud, fam. Honestly, I’d like to hear other people’s take on this, bruh. Holla at me. That is all. LC out.

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Can We Get A Mansa Musa Movie?

So, I won’t lie, son. On the real, I may alienate some people with this statement, but I’m fucking tired of slave movies, man. Like, how many films about slavery can we possibly make, fam? I swear, every year, there’s another “critically-acclaimed” movie about the horrors our Black ancestors had to endure. Yes, it’s very important to give an accurate depiction of our history. But, slavery isn’t the only history we have, bruh. With that being said, can we please get a Mansa Musa movie?

Ok, for some background, the upcoming Harriet film inspired this post. Now, before I get chewed to bits, I absolutely believe that Harriet Tubman deserves a quality film. The truth is, Harriet isn’t necessarily my problem. In actuality, Harriet is just a symptom of a larger issue. Frankly, I think Hollywood is just obsessed with slave movies, son. I mean, whether we’re talking about Amistad or 12 Years a Slave or The Birth of a Nation or Django Unchained, there always seems to be a new slave film in the works, man. Keep in mind, I love all of the aforementioned movies, fam. But, the Black experience shouldn’t just be relegated to slavery, drugs, sports or fucking music, bruh.

In any case, I’d like Hollywood (well, Black directors) to venture outside of the usual subject matter. The way I see it, there’s no excuse for the lack of a big-budget Mansa Musa movie, son. Shit, we’re literally talking about the wealthiest person in human history, man. How is it possible that the richest man ever, who happens to be Black, isn’t bombarding our theaters, fam? In my eyes, it’s not a coincidence that we’re always depicted as slaves, but not as royalty, bruh. So, take that for what it’s worth, folks.

In the end, I’m putting all of Black Hollywood on notice, son. Ultimately, I’m not telling people not to see movies like Harriet. Hell, my wife and I definitely plan on seeing the film. However, I’m challenging Spike Lee or Ava DuVernay or Steve McQueen or whoever to tackle these types of projects. By and by, I’ve read that Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan have expressed interest in making a Mansa Musa movie. At the end of the day, I just want us to move away from the regular script, pun intended. The truth is, slavery isn’t the only thing that defines Black people. So, let’s talk about it, brethren. That is all. LC out.