Media can be a blessing and a curse in the realm of education. Modern technology has made it possible for the masses to learn about anything in more entertaining ways than simply reading a textbook. However, the media can also misrepresent and stain certain topics. For example, Black culture isn’t always portrayed in the media the way it probably should be.
I could talk about media biases, how mass media negatively reports people of color and how companies make commercials without considering racial implications, but that’s a topic for another column.
We should all understand the Black community has a traumatic past, and it shouldn’t be forgotten. Although slavery, segregation and the Black struggle are great educational tools in film, not every Black movie has to center around Black trauma.
Black journalist Jordan Lewis wrote about 30 films that celebrate Black joy, and she perfectly explains that the Black community deserves films about happy-go-lucky romance, cheesy coming-of-age stories and cultural explorations.
As a Black person, my fight against racism shouldn’t define me, and it isn’t what my life is all about. I laugh, cry and explore life with my friends. I have loving conversations with my family, and I get into petty arguments with my siblings about who ate the last piece of cake. It would be nice if films that reflected this part of life received the same attention as the films depicting the mud the Black community trudged through.
Movies like “Fruitvale Station,” “The Hate U Give,” “The Butler,” “12 Years a Slave” and more are all eye-opening films that serve justice to their real-life counterparts. I appreciate movies like these because they highlight the dark, and sometimes recent, history of social injustice in the U.S. However, it hurts to watch them.
I can only handle watching people suffer for so long; it’s like running a marathon without training. You start off with a sense of pride and power. After a few miles, your body starts to get tired and achy. A few more miles and all you can feel is pain — questioning why the marathon even exists.
Sometimes I need to see people like me succeed, laugh and enjoy life. I want to leave a movie night feeling like I can conquer the world or go to sleep without thinking about tragedies of the past.
I’m not saying movies about the brighter side of the Black community don’t exist, and I’m not saying Black trauma movies should cease to exist. I just think people should be exposed to more of the Black community than its tragedies.
It doesn’t help that streaming services regularly market Black trauma movies as a “celebration” of Black History Month. Yay for inclusion and exposure, but why do only slavery and racially tense titles breach the forefront of platforms?
I guess it’s also up to the people who want to celebrate Black history to find movies that highlight the good in Black culture. Some of my favorites that people should check out are “Drumline,” “The Wiz,” the “Barbershop” trilogy or “Love and Basketball.” You can find a slew of Black movies with a single google search.
Black culture isn’t always about the nitty gritty. It’s beautiful, loving, creative and entertaining. I encourage people to break away from films focusing on Black trauma and find a movie focusing on Black culture in a different way. I promise you won’t regret it.