Last week I told you about "The Great Debaters" the movie FEW of y'all have heard about.
Now you couldn't read a single Black blog without them going on incessantly about "American Gangster." The American Gangster Album, The American Gangster LA Premiere, the NY Premiere. Who wanted to play the role of Frank Lucas. Etc. On and on and on.
Well Denzel *sigh* has another movie coming out this Christmas, and you wouldn't know it because I haven't heard hide nor hair of it.
The film is based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, who, while at Wiley College formed a debate team that beat Harvard in 1935 during the national championships.
The film is produced by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions. It is directed by Denzel Washington who also stars in the film along with Forest Whitaker, Kimberly Elise, Nate Parker, and Jurnee Smollett. The screenplay is by Suzan-Lori Parks[I think I saw her at the Magnolia Cafe last weekend.] and Robert Eisele. It will be released on December 25, 2007.
Why Haven't You Heard of It?
Could it be because is does not appear to be a never ending cliché upon cliché with a regurgitated plot, recycled cast, and rehashed version of Soul Food(sans the precocious children) a la "This Christmas"?
Could it be because the Black characters in"The Great Debaters" aren't criminals, gangstas', prostitutes, or hip hop artists?
Could it be because yet again the movie studio is going to mistake having the cast appear on a special edition of the Oprah show as some type of marketing? The Oprah name sells books. Movies, not so much...I got two words for you "Cat Woman!"
Which came first the chicken or the egg? Is it that Black folks and White folks don't want to see something different out of Hollywood, or is it that Hollywood only seems to want to promote the same old narrow range of African American stories? If we don't go see this in droves, it might not be because we don't want to see it, it might be because a whole lot of folks don't know this movie is even out there. People can say what they want about Tyler Perry, but that man knows how to market a movie. The folks responsible for marketing "The Great Debaters" need to call Tyler and stop dialing it in. Get with it people! Time's a wastin'!
Everybody that went to see American Gangster, needs to go see this twice.
My MC Challenge
Now Jay-Z put out an "American Gangster" album to coincide with the release of the movie chronicling how one man was able to murder thousands of folks with heroin while desecrating the bodies of dead US service men. I have not heard of any such cross promotion for "The Great Debaters". In fact, according to the site, the Great Debaters soundtrack features blues and gospel. hmmmm. To do my part in promoting the movie I have vowed to write and perform lyrics to a hip hop single in honor of the Wiley College Team. All I need is for someone to lay down a track. I have no musical or lyrical talent, but if you have heard your radio recently, a lack of talent, skill or ability is no impediment to being a successful recording artist. I am serious!
Get on it people. I am still waaaaaiting! We can throw it on I-tunes and watch as "The Great Debaters" rockets towards box office domination. While I wait on your musical contributions, I will continue working on my first screenplay, "Get Those Church Folks Off My LAWN: The Debra Lee Story"
For real though, everybody that went to see American Gangster had better go see "The Great Debaters" TWICE as your penance.