I never saw “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”, and I won’t be seeing it, anytime soon.
To me, Lincoln as Vampire Slayer makes about as much sense as Lincoln The Great Emancipator, which ain’t much. (Lincoln cared NOTHING for our enslaved brethren, and the Emancipation Proclamation freed not a single slave, FYI.)
My issue with the movie however, has more to do with the actress who was cast in the role of Harriet Tubman (h/t to the Marketplace for Social Awareness and Social Responsibility, Inc. for the info).
I’ve never seen Jacqueline Fleming act, ever. I don’t know if she’s a good actress, a great actress, or just an “okay” one.
If it takes watching a movie with a premise as stupid as a POTUS who moonlights as a hunter and killer of The Undead in order for me to find that out for certain, well, I guess I’ll just have to live with not knowing.
What I DO know, however, is that the beautiful, light-skinned daughter of an African American father, and a Danish-German mother is the Hollywood Ideal of what they want the WORLD to believe Harriet Tubman looked like.
Because Negroes have been so psychologically beaten down by White Supremacy, there are some who truly do not see anything wrong with this egregious level of disrespect.
I actually had someone tell me that I was STUPID for drawing attention to the fact the person hired to “pretend” to be Harriet Tubman looked absolutely nothing like Tubman herself.
The usual response whenever someone takes a stand on a legitimate issue that should be of concern to African Americans, but isn’t – because it seems insignificant, on the surface – is usually to say “It’s only a movie”, or “It’s ‘just’ entertainment”, and therefore, should not be taken quite so seriously.
Which is exactly what the White Supremacist Power Structure wants you to say.
White Supremacy wants you to look at Vampire’s casting as a “light-skinned vs. dark-skinned, crabs-in-a-barrel” debate, in order to distract you from the real issue: The gradual “bleaching” of African American characteristics – on film – in order to make looking at Black folk on screen more palatable for white audiences.
It is also an attempt to belittle “The Woman Called Moses” by elevating her physical attributes over her character, communicating to audiences around the globe that what Harriet Tubman did was considerably less important than what she looked like.
I’ll be honest: That I found myself in a situation in which I had to explain to another African American all the reasons this casting choice was equal parts disrespectful AND wrong, only to have him both refuse to get the point, as well as try to bully and disrespect me in the process, made me very upset, at first.
Then I remembered that as he was so obviously someone who had yet to connect with the Spirituality and Culture that had been stripped from him, the only thing he could do is exactly what he had done: Find absolutely no fault in Hollywood’s actions, try to find a way to make me wrong, and/or beat me into submission of his non-existent point.
To put it differently, this person had neither the Spiritual nor Cultural resources to “get it”, and I looked like a fool for attempting to enlighten a person who was more interested in advancing his position than he was in seeking Truth.
Unfortunately, this is where it’s at for so many of our people.
African Americans don’t understand that casting mixed actresses to play one of slavery’s bravest heroes (Harriet Tubman was considerably darker in hue), or hiring a light-skinned actress with distinctly European features (Zoë Saldana) to play Nina Simone – in a story about the singer’s life, I might add – is FAR from being a compliment.
In fact, it spits in our face.
I’m certainly not saying the actors who portray these iconic figures should look almost completely like them, but the representation should still be at least somewhat accurate.
Since we are not in control of our image, however, this is what Black folk are subjected to: Stories about US that are rarely told from OUR perspective, regardless of the gravitas.
For those of you who want to accuse me of over-reacting, watch this, and ask yourselves this question:
Would YOU want someone’s idea of you to ALWAYS look like THIS*?
* Footage courtesy of Franklin R. Hughes, Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia