With Precious opening nationwide in over 100 markets over the weekend, the African-American community has mixed views on whether the film displays a good or bad depiction of the black family. A lot of people are coining it a new age “Color Purple.” What are your thoughts? More on this under the hood.
“In some ways, it’s ‘The Color Purple’ all over again, with people writing and talking about what this film represents,” said Mark Anthony Neal, a professor who teaches black popular culture at Duke University.
A father repeatedly rapes and impregnates his daughter in “The Color Purple” (as does the father in “Precious”), enraging some critics (mostly men) who asserted that the book and the film treated black men harshly. “Precious” has avoided that kind of backlash, but “people are suspicious of narratives that don’t put us in the best light,” Professor Neal said. The roots of that suspicion, he said, can be found in a long history of negative images in popular culture that helped keep black people in their place by reinforcing the notion of their inferiority.
Professor Neal was among dozens of black people interviewed about their perspectives on “Precious.” Perhaps the most provocative salvo against the movie was fired by Armond White, the chief film critic of The New York Press and the chairman of the New York Film Critics Circle.
“Not since ‘The Birth of a Nation’ has a mainstream movie demeaned the idea of black American life as much as ‘Precious,’ ” Mr. White wrote in his review. “Full of brazenly racist clichés (Precious steals and eats an entire bucket of fried chicken), it is a sociological horror show.”
For some who have seen the film, it serves as an eye opener to issues faced in the black home that are swept under the rug, and to others it seems to demean the black home with false depictions and stereotypes. How do you all feel about the film? Let’s discuss.