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Don’t be afraid to say her name…

The African American Film Critics Association's 11th Annual AAFCA Awards - Arrivals

Source: JC Olivera / Getty

Nia DaCosta’s remake of the horror movie that goes by the name you can’t even begin to say five times in the mirror of a Black person’s home without getting kicked out, beat down, and disinvited from all future cookouts has earned an estimated $22,370,00 domestically in its first weekend.

That figure blows the $15 million DaCosta’s Candyman was projected to make, according to IndieWire, out of the water, so if you aren’t giving the first Black woman director to debut at No. 1 her flowers, you should be.

Nah, seriously, let’s put this into perspective.

DaCosta is not even 32 years old yet and she is not only the first Black woman to co-write and direct a No. 1 film in the US box office, but right now, she’s in London filming The Marvels, a sequel to the MCU film, Captain Marvel, and one with a budget of well over $100m, according to The Guardian. 

How Black-tastic is DaCosta to be working on a movie from the same franchise that gave us Black Panther right after giving us a top-grossing Candyman reboot produced by Get Out creator Jordan Peele?

DaCosta told The Guardian that her version of Candyman, which stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, fixes a few of the flaws of the original 1992 movie directed by Bernard Rose and starring Tony Todd. Without including too many spoilers, she said her film moves away from the version which featured a white savior type as the protagonist and where most of the victims are Black—despite it being a movie about revenge killings carried out by the ghost of a 19th-century artist who was killed for becoming too close to a white woman.

Candyman Production Stills

Source: Parrish Lewis / Universal Pictures and MGM Pictures

“He’s a person, which is the whole point of this movie,” DaCosta said. “He’s not just some like floating demon slayer, and it’s a really tricky balance. He’s someone who clearly has a lot of pain, and that’s something I find really interesting about him as a character.”

She also praised the original film for creating the rare iconic Black horror character in a sea of white characters, per the industry standard at the time (and still now if we’re really keeping it a buck).

“I think Candyman is important in that way,” DaCosta said. “Not necessarily my movie, but the concept of a sort of mythological figure that you can transpose a lot of stories on through horror, which is an easier genre through which to passively accept some hard truths.”

DaCosta also recalled her own experience as a Black woman in a white male-dominated film industry—one where, even as the director of a movie, she’s had to endure the flagrant caucasity of some of her colleagues.


Candyman Production Stills

Source: Parrish Lewis / Universal Pictures and MGM Pictures

“It’s not necessarily overtly racist, but it is shocking the way people have talked to me in my position as a director,” she said. “People who work for me. Especially on a movie like this, where Jordan was the only other person of color at the level of decision-making on the movie. And that’s unacceptable, frankly.”

She talked about hearing white people make weird white people comments on Black hair, as well as an incident where a white male crew member had the nerve to joke about her being a hooker making money on the side while she was outside waiting for her assistant.

“That happened to me so many times, with people who work above me, who work laterally to me, below me.,” she explained to The Guardian. “In the moment, you’re just like: ‘Push on.’ You just deal with it. But in retrospect, I will never do that again.”

Exactly, sis. Time to start putting the fools in their proper place, which is somewhere way underneath the boot of your fabulousness.

Anyway, like Black people across the country, DaCosta said while she loves the character she got to form a new movie around, she still ain’t playing around with that man’s name in the mirror.

“Oh hell, no!” she told The Guardian about saying Candyman’s name five times. “Never have done, never will. In fact, when I was watching auditions, I would get a little freaked out so I’d stop the audition before they said it all five times. So silly. It’s just that one bit. Nothing [else] about it scares me at this point. Except…I’m just not gonna put myself in the space for my brain to play tricks on me.”

Same, sis. Same.


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