OPINION: Rehashing Old Black Pop Culture Doesn’t Always Work
Written by BET on March 5, 2021
An unlucky by-product of creeping towards center age, as I’m, is being pressured to look at Hollywood remake, rejigger, sequel, and sometimes f— up reveals and flicks from my early life. Most of the time, my visceral response is “Why?!? Go away it alone! It was simply minding its enterprise!” However I used to be fairly excited after I first heard the information of a correct sequel to the comedy traditional Coming to America, and I don’t know many Negro souls who weren’t.
Question any Black particular person over the age of 35 about cinema, and the 1988 unique will pop up of their high 10 – if not high 5 – favourite movies (Black playing cards have been snatched over this subject for many years). The sequel, Coming 2 America (out March 5 on Amazon Prime), brings again a lot of the previous gamers and provides a number of new, beloved Black actors and comedians. Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Corridor, again in make-up enjoying a bunch of different characters? Verify. They dug up Shari Headley (after that atrocious Belly sequel?) Verify. James Earl Muthaf—in’ Jones is again as properly?? Pay attention…what’s good on the watch celebration?
However after I discovered that the sequel is PG-13, I cocked a curious eyebrow on the resolution, contemplating the unique is a comparatively unchained R-rated movie, full with semi-nude scenes and a few early-model Samuel L. Jackson F-bombs. After which the trailers dropped, and the joy drained. I can’t resolve if it appears just like the movie is making an attempt too onerous or not making an attempt onerous sufficient, however Coming 2 America feels extra like Coming 2 These Paychecks. I noticed there’s no earthly manner anybody may recapture the magic of the unique, however it could be a screaming disgrace if there’s a appreciable disparity between the 2.
I’d suppose that Black of us have a extra emotional, visceral relationship to tv and cinema made for us than our white counterparts have with materials designed for them. Positive, it’s all simply leisure, however a few of these motion pictures and packages not solely broke floor within the portrayal of the Black American expertise for mainstream audiences, however they’re inextricably tied to the Black cultural expertise. It issues extra to us that creatives strategy remakes and reboots whereas treating the originals with the reverence they deserve. In distinction, if some fool determined to reboot Associates and screwed the pooch, white of us would transfer on with their day.
In 1992, it mattered to us to see Boomerang, a mainstream movie with nothing however Black leads and actors, do properly on the field workplace, and it issues now that the movie aged properly sufficient to take pleasure in with our youngsters almost three a long time later. Who amongst you possibly can’t quote at the least a part of Grace Jones’ snappy dialogue within the restaurant scene? (“p—y, p—-y, p—y, pusssss!”).
I’ve but to sort out the Roots remake from 2016, which I’ve heard is nice and should obtain a viewership enhance contemplating Bridgerton’s resident snack, Rege-Jean Web page, performs Hen George. Positive, the unique was made within the 1970s and far of it aged like cottage cheese left within the solar (Leslie Uggams’ Kizzy character and a white man produced…Ben Vereen?). However we’re speaking about my seventh grade historical past class with the massive Magnavox tv and VCR which will or could not work on any given day. I watched the chunky, multi-cassette field set once more at dwelling with my dad. These are reminiscences right here, man.
A few of these proposed remakes are merely appalling to consider. I flatly don’t need to see a Good Times remake; the unique is as 1970s because it will get, and belongs in everlasting syndication, not trifled with by of us toying with the spirit of a sepia-toned period that they’ll by no means correctly be capable to replicate. Additionally, Queen Latifah is outwardly working on a Living Single reboot that includes all the unique actors – if I see Kyle and Maxine attempt to do the sexual stress bit once more of their 50s, I’m throwing the distant at my flat-screen tv.
In fact, Black nostalgia will not be restricted to simply Black media, however some nonetheless provokes the identical feeling of nostalgia: I haven’t bothered watching the Saved By The Bell reboot on Peacock, primarily as a result of nobody I do know has Peacock, but in addition as a result of there’s no manner the grown-up variations of the core solid will resonate with me in 2021. And the 2019 “dwell motion” The Lion King (technically nonetheless Black as a result of lions in Africa and James Earl Jones) is probably the most pointless remake ever of one of the best Disney movie ever, and I refuse to ever watch it.
It’s not that every one Black remakes are lifeless on arrival – I’m nonetheless excited concerning the new remake of Candyman. It’s simply that there’s totally an excessive amount of unique content material from Black creators ready to be shot, and always going again to the properly for the sake of nostalgia appears low-cost and exploitative; a few of these initiatives are most likely little greater than the finished results of greenback indicators dancing round in executives’ eyes.
I haven’t gone too far to see that that is all a enterprise, however when you take a beloved property and switch it into cinematic tripe, anticipate Black Twitter to let you already know with the gusto.
Now…how are all of us doing this Coming 2 America watch celebration on Friday?
Dustin J. Seibert is a local Detroiter dwelling in Chicago. He loves his personal mama barely greater than he loves music and workouts daily solely so his French fry consumption doesn’t catch as much as him. Discover him at wafflecolored.com.
Picture Courtesy Paramount Photos