Entertainment & Culture
The Case for Hollywood Reparations

By Michael Harriot

After the #OscarsSoWhite embarrassment, painting the mulatto Avatar with brown Kiwi shoe polish to play Nina Simone (Seriously, y’all thought she looked like Nina? Fa’Real???) and continuously casting pasty Europeans as Africans in films like Gods of Egypt, Exodus, et al, Hollywood should be glad Black people patronize them at all.

We know you need us, because we are a disproportionate source of the film industry’s revenue. Think about it. We go see the “white movies” like everyone else, but we are the only ones who go see black movies.  I honestly believe that Black people keep Redbox in business. Netflix was just another streaming service until we made it cool by adding “…& chill” to it. You owe us, Hollywood, and we know it.

As a sign of your penitence, we want reparations. No, we don’t free movie passes, coupons or discounts. We want redress in the form of roles and scenarios in Hollywood movies. Here are 5 things we demand as reparations from the Hollywood studio system for your constant fucking over of Black people:

A Black James Bond I can’t believe y’all haven’t done this yet. Why the pushback? Idris Elba as James Bond would be the greatest thing ever. First of all, the James Bond audience is mostly white and male, and there is nothing white guys believe can hypnotize exotic beauties into lust and loyalty after one piping than Black dick. Besides, who is cooler than Idris Elba? Idris Elba makes Daniel Craig look like Corky from Life Goes On. Aside from the normal James Bond audience, Black women would fill theaters if Idris played 007, because aside from the Holy Ghost and their sororities, nothing is more important to Black women than Idris Elba.

Now that I think about it, did the original novels by Sir Ian McKellen specifically say that James Bond was white? Double-O was a charismatic, pussy hound who bailed white people out of trouble and could fight. Who does that sound like?

We need a Harriet Tubman movie How the hell has there never been a Harriet Tubman movie??? What the fuck, Hollywood? That’s just racist.

I’m not talking about a fictionalized version, because I believe Star Wars: The Force Awakens is just an allegory of the Harriet Tubman story. Think about it, a black drone (slave) escapes the death star (plantation) changes his name and then travels around the galaxy setting other people free. We’re gonna let that one slide, you thieving bastards.

A movie about the bravest, most thugged out Black woman who ever lived would go one step towards making right the wrongs you have committed (We still haven’t forgotten about Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, motherfuckers.). As tired as we are of slave movies (and we are very tired of slave movies) you need to immediately begin production on Leh’ Go – The Harriet Tubman Story.

And just so you know, if you cast Jennifer Lawrence as Harriet Tubman, we’re fucking shit up.

No More White Saviors Even when they make “Black movies” the script usually includes a benevolent white man who comes in to save the poor hapless negroes. Brad Pitt in 12 Years a Slave. Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds. Whoever-that-white-guy-was in Avatar (you know Avatar was about Africa, right? The movie is about a precious metal surrounded by good-hearted natives in tune with nature who still shoot bow and arrows. Where did you think they were talking about–Minnesota?).

Anyway, we’re tired of the white hero swooping in to save us, which is why Birth of a Nation–the new Nat Turner biopic might be the biggest movie ever made. The sheer prospect of watching Black people take machetes to white skulls might make Titanic’s box office look like pocket change. Plus, you have to factor in the fact that nobody’s bootlegging this movie. We want to see this shit on the big screen. Around white people. And then laugh at how nervous they are walking to the parking lot.

One of you are going to have to kill Tyler Perry. Or at least poke him in his movie-making eye. Stop guffawing. We know y’all know how to do it.

We need a Black superhero I’m not talking about that Black Panther or Spawn bullshit. I’m talking Superman, Batman or Spider Man. Basically, I believe all Super heroes are Black anyway.

  • Who is raised by their Aunt and Uncle in New York, gets bitten by an insect, and when their uncle is killed by thugs, they promise to “get them motherfuckas” (a quote from Spider Man, first edition)? A brother, that’s who.
  • Whose father sends him to live with white people in Kansas because their neighborhood is going to hell, but makes sure he has a dope outfit that makes him so fly? A brother, that’s who.
  • Who comes into a bunch of money because their parents are shot when they are kids and the first thing they do is pimp out their basement and buy a dope car? A brother that’s who.
  • Who wears capes? A broth… y’all know the answer.

We need a Black superhero. That is the first step towards repaying all the damage Hollywood has done to Black people. We need these reparations, and we need them now.

Unless you want the world to start staying home with dates watching reruns of Sanford and Son.

We can make “Hulu & Chill” a thing. 

Don’t play.



About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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