As February comes to its’ final days, I find myself reflecting on Black History Month. This led to some introspection. What did I do to fulfill the purpose of a month dedicated to the riddance of a dark past? Sure, I took some time to refresh my memory on Martin Luther King’s “A Letter from Birmingham Jail” back in January, I made it an obligation to spend my time serving others on MLK day, and I even utilized a big chunk of my time during this busy week to watch the lengthy, Spike Lee film adaption, “Malcolm X.”
“Malcolm X” is a movie I highly encourage everyone to watch. Spike Lee does an outstanding job at taking the autobiography and Arnold Perl’s screenplay and adapting the words right from the page into a triumphant piece of work. The movie is fit for a scope audience, all promised to take something from the biographical film.
Lee holds his own with much criticism over the controversy that surfaced process of taking on this project. Praise goes to Lee for notably sticking to the premise of this film adaption as well as portraying the many faces of Malcolm X in all stages of his evolution.
Malcolm X created his own legacy, Spike Lee only documented it.
I’ve seen “Malcolm X” over half a dozen times and I truly think Lee making the film was important to him. But as an avid film viewer, especially seen in more recent years, I find myself questioning this Hollywood trend for creating films highlighting such an ugly past of black history. Films like, “The Help,” “The Butler,” “12 Years a Slave,” and others, all depicting black struggle. Sure these films found success, but all for the wrong reason.
This is a tiresome topic and issue that’s been way over done. We live in contemporary times and if the only Oscar- starring roles black actors can achieve are those that demean and oppress them as human beings, then I think these writers, directors and producers need to get a bit more creative. Think about this with this year’s Oscars coming up in March.
Back to Black History Month, I’m still not satisfied. Not solely the month itself, or what becomes coined as “Black History,” but the underlying idea of a history being condensed into a month alone. Is it worth it? I’m here to say it’s not. I think it’s fair to say that we are all aware that we aren’t a post-racial society and we may still be far off. So, personally when I think of a month dedicated to the past, I think is quite ridiculous when we should be reflecting on the now. It’s almost like a slap in the face. And sure, Black History Month at a time held a powerful and important significance to this country but that significance is surely losing sight.
Special Lovincey / Columnist
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