28 Days of Black Movies: ‘Django Unchained’ is a black love movie like no other
Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington in “Django Unchained”. (The Weinstein Society)
Yes, Django Unchained is a film noir. His story centers around the life of a black character, and he has more black stars (Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson) than white stars (Leonardo DiCaprio and Christopher Waltz). It is ultimately about the power of a black man who has destroyed the colonized mind. Foxx’s Django thinks of himself as a free man so much that when captured, he speaks and acts like he’s supposed to be free, prompting his captors to untie him and give him a gun. He immediately kills them and flees. Meanwhile, in the same scene is a pen full of slaves, and even though the door is open, they don’t leave. This is because they are not mentally liberated like Django is.
Django is a film about slavery which, unlike, say, 12 years of slavery, offers huge opportunities for dark catharsis. This gives us a once-slave whipping and brutally murdering a slave master while saving a black woman from a whipping. It also gives us a free man murdering an evil house slave and burning down a plantation. It warmed my soul to see these things on the big screen. I walked out of the theater feeling supported after having had some demons exorcised or at least whipped.
But many black people are angry or dismissive of Django because they are pasted on white Quentin Tarantino directing the film and using the n-word so liberally in this and other films. I’m sorry if this bothers you. That doesn’t stop me from loving Django. I, too, prefer to see black directors tell black stories, but the story of slavery is part of Tarantino’s cultural heritage. He has the right to tell a story set during slavery.
One of the things we have discussed in the critical race theory debate is that what white people call black history is actually American history. If slaves were held captive by white people, why is this black history? This is American history, and if it is, Tarantino has every right to tell a story of slavery. The thing about Tarantino is that his past commercial success has put him on a unique plane in Hollywood — he doesn’t pitch movies to studios; they audition for him, telling him what they can do for his movies. I say that to say that there are very few directors who could have even made this film.
Django is a story set during slavery, but it’s also a love story where a black woman is loved so much that Django spends the whole movie looking for her and fighting to free her, risking his own life to do it. It’s a dark romance movie like no other. If Tarantino is the barrier that keeps you from basking in the beauty of this black love story, this black mental liberation story, this black slave destroying a black master story, this black man goes through hell to save his story woman so i have to say you should take off the white eye glasses and stop worrying about the race of the movie director and try to look at it like you don’t know who the director is and let the shine of a big film noir invade you.
Touré is the host of the “Toure Show” podcast and the “Who Was Prince?” He is also the author of seven books.
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