View of ‘black life’ in movies has a harmful impact on the community

Published by adviser, Author: Donald Robinson - Black Action Society, Date: September 27, 2012

There is a music video by Lupe Fiasco called “Double Burger with Cheese.”  The video shows a bunch of clips from 90s black movies.  All of the movies are ‘hood movies’ that show the issues of the times and black people getting shot, such as in the films Juice and Menace to Society.”
It’s interesting that he made this song and video, because it correlates with the life and times of now.  With all the violence and shootings that have been happening in the community, they are only doing what they were taught to do when they were growing up.  The kids in the last 20-30 years grew up watching these movies that minus the plot, just showed black people shooting black people.  Well, as many know, children and young adolescents are more impressionable, and so as these young people watch these movies about people that look like them, shoot other people that look like them, well what do you get?  Black on black crime.  Unless the parents tell them, the kids may not take away from the movie that what goes on is wrong and shouldn’t be happening.  Instead they see it as though “hey he deserved that” and take in the actions of the movie.  And it’s further reinforced by the fact that a lot of it is to a high degree what they see when they go outside if they live in the inner city.

So with the relatable nature of the hood with these movies combined with the reality that is outside, what are kids to do?  They grow up knowing violence, gangs, and drugs and it doesn’t help that they will look up to some of these characters in the movies to further influence this.  The movies don’t show hope that gang violence is going to be minimized; it’s shown in a continuous manner.  When you watch movies with mostly white casts, many don’t show them shooting each other and in the ones you see it in, you see them killing over large scale money projects or undercover business deals.  They show them to kill over the “extras” in life that deal with greed.  Black movies that show shootings of each other over things that help provide life’s needs or other frivolous things such as blocks or their respect in the hood.  It’s like the media has programmed the black community to grow up believing that it’s okay to shoot each other and that it’s normal.  Something isn’t right.

The minds of the youth need to be rewired to  view themselves in a more positive manner and   to think that their lives are important.  Many may argue that these are “hood classics” because it’s reality.  Well look at what we have now, massive black on black crime in the last 30 years.  Reality is your perception, so if all you’re going to perceive is death of your own people, then that’s what you’ll feel is normal and the natural act of people is to just go along with what is normal and therefore, not many will work to change it.  And when other cultures watch these movies, you know to learn American culture, so what is the subliminal message that is given to them?  That the life of a person is expendable.  Wasn’t that the view of black life a few hundred years ago?  Youth need positive views of what is going on and that there is more to black people than what they are shown.  How many movies in comparison are made and gain clout that show the successes of the black community?  Not nearly enough.  Instead of showing the youth all these movies that show us getting killed left and right how about showing them films of the successes that we’ve made through the struggles and movies that show the potential that they all have.  They need to learn the history of how far they’ve come and how to make it better instead embracing movies that show the demise of the black community.  This is a task that the parents and elder family members have to do to help the youth of tomorrow.


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