1. Those two youngest kids. o_0
2. Why didn't Julian leave with his wife and kids after she found out about the video? He just stayed behind? With THAT kind of crisis going on in his marriage? SERIOUSLY? AND WHY IN THE HELL HE SHOWING EVERYONE ELSE THE DAMN VIDEO BUT HASN'T TALKED TO HIS WIFE ABOUT IT?????????
3. When did they practice the dance routine? I can see Mia arranging to have matching costumes at the ready...but the dance routine? That took practice. When did they do that?
4. Can we stop with the dating White people jokes already? It's 2013.
5. Yall know the fertility clinic wouldn't have put them embryos in without being paid in full first right? Trust me on this one.
6. Who is Shelby's baby daddy? How'd she get on that show she was on?
7. They delivered a breech baby. In a Lexus SUV while speeding. Oh...and if they were in snail traffic one minute...how did they end up FLYING down a damn near empty interstate the next?
8. Shelby and Quenton being disrespectful getting busy when they did?
We saw people we know up on that screen. We identified with struggles many of our family, framily and friends struggle with. We saw people we see at our own "reunions." With lovely homes and tablescapes using Stargazer lilies, candles and place cards. DRESSED for dinner. Those things were REAL, ARE REAL. And we don't get to see that on the big screen often.
We forgave the other stuff because we know how big it is to see people who look like us on that screen not just living but living with our kind of stuff.
Making movies with Black people in them is hard. Yall have no idea. There are things about this industry that cut you down to the knees and your struggle to climb up on the sofa even...to find a bit of comfort...can steal your spirit. This industry can tell a Black filmmaker to go screw themselves so matter-of-factly...it makes you question if you the fool.
USA Today had a title up that listed the movie as race-themed:
It annoyed me but probably not for the reasons the masses were annoyed. It's true the movie is considered RACE THEMED in this industry. It's true that a movie with Black people in it is considered a NICHE movie. IT'S TRUE, IT'S TRUE, IT'S TRUE. They did NOT lie. They just told too much of the truth. LOL! I've heard it so damn much and seen the numbers too damn many times. Sent to me via email. Shown to me on computer monitors flipped around so they can point and I can take note of "underperforming" movies with Black people in them. Listed at the bottom of a distributor's catalog sales. Yup. It's true. In the industry.
Might not be true in our hearts but yeah...in this industry...it's true.
I've had meetings where people listen to me talk about our next project, a romantic comedy with a serious topic and they pay attention and listen with smiles on their faces. Then...they describe what they're looking for because yeah...a romantic comedy with Black people won't work. Or...drama with Black people won't work. "We're looking for the next "Boys in the Hood". You have anything like that?"
"Best Man Holiday" was 14 years in the making. FOURTEEN.
Every.single.day I get emails from people who watched my first feature film, The Coalition. Many of them loved it, some liked, some hated it. On Netflix alone...over 122,000 people have rated it and it has an average rating of 3.8 stars. It was our first feature length movie. We learned a lot that I can't wait to implement on our next movie. For our first film...we were proud. It was in Target, Walmart, Best Buy...everywhere! GO US!
So we went hard with meeting after meeting after meeting trying to raise money and we heard the same shit different conference room. This niche isn't doing well right now. We'd rather put money into for sure things. Black people? Sooooooooo NOT "for sure."
And meeting after meeting after meeting...we'd go get a drink and talk about how it made us feel. It burned us out because our team isn't used to rejection. Hell...we did everything the right way. Started small with short films, Team Sizzle Films Presents: Training Camp - A Short Film Showcase. Practiced. WE WENT TO CANNES! We own the rights to all of our ish. WE GOT MAGNOLIA PICTURES TO DISTRIBUTE OUR FILM! We did it the right way. So what do you do? You wait. Wait until you've made enough money off the first one to make another one because you can't sit through one more meeting listening to someone who doesn't look like you tell you that people who look like you won't make for successful entertainment.
Thank God my partner has another job which takes care of his family. Thank God my husband is perfectly capable of taking care of us and I don't have to sell my soul to the devil.
While we wait.
Obviously not for acceptance...but for the money from the first to stack up enough to do a second.
And while I wait I play with flowers, make burlap wreaths and shop. I do Oprah and Deepak meditations to quiet my CONSTANTLY CHURNING mind. I try to be of service and of comfort to my family, framily and friends. I try not to think of this totally awesome thing I know how to do but can't do just yet unless I want to make a subpar movie for $150,000 that looks like only $150,000 was spent on it.
Because yeah...I'm a housewife who gets quarterly reports, adds up the numbers and continues to WAIT because I'm not accustomed to being treated or talked to as if my existence is of no importance. That shit takes a toll.
And my reaction to it is no longer polite. I can't sit there and let you insult me and those who look like me and then shake your hand thanking you for the privilege.
I'm not built like that.
FUG YO' COUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I think of all my Black filmmaker friends who don't have the fall back plans we have. The ones who need to use their skills to have the basic necessities of life. I'm never surprised when I see a SUPER talented filmmaker working as a regular crew member on a film. I'm never surprised when I see them working on someone else's project, helping someone else realize their dream.
Rent has to be paid.
And I love how critics just jump all up and through Black films trying to act like the Black filmmakers at the helm have had the charmed existence other filmmakers have had to get everything right. Filmmakers whose parents gave them their first $6,000 camera and $3,000 light kit at age 12. Filmmakers whose daddy was a studio executive. Filmmakers who never had to struggle to pay for equipment. Filmmakers whose crew comprised of their friends who didn't have to worry about paying rent either. Filmmakers whose Godfather is the head honcho at such-and-such and they can just show up at their house and ask for what they need and get it.
Many Black filmmakers don't have the opportunity to get better than their last project no matter what they learned.
I'm so proud of Malcolm Lee for his perseverance and for being a Black filmmaker who has 9 director credits. MAJOR in my world.
In 14 years I'll probably be back down South sitting on my porch with a fragrant rose freshly snipped from my rose garden without a care in the world watching my husband on his riding mower cut the grass. Chilling.
I'm at my most happiest making movies. I wish I could do it EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. I love the chaos. I love the structure. I love the crew. I love the nuances of the talented actors. I even love taping down wires. LOL! I love it all. I have binders full of ideas. Stories about people who look like us. Hilarious scenes already put to paper.
When I'm making a movie...I always feel like I'm flying. Soaring even. The business BEHIND the actual filmmaking however as a Black, independent filmmaker? It's enough to make you want to crawl into a hole and DIE.
Or...it makes you wonder if just being an abuse/cancer/infertility survivor housewife is enough. It makes you question if your dreams are too big even after all the suffering you've done before you found what made you soar above all the hurt the world has dumped on your tiny little life.
I'm Black. And I'm a woman too. Talking about soaring. LOL! Shit makes you laugh so you don't cry.
I gave the movie a B+. I don't have problem numero uno skipping past the stuff that made us go Hmmmmmmm...and well..."12 Years a Slave" is an A+ so yeah...
I hope you get this. If not...cool. I'm about to play with my Thanksgiving tablescape I've been working on.