Sunday, July 22, 2007


I'm on the road and doing a lot of miscellaneous reading (Jet, Essence and the like). In the July 23rd issue of JET, I ran across several interesting quotes. The following has to do with a movie I've been thinking about seeing-- "Talk To Me." The movie is about an ex-con turned deejay and the program director who gives him a break. Even though the film has a lot going for it--including actors, Don Cheadle and Chiwetel Ejiofor as well as director Kasi Lemmons, the reviews I've read have been mixed. But the following comment made by the screenwriter Michael Grant really made me stop and think.

"What I found in telling their story was that there is a love shared between Black men that we almost never hear tell of. You won't find it defined in any text books or dictionaries, yet it exists."

I think, for the most part, what Mr. Grant said is true. And I'd love to see more movies deal with this topic. But right off hand, I can think of at least one other movie that did a fairly decent job of dealing with the love that exists been Black men who aren't biologically-related--"Boys In The Hood."

Have there been others? If you've seen the movie, do you agree or disagree with the screenwriter's statement?


Sharon J. said...

"The Five Heartbeats" with Robert Townsend. It was about a fictional R & B group in the 1960s. I also saw a t.v. movie about the life of Martin Luther King that starred Paul Winfield as King and Howard Rollins as Andy Young.

Lori said...

Thanks for the tip. I saw "The Five Heartbeats" years ago. But to be honest, I barely remember it. Interestingly enough, I recently purchased it on dvd. Now, if I could only find the time to watch it again.

Ehav Ever said...

I would also say that there are a few that come to mind for me on different levels:
*Mo Better Blues, on some level showed some of the complex relationships with men in the entertainment industry. *Posse with Mario Van Peebles. *Antwone Fisher with Denzel Washington.
*The Tuskegee Airmen
*A Soldier's Story
*The Wood
*Cooley High

Lori said...

Hey Ehav,
Nice list. I've seen several of those. As much as I enjoyed "Glory" it still followed the "nice white guy as savior" concept. Also, I'm not sure the soldiers had time to develop deep friendships or bonds. But it is one of my all-time favorite movies.

I guess "Antwone Fisher" did depict what could be described as a complex relationship between Black males. But something essential seemed to be missing from the movie . . . can't put my finger on it.

Loved "A Soldier's Story" but it's been so long since I've seen it. Were there any real friendships in the movie?

"The Wood" was cute, but not all that deep.

Never saw "Life." The day we tried to go (when it first opened) the lines were so long, we changed our minds. After checking out some of the reviews, I decided it wasn't worth the money and time. I may still try to check it out on cable one day.

"Cooley High" I'll give you. Excellent movie and another one I need to watch again.

"Posse" I considered a dud. I have yet to watch anything starring Mario or Melvin that I've actually enjoyed.

"Mo Betta" was interesting. Loved the music and the look of the film. And yes, the relationships were somewhat complex, but were any of the friendships that deep? I'm not sure. The old memory can only hold so much (smile).

Ehav Ever said...

Hey Lori,

In terms of Glory, because it is the Civil War and there really weren't any African American led units, you kind of get what you get with that. I did feel that the movie did show African American men on from different backgrounds on some level that had to come to a common understanding. Mainly because they all came from different social, economic, and philosophical backgrounds.

Posse I liked because it was a Western where African Americans were the heroes, and they won at the end. It has been a little while since I last saw it, but I still liked the concept even if it is a little dated. It also had a cross-section of African-Americans who had to rely on each other to survive. Most of them in the beginning of the movie were military men. Also, in the reverse of a number of action and horror movies the complimentary white guy dies.

In a Soldier's story this showed the complex relationships between African Americans in the military during a time when there were certain men who were becoming officers. There were some men who took their power and used it to be harsh to others, and there were some people who acted in the defense of others. There was also the issue of if an African American reaches a certain post is he a sell-out just because he is doing his job. One uncles once was called a sell-out because he was in top ranking Air-Force Accountant program when he was stationed in Greenland and he and a few others were assigned to the white barracks. So his interactions with African Americans who came from different backgrounds than him or who didn't have the same education was an interesting story similar to A Soldier's Story.

I saw Life once or twice, and it was kind of funny. I am not a big Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence fan, but once again this movie had a cross-section of African American men who were forced to have to live together. The movie covered a number of years between Murphy's and Lawrence's characters who go from not liking each other, to getting along in their youth, and to them being old men.

In terms of Mo Betta Blues it depends on what you mean by deep. I think the friendships were deep when taken in the context of male competition in the entertainment industry, which has its own culture. Also, when one looks at it in the context of a band who has to make music come together in a collective sound, and do personal relationships affect this process. I think for example the arguments between Denzel's and Wesley's characters are signs of typical male posturing, but also at times male methods of showing and gaining respect.

I think that male relationships in general are complex and varied. So there is not really going to be one movie that covers all African American men. We don't all come from the same cultural background or social context. Some of our relationships are deep in terms of us always talking about our emotions, and some of our relationships are almost like when young kids get together and play, joke, and reminisce. Most of my close friends, no matter their background is all share a common pattern. We end up spending a lot of time trying to make each other laugh. These are the people I have the closest bond with, and we know each other's emotions based on circumstances and how we deal with them. Yet, most of the women who have been around us often just see us acting silly. My cousin's wife often laughs at how me and my cousin are always trying to make each other laugh, and our guy time is watching cartoons. Her favorite statement is, "Okay, I will let you boys go play together."

That is why I listed a wide range of movies, because I have yet to see one patter define any group of men as it is.

Lori said...

Hey Ehav,
When it comes to "Mo Betta" and male relationships in general, you may very well have a point. Bonds between males are very different than those between females. Perhaps I'm looking for a quality in male relationships that doesn't actually exist . . . or if so, only in rare instances. Thanks for bringing that to my attention (smile).

Ehav Ever said...

Hey Lori,

I think a really good way to do some initial groundwork on male bonding may be in how boys play together. When I looked back at my playing habits as a kid I found that throughout my life my friendships are similar to those I played with and the games we played.

Ehav Ever