At the 2013 Telluride Film Festival and the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, the world was introduced to the film 12 Years a Slave. The movie, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, and the Gloriously British Benedict Cumberbatch (Patent Pending), opened to rave reviews and critical acclaim. Everyone loved the casting, the acting, and the direction of Steve McQueen. It’s even garnering strong Oscar buzz, including possible noms for Ejiofor, Fassbender, and McQueen, as well as Best Picture.
The movie itself is based on the autobiography of the same name by Solomon Northup, and it’s the story of how he was kidnapped in Washington D.C. in 1841, and spent twelve years on a plantation in Louisiana. The film doesn’t hold back on its portrayal of what it was like to be a slave, and how Northup finally was able to return to his home in upstate New York. It’s gritty, it’s brutal, and…
…it’s something I have absolutely no desire to watch under any circumstances.
Now, I know what some of you are saying: “How could you not want to see what our people had to go through, my brother? Don’t you want to see the struggle?”
NO! No, I do not.
Listen: I go to movies to be entertained. I want to have a good time, see a fun movie, and be able to enjoy myself. I’m not a sadist; therefore, watching someone get raped, mistreated, and beat within an inch of their life is not appointment viewing for me.
“But, we need movies like this, my brother! We need our story told!” It was told in Roots, it was told in The Color Purple, it was told in The Tuskegee Airmen. Furthermore, this movie ain’t for me; it’s for those in the population who think slavery was all fun and games. It’s for those nitwits in Texas who are trying their best to take the sting off of what was notably the harshest part of this country’s history. It’s for those who refuse to believe anyone could do these atrocities to another human being and think it’s okay. It’s for those who still think black people are still three-fifths of a man.
It ain’t for me today, it won’t be for me tomorrow, it will never be for me. Sorry.
Will I support it? Sure. I’ll buy a ticket and leave it at that. But, I won’t sit through an almost three hour depiction of how horrible we were treated. I’m gonna go watch Thor: The Dark World when it comes out, and call it a day. Why? Because I want to be entertained, not frustrated.
If supporting it financially isn’t good enough for some of my more socially conscious black men and women, well…tough.