black people in movies

7 Awesome Things About Slavery (Reprise)

This post originally appeared here.

It has been updated below.

Also, seriously, how do you pronounce it? Is it “ruh-prize” or “ruh-preeze”?

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Every now and again a public official will casually say that America was the best when slavery was happening. They usually say it has something to do with family values and God and MAGA.

 

This week it happened again and people are all butt hurt because Alabama Senate candidate and alleged serial sexual predator Roy Moore basically said that slavery was A-OK when asked what his idea of a perfect America was.

Here’s how that totally reasonable exchange went down:

At a campaign event in September, a journalist asked Moore when was the last time America was “Great.”

Moore said: “I think it was great at the time when families were united. Even though we had slavery, they cared for one another. … Our families were strong, our country had a direction.”

And just like always, after said public official reminds us that slavery was totes nbd, there’s a huge snowflake backlash and everyone starts talking about how “terrible” it was that families were stolen from their homes, ripped apart, horrifically abused so that farmers in America could grow crops without having to do all that “work,” and used to set up a system of economics in this country that relies on people doing very difficult labour for none to low wages.

And I’m always so surprised that people would say things like this.

Because there are so many benefits to slavery that people always overlook. Here are 7 of ’em!

1. Fitness plans. According to some stats I hastily Googled, almost half of all black people are obese. This article says that in 42 states, more than a third of the black people there are obese. And in 15 states, that number goes up to 40%. I imagine that means that those black people are so fat that…they probably have a number of health problems and are uncomfortable in tiny seats or skinny jeans.

But back in slave days, blacks were super fit!! You can’t have a high body fat percentage when you’re doing hard labor all day. Not only did they get some cardio in when they were running from dogs and bullets, but they also got some fantastic strength training by carrying around full bushels of crops.

And they didn’t have to pay for it! Today a Crossfit membership that offers this kind of HIT training is not cheap! But back in the day, slaves got all that exercise for freezies! #jelly

Not fat.

2. Zero Percent Unemployment. It’s not new that The Great Recession was hard on everyone. But statistics show that it was super hard on blacks and that the African American population has been slower to recover than other groups.

That’s so not how it was when slavery was en vogue. You’d be hard pressed to find a black person out of work then. And sure, they didn’t get paid and they had to work ridiculous hours and they were beaten to death if they voiced an opinion or tried to find their husband who had been sold to a different family, but you know how good an internship looks on a resume!

3. Travel Benefits. Trying to work overseas can be a nightmare! There’s Visas and sponsors to worry about. You have to figure out how to get your paychecks converted into the right currency for whatever bank you’re using. You can’t lose your passport.

But slaves got to work overseas and had someone else take care of all the particulars! All slaves had to do was mind their own business in Africa. Then, suddenly, they got a surprise trip to a whole new world with lodging already taken care of!

Sure it’s crowded, but think of the travel points!

 

4. Easier Investment Portfolios. Have you looked at a paycheck recently? They’re so confusing! There’s the gross pay and allowances and all kinds of taxes. And don’t get me started on how complicated it can be to have a 401K! You have to figure out who your dependents are and how much of what stock you want to invest in. And if your company does matching funds, what’s the tipping point when you start taking out too much…it just goes on and on and on…

But slaves didn’t have to worry about all that. No pay meant no financial headache! No one likes doing their taxes and slaves got away with never having to.

6. Lots of Time Outdoors. How tiring is it, being cooped up in an office all day! Fluorescent lights and distant windows and office chairs that never seem to be adjusted quite right. It feels so good to just get away at the weekend. Go outside, take a hike or even just a walk around the neighborhood. Camping is a huge industry–people love it! And those lucky lucky slaves got to be outside all the time!! And they didn’t even have to wear sunscreen!

7. Low-Sugar Diet. We’ve already talked about the obesity rates among blacks, but diabetes is sky-high, too. Diabetes rates are twice as high among African-Americans than it is in whites. And they’re more likely to have to have limbs amputated. No. Thank. You.

It’s hard to over do it on the sugar when you’re eating scraps of meat and bread, or not being allowed to eat at all, so slaves totally had it good when it came to controlling carbs! It’s soooooo hard to say no to dessert. But slaves never got the chance to say yes! How easy would it be to be healthy without all that nasty temptation everywhere!

8. Gated Community Living. Today, neighborhoods where lots of black live are all scary like Compton or Oakland or The South. But as slaves, blacks got to live in super secure, fenced-in areas that would be totes out of their price range today. Jealous!

I mean, no, they didn’t live in the big house, but they got to live behind the gate. Which is more than I’m doing, tell you that!

 

What’s your favourite thing about forced free labour? Let us know in the comments!

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Please also check out The Oreo Experience’s new webseries, BLACK GIRL IN A BIG DRESS. Join awkward African American Anglophile Adrienne as she navigates 21st century dating with 19th century ideals. All 8 episodes of Season One streaming now!

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Trailer Trashing – Transformers, Larry Crowne, Monte Carlo

Hey, look at that — free time! Quite the concept this “free time” business. I should look into it more often.

I should also get caught up on my pop culture.

Movies are a great way to solidify your Oreo experience. The repeated images of certain types of people doing certain types of things really reminds us who we are and who we can…or probably cannot be.

So let’s see what’s opening this weekend!

Transformers: Dark of the Moon – Robots do battle in what is clearly an intricate and well-developed plot… Is it weird that I had a huge crush on StarScream when I was a kid?

Stuff White People Get to Do in This Movie – Be astronauts, threaten Shia LeBoeuf, lie to robots, wear Kevlar, replace Megan Fox while still keeping eyes wide and mouth always slightly ajar, para-glide, seriously–in every shot she’s in in the trailer, the girl’s mouth is open and she’s not speaking what is up with that?, be both able-bodied and sit in a wheelchair, save the day.

Stuff Not-White People Get to Do in This Movie – wear Kevlar and deliver bad news.

Is there a medical reason why her lips can't touch? Should we start a fund?

Larry Crowne – Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks and Magical Black People, oh my!

Stuff White People Get to Do in This Movie – enjoy a simple, but oddly fulfilling job, be employee of the month, hold the power position(s) at a large company, be a Dean/Principal figure, be adorably bumbling, dislike their challenging, but unfulfilling job, enjoy ice irresponsibly, utilize public transportation, ride scooters safely, change the tough chick’s heart despite her best attempts, demonstrate hilariously uncharacteristic sexual abandon, enjoy love with a hint of embarrassment.

Stuff Not-White People Get to Do in This Movie – marvel at the ability of the white guy to be employee of the month, deliver sassy advice to the white guy, help the white guy realize his fashion and romantic potential, be made an example of, be unnecessarily jealous.

They're so in love and they don't even know it!!

Monte Carlo – Wait, what? Movies can cast quasi-minorities in lead roles in films that have nothing to do with them dressing in drag?

I know, TP, I was confused and hurt, too.

And instead of magical black people, there are two magical white people? AND the main character with a Mexican Spanish last night is pretending to be a white princess?? I can only hope that one day my Oreoness takes me to a place where I can pretend to be  a white princess. AND Catherine Tate is in this movie?!?!? Cue Oreo explosion in 3…2…1…

Granted, the feminist implications of this film are pretty terrible (“teehee, despite all my hard work and brains, i just want castles and jewels and pretty and boys and boys!”), but that’s for a whole different blog. I’m still thrilled about the CT cameo. I ain’t even bovvered to pay money for that!

 

For more talk about trailers, click here and let us know what you think!

In case you caught that Star Scream story and want more about TOE’s dubious crushes, check out this story!

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Oreo Origins: Sleeping With an Old Friend

I finally got around to watching Amadeus last night, (seriously, a lily-white film about classical music–how the eff had I not managed to see this yet?!).

If I could get away with dressing like this at work, I totally would.

Afterward, I changed the DVD, put in some Fawlty Towers turned the volume way down and fell asleep with John Cleese’s voice whispering softly in my ear.

“Coming, my little piranha fish.” “Well have the fire drill when I ring the fire bell.” “I think we’re just out of Waldorfs…”

The Monty Python guys were among my earliest Oreo influences. I remember hearing the lilting accents and specific timing coming from my parents’ bedroom. And I fell in love. Live at the Hollywood Bowl is one performance I wish I had been alive to see. I still can’t believe my mom didn’t flinch when she watched The Meaning of Life with me and the giant star vagina appeared on the screen. The Cheese Shop Sketch totally still makes me laugh. And I was totally having a fantasy of being cast in Spamalot as I was singing along on the drive home last night.

So thanks M and D for the early anglo influences. ‘Twoud not be the Oreo I am today without ’em!

But seriously, could have warned 8-year-old me about the star vagina. I think I was barely aware that I had a vagina, let alone that a whole universe could be stored up inside of one. (money shot is at 2:00 below and it’s just as creepy now!)

What got you excited and inspired when you were a kid? Do you like them as much now as you did then? Let us know in the comments!

Trailer Trashing

Fresh off the heels of the most prestigious of Hollywood award shows, the Oscars (this year, simply and dramatically dropping the “the” and going by “Oscar”), I’m excited

NPH can be my fairy godhottie any day. Yup, "fairy godhottie." I said it.

to start looking at this year’s movies and dreaming of all the things I could be…if I, you know weren’t so browny.

Movies are a great way to solidify your Oreo experience. The repeated images of certain types of people doing certain types of things really reminds us who we are and who we can…or probably cannot be.

So let’s see what’s opening this weekend!

The Adjustment Bureau – Matt Damon can’t follow simple directions.

Stuff White People Do In This Movie: Run for Senate, stare longingly, drop their accents, get flustered, live in New York, read books at coffee shops, take public transport, goof off in the street, enchant men, spoon, creep in people’s bedrooms, have really cool tech, control men’s fates, dance ballet, watch ballet, fall desperately in love,

Stuff Non-White People Do In this Movie: Well, there is one black guy in the trailer…he doesn’t speak and it looks like he’s gonna cut a bitch.

And seriously, New York movies, not even any of color extras?

***UPDATE – I just read in The Hollywood Reporter that Anthony Mackie has a “substantial” role in this movie. Why keep that a secret, trailer?

Beastly – Cute guy gets turned into a magically deformed guy and—OMGNPH!!

Stuff White People Do In This Movie: pull ups, look hot and talk about how hot they look, win the praise of the masses, have magical powers, live with a disability, beat the moral into the ground, look deeper, build greenhouses, like flowers,

Stuff Non-White People Do In this Movie: Well, there’s one at at table for a second, but she also doesn’t speak.

The best thing about this movie other than its anglo-tasticness, the fact that if this goes according to the story of Beauty and the Beast, the girl gets a SUPER HOT GUY in the end even though she likes him when he’s not hot…which means that the moral of the story is the beauty is still the ultimate prize. (oh, and douchebag guy still gets SUPER HOT GIRL after enduring a couple of bad days as a not hottie). Also, the dude doesn’t look ugly, he just looks like he’s really into bodmod.

Take Me Home Tonight – Topher Grace needs to let go.

Stuff White People Do In This Movie: Have overbearing parents, have unrealistic crushes, have crappy jobs, have silly shenanigans, breakdance, swim, dance badly, have adventures under the song “Straight Outta Compton,” let fear get in the way, help guys believe in themselves.

Stuff Non-White People Do In this Movie: Do not appear.

Why do I work so hard at being not-black???  Because as you can see, the not-blacks get to have such an awesome diversity of experiences!! So here’s the question…. if I do all of the above, will I finally ascend into whiteness? Or am I simply not eligible for the above?

And when cameras are rolling on these alabaster casts, do you think that the crew breathe a sigh of relief the way I do when I look around the barn during my dressage lessons? Or are they the least bit concerned that something’s gone…awry? I mean, with no people of color on screen, how the hell do you decide who gets killed first?

For a look at more movie trailer magic, click here!

Anything They Can Do, Blacks Can Do Better! (Hospitals!!!)

People often ask me why I try so hard to hide my blackness from the world. And I say, well, mainly because I’ve seen The Blind Side (and Precious Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire and Dangerous Minds and Freedom Writers, O, Hardball, Up the Down Staircase, Step Up, Bring it On, Step Up 2: The Streets, Finding Forrester, Precious-Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, Fighting the Odds: The Marilyn Gambrell Story, Hancock, Wildcats, The Gridiron Gang, Friday Night Lights) and um, yeah…being black looks really scary and makes you way more likely to cut a bitch. And I don’t want to cut any bitches.

Being black also brings along with it a certain competitiveness. Blacks are always trying to outfill the judicial systems faster than

Get used to it, black people. Whether the ambulances are scurrying you away from the drive by or just double checking the doctor's work, apparently, you're going to be seeing a lot of them. Statistics say so!

non-colors, flee from PhD programs faster than non-colors and get hypertension way more!

And those things are so not me!

I mean look at today’s story:

After leaving the hospital for treatment of three common conditions, older black people are more likely to be readmitted within 30 days than older white people, a new study finds.

Black patients have 13 percent greater odds of readmission within 30 days after discharge, according to the study.

Boo! I don’t want to spend extra time in the hospital. I mean, the idea of a handsome, wealthy man in a nice coat touching my forehead softly and asking if everything is okay is just fine. But I can probably just hire that out, right?

Check back in for more things that blacks do better than whites! If you don’t, I might have to summon the color in me and cut a bitch. And like I said, I don’t want to have to do that.

Envelopes, Red Carpets and Self-Loathing, Oh My!

Few things bring out the Oreo in me like Hollywood’s award season! Looking out over the crowds, you see who the image makers are, who the folks are who are getting their stories told and getting to tell stories on the regular.

And who are they? Here’s a hint: They’re not RBP. And that’s a big reason why I work so hard not to be one!

Just look at these pictures from Variety, Hollywood’s most influential daily trade.


But…just so we of colors didn’t feel left out, Variety did include this photo on page 1 today:

Yup, just when you thought we had seen the last of the RBP dude in a dress movies, they’re back!

Did you watch the Golden Globes? What did you think? What are your thoughts on the Awards Season? Let us know in the comments!

The Gods Must Be White

Don't eff with Thor. You don't want to see him angry!

As we’ve pointed out here, movie, if anything, are totally true to life. So it stands to reason that the Council of Conservative Citizens has their white sheet undies all in a bunch because Hollywood has done the unthinkable! Nope, it’s not that they’ve made the Yogi Bear movie or Little Fockers. It’s worse. They’ve made Heimdall black.

Everyone knows Heimdall, right? He’s the Norse god who can hear grass growing and leaves falling. The one who will sound the Gjallarhorn, alerting the æsir to the onset of Ragnarök where the world ends and is reborn. Oh, and he’s also called “the white god.” And he’s being played by blacktor Idris Elba.

Said the CoCC:

“It [is] well known that Marvel is a company that advocates for leftwing ideologies and causes,” the site reads. “Marvel frontman Stan ‘Lee’ Lieber boasts of being a major financier of leftwing political candidates. Marvel has viciously attacked the Tea Party movement, conservatives and European heritage.

 “Now they have taken it one further, casting a black man as a Norse deity in their new movie Thor. Marvel has now inserted social engineering into European mythology.”

On one hand, as an Oreo, I’m totes jealous that Idris Elba is cast to play “the white god”! What an Oreo coup! I’ve sung “Popular” from Wicked at karaoke for years and have yet to land a role for a blonde.

On the other hand, as an Oreo, I’m totes bothered. If directors like Kenneth Branagh continue to fly in the face of reality and give roles to of color actors that allow them to speak in lofty poetry instead of rap and live in the sky instead of the hood…what does that mean for the Oreo? If Hollywood just starts giving parts out willy nilly to talented actors without first vetting them based on race, how will the Oreo know what to avoid to not seem so, you know, black?

And the CoCC has some good points. (If you want a real fun afternoon, btw, check out their website!) Heimdall clearly wasn’t mean to be black. He’s a Norse god, hello! So it’s good that apart from Elba, all the other actors are ethnically correct. Like the Celtic New Zealander Chris Hemsworth who plays Thor, or the Welsh Anthony Hopkins who plays Odin,  the Irish Ray Stevenson who plays Volstagg.

Yup, all Norse– wait, what?

It’s a relief to note, btw, the other true-to-life elements of Thor remain in tact. Like how Thor’s hammer flies from nowhere to his hands whenever he clicks his fingers.  So it stands to reason why the CoCC was so upset…the movie was so close. So. Very. Close. 

Obviously,  the CoCC has a lot of boycotting to do! Here’s their email form if you’d like to get in touch with them to show your support. If you do…let me know what they say.