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Django Unchained, Three Reasons Why I Loved The Movie.

December 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Ent., News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( After reading this week about the objections that director Spike Lee had about the new filmDjango Unchained,” I was both curious and concerned.  I wanted to see the film myself in order to determine if Spike actually had a point in his critique.  I also hoped that Spike would explain himself a bit more, instead of making brief, even cryptic, remarks about the project on his Twitter feed:  I love Spike and his films, but the nature of his criticism didn’t make much sense to me, given that he’d never seen the film in the first place.  I’ve seen several Quentin Tarantino films in the past, and I honestly find the man to be brilliant, creative and extremely weird.  I wondered if Spike had a point.

But after seeing the film, I have to say that I think the great Spike Lee might have been wrong on this one.  By the end of the film, nearly everyone in thedjango-unchained theater was clapping, the story was powerful and the cinematography was  stunning.  Tarantino hit the nail on the head with this movie, and he’s probably going to win a few well-deserved awards.   If you want to understand this film, imagine a mainstream version of the John Singleton film, “Rosewood,” with a lot more action.  To be honest, only a white guy could have made this movie and convinced so many white people to pay money to see it.

But I had my own reasons for loving “Django Unchained,” and here they are:

1) There was a legitimate African American hero:  Jamie Foxx, who played Django, was one of the few serious black heroes ever produced by Hollywood, a place that tends to put black people in a box.  Django wasn’t just a sidekick or comedic buffoon.  He didn’t have some ridiculous set of character flaws like Will Smith’s conflicted hero in the movie “Hancock.”  He didn’t need a white man to save him, like most other fictional or non-fictional accounts we see on screen.  Instead, Django was simply a strong, brave, highly-skilled black man who loved his wife enough to put his life on the line to save her.  In fact, I dare say he was downright inspirational, which is more than you can say about the black men in “T’he Color Purple.”

2) It had a beautiful portrayal of black love:  Far too many Hollywood films enjoy highlighting the incessant conflict between black men and women.  We live in a world where love and marriage are consistently replaced with abuse, addiction and baby mama drama (just watch nearly any VH1 show or listen to the radio to see at least 25 examples of what I’m talking about).  Django’s’ deep love for his wife and desire to save her from her slave masters struck a cord with anyone who has had  a first hand experience with such overwhelming emotion.  It was beautiful to watch a black man show bravery to protect his family.

3) An in-your-face portrayal of slavery: Most of us are given the polite story about slavery when we’re in school.  It’s as if the period of bondage was but  a moment in history, followed by Abraham Lincoln giving us our freedom, and Martin Luther King giving us a speech.  This film, to the extent that it is historically accurate, probably mortified many of the people in the audience by showing the depths of dehumanization that took place during the greatest holocaust in American history.  Unfortunately, this film will be the best education on slavery that many of the audience members will ever receive, but it’s certainly better than nothing.

The bottom line is that “Django Unchained” was a great film, and I think Spike’s criticism might have been unwarranted.  I don’t think that every depiction of slavery has to be a purely educational endeavor which turns the movie theater into a history class.  It’s OK to laugh, fight, love, live and learn, all at the same time.  Even Quentin’s liberal use of the n-word in the film didn’t seem in the least bit out of context (you can’t say the same about his n-word rant during “Pulp Fiction”).

No matter how we feel about “Django Unchained,” we should be sure to remember that the best way to have our stories told is to tell them ourselves.   Gaining the ability to finance our own projects creates both the opportunity and the responsibility to make films that present a more accurate representation of black humanity and the black experience.  Life does imitate art, and if we want to put an end to some of the shucking and jiving many of us still see in our communities, then managing the imagery of ourselves in both film and music might be a great place to start.  

I would personally rather see young black men become inspired by brave men like Django than by the rapper 2Chainz…..Django was willing to go to the ends of the earth to protect and preserve his family….2Chainz could only appreciate Kerry Washington if she were a “big booty hoe.”

I congratulate Quentin, Jamie, Kerry, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Samuel L. Jackson for an extraordinary film.  This film was a classic for the ages.

Staff Writer; Dr. Boyce Watkins 

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  For more information, please visit



25 Responses to “Django Unchained, Three Reasons Why I Loved The Movie.”
  1. jay says:

    …Europeans Jew and non-Jew were knee deep in transatlantic slave trade…stop trying to re-write history

  2. tflowers says:

    Karie was great as well

  3. tflowers says:

    I actually loved the performance by the dentist; him and Jamie worked together very well they should do more work together

  4. tina says:

    I saw the movie. Samuel L. Jackson had me cracking up as did the guy who played the dentist turned bounty hunter. take the movie for what it is….entertainment. Y’all know Quentin is a tad bit touched. come on…

  5. lre says:

    He didn’t need a white man to save him ?

    Um , who unchained django ? A white man . Who feed , clothed / provided and taught django to shoot , read , etc and even shot Leo’s character .

    Actually django was just a sidekick up until Dr. King lost his cool and stupidly shot Leo’s character .

    And jews and blacks had their hands in slavery as well – blacks especially did in africa .

    Well I’m typing on a phone and it want let me finish last
    And as for the name schultz being a jew surname … um , jews are known to change their names to blind in with the host population – so no schultz isn’t necessarily a jew surname just like berg or ner

  6. Ramses says:

    Yeah I knew some brothers who went to Bahia I think i ’06. They said the women there were gorgeous. They said they didn’t see any ugly women there. Said all the women there beautiful. Negroes be on this America is the best, rest of the world sucks mentality and cut themselves off their own family. Niggas think a language separates them when it’s really their own incompetence. See the women know that they have to bring more to the table than beauty. When every female around them damn near is pretty and fine, she better know how to cook or sew or something. Ask the average chick nowadays can she cook. You’ll hear a resounding no!!! Ask her can she sew, same response. What can a woman like that do for you? You have a woman beside you who can’t give you sex but when you’re hungry, you gotta go to McDonald’s? That’s disrespectful for a chick to even think she gonna get marriage from me. Chick can’t cook to me, she automatically is cut off from any chances of marriage towards me. Samuel Jackson was hilarious boy. When a nigga hates, he hates!!!!!! Lol…I just liked the movie because it’s good to see a brother fucking win for once. Damn!!!!! Man don’t you get sick and tired of us losing? It’s time for some wins now

  7. Mack says:

    Ramses: Great drop. And the role Sam Jackson played was hilarious! That alone made the move worth going to see…LOL

    On a different note: keep dropping that ism fam. Folks don’t like it. Because they’ve been rewired to hate the truth and love lies. Drop it anyway. Like I been saying: those who get it will, those who don’t won’t. I’m heading down to the Post office in the next few days to get a new passport. Salvador Bahia is calling me. 😉

  8. Ramses says:

    You know I do as well Mack but I think we are so programmed to look for the bad we see bad. We forget that Moors and Jews had relations with each other in Europe when we ran Spain. Up until integration our dollar stayed in our community longer than theirs. I think Quentin did a lot of things in the movie to make things ironic. That’s what satire does. The word nigger doesn’t affect me like that because blacks say it all the time. I know the word isn’t bad. Read article here… It’s not Quentin’s fault we don’t study our history. We can’t make him do the work for us. We get offended but not enough to learn and do better. We’re always reactive instead of proactive. Spike Lee been in the game for a long time and we have had black actors as well. Why have they never came together and formed a studio together? Tyler perry in a shorter period of time, and better business model, has been able to do what Spike couldn’t: be independent. All of our history is not pretty. We have some ugly shit out there. However, when I see ignorant negores on tv committing stupid crimes, Idon’t internalize that as me. It’s that stupid ass nigga who has no civility within him. Yin and Yang requires balance and Django had to have Samuel Jackson’s character and just the slave experience in general as his doppleganger, to really shoe the stength of his character. That’s what made the movie work. The word Nigga is not bad like we think it is. We just haven’t read enough to know it and that’s our own fault. Noble Drew Ali said “the Caucasian will be around long enough for the black man to learn government again.” We can learn from them and vice/versa. We’ve been sold some bullshit (racism). I hate that shit. I hate that we can’t ever celebrate each other without making things conflict oriented. When they do dumb shit I give it to ’em. But, when step put of line I do the same thing. It’s them en who have been willing to tell humanity about themselves who have died the most because of their failure to hold governments accountable and their undying beliefs in superstitions (modern religions) Egypt was one of the few civilizations that melded scince and myth as one thing. They didn’t see science apart from Osiris and Isis. They used Osiris and Isis to explain the science of the Nile and the Cosmos as well. We do this to ourselves. The people are always reflesctions of their government and so when you have George Bush in offcie, it’s because the people are George Bush. And even our Egyptian ancestors didn’t make excuses for ignorance either. They said that men were fit enough for as much freedom as they could handle. Some people can’t handle freedom. Mater fact a lot of peopel want the freedom of freedom. Justin bieber had a video on youtube that had over 800 million viewers, but you have people on youtube breaking down all types of metaphysical shit and they have 700 views. The great esoteric wisdom of the ancient ages is not meant for everone and this is why these people are 99percenters, instead on the top one percent. How do one percent people rule 99percent? 99 percent give them permission to do so. Django was one percent while the slaves even he put in place were 99 percenters. It happened during Galileo’s time. When you have ignorant people they will always fall fro sute stories that make them feel comfortable. That’s what nursery rhymes, and fables and myths do. But if your stories don’t have science backing them up then their only stories. People don’t even know that earth is just a burned out sun. Which means we had to come from different planets. Why do you think we keep looking at the stars? How do we know we weren’t kidnapped here/ How do we know e’re not in hell now? Scientists are already time traveling while negroes can’t even build marriages and strong families. We could be producing scientists as well studying the universe but we chilling right now. Niggas are relaxed. We
    re like “well we did that science shit before so we don’t need to do it anymore.” How long have you been on this site and how many people have rejected you? You hit hard but your approach is the complete opposite of mine. Do these people still attack you? Of course. To the point I’ve come to your defense (not because you can’t but because you’re a brother). These people will have to settle their karmic debt in this lifetime or the next. But in the meantime, we gotta study and refine our minds and ascend. In the journey of life, you can’t take everyone with you. Every man, woman, and child has to come to grips with their own lives and get it right on their own. Mommy can’t do it for you. Daddy can’t. Uncle nor aunt. Black people don’t read (go into solitary). Reading is a solitary act. It’s how Malcom Little wen in jail and came out Malcolm X. Haile Selassie said there are two places where man can go and learn how to do battle: that’s on the battlefield and in jail. You can be away from those who make you emotional and focus on the inner you, if you choose to do so. Those who waste their time do so at their own peril. If you’re not making humanity better (through your own good deeds) you’re making it worse. We have enough hoes out here. What about some good women? We have enough weak niggas. How about some strong men? You have to want it though.

  9. Mack says:

    @ Ramses: I agree with everything you said in response to me. But here’s the thing: we both know most people who watch this movie won’t look as deeply into it as we do. They’ll stop right on the surface: say it was a good movie and keep it moving.

    They won’t realize that the scene about the skull, for instance, was really how white anthropologists thought and taught during the 1800’s, as a way to justify the enslavement of black people. Most will watch that and think theres probably some truth to it because it was never debunked during the course of the movie.

    They’ll miss the subtle stuff hidden in plain sight, such as the German guy being named “Dr. King Schultz”… which was a double mindbender, seeing that ‘Schultz’ is a jewish name; which glosses over the role that many a jew played in slavery. And Dr. King is the name of one of our greatest champions of freedom. Yet in this film both his name and role (the real Dr. King) was given to a white German jew who set the black man free. Lets not forget who finances and runs Hollywood.

    Quentin was careful not to offend them in any way. We know that jews were just as despised as blacks during that time period, especially in the south. Infact, the most prominent lynching that took place in Marietta, GA was a jew named Leo Frank, right in Marietta Square.

    They were called all kinds of kikes and hymies; yet not one racial epithet disparaging jews was used in that movie; inspite of the main character having an obvious jewish surname. But every other word was nigger this, nigger that. Nigger nigger nigger…In fact, the German jew named Dr. King was given the savior role! Maybe this was done to help to get the movie made in the first place, I don’t know. I just take note of stuff like that.

    And speaking of the over use of the word ‘nigger’ in the movie: there is ample evidence within media psychology that suggests repetition is one of the most powerful and effective means of persuading human behavior. If you sit through 3 hours of being called a nigger (the word was used 120 times by one person’s count), by virtue of cognitive association through repetition, coupled with seeing images of people that look like yourself being called it, you have been effectively programmed to internalize the word and all its negative ramifications. In other words: we were being reprogrammed to accept ourselves as niggers while we watched the movie. Thats just my take.

    Again, not saying it wasn’t entertaining to watch. It was. But I just tend to look for the deeper message in the movie, beyond what we’re supposed to notice.

  10. Ramses says:

    I implore you @hoodgirl to see it….the movie didn’t offend me because I think as a Free Man. I’m nor descended from slaves. I come from greatness and that’s the key. When you’re free, you don’t allow others to think for you. No matter what your ethnicity. Joseph Campbell speaks on this notion (dying many deaths in life) and being reborn in life. He states that life is filled with death and rebirth as we navigate it. Our first experience with this death is when we are forced to separate from our parents (in terms of maturity). We think this is a racial thing but it’s a growth and development thing. People get scared when you grow around you because it makes them feel like you are leaving them behind. But really it’s because they are staying behind. I don’t allow slavery to traumatize me like it used to because I recognize it was a part of history, not the whole story. Most black people only know part of their history and this is why they embrace the pain of slavery so much because they think this is their history. This movie was not disrespectful to our people in anyway as far as I’m concerned. Check it out

  11. hoodgirl says:

    @Ramses, prior to my husband begging me to see SkyFall with him I hadn’t been to the theatre in years. Before SkyFall was shown there was a preview of Django and I turned to my husband and let him know that’s why I don’t like patronizing liberalville. He laughed and said it would be ok. Growing up as well as now I could never stomach watching anything that depicts the pain of our people past or present. It puts me in the wrong spirit. However, your description of Django makes me want to drag hubby to the theatre to see the movie this weekend.

    FYI, I have a family friend named FREEMAN who constantly reminds us that he is a free man just like his name says!

  12. Dom says:

    Oh come on! It was just a movie that has a rating that only adults could see. As a white guy, I laughed when Django got the chance to kill white people for money and I cheered him when he killed all the white people. Why?? Because he was a likable hero vs the evil villains, and not because it was black vs white!

    The movie looked entertaining and it did not matter who was the director which is why many white people went to see it. Some of you guys read too much into things.

  13. Shawn hudson says:

    everybody and their mothers complain about the n-word but spike lee, john singleton, mario van peebles and the hughes brother use it in their films and no one says anything if Tartino was black would y’all have a problem? NO!
    I watched roots all last weekend on Bet and I lost count of how many times I heard the n-word. If we as black people are gonna be progressive we have to stop getting stressed over petty non sense.

  14. Ramses says:

    I disagree Mack. This movie went deep on so many levels. First with the character Django. He went by the last name “Freeman.” This was not by accident. Throughout the entire movie, he carried himself like a free man. Even when blacks doubted his authenticity as a free man, he remained steadfast. A slave-minded person doesn’t think like that. Black people themselves will try to keep you “in your place” like the Samuel Jackson character attempted in the movie. However, Django knew who he was. As a Man thinketh so a Man is applies to Django. He was a Moor. The way he shot that gun, he shot it with exceptional skill. This Man believed in himself and was unwilling to be denied under no circumstances. I liked his character because his character showed what Black Man had to face in the those times and the resiliency some brothers had back then. It showed a Black Man human. We get a lot of flack but this movie showed this brother not being a rebel without a cause, but one with the most Supreme cause you could have (Freedom). This brother was a Hero in this movie. There was nothing positive about the slave experience of black people. That’s what makes the movie important. The fact you had Men still willing to die to be free showed how much guts they actually had. Also, for these black women who love whitey so much, they got to see how much some white men didn’t give a fuck about them like that. Those white men put the lashes to black women just like they did brothers as well. However, the movie challenged whites too. When Leo Dicaprio brung out the skull at the end of the movie, he was actually challenging caucasians as well. The justification of slavery was codified through science. His explanation of the difference between blacks and whites (based on dimples in skull) was asinine. Skull (bone) has nothing to do with brain capactiy and the fact that you had people, who just came out of the dark ages brought about their own rejection of science from Egypt due to the Catholic Church, using science to justify enslaving others is more than ironic. A good portion of the Caucasians that came from Europe were criminals or debtors. The power structure in Europe were hanging them in the town square for stealing pieces of fruit and whites make themselves look silly forgetting their own history. The “rednecks” who worked on the plantation were really slaves themselves. They were the first slaves really in America. Through conflict, people who shared their phenotype and skin complexion became the power holders in America, thus giving them a slight, and I mean a slight advantage over those who had been disenfranchised (Natives which included our ancestors because all of us didn’t come here on boats). Those rednecks were ignorant and I even read an article by a white guy, who said that blacks (as salves) were better off than whites during these times because how could they compete with free labor? This movie made both sides look good and bad. It was a corrupt institution period. But it didn’t mean all slaves were positive and doesn’t mean all whites were bad. I loved when Alexandre Dumas, the Moor who wrote not only the Three Musketeers but The Count Of monte Cristo as well. I always liked the latter. I learned something about my people’s history that I didn’t know as well.…..Samuel Jackson exhibited the hate that i see many black people exhibiting today. It was real. For all this talk about black unity, this movie showed that this didn’t exist in the worse of times for “us.” I don’t wanna see any more salve movies that make you sad. To hell with that. What better way to show a Black Man be heroic than in circumstances like these? He could have just taken his freedom and been done with it. But he didn’t. He went back to get his wife (wife). A Man would put his life on the line for a Woman who’s worth it. They had a black woman, who they said was a slave, who was intelligent enough to learn German. Once again, they were challenging the notion that blacks were too stupid to learn. But Dicaprio’s character wanted to act like some connoisseur, yet when he was meeting the German speaking guy who spoke French as well, his lawyer tells him to not speak French to him because he didn’t know the language!!!! Hilarioius. I was in the movies and there were white people clapping for Django!!!! White people clapping for a Black Man fighting for his freedom? Things are not what we think all the time. This movie was satirical in its exhibition, while at the same time, showing A strong black man who was not a caricature at all. He was not funny at all. His whole demeanor the entire movie was serious. Comedy sometimes has a better way of telling a story than more serious toned pieces of art. In Dr. Faustus, Faustus goes back and forth with Satan in a humorous way to the audience. in the way he tries to get what he wants, at the expense of his soul. It’s funny because of what’s at stake and the author presenting the issue this way, actually gives it more credence and gives it that bite. We don’t wanna look at our negative sides a lot as black people, just like some whites don’t want to as well. Tarantino makes both sides look at themselves in this movie. We have to look at ourselves from a pain perspective as well in a comedic sense as well. Sometimes the comedy in things is how stupid we can be as human beings towards each other and think we can get away with it long term. American slavery is a stain, just like the slavery we practiced against them as well. Doesn’t mean we can’t clean the stains. Just some more info I like to give out

  15. Mack says:

    It was an entertaining movie. I’ll give it that. But let’s not make it something it wasn’t. It wasn’t an accurate historical piece. It was a fictional spaghetti western using slavery as the back drop and a black character as the co-star. It’s the hidden things in the movie that troubled me. Lots of hidden messages all throughout which actually reinforced black inferiority. You have to see it with a discerning eye to catch though.

  16. Dcarter910 says:

    @Ramses Man

    Glad you went to go see it. From your response you obviously saw how the use of the N-word was not an attempt to just water it down and that this movie for the first time put a black person in a truly heroic light. Hopefully others will attempt to be as open minded as they would like others to believe and go see it and then “THEN” if they truly didnt like it, to come back here and write an intelligent opt-ed explaining why.

  17. Ramses says:

    This movie is top 5 movie of all time….all black people need to see this movie!!!!ASAP

  18. Abram says:

    What if Spike Lee wasn’t able to show white people in a negative light, which he does constantly in his movies? You are only okay with something as long as it doesn’t affect YOU. If you cared that much about equality then it wouldn’t be okay to depict any type of racism. Now I’ll admit, I thought that the word was used too much, especially some scenes where it was shown in a comical light. But this is America, and in America the 1st amendment guarantees the right of Freedom of Speech. If you don’t want to watch it, then don’t, but I guarantee you there are going to be many Black Males who will find this movie to be a fantastic change and eye opener about the cruelties that African Americans endured. Personally, I think Spike Lee is a jealous man. He will never make a movie as popular as Tarantino, never even close, and that troubles him greatly.

  19. Arthur says:

    How many times is it OK to say the N word. Where is the line separating acceptable from excessive? It’s a slippery slope. Wouldn’t it be simpler to not use the word at all?

  20. Steph says:

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  21. Steph says:

    Thank you Mack for your brilliant answer!

  22. Mack says:

    I’m going to agree with Steph on this one. The word ‘nigger’ was used in this movie over 120 times according to one of my homies who actually took it upon himself to count. 120 times. Absolutely not acceptable. And she’s also right when she said: Tarantino, nor any other Hollywood director, would dare use jewish slurs as prolifically as he does in virutally all of his films. And you know why? Because B’nai B’rith or the Anti-Defamation League would shut that joint down before going into production.

    Remember the hell Mel Gibson caught from jewish groups when seeking to put out Passion of the Christ? And all he was trying to do was keep the story as original as its been told for 2000 years. And they still made him change up the story, because they argued it would put jewish folks in a negative light. They basically changed truth to preserve their image. Its a shame we don’t take such a strong stance about ourselves. Instead, we praise the likes of Tarantino as a genius! SMH…

    Entertaining movie. I’ll give it that. But theres a deeper psychosis here that troubles me. Its okay for white folks to refer to us as niggers now, as long as they give us the victory at the end of the story? Not buying that one. Are we that hungry for something positive, that we have to endure theaters full of white people hearing those of our hue being referred to as niggers, written by someone white, just to feel good about myself?

    And using 2Chainz or any other rapper is disingenuous because, modern rap music ain’t nothing but cooning minstrel music anyway. So are we comparing one form of cooning to another here?

  23. Abram says:

    Actually Steph, he has never used the work ‘kike’ but in the film Inglorious Basterds, there was the use of the term ‘Jew Dog’ and besides that, it also depicted the slaughter of a jewish family, so there is no basis to your comment. If you can’t look beyond the use of a racist word and see that its use serves a purpose, to show how real these situation were, then you do not understand how serious film works.

  24. Steph says:

    I will see the film one day for free (when it will be on TV or in my local library for instance). I refuse to give my money for a movie where we hear the word nigger. Tarantino has more respect for Jews than us, he would never use the word kike in any of his movies!

  25. Dcarter910 says:

    Sounds like you read my post on this site yesterday about spike lee’s complaining. Glad you went above plantation style rumor mill and saw the movie yourself. Even if miraculously you didn’t like it then it would have been an informed opinion. Hope no one else makes the mistake of missing this movie.

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