Gary L. Willis AFRS 55T (T&[email protected]:30) Dr. T. Hasan Johnson 02. 23. 13 Extra Credit The Movie “Django Unchained” The objective of this paper is to review some of the results of the discussion-panel’s analysis of certain aspects of this movie that relate to the Hip-Hop culture. On Thursday, February 21, 2013, I attended a panel discussion hosted by the Africana Studies Department of Fresno State University. It was conducted at the African American Museum, Fresno California. Its purpose was to evaluate this movie’s effect on us (basically Black-Americans), by analyzing elements of this movie.
This movie presents Black masculinity and femininity during the 1860s slavery era of America using characters that portray slaves as childish and stupid (the Betina or D’Artagnan), violent (the Mandingo or Django), hypersexual (Sheba) and cowardly (all the black male slaves). These slavery created representations of Black masculinity (the Buck) and femininity (the Jezebel/Mulattoe) are relevant to Hip-Hop because they are the predominate characters being proffered as entertainment in the overwhelming majority of Hip-Hop videos.
The stereotypical persona of “The Buck” in the videos is the Gangsta/Thug and “The Jezebel/Mulattoe” is the Bitch/Ho— both are slavery created stereotypes. The Jezebel/Mulatto (Bitch/Ho) The Buck (Gangsta/Thug) Another aspect of this movie relevant to Hip-hop culture is the word “nigger”, used incessantly in the movie, just as, its morphed version, “Nigga” is used incessantly by Hip-Hoppers, in conversation and in their videos.
Since language is one of the seven essential element of all cultures, the usage of the word “nigger” was discussed by the panel and audience and as a result of this discussion, we agreed that—without the use of the word “nigger”, “Django Unchained” would not be authentic; because, in this movie, “nigger” is a descriptive term, used to describe property, e. g. a slave or slaves—with no malice intended. Here are two examples, horse or horses and house or houses—ergo, nigger or niggers.
The only character that uses “nigger” other than as a description of property is Stephen (the “Uncle Tom” played by Samuel L. Jackson). He used the word “nigger” to degrade his fellow black slaves. As with the movies use of “nigger”, the same can be said about Hip-Hop videos, they would lose its authenticity without the use of the word “Nigga” because “Nigga” in Hip-hop is a descriptive turn, but unlike “nigger” it versatility. For example, it can be used describe a relationship and its meaning changes depending on who is saying it and to whom.
For example, in the movie when a Slave-master says “My nigger”, it does not have the same meaning as a Gangsta/thug or Jezebel/Mulattoe in a Hip-Hop video saying, “My Nigga”. The Slave-masters are describing their property, while the Hip-Hoppers are describing their relationships. During the audience participation portion of this discussion, a young black- man in the audience (Christopher Jackson) described how much the movie upset him.
He also shared with us, the extent to which it made him realize how horrible slavery was; and how much suffering his ancestors had to endure; so that he can enjoy the civil rights he has today. He said, “Now I truly appreciate my ancestors and men like Martin and Malcolm, who made the ultimate sacrifice so that I can enjoy the freedom I have today. ” Personal Reflections If the motives for making “Django Unchained” are to make us aware of how much our ancestors suffered under the yoke of slavery and to make us cherish our freedom; then, Christopher Jackson’s words are a testament to this movie’s success in both endeavors!
In conclusion—I, along with many participants in this discussion, enjoyed “Django Unchained” and hope that there will be more movies made that expose the horrors of slavery, and that, also promote positive images of black men and women. ——————————————– [ 1 ]. This paper was submitted as extra credit for AFRS 27, 55T and 144 [ 2 ]. Heretofore, us, we, and our refers to Black-Americans [ 3 ]. Donald Bogle, Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies & Bucks
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