*Meet William Nicholson. He is white. He is British. He is bitter.
William penned the biopic “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”, and is salty that it didn’t take home the gold during awards season. Having lost out to the Oscar powerhouse “12 Years a Slave”, Nicholson– speaking last week at a literary convention–blamed the Best Picture winner for “sucking up all the guilt about black people that was available”, leaving little to no American interest in his opus to Mandela. He might have a point.
Many times black people are blamed for not supporting certain cinematic projects about our racist past as a means of disassociating from the the ugliness of it. It then leaves the appearance that white people are more interested in our history than we are. Is that true? Let’s ask the producers of “12 Years a Slave”…
Along came this imbecile with a pen who decided to write about one of the most revered leaders of our time, all the while hoping to manipulate you, me and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science into heralding yet another tale about po’, downtrodden blacks (Africans in this case), and how we got over. Desensitized to the magnitude of Mandela’s legacy to the political landscape of South Africa, Nicholson referred to his speeches as “boring”, and was quite irked by the duration of media coverage the Nobel Peace Prize winner received after his death.
Although Nicholson’s frankness for why we didn’t flock to the theaters is harsh, I can’t deny my agreement with him. It is one of the reasons why I haven’t seen either “12 Years” or “Mandela”, and probably won’t. I am not interested in witnessing another movie reenacting the physical horrors of slavery, and not for nothing, doesn’t this make flick number eleventy about Mandela?!?! Ay, caramba, there are so many other stories to be told from the African-American spectrum; ones that are not solely tugging at the heartstrings of racial injustice.
Quite honestly, after reading Mr. Nicholson’s reckless comments, I not only further question the intent on why our stories are being told, but also why people outside of our race are so motivated to do so. Is it a form of cinematic reparations made to sooth their guilt about the past, or just another ploy to make their bottomlines as black as their subject matter? You be the judge.
Tanya Tatum is the outstpoken host of “The Tatum Talks,” a live Blog Talk Radio show focusing on African-American interests. Feel free to join her for this week’s episode this Wednesday, June 12th, from 9-10p EST at www.blogtalkradio.com/thetatumtalks. You can also join her for a daily discussion at www.facebook.com/thetatumtalks and follow her @TheTatumTalks on Twitter.