Wednesday, 29 October 2014

SYNAPSE CIRCUIT THE LANGUAGE OF RACISM

Above:  The Black Panther conceptual art render.
Above: Chadwick Boseman who will be playing The Black Panther. Will Disney mess it up?
Above: The first true Afrocentric superhero, Blade played by Wesley Snipes.
SYNAPSE CIRCUIT
ANTISOCIAL NETWORKING:
THE LANGUAGE OF RACISM


Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! It’s good to see you as always! I hope that all is well in your world! Yes, more reviews are coming as well as great competitions!

Y’know, it’s hard to believe that with all the technology that we have access to the world is still plagued with racism – amongst other diseases of the mind i.e. sexism and homophobia. What’s wrong with us, huh?

Are we insane? Are we selectively “racist”? Hey, I’ve got Asian and “Black” friends!

WE CAN BE HEROES...

WARNING: SOME OF THIS MATERIAL CONTAINS RACIST LANGUANGE. TAKE TIME TO READ THE ARTICLE TO UNDERSTAND THE CONTEXT.

WHAT IS A HERO?
Is he white? Is he a he? Does he have big muscles? Yes, Synapse Circuit Readers! I am referring to the recent announcement made by Marvel Studios regarding the first “Black” starring role in the Superhero genre. Yes, the much talked about and belated chapter in the Superhero Marvel Studio franchise owned by Disney has a date, ‘Black Panther’, November 3, 2017! May we live to see it! Chadwick Boseman of the recent James Brown movie biopic will play T'Challa aka Black Panther on superhero duty!

Black Panther is being hailed as the first Superhero movie from Marvel that features a “Black lead in the starring role...” <The sound of a record being scratched!> What does that mean? Does it mean that in the past a white person would be blacked-up to play the role? Or would the role have gone to a less Africanized looking, er, Black man? Mario Van Peebles, anyone? Oh, the role would have gone to a white South African actor with deadly good looks such as Oscar Pistorious as there are no “Black” heroes in Africa – only a bunch of half naked men (and women) beating on bongos and chucking spears... Of course, I am kidding! Or would the ‘Black Panther’ superhero movie be played out as a comedy? Jive turkey, motherfuffer!

But wait! <The sound of a record being scratched!> What about Blade??? Blade is a Marvel character and the 1998 movie of the same title, ‘Blade’ went down a storm! Did you see ‘Blade’? Blade was a fantastic take on the Vampire genre and it flipped the Superhero genre upside down!

Just in case you have no idea about the Blade character here’s he is in a nutshell:

Blade aka Eric Brooks became a human / Vampire hybrid aka a Daywalker through his mother having been bit by arch Vampire, Deacon Frost whilst in a late stages of pregnancy. The Vampire bite transferred a viral metamorphosis that turned the unborn child into a brilliant “half breed” subtext. It seemed that the trauma of a Vampire bite caused the premature arrival of Eric Brooks, Blade.

Blade has the advantages of being part Vampire i.e. slow aging, a regenerative healing immune system not unlike the X-Man, Wolverine and superhuman strength. The trade off is that he has to drink blood every once in a while to be, uhm, healthy! Hee hee... But the good news – as if being superhuman can be considered a bad thing – is that Blade’s human side allows him to be able to walk around during the day hence the term, Daywalker!

Blade was played on the silver screen by the impressive actor and martial artist, Wesley Snipes. And on the small screen - yes they made an odd but entertaining (just) TV series - he was played by Rapper, Kirk “Sticky Fingaz” (or should that be Stinky Fingaz) Jones. The TV series was hit and miss. Kirk Jones cut is acting fangs (hee hee) on this short-lived TV series and got better towards the end at filling Snipes’ boots. It was alright. Anyhoo...

In the Blade movie, the Vampire hunter, killer was accompanied by a mature father figure of a white man by the name of Abraham Whistler who discovered Blade as a child and raised him; taking advantage of his strengths in a bid to defeat the Vampire enemy that destroyed his family. Nothing wrong with that... Blade was running the show and was kicking (mostly) white Vampire ass!

But just look at the beautiful racial metaphors in the Blade movie and comic book... Check this out...

Blade the Black man (you are probably wondering why I capitalize “Black” – this will be revealed later if you haven’t already worked it out) is able to walk around during the day in the sunlight. It feeds into “racist” ideas that Black people can’t get skin cancer through prolonged exposure to sunlight and that it ages white skin thus giving it the appearance of leather and that in order to extend the white bloodline it has to be filtered through the Black man’s blood. Yes, “interbreeding”. Wow! In the Blade trilogy of movies the Vampires are after Blade’s DNA so that they can create hybrid babies with none of the (white) Vampire weaknesses. How many times have you heard the myth that the Black man is naturally stronger than the white man? Amazing! Considering there’s talk of “blood purity” throughout Blade but they need his DNA. Amazing because there are individuals who’d rather die than to entertain a life saving blood transfusion from someone of a different “race”!

CABIN FEVER
It is amazing when you see that how in the States and in the UK (where I am from) that we’ve been fed non-threatening light-skinned “Black” artists into the mainstream media with a massive crossover appeal: Prince and Beyoncé are the ones that come to the top of my head. Don’t get me wrong there were a few “Black” artists to come through such as Sydney Poitier but the light of superstardom and acclaim often falls upon De Niro, Redford, Pacino, etc and their effects on Hollywood. It’s great that there are fine actors such as Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman and Samuel L. Jackson starring in good Hollywood fodder. But more often than not their roles are mostly inert, Uncle... ...they tend to play a supportive role to the white protagonist. Ironically, Samuel L. Jackson plays a Marvel comic book character that was once painted white, Nick Fury. The Nick Fury character that appears in the Iron Man movies and Avengers can be looked upon as playing a managerial role like a football coach to these omnipotent whiter than white heroes.

In the UK many, many “Black” music artists have tried to break into the mass mainstream to little or no avail. Roughly, 10 years ago the NME (New Musical Express) paper claimed that “Black skin didn’t print well...” and that’s why Black artists did not appear on its front cover! If I am correct, Black artists started to appear in the later years on the cover (of NME). Today, not much has changed; I can go to the newsagents right now and white artists will be featured on the cover as if Black or “Urban” music has no place on the musical map!



Above: Blending in, effeminate and nonthreatening. The incredible artist known as Prince. 

Remarkably, the USA has become a haven for British Black artists (musicians and actors) to thrive. Billy Ocean has been able to have a long lasting career thanks to the US of A. And lately there has been a Black invasion of British Black actors: Idris Elba (The Wire, Thor & Ghost Rider sequel – Marvel movies and BBC’s maverick detective, Luther); Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave, Salt) and David Harewood (Homeland). Why is it that these incredibly talented actors have to go all the way to the USA to have a distinguished career? Do the British lack imagination? “Right, you’re playing a drug dealer...” “Yes, you are the leader of a violent gang...” “Okay, you are playing the role of a violent pimp...” “You’re playing a dirty cop...” “It’s a period piece where you play a slave and your master’s daughter falls in love with you...” “You play a boxer...”

YAWN!!!

JUNGLE FEVER
Don’t you find it odd that Black characters have mostly white partners in the movies, TV shows and adverts? Of course it is not something that I frown upon. You love who you love! Beauty and the Beast, the subtext there is an interracial or interspecies relationship. But it seems a rarity that Black characters are partnered to themselves when depicted in the media, arts & entertainment. Are the subject of interracial / interspecies relationships one of the many metaphors / subtexts within the Blade trilogy of movies? In Blade 2, Blade appeared to be falling for the enemy Vampire Princes (she was of a noble stock) Jungle Fever (you ought to watch the movie of the same name, ‘Jungle Fever’ by Spike Lee which incidentally stars Wesley Snipes)? How many times have I heard black women say this of black men who have come into fame and fortune, “As soon as they’ve become successful they marry a white woman...”? If I didn’t know better I would say that Black characters on the big and small screens are deliberately partnered with whites to demoralize both Black men and women. Well, I don’t really know better as the notion of an, albeit fictitious, Black family appears to be a non-practice nowadays. No doubt that this upsets white supremacy fanatics too! The most successful family on TV was the Cosby’s! I never saw them as “Black”; I saw them as a family. Race and “interbreeding” weren’t a focal point of the show; it was about family and responsibility. The Cosby Show was a stark contrast to the Fresh Prince, starring Will Smith, where the focal point was a fight to retain the notion of a “Black” identity within Middle Class America when an Afro-American middle class family struggles to absorb a family member from the “Ghetto”. Hey, didn’t Elvis Presley do a song about the ghetto? Interesting song, that... Did the white drug dealers, junkies and prostitutes move out of Detroit, for example, and the Blacks moved in and took over?



Above:  Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs before the divorce announcement. Othello Syndrome?
 
Well, going back to the ‘Black Panther’ movie... It is set in the fictitious African state of Wakanda and does that mean that the only way a “Black” hero can be accepted as a hero is if he is based in the country of his origin? I mean, Superman came all the way from planet Krypton yet he turned out all white (and American). He got accepted! The Black superhero today hasn’t advanced much from the first mainstream Black American superhero... Do you know him? Think Scatman Crothers, Benjamin Sherman Crothers to be exact. Now does the famous Black superhero come to mind? No? Here’s a clue: Kung Fu! Have you got it now? Yes, Scatman Crothers gave his voice to none other than Hong Kong Phooey (a popular children’s cartoon). A janitor by day and a proto-Mr Bean / Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) Kung Fu fighting idiot  superhero at night... Oh, the character was a dog! Incidentally, in poverty stricken Afro-American neighbourhoods the biggest selling food was... ...dog food! Ta da! So, what better hero is fitting than Hong Kong Phooey? The dog with a Black man’s voice... Great! How novel!



Above:
 A love that lasts, David Bowie and Iman. 


Above: Olivier Martinez and Halle Berry.  

But isn’t it true that we humans started life in what is commonly known today as Africa? When the inhabitants ventured out to other parts of the world the climate and dietary habits changed the physical appearance, no? Don’t shoot me! This is what many scientists have been saying of late and I have watched a few recent documentaries on the subject that points to the idea that migration have mutated us thus dividing ourselves into different species. Some would say “sub” species either way back and forth across the skin colour spectrum. Now going back to the original Black star of a Marvel based superhero movie, Wesley Snipes, Blade... I find it odd and quite disturbing that both the character and the actor are being written out of the Superhero Myth / Folklore. Don’t you find this disturbing? Granted that I believe that Blade didn’t exactly come out of the formation of Marvel Studios – if memory serves me correctly I think it was Iron Man that was the first outing for Marvel Studios. But still... ...I was going to say that there is no denying but Blade and Wesley Snipes are being denied! In my most humble opinion I think that the Blade movies – apart from the last one – were and still are up there with the best of the Superhero movie genre. Spiderman was okay but essentially it is the same tired Coming of Age paradigm that is at the heart of many hero / superhero movie genres.



Above:
 Are interracial relationships doomed as they could be predicated on racial myths? 
IN THE SHADOWS
Yeah, yeah... You can’t see the Black man (woman) in the dark black shadows... Lol! Anyhoo... If you watched the TV series ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’ and the sequel to the Captain America movie, ‘The Winter Soldier’ they shared the thread of a shadow organization, Hydra, infiltrating America’s infrastructure. Another amazing metaphor for the idea and countless conspiracy theories that have it that the Nazis have managed to prevail within the shadows of governments around the world – most of all America! Gee! I thought that all the Nazis did was to help NASA land on the Moon by utilizing V-Rocket technology that once shook the foundations of the UK – literally! Yes, the USA quickly snatched up the clever German Nazi scientists after the War! I think Hitler would have been proud that an Austrian became the “Governator” of California! A-oak-ay!




Above: Hydra ideologies...  

I have to hand it to the writers of Captain America, The Winter Soldier, for managing to squeeze in the best of the Shadow Government conspiracy theories into an action packed explosive 136 minutes! Hail, Hydra! Captain America teams up with The Falcon, a Black man with an advanced jetpack who acts as a super-janitor and cleans up the mess in the wake of the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D (introduced in the first Iron Man movie: Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics) when Hydra is forced out of the shadows albeit temporarily.

However, in Blade the shadow government are aptly Vampires because they can only exist in there –the shadows! It’s a great metaphor that tells us that it is really us that is being kept in the dark while men in suits gather in secret to make decisions that we have no say in. Naturally, the Vampires feed off us humans: we work, eat, sleep, and die! Repeat! Then along comes this super-no-nonsense alpha male... A Black male that kicks (mostly white) Vampire ass! Is Blade such a threat to the establishment that it has to be written out of history??? It is arguable that Blade 3 was sabotaged as the notion of a Black man toppling a vampiric shadow government is considered dangerous.

WHY SHOULD IT MATTER?
Why should it matter that we have to keep referring to ourselves based upon our skin tones? I can kind of understand it when giving a description to someone to describe another. But I don’t understand why a majority of Black people, for example, try so hard to be, er, Black. As if the media putting the idea out that being Black is so removed from humanity isn’t enough. That they, Black folk, have to do cartwheels when a man, Chadwick Boseman, who happens to be of Afrocentric descent should land the starring role of a superhero movie (of all genres) who happens to reside in Africa who is African. Why??? Was Marvel Considering Justin Timberlake for the role? It’s funny, right? Laugh out loud funny! But many years ago white actors had to black-up to play Othello which is ironic given the premise of the story that a white man becomes jealous of his African Moorish General superior and his white wife who then sets about to destroy him (Othello). How many times does this story have to play out in real life?

We are human. The Earth is Zion. You go upstream and you poop there only for the poop to come downstream where you reside! Name one planet like ours? We only get one planet and it is high time that we start to make the most of it. And no, this doesn’t mean more genocide that has the usual suspects sitting pretty (ugly) upon a throne of death. It’s about loving: you, I and we and taking care of this beautiful planet! Harmony has never stopped beckoning and it is never too late to take heed.

Black is a myth! White is a myth. Life shouldn’t be a game of chess. “Racism” does not make any sense because we are of one human race! We make up cultures and pretend that we’re better than those who have made up other cultures for themselves like we have nothing better to do!

Technology should unite us but sadly some of us use it as a weapon of propaganda!

Oh, Marvel Studios have also announced a woman superhero movie that stars... You’ve guessed it, a woman! ‘Captain Marvel’ is due July 6, 2018! I can’t wait!

Things to think about...

THANKS FOR READING...

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