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The problem with all-star African American Casts...

Unfortunately, movies starring an all African American cast are on the verge of becoming extinct.  THAT’S RIGHT, EXTINCT! Ask any executive at a Hollywood Studio why, and most of them will tell you one of two things. The first thing they’ll say is that DVD sales have become very soft, so it’s hard for a movie with an all black cast to break-even.  Secondly they’ll say, most movies are now dependent on foreign sales to be successful and most "black" movies don’t sell well in foreign markets.  So what that means is you will begin to see less and less films that star an all black cast.   Isn’t that sad in a 2012 America? Somewhere along the way we still haven’t realized that we are more alike then not.

I must tell you that I have been very fortunate to work with a studio that sees the value in my type of storytelling and filmmaking. As well as having you, an audience of all races of people, who have stood by me arm and arm. It has helped me navigate through some pretty rough waters.

I thought that as black people in Hollywood, this is just our reality, but I quickly realized that this is not racism. What made me realize this is I had a conversation with Mr. Star Wars himself, George Lucas, and he was telling me that he was having the same problem with Red Tails. I was blown away!  Red Tails is an important story about, not just black history, but American history about the Tuskegee Airmen. It has an all-star African American cast, including Cuba Gooding Jr. and Terrence Howard, which opens this Friday.  He went on to say that he brought the movie idea of Red Tails to several studios and no one wanted to make this film…. AND THIS IS GEORGE LUCAS!  Not to be deterred, he put up his own money, shot the movie then took it back to those same studios, and they wanted nothing to do with it. One of them even refused to see the film, citing the above mentioned problems.  So George decided to take a huge risk by entirely funding the movie and releasing it himself.  What a guy! For him to believe so strongly in this story is amazing.  I think we should pull together and get behind this movie. I really do! Not just African Americans, but all of us.  I have seen the movie and screened it here in Atlanta. I loved it and I think you will too.  The Tuskegee Airmen, who were at the screening, were so happy that somebody is telling a small part of their story.

It opens this Friday. Please take your kids, you will enjoy it and so will they. There is a lot of action and adventure and also a great history lesson to be learned.

George, I just want to say, thank you for having the courage to do this.

Comments (page 7)

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  • debbie Massachusettes

    Dear Tyler, A lesson in History, life etc ... nothing should ever be judged by color. In my books we are of all equal status..for those that believe in there work and what they stand for you have a story to tell ,tell it...you have a dream, believe in it, just as you have ... you have a gift something to be very proud of..you have shared it,Tyler you have awsome values with positive meaning behind all your movies . George Lucas, one of my rules for my life is "Believe in your self when others fail to see that which is important to thee" for you ..prove them wrong.. i'm sure your movie will be a big hit, and as successful as any other movie you made..more power to you!!! :) peace.love.light& blessings

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  • Nefertiti in ATL Hampton, GA

    Ok back from seeing Red Tails for the second time. 1st I saw it after work at AMC Buckhead Screen and Fork - I work in Tower Place. Took my 10 year old daughter to see it at AMC Southlake Pavillion. The theater was packed. The next show we believed was probably sold out because there was a long ling waiting to get into the theatre and at the box office. So I believ the turn out was great. Daughter was okay until the end. But she has now agreed to go to aviator's camp this summer. Thanx for that extra push. I guess I'll be working extra for the next few weeks. Thanx Mr. Lucas for making the film. Hopefully Ms. Dobson helped out with the budgeting concerns. Thank you Mr. Perry for pushing it and I'll see you next month - Loved the previews for Good Deeds. Again the daughter is 10 but is a great computer whiz and picking up a fancy for photography and robots. . Hopefully she can do an internship or two at your studios for her last two summers in school. Don't laugh - she took away 2nd place in photography project at the county's 4-H fair. Opps Does it sound like I'm bragging - Yes I am.

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  • debbie philadelphia

    In this moment...I am ashamed of you. If the world can embrace rap and hip hop, it has the capacity to embrace an all african american cast. The different is rap and hip hop used marketing, advertising and social media effectively to establish there place in history.

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  • Logan Brooklyn

    This is why it is imperative to support our black directors, producers,actors, movies and so on. And for that kind of support those must be resopnsible and deliver... and I mean deliver positive, inspiring, uplifting storytelling. Something we can learn from or if it's straight entertaining keep it decent, something to be proud of that represents us in the light you want to exist. Let's create our own stereotype of what black looks like, cause in my eyes we are to be beautiful. I appreciate George Lucas effort to see this movie through, but before this movie there was Spike Lee's fight to get his movies (ie.Malcolm X) out there, Mario Van Peebles, Matty Rich, Tyler Perry and that's just to name a very small pinch of the men and the women of color who've been trying or had to settle and/or fight to get there work on the big screen. If you want change, then change, if we support our own as we support them we'll be number one too. Hmmm. The Black Filmmakers Foundation long time ago initiated a Black Filmmakers Awards show and my comment to that then was "it's about time, we need to stop protesting the Oscars... they can't relate to us, our struggles and our stories"... it's just that simple. Our art is not theirs, so we as a whole (from moviemakers to movie goers) support if you want to be recognized or shut up. And don't publicly bash your fellow people, the eyes are watching our behavior. So go do us proud, plus the cast is of Good Looking and talented performers with a story to be told. Divide we fall, together we stand. Food for thought.

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    • Scott Toledo #1622756

      So its OK for African Americans to have separate awards shows, separate movies, separate clubs, etc, but what is it called again when whites do that again? Refresh my memory. No one can understand what you went through? When? Right now? Its easier for African Americans to get into college and get it paid for then whites or any other race for that matter with the possible exception of American Indians. Stop with the self pity. Make good movies with good subject matter and good story and plot lines and people will WATCH them. If you make a black movie then only black people will want to see it. Let me give you an example. Back when rap was in its infancy I used to love it. LL, Will Smith, Cool Moe D and their like used to write music with a sense of purpose and humor. Now rap is about one thing. Being as cool and macho as possible. Stay in school, get and education, live life and then write some meaningful material. Any fool can write a movie or song about T & A.

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  • jim ga

    i don't know if you noticed, but movies with all white casts have been extinct for years. so what!

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  • T.Rivera

    It is a blessing that George Lucas did not get support from the Studio’s. It would be too easy! It would seem like a second class movie that needed help to get promoted, giving the studios credit, and taking away from History. The Tuskegee Airmen did not have it easy in the past, and again in their present. But like in History, this movie will take flight. Yes, I said it! It will take flight, because Courage and Honor are bigger than George Lucas and any Studios. The Tuskegee Airmen are Heroes! Heroes in American History, and continue to be Heroes in the Heart of those that do what is right and stand for Justice! For those of you going to see the movie, don’t worry, just sit back, relax, and enjoy. For those of you, who can’t see the movie, read about it. For those of you who can, but will not, don’t worry, the Tuskegee Airmen fought for you too. By the way, H*** Yes! My family and I will be enjoying “Red Tails”. Thank you Mr. Lucas for having the “Cojones” to do the right thing! Thank you Tuskegee Airmen for protecting the freedom I am enjoying today. I am proud that you are part of my History!

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  • Jacqueline Dupree Greenville,NC

    I think it is really great that we have a well-known director like Mr. Lucas directing an all-black cast in a movie. We really need to realize that there nothing wrong with an all-black cast in a movie. I'm actually a big fan of Tyler Perry movies and that makes me wanna to become an actress. I always wanted to be an actress ever since I was little. I'm an african-american young woman myself. So, I applaud Tyler Perry and George Lucas for standing up for what's right. Keep up the good work gentlemen.

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  • scott Toledo

    I've read a bunch of these comments and I'm left feeling more than a little .....peeved. Why, you ask? Amazingly, because no African American is willing to stand up and take a little blame for what goes on in their culture. It's always someone elses fault. When you say that its racist that white people don't want to see a movie with an all black cast you are missing the bullseye entirely. As a matter of fact you're missing the whole dart board. Subject matter is why most of us don't want to see most of these movies. Why would I go see a movie when any white person in the movie is going to be the b*** of all the jokes in the movie. Been there, done that in real life. Subject matter and possibly style of language used to put it delicately. African Americans also have one other problem in this regard. If 17% of the population is African American and only a small fraction of that goes to movies with all black casts, then the movie is doomed to be failure from the start. Me, I'll wait until I am ready to see Red Tails. I won't see it because I'm told I'm a bigot if I don't. I may not even see it. The only previews I've seen lead me to believe that the actors are playing a 1940's character with 2011 mannerisms. The bottom line is that it is my choice to make not someone else. It doesn't make me racist or prejudiced, it just makes me picky.

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    • Boomba #1622677

      I'm of a darker hue and I agree with you. What we focus on will always expand. Unfortunately, it's diffcult to get anyone to sit down to hear your story when that's all you seem to have to talk about. If this is about entertainment, most successful movies are about "people" issues or fictional works of art. As hideous as our past is, our lives cannot just be depicted as what someone has done or not done for the "Black" man. I lived the streets of DC all my life and my mother was steeped in the civil rights movement. I get history and its effects on a culture. I also get creativity and its use in gaining the respect of other people groups. Life is not just about me and my issues. at the same time, when I share my art, others want to know where I come from. Tyler, I can't wait to see you produce movies on the scale of a George Lucas. Our story may be even more interestingly told as an alien flick like Star Wars or like what James Cameron's Avatar did for South and Native Americans. If we want to improve relationships, we have to be mindful not to beat up the children of those who did wrong. Once we've done that, we can sit down and talk about all kinds of stuff. Isn't it strange that many African American hardly go see some of these movies. People rather live in a fantasy than the past that still effects them today. Gotta get beyond that part first.

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    • neal cam AUBURN,AL #1623422

      MAN PLEASE.

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  • roderick

    Ask movie goers of color: how many movies they're seen with predominatly majority member casts? Then ask majority movie goers: how many films they're seen with predominantly minority member casts? The answers are SEPARATE and UNEQUAL!!!!!

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  • K. Gordon new york

    Tyler Tyler I watched House of Payne Last week, and could not get it off my mind all week. I could not wait till tonight to see it. Well the emotional roller coaster you just took me on was incredible. I cried till I can not cry anymore. These people have become like family to me through your writing. You are such a terrific writer keep up the excellent work.

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  • LaShonda Thomas Saint Louis MO

    I raed this post and as though I was already planning to go see the movie RED TAILS but now I am even more certain that I along with my husband and some friends will be going to see this tomorrow for sure. As far as what Kim h said I agree Hollywood can't tell a black community's story but we have someone who can. TYLER PERRY! He has shown that in many of the movies he has already came out with, but I know that if enough people start to support him like myself we can get "our stories" told speaking for African Americans. I love Tyler Perry and I follow wherever he goes! I am so happy about House of Payne and was even more excited about For Better or Worse! Keep doing it I am in support!

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  • Kim H Kennesaw,ga

    I'm reading all these comments and some have relevance to them. However, How can Hollywood tell a black persons story?? Its not theirs to tell. We need to tell the story. If we speak loud enough people will listen.

    Reply
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