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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 8)

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  • MillieMa Charlottesville

    I loved the movie too.

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  • Larry Evans Stafford,Texas

    I totally agree with you Tyler about all of us getting behind George Lucus in supporting Red Tails at the Theaters all across the Country. You are exactly right you said this story not only portrays African Americans story, but it portrays American History period. We should be striving to preserve all these important aspects of our American History. Thank you Tyler for making a difference in this World. Love you man for what you do.

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  • Ms. April California

    I want to say Thank You to George Lucas for doing this film and I would urge all to go see it this weekend. My son is a member of the Cival Air Patrol here in N. California and he gets the privilage to attend this film with some of the members of the Tuskegee Airmen. This will be an inspiration to him as well as his class mates.

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  • Emanuela Brazil

    I really need to comment about this: "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." The movies promoted in South America And specially in Brazil ( that in some regions 80% of population is black) never ever heard or seen black american movies with the exceptions of some movies starring black american actors that were really successfull in the 90's like wesley snipes, Whitney Houston , Eddie Murphy... I learned about some of Tyler Perry movies online and so I downloaded. Also I dont remember of black american actors visiting other countries to promote movies? Just Will I am and Jamie Fox that made voices in the movie Rio ... It is not enough. I remember in the 90's I really thought the americans were only white because the movies never showed this much black people at all. It never reaches the movie theatre here. Well I guess no one is really caring about the opportunities americans are losing in emerging markets during the crises... An economy that is already stronger than the US.

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  • Mary Ellis Arlington, TX

    Tyler, I'm from Houma, LA. I KNOW you know where that is! I taught school for 28 year, am retired now. I taught Black History to ALL of my students, even though I am a 60-year old white female. Now that Red Tails has been released, I'm asking you, in your position of power, to never let America forget those who fought for equal rights for all, and for the carrying out of Martin Luther King's message! When I taught in an alternative school here in Arlington, TX, on the 25th anniversary of Roots, only 4 or 5 students in our entire school had ever heard of it!! The appreciation of those involved in the fight for civil rights is being lost to current pop icons. Students of ALL races need to understand the importance of the message and the civil rights movement that impacted our entire nation. There is still much healing to be done, and YOU have the medium that can accomplish this goal. I was fortunate enough to show the videos Mighty Times, and The Children's March, done for HBO, by a law firm there. The students in our alternative school here in Arlington embraced their message. Mighty Times told the story of Rosa Parks. There are SO many more stories to be told! The Help has opened the door...I hope a man in your position can continue the message. From a fellow Cajun...Mary Ellis, now a transplanted Texan, but ALWAYS a Cajun at heart

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    • STEVE #1628652

      MARY YOU ARE ALWAYS CARING FOR PEOPLE. WANT YOU TO KNOW MY MOM DIED THIS WEEK. SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL,SWEET AND CARING. STEVE

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  • L Mac Germantown, MD

    Love all of your shows such a fresh approach to the African Americans of this century and telling our stories in ways we all can relate and see ourselves. I think George Lucas movie Redtails has something to say although I think it is a story that has been told so much. Is there another view that is different than the last? Not saying that his story will not be just as good if not better, but it is a story that has been told in many different ways prior to this one and no matter the great importance of it (which is very important) is this a fresh approach? May not be that it is not of interested to the African American community, it may simply be that this story has been told so much no one is really expecting anything new in his story that they haven't already heard. I am going to support because I believe in supporting my community, but so many have forgotten where we have come from or are too young to really care and our stories get lost because we are not even sharing them at home. BTW...Where is FBOW??? Too juicy to give us tidbits, get us hooked on drugs and then tell us we have to go on withdrawl...NOT FAIR!!!!!

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  • lakeshi HOUSTON

    WHAT HAPPEN TO FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE???????????

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  • Phenomenalblessings

    *SPOILER ALERT - DON'T READ IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN REDTAILS* I saw Redtails and I believe in supporting our community. But, I found that George Lucas had good intentions but his execution of the vision was lacking. Redtails didn't have the look or feel of a 58 million dollar production. The script/dialog was weak in my opinion. Some of the scenes just seemed truncated and I found it annoying that the German dialog was subtitled but we were left trying to figure out what was being said in Italian. I couldn't feel for any of the characters because no real backstories were developed. So Redtails isn't going to fail because it's an all black cast but because the script and production didn't do the Tuskegee Airmen's story justice.

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    • Phil Severi Manteca, CA #1622623

      Saw the movie today. No backstories? Did you see the same movie I saw? Didn't look worth 58 million? Planes, equipment, uniforms, combat sequences, set? Weak script? The writing and visuals both managed to work in actual fighting tactics, the loss of zero bombers, and even an incident that actually occurred when the bomber pilots went driniking with the 332nd pilots. My only complaint was that some of the background stuff in Washington had to be truncated, probably with composite characters to get everything in!

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  • Tony Arizona

    Pay attention to how many US Bombers the "Red Tails" lost to enemy fighter aircraft. The Germans fought like "dogs" to protect their country. If you can find a WWII US Bomber crewman, ask how hard the Germans fought--I have. I've also talked to a surviving German fighter pilot. Between 1/2 and 3/4 of the German fighter pilots died in combat. My mother was stationed on an 8th Air Force Base in Bournemouth, England during WWII. She said there were lots of B-17 crews lost, and the nurses would often watch the planes landing and count the losses--pretty sad. The Red Tails lost the same number of Bombers as the Pony Express lost letters, and it doesn't take higher math to calculate it. Their record says it all.

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  • fee fee dallas tx

    hi big country. i am going to the 1025pm show tonight. i have been thinking about this movie all day. so much eye candy...yeah baby! :) terrence howard is so cute....but anyway, i will let you know what i think. the producer of this movie will be on oprah's show on sunday. he as a black girlfriend LOL. i was like OMG he gets down with the chocolate?!! i will be watching own on sunday. tell oprah that i love her network but it's kind of depressing and a bit boring. i know her vision and she wants us to be awakened but i can hardly stay up watching that network. you girl is about us awakening, but i fall asleep every single time LOL. back to the white and chocolate... ain't nothing wrong with that. i have been thinking about getting me a white man too. i ain't mad at her. i know the movie will be good. so i will sit there with my margarita and enjoy all those fine men ;) as long as you are producing movies, an all black cast will never become extinct! i love you with all of my heart and soul. you are the man! now if god can send me a man with your heart! please LORD!!!!

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  • Stephanie chicago ,il

    Hi Tyler I just read your latest update. And you are absolutely correct. But, let me give you my take on this. Hollywood, feels that we as african americans, cant relate to the issues that are put on the big screen. As time has shown we can do any role that is given. Its just not a white thing its a america thing. Its called acting.. We have emotion. I think that no one wants to take a risk, because it will show just how talented we can be. And show up their contenders. WE not talking about the beyonce's who you give roles to because of who she is. We talking about actors and actresses like, Taraji, Kerry, Whoopi, Thandie, Alfrie, Janet. Mr Ealy, Mr Luke, etc. Its sad that we as people have to be limited because of what are skin lookes like. Them not putting money up for us, has nothing to do with rather it will bring in revenue. Its the fear of being proved wrong. Yes, there will be some films that wont hit the top selling,(there are white films that suck). You have proved that we can do a great film with, a great cast, and bring in the money. Thats why we thank you tyler, for those gifts the lord has blessed you with. To bring talent to the screen. We love you

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    • Melanie Lee Corona, Queens, NY #1622426

      I don't think it's that white audiences or cinematic powers-that-be are afraid to see our talent. We've proven our talent at acting long, long ago. I think they're afraid to hear our stories. They're afraid of the shame and guilt they'll feel at knowing that their kind is responsible for the unnecessary hatred and violence done to us. How would you like to be constantly reminded of the wrong that you or your ancestors have done to others? How do you think Hitler's relatives feel? I'm not saying that their shame and guilt is an excuse not to have us share our stories. You can't dress a wound unless you clean it, and you can't clean a wound unless you first expose it. America has to develop the courage to hear these stories, we need to have the courage to tell these stories, and we all have to develop the courage to give and receive forgiveness.

      Reply
  • Sam Melody South Africa Cape Town

    Hi tyler. I hope u are good,how is the movie coming along I believe and knw each and every movie is an eye opener and I lesson that should be learned in life!Thank u for telling real people stories I hpe u get an oscar soon for it is way over due

    Reply
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