The Queen is going to be very candid with you:
Regardless of the hopeful and ebullient way he may seem to approach life, he is quite jaded. It is hard to find black males past the age of, say, ten who aren’t.
In interviews for his movie, George Lucas has talked about how difficult it was to get Red Tails made. No major studio would back it because it had no bankable stars who were White. He had to use much of his own money to get it produced.
I truly appreciate Mr. Lucas’ efforts, and believe his reasons for making this film are grounded in respect and sincerity. I plan on supporting it during it’s first weekend to do my part in affecting box office gross. But I couldn’t help thinking to myself as I watched his interview with Jon Stewart: “That’s all very well and good–you husky, sexy silver bear–but the bottom line is that you hope to make a lot of money off of this.” It’s still a white person profiting from the story of another culture.
The bottom line, however, is that I’m supporting this film for its subject matter. The Tuskegee Airmen are legendary heroes in the African American Community, and deserve a place in the collective consciousness of America. Just as they blazed trails over the skies of Europe, they did so in the hearts and minds of a people desperate to believe in their worth and patriotism.
It is no secret that the Black community and American culture in general has struggled with gay people. The nation as a whole is grappling with issues of equality, choice and acceptance when it comes to homosexuality. However, the Black culture in particular seems to lean farther to the right than most. Of the thousand or so Airmen who earned their wings, some of them HAD to be gay. I have often wondered what additional strength they had to draw from in order to deal with both racism and homophobia?
I know I come from a legacy of people who faced severe adversity, and triumphed. Yet I know that there is much to do. I pray that we as African Americans–and more importantly: as simply Americans–can honor these heroes by courageously blazing new trails of acceptance and understanding.
They needed another Diva in that Great Jazz Band In The Sky
Thank you Ms. James. For everything.