I saw the animated short, Bid Em In, by Neal Sopata, during “Hot Ghetto Mess”…I’m sorry I mean “We’ve gotta do better”. Wow…a name change. Anyway…I was moved and angered a lil. Angered in the same way that I was watching Roots, Beloved, and the Color Purple. Bid ‘Em In…an animated clip that depicts a the auction of a female slave is something that I wanted to share with the world, and I did…lol…but I had to take the clip down out of respect for the creator because it wasn’t an approved clip (Note: People, don’t tape things on your television and put them on YouTube. You got me in trouble. LOL). I asked about an approved clip and will post one if there’s one available.
Oscar Brown, Jr is the writer, storyteller, and performer of the song, “Slave Sale Song”, and the animation short was created by Neal Sopata in 2003 and was widely acclaimed in film festivals. Brown is a very outspoken Jazz musician with social consciousness on his agenda and uses a spoken word, griot style to remind people of the truths that are often buried in the history books. Here is more info from Tavis Smiley’s show on NPR. You can also listen to an interview and watch an animated clip.
At Comic Con, BET presented this video…here’s what “Ilustrator” Tatiana EL-Khouri had to say about it. (I echo her thoughts regarding the irony of BET showing this short film): “BET will begin playing animation shorts throughout their normal programming. The Shorts will range from 6 second parodies like a 6 second tribute to Notorious BIG to a very controversial short called Bid ‘Em In by Neal Sopata. The crudely drawn, naive style animation dealt with slavery and the auction block in particular. When the short was previewed, I was stunned. As a woman of color I was offended and uneasy by the animation. I didn’t know how to react, but the applause from the crowd blew me away. The short displayed the ugliness and demeaning nature of slavery and the objectification of women. It presented a view into the slave auction, but ended abruptly with no conclusion.
Directly following the panel, I discussed the short with other panel attendees. We questioned BET’s motive to display such a riveting short, on such a touchy subject. The issue that stuck out the most to us is the way the slave woman was objectified, much like the women in the music videos today. I thought this was an interesting choice for BET to make as an initial short, considering the content and depiction of the Video Girls in the rap videos. It spurred an intellectual conversation discussing the influence slavery still has in society, along with how this short will be received by America who will be watching this in the comfort of their home. Will it be well received? Will it spur the youth to question the effect slavery still has on society? Will it remind people of the injustice and objectification that took place during the formation of America?”