Django Unchained: I’m not interested in any movie where black women are repeatedly raped

I don’t know about you, but a movie featuring mildly thought out black female slave characters who are repeatedly raped at a club for white slave owners is not my idea of a great film.  I don’t want to see a female slave raped in front of her husband.  I don’t want to see her tortured and degraded…or locked in a cage naked.  OH and I’m not too keen about this content combined with a whole lot of other blaxploitation style slave torture (Whippings, beatings, etc).

What am I talking about?  Django Unchained.  The upcoming Quentin Tarantino film set to be released in Dec 2012 that black women need to start protesting now.  I mean really!!  We need to get on this, SIS. (I’m not going to even start on how I’m not for this movie coming out the month after Obama wins…again.  Let’s be real, no black person will want to see this if he loses either.)  Remember when Disney tried to give the first Black Princess the name “Maddy” (Too close to Mammy)?  Yep, WE got that changed and that wasn’t as bad as this.

Some sistas are ready to organize: “If all goes as the leaked script has planned for this “comedy”, audiences will get to see the character “Broomhilda”, an enslaved Black woman, naked for almost her entire time on screen, flashing her breasts on a slave auction block, and graphically raped – repeatedly – throughout the movie, at least 4 or 5 times, by individual and groups of white men. It’s also reported that this character is degraded in other ways throughout the movie, like being doused in mud, locked in a cage, and raped in front of her husband. Supposedly, all in good fun. And judging from Tarantino’s history of extremely graphic and offensive imagery in his past “comedic” works such as “Pulp Fiction”, the imagery used to degrade Black women in this so-called “comedy” will not be lighthearted fare. ” (Stop The Media Smear Campaign Against Black Women)

The script leaked and the reviews are all over the internet from those who have seen it.  Sure, Sure, a script can change and this one should if what I’m reading is correct.  Jamie Fox, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kerry Washington have been named as potential actors interested (Here is a list of the roles in the movie).  I don’t think they would sign on to something as terrible as what I’ve read, but you never know.  The economy is bad.  Hell, Jamie did star in “Booty Call”.  He’s apparently up for the lead role.  Funny thing, people who’ve read the script are saying that the lead is not the “Mandigo”/Nat Turner role people think it’s going to be.  He’s playing second fiddle most of the film to a German bounty hunter who takes him under his wing.  Think of Tommy Lee Jones working with Will Smith’s character in Men in Black…but make Will a slave.  Yeah, something like that.  A slave revolt/retribution movie with a white male lead as the star.  That’s Hollywood.

Shadow and Act says: “I’ve Read Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” Script, And, Well, It’s Not Nat Turner’s Revolt…”

“Speaking of its blaxploitation influences… regarding the lead female character in this, named Broomhilda, Django’s slave wife, whom he’s separated from, and seeks. She’s the lead female in the film, but her part is limited to really just physicalities. She has the most screen time of any other woman in the film, which is why I call her the lead female character, but, really, there’s no Shosanna in this one, as there was in Inglorious Basterds. The black female “lead” here doesn’t get the same kind of dignified treatment that Tarantino gave Shosanna. Not even close. Yes, I know it’s a different time altogether, but, I’m sure he could have afforded Broomhilda some complexities, and maybe even made her a heroine in her own right.

There are some 4 or 5 scenes in which the she’s, shall we say, “exposed”… i.e. naked; and they felt gratuitous to me; 2 in which she’s raped by white men. When we first meet her, she’s on the auction block and asked to bare her breasts to potential buyers; later, she’s chased through a hotel, through hallways, and lobbies, etc, by a slave master, completely naked, after being woken up from sleep, with a whip across her naked body; and still later, she’s locked up naked in a steel box as punishment for trying to run away. Yes, I’m sure these are all scenarios that very well likely could have played out at the time; however, Tarantino could have opted to depict her in another light altogether, but instead chose this less flattering, exploitative one.”

I feel a campaign a-brewing to get the makers of this flick to scrap some of that exploitative sexual violence towards black women.   Oh and I’m sure that people (Spike Lee) will be mad about use of the N-word.  It will be Roots all over again for some of you, since it’s a period piece. If people thought there were a lot of N-words thrown around in “Jackie Brown” or “Pulp Fiction”, they haven’t seen anything yet.

I hope the script is a dry run because the concept his potential.  Hey, I’m up for a slaves vs. masters revenge movie.  Sure Quentin, show or all the brutality and violence.  Put it in people’s faces.  However, historical accuracy doesn’t call for this level of sexual violence against black women.  It’s not funny.  It’s in bad taste.

7 Comments

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7 Responses to Django Unchained: I’m not interested in any movie where black women are repeatedly raped

  1. Zimriel

    Only 500,000 blacks came to the States as slaves. There was some racial admixture, especially in the North and around New Orleans. Out in the field… not much. Blacks there still look exactly like blacks in the Caribbean who look almost like blacks in Nigeria. This means blacks have bred amongst themselves (or with native groups). There just wasn’t a lot of white-on-black sex going on let alone forcible. There still isn’t.

    From a feminist perspective: the great moral outrage against slavery wasn’t that whites were forcing themselves against blacks. The outrage was that slavers were selling people down river and breaking up families.

  2. Ben

    The point. in my view, and please forgive a wasp his upbringing, is that all people are supposed to feel completely outraged at this treatment of people. But it wouldn’t accomplish that , because it’s a Tarantino film and despite these films making people like you, and i, and other thinking people think about whats wrong in our society, it won’t cause enough people to come out of the movie theater talking about how our society needs to be fixed and those who treat women in this manner or thing of black people in such a way should be brought to justice. No, they are going to be talking about that “bad ass slave” going and killing the people who did it. And if that’s not how the script goes, forgive me, it’s going to be an even worse movie because justice will not have been done at all.

  3. Donella

    I’ve read the script and the role of Broomhilda was written as a human mattress, no more than that. She is raped at the beginning (gang-raped in front of her husband), the middle (coerced into sex by a blackmailing white family, and the END (raped while crying) of the movie.

  4. big daddy

    so whats the option? not confront the kind of cruelty and violation that slavery brought on black people and black women? i admire tarantino for taking an unflinching approach to the topic of slavery. of course it will make people angry but he would be doing a disservice to the memory of the millions who were violated, abused and killed in the name of the US slave trade by taking a soft approach.

  5. Steph

    I’m wondering why The Weinstein Company and Quentin Tarantino chose not to highlight/emphasize/showcase/splash the rape and humiliation of Jewish (by German nazis) and Italian (by Allied soldiers) women during World War II in Inglorious Basterds. But then decided to satisfy demands “for authentic representation” of slavery with multiple rape scenes for the Black woman–and then refer to that Black rape victim as a prostitute and a pony in their marketing and propaganda for their fanboys. You didn’t see scenes like this in Defiance or Schindler’s List, but apparently The Weinstein Company feels it should be seen on an excessive and gratuitous level in Django Unchained.

  6. blogger

    i’m late, but i’ll break down how this could have been more interesting. contrary to what Zimreal wrote, there was A LOT of slave rape going on, and you know what–many times it wasn’t white slave master on black slave woman. truth is, a lot of slave masters raped the black men too.

    See that’s the thing, a lot of people just think of slavery in a one dimensional framework, but it has many twisted and “twisted” paths to go down. That’s what’s so stupid about Django. It could have been brutal, and amoral, but it at least could have done some work to treat such an evil, complex subject with some sense of…complexity. Screw it, i’ll go there, why didn’t he have the nazis repeatedly raping jewish women in inglorious basterds? it did happen.

    This is how i feel he could’ve approached Django. Keep the stuff about a white man (or if you want to be interesting, a “mulatto man” passing for white) buying a black slaves freedom and training him as a bounty hunter. cool, but dial-back the black woman exploitation. Thing is, everyone in the slave south was exploited: poor whites, women, etc…., so there’s a lot of exploitation to go around. the black woman rape is too obvious, and only serves to appeal to sadists, and those who love shock “art”. Damn, if anyone wants to get an understanding of the true horror of a black female slave, go read harriet ann jacobs’s book “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” or countless other historically attributed slave accounts. I don’t need quentin tarantino to depict that obvious shit on the screen. But like i said, if i had to revise Django i would have kept the original premise, but had the slave master be a twisted vouyerist who is particularly taken with watching his lily white wife gangbanged by some of his big black mandingos. how twisted would that be? in fact, you could have had the white woman and the black woman team up. that’s interesting. that highlights the evils of the society while adding in the silliness of movies. but no. We have to (not I) watch Kerry Washington get raped, and brutalized. fuck that.

  7. Steph

    How many graphic rape scenes with Italian and Jewish women did Tarantino write into Inglorious Basterds? Because during WW2, conquering forces did rape Italian and Jewish women on a massive scale. Did Tarantino and Weinstein greenlight those unflinching, realistic portrayals of cruelty and violation against their own culture for international entertainment? No. They saved it for Black women.

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