Friday Fives – black acting school

Black History Month – we’ll keep it light

* disclosure.  This is black history month, and last week I did an edition called ‘color blind’.  Sounds like a great jumping off point for some racial discussions.  Yeah, I missed that one, and talked about car colors.  big miss by me.  This is why I have sidelined my racist editor this week and gone forward with the deal discussion you little proletariat probably have with your racist little bbqs.

** other disclosure.  As is always the case, I will refer to black, african americans as ‘blacks’.  This isn’t to be disrespectful of the culture nor the nomenclature.  It is because it takes FAR too long to type out ‘African American’.

*** last disclosure – that picture up there isn’t in black and white.  They are just so black their mere presence removes all visible light around them.

Over-rated black actor

Denzel Washington. I mean… he could be a great actor… but we’ll never know. He plays the exact same character every time. Cool, confident… a little too into himself.   Like Liam Neeson, though, his characters will fuck you up at the drop of a hat. This happens to too many actors. I call it the ‘Dennis Farina syndrome’.  That is all Al Pacino did for the last 40 years, with the exception of his awesome portrayal of Dr Kevorkian.

Under-rated black actor

Black actor who is awesome and under the radar? How about Mos Def? That isn’t his name anymore, though. He changed it. Oooh… Denver’s own Don Cheadle. Sure, he is famous, but he is much bigger acting chops than most of us realized.  I mean… how do I follow a guys career if he keeps changing his name?  I am still not totally sure what my wife’s last name is anymore.

How come there are no black rock bands?  I mean… white guys rap, right?

Great question, self. There was all kinds of great black music in the mainstream a couple of decades ago. I can think of only two. Living Color, which was a flash in the pan. The other being one of a great rock bands of all time. These guys are so black it’s silly. Bad Brains. You don’t see them anymore because their singer is nuts. Total headcase. Sad story, really.

We had Sly Stone, but he has been out of the spotlight for 40 years.  Poor guy, last report was he was homeless.

Oh, wait… there is Prince.  not sure if he counts.  His band is white, he lives in Minnesota, is a Jehovah’s witness, and is only 3 feet tall.  I should not talk shit about his purpleness… google ‘greatest guitar solo’ of all time and watch the Prince clip on ‘while my guitar gently weeps’.

Thoughts on the Tyler Perry franchise

Why is this shit loved by blacks? It looks to me to be tired tropes and stereotypes of the black experience. Why were their no black faces winning Oscars this Sunday? Well, sure the board is racist. However, what the mainstream audience has to chose from is a Tyler Perry movie. They are like Sandler movies, he can shit out 2 to 3 a year.

Al Sharpton is the self appointed public face of black issues.  Who would be the white equivalent… and not doing the job currently?

I am thinking maybe James Taylor here… the whitest of the white, and super agreeable. Or… Neil Diamond? It would have to be someone we trust, at least initially.  Perhaps the answer to that lies in this.  Someone recently piped up and said “black history month, when is white history month?’  Someone else astutely and quickly piped up ‘the other 11 months’.

I am not anti Sharpton, either.  He is the first guy in the public eye who stood up and said what I have been saying for years… gay marriage is a civil rights issue.  He talked about this openly when running for president.  I was so impressed.  See, to say gays can’t marry (to me, and Al, anyway) is the same as saying ‘tall people can’t get married’, or ‘gingers can’t get married’.  That thing about Gingers… I mean… we all think it, right?   Doesn’t mean you say it out loud, though.

Lastly, I should let you in on this.  The title is a reference to this classic bit from Robert Townshends’ ‘Hollywood Shuffle’.  It’s where he teaches actors to act black(er).  it is genius, and easily up there with Eddie Murphy’s ‘White like me‘.