Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted by on Mar 17, 2016 in African-Americans, Arts & Entertainment, Movies, Race | 4 comments

Ghostbusters and race: Why I feel sorry for Leslie Jones

I feel sorry for Leslie Jones. This should be a time where she is excitingly promoting the upcoming re-booted Ghostbusters film and basking in the glow of being a part of an iconic film franchise. Her role could very well be career defining.

Instead she is being damn near chased off social media and it really shouldn’t have come to this.

Here is the thing, I am a black man, which means I am a proud owner of the race card. A product I rarely brandish. But I felt my card carrying fingers itch when I was watching the trailer for Ghostbusters film.

Yes, it follows the same premise and set-up as the original film released in the 80s (Sidebar: is this a re-boot or a sequel?) but in 2016 that premise doesn’t pass the smell test. Having four Ghostbusters, three being distinguished scientists and the other being an ‘ordinary’ person that works at the train station is fine. But when that one non-scientist is the only minority in the main cast then it becomes a little bit troubling. When it’s suggested in 2016 that the skills the African America brings to Ghostbusters is being street-smart, that is also very troubling.

The problem is this debate is happening over social media and people tend to lose their minds on various social sites, but the detractors have a valid point. Leslie Jone’s character feels like a massive and horrifyingly silly step back. Granted, no one has seen this film yet. Jone’s Patty Tolan could be a complex and multi-layered character – so this is just guess work based on the trailer.

But there is significant and important history with the portrayal of black women in cinema and entertainment in general that makes this subject a very sensitive one. Yes things are getting better, but it simply isn’t at a place where Ghostbusters shouldn’t be scrutinised. Black women are still massively underrepresented in cinema and are rarely seen in lead roles, let alone starring ones.

So to see a black woman treated intellectually inferior to the rest of her white cast seems like either a massive oversight or indicative of an industry that still has a way to go on understanding and improving race relations.

Whatever the case, I’m still going to see this film and I hope it isn’t the disaster that I fear it’s going to be.

[Taken from Chocolate Bites blog]

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 The Moderate Voice
  • Markus1

    The first Ghostbusters was an amusing farce with a sequel that was a tiresome retread. I will not be rushing out to see the new one. This posting does have a good point. Hollywood simply showed no black people for many years or allowed them only buffoonish bit parts; the Little Rascals series had a black character as an equal when adult movies didn’t. Once this wall broke down we got two kinds of representations of black people: victims who were saved by virtuous whites in self congratulatory pro civil rights films and isolated characters who are repositories of wisdom but actually powerless. These wise/weak characters are seen in Far from Heaven, Bagger Vance, and Shawshank Redemption. It is rare to see a black person portrayed as a human being with multiple facets like we all have.

    • I don’t know. Independence day seemed to be racially diverse. I did not look upon the lead character as anything but a lead character. In addition, Morgan Freeman has played numerous roles that are neither weak nor victim.

      Just sayin’

      • KP

        Captain Steven Hiller was a bad ass.

  • Ghost Busters obviously is an iconic 80’s film. If a reboot is offered with an all female leading cast I want to view the movie solely on it’s own merits however the main characters individual portrayed backgrounds. The characters personal histories are not nearly as important as their contributions to the over all story. That is always the case with any notable film.

Twitter Auto Publish Powered By :