By: Frank James
Special to the Milwaukee Times
There is a saying, “One step forward, three back.” It seems as if the African American community is about to do this very thing. The bizarre part about African Americans doing this is that they have done it before over the same issue. The issue is the movie Super Fly. In the early 70’s African Americans were still angry from the 1960’s and were poised to do something about their plight in the USA. Hollywood released Super Fly and everything changed. After the powerful African American response to Black Panther, Hollywood is attempting to do the same in 2018. The question is, “Will the African American community fall for the foolishness?”
The original Sig Shore production of Super Fly was a masterpiece. Critics will bash the impact on the community but Super Fly was just plain cool. Ron O’Neal’s portrayal of “Priest” in the movie was a masterpiece of acting. The sound score done by Curtis Mayfield was brilliant. The acting, writing and music are what made Super Fly so devastating to the African American community. I once heard a man say, “Black men went into the movie theaters to see Super Fly with Afros and came out with perms.” This statement sums up the impact of the movie on the African American community.
I have listened to the Super Fly soundtrack. The song No Thing On Me is a powerful attack on drug use. The lyrics tell people to enjoy a natural high so you can see things as they are. No Thing on Me should be an anthem used today to get people of all races to kick drug habits. There are good points about the original Super Fly but they are outweighed by the negative cultural impact. Super Fly made the hustling and drug scene look wonderful. In the words of Christian motivational speaker Ruby Wray, a woman who lived during the release of the original Super Fly, “Almost every black man I knew wanted to be like Priest. Even those who didn’t look like him, Ron O’Neal, tried to be him.” The after effects of Super Fly on the African American community were and are obvious. Progress on a social level stopped and it took almost a decade to shake off the cultural impact of Super Fly.
Are African Americans going to fall for the Okie Doke again? Black Panther had African Americans on call. Many people started wearing African clothes again. Some African American females let go of hair weave and are growing their hair natural. It seems as if the African American community may be waking up. Will this shaking off of sleep be disrupted by a knock off of an original, almost fatal blow? Will the African American community allow Hollywood to send them back to sleep, possibly for the final time?
The 2018 Super Fly screenplay was written by Alex Tse and directed by Director X. Tse is Chinese and X was born and raised in Canada. Why would these two people have the African American community’s best interest in mind? How can these two people know what it is to be African American or know how African Americans think? Yes, X looks black and has directed music videos. Whoopee. If you look at any modern music video there is a high chance that it reeks of crass materialism. Materialism is what has driven the African American community insane. How can a Chinese man know how black people feel or think? It would be like me trying to write a movie about the Chinese Triads. This has me asking, “Why now, and why at all?” The previous questions are ones all African Americans should be asking.
There is a chance that African Americans will go see the 2018 Super Fly and come out conscious about the society they live in. There is a greater chance African Americans will go into the theater and be enthralled into oblivion by the cars, women and black men chasing the mythical “Big Score.” I will go on record stating: If the African American community goes back to sleep it will be for good.
Frank James IV © 2018 firstname.lastname@example.org
The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the writer and not of the Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper or NCON Communication, its staff or management. “Being Frank” is a bi-weekly column exclusive to the Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper.