“12 Years a Slave”

Wikipedia reports this film had a $20 million dollar budget and grossed over $187 million dollars. I chose not to rush out and watch this movie during the initial release in 2013, because I felt it was both a waste of my time and money. It made no sense for me to run to the theater to watch another, as my mother would say, “Old-time slavery movie.” Nor did it make sense for me to buy or rent the DVD when I am already paying for HBO and I knew it would only be a matter of time before I could watch it on HBO. To no surprise, it came to HBO and again, I was in no great hurry to watch it, yet, I knew that I eventually would, if for no other reason than to be able to write a post about it.

I was up late last night, preparing another post and decided to take a break. During my break, I finally watched “12 Years a Slave.” I turned the TV on at about 1:30 AM and began watching what turned out to be a 2:14 minute movie, which I felt was too long.

I was correct in my initial thoughts about the movie-sight unseen. It is nothing more than a portrayal of the viciousness and inhumanity of American slavery, which anyone who knows anything about America knows it had the worst form of slavery in recorded history.

This movie has a slight twist in that it starts with Solomon Northup as a free man living up-south (I use this term to denote that racially, there is no difference between the attitudes of the North and South)in Sarasota, New York with his wife and two children. He then trusts two White men and agrees to travel with them to Washington, DC where he will play his violin for profit. While having a celebratory dinner with these two White men, they gave him a drug that rendered him unconscious. When he awakens, he finds himself shackled hand and feet in a DC slave pen.

At this point, I found myself wondering what redeeming values this film had for me as an enlightened Black African American man. About half way through the film, I concluded there was nothing of value that this film had to offer me. I did not have a need to see Black African American females raped by White men and reminding me that Black African American males were and still are powerless to protect Black African American women or children from the vicious and malicious assaults of some White men was unnecessary. I definitely did not need to see the sadistic beating that “Patsy” received from her enraged jealous White enslaver.

On the other hand, what was different about this movie was how the White plantation Mistress was depicted having issues with her husband’s affection towards “Patsy” and her realizing that she was less desirable to her husband than the Black African American female. I seriously doubt that White America really picked up on the subliminal messaging emanating from the role of the White Mistress.

For instance, some White men in general and some White American men in particular have always had an insatiable obsession for all women of African ancestry. So much so, that they reportedly coined the term, “The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice.” Because of his maniacal obsession towards his female slave, the White enslaver fell insanely in love with his slave to the point of his having a major panic attack at the thought of her running away.

“12 Years a Slave” also pointed out how envious, weak and cowardly some White men are as evidenced by the plantation carpenter’s insecurities with Solomon’s skills. When Solomon got the best of this carpenter while the carpenter was attempting to beat him, the carpenter unabashedly displayed his cowardice. As a reprisal for Solomon being physically stronger, the White carpenter came back with two White friends and attempted to lynch Solomon by hanging him.

Some critics have rated this movie as the “Best slavery movie ever made.” I wonder what the race and nationality of the critics who rated this movie because I fail to see anything good about being a slave or watching a slave movie. Growing up Black African American in America, I have been in quasi-slavery all of my life, and I never experienced anything close to having the “Best slavery experience of my life.”

For me, the dominant theme throughout this movie was the White people’s inferiority complex as well as their inferior skills in comparison to both Black African American males and females. In order to compensate for their deficits, some White males and females use brutality and religion as a means of controlling and dominating Black African Americans, which this movie had a lot of each.

Watching this movie left me with a recurring question; why are there an increasing number of movies depicting Black African Americans as slaves or in subservient roles lately? As we know, some White American men still have a preoccupation with “the good ole days.” The annual Civil War Reenactments that they engage in as well as the hundreds of thousands of dollars that they donate for the defense of a White American (Zimmerman, Darren Wilson , etc) charged with a crime against a Black African American verifies this. In the eyes of many White Americans, they still see Black African Americans as being inferior and subservient to them and movies like “12 Years a Slave” reinforces their faulty belief system.

Oh what a blessing it is that my people don’t read or think says the Pastors, Pimps and Politicians.


10 thoughts on ““12 Years a Slave”

  1. I did not watch 12 years a slave due to the fact that years ago, I watched Solomon Northup Odyssey starring Avery Brooks. The movie was filmed in 1984 and from my point of view; I did not believe that a newer version would hold any relative value.
    I could not believe that Solomon, a man of his intelligence and skill would be so trusting as to accompany strange white men. Maybe up north, the people of color were more trusting than the people down south, but growing up down south, we were taught never to trust whites. But, I guess the mindset of Solomon’s then is similar to the mindset of so many people of color today. Trust the white man to save you instead of saving yourself.
    12 years a slave has been dubbed as “not only as a groundbreaking work of art, but as part of a continued retelling of Northup’s story—and the larger history of slavery.”
    Maybe the above statement is true, however, I did not spend my money to support this movie, because I could not see any real points in watching the evil ones continue to mangling, harm and de-humanize.
    I do believe that slavery and its atrocities should continue to be told to our future generations, so that they do not forget and do not trust the white man, but after seeing one version of 12 years a slave, there was no need for me to see another version of racial debauchery.
    In conclusion, an article I read stated “could relatively unknown stories of the slave experience be made both educational and entertaining?”
    In my opinion, maybe those stories could be educational but not entertaining, there is nothing entertaining about the horrors of slavery.

    • Mrs. Robinson, now that you mentioned it, I believe I too watched “Solomon Northup Odyssey.” Your questioning the gullibility of Solomon Northup is right on target, as he had to be aware of the “slave catchers” roaming Northern cities intent on kidnapping any unsuspecting Black African. Oh well, the movie made millions in profits, as the White American Moguls knew it would.
      All they have to do is recreate or repackage something about slavery or Jesus and Black African Americans will turn it into a major blockbuster. I am also in 100% agreement with you regarding the stories about the horrors of World Slavery in general and American Slavery and Jim Crow in particular being anything except entertaining.
      Mrs. Robinson I thank you very much for sharing such positively informing thoughts and feel free to share your comments anytime. In fact, I invite you to become a “guest writer,” as we all can benefit from your insightful wisdom.

  2. Word press keeps force closing so I hope I make it through this comment! This is my 3rd attempt!

    I was eager to see the film but only for proving my theories. I knew what to expect from this film story-wise. I had many opinions on the film as well but my main interest was in the lead actress.

    Ms. Lupita and the buzz surrounding her was interesting to see. This was the main reason I watched b/c I was waiting on my theory to be proven true. She is a beautiful woman but I knew her “unforgettable performance” had a catch. Low and behold, of course she had to be sexed on screen by a white male of “authority” to gain Oscar buzz. Think of Monster’s Ball and Halle at all?

    • Hello Hair Garden, Thank you very much for your persistence. Your comparing the sex scene in this movie with the one in “Monster Ball” was right on target. In both movies, the African American male was helpless to protect his women, which gives the illusion that White men are the most powerful. Paying attention to many of the current “blaxploitation” movies and commercials and we’ll see Black African American females are being paired with White American men. The goal and passion of White American men have always been to have sex with Black African American females. In fact, their old addage was (and probably stillis), “The Blacker The Berry, The Sweeter The Juice.” There is no doubt that we have the most beautiful women in the world and everyone in the world knows it. The hard part is for all of us African American men to come back home and stop chasing ghosts. Keep reading my posts, whether you agree or disagree. Feel free to become a guest and write your own post. Being a teacher of adults, have provided you with a lot of insight. Have a fantastic day…

      • I would be HONORED to be a guest writer! Funny, my degree is in journalism from Augusta State. I used to write about such issues but they wouldn’t print b/c my stories wouldn’t meet their readers “demographics”. Was turned down by Metro Spirit as well Augusta Chronicle so I turned to personal blogging and classes.

        Back on the topic, I also wanted to touch on the sexualization of the other black females in the film but it kept force closing. From the woman who was deduced to masterbating with a stranger due to her deprivation of human compassion in the opening of the film, to the mistress Alfre Woodard portrayed, the young woman sold with Solomon who was also once a slave mistress, Lupita (of course), it was a disturbing these through the film that I’m not sure if many picked up on.

        I read an interview where a young black actor claimed sex would stop racism. I laughed at the naiveness of his comment. If sex was the solution racism would have ended before I was born!!! I think that’s what fuels it! We’re a product of natural selection! Humanity thrives off of it! People want to reproduce with who they find adequate to continue their bloodline (generally). When you purposely chose a partner based on extinguishing a race then the issue reintroduces itself.

      • Feel free to “write away” on anything pertaining to the upliftment of Black African Americans. The only restriction is the use of profanity or obscenity. Thank you for taking interest in my blog. Have a fantastic day…

  3. Pingback: WHITE PEOPLE CREATED THE ACADEMY AWARDS ONLY FOR THEMSELVES! | It's Still Time To Stop Blaming The White Man

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