Monday, June 24, 2013

The Role of a Black Character According to Hollywood.

     Throughout movies, television shows, and even video games the story is all the same most of the times. White character looking to achieve something and does so with the help of his Black companion. We usually disregard this when we observe it but Mystical Black Characters Play Complex Cinematic Role by Rita Kempley brings this topic out for analysis. Kempley discusses throughout the article different movies with a main Black character simply helping a white man on his journey even if it is one he did not set up to begin with. For example Kempley lists The Matrix, Bruce Almighty, and Bringing Down the House as some prime examples with actors Morgan Freeman, Laurence Fishburne, and Queen Latifah helping a white man throughout the movie to achieve something at the end.
     Those aren't the only movies that do such a thing Happy Gilmore starring Adam Sandler who plays Happy Gilmore. Throughout the movie Happy thrives to be a professional hockey player but when the IRS goes after his grandmothers house due to unpaid taxes he finds a gift as a Golfer. It is then Carl Weathers who plays Chubbs (the supporting black character) sees the golfing potential in Happy and enlists himself as his personal trainer to be a better golfer. Another prime example would be the movie Hitch starring Will Smith and Kevin James. Hitch is about a matchmaker named Alex Hitchens (Will Smith) who is a professional at what he does which is set up people to fall in love, when he is then hired by a man name Albert (Kevin James) to help him in the ways of love to go out with and marry the character Allegra.
     Movies aren't the only ones that follow this suit but television shows as well one in particular being the show Psych staring James Roday and Dulé Hill. This show is about a psychic detective named Shawn Spencer (Roday) solving police cases for the Sana Barbra Police Department with the help of his best friend Gus (the supporting black character) (Hill). Throughout the show and it's episodes we see the relationship between the two friends and how Shawn Spencer needs Gus's advice and wisdom with solving a case at the end and pulling off his crazy antics. As well with the old Law & Order episodes with Jerry Orbach being the main detective and Jesse L. Martin being his support
     In Literature we see this same formula done within King Solomon's Mines when Umbopa was introduced into the adventure and how the character is set to aid Quartermain on the journey to find Curtis' lost brother and to the lost mines of King Solomon.



  1. It was very interesting to read your blog I never saw how much this role really part take in so many beloved movies and tv that I grew up watching and I never noticed.. great point about umbopa once again we see this happen in the book

  2. Both of you are writing that we see this in the book, but how?! How is Umbopa a "magical negro"? What traits does he possess that make him so, and what does this tell us about the novel, author, and/or audience?