Django Off the Chain

Written by Beverly Isom

DJangoPublic conversations about race in America are still very difficult to have.  Whether it is about immigration policy or a controversial movie. The history of African Americans in this country cannot be recounted without the brutal memories of slavery and the pervasive struggle for civil and human rights as a backdrop. As it should be—so it is no wonder that Quentin Tarantino’s movie, DJango Unchained has reignited emotional debate about a particularly shameful time in this country’s history.

In fairness to my blog co-authors, it is important to state that, “The views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Shirley Franklin, Blogging While Blue or any other contributors to this site.”

The fact that this post requires a disclaimer is a hint that it may join the fray of controversial commentaries about the movie. First, Quentin Tarantino is a director whose films are considered quirky, not made for children and incredibly violent. Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and Django Unchained easily meet the criteria of classic Tarantino.  And considering the deep racial divide in this country, I can understand critics who complain that the movie is too violent, too liberal with the use of the N-word and too steeped in fantasy to give slavery in America its proper shame.  All legitimate points. As a descendent of slaves, I would never rely on Quentin Tarantino or any other director for my history lessons.

DJango Unchained happens in the South two years before the Civil War. Django is a slave who encounters a bounty hunter who helps him to find and to free his slave wife who was traded away.

The movie magnified slavery and its myths and legends to near lunacy levels. The satirical soundtrack throughout the movie was a comedic highlight for me. Musical artists from Jim Croce to Rick Ross for an 1860 period piece—-really? In simple terms, I don’t know how anyone could take it for anything more than an absurd parody. But it is also not lost on me that for many people, the movie went too far and we should not assume that everyone understands the economic reality that America’s wealth was built on the back of the slave trade.

There is nothing funny about slavery. And if you haven’t seen the movie, it is not Roots, or Eyes on the Prize. It is a movie, entertainment not a reenactment of the life of the actual story of Django. But the movie is not for the faint at heart—-Djamgo Unchained is more like “Django Off the Chain.”

Comments

  1. Tom Cullen says:

    Yes, I think it is important to emphasize the element of parody. Tarantino’s films are primarily about other films and the culture underlying these films before they are about anything else. In fact, I’m not sure they are about anything else at all, and it’s important to take this into account in judging them or watching them.

    • bloggingwhileblue says:

      Thanks, Tom…..I think most people got it but as others have pointed out–it is a great conversation starter if nothing else.
      Beverly Isom

  2. Fr. Fred Ashmead says:

    I am 66 year old white married (41 years) male, who is a Progressive Episcopal Priest in Houston, Texas. It was violent. It did use offensive language. It was over the top. I guess that is why it is called a Movie. It should make us talk because we still face those same ugly problems in our society…today. I was seated between two young black women and a more conservative looking, over weight, young male. The young women and I really enjoyed the movie on several levels. The young man laughed at times but did not seem to appreciate the black hero getting the upper hand. Please keep in mind that I grew up in Texas (considered historically South) The N word was always used in the South and still is. Racism is still alive. Movies help us talk and that is great for our future.

  3. Andrea Stephens says:

    I saw Django twice and personally enjoyed and was not offended. Was it over the top yes but we are talking a Quentin Tarrintino movie! No where was it written or suggested that this was to be a history lesson so why are some of my fellow African American are all on the victim boat with this surprise me. I am southern born and raised; I have lived all in quite a few places since I left home at 20! Do believe racism still exist yes!! Is it well hidden now yes. Do I let it consume me no!! We are less than 60 yrs from segregation being prominent in the US. Django was sheer entertainment that’s why I go to the movies!!!

  4. great movie saw it and loved it that old slave was awesome acting

  5. Keish Carter says:

    Get over it people! we are not ignorant of racial profiling in Hollywood.. Most people complaining but went to see the movie anyway? The movie was entertaining but you’re right? not for people to do a history lesson with Hollywood at directors? We have more important issues at hand in this country to worry about, such as Illegitimate abortions, and Gun laws so that our Children will be safe in Schools..Its just a movie! and I bet you sat through the entire screening..lol.

  6. Lynnette Young says:

    I personally enjoyed the movie in its entirety. Like Beverly, I was especially amused by the music and look forward to downloading the soundtrack. What can I say except it was a movie. It never proclaimed itself to be anything else but pure entertainment. I think parody is healthy. We all know the real story and know this to be fantasy; thankfully it’s damn good fantasy.

    • Keish Carter says:

      I totally agree with this comment. It was a very good movie And at least In this movie about slavery The black man had a true white friend.. And everyone got what they deserved! The strange thing is? I was more happy when Samuel L Jackson got killed Than I was about the slave owners? Lol

      • Lynnette Young says:

        You know I never thought about it until I read your comment but I was “happier” too.