Wednesday, January 2, 2008

“The Great Debaters”

In his recent review of the movie "The Great Debaters"David Ansen of Newsweek magazine wrote in part: “As you would expect from a movie from Oprah Winfrey’s production company, Harpo Films, “The Great Debaters” is a story of self-actualization, self-reliance and the triumph of the underdog.” The above-mentioned statement by Mr. Ansen is the very reason that I am encouraging Black America to run not walk to theaters to see this movie.

I had the pleasure of seeing the movie at a 10:00 pm showing on Christmas Day in Houston. I loved the movie for several reasons. The movie is indeed “a story of self-actualization, self-reliance and the triumph of the underdog.” The movie will also remind some and motivate others on the importance of higher education. Lastly, "The Great Debaters" is very timely.

With more black men in prison than colleges something needs to generate an interest in higher education. "The Great Debaters"could very well be that catalyst. Therefore, I am encouraging black families to see this movie at the theaters as a family. If you can’t go to the theater as a family, fathers, mentors, and father figures take your boys to see this movie, mothers take your daughters.

You never know what exactly inspires people. For some, life is one humungous hurdle to overcome. What makes some people give in and others face these obstacles head on? The spark to unbridled motivation can be the encouraging words of a teacher, inspirational lyrics of a song, or an uplifting image. "The Great Debaters "offers all of the above.

The movie is timely because racism has once again raised its ugly head in this country. Recent events that support this fact includes the Jena 6 case, (including the March in Jena, LA) the appearance of nooses around the country, police brutality based on racial discrimination still runs rampant in 2007, and black women are called ‘nappy headed hoes’ on national television.

The movie reminded me of what has happened in this country in the past. As I watched the wonderful acting my spirit was disturbed by the fact that minorities could once again live the racial horrors experienced in the 1930's.

As a people we must save ourselves. We can do this by taking advantage of the fact that we are living in America. We could be living on the continent of Africa or some other third world country. "The Great Debaters" reminds us that we are a strong people and that “we must do what we have to do in order to do what we want to do.” One of the things that we have to do is educate our children.

In closing I was disappointed that "The Great Debaters" made less than 14 million dollars since it opened in theaters on December 25, 2007. I was disappointed not because Oprah or Denzel Washington needs the money (Denzel recently gave Wiley College depicted in the movie one million dollars) but because even rich, gifted, and famous people needs to know that their work is appreciated. Additionally, the world needs to see more of our stories. This can be accomplished if we support our projects at the box office. It is not too late lets make this coming weekend a huge box office success for this film.
Vera Richardson is the author of " A Case of Racial Discrimination and Retaliation Real or Imagined."

No comments: