"[the people of Iwalatan in West Africa] were generous to me and entertained me...and as for their women - they are extremely beautiful and are more important than the men...."
~Ibn Battuta, Islamic explorer, 1352
"...African countries mentioned include Bobali & Bibaluo, Zengba and Zengbalou. While Bobali and Bibalou seem to point to modern day Somalia, Zengba and Zengbaluo refer more broadly to East Africa. These names are possibly Chinese versions of Arab names....
"...The customs of people who inhabited these countries were extensively written on. The women of Bobali are 'pure and upright' or 'clean and of proper behaviour'...."
~ EccentricYoruba, "Africans in Ancient China and Vice Versa"
"They don't want to acknowledge Asian men as men. Plus, the massa and his favorite wench fantasy is still alive and well.
"The Gods know if Rain had put his lips and hips on Naomie, the theaters would have burned down. Every action movie has at least one gratuitous sex scene. If such a scene shows up on a Blu-Ray extra, I'll scream bloody murder.
"I would argue vehemently that Mika deserved a good fuck after saving Raizo's fine ass at least four times. She deserved a hit and a big Ooooooooooo!!!! Instead, she got stabbed, a heart check and a cheek rub.
"We must take over this fandom...."
~commenter on the Blasian Narrative, as to why sex was absent from Ninja Assassin
So I'm on the Blasian Narrative, lamenting the lack of Raizo/Mika love in Ninja Assassin, and I issued a challenge of sorts to find movie clips of Rain and Naomie Harris kissing people or just generally being sexy. You know, something to salve the wound. Which, when you think about it, is pretty damn infuriating that POC have to do this in the 21st goddamn Century.
While "researching" for my little challenge, I came across the film August, where Josh Hartnett and Naomie Harris get nekkid and sweaty with each other. I found a clip of the sex scene buried amongst other similarly themed sex scenes - black women with white guys. Behold:
Alfie: Nia Long & Jude Law
Die Another Day: Halle Berry & Pierce Brosman
Heroes: Tawny Cypress & Milo Ventimiglia
Mission Impossible 2: Tom Cruise & Thandie Newton
Eureka: Sallie Richardson & Colin Ferguson
Lincoln Heights: Erica Hubbard & Robert Adamson
August: Josh Hartnett & Naomie Harris
Something New: Simon Baker & Sanaa Lathan
Dance with Me: Chayanne & Vanessa Williams
Nip/Tuck: Sanaa Lathan & Julian McMahon
Now let me add a couple more:
Avatar: Zoe Saldana & Sam Worthington (CGI be damned)
Star Trek (2009): Zoe Saldana & Zachary Quinto
Guess Who: Zoe Saldana & Ashton Kutcher
Bones: Tamara Taylor & David Boreanaz (briefly)
Monster's Ball: Halle Berry & Billy Bob Thornton
Wonderful World: Sanaa Lathan & Matthew Broderick
Supernova: Angela Bassett & James Spader
Strange Days: Angela Bassett & Ralph Fiennes
Lakeview Terrace: Patrick Wilson & Kerry Washington
Boston Legal: Kerry Washington & James Spader (again, briefly)
Love Song: Monica & Christian Kane
The Bodyguard: Kevin Costner & Whitney Houston
And y'all can feel free to tack on whatever I've forgotten.
Anyhoo, these are considered "major films" and "major shows" - lots of press, lots of hype, lots of fans, and fairly decent budgets. And in these, a black woman was the love interest. However, out of all of these, only Vanessa Williams got a love interest who's also of color.
You're probably wondering why that's an issue. I mean, this whole "interracial thing" is supposed to be good, right? Well...first, you have to understand that a comment on a previous post really stuck out to me: "They complain when a WM is attracted to a beautiful black woman and now they're complaining because a gorgeous Asian man is attracted to a beautiful black woman. So...what? POC can't even have each other now?"
And then on the Blasian Narrative, yet another comment stuck out to me: "Ankh, do you think that fans and their possible reaction to fine men like Bi acting w/a woman of another race is a deterrent to an actor? Fans can be so damned psycho, that I wonder if some of these dudes fear backlash to their careers."
Now, I've recently been talking a lot about the issue of black women's looks and the reactions of non-black folks to our looks. The common notion is that we're considered unattractive, that nobody wants us, that actors fear they'll ruin their careers if they touch us onscreen, and that because of supposed black female undesirability, we're all destined to die alone.
Well, whattaya know...it's not the case. More importantly, it never really has been.
In fact, the direct opposite is the case. We're extremely desirable. We've been desired since day one, from the first time an image of our ancient queens crossed waters, to when the first enslaved African woman was chained and hauled to foreign shores. The desire for African women has never ceased. And for every time a black leading lady has been declared an "annoying bitch" or "stupid cunt" or "lacking chemistry" with her love interest, such commentary usually comes from the mouths and keyboards of white women.
Thus emerges the answer to the $64,000 question: why is such an effort made to devalue and dehumanize black women? If we're not a threat, why go to such extensive lengths to denounce us?
White America has a history of "controlling" whatever it deems a threat. Black men seem threatening? Lock 'em up. Latino men too? Throw 'em in as well. Native American rights to their ancestral land gettin' ya down? Just pretend they don't exist anymore. Jews still thriving after 2000 years of persecution? Encourage anti-Semitism to keep on keepin' on. Asians becoming a threat financially, academicially, and militarily? Emasculate the ever lovin' hell outta them.
People still desiring black women after all these millennia and after all these institutionalized roadblocks? That's cool...but set them aside for white boys only (especially since black women tend to reject them more than anyone else). Everyone else can look, admire, and even be seen with us...so long as they don't actually touch us. This way everyone else - including black men - will get the "hands off" message.
Behold white privilege yet again, children. Jude Law, Pierce Brosnan, Josh Hartnett, James Spader, Matthew Broderick, Billy Bob Thornton, David Boreanaz, you name it - none of them feared for their careers when they stripped and got into the sack with black actresses. Zachary Quinto coolly and comfortably defended his kiss with Zoe Saldana. None of them got slapped with any stigma - none. Meanwhile...rumor has it singer/actor Rain feared he'd alienate his Asian fans if he got too physical with Naomie Harris in Ninja Assassin. And we've already heard every possible excuse for the lack of Blasian love in Romeo Must Die, from the casting of the male lead to the cutting of the kiss scene. And with Jennifer Beals playing a Latina and Russell Wong playing a "white-ish" guy in Prophecy II, their steamy love scene went right under the radar.
And let's not forget...the love Latino men have for black women is nigh on infamous. So where the hell are the smoldering films depictin' that shit? Not just indies, not shorts - major films. Where are they?
POC, never think Hollywood has your best interests at heart. Ever. Because this bullshit right here isn't about encouraging a post-racial society to take root and flourish. This isn't about encouraging white folks to fully appreciate, respect, and understand POC. This about control...again. This is merely divide and conquer. Keep POC from POC by any means necessary (remember FlashForward? 'Cause see...now you can bring that up).
And POC, notice how smooth this development has been...beginning in the friggin' 1990s. Silent. Deadly. Fuck...we didn't even realize this shit was happening until now.
If I'm off, let me know. But by all means, share with me: When was the last time a "giant" film or TV show had a black woman in love with, being adored by, and visibly being made love to by a man of color? And don't list the train wreck that was FlashForward; that lovin' went down in the flames. The last time I saw a black women being passionately made love to a man neither who was black nor white was in Akira's Hip-Hop Shop, a thirtysome-minute digital indie flick. You're damn right it grabbed my attention. Ninja Assassin's the only other movie I've rewound the hell out of ever since.
Again folks, interracial love doesn't just mean "black and white". And not only do I want to see more black women onscreen, but I want to see them darker-skinned, curlier-haired, fuller-lipped, and wrapped in the loving arms of black, Latino, Asian, Polynesian, and Native American men and women.
There will be no Happy Montage Skip-to-the-End Thinking with me. Before we see POC being all tra-la-la with white folks, we need to see POC being tra-la-la with one another. 'Cause when white folks are gone - and eventually go they shall - we're still going to be dealing with one another. Best we lay some healthy foundations down now.