3 Movies to Avoid at All Cost for Your Juneteenth Movie Night
Hollywood loves a good story about the underdogs. This is why Oscar-baits are typically about underappreciated groups triumphing at life. That being said, sometimes a movie misses the mark so spectacularly that the message completely does a one-eighty.
These 3 movies fail Black cinema so badly that their messages manage to offend the viewers in every way possible.
1. The Birth of a Nation
The Birth of a Nation tells the story of Nat Turner who leads a failed slave revolt, from his adolescence to adulthood, to his death by execution. While the subject is controversial, especially when America is still in a post-Trump period of civic unrest, The Birth of a Nation is worth a watch because it is credited as one of the reasons for the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan, taking place just months after the movie is released.
So why is this movie so offensive, other than the fact it inspires the Klan to be active again? On the surface, The Birth of a Nation is a good piece of art. In fact, it is so good that most critics praise its direction and shots. The problems come from the movie, or more specifically, how it portrays wealthy slave owners in very sympathetic lights, and how most Black slaves are animalistic brutes and sexual predators preying on White women. This is far from what you’d expect from a movie about slavery.
The latest movie on this list, Antebellum is a horror movie about slavery. The movie talks about the life of Eden, a slave from a plantation that is abused and forced to submit to her master and the Confederate soldiers. Anyone who disobeys is killed and burned in the camp’s crematorium.
So why should you avoid this movie? The horror of slavery is portrayed rather accurately at first, making you believe it’d be a great fit to screen for Juneteenth. Unfortunately, any traces of horror are gone the moment you see a smartphone in the antebellum settings. The modern twist doesn’t work, instead it reminds viewers of how absurd the movie is. Plus, the constant switching between Eden and Veronica causes a lot of confusion as well.
The worst part: The appearance of a cell phone kills off any suspense that the M.Night-level plot twist tries to deliver.
3. Song of the South
Disney doesn’t have the best track records with racism. The cautionary tale of how to not make a racist movie, Song of The South means well but hits viewers on all the wrong spots. The languages, the dialects, the music, the romanticizing of slavery, the stereotypical, and at times, caricature portrayals of Black characters in the movie should be the red flag you need to stay away from it.
All the aforementioned points turn Disney’s attempt at a Black movie into a racist train wreck. In fact, this movie is so racist that Disney themselves banned it, and the movie has only been available as bootlegs. Still, if you are looking for something to show the neighborhood children on Juneteenth, this movie should not even be on your list. In fact, cross it out right now. No one should be forced to watch Song of the South, on Juneteenth of all days.
Hosting a movie night in honor of Black cinema for your family is a great idea to celebrate Juneteenth. A good movie for Juneteenth should highlight the trials and tribulations Black people underwent to abolish slavery and gain civic freedom. That’s why the entries for this list should never be included on any Juneteenth movie list. They mean well, but their deliveries are so far off the mark that they become offensive.
Instead, choose a movie from our list of Black cinema’s classics for your family movie night.