Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I am White First and an Artist Second


Have you ever noticed how, in interviews, Black artists
are asked whether they are
artist's firsts or Black first?

I wish a nucca would come at me with that.

Today, I refuse to validate that kind of binary thinking.

I would reply, Would you ask Sarah Silverman whether she was
an artist first or Jewish first?

As far as I am concerned, with that kind of question, the interviewer
is calling the artist "the other" without saying it directly.

I thought of this artist first question when I came across an article
explaining that Tre Ellis wrote the screen play for The Inkwell,
that Matty Rich directed it, and that Tre and Matty eventually fell
out over the movie
Maria Ricapito of Entertainment Weekly writes,

Better known as the author of two poignant novels (Platitudes and Home Repairs), Ellis, 31, worked for more than two years on the screenplay of The Inkwell. He wanted to direct it, too, envisioning the semiautobiographical story-set in the black vacation enclave of Inkwell Beach on posh Martha's Vineyard, Mass.-as ''something beautiful, bittersweet, elegant,'' as ''a black Summer of '42.'' Disney was receptive, and in 1992 its Touchstone Pictures agreed to take the movie on. But nothing turned out as Ellis hoped, and for that he blames Rich, a 22-year-old who seems to like taking potshots at his elders.

Ellis' complaints began after Disney decided that The Inkwellneeded a director with some experience. He says he could handle the disappointment-''I thought I could learn from (the director),'' he recalls-but Disney kept suggesting Matty Rich.

Rich had made his debut in 1991, at 19, when Straight Out of Brooklyn won an award at the Sundance Film Festival. The gritty story of a family living in a Red Hook public housing project, Brooklyn put Rich among John Singleton, Mario Van Peebles, and other directors of the so-called Black New Wave. But the film's unrelenting naturalism-it turns on poverty, domestic violence, drugs, and gunplay-and its crude craftsmanship didn't make Rich an obvious choice for the genteel Inkwell.

''I wanted someone who'd been of age in '76, who understood the milieu of the black bourgeoisie,'' the author says. Even Disney executives agree that Rich doesn't fit the profile; he was only 4 years old in 1976, lived in Red Hook until age 10, then moved to a better neighborhood nearby. David Hoberman, president of Walt Disney/Touchstone, allows that ''It was certainly a stretch for him.''

It makes since that they had different, ahem, visions, for the film.

I always thought it was odd that Larenz was talking to doll in the movie.
It makes sense that he was suppose to be talking to a

One for the history of Black Movies, eh?


nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

I know Trey and really liked the script for the INKWELL. Matty Rich was not the right director for that movie.

Model Minority said...

Your welcome.

It was bugged out to learn, so late, that so much happened behind the scenes.

But, like most relationships, you never know what goes on behind closed doors.

Keezy Carter said...

wanna xchange links?

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