I Watched Eve's Bayou For The First Time and I'm Not A Fan

Since the first time I ever met a black person, I have been hearing about how great of a film Eve's Bayou is. It's was always every black person I’ve ever met, favorite movie. The reviews online of it are great, it won quite a few awards, you could consider it a "black classic". So, naturally, when The Underground Museum here in Los Angeles, announced it was going to screen it for their garden movie night, I decided to go with a couple of friends. None of the 3 of us had seen it before. However, as soon as the movie started, I was confused as to why this is considered a such a great film and it just got worse throughout. I will say the performances of the actors were amazing, of course, they are, it's a great cast, and the way the movie was filmed was also beautiful…but the story lost me. 

The opening monologue

After reading some articles online, post my film viewing, apparently this monologue is considered the deepest part of the film. The monologue, explains what "Eve's Bayou" is. Long story short, Eve was a slave woman she saved her master's life with her "powerful medicine" aka voodoo and as a reward, he gave her this piece of land (the Bayou) and her freedom. The monologue goes on to say, that subsequently she bore 16 of his children, yadda yadda yadda, they stayed there in love and this currently family we are about to follow for the duration of the film, are descendants of the two. I'm sorry but you can't have a slave, a slave master and love all in the same sentence. This isn't loving. Why are we romanticizing slave masters? Even if she was “freed” she isn’t really free because no slave on any planet falls in love with a slave master who has beaten and rape her and her family for god knows how many generations. I don’t care how many acres of land he gave her, this is not a normal, loving relationships and I’m tired of romanticizing white people abusing black women.

The dismissing of abuse

Pretty much this entire movie is about how abusive and fucked up the family is. This was my main issue with the film. If you're going to present us with an abusive, shitty family, then there needs to be some discussion of it or resolution at the end. This had none, it just ended like "Well that was cool...coffee anyone"? Meanwhile, these two horrible shit parents have abused sexually, mentally, verbally and physically to the point where they all no doubt have some serious mental health issues to deal with, and there was no discussion of it. I can't subscribe to the normalization of abuse. It’s this exact reason why I no longer watch any slavery or police brutality films/shows. We just don’t need it, we have such a larger narrative and history than just being abused. It also makes me wonder why so many of our “black classics” are about black suffering. I personally, am just not on board to bond in misery.

Along this subject, is the blaming of Cisely for her father molesting her. After seeing this film, all three of us went to get dinner and discuss the film, at the restaurant, other black folks joined our discussion (it’s a real black and local community spot, this happens regularly). Additionally, I have discussed this scene in particular with other black people and literally almost every single person calls this child a hoe, “fast” “acting grown” etc and zero blame is placed on her shit father. I’d say I’m confused but not really. Sexual abuse is swept under the rug really everywhere but in the black community in particular. I don’t care if that child walked downstairs naked, that man is a GROWN and knew it was his daughter yet allowed it anyways. Not to mention the mental abuse he already caused on her to get her to that point. Sorry, but anyone who supports that is pure garbage and so is this narrative.

Why Is Everyone's Response to Kill Each Other?

I lost count on how many times people in this family are presented with a problem, and their first response is to suggest murder, like whet? Why? At one point, the aunt threatens to kill Cisely and she meant it. You gone kill your niece because YOUR brother is a cheating, abusive pedophile? What are we watching?

What Was The Take Away Here?


Finally, what was the message? We discussed this at length and none of us could figure out what we were supposed to walk away from that movie knowing or feeling. Fine, you want to make a film about abuse, cool, but where is the message or the point? I was waiting for some sort of a “we survived this fucked up situation and overcame” type resolution but instead we literally just started another day like nothing happened. Maybe this only made sense in 1997 when it was released, but in 2018, I don’t see the take away. I didn’t come out the otherside with any more or less information than I had when I started it. I was just left confused.

I know this will probably cancel my black card but I don’t really care. I don’t get the hype and I’m not interested in cosigning movies about black abuse. For all these commentary and praise I’ve been hearing for 27 years, I was severely underwhelmed.

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Yes, Black People, We Can Appropriate Cultures Too

So earlier this week, debate on twitter started over this tweet.

The debated started because Native American people called her out on appropriating native culture. To any normal person with half an ounce of sense, this should be open and shut case. But apparently, we have to address the fact that black people can appropriate cultures too. This thread has blown up and posted all over the place with ashy hoteps claiming black people are above fault.    

Listen black people, from one black to another...I'm here to tell you that you are waaayyyy out your lane. Now I don't know who this girl is, frankly I don't give a shit. Bottom line is she ain't Native American, thus this is not her culture to prance around in. I'm also embarrassed at how many of you ingrates think Pocahontas wasn't a real person??? How you got magic history books that tell you Black people are Native Americans, but not one that tells you about Pocahontas??? 

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Anyways, black people are the first people to raise an uproar on appropriation. Y'all out here mad at everyone using anything that is even adjacent to blackness. Yet somehow you think it's okay to turn around and do THE SAME THING to other cultures? No, sis. Black people are not entitled to everyone else's cultures just because we are oppressed. We ain't the only people out here oppressed and struggling, girl.

There's a thing called horizontal oppression, and this is it. While POCs appropriating other minority group cultures, doesn't have the same power structure as white people, that doesn't mean it isn't also harmful. More importantly, it's just fucking rude and disrespectful. People's culture are not costumes. I don't care what history book you read that said black people breastfed mother earth and breathed life into the pyramids, but you are not Native American. You ain't anything else but black, so stay in your black ass lane. YES, we know there are Afro-indigenous people, but we ain't talking about them, are we? Don't all lives matter this discussion. Afro-indigenous people don't want your musty ass to be playing dress-up in headdresses and buying dream catchers from Forever 21 either. We are talking about non natives, black and otherwise.

Stay in your lane. I know we love to big up ourselves, black excellence, we create majority of all things popular in America, and that's great. Black people are all those things, but that doesn't mean we get to shit on other POCs and their cultures. Y'all need to humble yourselves, take it down a notch, enough to realize we ain't above criticism and fucking up.

Homegirl was wrong, y'all cosigning her are also wrong, please kindly return to your black ass lane. 

All Black People Are Not African-American

So here's the thing, I am SO tired of people using African-American and Black interchangeably, like they are the same thing. They're just not..like at all. I would think the difference between race and ethnicity was such a basic concept, that we wouldn't need to have this conversation, but here we are. 

First point I want to make is that African-American, is an ethnicity, Black is a race. Race, is a term of classification for humans based on physical traits, ancestry, genetics or social relations. Ethnicity, is a group of people who identify with each other based on similarities, such as common ancestral, language, social, cultural or national experiences. There can be, and there are multiple ethnicities in every race. Think of ethnicity as like a sub-culture of race. Or like, race is bread and ethnicity is all the different types of bread.

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The point I'm trying to get across, is race is more of a generalization, but ethnicity is a sub-classification based on cultural similarities.

Second point I want to make is that African-American is NOT a term that is just used for all black people in America. The term African-American was made for and specifically applies to black people born in america who are decedents of African slaves brought over by the white fuckboys. Being black born in America doesn't not automatically make everyone African-American. Now whether those people choose to identify themselves as such, that's their own identity crisis to figure out, however, that is not what the term means. 

Third and final point, I will address on this topic, is that, there are black people, quite literally all over the world. So when you address everyone as "African-American" you're erasing a vast population of black people. Black Africans, from Africa are not the same as African-Americans, our cultures are greatly different, language, and experiences, are all different. We may share the same ancestral DNA but that doesn't not mean we are the same. That can be applied to black people everywhere. There are black Latinxs, there are West Indian black people, there are black people in Europe, black people in Asia, black people everywhere. We out here, and each and every cultural group is different and has different experiences in it's own way. Being black in Europe is not the same experience as being black in America. Same as being born in the West Indies and moving to America, ain't the same experience as being born in America and staying in America. Whatever combination you want to come up with, the fact remains that all black people are not African-American, and contrary to popular believe, we are not all the same. So next time you go to address the black community, make sure you are using your words correctly, if you're talking about actual African-Americans, use that term, if you're speaking a broader scale, use the term black people, or specifically refer to the exact group that you are talking about. It's like when y'all use "pocs" when you're really just talking about one specific group of non-whites. Black isn't a swear word, I don't know why y'all are so afraid to just say "black". Words mean things. Use them wisley.  

 

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