Post colonial memory brings an idea of domination that has been constantly practiced in the colonial period by the white skinned people in the world (Ashcroft 2013). The whites around the world have had a dominant attitude towards the others of the darker skin tones and flatter nose. The post colonial memory brings to us the times which had no support for the people who were blacks and they were underrepresented in most arenas (Esping-Andersen 2013). The blacks were people who had plenty of potentiality to perform better and outplay the white skinned people. The post colonial memory provides a staggering insight into the world of domination that was created by the whites. In terms of their representation in the media and films, it is seen that the blacks were hardly given much of the coverage and they were constantly underplayed in the media domain despite their tremendous potentiality (Fiske and Hancock 2016). The films that were produced by the Hollywood had white lead actors and the black skin actors were not taken much into consideration. The aim of the report is to focus on the various aspects of post colonial memory and the films that have been chosen for the report are Django Unchained and Black Panther. The films will be discussed in light of the title and a detailed understanding of the phenomenon will be presented in the report.
The media has been a domain that has practiced colonial standards for long and hence has kept the blacks out of the media domain and representation of them has been inconsistence in the society. The two movies that have been selected for the report are completely based on blacks and the actors in the movies are of Afro origin. The scene in the contemporary media is changing fast and it is seen that the makers are shifting towards an open mentality of incorporating the blacks in the popular media (Hartley 2017). Django Unchained comes and provides a completely different view of the people who were the slaves in the society. The film revolves around a slave, his freedom and his fight to get back his wife from a sadistic plantation owner (Tarantino 2014). The fight of the slave named Django is extremely well portrayed in the film and it shows the realities that are associated with such practice of slavery. The notion of a man buying another man or woman and treating the person like a product has been well reflected in the film by Tarantino. The film Black Panther is one of the biggest hits in Hollywood history and created frenzy in the global box office (Forbes.com 2018). The film is a superhero flick and it deals is one of the first films in this genre which has a black man leading and portraying the role of superhero. The film has a caste that is all black and this makes it one of the most stand out films in the history of Marvel Cinematic universe (Marvel.com 2018). The entire black population has put forward complete support to the film. The entire production team of the film was African in origin and it makes it a unique cinematic production in the history of Marvel films. The plot of the film is based in Africa and a fictional country named Wakanda has been highlighted in the film constantly. The success of the film goes on to show that the audience is open to accept such changes in the filmmaking and hence these should be incorporated more often. The idea of Afrofuturism is constantly growing and the film bases in the idea completely. Afrofuturism is known as a mixture of African history, magic realism and science fiction (Womack 2013). Black Panther truly follows the Afrofuturism element and turns out to be a game changer when it comes to the comic film universe. In Black Panther it is shown that the African women are security official to a king and this enhances the image that everyone has with black females that they are incapable of taking any strong decision. The decision to showcase women as powerful has led to creation of a belief that the women are now empowered enough to take stand on their own (Keyes 2013). The desire for the audience to know and have an understanding of the voices of Africa and its history is something that drove the audience in large numbers to the theatres.
The blacks had a constant identity crisis due to the lack of representation to the society (Coner-Edwards and Spurlock 2014). The post colonial period marked a different era for them and it was seen that the blacks gradually started to get their due share of representation in media and films. The identity of the blacks started to come into light in this period (Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin 2013). The ethnicity and nationality of the people came into being in the media and films have gone deeper into a better understanding of the society and their lifestyles. The films such as Django Unchained have been a complete game changer for the viewers and people have gladly accepted the depiction of the blacks in the film. The various malpractices that have went against the blacks in both the films have made it sure that the audience is aware of the situation and position of the blacks in the society in the colonial period (Said 2016). The makers of Black Panther and the popular Marvel Cinematic Universe were hesitant in taking up a comic that had all the black characters as they did not hope for enthusiastic audience response. After the film released it was seen that the representation made the film even more popular among the movie goers and it ranks as the highest grossing film that Hollywood has ever made (Marvel.com 2018). A movie like Black Panther empowers people of all colors as it is the first superhero movie that is carried by a black superhero on his own completely (Coner-Edwards and Spurlock 2014). In Django Unchained, Jamie Foxx played the role of Django to perfection and it was one of those movies where the back man was not used as a sidekick rather he was the centre of all the action (Holtzman and Sharpe 2014). The film showed that the Django was powerful enough to fight his own battle and that the man required no help from the whites to sustain a battle against the person who held his wife. This entire idea was very empowering for the Blacks as it was a complete change in the way of portraying the blacks and the regular use of the Afro-American actors was not practiced and a meaty role was given (Zald 2017). The blacks are often portrayed as people who cannot fight for their love and lose out, however this movie was completely opposite to the common notion (Coner-Edwards and Spurlock 2014). Django’s love for his wife was well portrayed and the bravery he showed in fighting for his wife was excellent. The ideal portrayal of the black love was something new and added to the idea of representation of the blacks. The film gives a raw feel of the harshness of the slavery practice in those eras against the blacks. The people need to understand the brutality of the movement and it was well depicted in the film. Many a times the movies show it as a practice that is natural and no heightened image of the real practice is given but Quentin rightly showcases the issue with the needed amount of gore and life.
The blacks had low level of representation in the films and any form of production that was artistic in origin. The actual facts and details about the African culture can never be understood unless there is a thorough research on the African culture. The idea of representation has gained popularity as the people have accepted the depiction of the blacks on the wide screen. The representation has led the people to accept the culture and connect with it emotionally and feel the distress in which it persists (Behm-Morawitz and Ortiz 2013). Until recent times, the Hollywood avoided taking risks that are related to the representation of the blacks on the big screen. The film media is one of the most far reaching media channels and it leaves a far reaching impact on the audience base as people connect with the film media due to the immersive experience that they feel while watching a film (Holtzman and Sharpe 2014). A filmmaker has huge priorities to make sure that the reality is well depicted in the film so that the audience connects with the content of the film. The typical attribute that is attached to a black man are due to the lack of representation of the black clan in Hollywood (Carr 2016). It has led to the creation of certain stereotypes among people and such stereotypes can only be got rid of when they will be sufficiently represented in the content of the films that are being produced. Both the films, Django Unchained and Black Panther have broken the common stereotypes and have ensured that a new dimension is provided to the blacks on screen (Marvel.com 2018). The character attributes have been challenged in the film and a definite arch is provided to each of the character in both the films. Previously it was seen that the black men were showcased in the films as buffoons or comic reliefs. Films like Hancock showcased that the power that the black superhero had needed guidance from a white man in order to be well utilized (Coner-Edwards and Spurlock 2014). However, these two films have completely changed this perception and have showcased a stronger grip on the characters of the people who are African origin. The Hollywood films were made at a time when these were not mere films but a weapon that was used to assert western domination and spread the colonial approach in the entire world. The white people and the western world constantly wished to sideline other cultures and establish their culture as the prime one(Behm-Morawitz and Ortiz 2013). However with changing thought patterns, makers have come up with films that have represented the blacks and their culture in good details. Though a certain amount of stereotyping remains, it is seen that efforts are being made to make sure that the representation is proper in nature (Behm-Morawitz and Ortiz 2013). Django Unchained is a film that has completely turned the idea of a black male and added the quotient of heroism that was previously attributed to only white men. The post colonial behavior has allowed the audience to lap up content that is much varied and has a different appeal rather than the same age old depiction and style (Marvel.com 2018).
In the post colonial period of 1965, the culture and ethic value of the black population in America is promoted to minimize the levels of discrimination in the following ages. This gave the equal privilege to enjoy all forms of fundamental rights that are implemented by the government (Zald 2017). In Django Unchained, the director has been able to highlight on the strong sides of the black ethic people, which later helped them to dominate over the white population in the post-colonial period. The dominating culture of the white people over the black counter-parts in the 19th century American society has been clearly mentioned along with the violent practice of the society (Behm-Morawitz and Ortiz 2013).. The film has highly emphasized on the use of the nigger word, which was used by the white people to describe on the black people of the society (Carr 2016). The film faced higher levels of criticism due to the sheer high levels of brutality that has been displayed for the white population among the weaker black sections. Nevertheless, there is also certain group of critic that has appreciated the usages of strong portrayal of the white dominating culture.
One of the main causes of success of the black liberation movement in the American society is the increased levels of awareness with in the black population. The black American society has been able to deal with the rising complexities in the mixed ethic culture. The black subculture is a part of the 19th century American society (Zald 2017). Nevertheless, the anthological attention towards the given society remains insignificant. Most of the study related to the nigger subculture has highlighted on the psychological stress that was a common part of the black-American culture. The people have been able to deal with the cultural thoughts that are related with the major issues and the behavioral pattern of the people. The ethnic background difference of the people among the black and the white skinned people is the major cause of cultural conflict in the 19th century (Behm-Morawitz and Ortiz 2013).
The release of the movie Black Panther has promoted the past cultural significance of the African people. With the help of the fiction fantasy, it is possible to highlight few of the important historic culture of the African American. The movie has also highlighted on the importance of physical strength among the society, which helped them to dominate over different parts in globe. In spite of the fact that the movie had used the fictional name of Wakanda, the dressing and other forms of production design was inspired from the real tribal culture of the African people. The film has also used the textile that was evident part of the African culture, which was mostly evident from the costume design used in the film. The cultural touch stone that has been used to portray the superstar in the movie is the main cause of success.
The movie Django Unchained moves around the character of black nigger, who was set free by a bounty hunter from a group of outlawed. Soon after his release, Django decided to lead the life of the bounty hunter, where he was able to make use of his nigger skills and make rapid progress. This character displayed the violent nature that was hidden within the black people, who were mostly dominated by the white (Carr 2016). The ultimate aim of Django was to gain freedom from all types of social torture and also restore peaceful life with his wife. This wish of the character represented the desire of most of the black people during those periods in the American society. Through the struggle of Django, it was possible to highlight on the mental and physical struggle of the black people during the period of 19th century (Carr 2016).
There was also another character Dr. King Schultz, who purchased Django. This character represented the group of white people in the American society, who trained the black people for their business activities. This group of white people also helped the nigger for their own benefits of business and did not bother about their personal needs. Another group of people has been represented by the character Calvin Candie, who purchased the niggers for their own entertainment activities. The violent nature of this group of people has also been represented through this character (Carr 2016).
In the Black Panther movie, the main character has been seen to gain super power once he ate the special root of African tree. In spite of the fantasy touch, the main character of the film has been able to showcase the use and the power of the traditional medicines in the African culture. Other major characters of the movie also help to highlight on the traditional techniques increasing strength of among the African culture (Carr 2016).
The research work of Edward Said has highlighted few of the important point of the post colonial period. Much of the work has highlighted on the drawbacks of the African and American culture that he believes is the root cause of colonial conflict and labor movements. The concept of orientalism was described in the given context, which is one of the major subjects for anthropology in the context of post-colonial wars. The misinterpretation of the concepts related to the African and American (Said 2016). According to him, the beginning of European colonization, the Europeans got associated with the less developed nations of the east. The Europeans recognized their civilization as well as culture to be immensely exotic and unusual and further established the concept of orientalism, which has been referred as the investigation of the orientals or the people whpo belonged from these unsual civilization. Said further discussed the way Europeans used this concept in order define themselves. The culture of the non-western world was questioned as most people are able to deal with the issues of metropolitan society. It is also important to highlight on the stereotypes nature of the people, where most of them are bound under the traditional beliefs. He further argued that is is the historical reality that nationalism-restoration of the people, the pronouncement of recognition, identity deriving from new cultural practices has been regraded as a mobilized political authority initiated and further triggered the conflict against western power in the African and non-Europea world. Said has been able to suggest that changes within the both African and American culture are the key that helped in the purpose of collaboration activities. Said has also used the practical examples, which made it possible for the American society to accept the black skinned people. Nevertheless, it has not been able to highlight on the important strategies that has resulted in the negative effects of the collaboration of both societies (Said 2016).
The current study has been able to highlight on the important points about the culture and ethnic background of the African American from the movies of Django Unchained and The Black Panther. It is therefore possible to highlight on the important parts of the character that reflected the behavior of people belonging to different social groups during the American society of 19th century. The research work of Edward Said and the concept of orientialsim have been discussed in the given context to describe the similarities of the African and American culture.
Ashcroft, B., 2013. Post-colonial transformation. Routledge.
Ashcroft, B., Griffiths, G. and Tiffin, H., 2013. Post-colonial studies: The key concepts. Routledge.
Behm-Morawitz, E. and Ortiz, M., 2013. Race, ethnicity, and the media. The Oxford handbook of media psychology, pp.252-266.
Carr, J., 2016. Introduction: Django Unchained—Disrupting Classical Hollywood Historical Realism?. Black Camera, 7(2), pp.37-44.
Coner-Edwards, A.F. and Spurlock, J., 2014. Black families in crisis: The middle class. Routledge.
Esping-Andersen, G., 2013. The three worlds of welfare capitalism. John Wiley & Sons.
Fiske, J. and Hancock, B.H., 2016. Media matters: Race & gender in US politics. Routledge.
Forbes.com. 2018. Forbes Welcome. [online] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2018/03/14/box-office-marvels-black-panther-tops-1-1-billion-worldwide/#1164de495ecb [Accessed 19 Apr. 2018].
Hartley, J., 2017. The Politics of Pictures: the creation of the public in the age of the popular media. Routledge.
Holtzman, L. and Sharpe, L., 2014. Media messages: What film, television, and popular music teach us about race, class, gender, and sexual orientation. Routledge.
Keyes, C.L., 2013. Empowering self, making choices, creating spaces. Ethnomusicology: A Contemporary Reader, p.97.
Marvel.com. 2018. Black Panther. [online] Available at: http://marvel.com/movies/movie/224/black_panther [Accessed 19 Apr. 2018].
Said, E.W., 2016. Orientalism: Western conceptions of the Orient. Penguin UK.
Tarantino, Q., 2014. Django unchained. Giunti.
Womack, Y., 2013. Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture. Chicago Review Press.
Zald, M.N., 2017. Social movements in an organizational society: Collected essays. Routledge.