Sunday, February 05, 2006
Something's Old about "Something New"
Last night I went to see "Something New", a film about an "interracial romance" between a Blackwoman (Sanaa Lathan) and a Jewish landscape architect (Simon Baker). The description of the latter is important, since throughout the film, Lathan's paramour is referred to as "white", and it isn't until her "friend" Leah's wedding that it is revealed Baker is Jewish. Lathan is a high-powered tight-ass accountant in a nearly all-white LA accounting firm and is ultimately rescued professionally by her white boss and personally by her Jewish lover.
This is clearly the most destructive portrayal of Black relationships since the infamous "Monster's Ball" for which Halle Berry won an Oscar as "Best Actress" in 2001. What is far more insidious than "Monster's All" (no typo) is that "Something New's" symbolism rips to shreds the "silly" idea that Afrikan relationships can be healthy; indeed, they are all pathological. Lathan's brother is nothing short of a male 'ho and wanders in an out of relationships like a semi-reformed pimp. Her parents are Black Bourgeosie all the way with her mother (Alfre Woodard who by the way in real life is married to a white man) epitomizing everything that is bad about the Black middle class. One of Lathan's best friends is in a relationship with a married man. There are only two relationships that appear to be healthy --- Lathan's best friend who is healthfully in love with the always funny Mike Epps and of course, Sanaa and Simon.
Blair Underwood, the "IBM" ("Ideal Black Man") is quickly dispatched by Lathan after she simply doesn't "connect" with him, while Baker's dog, forced hiking into the woods, request to have Lathan's weave removed, dirt (he's Lathan's "landscape architect"), symbolic rape and alas, dismissal of racism as "tiring" are all tolerated and negotiated until they "work it out". The ending of the film is so ridiculous with Lathan actually dressing Baker in a Mataraci guitar suit with her in a filthy white formal dress reentering a Black cotillion and dancing with her "white" boyfriend while young Blackpeople simply smile and approve.
As I left the theater I heard Blackwomen saying, "Maybe I oughta try a white man." and "She [a friend] would be good with a white man." These comments reflect the not so subtle brainwashing that runs throughout the film, that Black relationships just ain't worth shit and Black/"white" relationships should be viewed as ideal. In the end, she marries her "white" paramour and they apparently live "happily ever after", with even Mike Epps, recommending "giving" it a try.
"Something New" is really something old --- naked white supremacy's historical attack on the sacredness of relationships between Afrikan women and men. It paints them as being silly, stupid, not worth the effort and ulimately "less than" a relationship with a "white" person who can rescue you from the ills of the world and love you in a deracinated world. In this sense, the film is excellent science fiction and keeps Blackwomen thinking that one day race will not matter and they should quickly open their beautiful hearts and legs for white men to continue fucking them in every way imaginable. I know, I know, it's just "entertainment". So was "Birth of a Nation"...