Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Hustle and Flow--Have Black Folks Been Hustled Again?

Let me say this upfront--I luv me some Terrance Howard. Loved him in "The Best Man" as the irreverant Quincy, loved him as Ralph Abernathy in "Boycott." Now, accoriding to critics, he is in the performance of his career as the pimp turned rap star in "Hustle and Flow."

The camps are divided on this one: yes it is a movie about pimps and hos but it's also a movie about having a dream and going after it. On the other side of the fence are the advocates for quality and equity in the media and holding up a pimp turned rap star is not a character that should be applauded--that the negative images that the movie projects overshadow any good.

On a personal note, I have a problem with the notion that the only image that can be projected and have dreams is a black pimp. I'm sure they have dreams like everyone else... and maybe, just maybe it is the only way the could find to make a living. But come on!!!

There is a lively debate going on at

I would love to hear opinions on the movie and how African Americans are portayed.


Anonymous said...

I haven't seen the movie, yet. But I wonder where is all the outcry about the books, written by Black authors, which feature pimps and hos. Why aren't these authors taken to task, as the movie producers, directors and actors, for the storylines and roles, which feature less than flatterning images?

Donna Hill said...

Good point. A point which was discussed on this blog. Look in the archives during June.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a problem with it per se as I've heard it's a good movie but still would like to see other portrayals of African Americans in the movies. But I agree with you about Terrance Howard. Every movie I've seen him he's been nothing less than impressive.

Stacy-Deanne said...

Hi Donna, yes it's me, Stacy.
I am glad you mention this subject and I am going to be honest. I haven't seen this movie and won't. But I know enough about it to comment. The thing I used to like about John Singleton the most was the movies he did. Even Boys in The Hood was more than just a film about thugs, killing and drugs. It was a masterpiece, a film that needed to be made to show what went on at that time in a lot of the inner city black communities. I went on to see Higher Learning, Poetic Justice and other Singleton films. I greatly admired him for his past work. I have to be honest to say I am disappointed that he made Hustle and Flow. I thought of all people John would stray from this type of film making. I liked his previous movies because he proved to white audiences that stereotypes although, fit some, do not fit all. Hustle and Flow has gotten on the bad side of a lot of authors/journalists like myself in the community. It has also pissed off a lot of black producers and directors. I keep wondering with today's black films getting worse, why are we going back? Films like,
Beauty Shop
My Baby's Daddy

I mean please...!

We've accomplished so much. Why are we into that blackexplotation stuff from the 70's that we all tried to get away from. I just hope Mr. Singleton goes back to the types of films that has not only made him a household name, but truly admired in the community.
Also you can't help but be mad at the black media professionals and authors who continue to spray these stereotypes on the public just for money. Yeah sure, we all have a story to tell but directors and others should tell stories about minorities in a positive light. If not us then who will? Great post, Donna!