Do we still need films that highlight America’s greatest sin? | The Tylt

Do we still need films that highlight America’s greatest sin?

It’s no secret that slavery is America’s greatest sin. Centuries later, African Americans are still healing from the trauma and aftershock of the institution that enslaved them as chattel. And though there are countless works of art that reflect these stories, Hollywood continues to make films and TV shows recounting the real-life horror story that is our American history. Some argue these stories need to be retold as a reminder of where we come from. But others say African Americans have a rich history, and Hollywood should shed light on other narratives that don't involve abuse. Do we still need these historic films?

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"Harriet" is a new biopic that tells the story of Harriet Tubman, the abolitionist who freed herself and countless others from slavery. The film stars Cynthia Erivo, who told The New York Times there is no better time than the present for this film:

"You know I feel like there is no better time for it than now. We need a story of strength. We need a story where a woman in the center is changing things for the better."

This film, in particular, humanizes Tubman and offers a new perspective on what life was like for African Americans during the 1800s. Before she was known as the greatest abolitionist of all time she was simply a woman who decided she wanted freedom. Tubman fled her plantation and once she was free returned not to free legions of slaves but to free her husband (but that didn't work out so then she freed legions of slaves.) 

The film also debunks myths about African Americans during the days of slavery. Many were shocked to learn that Tubman's father was a free man despite her mother being a slave and that it wasn't uncommon for free and enslaved African Americans to live amongst each other.  American history is obviously taught in school but films like "Harriet" dive deeper into important narratives that textbooks gloss over. 

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But others say movies that focus on slavery are hurtful and unnecessary. Some are simply fed up with being force-fed trauma in the form of "art." Hollywood is infamous for constantly pushing out the same anecdotal films about Black people that perpetuate stereotypes and tropes. African Americans have a nuanced history and have always had a major hand in America's development so at this point many believe there is no excuse for Hollywood to produce TV shows or films about slavery. 

Nick Cannon has made it known he is frustrated with movies that focus on slavery and at this point believes they are intentional, back in 2013 he took to Twitter to say:

If I see another damn Slave Movie…AARRRGGHHHH!!!!! I think they keep making them because they want to keep Black Folks on edge! They don’t want us to get to comfortable! Yeah we know about Obama…But don’t forget about Toby!
#NoToSlaveryFilms
FINAL RESULTS
Entertainment
Do we still need films that highlight America’s greatest sin?
A festive crown for the winner
#YesToSlaveryFilms
#NoToSlaveryFilms