In Hollywood, Are Slave Stories the New Black?

Films about the dark side of black history are in the pipeline. 


AOL Black Voices' Jozen Cummings points out that we haven't seen much in the way of honest depictions of slave life since Alex Haley's highly acclaimed miniseries Roots premiered in 1977 (Oprah tried with Beloved but missed the mark by about 50 yards, he argues). He wonders whether two upcoming films about the darkest parts of African-American history will mirror its popularity or face the same box office dilemmas as other black films.

French slavery comedy Case Départ is scheduled for a July 6 release in France, with an international distribution deal that creates the possibility of a Hollywood remake. The film tells the story of two half-brothers who travel to the Caribbean to collect an inheritance from their dying father and are sent back in time to the transatlantic slavery period, where they're sold as slaves and must try to escape their conditions (and the year 1780).

Meanwhile, Django Unchained, the Quentin Tarantino-directed and -written film about an escaped slave seeking revenge on his master in an effort to rescue his lover, is reportedly scheduled to come out on Christmas Day 2012.

The films are already in the pipeline, so their success (and, indirectly, future efforts to address slavery in Hollywood) lies mostly in the hands of the audience. And let's be honest -- by that, we mean the black audience. Will you be tuning in?

Read more at AOL Black Voices.

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