The phrase “I want off this ride” has never been so perfect for what I’m about to discuss.
The first trailer for The Ride (which was apparently made in 2018) starring Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Shane Graham recently dropped this month as it’s scheduled to be released on Prime Video on Nov. 13 and…well, see for yourself:
The summary on the film’s IMDb page buries the lede, noting that it tells “the inspiring story of a BMX champion who overcame an abusive childhood through the love and life lessons of his interracial foster family.”
The trailer’s synopsis though:
From the inspiring true story of extreme sports legend John Buultjens, THE RIDE follows John McCord, an athletically gifted youth who triumphs over a troubled upbringing. After a violent, racially-charged incident lands John (Shane Graham) in juvenile detention, he is finally placed with an unlikely set of foster parents, Eldridge (Ludacris) and Marianna Buultjens (Sasha Alexander), an interracial couple who want to provide a fresh start for the tormented youth. Eldridge makes it his mission to overcome the challenges of John’s white supremacist upbringing and slowly begins to forge a relationship through his foster son’s fascination with extreme sports by giving John his first bike. Rooted by this newfound passion, the family builds a bond of mutual respect, love and together they speed toward BMX glory and ultimately, redemption.
You see it; those last two sentences basically saying, “BLACK PERSON AND WHITE SUPREMACIST DISMANTLE ALL OF RACISM THROUGH THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP AND LOVE.” Don’t forget the interracial couple sprinkled in as a plot device so they can reach across that trite figurative table and find a middle ground! And don’t get me started on how stereotypical it is to include an uplifting John Legend song in the background of the trailer!!!
Y’all, we’ve done this before, plenty of times (Burden, Best of Enemies, etc. etc., I’m looking at y’all!). Hollywood salivates for it. I can see the Oscar campaigns now. As The Root’s editor-in-chief Danielle Belton succinctly put it, “die, trope, die.” To drive home just how much this keeps happening (seemingly with an uptick in recent years), I had already written about my frustrations with this ongoing trope just a little over a year ago.
I said what I said then, and I am saying again now:
Forcing “love over hate” propaganda is stripping away our right to be human, especially in an era where we can barely blink without being subjected to images of black execution. I certainly can’t minimize this narrative as a simple and fickle Hollywood trend when I’m watching a real-life montage of a black man forgiving his brother’s killer (while attempting to fully erase the mother who spoke out against police corruption).
I’m tired. I’m tired of the need to humanize racists. I’m tired of exploiting the very real pain and trauma of the Black community with unnecessary images of Black kids hugging cops. I’m tired of this “feel-good” trope when I feel fucking awful every time I see countless frames of police officers (many of whom may very well be the KKK with a badge) torturing Black children for simply existing.
Shit, at this point, I’m already expecting MAGA endearment stories to come down the pipeline, expressing some sort of post-MAGA rhetoric (taking the baton from the delusional term “post-racial”). Oh wait, that’s already happening!! Hey, Hillbilly Elegy, girl!
Please, for the love of everything that is actually progressive, let this racist pacification propaganda train derail already! Imagine how tired we are! Hey, Hollywood gatekeepers!! Perhaps maybe you can dig into that Black Box and offer some jobs, financing and distribution deals to the countless Black creators equipped with a flurry of rich stories? There’s an idea! Or you know...a trendy promise made earlier this year that has already seemed to lose steam! What a ride...
(Updated 3/3/22 with new details)