Arturo R. Garcia over at Racialicious brought something juicy to my attention. He discovered the comedy Couples Retreat has opted for two promo posters. One for the American market, the other for the international market. Couples Retreat stars Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Kristin Davis and funny guy Faizon Love. However, if you're strolling the streets of London and stumble upon a poster for Couples Retreat, you will not, I repeat, will not see Faizon Love or his on-screen wife, Kali Hawk. Why? It appears black folks don't sell well in the land on the other side of the pond. True? No. Actually, there's another way to look at it. Blacks who don't achieve unwavering national appeal from Council Bluffs, Iowa to Laramie, Wyoming to Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and pull millions into the U.S. box office, don't sell well in foreign places.
Last year, when my producer and I were taking meetings for my feature script a film exec told us "the success of indie films rely on international revenue." And international revenue is achieved with "a name that Europeans recognize." It was suggested, hypothetically, that we attach Will Smith or Morgan Freeman to our project. Otherwise, it's a real big gamble. So, it's not that blacks don't sell well. It's just Super Negroes, like Will Smith, Morgan Freeman and maybe Samuel L. Jackson, who Americans brand "digestible and profitable," sell plenty. That's not racist. That's business. No hate on Faizon Love, but I don't think he's recognizable in some black households. In other words, Faizon has not been branded "Super Negro." Yet.
Keith Josef Adkins is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and social commentator.