BEST MAN HOLIDAY: Apparently A Mostly-Black Cast Means That Film Is "Race-Themed"

After reading the various box office number reviews for Best Man Holiday, the mantra for the African-American moviegoer this weekend should be: Can I live?
Publish date:
November 18, 2013
movies, racism, race, issues, Clutch, Clutch Magazine

After reading the various box office number reviews for "Best Man Holiday," the mantra for the African-American moviegoer this weekend should be: Can I live?

We were all excited and eager to see one of our favorite casts reunite after 14 years. Our anticipation was sparked by the film’s smart media promotion, and we showed up in grand numbers, laughed, cried, screamed and rode with the emotional rollercoaster with Harper, Lance, Jordan and the rest of them. We came out a little drained, but refreshed and feeling good like we’d caught up with old friends. Judging by the early sellouts (I had to purchase tickets at another theater after the remaining evening shows were sold out by 7 p.m.), we knew the box office numbers would soar, and we were right. The film is currently at $30.6 million, but official numbers will post tomorrow.

We support, and yes, we do enjoy cinema of all kinds. This isn’t still a secret, is it?

News outlets have really been sensational in reporting "Best Man’s Holiday’s" success. The headlines and stories are written in shock, snubbing Malcolm D. Lee and the experienced actors who have graced sets, silver and small screens and stages with other stellar black and white counterparts. Makes me wanna holler! titles its report, “"The Best Man Holiday" Gives "Thor" a Run for Its Millions: Surprise success of this low-budget rom-com-dram proves that black is the warmest color.”

*slow blink*

USA Today is in hot water for a snarky headline, “Holiday" Nearly Beat "Thor" as Race-Themed Films Soar.” In just a few hours, it’s been changed to a simple “"Best Man Holiday" Nearly Beats Mighty "Thor"” is a race-themed compared to a predominately white casted film because they are the standard.

Again, can we live?

Hey folks, we came out for a few reasons: (1) We STILL want to see ourselves. Hello? The movie industry still doesn’t understand this concept? We look at YOU all day, every day, and it’s cool. We want to see US, and that’s perfectly okay. I supported the movie because, yes, the cast IS all-black, and even 14 years ago, I loved seeing young professionals dealing with the ups and down of life, relationships and spirituality (I was freshman in college…le sigh), but there’s more.

(2) African-American audiences create relationships with characters like everyone else. What draws you in to any art form is the ability to connect or identify with it on some level. You identify with a song lyric, a storyline, book, sitcom or movie character. You see yourself or a friend, a family member, an ex them. Newsflash: "Best Man" is a must-have in most of our movie collections, just like any other “American Movie Classic” would be like "Pretty Woman," "The Godfather" trilogy or "Sex and the City" (the first one). Has it occurred to you that we missed those characters from 1999? We wanted to know what happened in their lives, who was married, had children, divorced or on the brink of the next big thing, so we showed up.

(3) More than seeing black folks, we showed up because the stories were so great, we had to know what was next. That’s what quality writing and storytelling will do.

So don’t be shocked when we knock it out of the park on opening weekend. "Best Man Holiday" will be another added to the movie collection, and the success is well-deserved. In fact, try checking it or some other movies that have casts that don’t look like you, not because you want to see what “we” like or are like, but because you want to see experience a good story. We do it all the time, you know, and it’s not so bad.

Reprinted with permission from Clutch.