Friends in college and subsequently always joked about black men as sidekicks to white actors. They had the propensity to end up dead, killed violently. The new movie “Breaking In” starring Gabrielle Union, subtly, was yet another emasculation of black men. My wife was shocked when I told her about black sidekicks dying often. We had a running joke where at the beginning of every movie we would bet on how soon to the death of the black sidekick.
Subtle messages are passed on subliminally in films. Gabrielle Union’s new motion picture Breaking In did just that in a manner that should infuriate all black men.
I remember leaving Oprah’s Color Purple mad, frustrated, pissed. The movie’s characterization of black men was foreign to me and most of those who I frequent. Tyler Perry‘s vendetta against educated professional black men in several of his movies is disappointing as well.
To be clear, I loved the film up until the end with a scene that was not necessary for the film. This revelation does not need a spoiler alert. All these types of movies are cookie-cutter types with the power of the acting being the constant spark that maintains our interest, for an outcome we know is forthcoming.
Someone murders Gabrielle Union’s father for reasons unexplained. She travels to her dead father’s estate, one with high tech security cameras, drones, locks. It was not long before four thieves took her children hostage in the home. Throughout the movie, Gabrielle at any given time is beating the heck out of the thieves. As well, she gets beaten up real bad on many occasions throughout the movie. But Union remains conscious and remains in the fight.
Gabrielle Union’s husband shows up near the end of the movie after Union, and her kids are safely in the house. One armed thief is outside trying to get in, to no avail. The thief assaulted Gabrielle’s husband with a few punches and left him at the door. He threatens to kill the husband unless she opens the door. Ultimately she does, and she continues her heroine duties outsmarting and beating up the thieves. When it is all over, she comes out of the house victorious after having been punched, kicked, slammed, and much more. Her husband remained at the door awoken with loving support from his kids after Union had wholly dispatched all the thieves.
I know the idea is that Gabrielle Union is the abled heroine. The movie seemed to emasculate her husband not explicitly but inferred intentionally. My wife and niece who attended the Mother’s Day opening of the motion picture had the same immediate reaction.
Movies are potent messengers for every culture. It is crucial that writers and directors ensure they are not harming others unduly with subliminal messages whether unintentionally or not. It affects us all as we form opinions and react based on the created biases and false stereotypes. It has already had a disastrous effect on black men.