Sunday’s Los Angeles Times featured an interesting story about the controversy in the black community regarding the film Precious. The article explores how the film’s blunt and brutal vision of urban life in America has inspired both praise for its honesty and criticism for what many feel is a slanted portrayal of African American pathology and dysfunction. What really caught our attention, however, was the writer’s mention of C. Jeffrey Wright’s recent commentary on this very topic at UrbanFaith.com. The writer refers to UrbanFaith as a “conservative Christian site.” We’re not necessarily comfortable with the “conservative” tag, but we’re certainly grateful for the press.
The Times story raises some worthwhile questions to ponder, including: What exactly should be the responsibility of the black artist? Is it ever necessary or appropriate to self-censor one’s art for the sake of the larger community’s image? Do black people worry too much about what white people think of them? Do the lack of positive portrayals of African Americans in movies create a distorted view of black life in America?
Have you seen the movie yet? We’d love to hear what you think of this debate.