THE OBENSON REPORT

Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

Things That Made Me Go Hmm #1 - Black Speak/White Images

A new trend?

I noticed that there are two upcoming films by and about white people that employ what could be termed "black colloquialisms" - or at least phrases that originated from within black communities - as their titles.

It's no secret that Black culture is in effect American culture, as a plethora of units from within the culture have been adopted and embraced by the wider American and even global public - its music, fashion sense, and language notably. So I suppose it should be no surprise that specific phrases, usually considered slang, would become ubiquitous catch phrases, and eventually titles of mainstream Hollywood films, starring, of course white people.

The films I'm referring to here are BABY MAMA, starring Saturday Night Live alums, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, as well as MAD MONEY, starring Diane Keaton, Katie Holmes and Dana Owens (Queen Latifah).

Does thou (I) protest too much, or is something amidst here? I can imagine what could be on the horizon - STACKING CHEESE starring Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan; JUNK IN THE TRUNK starring Kim Kardashian and Matthew McConaughey; TALK TO THE HAND starring Katherine Heigl and James Marsden... and the list goes on...

I'm certainly not entirely bothered by this "trend," but obviously thought it worth bringing attention to.

What says you?

:o)

TAO


3 comments:

  1. theblackactor.com said...
     

    I says, "very interesting and worthwhile observation!"

    LOL @ your possible future titles.

    "Does thou (I) protest too much, or is something amidst here?"

    No! Of course there is. This is by design. Obviously, they (those responsible for the title) are not oblivious to the origin of that verbage. They know what it means. The use of these titles occur by DESIGN.

    What is admidst? What is the motive?

    Could be: (i) the catchiness of the phrase (ii) the catchiness of the phrase, together with the actors in the film suggests an alluring dichotomy; one that is attention-grabbing (iii) a covert form of mockery, perhaps.

    Who knows?

    In any case, it's worth mentioning, I think.

  2. Wendy said...
     

    I refer you to the book 'Hip: The History' by John Leland (a white man, btw).

    And you've virtually summarised his book and this blog in just one paragraph:

    "It's no secret that Black culture is in effect American culture, as a plethora of units from within the culture have been adopted and embraced by the wider American and even global public - its music, fashion sense, and language notably. So I suppose it should be no surprise that specific phrases, usually considered slang, would become ubiquitous catch phrases, and eventually titles of mainstream Hollywood films, starring, of course white people."

  3. Wendy said...
     

    Oh, and minor peeve:

    @ Mr Obenson: "...is something amidst here?"

    @ theblackactor.com: "What is amidst?"

    I think you both mean 'amiss'

    OK, my pendantic behind is gone.

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