Tag Archives: slavery

Racism or Reality? Suck it Up, 21st Century!

Django Uncahined- Leo, Samuel L Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Jamie foxx

A slew of scandal has shaken the entertainment industry this year with release of Quentin Tarantino’s much anticipated new film “Django Unchained”, which tells of a newly freed slave and his journey with a bounty hunter to free his wife from the grip of a brutal plantation owner.

Tarantino, who is no stranger to controversy, is receiving criticism for his screenplay which uses the “N-word” (you know the one all the rappers throw out like Mardi-Gras beads from a parade float) over 100 times throughout the film, which is set in 1858, amidst the horrors of slavery in the Antebellum South.

While the film is visually stunning, and has received accolades, including 5 Academy Award nominations (Best Picture, Supporting Actor – Christoph Waltz, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, and Sound Editting), and a Golden Globe for Best Original Screenplay, many nay-sayers, including high-profile names such as director Spike Lee, are completely opposed to the film, claiming “It’d be disrespectful to my ancestors to see that film. That’s the only thing I’m going to say. I can’t disrespect my ancestors”.

And while the film is Tarantino’s most successful to date ( $186.76 million worldwide, topping his last effort, the WWII action flick “Inglourious Basterds”), the film can’t seem to get a break.

eof- django unchained toys deemed offensive and removed from shelves

Most recently, a line of “Django Unchained” action figures were pulled from shelves, due to controversy over the “slave” and “slave owner” characters being depicted. Perhaps it’s not the film itself that has everyone’s emotions going out of whack.

What it comes down to is that the past was a very scary place. One that to this day conjures deep and unsettling emotions.

artist Kara Walker

On a similar note, contemporary American artist Kara Walker (best known for her silhouetted figures of Blacks and Whites living in dystopian disharmony in the romance of the Antebellum South) has also come under fire (once again) for another politically, racially, and sexually charged depiction of the horrors many African Americans faced prior to the Civil War that included a depiction of a black woman performing oral sex on a white man.

The drawing entitled “The moral arc of history ideally bends towards justice but just as soon as not curves back around toward barbarism, sadism, and unrestrained chaos” (2010), features bold and brash figures, in Walker’s signature drawing style, and are hurried across the picture, which has the community of Newark divided, after the drawing was covered by a cloth after its hanging on Thanksgiving in the Newark Public Library.

KARA WALKER- The moral arc of history ideally bends towards justice but just as soon as not curves back around toward barbarism, sadism, and unrestrained chaos (2010

Just days ago, the drawing was reinstated to the walls of the New Jersey library, on the grounds that “The library should be a safe harbor for controversies of all types, and those controversies can be dealt with in the context of what is known about art, about literature, democracy and freedom,” according to Library trustee, and history professor at Rutgers University, Clement A. Price.

Granted, the African American experience is a sensitive issue, but as Price notes “”Should we be depicted sentimentally, romantically?” or “Should some of the grotesque realities be depicted in art or movies?” Kara Walker has also been invited for a presentation at the Library on the topic of artistic freedom and her role as a black artist to society.

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kara walker - you do

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Rather than shy from the harsh realities of this atrocious period in history, Walker’s work attacks it head on, and has gained respect worldwide as an artist who is unafraid of the truth of the matter. In fact, it is the “N-word” that started off the young artists’ career, adapting the persona of the “Negress” and exploring the racism, sex, violence, and mythos associated with African Americans throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, when slavery was at its height in both Canada and the US.

Through careful research, imagination, and pure fearlessness, Walker is able to uncover the hidden truths of the society we live in. On her own work, Walker says “I think my work sort of minimcs the past, but it’s all about the present. Oh, some great artist in the past, Courbet or somebody, said there’s no historical art that isn’t about present…” and “The work is two parts research and one part paranoid hysteria.”

Django Uncahined - bloody violence

Much like Walker, Tarantino’s vision of pre-Civil War America is based on a history that has been amplified, as so our 21st Century eyes and ears can hear and see the past in a clear light. In our world today, racism is no way condoned by anybody, but to forget about such a turbulent aspect of our society on the grounds that it is racist is completely naive. This controversy might be a sure sign that our society is in deep denial and conflict over the world we live in.

By shying away from the past, we do ourselves a complete disservice, and deny ourselves the chance to experience the present in its true form. Context is everything, and when dealing with the Antebellum south, the context is not going to be pretty. We should not try to make a romance of the tragedies that have preceded us. To do so could be the most racist thing of all. And we should not try to hide from younger generations the truth, when it has taken so long for us to uncover it.

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Django Unchained- light my candle

2013 has been called a year of forgiveness, where past wounds can heal, and new dreams can be achieved. My dream would be to see a society that can own up to its past, and be OK with it – can that change the past? No. But it can allow for healing and forgiveness to those who are up in arms about it.

As for Tarantino in the matter, he brags to the L.A. times “Even for the movie’s biggest black detractors, I think their children will grow up and love this movie. I think it could become a rite of passage for young, black males.” Not only this, but think of Django as a hero who can represent overcoming the most difficult of challenges, and to give power to anyone in the world who feels they have been under the strains of any sort of oppression.

We can rise above. So, suck it up, 21st Century! It’s time to grow a pair!

Jamie Foxx- Blue Boy Costume- Django Unchained

What are your thoughts? Let us know below!

Until next time,

{theEye}

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E.O.F. Snapshot of the Day {September 14, 2012}

{T.G.I.F. Here’s something which speaks for itself… A Duluth lynching postcard that was for sale.  Circa 1920s.}

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{The Eye of Faith}
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{PHOTOBLAST} Confessions of a Teenage Witch ! ! !

“Mommy? Daddy? We have something to tell you… you know those new girls we’ve been hanging out with at school? Yes, the one’s who smoke cigarettes and dance in the street.  Well…they have more to them than it seems.  And now…our dear sweet family, we have news… I’m a Teen Witch


Come the Bewitching hour, our style sensory will ignite and burst into the brightest of nights light, for playing with fashion will be our demonic delight! We’ll be in leather or lace, flipping a bird or two.  Dabbling in medieval monk magic, with our new gothic hair-do.  Tonight, the sands of the coast will be our runway.

We are celebrating the defiance of the Teen Witch. We hear a rebel yell in the witchlight, and trust these mother’s of nature to lead us to new extremes and tend to every curiosity.  Mother nature will guide them as they harness each new trait.  Faithfully we will follow, wiser than most, these witches are onto something.

“The blackest chapter in the history of Witchcraft lies not in the malevolence of Witches but in the deliberate, gloating cruelty of their prosecutors.”
-Theda Kenyon, Witches Still Live.


Witch! Witch! WITCH! More than just black nails with some dark eye liner.  Thank our God the tact of burning these on-land sirens has come to a near end.  Now we Covet the beauty exuded by these young go getters who will never show fear when it comes to tampering with their own devilish side.

Far more beautiful to behold than can be told, we engage in the danger of dabbling in the dark arts.  Triumphant we will remain, rising above all in our victory.  For these young beauties may deceive with little intent, what we see is never quite what we get.  So be sparing with all your judgements.  Please, or it may be you who get’s hung!

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{The Eye of Faith}
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Slavery in the WhiteHouse!? Ci.

We have always been on the Michelle Obama bandwagon,  and we’re not even American! We don’t care where she’s taking us, but as the American Presidential Elections draw near, it’s the latest controversy which has us nostalgic for the days of interest over her trim arms, and healthy food initiatives.

Appearing on the cover of the August 2012 issue of Spanish magazine, Fuera de Serie, is a nude portrait of American First Lady Michelle Obama.

Well to be clear, appearing on the cover of the August 2012 issue of Spanish magazine, Fuera de Serie,  is an image by Artist Karine Percheron-Daniels  with First Lady Michelle Obama’s face super imposed over a pre-exsisting Marie-Guillemine Benoist‘s painting “Portrait d’une négresse.”

Benoist painted the portrait in 1800 as a social commentary on France’s sexism and racism during the 19th century. Historians also view the piece of art as the beginning of the country’s feminist movement.

So perhaps the comparison is more fitting than not?  Albeit a number of sites have called the cover inappropriate because it depicts the First Lady in imagery closely associated with slavery.
It wasn’t too long ago that the Benoist painting was used as a reference for a shoe campaign by red-souled Christian Louboutin in 2011.  So we ask what’s more shocking? Using the image of a ‘slave’ to push politics, or sell shoes?

Also, this wouldn’t be the first piece by the artist to cause such a scandal by Karine Percheron-Daniels.  She has done previous portraits of Princess Diana, Audrey Hepburn, Eva Peron, Albert Einstein, and even Barack Obama and Michael Jackson in the buff.  Somehow this latest nod to the first lady seem’s to of launched the artist into mainstream conversation.

After the controversial piece hit the net, the artist released a statement via their website to address any haters or misunderstanders, Saying;

“If any of you have found this piece of art insulting I would like to say that my GENUINE intention was never to chock or upset anyone.This has COMPLETELY got lost in translation. I created this picture as part of a series of other famous  nudes.  As an artist I only paint and create pictures of people I admire and feel passionate about. Michelle Obama is one of these people. In my eyes , the picture I created here is of a beautiful woman with a beautiful message : The first Lady of America  in the first time in history is a black woman who proudly and confidently displays her WOMANHOOD (the nude) her ROOTS (the slave)  and her POWER(the First Lady of America embraced by the American flag). This picture, is a celebration of EVERYTHING GOOD, it is a celebration af achievement and in my opinion is not a racist slur. I am not a racist: I admire people regardless of their colour and this picture was meant to be a tribute….totally lost in translation. With my art I try to show beauty  NOT DIRT.”




Here at the Eye of Faith, we can appreciate the historic references for all these images, but when it comes to this one of the First Lady… we are left wondering, what would Michelle Obama say?


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{The Eye of Faith}
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