In many ways, I don't think many black artists care what whites think. In the music industry, black artistry is so prominent that everybody (and I mean everybody) takes their lessons from it but that had always been the case even with rock music. But I doubt BB King cared about white opinions or what The Rolling Stones transformed his style of music into. However, King wasn't angry or resentful about it either.
With film, many of the black directors that came along operated by their own individual standards. I don't think they ever thought they would ever be embraced by white Hollywood and accordingly, they didn't try to court their opinion. I don't think its been until most recently, that black directors have attempted to seek favor from the Hollywood establishment.
Ultimately African-Americans will have to come up with their own thing, which is often what we've done from the very beginning. But there needs to be a redefinition of what has substantive merit and what doesn't. I think among too many blacks, the things that are given the most support and attention are the things that are subversive toward the advancement and re-education of our culture.
It may not be realistic to evaluate our work on the basis of Hollywood considering they have the money and all of the resources, so the playing field is not fair. Looking at history, Cuba and Vietnam didn't define winning by the same standards of white America considering they didn't have the same resources. Cuba and Vietnam defined winning by their own standards, which was to wait the U.S. out for such a period of time in which there could only be a stalemate. A stalemate for a giant like the U.S. is a major loss but they were wins for Cuba and Vietnam, because it meant the U.S. could not effectively change their society. That change would have to come from within.
But I don't think black directors or artists have lived up to high standards, possibly because we have not set any. And we don't have a defined sense of success or winning. I also think we lack a sense of purpose and to find some, I believe that will require resolve.
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