The Antebellum Clout

The Antebellum Clout

“Clout” meaning to have an influence of power, especially in politics or business.”

If I have noticed anything, its that racism IS America. And its here to stay as long people in power encourage it, people in the middle/upper class deny it, and the people in poverty rely on it.

One way I’ve learned how to grasp the idolization of the confederacy, “making America Great Again,” and the desperation of past environments being a person’s only hope or joy for their future is this…
Many poor or privileged white people look at the Antebellum south and their “glory” days the same way African American descendants look at our pre-Atlantic slave trade Motherland.

African Americans view the “glory” days as African villages, culture, history, and all the wonderful things that were lost and taken away from us. The “IF ONLY” has been a constant in the majority of African Americans’ experience.
Shoot, Black Panther was rooted in the “IF ONLY.” It gave us a visual representation of our goals and dreams, “IF ONLY” the colonizing did not occur. “IF ONLY” the slave trade didn’t out-profit black lives.
African Americans of today do not know of our Ancestral experiences in the motherland, but we know we weren’t necessarily considered less than, marginalized, or attacked from all sides because of the color of our skin. And that’s enough.
Over the years, we’ve deluded ourselves with dreams of grandeur, identifying our ancestors as kings and queens to lift our spirits when concerning our past. The truth is, most of us were not descendant from royalty. And without going too deep, our ancestors’ path, forced or otherwise, led us to this point.

I think it is time for all of us to accept that our fate, much like the Jews in Egypt, was a deeply unpleasant journey that also happens to be a testament to our strength, adaptation, and progression. WE ARE an awesome people, and we have moved from our past, and worked towards our future, though we are still owed much (*coughs* equity, reparations, the abolishment of systematic racism – all a conversation for another day).

Meanwhile, racists white people are stuck in the past. Stuck in the illusion of their superiority. Feeling as though the Civil War robbed them of their glory, much like the slave trade robbed us (black people).
They see the Antebellum films and memorabilia and regard themselves as once kings and queens of the south, with grand staircases, white houses and miles of tender land.
Of course they are seriously mistaken. Such an experience could never truly compare to the horrors of slavery, but from a shallow point of view, I can see their misguided notions. Just as I can see my own.

The difference between the black and anti-black movement is as vast and as simple as this: Black people have accepted our past, 100 times over, and overcome it (though not perfectly), year after year. Racists white people, however have just begun to acknowledge the past – now that Trump opened the curtains and preemptively handed them the hooded sheets.

Which leads me to my review of the film, Antebellum

Let me first say this:

I’ve read and heard reviews about the Antebellum movie being slow-paced, cinematically mediocre, soft-handed with slavery overall, OR hard-hitting with slavery while being shallow overall.
I have a couple critiques of my own:
1. The pacing was a bit painful at first.
2. There was at least one slavery scene that I felt demanded my horror but wasn’t worthy of it.
3. And lastly, I’ll admit that “Professor” X should have had a little more ‘spice’ than ‘everything nice’ cause when all is said and done, his a** got GOT by an old white man.

Oh, and spoilers ahead:

I absolutely loved this film, and I regret NOTHING.

It was wild and refreshing. It was bold and blatant. It was tense and intense. And oh, was it SATISFYING.
I felt as much joy as I did when Chappelle, playing a pimp from the Player Hater’s Club skit, shot the slave master and freed all the slaves!

“We are the Time Haters. We’ve traveled all the way back through time to call you a Cracker.”

But seriously y’all, I truly enjoyed the journey of this film.

Did I fully appreciate it while I was still in the journey?

BUT we got there! Doesn’t matter how we got here. We got here…

Some would say it was a SLOW journey.
But I can say the same for GET OUT !
And that was an amazing film that still cannot compare to anything else I have experienced.
Plus that’s the thrill of a THRILLER. It’s meant to make us mentally stand on edge until ‘sense’ starts falling into place around us and we tip. It’s meant to leave us on the edge of ALL THE SEATS, mentally grappling for clues to what we are staring at until ‘sense’ starts to fall into place, and then we tip until (if it’s any damn good) the Twist.

And I loved this twist.

I came into this film (Antebellum) expecting Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred with a new title, and got THAT plus tales from The Village mixed in with a healthy serving of Taken and finished off with some anti-Birth of Nation vibes. It was incredible.

And just so you all know, I’m here for a WIN. Any decent film where the marginalized come out on top (fictional or otherwise), I’M HERE “FO” IT!

From Inglorious Bastards to Lovecraft Country, I am here “fo” it all.

Quick breakdown:
Janelle Monae as an Antebellum slave (not THAT believable)
Janelle Monae as an abducted black girl, forced to be a sex slave, and heroically escaping that fate (Pretty damn believable)
Janelle Monae playing herself as a famous woman empowering mogul (art imitating life)
Gabourey Sidibe being a confident, sexy, badass black woman (YES)
Jena Malone being a crazy white b**** (BELIEVABLE! I’ll never trust her again after the Hatfields & McCoys)
White people kidnapping black people and forcing them to reenact every sick fantasy of slavery? (…

To be completely honest, I couldn’t watch this film without thinking of the countless black women disappearing IN AMERICA.

I couldn’t watch this film without seriously considering armoring myself with firearms I never wanted but may need to prepare for.

I couldn’t watch this film without thinking of my favorite book Kindred and how the thought of being thrust back in time to slavery, without a moment’s notice haunted my dreams for years on end. How the concept intrigues me, even now. Because what do you do when your world and your rights are stolen from you?

I’m sure the Jewish community did not think their ancestors’ Egyptian chains would return in the form of concentration camps.

Black communities are terrorized daily. And have been since slavery days. Black people are harrassed and murdered TODAY, by those who traded in their confederate flag for an officer’s badge. And no, not all cops are bad. But cops are protected by All. All who have the power to determine whether a black life even matters in Justice’s eyes.

There was a film called Birth of a Nation and it depicted lies on top of lies to support the fallacy that black men were savages, and determined to rape white women. As a result, the Ku Klux Klan were the only people able to stop them…you can surmise the rest.
This film was a call to action for all the white people who were frightened of the ‘recently’ freed black population in America. It has a 6.3 rating out of 10 on IMDB.
I’d like to add that the call to action THEN was to protect our white women, our white families, our white homes, and our white lies (ahem!) I mean white lives from these savage black people.
Coincidently, the call to action NOW is to protect your families, your homes, your business, your properties by voting for Trump; because he’ll stop the thugs and looting protestors in the streets!

Meanwhile, Antebellum was rated 5.5 on IMDB. I don’t know if it’s because the notion of this country’s past was brought to full current light in this film. I don’t know if it’s because white people don’t want to see themselves depicted in such a way. I don’t know if it’s because of the weird-ass green screen effects towards the end. BUT I do know I enjoyed the film. I relished at the sight of slave owner wannabes being stabbed up, burnt alive, and choked out. I relished at the thought of sweet vengeance and overdue victory.

And at the VERY LEAST I know Antebellum should not be rated UNDER the rating Birth of a Nation. And I know all about the brownie points that racist film got for its “technically advances”

I know the events depicted in this fictional thriller are WAY more believable and plausible than that of the Klan saving America from black savages.

The sad and scary thing is, Antebellum felt TOO real right now in Trump’s America. And to be honest, the film felt like a call to action too.

A need to protect ourselves, as black citizens, against those hellbent on “making America great again.” Against those who are stuck in the past, with no wanting for a true, equitable future. Against those who care not for our black lives.

So what do you do when your world and your rights are stolen from you?

Much like Janelle did in Antebellum… you fight back. And damn the reviews afterwards.

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