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(Washington Post)   Morgan Freeman, Laurence Fishburne: "Super-duper magical Negroes"   ( divider line
    More: Interesting  
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14883 clicks; posted to Main » and Entertainment » on 07 Jun 2003 at 3:37 PM (19 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook

226 Comments     (+0 »)

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2003-06-07 10:43:03 AM  
You want a "super-duper magical Negro"?
I present to you Jayson Blair.

Don't you think they're reaching a bit with the "Bringing Down the House" reference though?
2003-06-07 11:02:53 AM  
damned if they do, damned if they don't. Especially if Spike Lee says so. Remember, it's ALL about Spike Lee.
2003-06-07 11:06:12 AM  
Not one mention of Shaft. It's billshait!!!
2003-06-07 11:06:21 AM  
That headline would have been a lot more amusing if I hadn't read the article
2003-06-07 11:12:25 AM  
Spike Lee is suing for use of his name in this article.
2003-06-07 1:45:50 PM  
Suburban, you're next.
2003-06-07 2:17:23 PM  
"super-duper magical Negroes"

That's an amazing phrase. Now to only figure out how I could ever possibly use it without fear of being beat up.
2003-06-07 3:40:39 PM  
Damn, I slipped.
2003-06-07 3:41:05 PM  
Such amazing powers of reasoning!

2003-06-07 3:41:36 PM  
"super-duper magical Negroe[s]"

That should replace the current 'N word' replacement in the filter.
2003-06-07 3:41:37 PM  
[image from too old to be available]
If there ever was one...
2003-06-07 3:41:44 PM  
I have to agree with Nataliya. The headline was much funnier before I read the article. Still, when they start selling "super-duper magical negroes" I'm going to collect the whole set!
2003-06-07 3:42:25 PM  
I saw this story, and it's total crap. Singling these roles out is just as racist as forcing black people to pick cotton: nobody complains about "Super-duper magical whites" or "super-duper magical Asian people," and the reason is because nobody really cares. Some black people got cast in those roles, let's cry.
2003-06-07 3:44:27 PM  
People pick on "magical whitey" all the time. Especially "magical white male between the ages of 18-35". Sounds to me like someone pissed in your cheerios this morning. And I mean that in the most complimentary way. ;)
2003-06-07 3:45:12 PM  
I knew milk wasn't supposed to be that color!
2003-06-07 3:45:23 PM  
What is the current replacement in the filter for the word attractive and successful African-American? Oh, there it is.
2003-06-07 3:45:34 PM  
what about the movie where Will Smith was a caddie for some white guy?
2003-06-07 3:47:20 PM  
The Legend of Bagger Vance? Or Fetch me my clubs,darky?

Either/or...classic cinema.
2003-06-07 3:48:22 PM  
When I was a kid growing up,these guys were super-duper magical to me:

[image from too old to be available]

Totally tried to emulate them when I was little.
2003-06-07 3:51:09 PM  
Forsythe-I was lucky enough when I was a kid to get to see the Harlem Globetrotters. They were the shiat!! I remember being in the row that Meadowlark Lemon threw the confetti "water" on. I was the happiest 6 year old EVER!!
2003-06-07 3:51:23 PM  
after seeing the rotund Laurence Fishburne in matrix II, perhaps a super-duper magical slim fast diet is in order.
2003-06-07 3:53:08 PM  
Jimi is God.
2003-06-07 3:53:38 PM  
2003-06-07 3:53:48 PM  
I watch a lot of American movies and tv shows here in Australia. Why are all the police chiefs and supervisors in American police department's black? Most authority role parts are played by black people also. Is it really like that in America? Or is that a liberal Hollywood fantasy?
2003-06-07 3:54:29 PM  
«Historically, if a black person is thrust into a white universe, it is inevitable that the white people will become a better person....»[sic]

qv: Trading Places
2003-06-07 3:55:20 PM  
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2003-06-07 3:55:45 PM  
Come on. I hate this sort of over-analyzing of movies and movie characters. It's ultimately pointless. I also hate the genuinely hypocritical stances that these sort of articles regularly make. I find it funny that they lambast hollywood regarding African Americans and their "spiritual roles", yet make no mention of Asians. Hello? I guess it's bad to place African Americans in important, central roles with religious ties, but to consider every Asian a zen master (as movieland regularly does)? Nah. No problem there. While I understand "Bringing Down The House" being offensive, I can't quite understand why they want to cross-examine actors like Morgan Freeman and his subsequent roles (he plays GOD for Christ's sake, you can't get much more important than that).


2003-06-07 4:00:28 PM  
You mean black people AREN'T magic?
2003-06-07 4:00:47 PM  
I think the complaint is about these "magic negros" being supporting roles that are there just to help the white star become a better person. They aren't as well defined as characters, and they're just there to help.
2003-06-07 4:01:14 PM  
Everytime they cast a minority in the role of God (woman, black dude, whatever), I always just assume it's the director trying to make the point that God is everyone.

Always my thought.

Or, it could also be that if a movie was made where a white guy was god and he was ordering around/pawning around a bunch of white people, it would be called a racist movie.
2003-06-07 4:01:34 PM  
funny how the article has no response from the people they are actually talking about, i'm sure all the actors they mentioned in those roles didn't mind making MILLIONS OF DOLLARS
2003-06-07 4:02:31 PM  
No more blacks and whites in movies together then. Every black role must be voted on by a quorum of black people in society to ensure political correctness. No more black bad guys. Ever.

Problem solved.
2003-06-07 4:03:28 PM  
OUCH! That article was a stinging wake up call. I'm a young white woman, fairly observant and intelligent (or so I like to think), and I never would have noticed a similarity between some of those roles.
However, I don't think the character Morpheus qualifies as the "magic negro." He is a leader with passion, history and is not a just foil for Neo. He doesn't seek out Neo to deliver him to help him attain all he desires; he wakes Neo from the Matrix to free himself and others from the machines.
2003-06-07 4:04:32 PM  
Anybody else remember in Star Wars II how the clones were supposed to represent the illegal aliens from Mexico and how Jango(sp?) Fett had something to do with it, even though he wasa Kiwi?

Something like that, I don't remember exactly.
2003-06-07 4:04:42 PM  
Everytime Spike Lee opens his mouth, people act like he's the vessel through which the entire black community speaks.

Remember a few years back when he berated that reporter for asking about "black films?"

That's right Spike, Get on the Bus was slated to sell in the white market.
2003-06-07 4:06:27 PM  
Whassup with Spike Lee these days? If he wants real publicity he'll have to start making movies again or something.
2003-06-07 4:08:27 PM  
You didnt see any black agents in The Matrix either
2003-06-07 4:09:14 PM  
They forgot to mention the Oracle.
2003-06-07 4:09:52 PM  
Vanessa Williams is a goddess.
2003-06-07 4:09:53 PM  
It's a very one sided article in that they fail to mention any of the alternative roles we see. The pimps and whores all nicely lampooned in Townsend's Hollywood Shuffle. But also the mediocre folks who are only slightly better than the rest of us, example being early Eriq La Salle, Dr. Peter Benton in E.R.. Haven't watched it for years, but he portrayed mediocre as a person. Not esp. interested in any issue other than surgery. God as surgeon yes, but not interested in other people, and not interested in race issues.

So the problem with the article is that it gives the impression that all we see are the magical negroes.

Interesting comment about the Matrix given other Matrix rumor that it was supposed to be all black cast, except for the bad guys. If Neo & Trinity had been black what would that have done to the theory here.

Geordi on the other hand, was a god personified. Blind, but could see better than the rest of us! And he did make Wesley's life better, who else would be a true friend to the toady son of the ship's doctor? (Kidding Wil)

Can't we all hear Geordi singing this Amazing Grace (making God be the prime directive, or star fleet, or Jean Luc...)

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.
2003-06-07 4:10:08 PM  
Well at least a "magic negro" role is a step up from this:

"I shine ya shoes real nice, Mista Charley!!"
2003-06-07 4:11:26 PM  
SeeMyBoobs, trust me, it's Hollywood liberal fantasy. Except in the U.S. military, that is, where at least half of my past & present supervisors have been 'minorities'.
2003-06-07 4:11:57 PM  
I've an idea. Let's list roles where the white person is a mentor/muse/guide to the black lead.

Off the top of my head I can only think of Othello but Iago let Othello to insanity and murder so maybe that wasn't a good example. Oh yeah, Aaron in Titus Andronicus. Oh wait...murder and insanity. Oh well, nevermind.
2003-06-07 4:13:16 PM  
Spike Lee has so little credibility these days, it's pathetic. After screwing the production studio while doing "Malcolm X" (the farkin primadonna) it is hard for him to get a decent gig.

Spike Lee once had something to say, but his message has become tiresome, like the man himself. Dumbass demogogue.
2003-06-07 4:13:19 PM  
Not enough black people in the movies? Hollywood is racist because they're not in including black people in the movies.

Too many black people in the movie? Hollywood is pandering.

Black star? Hollywood is pandering and, unless it's a Spike Lee "joint", Hollywood is falsely portraying blacks.

And now this. This has got to be about the most farked up charge of racism yet. Fiction has an arc in which a main character makes some kind of fundamental change which resolves the conflict in some way, good or bad. All other characters, antagonist or protagonist, contribute to this process. The complaint, apparently, is that a black supporting character who helps a white protagonist grow in some way is racist because, uh, why? Oh, yes, because a few black "authors" have decided that Hollywood is racist and will reach out for any possble evidence of that, no matter how outlandish or ridiculous.
2003-06-07 4:13:27 PM  
I guess you could call the fat black cop (obese african-american)from Die Hard a magic negro too.

/Welcome to the pary, pal.
2003-06-07 4:14:06 PM  
who's spike lee?
2003-06-07 4:15:07 PM  
I assume, obviously, that the author of this article has the sort of deep introspective knowledge of God's inner life which would be required to bring Morgan Freeman's performance up to the standards he has set.


But seriously, this sort of article does more harm than good. And really just reinforces the stereotype of there being a few loudmouthed black people who will find fault with any production which involves white people at all. He brings up the Matrix? Morpheus is about 1000x more interesting than Neo. Neo's just a mannequin who happens to be handed godlike powers, and never has any clue what he can really do with them. (look at the philosophical lambastings he receives all through Reloaded) Morpheus is driven, intelligent, a fantastic leader, deeply spiritual, and an all-around better-developed character. Yet because The One is not black, all the black people around him (which is something like 3/4 of the "enlightened"\awakened population of Zion), by this guy's definition, are therefore an insult to blackness by being there to solely help whitey succeed. Riiiiiiiiiight.

And I think a Kevin Smith quote will end this well:
"And JEDI is the most insulting installment! Vader's beautiful black visage is SULLIED when he takes off his mask to reveal a feeble, crusty, ol' white man! It's like they's sayin', WE ALL WANTS TO BE WHITE!"
2003-06-07 4:15:16 PM  
Danny Glover?? Indeed a magical negro! Does Morgan Freeman classify as a magical negro in Driving Miss Daisy?? Because he's doubly magical then!
2003-06-07 4:16:05 PM  
Ok, I never DID turn off the "sarcasm" tag, did I?
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