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All we have to do is support these films with our dollars and it won’t matter if Whites like or don’t like our movies.

Yet one of the deleterious consequences of narrowly defining Black films as films with a majority Black cast that situates Whites in peripheral or non-influential roles is that we are too easily convinced that Black films only appeal to a small domestic niche market.

“Even if Whites recognize the exclusion it will have different meanings for them.” (3) Conversely, Whites do seem to take notice when there are no Whites in a film and, it would seem, respond by leaving the theatre or not going to the see the film at all. I made the same movie if I were making it in Dublin or London or anywhere.’ I didn’t approach it like its special. It’s the same.”(Slave Cinema, 35) Now we can assume with a reasonable degree of certainty that the “They” being referred to were White critics and industry insiders whose comments seemed to be specifically targeted at Jim Sheridan for making one of “those” movies; Black movies that they don’t really want to experience.

Another anecdotal example concerning Whites dislike of Black films is found in the negative comments thrown at Irish director Jim Sheridan for making GET RICH OR DIE TRYIN’ (2005): He says,” Everybody keeps saying,’ You know, you made a black movie.’ And I keep saying,’ No, I made a movie . Before addressing the deleterious consequences of the Racial Empathy Gap on Black cinema as a whole it would be prudent to ask a question from the assertion with which we began in the opposite context. The short answer here is that we don’t have much of a choice.

“It turns out assumptions about what it means to be black- in terms of social status and hardship may be behind the bias…

First, there is an underlying belief that there is a single black experience of the world.” (4) For many Blacks to exercise a sense of power, privilege and control similar to Whites a material emphasis is placed on Class divisions within the race which subsequently affects their empathy threshold with regards to members of their own race.

Many of the big budgeted, summer and holiday tent-pole blockbusters often have a majority White cast and/or feature Blacks and other minorities in supporting or non-influential roles.

These blockbusters have massive screen ratios from 2500 to 3500 screens and equally massive marketing campaigns designed to tickle the fancy of even the most discriminating viewers and/or their children.

Even after the success of THINK LIKE A MAN in overseas markets like South Africa and Great Britain foreign licensing rights are still a sensitive issue of negotiation between studios and Black filmmakers- and by sensitive I mean you don’t discuss them with the studio if you want to get your film made or seen.

In addition, this narrow conception of Black movies encourages the studios to treat all Black films as one singular genre that appeals to one singular audience.

In other words, when the fictional world within the film is exclusively under Black control and influence, as was the case with NOTHIN’ BUT A MAN, many Whites snuck out during the screening, if they dared go see it at all.

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