Saturday, November 22, 2008

Are Black Folks Excited Or Interested In The Twilight Movie Or Books?

Now I tread into perilous waters again here. A few months ago, I questioned black women's interest in the Sex And The City film and television series. Boy, sistas came out of the woodwork to jump in my ass over their love of the movie and the series, including my own mama. They didn't change my mind about SATC, but I learned that they have a loyal black female audience.

So, here we go again. I have never read any of Stephenie Meyers' books and I have no plans to see the Twilight movie, but I was wondering if black folks were fans. Once again, there seems to be no black characters, hell no characters of color period, but that doesn't stop all black folks cold like it does me.

So, what's up? Are you a rabid reader of the book series? Did you see the movie or planning to go see it? Just thought I would ask.


cinco November 22, 2008 at 2:07 PM  

No. I don't believe in vampires. I don't like movies about then including the Blade Trilogy. The closest I've ever been to a fan was years ago when Dark Shadows graced the soaps.

LorMarie November 22, 2008 at 2:18 PM  

I will likely go and see it. I haven't read Twilight, but I'm currently reading her other novel, the Host.

Claudia November 22, 2008 at 2:52 PM  

I've never been known to outright reject a good vampire romance (much of my high school years were spent enjoying Anne Rice) but the Twilight series has some pretty awful writing. I tried to start the first one and gave up.

When this was discussed over at Jack and Jill Politics, someone mentioned that the author (a Mormon, I think?) often portrayed the few black vampires in the book as being the worst and most depraved. So that's troubling... But another commenter, a librarian, noted that she would rather have her black students read this than what passes for black urban fiction these days. So I guess it's all relative?

M.M. November 22, 2008 at 3:10 PM  

Looks pretty cheesy to me but I love vampire movies. As far as no black actors go, it depends on the setting. If we're talking about Elizabethan England, I ain't epecting Denzel to have a leading role. If it's 20th century Harlem, that's another story.

Professor Tracey November 22, 2008 at 3:18 PM  

@M.M. -

Any if it's 21st century high school? Isn't it scary that white kids are lining up around the block to read books and see a film where people of color don't exist?

wisdomteachesme November 22, 2008 at 4:42 PM  

see, now here i go...
i remember seeing a picture once of some mormans and i am very sure that i saw some black folk in that photo!

so, how she protrays blacks in her movie/book is how she sees blacks in general...?

i don't like vampires--the movies, the books, the whole fantasy made-up life that they live- the whole point to them is that they cannot die (i know, the head cutting off thing)-- and for me that is a fantasy i don't want to entertain. who wants to live forever??
(loaded question)

fantasy or not--i want to go HOME to see my Daddy! lolo-

they can have this place!

so she is hacking about nice vamps that mix in with reg people un-noticed--living, working and all that..oh and they are in love.

ok so her characters have a deep binding love that she herself does not have for actual living people?

uh-huh... i see.
no prof..will not be spending our money buying bad writing from some pressed in morman who is so oppressed that she has to fantasize about vampires to work her imagination? (a con)

NOR are we wasting gas and another what, $20+ on snacks to see this crap?

we really have not been going to see any movies that have come out-none that we really want to see.

we'll wait for what we are curious about to hit dvd or one of the movie channels we already pay for. :)

holding our cash for upcoming eating needs-and providing a few gifts even though we are cutting back on those for the girls, and we have prop taxes due by the 1st of the year!

i don't like vampires whether they be good, bad, polka dot, purple, green anyway--oh, OR boy or girl.

not my kind of fantasy....

GoldenAh November 22, 2008 at 5:10 PM  

Vampires have been popular for so long. I have Dracula by Brian DePalma with Gary Oldman. Man, I love that film.

I'm a quasi-vampire junkie. I understand there's a book series out there written by a black woman. When I start reading fiction again I'll buy them.

I'll wait for Twilight. I wait until most films hit DVD.

This is my cheap theory of why people like these stories: demi-god like, superpowers, superpredators, immortality, and sex.

Faith November 22, 2008 at 5:24 PM  

Claudia - I wrote that comment at JJP about Meyer being a Mormon and how much of an influence it is on her writing. All the people of color in her books are deficient in some way, but before I'd write it off as racism I'd posit that just as many Black people would write a book with characters that make excuses for low expectations and being apathetic which I find more disturbing. The male lead did an in store signing in SF and it was utter chaos and the bulk of the girls weren't white - they were Asian. So a lot of people are reading who aren't white. I'd like to add Harry Potter is pretty white as well.

My favorite Vampire Series is about a kick-butt Slayer who's a spoken word artist and a Black female with a multi-generational crew consisting of all groups and all religions using Afro-centric mythology as well. L.A. Banks.

I also thought Alisa Valdes-Rodriquez did an excellent critique of the Twilight series on her blog

Phi Sister November 22, 2008 at 6:10 PM  

As far as I understand the novel takes place in Forks, Oregon. How many black people actually live there anyways? Now if it took place in NY or something then that'd be something to get huffy about. I've never read the books nor do I intend to. However, I saw some people mention concern on some message boards about the surprise of some people being one race in the book and another for the film. If they want to make all the bad vampires white, then go on ahead. We have enough battles to fight. Yesterday at work, I had a young black girl come up to me and ask me if both or one of my parents are white because "how do I speak like that". Mind you, she had a Disney Princess/ Neon Jungle Fern design on her acrylics. Day done.

Claudia November 22, 2008 at 6:47 PM  

Hey Faith! You are right, that post on Alisa Valdes-Rodriquez's website is really good. No wonder I couldn't get through Meyer, but I've read every single Potter book with delight (though I also wish she had included more black/brown characters)! And I agree with you, Prof. T, and everyone else who says that we shouldn't just write off this stuff as pure fantasy. Fantasy/science fiction is one of the places where our social and cultural anxieties get played out in imaginative forms. Both Potter and Twilight convey something very interesting about the moment we live in...and the lack of racial diversity suggest an unwillingness to deal with critical issues. I haven't read L.A. Banks, but I've heard good things, so maybe I'll start.

In any case, I'm taking my 2 year old to see "Bolt" tomorrow - so no Twilight for me!

oregonsistah November 22, 2008 at 7:28 PM  

hadn't heard of it. Didn't like SATC because it didn't have black women; however, my 22 year old daughter loved it and my husband bought the whole series (i know). He thinks it tells him how women are (i still disagree). Didn't like the movie and thought Jennifer Hudson once again was playing the role of a black women solving and listening to a white women's problems. I lived in Oregon for 15 years. Not many blacks, but we do have them, and not sure where Forks, Oregon is. Don't like blood and guts movies, so wouldn't be interested....

Sharifa November 22, 2008 at 7:49 PM  

Yeah, this Twilight thing seems pretty popular. I won't be seeing the movie, since I'm busy and pretty disinterested. I read LA Bank's series, too. I'd recommend it. Since white folks seem to believe that they're the standard, it's really easy for them to revel in an all white world (literal or literary) without even questioning it.

Saran November 22, 2008 at 9:17 PM  

Has anyone gotten into the HBO vampire series True Blood?

La ~ Incognita November 22, 2008 at 9:35 PM  

When it comes to spooky movies, I don't care for the blood and gore. But I LOVE vampires, supernatural, and ghost anything!

"there seems to be no black characters,'"

(suck teeth) you mean the powers that be are still doing that? Don't they get it by now that black people, spend mega bucks on the movie industry?? I year ago I was compiling a list of movies and shows that omitted black females all together... the numbers were daunting, I had to stop.
As for SATC movie, it didn't impress me (that half attempt of diversity with J-hud didn't do it for me either). I also caught on to the original series s little late, but I did enjoy them even though it was through a disappointed heart.
BTW, the Harry Potter series disappoint me for that reason as well. Sometimes I feel guilty to even enjoy them (makes you wonder if that's an added bonus why many people all over the world enjoy the series so much). You can't rule that out.

Kit (Keep It Trill) November 23, 2008 at 4:48 AM  

My 9th grader and several of her friends read the first two books, and last night saw the movie and enjoyed it.

It is remarkable that in 2008, non-whites weren't in it.

Faith November 23, 2008 at 6:32 AM  

I really like True Blood the series. The Southern Vampire books the series is based on is ok, but I prefer the direction/changes the tv show is doing.

page November 23, 2008 at 7:30 PM  

Saran and Faith, yes I am an HBO "true Blood" fan. can not wait until tonight for the final. I did not read these series of books.I will start after the show goes off the air. I do not want to "spoil" the show for me. The thing I like most about this show is that it introduces a lot of other beings like shifters and Maenads. I am waiting to see what eles is there is this mythocal place.

Faith November 23, 2008 at 10:58 PM  

Too many Black people don't put their money into supporting projects that are engaging but not stereotypical. I wouldn't pay to see Twilight under any circumstance but I do like the mythological context behind vampires.

wisdomteachesme November 24, 2008 at 10:52 AM  

if it's fantasy, then why can't people of color live in oregan? or anywhere else for that matter--if it's a fantasy.

good point made above in one of the comments about focusing in on fantasy and not the actual life issues that exist Waiting for us to address and correct.
But then again, it is a choice each of us makes.

Freedom to chose.

bluebird November 30, 2008 at 5:53 PM  

i haven't seen the movie, but I believe there is a Black, male vampire. He has blond dreds (don't know why). I just checked on MSN, and his name is Edi Gathegi and he's from Kenya...if that makes anyone more comfortable with seeing Twilight.

Brigitte December 5, 2008 at 2:17 PM  

Not interested at all. I'm sick of books, movies and tv shows about white kids in a white world.

The Queen Of Hearts December 6, 2008 at 7:10 AM  

Laurent does not have blond dreads. And note Forks is in Washington not Oregon.

I think it is hard for some authors to write black vampires. Because the normal features that would go towards a vampire (i.e pale skin) don't fit for description. I'm not saying it's impossible. Stephanie does have characters of color.

Between the movie and books are two different worlds that one has to

Professor Tracey December 6, 2008 at 10:01 AM  

@The Queen Of Hearts -

The fact the books are set in Washington makes it worse. My mom is from Washington and it has a large black population.

And who says "pale skin" is the "normal" feature of a vampire. These are works of fiction, vampires have the features their writer says they have.

And "pale skin" is just how bloodless or blood deprived white folks look like. Black undead folks will have a different, but clear pallor as well.

The truth of the matter is it's Meyer's book series and she has the right to write it the way she wants to, but she also writes for public consumption and she has to expect to be critiqued.

What I find amazing is that any black person would accept literary standards and stereotypes of what characters should or shouldn't be based the views of a white author. You can be a fan of Meyer's books, but she's not the gospel on vampires.

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