Tuesday, September 27, 2016

"A new lens on African identity" : 5 reasons we should all go out and see Queen of Katwe!

I want to create opportunities for other people of color because I’m fortunate enough to have a platform to do that. That is why Eclipsed and even Queen of Katwe are so important, to change the narrative, offer a new lens on African identity.” - Lupita Nyong'o in Vogue Magazine

Disclaimer: I have yet to see the biopic but I know that I will absolutely love it.

After years of seeing way too many ignorant and downright disrespectful films set in Africa, I am ready for something new or better yet - just an accurate portrayal from Hollywood.

Look at this crazy screenshot from 'Out of Africa'
Black people as accessories in 'King Solomon's' Mines
Wall Street Journal
Hashtag Over It!

It's 2016 and it seems as if Hollywood is finally catching up and acknowledging that Africa is a vast continent that is rich and diverse. 

In preparation for the sports drama's nationwide release this Friday, here are 5 reasons we should check out Queen of Katwe.

1. It's Based On A True Story
Queen of Katwe is a Disney film that follows the journey of a talented chess prodigy (Phiona Mutesi) in Uganda. Starring Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo the inspirational movie is what happens when movie studios cast African actors in African stories. Pure magic. An added bonus? The film was shot entirely in Uganda and South Africa!

2. The Director Has Lived in Uganda
Indian-born filmmaker Mira, Nair has lived in the Ugandan capital of Kampala for 27 years – just a short distance from Katwe. 

She told the LATimes “Because I had one foot in Hollywood, somehow, if there were any films at all based in Africa they would usually come my way. And I would read these stories about a white woman having her neuroses in this faceless country with a sculptural warrior on the horizon and no one has a name and no one has a line. It's just about other people's lives set against the backdrop of Africa. And I got sick of all that, and thought, if we don't tell our own stories, really no one will.”

3. The Africa They Never Show You
Lupita Nyong'o told the Washington Post “This movie had everything I want as an actor. These are layered characters; they have real hopes, dreams, wants, concerns. And it is about an African woman that we just do not get to see.”

4. The Critics Say It's Really Really Good

"Irresistible" is one of those adjectives that critics should handle with utmost care. No matter how universally charming or winning a movie or a performance might seem to be, there is always a chance that somebody, somewhere, will be able to resist it. For all I know that may be the case with Queen of Katwe, but if there is anyone out there capable of remaining unmoved by this true-life triumph-of-the-underdog sports story, I don't think I want to meet that person.

A biographical drama, based on a true story, that vibrates with more colors—emotional as well as visual—than I can name.
Joe Morgenstern

Katwe” is a rare Hollywood film that never seets foot in the U.S and dosen't focus on a white hero to make that point of view more “universal.” It respects its characters's Chrisitan faith, without emphasizing religion in an attempt to rope in “faith-based ticket buyers. And it's a film about real people facing real problems, not pre-sold brands battling it out amid CG1-enhanced spectacle.

5. Box Office Sales Matter

Queen of Katwe was released in New York & LA this week but it will be in theaters all over the US on Friday. Ticket sales matter! Show business is a business after all, it fundamentally boils down to the all mighty dollar. If we go out en masse and support the film by buying tickets we are signaling to the studio executives that we want to see more movies like this.

So this Friday go and grab a few friends and go see what all the fuss is about.

Let me know what you think!

I would love to hear your thoughts.

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