Tuesday, February 21, 2017

We feel you Gambino

The first set photo's from the totally unnecessary Han Solo movie leaked today. In the photo, you can see the main characters of the movie in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon.  I honestly don't even know which white dude is actually playing Han Solo.  You also see Chewbacca because of course! You also notice there are some white women in the picture and Woody from Cheers.  What you do not see is any Black Women but that is an article for another time.  What you also notice is Donald Glover, who is playing Lando in this movie.  I have dubbed the face Glover has as emotionally uncomfortable.  I mean it could be the way he is stretched out for the picture is awkward.  Dude is also crazy busy, maybe he was just tired from ruling television and music in 2016. Maybe this photo shoot was taking forever due to technical difficulties. Maybe Chewie's fur is rubbing him the wrong way!  Possibly, like me, he just hates having his picture taken.  Any and all of these are real possibilities.  However, there is another possibility that must be considered.  Possibly he was uncomfortable being the only Black person there.

You see most of us Blerds grew up recognizing this uncomfortableness. Before the days of Twitter and Facebook, if you were Black with Nerdy habits, there were often places you would go to that put your Blackness on display for white folks to see and often criticize.  The comic book store was often that place for me.  The store was on the "other side" of town and to get there, I needed to take a bus and walk a few blocks to get there.  Upon entering, it was if I was Tupac because All Eyez was on Me. Those looks of, "Why is he here? Or Is he going to steal something". Or Do they read comics"? It made me feel uncomfortable in my nerdom. Comic Book Conventions can often feel the same way. Whether you Cosplay or not, often times white eyes are on you and there may or may not be any other Black folks or POC for you to hang with and its a weird feeling.  A feeling that most white people NEVER have to deal with because they are most often the majority in these situations. And even when they are not, Black people are more open to giving respect to the only white dude in the club or the only white dude at the basketball court( if he can play). That feeling of mutual respect is often not reciprocated when you are the only Black person in a place white people don't think you belong. This is not a comfortable feeling and can often change how Black people react in social situations in how we walk, talk, and exist.

But its not just in Blerd life Black folks feel this way.  How about when you are the only Black person as your job.  Office spaces can be weird without the racial tension, but when you are the only Black person there, white people are quick to make sure you know it( like you didn't already know). But their sly ass jokes and privileged attitudes can make the work environment toxic( NO you can't touch my hair!). Or being the only Black person at a restaurant.  Black people know this feeling- the feeling of having people watching your every move and emotion- hoping they catch you in their version of Blackness( SEE! I knew he would order the chicken!)

I look at Gambino in that picture and he has that look to me.  That, man there are no Black people here besides me and now I have to be on guard about the things I say and do.  Been there, done that!

So I feel you Gambino!  I played tennis in high school and at a predominantly white college and was very often the only Black Dude in places.  I know that look and lived it for years!  Hopefully you can bring some of your boys on set with you to try to even things out.  Just tell them they are your cousin since their President thinks we all related anyway!

The Producer

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