"It's so depressing when the only depictions you see of yourself in the media are people who look like you getting arrested and shot," he said in the video.
Representation in movies is important. Especially when it comes to minority groups. But more often than not, these films center around the pain and struggle of the community. While it is vital to learn about the same and educate ourselves, an overwhelmingly vast amount of movies are based on a repetitive trope of suffering. This is especially true about films depicting Black characters. The genre of movies with a Black protagonist is limited to a few topics of trauma experienced by the community. White filmmakers especially manage to take advantage of and capitalize on the Black struggle in these "Black pain movies."
I’m not here for black trauma on TV shows and films. We have enough of this irl and this “genre” is beyond disturbing. We need more shows that show Black people experiencing the entire human emotional spectrum - including loving and living, like ‘Insecure’ and ‘An African City’.— Joelle Thee Editor (@Joelle_o) March 26, 2021
The dissatisfaction among Black people about these Black pain movies has been growing. One TikTok user pointed this out in a video about how he no longer wanted to see another movie about Black pain. Chinyelu Mwaafrika from Indianapolis uploaded the video on TikTok and it has been viewed about two million times. He makes some valid and hard-hitting points in the video about moving beyond just the themes of racism, slavery, and civil rights. He wants films to do better at representing everyday Black people who overcome different types of challenges than “just being Black,” according to Bored Panda.
In the video, Mwaafrika says, "So here's my opinion. I don't ever wanna see another Black pain movie. I don't ever wanna see any more slave movies, I don't ever wanna see any more civil rights dramas, I don't ever wanna see no more hood movies. I don't ever wanna see another movie where the main premise is 'being Black is hard' because I know." He continues, "It's so depressing when the only depictions you see of yourself in the media are people who look like you getting arrested and shot. Or trying to overcome some struggle that's based on the way you both look."
Can we have one black film that doesn’t exploit black pain https://t.co/jnvXKhxh94— KeondraK ⁷ (@PeachieRad) March 27, 2021
Mwaafrika went on to say how he did want to see Black characters in movies go through trials and tribulations to come out triumphant. "But I want writers and directors to realize," he said, "that Black people can and do face more challenges than being Black in whatever time period." He then made a few suggestions of where he would like to see Black characters. "Bring me the Black fantasy films with Black adventurers killing dragons and s***. N-word wizards. Or the sci-fi flick with a Black lead exploring space and fighting aliens." At this point his friend chimes in to add, "Or a coming of age movie. A coming of age movie would be great. I just wanna see Black kids get into a predicament that isn't f****** police brutality."
Mwaafrika concludes the video by saying, "Basically, if the main villain of your story is racism, I'm good." With his friend chiming in to say that the writers can keep that story to themselves.
Marsai Martin, the Black-ish star, who is also a producer, has a "No Black Pain Project" rule. In an interview with Hollywood Reporter, the 16-year old said, "I have a couple of rules when you come into my office. When you come into my office, don't give me this — I don't do no Black pain. If it's Black pain I don't go for it because there's so many films and projects about that, so that's not who I am. I want to make sure that it is diverse and real in its own way." Martin took home two prizes from the 2021 NAACP Image Awards for outstanding performance by a youth (series, special, television movie, or limited series) and outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series for her role in Black-ish.