Monday, August 21, 2006

Musings from a Black Woman

SOS, Please Someone Help Me.

Before I decide to watch a cheerleading movie ever again.

While getting my hair braided this weekend, I was easily coerced into watching Bring It On: All or Nothing, the third in a series of movies dealing the serious issues of cheerleading and race relations. I was laughing throughout this entire straight-to-DVD movie, and not at the appropriate parts, either. The story was predictable, the acting wasn't that great (Solange, turn down the mean and nasty a skosh), and the dialogue was stinky poo poo.

However, I did like this All or Nothing incarnation better that the original. Why? Not because of the "Special Appearance" by Bajan singing sensation Rihanna. All or Nothing just seemed more realish to me (I know, right?). Despite Kirsten Dunst and Gabrielle Union's best efforts in Bring It On, something always bugged me about that movie. It was the same thing that bugged me about Dances with Wolves, The Last Samurai and whatever other movies involve some naive white person discovering and/or living among some colored folk: it's never about the colored folk! It's always about the white people who are fascinated with them.

Granted, All or Nothing follows Hayden P. around as she tries to fit at Crenshaw Heights. But this movie STAYS at Crenshaw Heights, unlike the first one which follow Kirsten trying to cope with the fact that her predecessor Lindsay Sloane stole cheers from *gasp* BLACK PEOPLE. Why wasn't Bring It On about Gabrielle's character trying to come up with new cheers for her team after the first ones were stolen, and bastardized, for that matter? That would make more sense, since Gabrielle's team had something serious to gain from the final competition: $10,000 for their poor, run down school, in the "ghetto." All Kirsten had to prove was that she could be a good captain. I could go into how Kirsten's Rancho Carne team had the best of everything, including new uniforms, an expensive gym and a highly paid choreographer, while Gabrielle's team had little more than raw talent. But shouldn't this American movie have been about the plucky underdogs, who go against the overprivileged top seeded team, and win by using nothing but their wits? Like The Mighty Ducks? Or Miracle? Or The Big Green? Okay, maybe that was what Bring It On was about. Kind of. But Kirsten and her Rancho Carne Toros still got more lines and screen time than the black people.

In conclusion, I was actually entertained by All or Nothing, despite its plethora of stereotypes in place of developed characters, and a pop infused soundtrack in place of a plausible plot (competing for a chance to win new computers and an appearance on an old Rihanna music video?) Solange played her role better that I had expected, Hayden actually carried this fluffy excuse for a video rental, and the morals and themes, anvicillious and heavy-handed as they were, impressed me: racism is never cool, saving your virginity is better than having sex with a brain-dead jerkoff, and krumping is a great way to work out your anxiety over being the only white kid in school.

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