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How Come A Brother Always Has To Mess Things Up?

How Come A Brother Always Has To Mess Things Up?

This a little tale about how we… you know we meaning us… meaning black folks… perceive things so differently than them… you know, those people… you know white folks.

Take for example X Men: First Class. So far almost all reviews and pieces about the film in newspapers and on blogs have failed to mention the annoying problem of the movie killing off the only brother in the film. Even more bizarre, since, from what I gather Darwin is a well established character in the X Men comic books. And since he has the special power to adapt to anything, you would think that he’ll be a real survivor, still alive by the end of the film, standing tall. Nope. Ain’t gonna happen.

He’s barely in the damn film for ten minutes before he gets offed. With the exception of E Film critic Erik Childress, it’s funny how no one seems to have mentioned that very obvious point. Well… maybe obvious to us but not to them. And what about Angel, Zoe Kravitz’s character. The only woman of color in the film and she’s a stripper/hooker. I mean really? Like it would have killed them if she was, say, a college student? Evidently so. But not a peep from the critics or blogs about this either. But here on S & A and a few other black sites, you betcha there has been talk about how the black characters have been ill-treated in the film.

Pretty ironic since the X Men story, from what I understand, not being a comic book follower, is supposed be a metaphor for racism and tolerance. Well the film sure has plenty of the first, and none of the second.

Which brings us to Super 8.

Now for those of you who don’t like plot spoilers, cover your eyes!

You know the premise of the film is that it’s a blatant homage to Steven Spielberg’s 70’s and 80’s movies like ET and Jaws, and a huge side serving of The Goonies, Poltergeist, and every other Amblin Entertainment film from the period.

There’s this big train wreck outside a small town which unleashes an alien monster that wreaks a path of death and destruction in the town. Now, what you may not know is that the accident was caused deliberately by Glynn Turman who, aside form Richard T. Jones, is the only black person in the entire film, who at least who has lines, that is. Turman’s character intentionally crashes into the train to cause the derailment, in an effort to free the alien.

Now wait…why would he do that? Well, as revealed later in the film, he feels sorry for the poor little bugger, since he’s been locked away by the U.S. military for 20 years. But that doesn’t make sense. The alien is definitely no ET, but a vicious, evil monster that destroys everything. Why would anyone want to free anything like that?

Maybe, I guess, since Turman is black, he feels the oppression of aliens either from another county or another world? Beats me.

And why have a brother, the only one with more then 10 lines in the entire movie, be the guy to cause all the problems that happen in the film? Just like black men in real life. Always screwing up something. I suppose. Couldn’t the accident happened by itself and Turman instead be a guy who helps to defeat the alien? You know be one of the heroes, and one who LIVES at the end. No, that would have been too much. You want to give the audience heart attacks or something?

Now, I suppose there are those who are going to say, “why do I look at this in a racial light. Lighten up (Ha Ha Get it?)…it’s just a movie…why do you have to be so serious… blah blah blah.

Well sorry. You can keep talking, but I’m not listening, and I’m not gonna stop either. I know what I see and I don’t like it.

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ryan duehning

dude shut up youre not helping the cause


Let’s not forget SyFy movies. The Brother dies in the first 10 minutes.


I was upset that Darwin got killed but at least the actor got some screen time and a few lines and maybe he will be back for the sequel.


And what else is new? Plot changes to kill off Blacks? Remember Scatman Crothers getting it in “The Shining.” The brother survives in the book and plays a major role. How have comedians made a living off of talking about Black folks in horror movies? Yes we almost always get killed off first and yes we are often the embodiment of evil. It would be nice for a little creativity now and then.


Dr. Boogie- With every post you make all I see in more and more excuses for this crap. I will address your first post right now .

You ask is he dead, yes he is dead in this movie. We see him speak a few lines and stick his head in a fish bowl and next thing you know he is killed by something that should not have killed him. You saying who he could be still alive just trying to justify this stuff . Then you ask why could someone not draw a parallel to the black power movement. How about the fact that it was not even talked about once in the movie. We are in 1960s America talking about oppression and this is not touched on. This highlights the racism at work. Hell even when the cartoon went to the 60s they talked about racism.

It is clear why Havoc is in jail.. he is not a criminal his powers went crazy and something happen . Thus this is why he wants to be in the hole away from everyone else. Meaning he does care about other people .

Frost was spy not a hooker, stripper. Also we saw college student white females , CIA white females. The only black female was a turncoat and a stripper .

Funny how you bring up how bad it was what happen to the Jewish people while telling black people to get over it . Typical .

Will.I.Am was the second one of the Wolverin’s teammates to get killed . Yeah that is a big jump from being the first one killed.

I take it you don’t have a clue who T.D. Jakes , do you ?


Oh no not another metaphorical nikka dead. Fo got shot here tonite. I may or may not have pulled the trigger on one who came to me talking this jank. See my real nikkas in Snow on Da Bluff. Some git kilt, but the hero git to live. Do nikkas have a future in Hollywood???? Hell naww make ya own gotdamm movie.

Dr. Boogie

@CareyCarey…..HAAAA!!!! Too funny. I don’t know which is more amusing, your play-by-play analysis or the fact that you assume that I am male and all I do is read comics. Seriously, lol–no sarcasm:oj

Actually my profession is the study of music and culture (earned Ph.D. not honorary or colloquial)/higher education and I became a fan of the X-Men franchise through the cartoon adaptation of the comics back in the early 90s. In fact, while I do follow the franchise and its story lines, I do not own one comic book. There were no comic book stores in the hood. I wish I could be deemed as highly as a true hardcore “comictron” as you say but then my post would have been a wee bit longer and probably would have included a few website links to educate the easily massaged. ;o)

I will, however, suggest that the people who keep doubting Darwin’s long presence don’t look too far outside of the cartoon and film series to keep their cinematic racial injustice dreams alive. However, if you can remember the season in the cartoon where the X-Men were somehow in space and that there were human-looking aliens that apparently had passed as mutants on earth (X-FC’s Havoc if you will), there you will find where the Darwin character lives. Darwin is part of larger story arcs in the Marvel Comic Universe, specifically X-Men: Deadly Genesis #2, War of Hulk, and X-Factor. For those who have not the time nor the Kindle to brush up on Darwin’s character career, check out his page on wikipedia and you’ll see a fuller description of his mutant abilities AND previous instances where he has been “brought back” from assumed annihilation.

Just curious, if Darwin shows back up in a future X-men film franchise, will there be an update to this critique or will we double back into ethnic/identity politics nap-sack and rally church folks to complain that a half-African, half-Latino mutant would be bestowed with Messiah-like abilities? Just checking, so I can consult the lady comictrons & 80s latch key kids for backup next time…. #thefinalcountdown

WOW! Just read Sergio’s bitchy–oopps—pithy retorts…Your last name wouldn’t be Valente by any chance? Please don’t send me your escort service contacts’ info, getting laid has obviously done nothing for your observational nor film critique skills. #dingding⁢’SAAAALLLLLOVER!!!!!

Floyd Webb

We keep whining about the obvious. Was it Sam Goldwyn who said that “the indians will win against the cowboys when they pay for the movie?”

Better we create the cinema we want to see, than bitch about Hollywierd doing what they always do. American Cinema was born racist, build it’s fopundations on it’s racist sentiments. Cinema was new media and one of it’s missions was the propagation of white supremacy in the world by folks who only gained whiteness by coming to America and their one saving grace being “at least they ain’t black.”

From Thomas Edison’s Nigger in a Woodpile(1904),The Wooing and Wedding of a Coon”(1904), The Slave(1905), The Nigger(1915) to the white supremacist masterpiece Birth of a Nation (1915), they continued unabated until the likes of William Foster in Chicago in 1910), The Johnson brothers in Los Angeles and author/filmmaker, Oscar Micheaux and Spencer Williams came on the scene.

Better We need to be leveraging new technologies for distribution and production and creating financing networks instead of worrying about which black actor is going to be killed off first in films way beyond our control.

Black filmmakers already have the tools to hack the system, we just need to learn how to use them. And we need to sharpen our ideas of what makes for compelling content without reverting to the very stereotypes we rail against.

In the word of Stan Lee, “Nuff Said”


@ Dr. Boogie, Yep, I stand accused, I thought you were a dude. I mean, I don’t know many female comictrons. Heck, to be honest, until I read Vichious’s many posts, I didn’t even know black folkks were that deep into Marvel comics. Wait… oh forget it, I have a stack of them sitting in front of me right now (one saying “STILL ONLY 25 cents” and several costing 35 cents) so let me stop while I am ahead.

Anyway, looking at a couple, I do see black faces on the cover. The title of one is “PETER PARKER. The Spectacular SPIDER-MAN”. This is a 1978 edition and there’s 3 black folks on the cover. But oh lord,down in the bottom right hand corner, it say “DEATH DANCE OF THE HYPNO-HUSTLER!

In the center of the cover stands a large brotha dressed in one of those skin tight body outfits (white), large afro and a red quitar hanging from his neck. HIs beautiful dark skinned backup singers are called “The Mercy Killers”. Now, I don’t know NOTHING… but wow!

Okay, here’s another one. Wait… THE LEGIONS of SUPER-HEROES” 60 CENTS 1983 edition. Yep, there’s another black dude… I think? He’s dark but his body is made of some kind of metal or stone? skip him, lets look at CAPTAIN AMERICA and THE FALCON. Now thew Falcon is a sho nuff black dude. He sorta looks like Billy “white shoes” Johnson from the old Houston Oliers. I mean, he has on white boots, white glove and a white mask.

Here’s the setup, you know, in those little yellow boxes… “by tenderness–and the eyes of innocence–and a face that can haunt a man for a lifetime…now the FALCON does his action bit–as a counter-point to CAPTAIN AMERICA’S LOVE STORY!”

OOuuuuwee Dr. Boogie, wish you were here. There’s gonna be a whole lot of freaky deaky going on in this edition of black faces in the comics.

UT OH, who is this guy? It’s 1992, the comic cost $1.25. It’s a brotha and it’s a DC comic. HIs hair is short and he has on a black and green body suit.

This is gonna be good… “Memories of waking life are sinking bodies, drowned and lost in darkness, pounded into pulp in the rolling tide of these dreams”

Well, in short Mrs. Dr. Boogie, I’ll say you’re doing just fine up in here. Yep, you’re holding your own with a few big hitters, so stay in the fight. I see Joey is knocking on your door, but pssst, between me and you, he can’t handle you.



Damn, that boy came with the heat. He brought some of that jug type shit to the table.

I told y’all those Comictrons ain’t nobody to mess with.

I wish I was a blog fight promotor. I can see it now… Carey’s “Don King” productions presents “No YOU Didn‘t Say In the S & A” rumble after the fumble….

In the red corner, with paisley trunks with blood trim, it’s the undefeated master blaster from the South side of Chicago …. Sergio “I don’t give a rat’s ass” Mims. *The crowd goes crazy*

In the blue corner, wearing cobalt and kryptonite, his challenger , coming by way of The Falcon’s home town, Detroit, the Motor City. Ladies and gentlemen, give a rousing applause for Dr. “SPOILER ALERT” Boogie Woogie all the way down. **hisses and boos, with a few “right on brotha” from the small comtron section**

T’Challa is Dr. Woogie’s corner man and Sergio has his normal buxom beauties, Candace, Lynn and Kissy “poo” Denise.

There’s no love lost between these two combatants. Sergio is an old school brotha that loves kickin’ ass and taking names. Dr. Boogie Down Broadway could care less. To the press last week, Dr. Boogie said, “CAN ANYONE HOLLA BACK IF YOU HEARD the JAMES BROWN CLOWN, Sergio Mims SAY IT LOUD… “I AM BLACK AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE HELL I AM TALKING ABOUT”

Ouch! fighting words for sure.

LADIES and GENTLEMEN, and all the rest….. I present, You Didn’t Say That In The S & A!


@ Dr Boogie

P.S. Or maybe you just need to get laid. Still a virgin I bet


@ Dr. Boogie

Do you do anything except read comic books? Try reading something else, you know like a book without pictures, because I couldn’t get through all that verbiage you wrote


I can jump on a lot of bandwagons but Jar Jar Binks = racism? Too big a stretch.

Kissy Denise

Funny. I noticed the same thing and blogged about it.


Jar Jar Binks was racist. Darwin (the most unknown character of them all) being the main one to stand up against an enemy that he knew he didn’t stand a chance against and being defeated, giving them an incentive to strike back, was just Hollywood storytelling. Unfortunately most of these characters were created in the 60’s when non-white superheroes simply didn’t exist, which could explain why the Angel in this film was Angel Salvador and not Warren Worthington III.


The first paragraph of the article is preceding from a false premise. Darwin is NOT a “well-established figure” in the X-Men comics. I’ve read the comics and never heard of the guy.

Are we REALLY going to get bent about Black characters getting killed off in the movies? What about how Charles Xavier is supposed to be the Martin Luther King or mutants and Magneto the Malcolm X opposite?

People are taking this waaaaay too seriously. I’m more concerned about brothers getting shot and killed EVERY DAY


to be fair, you indieWire mates The Playlist mentioned it in their post “the good, the bad, and the ugly of x-men: first class”


I knew S&A would point this out. Thanks guys. I saw X-Men First Class on friday and was really irritated that Darwin died. I jokingly told my friend who is also black that was next to me, “I thought black dudes were only supposed to die quickly in horror movies.” LOL.

Luckily, we were there with a girl who is into comic books. I asked her about Darwin and she filled us in on his character. I also wonder how necessary his death was.

I find it funny that a movie with slight racial undertones about Mutants accepting themselves for who they are would really do this. But then again, this is main stream Hollywood, so I really shouldn’t be too surprised.

Zoe’s character was soooo boring she could have been anything other than a stripper and I still wouldn’t have cared about her character.

Other then all the craziness with the characters of color, I enjoyed it.

Dr. Boogie

[SPOILER ALERT THROUGH OUT]….You know what…I did have an issue with Darwin’s character being killed but unlike you, I follow the comic and the franchise so I and possibly others would NOT go so far to make the leap to a heavy handed racial assessment on the franchise. What people who DON’T follow comic narratives and their subsequent film adaptations miss are ALL OF THE OTHER DETAILS AT PLAY that actually make their judgements hallow, knee jerk, contrived, and tired. Let’s continue with your drive-by critique. 1. Is Darwin actually dead? His mutation allows him to adapt to his environment. If you’d follow at least the film franchise, you’d know that while death be not proud for some characters, it isn’t always permanent. Two Words: The Phoenix. 2. Even in death, Darwin [SPOILER ALERT] was THE FIRST of the young untrained mutants to fight back and stand up for themselves. He also did so while trying to save the other person of color who you’ve deemed “less than” by your stripper/hooker slur. Why couldn’t you draw a parallel to the Black Power Movement (or CORE/SNCC Civil Rights Era) since the film was set in the 1960s??? 3. Also, in his very last moments, in a nod to Xavier’s “alleged” death in X-3, Darwin passed the torch to another young mutant who previously would rather be in prison that out in the world fighting for a just cause (just like Xavier did with Wolverine in X-3). 4. So Angel was a stripper? So what?! Emma Frost was a White female stripper, a psychic call girl, a ex-Nazi doctor’s “bottom bitch” (pimp reference intended) and another mutant {holding on to the spoiler for those in the know} was IN PRISON and he was White, where goes your representation politics? Was Angel stripping after she joined Xavier & Erik? Hold up? Did she ever even get naked in the film? We saw more body from Raven/Mystique and Emma Frost/Diamond Girl than we did Angle in the film. What say you about the extensive action sequence Angel got that runs rings around anything given to Storm or Jean Grey actresses or other flying male mutants in previous films? So you totally missed the scene where Angel started to feel more empowered because she had more real world experience than her young mutant counterparts when they were being taunted by the CIA guards? The brotha was still alive when that happened…5. Maybe the creators/director couldn’t get around to appeasing your racial sensitivities because they spent the first 20-30 minutes in a Nazi concentration camp and later hunting down fugitive Nazi war criminals living like rock stars all over the globe off stolen Jewish money. (Side bar to Rhianna revenge critiques–Erik killed a lot of dudes but only one of them killed his mother). Oh yeah, and the last 30-40 minutes was spent trying to avoid WWIII. Who has time to pat you on the head in the name of representation politics? Isn’t it enough that the young mutants of color (including the blue ones) learned to be “Mutant and proud” for the first time? CAN ANYONE HOLLA BACK IF YOU HEARD JAMES BROWN “SAY IT LOUD” WHEN THAT CAME OUT OF MYSTIQUE’S MOUTH AT THE END?!?!? 6. Since you don’t follow the franchise, you obviously missed A THIRD Black character in the film. A young, white haired Storm, who some think should be the franchise’s next prequel narrative. (My vote for Zoe Saldana or Sophie Okenido is already in the mail.) Since this was stock footage taken from the Wolverine film, there is at least an easter egg that could materialize if the stars align and people actually rally to support an X-Men film staring a black or female (or BOTH) lead character. 7. Speaking of Wolverine, why don’t we acknowledge when the black character makes it through most of the film? Will.i.Am made it through most of Wolverine and was far from the first mutant to bite the dust. Honestly, if you’re going to get racial with comics or sci-fi genres, you just got to do your research. Some characters’ ethnicity come into play in their identities but most often they do not so what mud you can fling at a Tyler Perry, T.D. Jakes, Spike Lee or “pick your poison” director’s project you just can’t thoroughly sling in these arenas. Their approach to allegory and satire is far more complex and nuanced than the “black guy got killed quick” trope. Really, your spoiler could have waited at least until the first week was up for the time you actually spent making grand judgements. To the fans of the franchise: If you were worried after the “what was that?” taste left in your mouth after X-3 and Wolverine, the franchise is back with First Class. Erik’s effects (and the actor’s kick in the pants & heart portrayal of pre-Magneto Erik), the easter eggs, and cameos alone are worth paying to see it and then getting the bootleg to see what you missed the first time (Recession means no more Avatar-like backsies)….


Yeah, Zoe’s character was a stripper/hooker and she was the ONLY ONE to go bad with Sebastian. At least she spit FIRE. LOL


Yo, NONE of that beats Sam Jackson in DEEP BLUE SEA “A SHARK, A FUCKIN’ SHARK ATE ME!!” (in my best Dave Chappelle ‘Sam Jack’ impression LOL)


You’re forgetting Samuel L. Jackson as well in Jurassic Park and he gets killed too by a dinosaur ripping his arm off. TWO brothers don’t make it in the film. They wanted to make sure none of us survived!


@Marty Jones

Sam L. Jackson was in Jurassic Park and he lasted most the movie. He played the main hacker for Ingen.

Marty Jones

Spielberg only had one brother in Jurassic Park, he was one of the handlers at the very opening of the film – and the T-Rex killed him (from inside a licked steel box) within the first three minutes. As my daughter says and texts – SMH – SHAKING MY HEAD.


first… ” They don’t want to see the obvious for feat they might have to think for about something serious for a milli-second. I don’t give a rat’s ass if I spoiled your precious damn comic book movie for you. GROW UP!”

Classic! LMAO

I am not a comic book kind of guy. I mean, when I was young I read every comic book I could steal out of the corner drug store, and my son,who is an adult has tons of his comics stored away in those plastic covers. Anyway, I am never in a hurry to see a movie based on a comic book but I have seen a few (Transformers sucked and Woverine was cool). Heck the way things are going, the only way we’ll have a lead role in a comic adaptation, is when they make the movie “Sad Sack”. Yep, Sad Sack will be played by a black man, and Richie Rich will kick his ass and make him cut his grass.

But I never really paid attention to the black characters in comics. Heck, I only thought there was two; Luke Gage and some other dude that I can’t remember, but my son loved them.

Damn, I have to raise my hand and say I’ve been brainwashed. I expect every black person in every movie to get sliced and diced and f*cked up, long before the credits roll.

So I have to agree with jug, again. A person has to bring some to get some. And, a person should write about what they know, and then they can write the ending. Heck, in Buck and The Preacher Man, a whole lotta white folks didn’t make it to the end.. In Bill Cosby and Sidney’s thang, the white folks were the baffoons.

But hey, I respect those that standup for their passion. I love the way geek head comic trons, fight for their honor. ain’t no shame in their game.

And Sergio, I heard your story(on blogRadio) about your friend that borrowed money from you to get his comic book jones on. Iaughed my ass off when you asked him what he was going to do with his “collectables”.

I am glad you got your money back… all but 3 dollars :-)

Mateen Kemet

Glen Turman perhaps performing an homage to Joe Morton’s Terminator 2 role, but at least in T2 the brother had a family and died heroicly after realizing his mistake.


Let’s also point out that a nigh-invincible black man died at the hands of a crazy white man in the 60s.


@theyounglion.Off the top of my head, I can only remember the black dudes in the first two Die Hard movies: DH 1- the black tech genius working for the bad guy… of course you had the limo driver and the policeman so I think that balanced things out. DH2 -John Amos turns out to be the bad guy… with the aid of the main white bad guy. Robocop had the evil black executive. Hmm… not very good examples but a case could be made if we get more data.

Regarding the “their” vs “our” perceptions, I’m not gonna let “them” off the hook and consider their perception as being any different from ours. Everybody knows about the-black-guy-must die-first and the-only-reason-black (however you define black)-women-exist-is-to-be -objectified-sex-objects-with-not-much-intelligence” cliches. Anybody remember the South Park movie where the black regimen either had to be up in the very front or be strapped onto tanks to protect the white guys from getting killed [funny scene]. Even white boys who grew up in lily white Colorado know the cliches and play with it in a tongue in cheek manner.

Truth is “they” just don’t give a damn. You’re gonna watch the movie regardless and most of you won’t say a thing about it – not openly anyway. There’s no fear and no respect so why they hell would they care how you think as long as they get your money?

@Jug. Kind of funny you reminisced about Panthro and GI Joe etc… There’s a retro channel here that plays old cartoons and I managed to catch the first few minutes of Jem. Been forever since I watched that show so I forgot there was black character on it. A pretty black character. Who actually looked black. Had kinky curly hair, beautifully coiffed. Spoke intelligently and was voiced by a black actress (need to look up who). Was as much a part of the show as the other characters. And was treated just like any other person. There was no stereotyping at all. She wasn’t the ‘black character’ but the character who happened to be black. I was shocked. Never picked up on that when I was younger but now I can appreciate it. It’s almost as if back then there was a legitimate effort to provide black characters that weren’t treated any differently than the white ones. Of course now that we’re grown, it doesn’t matter. They’ll throw as many stereotypes at you that they want. Build you up just to tear you down? Odd but so American.


Wow! I love this post you brought up a very interesting issue that has been in Hollywood before Sidney Poiter days. I never saw SUPER 8 I don’t plan on seeing it anytime soon. But whenever i watch a film in the cinema i find myself questioning the casting a lot of the times.

Ex. “Monsters Ball” I didn’t understand Halle Berrys’s role to me she was just portrayed as this helpless Black woman who took off her panties for a white man who gave her a place to live.

Also, there is always the “white woman” or the “man” rescuing poor inner city Blacks, Latinos etc.

Ex. Michelle Phifer in “Dangerous Minds” they make all these inner city “hood rats” uneducated, rude w/ no parental guidance and no hopes for a future until a “white woman” decides to “help them” build a future for tomorrow. smh

Why does a Black man have to play the villain? Or why does the Black woman have to be a stripper or be portrayed negatively?? Whenever you question things you spot out in movies a lot of people are quick to judge and they say things like “Oh calm down STOP over-analyzing the film. Can’t you just watch and enjoy it?”

But not all of us can sit down and just watch a film some of us get irritated and notice the growing problems facing people of color in Hollywood.

That’s why I love S & A many of you speak your mind and have a lot to say about the entertainment industry. Keep it you guys :)




I remember going to see “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” when it opened in theaters in the early 1990’s, and noticing how the plot had it be a black man (played by Joe Morton) that created Skynet, the computer system that went on to launch the nukes and create the machines and terminators that wiped out 99% of the human race. Whenever I pointed it out to people (“Why’d it have to be a black guy?”), everyone thought I was “SO sensitive”.

I vaguely remember my “sensitive” self noticing other black characters in subsequent years that did things which resulted in a threat to a large group of people, a city, or the entire human race…though off the top of my head I can’t think of them. Maybe others here can help refresh my memory.

Could this be a sub-category of black characters we might have missed? Alongside “the Magic Negro”, “the black best friend”, and “the black person who dies before the end”, are there enough examples for a new character type: “the black person who fucks everything up for everybody, up to and including the entire human race”?


DAMN! I feel like I’ve been off the scene for a minute.

I haven’t seen X-MEN FIRST CLASS yet, but I definitely want to, because I like McAvoy & Fassbender. Everyone else I could live without. But Sergio’s point is not only on the fucking money and it’s a BIIIIIG problem in Hollywood, but I look at it in it’s entirety.

As an adult, I see old clips on YouTube of some of my favorite toys & games from my youth. GI JOE, TRANSFORMERS, C.O.P.S., THUNDERCATS, etc. And I’ve started to notice a very interesting thru-line…most-if not all-of my favorite characters were Black. Gi Joe-Roadblock, Heavy Duty, Doc-even Snake Eyes…HA! we actually SAID he was black in my neighborhood because he was so damn cool, when it came out he was white we were hurt. C.O.P.S.-Baldwin P. ‘Bulletproof’ Vess, Transformers-aside from Optimus & Shockwave, I LOVED Jazz. Little did I know Scatman Crothers did the voice. THUNDERCATS-Panthro

I could go on, & yes there were cartoons where I loved characters that weren’t black, but best believe if there was one, He was my favorite! My household wasn’t a “daily black lesson” kind of place or a “kill whitey” sort of place, but more of a Huxatable “teach through images & examples” kind of place. My Mom taught at predominantly black public schools where I’m from, and I’d help her with her classroom stuff. All of my aunts & uncles, Black, were most of the people that came to the house-or us to theirs. Sly & the Family Stone is the record & reel to reel tape I remember getting the most play when I was a kid. Along with Bill Cosby, the Last Poets & other assorted Motown greats. When it came time to go to college, I chose to go to an HBCU, even though none of them were “preached” in my house…but my mom did go to Southern & I faithfully watched the Bayou Classic every November & my older brother even went to one.

Why do I bring all of this up? It makes me smile to think that my sense of self & identity was being molded as a black man looong before I knew what the hell “struggle” & “politics” were. LOL But it is what I know.

Well, first rule of screenwriting is to write what you know. Second rule is write what you like. Those rules often merge into one. So, how many scripts or movies have you heard of, written by a black writer (if you knew the writer is black), where the lone black character dies first (if there even IS a lone black character)? Or is ridiculously stupid, etc? I’m not going to say the X-Men stuff is out & out racist, because that would entail a full-on hatred of you, but it’s more of a disregard, like you don’t exist, which to me is even MORE shocking & upsetting. In today’s society, with a black president, with the prevalence of black actors, artists, govt officials…these old ass cliche’s are the gems that Matt Vaughn chooses to come up with? Is it because he’s British? Guess these are the ones they plaster all over the fan boy blogs to get folks hyped “Oooooooh shiiiiiit! There’s a cool new character in X-MEN yo!! AND he’s black, which makes him EXTRA cool!” Yeah…guess so.


As I said, I have not seen it, but my thought is, since it’s the 60s, and the X-Men comic has always been an allegory tale about discrimination & racism (probably why they were one of my favorite comics growing up), I’m guessing Darwin was thrown in to satisfy a plot point & “era window dressing” more so than an actual character that is not only integral to the story, but to the franchise. He seems to be a character that is really a fringe mutant in the Marvel Universe, but he was made to seem like an original member of the X-Men, at least in this adaptation. According to Marvel Wiki, he pretty much can’t die as his own power will take over in the event of his death to keep him alive, adapting to any situation.

So he may come back, I dunno..I have to see the movie, but the idea is still valid.

The Black Man dies-First. Why? Because he doesn’t matter? Because he’s not the character I’m interested in or is the least interesting to me. At least, that’s the thought that subconsciously happens to most non-black writers. Just ask Sam Jackson about all the times he’s been killed in ridiculous ways. I STILL trip over him not gettin’ it in PULP FICTION, but Travolta gettin’ blown away having just taken a shit-always feel a little “muthafuckin’ right” in my gut (for all you Tarantino haters out there).

I will probably see SUPER 8 as well, even though I KNOW it is a straight up “ball lick” to Spielberg from Abrams. And honestly, why not, I loved Spielberg’s movies as a kid and I guess JJ did too. I dig Abrams work as well (ALTHOUGH he is another one that has real issues with having black characters on his shows that either A) stick around or B) DO something). But I think the same thing applies. This dude is making a movie about his childhood Saturday afternoon movies, the ones that inspired him to be a filmmaker. Certainly wasn’t SHAFT or BLACK CAESAR that was doin’ that, not that I’m aware of. I get irritated too, mainly because it’s subject matter as an actor AND as an audience member I LOVE-but up to a point. Because getting made at Abrams or Vaughn for not putting enough black characters in their shows or how they treat them story-wise is super selfish & defeats the whole fight to have more minorities in movies. Does it fly in the face of todays’ society? Yes. Does it irritate you that they ask you to watch their shows or spend $15 for their movies? Yes. But what it shouldn’t do, is bother you as an artist or a filmmaker, because we want the freedom to not have white people in our movies, right? It hurts & is offensive because it feels like an okey doke, we’re so evolved & “inclusionary”-because in 2011, it smacks of “I’m not racist, a have a lot of Black friends” :-(

You write what you know & you write what you like. Anything else is reactionary….


“C’mon bro, at least say SPOILER ALERT, if you’re revealing the fate of the character, racial issues or not…it’s the principle of it”..

I just knew this was going to happen. I’m trying to make a point for some discussion here and people are crying like a four year old because I spoiled some plot point. They’re like a horse with blinders on. They don’t want to see the obvious for feat they might have to think for about something serious for a milli-second. I don’t give a rat’s ass if I spoiled your precious damn comic book movie for you. GROW UP!

Candace Allen

I haven’t seen either film, was planning on seeing the X-Men but probably won’t now more because of Black Girl as Prostitute (does she have a heart of gold too?) I just saw the play Vera Stark yesterday, not perfect but enjoyable and astute and through the numerous moments of knowing laughter couldn’t help but notice that the Hollywood film industry hasn’t moved much further than what it was in the 30s with “Negro” performers getting all excited about news of a “Southern Epic” which of course meant roles for slaves. How different all these BBFs and Sacrificial Nigger roles of the present films, well-intentioned or not from what was being done so far back in the day. Itsy-bitsy baby steps. So the struggle continues. Post-racial? Please.


As for the character “Darwin” his name says it all. In the comic book he can’t die because he keeps “evolving” in ways to beat death. So if they changed the powers of the only black guy in the movie so they can kill him off, yeah that’s a problem.


C’mon bro, at least say SPOILER ALERT, if you’re revealing the fate of the character, racial issues or not…it’s the principle of it..

Dburt aka Afronerd

Well, your take on X-men: First Class is certainly “dead-on.” I failed to talk about this on Afronerd Radio, yesterday but you essentially took the words out of my mouth. I begrudgingly enjoyed the film but the nagging racial politics displayed in a film that is supposed to teach tolerance boggles the mind. Perhaps the remaining consolation in this whole cinematic dilemma is…ultimately, folks of color are going to create their own multifaceted vehicles because waiting for the majority culture to acknowledge Black humanity is an exercise in futility…..remember: resistance is futile (oops wrong film,,,,,).


Regarding the death of Darwin, the character dying is a spoiler. Given that the movie opened four days ago I would think critics and bloggers don’t want to spoil the storyline.

That doesn’t excuse his death or lack of screen time however. Your point is valid. I think there is more than one angle to consider.

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