Back to IndieWire

But Does Anyone REALLY Want To See A Movie About Barbara Jordan?

But Does Anyone REALLY Want To See A Movie About Barbara Jordan?

Here I go again!. Being the obnoxious, repulsive bad boy that you love to hate,  I have to confess that when word came out that a bio-pic about Barbara Jordan was being developed with Viola Davis in the lead, I had to let out a yawn and rolled my eyes. 

Yes, yes. I can hear you now. What an important film this will be and that it needs to get made and that we MUST SUPPORT IT OR ELSE THEY’LL NEVER MAKE ANOTHER BLACK FILM LIKE THIS AGAIN AND WE’LL BE STUCK WITH TYLER PERRY MOVIES FOREVER and how you’ll be the first in line to see it and yadda yadda yadda. They said the same thing about Red Rails we all know how that worked out. As I say over and over again until your ears are bleeding, people see a film because they WANT to and not because they HAVE to

But how many of you who say that REALLY mean it? That you’re really going to go out and support that film if and when it comes out. I guess is none. Sure you say that to make yourself sound good to others, and more importantly yourself, but I doubt…no…make that… I know that most of you aren’t really eager to see a film about Jordan that’s going to be as stiff and lifeless as that statue pictured above.

What we have here is yet another perfect example of a black “castor oil” movie (a term I take credit for and should get a trademark on)  A film that’s good for you, but really hard to take down and try to avoid at any cost. How many black “castor oil” films have we had and have died a misrerable death at the box office? Too many to count.

Of course, Jordan was an important figure and accomplished many great things, but not every famous person in history deserves a film about their lives. 

And besides, if the film should get made will it deal with Jordan’s personal life being a closeted gay person involved in a 30 year relationship with another woman? Understandably, being a black person, from the South and considering those times, it was kept quiet while Jordan was alive.  But would the film honstly deal with it today? Or like J. Edgar just tiptoe around the facts or just ignore it completely afraid to offend those church going, conservative folk (black, white or whatever)  who would have an issue with it.

However in fairness, the director attached to the film, Paris Barclay, is an openly gay man, who in interviews that I’ve read, has criticized homophobia in society and the film business. I doubt if he would make a film about Jordan and not deal with her personal life in an honest way. However if the film plays as the typical Hollywood idolatry bio-pic creating a one dimensional person instead of a living and breathng human being as I suspect, then what’s the point?

And then again, we have Davis yet again playing a sexual nutured woman whose character is defined by her profession and not her personality which I wrote about on S & A HERE last month. It’s a trap that she has fallen into. 

As I’ve said before she needs to develop her own projects showing her as a sexually vibrant, alluring person that dark skinned woman rarely, if ever, are shown on screen instead letting those roles usually go to the Paula Pattons of the world. (Honest nothing against Paula Patton I’m saying…)

So I’m not waiting exactly with bated breath for a film about Barbara Jordan and neither really are you, despite what you say.

This Article is related to: Features


Mark Brown

Listen. After seeing "The Help", I will watch ANYTHING Viola Davis is in. She moved me to tears in more than one scene.





Playing copyeditor here: nutured is really spelled "neutered" and means castrated, which doesn't apply in this case, unless you're being super Freudian. Better to go with "desexualized" or the much easier "sexless." Just trying to be servicey. Interesting article.


It may come down to the script. A story well-told, is a story that will engage.


Viola's role taking decisions aside, I believe Sergio speaks to a larger issue when addressing the state of todays black films and that issue hinges on the lack of contemporary stories that entertain us. Save the preaching and lecturing for more suitable genre's (documentaries) and let's find a way to portray the nuanced relationships and world we live in. Alas, this is not the world that the Hollywood decision makers have much interest in bringing to the masses, and there lies the rub. Drawing Black audiences to historically based films has always been hard and remains so… and what we do see has very little to do with the current state of Black culture, love, fulfillment and even heartbreak. Where are the hip Black films – I know they are being written.


This movie will make no money and make funding for other Black dramas even harder to get.


Why not? I saw Beloved, Daughters of the Dust, Sankofa and others like them as soon as they became widely released (some even limited). I'll admit I didn't see Red Tails because I am no longer living in a large city and getting to the nearest theater around where I live now, has proven a bit of a hardship right now. I saw the Barbara Jordan documentary years ago on PBS, so this would interest me greatly and I've followed Viola Davis' career ever since she performed on stage in 1996 when she was cast in August Wilson's Seven Guitars.

Then again, I frequently use castor oil (100% Jamaican, black) and I appreciate it's benefits.


This is supremely premature not to mention this same argument could be made regarding quite a few projects posted on this site as of late. It shouldn't be labeled a castor oil film since no one has received a truckload of emails telling blacks they must see it. Some of you may have egg on your face when a script starts circulating. I will use the common sense God gave me, and at least wait until I see more than a press release before coming to conclusions.


Well I wrote an essay on Barbara Jordan when I was in second grade and won an essay contest because of it. For that reason alone I want to see this movie and cant wait to share it with my family. I'm hoping it will be aspiring and leave me feeling trimphant like the "Wilma Rudolph Story" or even when Keyshia Knight-Pulliam played "Poly".

Exodus Animator

I'm tired of what WE do as Black people. WE complain too much, without doing a d@mn thing. I'm glad that this film, on a person (Barbara Jordan), who has done more for African Americans, than any one of us posting on this site, including the author, is being made. Whether it does well at the box office or not is beyond the point. This is another part of OUR African American history that is being documented and promoted.

The greater issue with the entertainment issue, has been and will always be, WHO HAS CONTROL OVER OUR IMAGE? I am a part of the less than 3% of animators who happen to be Black. And I am also a part of a smaller percentage of African American animators, who actually makes his own films. From this perspective, I see that more and more of us need to get involved and create films from a variety of perspectives. Instead of complaining, and writing(in my opinion) offensive and divisive articles about why films like this shouldn't be made, we need to get to work.

I challenge more and more African Americans to go to film or animation programs. I challenge more and more African Americans to learn sound design and sound engineering. I challenge more and more African Americans to learn character design and storyboarding. I challenge more and more African Americans to study literature and write short stories, novels, and screenplays. I challenge more and more African Americans to study marketing and promotion. And I challenge more and more African Americans to find ways to get the films you want see, screened.

I am angry at so many obstacles that are keeping OUR ideas from being seen. And I am angry that so many of us are struggling to make a living at something that is necessary for African Americans in this country. I am also angry at the African American community for not being supportive of positive ideas, and not supporting the creative talents of those who struggle in the entertainment industry.

Film criticism is necessary, but we need to hold our criticism until until a film is seen. And don't forget, both Hollywood and the African American community have created a narrow pathway for what ideas should be created for African American films. If Hollywood can accept "The Iron Lady" with Meryl Streep, why can't WE as Black folks accept a film on Barbara Jordan with Viola Davis.


I think it will be a hit and do well. If a popular actress plays Nancy earl, her girlfriend, and the right white people are cast, I think it will be groundbreaking. Barbara Jordan was amazing and no joke. She loved this country more than it deserved and therein lies the story.


I agree with Sergio wholeheartedly. There are so many more things Viola could be doing besides Oscar baiting with another stoic, strong black woman character (and this is coming from a strong black woman). I want to see her vulnerable and see her soft side. She's boxing herself in by doing these same characters when she should totally be looking at doing a character that is out of her comfort zone and that nobody would see coming. I'm talking shock the world, she could be an archeologist in Egypt who discovers that she's Nefertiti reincarnated, or she can do something sci-fi or something that is fresh and that we don't already know the ending to.

Folks like me and Sergio can see from a mile away what this movie is probably gonna be. And as much as folks tryna say oh the movie hasn't even been made yet..uh yes it has with nearly every other trite biopic made in the past ten years or so. The last biopic that was riveting to me was Malcolm X and if folks can sleep on that, I don't know if there's hope for this story getting the down deep in the emotional trenches type of flawed character this Barbara Jordan role would have to be for Viola to get any praise. Plus, who's gonna write it?

If Ice Cube allows the N.W.A. story to be penned by some white lady who's probably never seen no parts of Compton, and if Viola thinks that black writers are only writing crack head stories etc, I have a hard time believing that this story would find the type of writer who would be able to dig deep and embody all that Barbara Jordan stood for.

AJ Muhammad

Oh Sergio, and if it were up to you, no art films would get made at all! They would have go through your rigorous vetting process!

AJ Muhammad

"How many black "castor oil" films have we had and have died a misrerable death at the box office?"
You can ask that same questions of "castor oil" films that are about a non-black subject/biopic but yet that doesn't stop the industry from making them.
What if Viola Davis and her husband are not interested in making a movie that's going to generate a boffo box office?
What if Viola Davis and her husband just want to get this story on the screen because this is what she wanted to do for years, just so that at least this project will be in the public discourse?
Let Viola Davis develops the type of projects SHE wants to develop not what you project on her as a "sexually vibrant, alluring person that dark skinned woman rarely, if ever, are shown on screen."
When has hollywood tried to show anyone woman who's Viola's age (even for white woman) as a sexually vibrant person???
Didn't you get the memo that those roles are only reserved for as you said Paula Patton & Gabby Union???

Charles Judson

Three points. What can really make these stories work is when you can use them to examine the present and to examine complex issues. Barbara Jordan being a lesbian, along with others like Bayard Rustin, really calls into question the Black community's overall ambivalence and internal differences on Gay Rights in relation to Civil
Rights. Here's a woman fighting for people to be recognized as full human beings, but she has to pretend her partner doesn't exist. One has to wonder how much of her being an outsider within the Black community may or may not have pushed her. For all we know, she could have been resentful that she could only champion for half herself, or she could have not cared less. Just looking at the number of women in the early days of the Blues who openly flaunted being bisexual or lesbian in their performances and music created a potent legacy of music. An interesting thought is, is there an odd freedom in being an outsider within a community of outsiders? A second double consciousness of sorts. But, since W.E.B. Dubios vs. Booker T. Washington, and before, we've been a people who have never been a monolith, with a complex history of competing ideas and goals. Second point. The more they can humanize Jordan, the better. We've made so many of our ancestors into untouchable myths. Martin was 26 when he was tapped to lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott and while his legacy of being a player is pretty well known in Atlanta circles, what he was even better known for being very down to earth, for being very human. He was a great orator and writer, but even great words can't move men and women to risk life and limb if they can't connect with the person asking them to do so. If our leaders weren't flawed, and brilliant, and insightful, and fallible people prone to making just as many miscalculations as great strategic movies, I doubt there would have ever been a movement. Movements require community and community requires individuals you see as just like you, who you want hang with, you want to know. So many of our pictures are of an old Fredrick Douglass, an old W.E.B. Dubois. But, so many of their most influential, radical and formative moments occur before they're barely in their 20s. That's the Barbara Jordan I'd be interested in. Give me a messy, raw character with greatness trying to get out. Which if you watch a film like MILK, that's what it's partially about. There's nothing stoic about Harvey Milk. Hell, if you want to know why the magical negro in cinema is hard to get rid of, see how people rightly and wrongly put Civil Rights leaders in confined boxes on a pedestal in which they always know how to give a great speech. Third and final point. More of a question. Why do we need more factual stories? Why can't we do more stories inspired by the Barbara Jordans of the world to create new stories with their own complexities and unique questions? Storytelling isn't just recounting, it's a great tool to explore, expound and experiment with ideas.


What's wit' all the Viola Davis hate? She's damned if she plays a maid (and nabs an Oscar nom), and damned if she takes the reins herself and develops (with her black husband) a yet-to-be-made flick about a black icon. Y'all tripping…either see it or don't wtf…it's not as if this'll be the only movie she'll perform in or develop going forward sheesh.


This is all just wasted speculation. Until I see the cameras rolling, nothing is guaranteed. The money for serious black films IS NOT AVAILABLE. No one is waiting to finance a serious black film. No. One. Viola got a lot of press these last 6 months but didn't get the gold. Sorry, but 2nd place doesn't count even in good financial years. I have a friend who has been trying to finance an all black, serious film with all A-list actors, but can't get the financing. Been trying for years. Viola is an excellent actor, but so what? So is Angela Basset. Where is she now? Back on TV, where Viola will probably be soon.


My head hurts. No, would be the answer. I agree with Sergio as well.


I'm salty with Viola for saying that black directors and screenwriters only bring her crack whores and gang stories. For that, she lost a fan. Like the maid thing wasn't enough.


Gotta agree with Sergio. I'm 'meh' about the project too. And that goes for just about all of these potential biopics that Black folks seem to be overdosing over. They're either diluted by the subject's family, or overly fictionalized by Hollywood execs. Either way, they mostly end up being a bunch of unconnected moments in history. If anything, Jordan, Chisolm, Marley, NWA(really?), etc need really detailed, objective documentaries produced about them.


I just hope that Mr. Barclay, Ms. Davis and the powers that be, produce the BEST possible movie they can.


"But how many of you who say that REALLY mean it? That you're really going to go out and support that film if and when it comes out." –> I said I appreciated that Red Tails was made and that I wanted to support it and then I did. And I brought my family too.


I guess this writeup by Sergio is fair only because almost every time news about a biopic of a black male/black men is mentioned we seem to get responses of "who cares" from a certain crowd. Nonetheless I think in all cases, including Sergio's, those responses are short sighted. Any person's life can be made into an entertaining feature as long as the talent behind the scenes craft a great film. It starts with a great script or maybe even a great source for a screenplay. Someone mentioned below who knew about the dude that was the focus of "A Beautiful Mind" before the movie came out. That's a great point. But what made that movie work was that it was based upon a terrific book that was turned into a fantastic script. Next a great director was brought on board and he was given a marvelous cast to work with. Sorry about all the adjectives but the point is the talent that is put together to make a movie is key. And even more important than that is the script (the material) they have to work with.

Ed DuRante

First, I love SHADOW & ACT. You guys ask the questions that really matter. This is show business, not show Negroes We Love and Respect Bio Pic Business. Sure, she deserves a biopic, but no one is going to pay $12 to see it. Barbara Jordan was a genius and an inspiration, but I would not go to that movie and I am the audience. Who went to see "The Great Debaters?"


Gonna have to co-sign with Leon and Floyd. Just depends on what aspects of her life are brought to the screen and how its handled (not just exploiting the same sex angle.) In the right hands it can be powerful, entertaining, and educational. I think it's assuming too much to think her life is so ho-hum nobody could find the interesting tidbits or "hook" to grab audience attention. Just because blacks have all encountered racism does not mean we have all experienced it to the same degree others have. Add to that you're a dark, smart, highly educated, female, grew up in Jim Crow south, opened your own law practice, went into politics – in crazy ass Texas of all places, held your own in a time where many of your own constituents probably wanted you dead, still spoke your mind regardless… you can't tell me there's absolutely nothing interesting about this woman's life. She's achieved more than some of the average blacks in this country (and on this site) during a more restrictive time. But maybe that's another less discussed aspect of what turns some blacks off from her story (or Chisholm's for that matter). Easier to see a movie about maids or hoodlums because – after empathizing with the character – you leave the theater feeling better about yourself and your life. Show a dramatic recreation of someone of color who defied the odds and beat your ass at excelling despite coming from a worse place and maybe you feel a little guilty or less of a person?

that dude

Thank God for Sergio keeping it real…it's a TV movie. Could be a very good TV movie, like RECOUNT or GAME CHANGE…but it's not a theatrical film idea.

But I like the idea a poster suggested of her as Nina Simone. That movie won't make money either, but at least it's a cinematic idea. And better casting than the absurd idea of Mary J Blige in the role.


And this film won't be boring if they include the information about the death threats Ms.Jordan got while being one of those who called for the resignation of Richard Nixon and later led the the movement of the trail that later became WATERGATE! it won't be boring if they include the friends and family who had to enter her home before she was let in due to the real possibly of bomb threats that could have been real on her life. It won't be boring if they include the verbal wars she had against RONALD REAGAN when he went after ANGELA DAVIS and she spoke out against the costly pursuit of her and the wanted dead or alive placed by American authorities against Angela and Ms.Jordan was one of those who demanded and pleaded for her to be innocent until proven guilty much to huge anger of the then 90% Senators, Congress men and others. It won't be boring if they include the information about her calling to an end to what was a huge secret called the American "Check Point Charley" that happened for a short time in Mississippi, in which any Black person driving through that route was subject to hanging or to be shot on site. This is all common knowledge in Texas. But hush hush to most folks cause Ms. Jordan was very out spoken, She was one of those who would not take jack Shi*t!!!!

T. Whiner

Yes Sergio, I love your posts, but you are being obnoxious. If folks can get with movies about dogs (Marley, Lady & the Tramp), inanimate objects (The Toy Story franchise) and Black women in subservient roles to whites (Gone With the Wind, The Help, Pinky….the list is waaay toooo long to complete), then somebody ought to want to see a film about Jordan. The deal is this – YES, I'm calling out all you bougie Delta Sigma Theta girls who BOUGHT out an Atlanta theatre for a screening of The Help. Sickening…! Did you buy out the theatre for The Great Debaters? I dare you, I challenge you inveterate shoppers and supporters of all things white to get behind this and other movies made by Blacks. For the record I'm not an AKA or have any other affiliation, although my family is deeply involved with the Black (sic) Greeks…original Greeks were Black…but, I digress.

I only hope the script is worthy of her. I agree with you Sergio. Davis should, as should have Angela Bassett taken the bull – no pun intended – by the horns and developed her own properties. HollyWEIRD will NOT celebrate dark skinned women as objects of sexual desire, sheroic non victimized characters, who take their destiny into their own hands. So, DSTs, AKAs, Sigma Gamma Rho…and all of y'all…you're BS'ing out here claiming to be black…It's NOT a word. It's a life choice. So support Black artist with your well heeled, well dressed, shopaholic selves. Change the world…yeah, yeah, yeah…I'm up on your little social programs. It's time to up the ante!

And while I'm at it, let me piss off everyone else…my sisters, Paula Patton, Halle…y'all ought to know better. You know why you're the "flavor" of the minute…so show some real courage and stop looking in the mirror….look around you! You all should go out of your way to collectively assure that y/our darker sisters get more than crumbs at the table. Some of you wield real power that you waste, flaunt or ill use.


I agree with you both but here's also something to throw into why it should be made

I am not worried about Paris, he's got an enormous set of skills and history from way back when, and I hope this gets made, as a Texan, I can say it would really be a awesome story, you don't truly know the impact she made in Texas just being who she was, my family was all ways afraid to go certain places in Texas cause the Klan was really strong there, but thanks to Ms. Jordan, she gave us breathing room and all those diners and coffee shops allowed us to at least ask for things as opposed to just asking us to leave at once while fingering the butt of shot gun where it was legal to have one in the open!!!!

Alan Sharpe

Of course not. I'd much rather see another film version of some obscure graphic novel. Or maybe a nice, loud, noisy action film with plenty of explosions and speeding cars and a macho AND masculine and definitely not feminized Black male (Did I say man's man?) lead, or maybe a wonderful inspiring sports film about an underdog team that comes from behind to win the crucial game against all odds thanks to the gruff but noble coach, or two brothers (or best friends) from the hood who grow up to find themselves on opposite sides of the law that must of course climax in a one on one fistfight, or maybe the masculine, macho Brother who was trying to get out of the game and go straight – except that he is pulled back in for one last big score, or maybe an incisive, gun-blazing film about a violent battle for underworld crime turf, or a hard-hitting expose of the struggle to reach the top in the hip-hop game, with a slamming soundtrack, of course? With such tantalizing possibilities, why should anyone even consider making a film about Barbara Jordan. It's bound to be a bore that nobody will want to see. We already know that in advance. What a waste of money and energy!


Don't sleep on Paris! Recently at DGA he described it in a way where all will be addressed. No doubt he will tell a compelling story!


You really are the other me….LOL

Floyd Webb

While you as an individual may not find value in such a film there are others that will. How many times have I sat through sumptuously filmed works on the lives of minor historical characters of like the children of people Freud and Leon Trotsky?

While they count as films that initially made me go WTF, I can honestly say I enjoyed them for what the filmmakers managed to make of their lives.

A good story is all they needed and they found it. If you cannot see it or imagine it, tough. It is the challenge of the filmmaker to create compelling cinema.

The struggles and accomplishments of women, and most especially black women, are too easily diminished by the kind of attitude you exhibit. It fits in oh so smugly with "industry think." It is clear that you revel in your role as chief curmudgeon in charge of film criticism but maybe you err in nay-saying the idea of a project before you know the story. Cinema is about stories, and there are thousands of them that deserve telling. They deserve an opportunity to be told.

I applaud Ms Davis for streatching out to do something she FEELS. She clearly wants to be free to determine her own destiny in film. As William Goldman said, in the film industry nobody knows anything in the film business regarding what makes a success. It all remains a gamble.


@CAREYCAREY- hey it's Tyrone…good commentary.


I had to skim what Sergio wrote and hit the comments. Just to make sure I don't repeat what's already shared. As much as we all trust Ms. Davis to rock any biopic, we have seen the iconic names waddle through development mud since RAY, ALI and WINNIE (is that ever coming out?). Marley, Miles, maybe Whitney; Nina seems to be taking forever. With more wattage now than ever in Hollywood, Viola doing Barbara Jordan would crush the recent Halle's or Taraji's biopics of lesser-known stories.

No one cared about ERIN BROKOVICH before Julia Roberts did it; Russell Crowe did THE INSIDER and A BEAUTIFUL MIND with names that didn't roll off the tongue. It would be a great story that she could stretch into, and that doesn't have the madness of story rights and authenticity issues that the household names do.

Nuff said. For now. I'll get to reading. Vigilance!


Sergio, I did see Red Tails! Having said that, to bring people in theaters to see a Barbara Jordan biopic, there will need to be something very exciting about her life (that goes beyond what we already know) that will draw people in – otherwise it might as well be a documentary. A biopic about MLK hasn't made it to the big screen either, but a film about his alleged dalliances might be a draw for people.


I mean, this might fare excellently as an educational, straight-to-DVD type of thing for a high school civics class—but on the big screen? Meeehhhh….

Vincent Powell

I understand your perspective, but I'd rather see Viola play Barbara Jordan over a maid any day.


Can't really tell if it's must-see. It hasn't been made yet. People interested in politics in general, or who had first-hand knowledge of Barbara Jordan's political relevance might want to watch. I'm interested in the Shirley Chisholm movie as well. And if there's ever a biopic on Angela Davis or Assata Shakur, I'd be interested.


Sergio I must admit before I had you pegged as the Rush Limbuagh/Ebert journalist of black cinema. However I must commend your efforts at getting to the root of what bad biopics fail to do and thats to be truly honest. It would be better for Viola to go that route to ensure critical acclaim status. A multi-layered character of epic proportions brought to screen needs to be told in an honest way and that from a development standpoint needs to be strongly considered. Look at the movie Ray. If the truth was not captured in the way it was written and directed then Jamie(who played his best role to date) would have never been considered for the golden statue. Anything less would have been reduced to an afterschool special straight to dvd or lifetime family night movie treat. But lets not count Viola out until the final product is out to be viewed by the masses. Lets hope that the Oscars nom fame has sparked something inside her to bring about the sensibilities to create a special piece. Maybe Paris B(openly gay director). has the sensitivities of bringing about her alternative lifestyle to screen and making it rich in texture and feeling. That right there if it was Viola's attempt in development an honestly wise choice from the outside looking in. Or maybe Lee Daniels while we are at But anyway lets see. As for Red Tails, there was no love put into red tails, they tried to capitalize off white guilt and black social responsibility instead of working to create a master piece. And it showed. Anyway the jury is out to soon so lets see what happens first.

Ivory Jeff Clinton


I feel you on the castor oil thing. Well, judging from what you said a while back, we disagree about The Great Debaters, which I liked, but it's all good. Lol. Anyway, I'm not trying to see, or encourage the making of, lame movies whether regardless of race, genre or whatever. And I too am tired of the you'd-better-support-this-movie-or-no-"black film"-will-ever-get-made-again blackmailing tactic. So I think you and CareyCarey make excellent points.

But I agree with Ali about it being WAY too early to judge the Barbara Jordan project. I mean, two years ago when I first heard about The King's Speech, I didn't think anyone was trying to see a movie about George VI. But when I saw it several months later, I enjoyed it very much because the premise and plot kept my attention, and the acting was top-notch. And it ended up winning Oscars for best picture, actor, director and original screenplay.

Whether I want to see a film about Jordan will probably depend on the trailer(s) and word of mouth. She was a compelling figure in politics and a brilliant speaker, and I'm intrigued by the possible conflict b/w her personal and private lives you mentioned, so I could be interested if the previews convey that. But if I get "after-school special" from them, I'll pass unless I hear from people whose cinematic opinions I trust that the film's much better than that. We'll see.

Thanks, as always, for sparking a great debate — sorry, I had to. Ha! Keep up the awesome work with Shadow and Act.



First, I generally loathe biopics. Lazy filmmaking. Do. not. want.
Second, the speculation is appreciated but this project is merely concept, no? Why put all past failures (Red Tails most recent) onto the idea of this one? That sounds like the mantra of studio heads. Is this Viola Davis backlash (really continuation of…)? If it wasn't her developing this would the same sentiments be stated? How do you feel about Regina King as Shirley Chisolm prospectively?


Jordan has a very compelling and interesting narrative, if dealt with in the right manner this would be an amazing story.


Gotta agree with CareyCarey on this one — with his compliments to Sergio (and the whole of S&A) for courageously and constantly putting the truth out there, and for laying it out in regards to the "must-see" Barbara Jordan project. CareyCarey, on the day it opens, perhaps we can double-date, comparatively speaking, I'd prefer to take you up on that evening of watching oatmeal dry on the sides of your favorite cereal bowl.


Sergio, as much as I hate admitting it… I LOVE YOU MAN! Seriously, you're a man of my heart because you are definitely not afraid to say what's right. People with your type of courage and insight are in the minority. You nailed the truth about Red Tails and now you're back for a blazing encore. Now, having said all of that, I agree. I mean, it's a fact that Barbara Jordon is a significant figure in American history, that cannot be denied. However, from an aristic standpoint, I see this as being as boring as watching oatmeal dry on the sides of my favorite cereal bowl. Seriously, I just watch J Edgar and even though his story was filled with significant historical facts (much more than Barbara Jordan's) the film I saw was nothing more than a boring history lesson. Come on now, what are they going to give us to make this a must see movie watching experience? You said it "castor oil". Yep, another "MUST SUPPORT IT OR ELSE THEY'LL NEVER MAKE ANOTHER BLACK FILM LIKE THIS AGAIN AND WE'LL BE STUCK WITH TYLER PERRY MOVIES FOREVER yadda yadda yadda. But the truth is (as you said) folks will "talk" about, while they sit on their hands and keep their money in their pockets. Let's face it, Barbara was not the most dynamic speaker, nor was her life filled with juicy morsels of controversy and intrigue. Oh wait, she was an "alledged" lesbian, so that should fire-up the Gay crowd and/or the mis-used and less understood term "homophobia crowd". I am not going there today :-). But listen, I've said this before… I '€™ve come to believe that a journey shared with another, is more deeply moving an experience than a journey taken alone. Consequently, although I, like everyone who has been caught in the pounce of life’s struggles; that which makes us question our existence, have managed to maintain my love of watching movies with another person, as a form of escape and excitement. Not only do I escape, movie watching affords me the opportunity to visit EMOTIONS, SIGHTS and SOUNDS (much like reading books) that I may not have otherwise experienced. So, in short, I just cannot see this (in a movie format) giving me a lasting experience, new insight into history, or any new emotional ride. There is simply not much, not enough to work with. "But CareyCarey, at least Barbara Jordan is an interesting figure (and not a damn sports star or tragic singer) in our history who has never gotten the credit she deserves". Yeah… Riiiiight. This film will surely plug those gaps. SNOooooooor….. Booooooring… Tiresome… Huuuuuumdrum!


Viola would be great as Nina Simone. Nina's story would have it all. She was a Civil Rights activist, a women's activist, ground breaking musician, the story would have drama, great songs, soulful performances at the piano, fiery and sultry I could go on and on. I hope they can acquire the rights to this icon also. I'm sure she'd do Barbara Jordan justice. But its Nina that might give her more range.


But Does Anyone REALLY Want To See A Movie About Barbara Jordan? Nope.


It's kind of early to have any opinion on the film one way or the other. Who knows how it will be? It could very well end up being about story at specific time in her life(which the best biographies do) and it could be highly entertaining. It's only a "castor oil" film if the film is just a rundown preachy flick about how important she is. And I can't say with certainty that that's what it will be. Now films like this have a tendency to just be "it's important…go see it because black people NEED to" but it's too early to form any kind of opinion. I WILL support it when it's made if it seems like a good movie. You seem to throw the "castor oil" label on ANY film that deals with history of black people. And just because Viola Davis is portraying a woman of a certain dignity and power doesn't mean she will be defined completely by that in the film. She's developing other projects anyway. We'll see.


Well, I want to see it, especially if they detail Jordan's same-sex relationship and identity struggles. I'll be very interested in seeing Viola Davis portray a lesbian – I don't think it'll be the same old type of role for Davis. Yes, I'm sick of biopics, but at least Barbara Jordan is an interesting figure (and not a damn sports star or tragic singer) in our history who has never gotten the credit she deserves. I'll pay to see it for sure.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *