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‘Lucy’ and the Absence of the Black Race in Origin of Humanity Theories

'Lucy' and the Absence of the Black Race in Origin of Humanity Theories

A recent screening of the science-fiction action film, LUCY (2014) by French filmmaker Luc Besson has brought to mind a troubling question:

Why do so many White filmmakers avoid the subject of race in science-fiction films that explore the creation of the world, humanity and/or the universe?

Now the easy answer to what would appear to be the easiest question in the world might not be the best answer, but instead just the expression of a derogatory sentiment some people of color hold against Whites in general.  For example, one could say that these White filmmakers avoid race in science-fiction films that feature an origin of man theory because they are racists themselves and therefore the resultant films only concentrate on Whites as the original race in these films.  Or one could say that Whites prefer to use their own race as the normal screen though which human ontology (a fancy world for existence) should be measured.  And still one could also say that many of the scientific theories regarding race are outdated pseudo-science and that these filmmakers decided to avoid the issue of race altogether and just use the White race as a default racial norm in their films that contain theories about the creation of the human race.  And finally one could say that the issue of race is avoided out of deference to profit because the only race that Hollywood respects is the race to the bank.

If Whites are the largest global movie going audience and issues of race make that particular audience nervous and/or makes them stay away from the theatre, then the avoidance of race in science-fiction films that have an origin of man theory within the story is but a simple strategy to protect and insure the profits of any particularly expensive science-fiction film.

Yet, I don’t believe that any of these possible “answers” actually gets to the heart of the matter.  A Science-fiction film that explores the origins of the human race as a central theme or tangential theme to the origin of the world and/or creation of the universe but avoids the issue of race only weakens the dramatic argument within the film. Or worse, the theories within the film are just patently unconvincing particularly if there are people of color or other races in the supporting cast of the film whose origin the theories within the film cannot and will not explain.  

But I should back up here and talk about the film LUCY which inspired my contemplation of this racial conundrum in science-fiction film so please be advised of spoilers along the way if you haven’t seen the film yet.      

Luc Besson’s new film tells the story of a woman named Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) who is tricked into being a drug courier by her boyfriend and in turn is forced to become a drug mule when a vicious Asian drug lord has a bag of a powerful new synthetic drug sewn into her abdomen.  Unfortunately, due to the rough treatment she receives at the hands of her captors the bag bursts and the mysterious new drug enters into her bloodstream causing her to have continuously increasing access to the untapped mental powers of the human brain.  

The central theme of the film is that if humans had access to more than the 10% of the mental capacity that they now use, we would be able to control our body’s involuntary functions, then other people’s bodies, matter and eventually even the flow of time.  Along the way this action packed “mind blowing” concept film hits a few rough spots as it avoids the issue of race in ways that spark one’s curiosity as well as confound.  For instance, Lucy is able to change her physical appearance by the power of her own mind.  She changes her hair color from blond to brunette to avoid detection from the cops- but the film stops short at having her change her racial identity which as implied by the story and her other powers in human cell manipulation, language acquisition and knowledge she would have had the power to do.          

This, to me, is a curious willingness to shortchange an idea on the part of the filmmaker Luc Besson who wrote, directed and edited the film after 10 years of research and development.  The ability of Lucy to race shift would have elevated the concept of the film’s central theme of the untapped power of humanity to a broader cross-cultural model that would demonstrate that human intelligence and power is shared among different races, classes and genders, but is often hidden from our view because of our own preconceived perceptions, otherwise known as prejudices.  

Another rough patch in the mind blowing concept of the film is that Lucy the character is also visually linked with Lucy the female hominid (human ancestor) that lived 3.2 million years ago on earth.  The fossilized Lucy was discovered in Africa in the country of Ethiopia in 1974.  In the climactic scene were the White female Lucy extends her hand to touch the finger of the living Lucy hominid – in a shot that recalls Michelangelo’s ‘Creation of Adam’ detail from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel- such a moment holds in abeyance the question of racial ontology even as it highlights the differences in skin complexion between the lily-white actor Scarlett Johansson as Lucy and the heavily made up, digitized and dark complexion of the Lucy hominid.  Moreover, the film travels back in time showing the creation of the earth, the moon, galaxies and all the way back to the big bang- but the film never manages to hint at the genesis of racial distinctions and stratification among the human species.

And yet as if to tease a curious Black spectator such as myself, during the finale of the film, Lucy the White female does literally turn black as she absorbs all of the knowledge of the universe.  As her body gradually disarticulates her skin color changes to black gradually from her toe to her head, but Besson avoids emphasizing the racial nature of this change by shooting the transfiguration in isolated close-up shots.  We see a part of her leg, a part of her arm, a cheek and an eye socket, but not the entire wondrous change from White to Black as the knowledge of the universe is absorbed as Lucy accesses 100% of her brain’s mental capacity.

And so there you have it; the science-fiction action film LUCY avoids the question of race as it explores the creation of the universe, the world and Man as a species within it all.

Not such a big deal if we think of the film as an isolated artistic creation, but LUCY is only one of three recent films by established White auteurs whose central scientific theme is the creation Man, his world and the universe that avoids race, even as the films themselves contain a diverse racial cast.  The other two recent films are Ridley Scott’s PROMETHEUS (2012) and Brian DePalma’s MISSION TO MARS (2000).  Within each of these films the filmmakers posit an extra-terrestrial human origin theory, but avoid the issue of race which in turn weakens the dramatic argument within the film because the answers being given do not support the racial diversity in the casting- and in the human world at large.  These films give their “origin of humanity” theories through a White racial screen which is untenable in a world as ethnically complex and racially diverse as our own.  

Why must every story about the origin of intelligent life on Earth always insult our intelligence by not acknowledging or addressing issues of race?

Recall that the human origin story in PROMETHEUS which was given to us in the prologue that proceeds the main story is that a race of intelligent beings seeded Earth many thousands of years ago; that this original race of beings was almost twice the size of a human man, hairless and virtually colorless raises more questions concerning race than the prologue itself could ever hope to answer.  Concerning the original human “engineers” in PROMETHEUS the pronounced musculature of their bodies and facial characteristics accentuates the White racial and aesthetic characteristics of a Greco-roman sculpture.

There is no question that the human origin story within PROMETHEUS excludes people of color for the sake of a fictional people without color.

By contrast, Brian DePalma’s MISSION TO MARS makes phenomenal leaps in the representation of a Black male in science-fiction by placing Don Cheadle in the major role of a Ph.D. holding scientist in command of the first manned expedition to Mars.  “For the film’s optimistic dramatization of a color-blind meritocracy in the future we have to be sure that MISSION TO MARS is the most humane science-fiction film to come out in years.” (50, Slave Cinema)  Yet even with the great leap in Black representation in this science-fiction film MISSION TO MARS, there is an equally high price to be paid as the origin of humanity theory put forth in this film conspicuously avoids the issue of racial origins and distinctions.

During the dvd chapter of the film called,” The Truth Revealed,” Mars is struck by an asteroid and the inhabitants flee to other worlds but one ship of Martians go to seed Earth which results in an explosion of life on earth millions of years ago.  Yet the Martian figure seen in this origin story exudes no racial characteristics and the story provides no further suggestion or evidence concerning the racial diversity inherent within humanity that might pertain to those beings who seeded earth.  It is an avoidance of race made even more shocking by the inclusion of Don Cheadle as Luke Graham as one Black among two Whites during this revelation sequence.  Even though the three films in question contain racially inclusive casts, the origin stories concerning humanity efface the diversity on screen by using the White race as the default norm through which other races should see themselves.

So the new film LUCY continues the tradition of science-fiction films made by White and well established auteurs that explore the origin of humanity by positing alternative creation theories based on contemporary science that intentionally avoid the issue of the racial diversity within humanity.

Now we might consider the avoidance of race in the origin of humanity theories put forth in these science-fiction films as an extended form of structured absence.  The concept of structured absence is itself an attempt to at avoiding race by having the White race represented by the dominant characters in a film, while omitting other races or relegating those non-White races to inconsequential supporting roles, if any.  But as I have asserted elsewhere, structured absence is a double edged sword in that the absence of people of color in a science-fiction film like Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) may have actually been a deliberate artistic strategy so that Kubrick’s critique against the ideals of White supremacy could be delivered directly “under the noses” of its intended target: those Whites who feel morally and intellectually superior to other races.(1)  Just as the Hal 9000 computer admonishes us,” humans are not perfect.”

This conundrum of the avoidance of race has even cropped up in recent Bible-based films like SON OF GOD (2014), Darren Aronofsky’s NOAH (2014) and in the upcoming Ridley Scott film EXODUS: Gods and Kings scheduled for release later this year.  In two recent articles by Sergio here at Shadow & Act on Noah and Exodus the White screenwriters while acknowledging the challenges of racial representation in contemporary Biblical cinematic representations, the resulting films do nothing to rectify the avoidance of race –particularly the Black race- in their images of historical and/or biblical figures presented through White actors.

The screenwriter of Noah, Ari Handel, even went so far as to say that the story in Noah functions,” at the level of myth, and as a mythical story the race of the individuals doesn’t matter.”(2) Yet, obviously, if what he says were true then Whites would not have to be the default race used in the representation of any religious story.  

It could be concluded that representation of a mythic, religious or historical past through a White racial screen as an accepted norm by White screenwriters and filmmakers is but a passive form of White supremacy upheld in cinematic narration not just for the sake of profit but for the continuation of lies against humanity that ultimately sustain more racial divisions than they efface.     

Returning to the original question: Why do so many White filmmakers avoid the subject of race in science-fiction films that explore the creation of the world, humanity and/or the universe?

A better and more provocative short answer could be that these White filmmakers aren’t avoiding the subject of race, but instead they are unconsciously trying to retain the supremacy of Whiteness by attaching the White race to an alien super-sophisticated culture.  That is to say, in the face of continuing and overwhelming evidence of other indigenous civilizations of people of color around the globe that were actually far advanced technologically, morally, and artistically than Whites were for thousands of years- the only hope of re-establishing White supremacy in an origin of humanity theory is to have intelligent aliens seed earth and create Whites who become the measure of intelligence to which all other races must submit.  The Nubian, Mayan, Incan, Aboriginal, Amerindian and other known and as yet unknown civilizations that were once thought of as primitive by European Whites are now through less prejudicial anthropological research and evidence proving to have been far superior to the European civilizations at the same point in time and in some cases even today.

We must keep in mind that the Americas were not conquered by the brute force and superior intelligence of European Whites, but instead by the fatal effects of the communicable diseases Whites unwittingly brought with them on their person.  As James W. Loewen asserts,” The Europeans’ advantages in military and social technology might have enabled them to dominate the Americas, as they eventually dominated China, India, Indonesia, and Africa, but not to “settle” the hemisphere.  For that, the plague was required.  Thus, apart from the European (and African) invasion itself, the pestilence is surely the most important event in the history of America.”(3)

I’m suggesting that by attaching the origin of “White” people to an alien super-sophisticated culture, White filmmakers can retain a semblance of racial superiority within the origin of Man theories which omit people of color that we have been seeing in recent science-fiction films such as MISSION TO MARS, PROMETHEUS and LUCY.

LUCY, while it is an action science-fiction narrative that empowers a White female character it does so at the expense of reducing the credibility and the agency of the educated Black male character of Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) who spends much of the second half of the film with his mouth half open in awe.  In fact after establishing Professor Norman as the leading researcher in Brain Neuro-science, Lucy first comes to him for assistance, but quickly surpasses him in thought, action and agency as the film progresses.  Moreover, it is Lucy who has the power to stop, speed up and reverse time back to the origins of the universe and provide information regarding the destiny of man.  Even though she hands this information to Professor Norman in the form of the ultimate universal USB device, the credit is still hers to claim.  The ubiquity of her power is expressed in a line that she sends as a text to a police detective after she has left her physical body: “I am everywhere.”

Thus, God is a she and she is God.  That “she” just happens to be White could possibly disturb only a minority of viewers…

Perhaps the only remedy for this omission of the Black race from the origin of Man theories within current science-fiction films is for a Black filmmaker to posit an alternative origin of Man theory in a Black science-fiction film.  Now, no one is asking for a demonstration of the Melanin Theory or even a theory of Black racial superiority, but instead perhaps an alternative interpretation of the “White” origin of Man theory.

If as Charles S. Finch asserts,”…Africa is the only continent where there is evidence, in unbroken chronological sequence, of all the stages in the development of man,” then perhaps Whites were the refuse, the unwanted of an alien super-sophisticated culture. (4)  Like the penal colonies established in Australia by the British Empire, could it be that Whites were seeded upon Earth as a punishment for their transgressions within an alien super-sophisticated culture?  A tantalizing yet no less speculative version of an origin of Man theory than what we are seeing today that could account for the spread of capitalism, the destruction of indigenous cultures by communicable diseases and the moral corruption and human trafficking that resulted in the contact between Europe and the New World.

Alternatively, it could be that like the best ideas, Man originated from several diverse sources simultaneously on the Pangaean super continent and thus racial differences did not become apparent until distinct cultures and prejudices were established.

One great film by a White filmmaker that does challenge race avoidance in a science-fiction film and indirectly posits an alternative origin of man theory is John Sayles independent film THE BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET (1984). “John Sayles’ THE BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET suggests a grand thematic metaphor of African-American alienation from the American dream by presenting an African-American underclass as literal aliens toiling away at menial jobs or homeless while hiding their true identity from normal [White] society.” (45, Slave Cinema)

The point here upon which we shall conclude is that we must cultivate the daring Black filmmakers who are willing to put forth an alternative origin of Man theory. Whether that filmmaker uses structured absence to only concentrate on the origin of people of color or decides to be inclusive and show the races in union during the origin of Man, the door can be opened to develop and deploy origin of Man theories that do not have to avoid race and/or only use the White race as the default norm through which all other races must be obscured.      

NOTES

1) See the article Black Film Theory: Fighting the Illusions of White Supremacy in Cinematic Narration Part 3.  http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/black-film-theory-part-3-subversion-liberation-from-the-illusions-of-white-supremacy-in-cinematic-narration

2) http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/co-screenwriter-of-noah-explains-why-there-are-no-black-people-or-poc-in-the-film

3)Pg. 83 of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen, Simon & Schuster, New York: 1995.

4) Page 289, “Race and Evolution in Prehistory,” by Charles S. Finch in African Presence in Early Europe edited by Ivan Van Sertima, Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick: 1985.

Andre Seewood is the author of "SLAVE CINEMA: The Crisis of the African-American in Film." Pick up a copy of the book via Amazon.com here.

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Comments

Khemetian Namekh

Gnuga you know the truth so don’t expect white people to tell it to you cuz if they did, it would be f’gked up!

Art

Sorry – she doth protest (explain) too much.

Art

He doth protest to much methinks

Howard Lemons

The Black Goo is BLACK MATTER ( MELANIN) THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE COMES FROM IT … ITS THE LIFE GIVER …

Andre Seewood

@Tracey, While I applaud the passion and intensity of your response to this article I also think that your response evades the most important question that this article raises and that is Why is it so easy for White filmmakers to avoid the issue of race in origin of humanity theories that are presented in recent science-fiction film? You asserted at one point that: "As far as Hollywood goes, my opinion on why they avoid race in a lot of different movies/scenarios is probably because they are scared of causing a huge uproar among the movies audience and/or accidentally severely offending a race(s), so it’s easier to avoid the topic all together. Or even more likely, I’d think the creator of this movie (like myself) didn’t think the race of any particular actor/actress in this movie even mattered & simply cast Lucy’s role by someone who auditioned well. It could be as simple as that." But this response cleverly reveals the issue at the heart of the matter, that is easier to avoid the issue of race altogether if the origin of humanity is seen through the lens of whiteness as embodied by the lead character. But easier for whom? The filmmakers? The spectators? But is it easier for the non-White spectators to accept these origin of humanity stories where they are Under-represented, if at all?

Tracey

One last thing before I get cussed out & told to shut up (lmao, if I haven’t already!).

Somebody said something about white people not wanting to watch movies with all or primarily all black actors/actresses.

Um – really? Do you really believe that? Or is that just you & the people where you live?

Because I’m sorry, no offense, but that’s ridiculous. Even my friends who only come to my neighborhood/go places with me in my neighborhood because of me & otherwise would avoid the area at all costs don’t agree with that & want to watch GOOD movies. Whether the actors are white, black, hispanic, iranian, etc. doesn’t matter; a good movie is a good movie & if the actor/actress is good then really … who cares what the primary race is??

So many people of all races were mad because the recent orphan Annie actress was black & said because Annie is based on a true story, the actress cast should have been white.

Omg people, know the history before you start criticizing people (or even better, don’t criticize at all!!). Annie is VERY LOOSELY based on PARTS of a true story. Not only that, the movie is great no matter what race is cast for the little girl!! Omg has our world become so mean that it insults an innocent little girl/actress who is not just adorable, she was amazing in the movie. One of my very best childhood friends is black & she loves the movie American History X. So what does that mean? It means she can look beyond the racism & KKK ignorance & see the true meaning of the movie; forgiveness & that even ignorant people have the ability to change & become a better person if they choose to.

That’d be like me getting mad about movies that cast a black Santa or a black Jesus, etc. Why in the world would I get mad??

Santa isn’t real – he can be any color, anywhere, anytime. If Santa at the mall is black do you think I wouldn’t still get my child’s photo taken with him?? C’mon … it’s Santa!! Who cares!! He’s nice & jolly & brings gifts; what kind of person doesn’t love a fake person like that??

And Jesus … some people say he’s white, some people say he’s black, some people say he doesn’t even exist. I could read different "proofs" all day long about his race and/or different people could tell me why he’s black or why he’s white but the truth is, for me, I don’t believe anyone because I’ve never seen him! And technically, no living person ever has either! I know there are many stories about people, especially kids, who claim to have seen Jesus & maybe they’re true & yes most are very convincing. I myself though, could not & would not argue Jesus’ race either way because I simply don’t know. In addition to that, even though I have read the entire Bible, it seems like every single person interprets it differently & two different interpretations can both make complete sense! So it makes it hard for me to believe that he’s one race & not another.

I’m white – when I go to heaven (I pray that I do!!) if I meet Jesus & he’s black will that make me love him any less? Will that make me not want to stay in heaven? Of course not!!

I wish Jesus could just be loved & embraced no matter what race plays him. That’s part of what faith is all about, right??

Ok I’m done ranting lol Sorry, I know I talk a lot & I promise I’m working on it lol

Tracey

I commented before reading any other comments; after reading about half of them, I’d like to add to my comment.

Another commenter stated that black people couldn’t even have a discussion about white people on a black website because white people interfere in the discussion … Sorry to that commenter, I didn’t realize that there were "white" websites & "black" websites. Maybe the author should require registration & then proof that the person registering is black, then white people couldn’t interfere & you wouldn’t have that annoyance. Websites should provide a disclaimer stating whether or not it’s a "white" website or a "black" website; then there would be no confusion. Now think about how ridiculous what I just said probably sounds to you … Now think about how ridiculous what you said sounds to me.

I know nothing about the author or this website but I assume the author is intelligent & after raising questions other people may not have thought of, enjoys reading the diverse range of opinions among people. Doesn’t mean he agrees with them but it seems as though a lot of people, especially writers, enjoy this, otherwise they would probably disable the option to comment. Whether or not that’s true, I think like that as well & enjoy hearing other peoples opinions, no matter how outrageous they might seem to me. Hearing other peoples opinions allows the people who have open minds to see other peoples points of view & even has the capability to change another persons opinion to agree with theirs. Just because I don’t agree with someone doesn’t mean I’m not interested in hearing what they have to say. It’s the people whose minds are totally closed that don’t benefit from controversial & interesting topics such as the one the author wrote about.

Another commenter compared cancer to white people saying race is brought up too much (or something like that). I do see your point in the comparison you made & I agree to an extent. I’d like to add though that in certain circumstances I am also guilty of saying "too much emphasis is put on race" but that’s not because I don’t want other races to be recognized as awesome or because I want other races to forget about the horrible things that were done to their ancestors by other races. I’ve only said that because while I do agree that some things do involve race & it should be mentioned, I also agree that not everything is about race. Some people in our world today will never see beyond race though & that really does hurt all humans of all races because it prohibits our world from at least becoming a little more peaceful & a few less people suffering & dying. We should want to evolve even further, not go back in time. If you had ancestors that were slaves to white people, do you think I think you should forget about it? Hell no I don’t & no one ever forgets that. My only wish is that for the people in our world who use that to hate all white people, I wish those people could try to realize that white people today aren’t responsible for the horrible things their ancestors did & none of us chose our race. I don’t blame them for hating those white ancestors but it sucks to be hated because I’m white & usually only white people are mentioned in slavery topics & I had nothing to do with slavery. You may have white people that only hate you because you’re black. You don’t have to care (and you shouldn’t!) but it still sucks.

Another poster said something about "if you’ve never lived in the ghetto" & what I’m about to say may indicate that I totally misunderstood their comment & I apologize if I did. I do live in what people consider the ghetto. I grew up in the ghetto. I still live here. I’ve met so many people who think I’m trash who don’t even know me but base their opinions on me because of where I live. It’s horrible to say, but those people think "ghettos" are filled with any race other white & the people are nothing but lazy, low life criminals who will never amount to anything.

Hopefully everyone who commented on this article knows that isn’t true & if you don’t, then do some homework on it. I live in what’s been classified as one of the top 3 worst cities in America & in one of the worst neighborhoods. My city & neighborhood has people living here of almost every race. The public school system is horrible but not because of the kids or any particular race; when I was in school I had more teachers of races (that didn’t include white) that were better teachers, smarter & cared more about the students. Most of the white teachers should have never been hired & I have no idea how they were.

I’m white – do any white people reading this think I’m saying these things just to defend other races? Do you think I hate my own race? Oh I know, you probably dislike me because you think I date outside of my race but I shouldn’t, right? LMAO – All misconceptions. I simply give credit where credits due. I married a white man not because he’s white but because that’s who I fell in love with.

When you grow up & live in the ghetto it’s seems people either hate other races or embrace them. I embrace them.

Because of where I live, my child will have a diverse knowledge of history that includes all races. My child won’t be scared to walk to places & will know how to defend herself if needed. She will have friends of all colors & embrace any differences. She will know different cultures, foods & traditions. Living in the ghetto isn’t all bad. I say ghetto because that’s what other people see; for me & almost my entire family, it’s simply home.

Do I hope the neighborhoods will one day get better & less people will die and/or get hurt, robbed, carjacked, etc.? Of course I do. But even if it doesn’t, it’s still my home. I can live here & be educated, have a good job, nice things, etc.

No one has to be a product of their environment & where a person lives doesn’t determine their level of intelligence.

I actually have grown to enjoy the horrified look on peoples faces when I tell them where I live (it’s pretty funny) & if & when I hear them talking shit about me, I’m not scared to put them in their place. The even funnier part? It shuts them up & all of a sudden they wanna be your BFF.

You see, residents of the ghetto can be as professional as they want or as ghetto as they want; it’s the people they interact with that choose which side they’re gonna see … choose carefully 8P

Tracey

I found this article while doing random research on DNA & this article was not what I expected when I decided to read it! You bring up some interesting questions & you obviously "absorbed" the movie Lucy on a much more personal level than I did; not once did a question or even thought about race enter my mind while watching this movie. Some people might say thats because I’m white & believe that the white race is the smarter, superior race over all others; I don’t think any of those things & I never have. A race question or thought never entered my mind because I don’t think in terms of "race". Lucy could have been played by a black female or male & I would have never thought twice about it & I would have enjoyed the movie just as much. As far as Hollywood goes, my opinion on why they avoid race in a lot of different movies/scenarios is probably because they are scared of causing a huge uproar among the movies audience and/or accidentally severely offending a race(s), so it’s easier to avoid the topic all together. Or even more likely, I’d think the creator of this movie (like myself) didn’t think the race of any particular actor/actress in this movie even mattered & simply cast Lucy’s role by someone who auditioned well. It could be as simple as that. On some level I can understand that every race in existence probably wants to be recognized in ways that show the race having every good trait available but at the same time, I think sometimes too much emphasis is put on race. So many people want the world to have peace instead of war, yet some of those same people totally hate other races for no logical reason. Racism will probably always exist but people need to realize that all races are smart, intelligent, have discovered amazing things, contain extraordinary people, etc. Whites aren’t superior to blacks nor are they superior to any other race (in my opinion). I think until everyone can recognize that ancestors from every race did bad things to other races & that’s what makes them bad people (not us) & until we can forgive those other ancestors (and I’m sure some people who currently exist too) then all races will never be able to truly unite with each other. I hate any of my ancestors who mistreated any other race (granted I don’t know if any of them did but there are probably at least a couple that did. The world was a lot different 100-200 years ago) but that’s what makes them bad people, not me & no one has to follow in anyone’s footsteps if they don’t want to. I’m sorry I kinda got off topic but sometimes people need to know that not everyone in a particular race thinks their race is the superior one & just because the white guy down the street thinks that, doesn’t mean all white people do. I hope one day all races can truly get along & while there may never be world peace, maybe we can one day achieve a more peaceful world.

joe

You are so far up your own ass you have to make connections that don’t exist.

Emir

Like white man could run so fast in the Battle of Marathon.I disagree.We see in the sports who was an exceptional warrior.The Black Man.Whites are short existing,dying specie that shouldn’t exist at all.Freaks of the nature.I am white too,and I said and acknowledged this truth,what you gonna do now.Good thought in this article. Thanks

Emir

Then why are all historic,and sci-fi movies are all about whites?Let’s see the movie Clash of the titans;you have tezeus fighting against that other warrior who wanted to wake up the titans,and in the backgrounds,there are fresques depicting Black Warriors fighting.SO RIDICULOUS.It’s obvious,that there is something wrong about it.Maybe,those actors with Mickey Rourke are inserted intensionally in the movie and all those white armies.Do you recall the book of god,TV series depicting Jesus and all other characters as whites.F veiled white supremacy through movies.

TP

…. and, of course, lets not forget that if the films were to characterize a generalisation of the human race as a whole then the lead characters would actually be of East Asian appearance, as they make up by far the largest ethnic group on the planet…. so forget black and white, they should be yellow skinned. Just saying :)

Andre Seewood

@Notoneforbullshit, No where did I propose, esstentially, that every form of storytelling from every part of the world should make a conscious effort to include Black characters and consider the narrative from a "black" perspective. That is your own reductive reasoning. If you cannot comprehend the issues addressed within this article then you shouldn’t try to twist it to mean something other than what it was expressing and examining. Yes, all men are created equal, but all men are not equally represented in origin of man theories as they have been put forth in recent science-fiction films.

NotOneForBullshit

So what you’re essentially proposing is that every form of storytelling (movie, tv show, book, play, novel, etc.) from every part of the world (N. and S. America, Europe, Asia, Middle East, Africa) should make a conscious effort to include black characters and consider the narrative from a "black" perspective? All men are created equal. What you are saying is that they are not.

(If you believe that all men are created equal, then you should really be looking at this film through the lens that shows you that your fellow men/women are the ones creating this story. Not "white" men/women.)

It’s people like you that fuel hate and perpetuate racism. You’re a black supremacist and need to get over yourself.

IAmBlackFYI

Native Americans were depicted in the movie LUCY. I think the writing was poor enough to "dumb down" the ideas for the audience as if they were all in 6th grade. Its more marketable if race and religion are withheld. Transhumanist appreciate the attempt on this movie for their cause. That’s more of the outlook than actual factual information. You know that a human uses more than 10% of their brain already so understand its purely science fiction.

Nihilistview

i agree, Prometheus would have made much more sense if the engineers were black lol

Jamaledin

full disclosure: I’m black and a lover of sci-fi. And this pretty much sums up my take of Prometheus. I avoided watching Exodus precisely because of the themes you’re referred to in this op-ed (Lucy was a no go because I view SJ as a subpar actress).
Back to the point, I found when watching Prometheus that there were just too many contradictions that did not track my general understanding of human evolution; not least was the physical representation of the "Engineers": an immaculately translucent white-looking race that seeded Earth. This sounds vaguely familiar to some of the Nordic Ufology on the net. Needless to say, these thorns made it difficult for me to suspend my faculties and fully enjoy the movie. After watching the movie I would often daydream of an African looking super race in direct competition and altercation with the "Engineers" agenda of messing with creation. I often play in my head this imagined alternative story line to fill a void that Prometheus leaves whenever I watch it.
While we live in a society claiming to be politically representative, some of its artistic expression isn’t representative of its inherent diversity. This would be okay if we lived in a truly free market economy (free in the sense of having a multiplicity and variability of representation of artistic expression). The fact is there is no true free market in the west so long as things like structural absence (i.e. a deliberate act of discrimination) exists.
I disagree with the author on one point, though my critique does not discount his recommendation to black directors. We neither have the population size, social empowerment, nor economic structural foundation in place for it not to matter that most of the Origins themed movies by white directors reinforce Euro-supremacy. In other words, the argument that ‘we should just get black directors to craft complementary Origins stories’ is one that will take a long time to happen to sufficient levels of trial and error that produce a worthy blockbuster masterpiece. Moreover, there’s just too much systematic resistance for creativity from any source; limited resource dictate that most production be directed towards a few great blockbusters; a majority of pathetic onees from vanilla sources; and a very few for the prowess of scarce community of non-white directors. So for the author’s suggestion to matter, available black directors have to work very hard at getting it right with the few opportunities that are afforded.

Daniel Gonzalez

This article shows the level of entitlement present among blacks today. It isn’t enough that their forefathers achieved equality for them, now they demand that black persons – a mere 15% of the population – be given prominent roles and be payed homage in every sphere of our society. Any criticism of blackness is decried as racist, while criticism of whiteness has gone mainstream. Complaining that movies made by whites for a mostly white audience have a lack of black characters is ridiculous. Almost self-satirical. If you don’t like it, 10-20% of the movies produced have almost all-black casts. You can watch those movies. It’s this same attitude of black supremacy that lead black communities to erupt in violence when a criminal is shot by police. Maybe what blacks need is a little self-reflection, because all I see is an absurd mirror image of white supremacy, only you don’t have much to stand on in that regard.

LMAO

This movie was not about race at all. It’s exposé is an analysis of our failed attempts to find purpose as HUMAN BEINGS in a world we don’t understand. Further, it begs the question: Do we really exist? As is shown in the scene where Lucy explains how the speed of time itself (if accelerated or decelerated) determines our existence. Your article is clean and simple race-baiting. It is a desperate picking apart of a wonderfully themed film (if a bit overblown in the CGI department) in order to find a way to take offense.

ah

If the origin of life essentially comes from Africa (i.e. Lucy) then isn’t the author’s point moot? Scarlett has some black in her at that point. Whatever…make it about race. Who cares? Maybe Halle Berry cost to much to hire.

princecholo

I’m afraid Mr Seewood reveals the focus and limits of most commercial film making; to entertain, financial success. Still like Fishburn’s heroic role in The Matrix. Fortunately science films on the origins of modern humans our focused on evidence based story telling. Spencer Wells Human shows us the superb genetics science story of our common African genetic roots and our spectacular human journeys out of Africa to the rest of the planet. Wells’ films, The Human Family Tree and The Journey of Man reveals that our so called racial differences are mere superficial specks when compared to the marvelous richness all humans have in common.

Andre Seewood

@M, FYI this article was meant to irritate particularly those people would have no choice but to dismiss it as overly defensive and paranoid because it challenges the facile myths upon which many origin of man theories are based. Also, FYI, the point of mentioning Inca and Mayan civilizations was to demonstrate that many Advanced cultures and people existed before their "discovery" by Europeans. Your patronizing tone was duly noted.

M

This is an ego thing. History was unfair, but hey life isn’t meant to be fair.I agree that black people and other ethnicities are underrepresented but this article is surely not going to help. It will merely irritate and be dismissed as an overly defensive, paranoid article based on facile facts. I understand the gist of it but it is naive and not well documented. Also, FYI, Inca and Mayan count as Amerindian. Just saying. Nice effort.

Unretarded

I feel this point of view is flawed in the very concept as it is well known that geographical regions bring about the changes in people as we are all people.

Just as these same things are the reasons insects, animals and people that are the same, such as flies from different regions look and form differently,just as frogs of the world look and are formed differently….so are people.

Just as dogs from different regions of the world are different, so are people………as a species evolves in a different enviroments it will develop features and traits specific to that region over time.

Maybe I am confused and completely wrong in my concept of this or the concept that this was common knowledge.

Discussion on a subject is great and I applaud the author of this article for sharing his view as it leads us all to a better understanding of humanity and ourselves…….thanks

Johnny Ping

why would an incredibly popular STAR of the movie….change into a black woman. This wasn’t a documentary on the theories of the likely situations…..how incredibly poor of a decision would it be to change the character just to satisfy your need to inject a view of sociopolitical racial nature? Of course, I’m small minded and racist for having a voice right? Incredible how it’s the "open minded," that are the first to judge……how full circle and non progressive things have become!

Andre Seewood

@JJ, But see the real world doesn’t actually work the way in which you suggest. To just stop talking about races does not erase racial disparities, inequities and injustices. To stop talking about race is only a means through which people who don’t want to address issues of race can avoid issues of race.

JJ

listen, stop talking about races. Yes, we know that there are racists out there but they’re unreasonable, primitive bastards who have no way of defining themselves other than the color of their skin. like Morgan himself said, we just need to stop with labeling ourselves as a certain race. It’s stupid. We’re all human beings.

RB

I think the race facter takes a step down from Humanity. No matter what race we are, were human. Theorys in the movie were about how we measure life in scales and numbers to understand how things work. Also if you do the research plenty of writers have proven the movie was wrong on a lot of stuff it did say…or maybe they did it purposely to open up for debate. If you are wondering i am Latino so race not being mentioned was fine with me.

Brandon

This article is purely ridiculous, firstly ScarJo was the main character, racial change would have been tedious and tbh impractical since she did not need to alter her physical appearance any further than the hair change to remain incognito. Secondly I don’t really see any racial superiority or inferiority in this movie, throughout the whole movie it seemed as if the smartest most logical (purely human-not Lucy) thinking human was a black man (Morgan Freeman), who constantly explained to the other scientists Lucy’s actions which was a highly incomprehensible thing for humans, thus portraying the Black man as superior in the field of intellect.
In conclusion your whole statement is shallow, pedantic and quite unnecessarily idiotic.

Andre Seewood

@RA, If as you say," The basic idea of evolution explains why there are different races of humans," then how do you reconcile the notion that the creation of life and evolution are completely different topics? Moreover, this article questions a certain tendency in recent science-fiction films with origin of humanity stories that avoid the subject of race. Race only appears irrelevent to those who benefit from making it appear irrelvant, but not to those of us who disappear in that process.

Ra

This whole article feels like you are reaching for something that is basically irrelevant. I cannot see how the director/writer could have incoroporated racial diversity ideas nor do I see the point. It almost feels like you are suggesting that black people are of a different species than white people. The basic idea of evolution explains why there are different races of humans. That is based on millions of years of geographical movement of the species. In the movie Lucy uses her "power" on white people, black people, Asians…etc. And she also uses it on other species, dogs,cats…etc. Without getting into the scientific accuracy of the movie, it was basically showing that we are all made up of the same cells. I don’t see why the movie would need to address racial creation. Would it then have to explain different breeds of dogs? These are completely different topics and have nothing to do with the creation of life. There are certain times where race should be addressed, this isn’t one of them.

Elizabeth

You made great point!
A recent study shows that a white person can not imagine it’s him / her when the protagonist is Black.
Also when they watch a black person die in film they can’t feel empathy for that person.
This same argument was made when Hollywood made the green latarn White. The most important of all racial Denial in Hollywood is Queen Cleopatra. They took a Queen from ancient Kemet who was dark skin and made her Snow White in film that paleness of skin alone is laughable!!!!
This is not just Hollywood look at Bollywood most of there actors are very white looking. Every body know that 95% of Indians has dark skin.
In order for the world to see us in another light is by reducating the people .

OX

That was a great article and it’s the truth sorry for the ones that don’t know it is! The Black Race Will Be Superior Again , because their Time Is Up!

Cinque

I recall Lerone Bennet once wrote, in reference to people of color and Euro-centric historians, that you cannot honestly define humanity when you exclude two thirds of the world's people and their experiences. Its a simple point but a profound one that is still holding the future hostage–and apparently many otherwise enlightened minds.

Seriously?

Seriously? While reading your article I noticed something, you're going behind your words. You feel that if you slap down some big words, a cognitive statement which rattles the mind slightly and can leave others viewing you in a sense of awe, that nobody will notice that in reality your entire argument is invalid. There is no argument! Why are white people always cast in these roles? Simply because they are the ones who auditioned and were picked. You want to make a sci-fi film about creation that features other races, than do it! When I was watching the film I never though of race once. The whole idea was to give your attention to the thought of the human race in it's entirety not one race. Reading comments some are saying how people can say this because they've never had their race discriminated and/or we can sit back and because we're white and always represented. Holy…ITS FREAKING 2014!!! EVERYONE is represented now. Some blacks are billionaires, same with Indian, Chinese, Russian, all of us have an equal chance in this world. You keep complaining about this so called misrepresentation when in fact you're only bringing on yourself. The only reason something's racist is because you call it out as such. Nobody can say or do anything today in fear of being racist. Ever noticed how white people lower their voice when they say "black people"? Not me I'm done with that. I'm not black myself, but part of my family is. Some of my cousins are black and there is nothing different between us. I say she's black because I'm proud! Our family can live in unity between whites and blacks, and honestly I don't even look at skin color anymore. Why can't the world do the same?

william

Fvck you!

Seth Fine

Andre Seewood performs a valuable service in examining and dissecting Lucy. His film critique as well as his replies to those who comment here (too many for me to read them all) maintains a professional level of analysis that both reinforces and illustrates the core of the thesis: questioning the cultural lens we call Entertainment given all we know about the history of mankind. It is a treat to read Mr. Seewood's focused assessment and I personally look forward to purchasing SLAVE CINEMA: The Crisis of the African-American in Film.

Traveller

Why does someone who is not white always have to bring the colour of our skin into any argument or discussion. It's the same when gays and heterosexuals have a 'disagreement', the gays have to bring up their perceived prejudices as their defence. As said by an earlier comment, this film talks about the 'human race' NOT the colour of each individual character, in the film or in general.
In other words Mr. Seewood, get down off your moralising high horse and just enjoy the film.

Traveller

Why does someone who is not white always have to bring the colour of our skin into any argument or discussion. It's the same when gays and heterosexuals have a 'disagreement', the gays have to bring up their perceived prejudices as their defence. As said by an earlier comment, this film talks about the 'human race' NOT the colour of each individual character, in the film or in general.
In other words Mr. Seewood, get down off your moralising high horse and just enjoy the film.

Renee

Dude, it's just a movie! Why so serious about it?

.thee.

…there are 22-different races that make up the human race found here on earth – we all come from other races of life whether you call them human or not, they are et to this planet + some even this galaxy. —±2πø∞

Tony

Everyone human on earth is the same race ie homo sapiens. There are divergent characteristics such as changes in skin, hair and eye pigmentation but in essence we are the same race. The origins or the human race covers the origin of all subsets.

Steve

It's akin to the question, how can a fish see the water it swims in? How can people who benefit from white privilege see the system for what it is?

ILoveToVisitTheSite_IsraelUnite.Org

The article was interesting and made a lot of great points about White Supremacist moviemakers. As usual, I expected the white supremacists (and their supporters) to slither into the site and perform their usual dance of denial in the comment section. They can't help it. It's what they were made to do.

uh..

This movie had nothing to do with race. Everyone is eventually the same inside, no matter the skin color.. Lucy could've been any race , male or female. But she was made a white female. So? What's the problem with that.. This movie shows the hominid Lucy 2.3 million years ago before racism ever existed..and which the hominid which refers to the present day white Lucy ..nothing to do with race AT ALL so sorry if you feel like you are being offended but there is nothing to be offended about.

Blackman

I hate white people. We can't even have a conversation about them on a Black board without their interventions. He.ll they CREATED Racism and White Supremacy. We all know (the greeks) which white folks begin THEIR history, sat at the FEET of Black Nubian/Egyptian/Ethopian Scholars. Who had a civilization for over 3000 years while white folks was in the STONE AGE. Imagine that. Their civilization was ANCIENT when ya'll came alone. Thus, ya'll stole their Sh.it with Alexander (pedophile) the great and the Ptolemys. Then White people Burned their scrolls when they burned down the library of Alexander. Yall some mofos. I'm sure you noticed how LUCY turned BLACK. Carbon is black. White people are an abnormally. A mutation. Looking at all the wars you people are currently creating Proves only psychopaths engage in ongoing wars, and thief's.

Moreover.

White people are still worshiping at our feet. Only misinformed self hating dumb dumbs are engaging you. Or the shysters.

MRC

I completely disagree with many points you've raised although interesting ones.
Eurocentric races in this film were (for one of the first times) made out to be the inferior race, where the only white characters including Lucy before her transformation as depicted as gulable, lazy drug and alcohol addicts who will do anything for money. Where we could usually see black Americans or Africans as the bad race we now see Koreans and actually the most intelligent and highly respected character in the film is a black man.
I understand why you could question the role of a white woman you may be surprised to find there is still an underwhelming descrimination that works against a woman's independent progression in workplace and domestic life (yes, even if she is white) and this is one of the first films I have ever seen that doesn't just insert the female role into the film as the sexy sidekick.
This film addresses established race and gender roles very successfully in this sense.
The story itself is a sort of futuristic retelling of the Christ- that is Lucy is god (where previously assumed mostly to be a male figure) and Morgan Freeman's character is Jesus Christ (also usually depicted as White male) and his multicultural scientific team is his deciples.
I understand where you're coming from when you mention the white woman disproving the black intellectuals theories but in actual fact we must take into consideration the fact this woman is only remarkable because of high dosages of drug intake to increase brain capacity and her knowledge on the subject is ony due to reading veraciously said theories. In her heightened state recognises the black man is the only one with the ability to save humanity.
In this way this film does an amazing job at re-jigging preconceived race and gender roles which I found exciting, personally.
Apologies for any spelling or grammar mistakes as I've written this on my iPhone.

jmesusi

You are ignorant, it has buying to do with race. It's a depiction of God!

Joe

You sound like a complete tosser

Nat Turner

A pic that goes with this comment is at
a. disquscdn. com/uploads/mediaembed/images/1206/6292/original.jpg
and it is Scooped at sco. lt/6lE0jh

Nat Turner

I was seeking more stories on "How White People Invented Racism" to post the comment below, when I found this, so
let me just ask the film makers, having stolen Matrix and all that,
what happens when one day they have to make films depicting the truth,
that on all continents, including the Asian sub continent known as Europe,
the first human inhabitants are found to be Black ?
***************************************************************
Colonialism represented the "blossoming" of racism,
the need to justify murdering and enslaving the
African fifth of humanity,
whilst appropriating their land and wealth.
The same process and similar theory was propagated against other branches of humanity,
from Australasia to the Americas and everywhere else in between, a theory which firmly placed the so called White European at the apex of mankind.
Yet this racial theory of superiority would have been laughed out of court at any other time,
except maybe one, in man's history, and
that one too is found to be false.
Since the fall of Rome, Europe thrived on ignorance,
in what was termed the dark ages, but
even then racism could not rise,
because, since 711 AD,
the only points of light, knowledge, wisdom and learning lay in the Muslim civilization centered in Spain,
which was dominated by Black-a-Moors of the west African Almoravids, Arabs and Jews.
Prior to even that many European royal and aristocratic families were founded by Black Africans,
who are still to be seen on the family coat of arms,
complete with their “judge's” bandlet or crowns,
others depicted with bows and arrows an ancient symbol of the Nubians of antiquity,
or with swords and sometimes the symbolic branch.
The early church depicted the Christ and Mother Mary and
the saints as Black,
the earliest Gods of Europe were also shown as Africans.
Even a cursory study of Greek and Roman Gods and nobility
shows a plethora of Black African imagery.
What made matters worse for newly awakening Europe
embarking on a mission to conquer the world was
that the Greeks not only claimed an
antithesis of Black Africans as their Gods, and progenitors, but that they went down into an African Egypt to learn the famous “Greek philosophy” at the feet of African teachers.
Europe was hardwired to be racial,
a look at 13th century Marco Polo's travels will see,
that instead of realizing some are blessed by the sun,
he reeled back and mentioned their Blackness in fright.
This coming from ignorance and
the misunderstanding of the Christian religion's emphasis of purity and whiteness,
yet still it was not racism as it is defined in the belief in the superiority of a particular race,
for Polo like the Greek's before him could find nothing to make such a ludicrous claim,
being in the company of nations and
people far in advance of Europe.
The only time White skin had made any such claim of superiority was in about 2000 BC, and
that only after the defeat and scattering of the
peaceful Black peoples of the Indus valley civilizations,
in India / Pakistan of today.
The Aryans, who were not wholly White, in their own words
“defeated the Black skin for Manu”
running them from their citadels
into the south and the jungles.
Then set up the racially skin color based caste system, and
like the Europeans millenniums later,
went about totally denigrating the fiber, nature and character of the people calling and assigning them positions of inferiority,
as outcast and untouchable,
claiming they had never achieved a thing
in their entire existence.
Yet modern day scholars and archaeologists can attest to the fact that the civilizations of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa were indeed advanced cultures with ordered towns, houses and streets with drainage system and running water
also that the people were in possession of advanced astronomical knowledge and possessed writing.
The Aryan like the much later European concocted
a theory of superiority and version of history to justify their position which had been gained by war
and to feign superiority,
Whatever can be said of the African,
countless images still adorn the temples
and ruins of Egypt, Nubia (today's Sudan) with writing, the wheel, clothing and other tenets of civilization many millenniums before our demise and enslavement.

Michael Allen

Anti racism gone mad. You must have something better to do with your life than this. If you have to look for racism this hard you need psychoanalysis.
It is simple, it is not there because the main character went back in time to when "Lucy" existed which was pre race. There is no story between now and then and no need to deal with the issue.
I feel sad for you Andre.

The Pan African Alliance

The film making industry is made by them, for them. Why would they include Black narratives? We are just as foolish in our unilateral support of their industries as we are when it comes to refusing to build and support our own industries. No one respects a beggar, let alone a nation of them.

…But I did see the movie, and that is some bullshit. LOL. Great article nonetheless.

Maestro1911

Now its time for black filmmakers to make movies like Lucy and Limitless. But judging by the ratings, we are more interested in comedy and black chick flicks.

Ghost

I see a ton of folks on here complaining about yet another race article-if you are so tired of it-why are there 124 comments and growing on this topic?

And the comment about make your own films-folks are doing that. The issue is when they don't feature a man in drag, Kevin Hart, slaves or maids-we don't want to watch them. Or folks act like those film don't exist outside of this site.

Rob

Omg its a movie frigwit – this article just points out how racist you are… You noticed the colour…

Elené

Very interesting article! To me it is very sad that this article is getting all these negative comments. As it will always be worth while to look critically at all new movies from a feminine viewpoint by applying for example the 'Bechedel test', it will also be necessary to critically observe Hollywood movies (especially blockbusters) in terms of race, because it is a system dominated by whites. 'White ignorance' is not limited to 1950's melodramas, the ability of a critic to effectively identify these racial indicators, points to his/her ability to be critically challenged by the films they watch. Richard Dyer, an important academic in the film studies field, talks about the fact that we are so indoctrinated by Hollywood, that we accept 'white' and 'whiteness' on-screen as the norm. It is only when someone of color enters on-screen that we become aware of the whiteness. This is why I find this article so enjoyable, but also academically challenging, because it views the movie critically in terms of race, but at the same time it objectively excludes terms such as 'racism' as it would defy the use of the article by objectifying the term.

Sandra

Sad that your entire life is consumed by a color.

Andre Seewood

I find it extremely interesting that one of the most consistent opinions expressed by Whites here in this commentary section is that if you quit looking at people by race there wouldn't be any racial issues to talk about or observe. It's a little like telling a cancer patient to stop thinking about his cancer and it will go away, don't you think? Ignoring racial disparities, inequities and systemic power imbalances divided along racial lines does not make these problems go away; it only makes it easier to continue practicing and holding on to racially derogatory stereotypes, prejudices, discriminatory polices, procedures and racist ideologies. #WhatdoesWoodyAllenDo?

Leslie Fish

*Sigh* You really should talk to a paleontologist. The modern "races" are less than 20,000 years old, and before that humanity was a rough mix of the earlier "races" — Neanderthal, Java, Denisovan, and Cro-Magnon Man. Before those earlier "races" divided out, there was just one "race": Homo Erectus. By the way, "Black" doesn't automatically mean "African"; genetically very different people — equatorial Indians, Asians, Australians and Polynesians — developed dark skins simply by living around the equator for a thousand generations or so.

Todd

You can't seriously be connecting PROMETHEUS into this. They are aliens who are gray because they live mostly in space seeding worlds and don't get sunlight–and mostly importantly, they were EVIL. Several civilizations (Native Americans, Mayans, Aztecs etc.) have stories of pale giants/gods. Even in modern abduction claims, the aliens are gray/white. If they had been dark, would you say they were trying to connect black with evil?

jenna

I stopped reading after the first paragraph. The grammatical errors were giving me a headache.

Dale

This is the dumbest thing I have ever read. It could very well pass as satire. The writer apparently seems to think the people of differing skin color are entirely different species of mammals. As if there is a totally different evolutionary path, or even origin for every shade of skin that human race exhibits. Literally, the writer seems to believe that a "Black" human and a "White" human are two different species, having as much in common as a frog and a cat. This is simply the dumbest thing I have ever seen published on a high profile blog or news site.

As if this writer's "point" isn't silly enough, the fact that it was inspired by not just a "science-fiction" movie, but a bad science fiction movie based on the ridiculous myth, believed only by fools, that we "only use 10% of our brains" makes me wonder if a grasp of 8th grade level biology is a prerequisite for a writer on a prominent website. The fact that the writer takes issue with the movie because it doesn't regard people of differing skin tone as entirely different species, and not the absurd premise of the entire movie, demonstrates that the writer of this piece would be well served by reading a science book when not busy dwelling on skin color.

Luci

What a nonsense. Get over it, let people create they art as they please, not everybody is racist. What a waste of time this article was.

E

I feel like this must've been written for The Onion. Black peoples obsession with race and that it constantly be emphasized is the definition of racism. Forever focus on skin color, it should be the only topic. Also the only way someone can be totally evolved is to be black, it should be the goal of all humanity according to black people. Black superiority is the only way to satisfy people like this author. The first people were black and somehow the worst in humanity came to be represented by someones demonic white offspring,

Marie

My disappointment with the film was more related to the lack of development of the basic idea than the racial aspect you describe. If anything, I was annoyed by the same ole character played by Morgan Freeman. He and Sam Jackson have completely become the tokens in movies where they just show up to be the non-white guys without bringing anything to the film performance-wise. Overall, the film felt like a good idea that was rushed into production. After the Bourne movies, you can't get away with a lazy car chase like the one in this movie. If the writer(s?) had expended more creative sweat on this interesting premise, they possibly would've arrived at some of your issues naturally and addressed them accordingly. Clearly, the filmmakers know OF Lucy but they didn't fully research her or dig deeper to get to the deeper truths that were completely absent from this film.

Tomas

Your argument is weak and obtuse. If "Lucy" was the first human what "race" was she? Which race did she represent? Stop trying to sound righteous. This film was a work of fiction written by a French man with an international cast. The smartest human portrayed in this film was a African-American. Unlike Lucy he did not need to take synthetic drugs to become enlightened. I fail to see your point because you do not have one; at least not with this film. Not every film will have the politically correct amount of races to satisfy your needs. The flip side to your argument would be that there are not enough white people in Tyler Perry movies. At what point do we stop looking at art and fiction as a reflection of society? Sometimes a shoe is just a shoe and a rock is just a rock. There is no need to look for racist undertones while watching a Luc Besson film.

Yawn.

Same old story over and over again. Ignorant reverse racists like this author make many of us lose faith in humanity. Africans were NOT the only race taken as slaves. Are you reverse racists so ignorant that you forget there are other races and colours outside of black and white? And that a shit ton of other races in the millions were put into slavery as well? And stop generalizing white people I feel bad for the ones who aren't racist yet get told off with the same damn story over and over it makes you reverse racists sound extremely narcissistic. I hope to God one day you ignorant individuals realize just how annoyed you make the rest of us it's getting to a point where enough is enough.

david

the evolutionary theory of the origin of species on earth is inherently a racist doctrine. if we have all evolved to different degrees, wouldn't it be logical to say that the race with the most advanced culture and means are further evolved than others ..which race is that?

Andrea Miles

Thank you , this is exactly how i felt and the thoughts i had while watching this film in the theater.

Up In The Balcony

Look, I'm Mr. Rodgers… "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor, would you be mine? Could you be mine, won't you be my neighbor?"

After a day of watching the crowds go by, Black Statler and his friend Black Waldorf reminisce about the day's activities.

Statler: "Stop it, you're not Mr. Rodgers, he was a white guy"
Waldorf: "Okay, so call me Mr. Robinson… you know, since (as Artbizzy rightfully loves reminding folks) this site is about black cinema so just roll with me"
"That reminds me, why do so many white folks get upset at Andre's and Tanya Steels' posts?"
"DUH! Have you forgotten why some white folk's panties got all bunched up upon hearing MLK and Malcolm X speak?"
"OPPS, thanks for bringing me back to reality. But Monique is a black woman (isn't she *wink*) and she was pitchin' a bit*h too. So what do you have to say about that?'
"Nothing… I know nothing, but I understand. Besides, I just dropped Artbizzy's name and I bet she takes it in stride"

"Yep, Artbizzy is cool. She appears to be a secure and mature adult"
"Nuff said. Now, lets wrap this up. What's your take away from this new brouhaha?"
"Well, I learned that the movie "Lucy" is about a white chick with some kind of crazy powers and Andre Seewood analyzed the film from a "different" perspective and some white folks got pissed off about it"

"That's it… that's your take away?"
"Yep, that's about it"
"Well, I learned (like I didn't already know) that some white folks have selective reading and selective memories"
"Amen. And, I believe this post may have been a little too deep for some, and thus, it went way over their heads… which turned them into "cherry pickers"

"Yep. And least I forget, I learned that Andre is a good man who was raised right. He has a little Black Church running in his blood"

"Don't go there. Upon hearing the words "Black Church", you know some folks run for cover. But I hear you, Andre's morals and principles appear to be in the right place"

"OTAY! Are we done here?"
"Yep… turn out the lights while I sing myself to sleep… "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you, could you, won't you be my neighbor…"

Daniel Delago

Interesting perspective but I just like Scarlett Johannson's daring film choices lately. She is transforming herself into a versatile actress that can carry an action film similar to Angelina Jolie. It's nice to see strong female characters in film and that's what I like about Luc Besson. The film industry is a tough gig for anyone. The only way to change it is for black filmmakers to keep making compelling stories to tell. Director Antoine Fuqua is coming out with one starring Denzel Washington titled 'The Equalizer' I'm looking forward to reviewing it soon. It will make its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in September.

nick

Cry me a river

j

because its a movie and not real. Also, as a director I know that you need to stick with what you know. I made the mistake shooting a film about Hispanic gang members and it was silly. Write what you know, write what you are familiar with just like spike lee does…

Brian

Who cares what colors the actors and actress' are. This wasn't a documentary, its a fictional story. We are all of one race, Human, period end of story. The color of her skin is at best a tiny detail like the color of her shoes. People really need to stop putting racial issues in areas where there isn't any. Its a film get over it.

Terrell

Lets face it, this has been going on for a long time. Hell, there were no Black characters on the original Flintstones and no Black characters on the original Jetsons. No Blacks in the past, no Blacks in the future. Hanna-Barbara made sure I realized that when I was a child.

Stew

In fact, African Americans make up only 13 percent of the American population. Yes they are underrepresented at times, as are Asians, as are Middle Easterners, but African Americans are also over represented. Lets stop the cherry picking and focus on some important issues — such as, why are films so lousy in this country?

LACI

Thank you for this lovely article. I'm also tired of filmmakers blatantly ignoring the complexity of racial origins in science fiction films and excluding people of color from the discussion. As a black female filmmaker entering graduate film school in the fall, this article definitely gives me a lot to consider. It's so wonderfully and articulately written. Thank you for unpacking this issue so critically. You've encouraged me to tell bolder and far more potent stories as a filmmaker. Also, I appreciate your reference to "The Brother From Another Planet." Keep these articles comin !!!

PJ

Weak argument. Extra research work and better articulation would have helped it. And, striving for validity, it would have been worth while pointing out the many sci-fi films that actually deal with otherness (rather than just race). Of course, the author makes really good points… but fails to properly argue them and, as far as I am concerned, can't be taken seriously without a recognition of the elements that contradict the argument.

Mitsudsm

Well, I tough that at the end when she was turning dark was because of the dark matter that exist everywhere and we can see it. And that's why she says, and I quote "Im everywhere" Maybe I see things different and not as a racist person.

R P Bird

Interesting article. Don't forget the risk-averse and lazy nature of the film industry, those two character flaws might also play a role in the "whitening" of the origins of humanity. The first humans were out of Africa and they were were black. There was also a great deal of interbreeding going on as nomadic groups intermingled, evidence of Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA in our heritage, a lot more going on than the outmoded ideas of white supremacy could ever encompass. All that, and we're still the most homogenous of species – thank the Toba catastrophe for that – which brings up an interesting topic. If we're so good at hating each other over minor matters of skin color and body shape, and we are epic haters as a species, what would we be like if we hadn't been homogenized by the Toba bottleneck, if there were real genetic differences in the species? Would we be better for it, or worse? Never mind me, I'm the guy at the back of the classroom who always asks weird questions.

Adam

The author's fixation on "black" paints him in the only true racist light in any of these films. We all come from Adam and then Noah and his sons (all modern populations may be drawn from the various lands that Noah's sons migrated to and repopulated the earth). The reverse racism that he propound sis bewildering. Does he not want equality? Individuals such as the author are the ones who propound the continued racism in our world.

Phillipe Salander

*these* not theses.

Phillipe Salander

Prometheus and Mission to Mars didn't address race because it wasn't about race. Are white, black, yellow, brown, red, orange humans not all biologically human? That's right, they are. And theses films postulated, fictitiously I might add, on the origin of HUMANS. Not a particular color of human or a particular geographically derived human. Just humans. Nothing more. Being a special shade doesn't make you special or a collector's edition like a cell phone.

Imayeseekay

Great article…you're not the only one who see's the "White Washing" there's a great article on Huffington Post – "Lucy: Why I'm Tired of Seeing White People on the Big Screen"

The fact that you have some many responses, means that you're on to something.

JustAnotherHonky

The truth is that these are majority white actors wtc because white people, me included, generally wont go see a movie that is filled up with black actors. Black people … aren't us. Point blank that is the truth of the matter. We aren't interested in seeing black movies. Make your own movies and leave us to ours. Granted there are quite a few whites AND blacks who really don't care as long as a movie is good … I just speaking generally.

JMac

Great work as always Andre and you beat them to the punch. There's at least one other article swirling around now (from an"enlightened" white female… so I guess that means her opinion is more credible – ha,ha) that addresses a similar aspect of the "Lucy" type issues you raised in this piece, or more accurately, that briefly sums up common complaints posted and discussed at length on this blog. Of course, she's getting the same lame arguments as found here.

Is it any coincidence that many discourage serious thought or critique on "purely entertainment" films when they often subliminally advance the same white default/white superiority issues present in most American films and have the biggest international box office receipts (with big name actors, directors and/or producers)? It would seem to me they deserve more critique rather than none.

Good read?

Never seen so much writing with such little meaning. Hope you're getting graded for this?
Why are you using Prometheus as one of your prime examples? What? Why do you tie 'Black people' to the origin of Man when skin color is of such little significance to the origin of life on Earth? Sometimes, people are cast based on popularity and what might reel in the most viewers. Yes, amazingly, there are many people that love to watch Scarlet Johansson.

You also seem to find it important to label each person you want to mention as either [Black] or [White], including yourself. Race in current media isn't an issue of oppression. It's not 'daring' for a Black person to create a film on the origin of Man. I'm sure if he or she does it, no one will complain, "GODDAMIT, IT'S MADE BY A BLACK PERSON." No.

But, there ARE places in the world where racism is worse of a problem as it used to be in America. Why not stop being greedy for your own race and start seeing everyone's problems?

When you're seeing race as an issue in a Hollywood movie and decide to write a long rant about it, you have to think, "Where am I going to be in the next couple of years?". Please don't waste away your life with shitty articles like this.

P.S.: Is this for a high school paper? What class is it? Civil rights in America?

Staci

The man brings up a good point, yet so many people appear to be booty-hurt by it. I don't plan on seeing this movie as it doesn't peak my interest, but as a person that loves sci fi, I do agree that had this movie delved into the race aspect of the origin of humanity, it would have added more depth to the concept(s) the movie writers were going for. I also do agree, as I've seen plenty of examples and the issue has been brought up many times before, that there are limits that many white movie writers won't go beyond because they want to appeal to the majority audience. Money talks.

Up In The Balcony

Monique A. Williams… yes, this time I am calling you out.

Look here young lady, we may have started off on the wrong foot. I mean, for some reason (that I am not sure of) you were upset at my comment, so I have a few parting words.

Actually, they're the words of Jill Scott and Marvin Gaye. Granted, since you claim the West Indies as your "home-front" you may not be familiar with those black recording artists but please bare with me.

Now, in response to your attack on me–> Hate on me, now or later 'cause I'm gonna do me, you'll be mad, baby. Go 'head and hate on me, hater. I'm not afraid of what I got paid for, you can hate on me, baby.

Now Miss Monique, in response to you getting upset, angry and mad, I have a few words of advice–> ANGER, can make you old, yes it can. I said anger, can make you sick, child. ANGER… destroys your soul. RAGE… there's no room for rage in there, there's no room for rage in here. Line up some place to go to be mad, it's a sin to treat your body bad.

So Monique, we ain't got nothing but love for ya. Smile and be happy.

@ Andre, sorry man. It was not my intent to gorilla your post but… well… you know, sometimes a brotha gotta do what he gotta do. You know, as our mother would say, "you gotta get that a$$ when andwhere they do their dirty… regardless of who's standing by.

Now back to the normal program.

Peace

Marc

Why not explore the origin of the Asians as well in that movie? Why not every race? In fact perhaps the movie should have just been about the origins of race. Certainly, not a sensitive or debatable subject that is perfectly placed in a vapid summer blockbuster. I did not, in fact, notice that the origin of species portions focused solely on "white" development. I missed a perfectly good chance to be offended apparently. Because I found nothing else offensive in the movie. I wonder what would have been said if Lucy were black. "Well, of course, they use a black girl as the drug mule." I do think it's worth noting that the principle intellectual in the movie was black and the short-lived, but present "love interest" story involved an Egyptian actor. Racial equality and media visibility discussions should involve all races.

There are many important discussions to be had about race in this country. Many that can lead to productive and long-standing positive change. This is not one of them. A productive conversation doesn't involve how superior or not one race is to another. An honest effort to pursue racial equality does not center on such concepts; but rather what binds us together as human beings.

Peter Carzis

Grand Illusion
Citizen Kane
It's a Wonderful Life
On the Waterfront
Vertigo
2001: A Space Odyssey
The Godfather
Raging Bull
Network
Blue Velvet
American Beauty
There Will Be Blood
Boyhood

Above I've compiled a brief list of great films that say nothing about the subject of race. That quality does not better or worsen their levels of merit, it is just a fact. That is what those films are, and coincidently, also what Lucy is: a film that does not comment on race. While I respect and value this interesting think piece that you've written, I can't help but disagree with it fundamentally on the principle that one cannot devalue a film for not discussing a certain theme: in short, one cannot blame a film for not being the film one desired. As interesting as a film about the origins of life in relation to race would be, I disagree emphatically that ALL such films must touch on a certain point. In a post-racial intellectual environment, it seems perfectly sensible to make a film that discusses mankind as a whole without delving into wholly superficial racial divisions. Great piece, but I could not disagree more.

Kwamla

What an excellent critique this was! It has the right sort of detail, observation and research that my own Origin of Man analysis (blog: kwamlaonfb-wordpress-com) has uncovered over many years. More than enough information already exists for this alternative narrative to be communicated on the global screen.

Jungleboot

I took a crap. You know what? My toilet paper is white. I'm wiping away crap with WHITE paper. I think the BLACK paper feels left out. Yet, there are no manufacturers out there brave enough to manufacture BLACK paper. But because I believe in equality, every roll in a pack should be a different shade. That way fecal matter lands on all shades eventually.

Where is my BLACK and BROWN paper? Where is it? I want to ensure the fecal matter is distributed evenly. However, BLACK and BROWN paper should be used more often. It currently has no representation in a dominant WHITE toilet paper market.

BLACKMAN

WOW!!!!

This writer did that. White people ARE still 3000 years BACKWARDS. All advents of technology are being used against THEM and others for savage heinuous military purposes. And they have not evolved from fear or the Dollar. And will not in this lifetime.

It's 2014 Amerikka and YOUROPE. In 2 years China will possess the LARGEST economy. AND this is why they are making all these FRAUDULENT and MYTHICAL movies staring 'whiteness' at the center.

It's not and will not be in the future. They KNOW it. Do you?

STUDY YOUR HISTORY.

Deadsix

Who cares? What's with all this white guilt, race bating, and political correctness going on in America. If you see a barrier that's stopping any other race from leads in movies you likely created that imaginary line yourself you useless cunt.

bob

Lmfao what a nutjob this guy is. imagine if this was a white power article.

Virtuoso

This is low-hanging fruit, common denominator-thinking. This is akin to watching Teletubbies and discerning patriarchy's inherent impact on media and how the red one is obviously a commie fag. And where's the black one? All structuralist nonsense. Your analysis is poorly thought-out, despite your comic attempt at referencing. I would have let it go if it were not for your sanctimonious tone. And as a fellow black male, I'd be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to help uplift you, because you obviously have a shallow understanding of race as a construct as well.

Here, let me help. If you wanted to use race as a paradigm with which to analyze this film, you would have had a better article discussing the Magical Negro trope that Morgan Freeman embodies in almost every other film; the black character that lacks any form of moral agency except to help the white character succeed. Even that is stretching it, but would still have made for a more enlightening examination. But your thesis is this: there isn't a strong black presence in this film or cinema by caucasians in general because RACISM! Lucy is not a film about the origins of the human, but about our apotheosis, transcendence. It's a universal context. It's not about race, and shouldn't have to be relegated as such. Just because she's white that doesn't preclude any other race from being in her position of power. There's no white/racial supremacy ideal in this picture. Overall, whites (or any other race) have no obligations to placate us by incorporating us in their cinema. Vice Versa.

That is not to say that there shouldn 't be a push towards having our history/stories told. Yet, the black experience/gaze is not suffering in any form of media. If you want to be enlightened, pop in a film by Ousmane Sembene, Djibril Diop Mambety, Souleymane Cisse, Gordon Parks, Oscar Micheaux. Just beware of using meta-narratives and binary oppositions. The world is far more complex than what you ascertain when analyzing it through a racial persecution complex. If the only thing you have in your toolbox is a hammer, every issue looks like a nail.

dab

You can see and write whatever you want, the fact is this is a film aiming to entertain. Say what you want is your opinion… no one gives a f***. I believe in a world where you can do and use black white, yellow or stupid in whatever situation, and it should be criticised by the situation itself and not by the color of the person involved. Just start dealing with people as people, and not black and white, and everything would be much better.

Nichola

Really enjoyed this article. To be honest the absence of the Black race in this film doesn't surprise me. As many directors, especially white directors are not brave enough, or true enough, or don't care to portray race honestly.

Money Trust

Damn black people are petty and stupid.

Anonymous

If you watch the opening credits, the four principal actors are a white American, a black American, a South Korean, and an Arabic-Frenchman. Seems fair enough to me in that regard.

Night

This was a long post. The short of the answer to your question is that admitting Black presence in the origin of humanity on screen in media would under mind white supremacy, which though alive and well is fighting for survival. So, the film maker had to code it, as all white film makers do, in symbolism. Thankfully you were able to read it. Yes, Lucy, presented as it is here is insulting, if you allow it.

Up In The Balcony

"Shue flies don't bother me, I belong to somebody… and if you don't live in this ghetto, keep your a$$ outta the ghetto"

[Mr. Black Waldorf fires the first missile at the unknowing white folks]

Mr. Black Statler: "Damn man, this is a democratic country so aren't all voices welcomed"

W: "Miss me with that PC bullsh*t… on some issues, race issues in particular, white folks muddle the playing field. Case in point, look at Xanderajax3 and Virtuoso's comments, there was no empathy for the plight of the black experience. They were stuck like chuck on the conjunction "BUT". Then they took their buts (pun intended) on a rampage against Andre, a black man"

"But didn't Morgan Freeman — a black man — say "Black people should get over that sh*t!"

"Yeah, he said that"

"And didn't M. Barajas — a Mexican woman — agree with Vander and Virtue?"

[ With a quizzical look on his his face, Waldorf answers] "Yes she did, and?"

[Believing he has baited Waldorf into a headlock, Statler lowers the boom]

" I GOTCHA… a black man and a Mexican are agreeing with the white dude and white chick so your point is mute"

Waldorf: Mute my a$$ silly rabbit… you're not listening. I said "If you don't live in "THIS" ghetto… you should stay out… and shue flies don't bother us"

[ Statler has a defeated look on his face] "Point well taken. Mr. Freeman, the man who bedded his daughter, does live in Hollywood. But what about Monique A. Williams?"

"What about her?"

"How do you know she's a black woman"

"Please, I don't know about you but I can smell the greens, fried chicken and cornbread in all her comments. And I say that as a term of endearment… she's definitely a black woman"

"But what about Andre Seewood? Does he live in the ghetto?"

"Don't even try it. I'm using the words "the ghetto" as a euphemism to express the, sometimes, unpleasant black experience in America. Therefore, without question, Andre is qualified."

"Okay, so lets just move on to Andre's post"
"Now wait, I don't wanna talk about white people no more"
"Please, that's a dead horse. I'm movin' straight to the most significant part of the entire looooong article"

[Waldorf is seen putting Visine in his eyes] Statler speaks: "Now what?"

W: "That post was mighty long"
S: "So?"
W: "I'm old… and tired… and my eyes are weak… so that post worked the sh*t of these eyeballs"
S: "No pain no gain"
"Yeah… riiight… and some folks don't like reading all your mess, but let me finish. Andre concluded (in the last 2 paragraphs) that "Perhaps the only remedy for this omission of the Black race from the origin of man theories within current science-fiction films is for a Black filmmaker to posit an alternative origin of man theory in a Black science-fiction film […] The point here upon which we shall conclude is that we must cultivate the daring Black filmmakers who are willing to put forth an alternative origin of Man theory"

Statler: "Ut OH, he threw the ball in the Black man's court"

"Exactly! If not he, than who? But there are a few begging questions. "Cultivation" and "Inspiration" are 2 great words… but, the Devil's in the details. Now, a few quick questions. First, where exactly are these "daring Black Filmmakers"… and how do we – exactly – cultivate them… and what would behoove them to take on such a formidable task?"

"I'm feelin' you. Surly, without question there's merit in Andre's example answers to the question "Why do so many white filmmakers avoid the subject of race in science-fiction films that explore the creation of the world", and one of those examples spoke of the bottom-line, MONEY RULES"

"I get it. In short, you're saying, or suggesting there're a few fine details missing from this finely crafted piece"

"Yeah, I believe one has to know who's — exactly – gonna take on the task of raising the banner… their motivation, purpose and methods/"funds"… and who's going to guide them on their journey, is missing from this article"

"Hmmm… do you have any solutions?"
"Nope… I didn't write the article"
"So lets ask Andre'

"HEY ANDRE… do you have any detailed solutions to add to the mix… or more words of wisdom?"

Mandii

It ultimately did address race if you look at the subliminal esoteric symbology of her turning Black at the end. Even if white people try to consciously avoid it – it becomes expressed unconsciously in their art work. The sublime expression is often more powerful than attempts at conscious alliteration.

If you look at the teachings of the Black Metaphyscian Bobby Hemmit – the gods use film to communicate deeper messages with us. At the end she transformed into a black substance which represents melanin. Melanin is chaos and the beginning origins of the universe and humanity. The universe is literally and figuratively made of dark matter. Lucy became a Black holes which draws in tremendous levels of energy. She also drew in power by her black tentacles forming a pentagram. In magical systems the pentagram/ star represents our divinity and is used in magical practice to draw in and seal divine energy to create transformation. At the point she reaches 100% brain capacity she became divine. She said she was everywhere – representing omnipresence as divine consciousness. The primary force of the universe is divine feminine energy which is also melanin and chaos.

Furtgo

Perhaps they weren't thinking, period. It's enough to get a coherent plot these days. The filmmakers were all about Johannsen's, uh attributes, which is all they care about getting next to anyway. Most certainly Freeman's casting was strategic racially, in addition to the fact that he always creates some of the most credible characters around.

Besson wrote the Fifth Element, a sci-fi movie which had an interesting cast that included actors of African descent. Will not say anymore about it. Need an aspirin.

jaebanree

"Why do so many White filmmakers avoid the subject of race in science-fiction films that explore the creation of the world, humanity and/or the universe?"

because they're White, duh.

Zach

The main problem is that the film-going audience in the US is still largely anti-science. 40% of US citizens still do not accept evolutionary theory as a reasonable explanation of human origins. To show anything on screen that isn't two naked white people eating an apple in a garden is going to put viewers off of buying a ticket. At least a dozen people walked out of the screening of NOAH I attended once the "big bang sequence" began, and groans could be heard around the theater during LUCY the moment the prehistoric "Lucy" was shown on screen. If we worried more about proper science education and the prominence of scientific ideas in US culture, we wouldn't have such piss-poor examples of human evolution on screen.

Bobby

Good article, I'm definitely interested in seeing the film now. Seems as if it would be an interesting contrast to the racial dynamics of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

M. Barajas

While I agree with one major point in this article, I disagree with most everything else. First off, why should sci-fi be responsible to answer "the question of race" in the origin of humanity at all, especially when it doesn't have anything to do with the rest of the film. If the film posited questions about the origin of race, then yeah lets dive into that, but in this story, that is of such irrelevance it would have worsened the movie to slow down and see different parts of the ancient world to see different races or however they would have shown it. That's bad writing right there.
Secondly, Lucy's transformation at the end of the film has nothing to do with race at all. She is not turning "Black", because that shit was metallic and shiny and she disappeared after completely transmuting herself into that substance. It was to show her separation from us and the dissolution of her ego.
Thirdly, Lucy is supposed to be smarter than everyone, not just the black professor whom is a great character in the film, and ends up being literally the only man in the world Lucy can trust enough to pass on her information too. Isn't that pretty good?! Also, her line saying, "I am everywhere" does not make her God, not even close. Omnipresence does not equal divinity.
Lastly, I agree that if you want more black representation, more black filmmakers need to make movies. Its the same as when woman complain about lack of representation, we just need more woman filmmakers then, or more Luc Bessons. Look at how good Mean Girls was because of Tina Fey helming it and a large female crew. When I watched Lucy, I did not see one mexican in the movie, and being mexican myself, I couldn't give two shits. It was a damn good movie. Its not the white man's fault they can usually only make movies about themselves in the same way black filmmakers make films about themselves and mexican filmmakers make films about themselves too. Its the first thing they teach you in school, "write about what you know".

coiled73

Interesting article that provides a lot of food for thought, whether it be overthinking pieces of 'entertainment or not – those films certainly would have been more interesting had they addressed the points the writer brings up. It certainly does highlight the personal viewpoint of a white male director – everything is seen through their perspective, so therefore they see nothing strange or exclusive about featuring a white protagonist, and in fact would only bring in race if they were making a specific point about race. I guess what I'm saying is, as awful as it is, being white you are in a somewhat privileged position of not having to even think about race most of the time. Therefore, why should it manifest itself in a film that is not about race, but about the expanding of the consciousness? In the case of something like 'Prometheus', however, the argument is a lot more valid, but that film was such a mess of half-baked ideas it's hard to know where to start picking it apart.

A couple of nit-picky points: If Lucy turned into a black woman for disguise, it means that suddenly your very expensive and marketable Hollywood star isn't on screen anymore. And even though he does spend the majority of the film standing around slack-jawed, it is Morgan Freeman's character that gives Lucy her whole raison d'être in the second half of the movie, so he's not entirely irrelevant.

Vichus

This One person sure has a lot of opinions about white folk!

George

Strange..I thought Lucy is a white female who goes around killing Asian males in the movie.

bb

It looks like Xanderajax3 and Virtuoso missed the entire point of the article. Nothing like bad reading comprehension and willful ignorance to get your morning started.

xanderajax3

This entire article is absolutely ridiculous. Maybe you should question why, as a black man, you can't simply enjoy a movie without trying to find the slightest offense to the black race?

As a white male, I didn't watch Safe House thinking Denzel Washington was shown to be far superior to every white male in the universe even though he repeatedly and quite thoroughly dispatched white male after white male.

As far as Prometheus is concerned, didn't the "super intelligent" white race destroy themselves? Didn't the only black man in the film make the most heroic decision in the film when he sacrificed his life by crashing into the other spacecraft?

If you go into anything looking to find some racial undertones, you will find it. Ask yourself if you are the racist one rather than the directors.

Virtuoso

I find your article rather shallow and pedantic. The dumbest thing I've read in the past few months. I'm throwing ad hominems here because I don't feel your article deserves a civil response from me, just a benevolent admonishment. Not every film has to extrapolate a racial ontology, especially when its aim is to entertain. If there were any criticisms that warranted examination vis a vis Lucy, it's how poorly-written and executed it is. Specifically, the epistemological basis for the film. If you want to express how intelligent you are at examining race and media, Ridley Scott's Exodus would have been a better expose, instead of trying to pander to us lesser folk (can't believe you tried to define "ontology"). Shows what kind of respect you have for the reader. Try again. Actually, don't.

Monique A Williams

Really interesting piece, can't refute the truth.
I did enjoy the film this weekend, but I went into it pretending the character of Lucy was Black. And in that context was the movie good? It was great! It NOT being that way was racism at its finest. No mention of melanin nor the pineal gland? And my people aren't cave beasts, so of course those parts were annoying. But as a woman, glad to see a woman kicking ass. Just would love for the other half (Blackness) to have made it complete. #mytwocents

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