By Mukurima Muriuki
Lupita Nyong’o is definitely the actress of the moment with her sterling role in the movie 12 Years a Slave, which tells the story a black man who was born free in New York state but kidnapped, sold into slavery and kept in bondage for 12 years in Louisiana before the American Civil War.
The movie, in my opinion ranks in the same league as Django Unchained in telling the story about the afflictions many a black people have had to endure.
However, it is unfortunate to note that the movie is not to be seen by everybody! On Friday, Fox sent out an email noting that 12 Years a Slave, unlike other blockbusters would only be released to select theaters in the United States.
To be precise, of the 5,500 theaters across America, the movie was only released to less than 500 theaters! It has also been noted that not many studios are supporting the movie perhaps because its release has been muzzled by another movie ‘Gravity’ which stars two A list personalities-George Clooney and Sandra Bullock (read whites).
It is worth noting that Lupita and company have received very little marketing. You would expect that with the whispers doing round the movie review scene about the 12 Years a Slave being a contender for an Oscar in Best Picture or best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong’o), the marketing would be in the same levels as other blockbusters.
You would expect to see billboards, et al announcing the entry of the movie! But apparently, the story line is too much to bear and as a result not many want to identify with it! What an excuse. This got me thinking wondering why Django Unchained which went as far as using the word nigger did not receive such a treatment! I did not know why Spike Lee was upset with the use of the N word in Django but now I do.
Of course I am reminded that for any movie to succeed, the white man must be the hero. Look at Django. The movie was a success because a white man-Christoph Waltz helped the black man (Jimmie Fox) to conquer!! One may argue that Brad Pitt stars in the movie but you have to remember he plays a very small role and is of course one of the producers! In that case, the reality is that the movie may not be acceptable to many a people as it lacks a white hero which truth be told, is the order of successful movies in Box Office!
While Nyong’o has made a big entry into the movie industry, one cannot fail to note the irony. Were the movie to be marketed and screened without bias as happens with other blockbusters, I wonder if Nyong’o would have even been considered for the role. Have you noticed how they are referring to Nyong’o: born in Mexico, raised in Kenya and a resident of Brooklyn!!. (Emphasis is in Brooklyn). Go figure why! We know her as a Kenyan!
Watch the official 12 Years A Slave TRAILER 1 (2013)