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In a very candid interview with Dr. Boyce Watkins, Nation of Islam leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan, shared his thoughts about Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. He also revealed the greatest attribute of leadership. Amongst many thoughts Min. Farrakhan had about Django Unchained, one very interesting thought he shared was that he believes the film could serve as preparation for race war.
An abridged transcript of the interview is below:
On Jamie Foxx’s performance in “Django Unchained”:
Black people could sit there and remember his words ‘I am one in ten thousand.’ He played his part. And when they asked him about the word “nigg*r” that was used so much — I think about 110 times — he said “Well, you know, I had a chance to work off my frustration.” He was killing all these white folk. Well, how does a white person see that? How do white people who feel the guilt of what their fathers have done to us, how do they feel? Do you think that they don’t think that if black folk had a chance to do to them what they had done to us — that’s what the movie is saying — that one out of ten thousand will be like that and maybe more. So to me, I loved his part. He played it well. Samuel Jackson, he played his part well. I mean if I were a Tom sitting in the theater — I mean he played Tom to the max — so, a lightweight Tom would want to get out of being a Tom just looking at the way he played Uncle Tom. DiCaprio, he played the white man jammed up.”
Dr. Boyce Watkins says that, during the film, he had similar observations to those noted by Farrakhan. Dr. Watkins says that the very direct nature by which Django went about getting revenge or the undeniable harms suffered by himself and his people was the kind of on-screen portrayal that would make a lot of people nervous. He also says that the tense political climate in the United States means that this film could have an impact far beyond that which was intended by those who made the film.
“Notice that Django deliberately sorted good and evil by skin color, excluding the house negro,” says Dr. Watkins. “Also, nearly every white person in the film, excluding the German, was portrayed as being evil, dim-witted and deserving of death. If a black man had made this film, it wouldn’t have been viewed and accepted by so many people. The other sad truth about slavery is that the impact of 400 years of oppression lie all around us, and things have yet to be made right.”
Dr. Watkins is glad that the film was made, and wrote an article about why he enjoyed it. But both Watkins and Farrakhan agree that the film could spark reactions in both black and white communities that could heighten unresolved racial tension.