I recently saw Get Out again and I caught something that I hadn’t really paid attention to the first time. Andre (Lakeith Standfield’s character), listed his occupation as a jazz musician on his FB page. I started to think about this in the context of the movie. Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), is a photographer, and in the “bingo slave auction” – the blind art dealer, Jim Hudson buys him so he can “see what he sees”. But that is not how art works! You can’t buy someone’s body for their talent because their talent is in their BRAIN. The very brain that they discard into the sunken place.
If Andre was a jazz musician, what was Georgina before they made her their maid? Before she was “grandma”, she had a life of her own. Then she was brought to this strange place and forced against her will to be their servant; #Slavery.
Think of the millions of black men and women who HAD A LIFE before they were brought to a strange place, their identity erased, and were forced to be what their “owners” wanted them to be. Do you think the guy who “grandpa” is inhabiting wants to be a groundskeeper? Nope!
But think about this: all of these rich white people labor under the mistaken idea that they can steal someone’s accomplishments and talent just by stealing their body. Grandpa is running around in the dark every night trying to break Jesse Owens’ record. But did he? Was the guy he stole even a runner?! Because I guarantee, if you steal my body you are just stealing high blood pressure and scar tissue.
And think of all the talent that is being lost through this misguided theft. Logan (the new Andre) is not a jazz musician because Andre’s talent was in his BRAIN, not his fingers. Had the blind Jim Hudson been successful in stealing Chris’s body, he would not have been a successful photographer. He would have just been able to see how bad he sucked at taking pictures. Because CHRIS IS MORE THAN HIS BODY PARTS. We all are! How many poets, singers, dancers, writers, doctors, teachers, musicians were stolen from their homes and forced to work in the fields of (enter southern cash crop here)? And the bingo slave auction was SO appropriate because – once again – a white guy is auctioning off a black man that he never owned, to begin with. And the bidders at the auction are crazy for thinking they can just buy people in 2017. But wait – they did! And they had been doing it for seemingly decades. I wonder why none of the prior purchasers didn’t complain. Because they had to be disappointed with their purchase in the end. Why?
Because you can’t just jump in my body and be me. You can’t just get a tan and develop a rhythm. You can’t get some braids on the beach and then think you can cook jerk chicken.
And after the operation, they were still talentless, out of millions of dollars, and now they’re black. But, considering that most of these people were super old, maybe being black was better than dying. And they clearly had money to burn. At least the Japanese guy had the sense to ask the question of what it was like to be black in the US right now.
This mad scientist operation that they are performing on black people is the final boss level of cultural appropriation. They are stealing our very bodies and souls because they think that THEY can be us better than WE can. And in the process, they erase the very thing that makes us who we are. It’s Whole Foods collard greens. It’s Disney healthy gumbo.
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