Last weekend I went and saw Get Out and by god did it stay with me. Now, I haven’t screamed at a scary movie since I watched Scream as a teenager but I legit yelped four times while watching it. The movie itself sets a mood of unease right from the start, not because it's a horror but because of the way it uses perspective to convey the experience of a black man just trying to live his life and the constant micro-aggressions he faces in a white-dominant space. Unsurprisingly this Fast Five is all about race and space. Goes without saying that there may be some spoilers so go and watch the movie and come back for a read later.
1. Another Round and For Colored Nerds
I’m sure I’ve written about these podcasts before but they’re two of my faves and regularly give me the lolz. Both of the podcasts dedicated episodes to this movie and provided a huge amount of insight into what it was like watching a horror movie told from a black man's perspective where he was also the victor. Jordan Peele was interviewed for Another Round and gave a bunch of background information to the movie. Both episodes also did massive dives into the complex narratives that the movie hinted at, they did not hold back on ripping apart white liberal racism and other such societal bullshit that conditions brutality against black people to happen. Highly, highly, highly recommend listening to both episodes.
2. The ending(s) and white liberal racism
Okay, I just gotta write about the fact that Jordan Peele mentioned in his Another Round interview that multiple endings were written (I can’t remember if they were all filmed) and how the time at which he was writing them there was a police shooting of a black man. One of the endings was going to have the protagonist be incarcerated for the killings in the house of horrors but he realised, after the real life killing, that he needed there to be some hope in the situation. This is something that great art can do, it can provide hopeful alternatives to a shitty world. But then you see Chris’ face at the end, he has survived but he doesn’t look like he feels like a hero. It’s a telling frame.
The white liberal racism point is talked about in the For Colored Nerds episode for how toxic it is and how it’s a kind of racism that allows people to think they deserve cookies for minimal effort. What was awful to watch was what the racism was a surface for: the calculated disembodiment of black people. There was an undercurrent of jealousy in the way in which these people's bodies were taken and a performative brutality in the way it was executed in that their bodies were taken but a sliver of their consciousness was left behind in a kind of eternalised torture. It was fucked up. Similarly, the way in which the photos of the zombified people were left for him to discover just showed the ways in which the crazy white family revelled in Chris' awareness of the situation.
Speaking of which: Fuck Allison Williams. She played the woke girlfriend so well and then the scene with her wearing that weird condom top and talking to Chris’ concerned friend Rod while her family stood around her to congratulate her on duping him? Just so yuck. I can’t write articulately about that. And the scene with the Fruit Loops and milk?! So arrogant in her approach to capturing black people by just googling basketball players while sitting in front of her trophy wall of past conquests. But it also shows the power of costuming and cosmetics in supporting the story. As soon as she revealed her true person to Chris, she tied her hair up and it remained that way for the rest of the movie, her clothes became a lot more clinical. She hardened.
I need to stop writing about this movie, it’s freaking me out again.
3. Say the ‘r’ word
I enjoyed reading this piece from Dr Arama Rata, the Māori spokesperson for MARRC (Migrant and Refugee Rights Campaign), about needing to come to terms with racism in Aotearoa for the betterment of race relations. She uses a beautiful metaphor to describe the insidious way in which racism, on the wave of colonialism, is perpetuated in this country:
“I never understood how colonization was ‘beyond motive’ until I had an epiphany watching my 2-year-old daughter at play. Lately she’s been copying her father, trying to swat flies. Despite being new to the world and endowed with a gentle nature, she has already come to see flies as utterly dispensable, with no inherent value. She’s learnt to swat them without knowing why. Her attitude towards flies has been formed. And with this attitude she doesn’t need a motive to eradicate them.”
Name it, do away with it.
4. Fricken Dangerous Bro
In the piece by Dr Rata, she mentions the affect that a teacher’s expectations have on their students which reminded me of this video from comedians Pax Assadi, Jamaine Ross and James Roque. They’re performing as part of the comedy festival and tickets are selling fast (I’m going! Like a real adult! To a show! It’s unheard of!) so get innnnnnn!
5. Equalise my Vocals
This is a series of interviews undertaken by Coco Solid and published on the Spinoff which looks at equality in the music industry. The latest is with a wahine Māori Punk musician Sarsha-Leigh Douglas who speaks about the way in which music has allowed her to carve out a space of tino rangatiratanga in the music industry. Douglas also wrote her Masters thesis on the topic and submitted it through Te Kawa a Maui at Victoria University which is endlessly incredible to me and indicative of the limitless way in which mātauranga Māori needs to be seen. I peeked at who her supervisors were, both of whom were instrumental in my time at the university, and damn it makes me want to study under them both again! Mana wāhine in so many ways in one short interview.
And because he had the best pose at the MET Gala, see your weekend out with Diddy: