"NO WONDER "Dreamgirls" got so embraced by Pop Culture!!"
It did powerful, White-Racism a lil' favor and *painted Blackfolk in a far more tumultuous light than that 'light' which they really existed under* according to Smokey Robinson, anyway;
Smokey puts film under fire
By Chris Lee, Times Staff Writer
UNLIKE so many cineplex offerings these days, the big-screen adaptation of "Dreamgirls" does not open with the tagline "inspired by a true story" — even if the movie and the smash Broadway musical that preceded it have done little to conceal their real-life inspiration: Motown Records supremo Berry Gordy and his management of Diana Ross and the Supremes in the '60s and '70s.
As the film has made its inexorable march through award season toward the Oscars, doing increasingly big business at the box office along the way, neither Gordy nor Ross have offered their opinions. But "Dreamgirls," which leads the field with eight Academy Award nominations, has roiled another Motown legend: Smokey Robinson.
" 'Dreamgirls' is an affront to Berry, to Motown, to Diana Ross, to our legacy," Robinson says. "It defames something we've been building for 50 years. And for a group of people who weren't there and don't know what went on at the time to come along and distort Motown — for people all over the world who don't know the true story — that's not acceptable to me."
The soul crooner voices anger at the filmmakers but also particular disappointment with "Dreamgirls" stars Eddie Murphy, Beyoncé Knowles and Jamie Foxx — performers he feels have lost sight of their African American cultural heritage.
"For them to depict as this shyster who was underhanded from the very first moment, paying people off, manipulating everybody and he's hooked up with the Mafia and doctoring the books at his house — that's unacceptable," Robinson explains in uncharacteristically heated tones.
Specifically addressing Robinson's displeasure with "Dreamgirls," the film's distributor, DreamWorks/Paramount, issued this statement:
"On behalf of the filmmakers, we would like to remind Mr. Robinson that 'Dreamgirls' is a work of fiction based on a Broadway play. We also take exception to Mr. Robinson's unwarranted attack on the cast of 'Dreamgirls,' who are all at the zenith of their careers."
The studio's piquant rejoinder notwithstanding, Robinson remains resolute that amends are in order. "Let them tell me why they depicted us in such a negative light," he says. "Berry Gordy broke down racial barriers and brought people together through music. He and Diana Ross deserve an apology."
1. "the film is kinder to motown than the play....." In response to Reply # 0 Wed Feb-07-07 09:30 PM by ms mimi diva
I would dispute that. The film is far kinder to the "Deena" character than the movie.
Alright-- I know. Who can dispute with Smokey Robinson? In all fairness, I think he missed the point. I took away from the film the pressure that black labels faced when trying to market their coveted "sound" in a world that wanted a different face. I think that made the characters a little more interesting. I understood why Curtis was Curtis. I didn't agree with it, but I understood.
I wish the film had allowed him to be a little gentler with Effie, and see more of the love. I think we would have had a more rounded character. Nobody should like Curtis at the end of the film, but they should respect the fact that he was just trying to play the game because he was forced to. That would make the final moment of the film, and the tragedy (selling your own soul) all the more heartbreaking.
I also know in a world sort of Black heroes we don't like to talk about their humanity, real or imagined, because it becomes an unfair liability.
It wasn't all about knocking the Berry Gordyish character for me. I don't need to see perfect suburban Love Jones blackness Big Chill Style 24-7. You know the type of movie that we all were excited about 10 years ago post Blaxploitation and Boyz in the Hood. Black characters that were only seen as positive if they were super wealthy, super smart, super educated, super moral for a film to super positively represent the Black experience. I think that super human characters are not any more positive than the awful depictions because they lack the ability to represent the depth and humanity of the Black experience. Yet I understand Why we have them. Because anything that is a "weakness" in us is unfairly magnified.
I actually have outgrown the need for positive to equal perfect in black characters. Who wants to see that? I do, however, need to see some growth. I need to see some complexity. I need to see a film that doesn't take the easy way out or make the characters caricatures.
http://worthwatering.blogspot.com Can it be I stayed away too long?/ Did I leave your mind when I was gone?/ It's not my thing trying to get back/ But this time let me tell you where I'm at-- Jackson Five