Watched this film - American Pimp - the other night, courtesy of Netflix. Feel like I wasted one of my 2-DVDs for the month.
I've always judged anything - books, music, film, art - by the way I feel when I've walked away. I don't mind feeling disturbed. Usually, when something disturbs me, it at least has made me think. Thinking is good. What I hate is when something disturbs me to the point of disgust, where I feel like a lesser (though maybe better informed) person.
"American Pimp" was informative, but it disturbed me in a very negative way. I felt like it re-enforced every negative thought I've had about certain types of people. Bolstering stereotypes is never a good thing.
As a woman, I felt sorry for my black and white sisters allowing themselves to be used by such inadequate men. The film never touched on what circumstances led these women to be with these low-life (yes, I'm about to say it) niggers.
Let me explain what I was taught the word "nigger" means: a person with a heart full of selfish darkness. My mother would tell me to respond to someone calling me nigger by asking how they knew anything about my character. Nigger is one of the ugliest words known to my mind, but I know that there are some people in every race, nationality and culture who gives the word it's usual meaning. For instance, there was a white guy (one) shown in the film. I know that some folks will say that he, as owner of a legalized brothel, was at least being responsible in his pimping duties. His "girls" had healthcare, made great wages and were allowed the right to refuse service. I say that, if the women working at his brothel had so much control, they wouldn't need a pimp. I think he just got off on owner's privileges.
The whole time I watched this film, I kept waiting to see something about the pimps - other than their selfish motivation for living life without ever punching a time-clock. The biggest confusion for me was - what the hell did they have going for them to entice women to work for them? They were not super-smooth talkers, or even that great-looking (except for one guy, Danny, who is the spitting image of one of my brothers, help me, Jesus) and they weren't especially articulate. Other than being personally in love with one of them, I just couldn't see being persuaded to do more than fix them a decent meal every now and then. If they were starving and begging on the streets. Maybe not even then, not with their attitudes.
If I even did want to give these guys any credit, I couldn't. I mean, if they were smart, they would be better organized and run their pimping more like a business. I heard one of them mention the lack of retirement and healthcare benefits. So... you're smart, soul-less and brazen enough to pimp women, but you're not smart enough to set yourself up for old age? (And don't tell me that I should look in a mirror. I never have worn enough gold or had a closet full of suits I could use to pay off a damn mortgage.)
I don't even want to get started on the fact that these so-called pimps actually have an annual ball. I'm being so serious. It's called the "Players Ball." I. wanted. to. cry. I was looking at this ridiculousness and thinking about how other people fought for freedom and equality and human rights, but no one is talking about them everyday. No one is making it accepted to be smarter, braver and more compassionate, but, boy, start calling someone a "baller," "player" or "shot-caller" and just watch the cameras flash.
Basically, this film was almost a total waste of the time and energy I spent watching. "Almost", only because it reminded me that not all men with this "pimp" mentality are out there putting women on the street. Some guys bring the same attitude and emotional depth (not!) into relationships, marriages and parenthood. Some women bring the "ho" attitude. And some people think this is cute or something. By the way, I'm not letting the women in this film go without some blame, but the focus was on the pimps.
Not to be sanctimonious about it - because I know that there are women who've not had my blessings - but I think I'd just rather be hungry than whored out. And, if I was going to sell myself, the only person I'd be feeding with the proceeds would be me. If I ever had to work the streets that way, I think I'd rather go the solo route: owner and operator, me.
"American Pimp" made me embarrassed to have 'American' in the damn title. That it focused almost entirely on black pimps just made me cringe.
I'm not wanting to knock the work of any film-maker (or any other type artist), but where is the worth in something like this?
I can't change that people know more about pimps, slutty celebs and anyone else who pisses on human potential but I can make my own wall of heroes.
- thegrio.com lists some unsung black heroes.
- Female philanthropists
- Other positive female role models
- Artists to know...
- ... And still more
- In business
- In technology
- Music not just by Jay Z or Miley
There are too many people on this planet trying to do something positive. I hope I never again waste a moment of my time watching something like "American Pimp."