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#FUTURES: Tomorrow Idris Elba will be the Last Man Standing


There is some bad buzz around Pacific Rim on the web. I suspect the possibility of a giant robot movie being awesome is too much for some people.  The internet is full of dark corners, but until we see the movie we won't know the box office.  What we can tell right now is that Idris Elba is doing his part to make the movie a success. A standout performer, Elba has made a name for himself in countless productions.  He achieve wide recognition for his turn on the big screen in films such as Thor and on the small screen in the BBC's Luther.

Of course, the open question about actors of color in any film is whether not they will help or hurt the box office.  Will Smith recent disappointment with After Earth opens the door for this conversation. His lack of success sparks the question who will be the next "bankable" star of color.

There can be only one!

See what I did there:-) 

These sentiments reflect a Hollywood centric approach that ignores Nollywood and Bollywood. Indeed, After Earth's international box office was much better. Will Smith's star will continue to shine based on that reality. The rhetoric reflects an assumption about what audience in the United States want. While Fast and Furious 6 suggest diversity works, movie producers still worry.  Genre films have offered the opportunity for actors, regardless of race or gender to shine.  Here again, I see evidence of the cross narrative urban bleed leading to the kaleidoscopic point.  Genre films are associated with postmodern experience.  The assumption is that the future will bring a different social landscape growing from the contemporary tends. The future will not (cannot) be dominated by Eurocentic desire linked to Anglo-American perspective. Global growth makes this point a certainity.

Yet, the contextualize that reality with our established social landscape genre stories attempt a subtle cognitive synthesis. I am concern here with broad popular fiction intended for the mass audience.  Summer blockbuster are the perfect example.  These stories, whether utopian or dystopian tend to assume a colorblind society in the midst societal perfection or disruption. Theses visions assume a future state that somehow has solved broad social problems linked to identity. Whatever the failings, they don't harbor crass racial hatred.  The goal is a noble one and I am not dismissing the desire to have a society where identity is divorce from racialize assumptions.  When that day comes, I will thrilled.  The problem is that this imagine future both clarifies and distorts.  A fascination with a future state acknowledge contemporary deficits, but it also avoid talking about the mechanism to achieving the desired better future.  The future will be better we assume, but how we will make it  better is  unclear.  Will we create structure to monitor society and prevent past wrongs from being replicated?  If the Supreme Court's decision about the 1965 Voting Rights Act is an indication, the answer is no. We cannot, it seems, support policies designed to correct past wrongs beyond a certain point for fear of unfairness.  Are we to assume that the changing times will lead to lessening assumptions associated with race?  If the Pew Research Center's report on race is any indication, the answer is changes linked to race are constant and the result have powerful political and social impacts.

The future bears examination....

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