Talk show host Tavis Smiley has joined Spike Lee in condemning Quentin Tarantino’s hit film Django Unchained, and like the infamous auteur, he hasn’t even seen it.
“I refuse to see it. I’m not going to pay to see it. But I’ve read the screenplay, and I have 25 family members and friends who have seen it, and have had thousands of conversations about this movie, so I can tell you frame by frame what happens,” said Smiley in an interview with the Daily Beast.
In the same interview, Smiley calls out Tarantino for what he considers his “arrogance” and slams the filmmaker’s criticism of the legendary TV miniseries Roots.
In a previous interview with the Daily Beast, Tarantino said, “When you look at Roots, nothing about it rings true in the storytelling, and none of the performances ring true for me either.”
“It didn’t move me because it claimed to be something it wasn’t,”the director added.
Smiley also lamented the lack of commitment on Hollywood’s part to bringing a more historically accurate film about slavery to the big screen.
“I’m troubled that Hollywood won’t get serious about making an authentic film about the holocaust of slavery but they will greenlight a spoof about slavery, and it’s as if this spoof about slavery somehow makes slavery a bit easier to swallow.”
While Smiley stopped short of calling Tarantino racist he did call on African-Americans to “make some choices and some decisions about whether we continue to aid and abet Hollywood in the raping of our history.” Smiley’s remarks come on the heels of comedian Katt Williams’ threat to beat up Tarantino over the ubiquitous use of the n-word in the slavery themed film.
Still, Tarantino has several prominent black defenders in the industry as well.
“I don’t think Quentin Tarantino has a racist bone in his body,” Training Day director Antoine Fuqua told the Hollywood Reporter.
“Besides, I’m good friends with Jamie Foxx and he wouldn’t have anything to do with a film that had anything racist to it,” he added.
“Django Unchained has opened up the door so that we can be able to have more slave stories, and many different kinds of depictions,” said Soul Food filmmaker George Tillman Jr. told theGrio.
To date, the critically acclaimed film has grossed over $100 million at the box office and has been drawing black audiences to theaters in droves.