Alabama Porch Monkeys

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Alabama Porch Monkey: Relating back to old southern black slavery label black women who sat on porches and rock in rocking chairs with their black husband.

Beyonce’s Formation: My daddy Alabama, Momma Louisiana
You mix that negro with that Creole make a Texas bama

Watching Spike Lee in 2016 is a singular experience. Pretty much everything in his movies are still pointed and relevant today, a full 16 years later. What is the half-life of oppression? Prevailing schools of thought are harder to get rid of than blood, and that is their staying power – we can’t see the immediate evidence of them. Going back to the discussion about using satire to highlight issues brings us to an interesting place when we think about it in conjunction with Formation. Who is it satire to, and can we reach any other conclusions about what Spike Lee is saying? Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 1.11.36 PM.png

In this scene, Spike Lee chooses to highlight the white manager as he says “Every week, these two Alabama Porch Monkeys…” He is the face we look at, as everyone else’s back is turned, and the only other face we see is Sloan’s – who is also the only one wearing white in this scene so that she stands out. He chooses to bring attention to the non-blackness of the manager. He is surrounded by black people at the conference table, and surrounded by them on his walls. This man is not black is practically screamed at us. Why the cut to this particular shot on this particularly (once-offensive I would argue) offensive line? He is calling attention to the folly. These same people are the ones you have decorating your wall, the same ones ensuring you have a job, the same ones who’s ideas you rely on to build your network. He is calling attention to talent – and to Alabama Porch Monkeys. Like Beyonce, he is saying remember who you are.


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