There are a few traditions that my family has during the Thanksgiving holiday. We travel, there is turkey, children are placed at a small and usually wobbly table, and NOBODY goes shopping on Black Friday. That’s right, my family has consistently refused to play their proper role in the resurrection of the economy by not going out for deals and shopping on Black Friday, usually we loaf around the house, watch movies or just visit friends and family. However this Black Friday will be different, we’re all going out, and we’re going to spend money. We will have the Blackest Friday of them all by going to see Rise of the Guardians.
What makes seeing a big budget cartoon movie with big names like Leonardo Di Caprio and Alec Baldwin a proper Black Friday activity? It’s not a purchase of a consumable good, it’s not helping some struggling business get back on it’s feet, so how does it help? It’s all a matter of how you are defining “Black Friday”. The name Black Friday is derived from the idea that the Christmas Season is when many businesses in America hope to finally get into the black (meaning profit). But what if you looked at the whole “Black” thing more generally? What if you spent this Friday spending money primarily on Black owned businesses or with African American salespeople? Or even better, spend your money on the first big budget animated film in American history directed by a Black man?
African American voices have become a staple of big budget animated movies for years; Eddie Murphy as “Donkey” for the Shrek movies, and Chris Rock playing Marty the Zebra (and the significantly less funny Queen Latifah in the interminably boring Ice Age movies). But despite the millions of dollars raked in by these movies every year there has yet to be an African American director of any of these films, until this Friday. Peter Ramsey is a long term storyboard artists and creative mind in Hollywood, having worked on films as wide ranging as Fight Club to Shrek. Tapped to direct the Rise to the Guardians this is not just a chance to bring a new franchise of kids films to the screen (the movie is based on the series of children’s books The Guardians of Childhood) but yet another chance of an African American to make history in an industry that is still all too difficult for people of color to succeed in based on talent and work ethic alone. Objectively the movie looks pretty interesting, a collection of childhood characters, from Santa Claus to the Easter Bunny to the Sandman and Jack Frost
If you’re interested in spending on Black Friday go out and do something legitimately black. Support a black business or service, but more importantly support a new African American artist. Take you kids, husband, wife, and zillions of nieces and nephews to Rise of the Guardians. Tell them that this movie was directed by someone who looks just like them. Trust me, it might not be as sexy as standing in line at 6 a.m. to get a cheap refrigerator at Sears but you’ll be having a much bigger impact on the long term economy.
This article originally appeared online at Politic365.com.