We Need To Have A Conversation About Pirating Black Films
Empowering black business starts with you.
A few opening disclosures:
Yes, I saw Get Out, yes Get Out inspired this piece and no, this is not another Get Out think piece (because we’ve all read enough of those already).
Pirating – the use or reproduction of another's work for profit without permission, usually in contravention of patent or copyright.
Last week on social media, many of my friends were discussing Get Out and the many layers of awesomeness therein — truly it was beautiful. But on almost every post or within most of these discussions, I saw someone say something to this effect: “Where can I watch it for free?” or “Who has a link for Get Out online?” While I’m glad everyone wants to join in the discussion, this isn’t the way to do it. Get out of your house and go to the theater, don't give fake support by watching the bootleg and talking about it with friends. Let's all give real support with our pockets so that more films such as this one can be created.
Last year folks made such a fuss about #OscarsSoWhite and the Oscars’ selection process, but both the nominee and winner selection process is problematic to some degree, so we aren’t helping when we pirate our films. I doubt the Oscars would be “so white” if the theaters were blacker. If more people supported black films we would see more Viola Davises, Lupita Nyong'os, Mahershala Alis, and of course, another Barry Jenkins. When they win, we all win. It’s a huge unifying moment only matched when any DJ anywhere plays “Swag Surf."
Let me be clear: I realize the glory of Kodi and I’m keenly aware that this is the age of the cable cutters like firesticks, Gboxes, etc.
I get it, no one wants to pay for anything they can get for free (I myself may or may not have one of the aforementioned devices). But I don’t suggest or condone anyone to use said device to watch a movie, especially a black film while it is still available to watch in theaters.
As it relates to the culture, when these films aren’t supported financially it directly impacts our people’s pockets. Let's consider the economics of piracy solely as it impacts Get Out. This is a movie with a black director in Jordan Peele, black actors and actresses, features an original soundtrack by a black composer in Michael Abels (who did his mf'n thing by the way), with black hair styles (I have no idea who did Georgina's hair or makeup for the film but I can promise you her name wasn’t Becky or Julie), and lets not forget that Donald Glover AKA Childish Gambino, blessed our ears with "Redbone" in the film as well. Now, I’m no mathematician, but I know a few things about economics. One pirated film may not seem like much but taken in the aggregate, it really matters. It is estimated that film piracy costs the Unites States economy about $25 billion a year and results in the loss of 375,000 jobs yearly. I pray that the butt of those burdens doesn't rest on the backs of blacks.
Moral of the story: just don’t pirate black films! If you’re local, I’ll go with you. Say it with me "I will support black movies."
Say it one more time and louder for the folks in the back of the room, "I WILL SUPPORT BLACK MOVIES!"