It's officially Election Day in the USA today (a day that many of you will cast your votes for the next president of these United States of America), and I thought we'd have some related fun and do some virtual, fictional Election Day voting.
In the history of cinema, there have been a few instances in which black actors have played the president of the USA on the big screen. And today, you, S&A readers, will cast your votes for which of those black presidents gets to sit on the S&A Best Fictional Black USA President throne.
That's right, it's a democracy over here at S&A, except there's no Electoral College; the winner of the popular vote will wear the crown; simple!
So, without further ado, here are your candidates:
– James Earl Jones in Rod Serling's provocative 1972 drama, The Man, as Senate President pro tempore Douglas Dilman, who suddenly becomes the first black man to occupy the Oval Office, when the President and Speaker of the House are killed in a building collapse, and the Vice-President declines due to age and poor health. Of course, his presidency causes controversy across the country, and Dilman has to prove that he's not merely a "caretaker of the office," but is actually an experienced executive.
– Morgan Freeman was president Tom Beck in the 1998 sci-fi movie Deep Impact. A comet is en route to collide with Earth, potentially signifying the end of the world. Who would you rather have leading the so-called free world? How about God… or an actor who also played God. A very presidential performance by Freeman as Beck; assured, authoritative, commanding. But, at least, unlike Douglas Dilman, the sitting president, Speaker of the House, didn't have to die, and the VP didn't have to decline due to age and health, for him to get into office. At least, we don't think so. He's already president when the movie begins.
– Chris Rock as presidential candidate Mays Gilliam in the 2003 comedy Head of State. An Alderman who is nominated only because he's expected to fail, since no one believed America would vote a black man into office. The movie ends with him winning the presidency, so we never actually get to see him be presidential and govern. But we are privvy to his campaign, which makes up much of the film; we know what he believes when it comes to key issues, like the role of government, family, etc. He initially gives in to dirty campaign politics, but eventually takes the moral highground.
– Terry Crews as president Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho (a former porn star and champion wrestler) in Mike Judge's 2006 scathing satire Idiocracy. The message apparently was only morons would put a black man in the White House. Given his credentials, probably not an ideal candidate to assume the job of president. But he's on the ballot!
– Danny Glover as president Thomas Wilson, in Roland Emmerich's 2009 sci-fi disaster movie 2012. In short, the planet faces near-total destruction in accordance with predictions made by Ancient Mayans, thousands of years ago. It's essentially a Noah's Ark movie for modern times. President Wilson was ready; he made plans in advance to ensure that human civilization continued after the event. Unfortunately for him, he doesn't live to see what his plan yielded.
I could put Tiny Lister in The Fifth Element on the ballot; but in that film, as President Lindberg, he's not president of the USA; He's president of planet earth. He doesn't really do much of anything in the movie anyway.
I also intentionally left out TV presidents. We're looking at big screen black presidents only. Are there any other big screen black presidents I've left out?
So there you have it citizens – your 5 candidates for the S&A Best Fictional Black USA President crown. Cast your votes now!
And, of course, don't forget to cast your votes for the REAL presidential election; today is THE day folks! And if you're confused about where to vote, you're encouraged to Text 877877 with your address and they will tell you exactly where to go!
As Samuel L. Jackson would probably say, VOTE muhfuggas!