Where Have All The Manly Men In Movies Gone?
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Where Have All The Manly Men In Movies Gone?

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Considering all the comments that Dan Simolke’s recent

piece about Anthony Mackie (HERE) has

gotten so far, and that S & A is all grown up now being four years old, I

thought maybe I’d go back and ask the question again from one of my earliest pieces.

That question being – where have the all the manly men gone?

It started with a

conversation I had once with one of my friends, and she brought to my attention

an article by the African American film critic Wesley Morris, while he was writing for The Boston Globe (and who is now writing

reviews for the website Grantland) about the lack of real, genuine, masculine men in movies nowadays, that are both American and under 40.

Think about it.

Practically all male movie stars that are both American

and under 40 are really just over-sized boys who maybe haven’t really grown any

pubic hair yet. They seem to lack a solid presence and, what I like to call, that “masculine weight”.

So my friend and I started to think about what well-known

established Black American actors could fill that bill, and I’m afraid, we

couldn’t.

O.K. sure Idris

Elba would be the first to come to mind, and he’s 40, the cut off

date. Then again, of course,  he’s a Brit

not an American.

Eamonn

Walker? Another Brit and he’s 50 years old. Chiwetel

Ejiofor? O.K. He’s 35 but, of

course, another Brit. 

C’mon there have to

be some Black American actors.

Will

Smith? Nah. First he’s over 40, and let’s be honest he’s never

struck me, or anyone for that matter, as

being a particularly “manly” man. 

Denzel? Well over 40. 

Jamie Foxx He’s 45. 

Anthony Mackie? He’s young enough. He’s 33, but he’s doesn’t have that “weight” I’ve

referred to. 

Don Cheadle? Over 40, and not exactly a “manly” man either. But perhaps

you feel differently. 

Morgan? Too

old. 

Samuel? Him too. 

Terrance Howard? Kevin Hart???? Are you kidding?

Maybe Chadwick

Boseman? Possibly, but he’s in

his late 30’s already, so time is running out.

(And notice I didn’t

bring up Tyler Perry, but do you really have to ask why?)

It’s a shame that if we need some masculine brothers in

the movies, the first inclination is to go to the U.K. because the pickings here are

real slim. Must be something in the water.

People who know me know that I’ve talk about this a lot.

Where are all the real masculine black men in the movies today? Where’s the

21st century Jim Brown? Whatever you

might say about him (and usually it’s women who have nothing kind to say about

Brown) you cannot deny that he was the definition of true, hard, black

masculinity back when he made movies.

So what happened?

Who in your opinion fits the bill? And NO rappers! I said ACTORS

Someone who actually acts

for a living, and not someone who does films because someone offered them a role, and still, even then, can’t show up on the set on time, knowing their lines.

Let’s face it, you couldn’t remake this film today… Are there enough black actors to convincingly play these roles?

Shadow and Act is a website dedicated to cinema, television and web content of Africa and its global Diaspora. With daily news, interviews, in-depth investigations into the audiovisual industry, and more, Shadow and Act promotes content created by and about people of African descent throughout the world.

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