THE BLACK COMMUNITY OF AMERICA AND ITS PURE PAIN
“You say you’re doing a study? What are you gonna study? How we’re bad ? We steal? We gang-bang? We’re all on drugs, right? We ain’t all like them assholes downstairs, you know. I just wanna raise my child good.”
-from the movie “CANDYMAN”
There are moments in life when we are simply amazed by certain books or movies. They do not need to be so highly performed in the eyes of critics perspective but they still might have something that wake our soul and address the crucial issues for some of us. Every book or movie has its own person and has some kind of unforgettable influence. When I picked up the newest version of the horror movie “The Candyman”, I thought it will be just a great evening entertainment with pop corns and not the analysis of the painful history and social circumstances of the black community in the USA. At least, I didn’t expect the lessons from such a kind of movie, but I found them there and it made me rethink some of my beliefs.
What is so interesting about this movie that is screened to follow the scary narration and not to work on our social intentions and cultural digestion of the injustice nowadays? I would say, everything is interesting because it is more a reflection of racial problem than a funny Friday choice for horror adventure. This movie is actually the portray of the urban myth about the enslaved black man who paid for his freedom to love the wrong person, the white lady. Yes, this is the terrible reminder what America used to have or still have, the polarization based on the B&W skin color.
Daniel Robitaille was the black man who felt in love with white woman in the period of time when that was prohibited. His father was a successful shoe manufacturer while Daniel himself has been awesome artist and popular painter that one day had a chance to make a portray of Caroline Sullivan, the moment when his destiny has been completely changed for a worse. Beautiful Caroline got pregnant with Daniel and her father has been ashamed and didn’t want to tolerate then betray of his daughter so he sent the angry mob to Daniel. That was the pure terror and if we try to describe the pain of young Daniel, we would need years. The echo of his suffering while the leashed mass cut off his right hand and smeared his body in the honey so the swarms of bees could come and stung him to the death. After the series of torment, Daniel has been set on fire and his innocent spirit has been sent to the eternity as the proof of white people arrogance and madness against the African Americans.
Not long after, suddenly, his tale has been turned into the underground myth and then into then creepy urban legend. If you say his name 5 times, he may come and get you, kill you and shed your blood like just they shed his blood. The name has been taken like the silent oath, on each corners and among different sub cultural categories, pushing the differences between white and black people to the limits. Those who have researched this matter and the meaning of his story for the American black community surprised that the people have some kind of dual and opposite feeling towards Candyman place in the black community. He is, at the same time, the creator and the destructor, the life and the death itself. He is the failure of African American society but also the protection of the world they have built. Candyman could save you but he could kill you, too.
How we can understand that relations ? Simply as the outcome of black- white antagonism that has been accumulated for years, after the Civil wars. The white people didn’t waste any chance to provoke the black one and target them as the social cancer. We just need to go back to the period when white kill black people just because some accused them to be around white women. The violation of their rights is never ending story that has a bloody roots. The complete historical overview of miscegenation laws bring us to the ban of interracial marriage and sex back to the time of the colonies. Those regulations have been on until Loving v. Virginia case and based on the article from History, the case was the following : “Loving v. Virginia was a Supreme Court case that struck down state laws banning interracial marriage in the United States. The plaintiffs in the case were Richard and Mildred Loving, a white man and Black woman whose marriage was deemed illegal according to Virginia state law. With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Lovings appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously that so-called “anti-miscegenation” statutes were unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment. The decision is often cited as a watershed moment in the dismantling of ‘Jim Crow’ race laws.”
Just one thought about this case made me almost sick. Poor people and their fates under such conditions. The world should celebrate differences and not pointing them as something negative and playground for rise of hatred. Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter, a couple from the town of Central Point in Caroline County, Virginia fought a lot for their love since they have been punished for being together. We are talking about America and not about some third land. Yes, the same America that is spreading the lessons about democracy is doing such a crime, terrorizing people for their choice in love based on the skin color. The Candyman is the symbol for injustice, pain, tears and society without compassion for those who do not look like the majority.
If we analyze our modern world, the differences are still not welcomed and if you do not fit in properly, they make you crawl or pay for being something else. The world has never been ready to accept multidimensional approach or multiculturalism. It is all fake even if they make big adverts of how being different is cool or amazing, you still can note how all is stinky, fake or it is simply staged to fit into the frame of open society.
I love America and Americans but only as the compact land and United society with all and awesome different parts. What I don’t like is the constant negative vibes that come from many edges of the polarized society that is not enough mature to work on healing the scars from past. You can still see the people from the mob that killed Daniel just for loving Carolin. You can still hear the people who silently call Candyman like the last shelter of their killed hopes to be accepted. All those BLM and quotes about B&W harmony aren’t the solution but the deep work on education and prevention of repeated Candyman fates in the many levels of system, starting with discrimination in professional or private background. Those people are real and so are their tales.
Don’t call Candyman, call your heart and soul to stand up for those people who are paying the whole price of unsettled American society and not healed colonial feelings.
One thought on “THE CANDYMAN: MOVIE, URBAN LEGEND OR INJUSTICE?”
Sarah’s provocative and poignant article induced me to consider the original author of the fiction that would result in the supernatural horror film ‘Candyman’ (2021)…
Personally, I am not fond of horror films, as there is enough tangible horror in the factual human world. Yet, I am interested in the psychological aspect of how writers are influenced to create shocking stories: horror has been used since ancient times (e.g. Hindus and Mesopotamians) to amuse and instruct people; such as Aztec myths. Horror remains a viable currency of social influence…
The film Candyman (2021) derives from a horror book series written by English author Clive Barker (born 1952). He grew up in Liverpool, and at age three he witnessed a traumatic event: French dare-devil Léon Valentin (1919-1956) was attempting a feat before a crowd of 100,000 in near Liverpool, and Clive Barker was present. There were problems, and the Frenchman plummet to his death from a plane, as his apparatus was broken and his parachute failed. Clive Barker would reference the Frenchman in several of his books.
In a literary influences context, Clive Barker was drawn to the writings of Edgar Allan Poe, Ray Bradbury, William S. Burroughs and William Blake, among others. Clive Barker was interested in spirituality and mythology, and studied philosophy and English Literature at The University of Liverpool.
While commencing his writing career (i.e. adolescent years), he made the decision to supplement his meager income by becoming a bisexual prostitute: his homosexuality would become more so established later on, as it was illegal in Britain until 1967. This experience influenced his perceptions of the human psyche, as well.
Ostensibly, there were many other influences in the childhood psyche of Clive Barker that led him into writing horror fiction, and he continues to be influenced (e.g. Modern Art)…