Django Unchained wins over black audience despite Spike Lee criticism


Quentin Tarantino’s spaghetti western homage performs strongly at box office after mixed response from film-makers Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained is proving hugely popular amongst African American cinemagoers despite controversy over the film’s depiction of slavery and its liberal use of the “N” word.
Black people initially made up 42% of the audience for Tarantino’s blood-spattered spaghetti western homage, which was released in the US on Christmas Day, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Since then, the percentage of African Americans at screenings has fallen to around 30%, according to exit data.
The film, which stars Jamie Foxx as a freed slave who teams up with Christoph Waltz’s German bounty hunter to try to liberate the former’s wife from bondage, has received a mixed response from prominent African American film-makers. Director Spike Lee tweeted: “American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust. My Ancestors Are Slaves. Stolen From Africa. I Will Honor Them.” However Training Day’s Antoine Fuqua told reporters at the Hollywood film festival in Capri, Italy he did not believe Tarantino had “a racist bone in his body,” adding: “Besides, I’m good friends with Jamie Foxx and he wouldn’t have anything to do with a film that had anything racist to it.” He also criticised Lee for going public with his views, saying: “That’s just not the way you do things. If you disagree with the way a colleague did something, call him up, invite him out for a coffee, talk about it. But don’t do it publicly.” Tarantino’s film, which also stars Leonardo DiCaprio as vindictive plantation owner Calvin Candie, has also come under fire for its use of more than 100 instances of the “N” word. Samuel L Jackson, who appears in Django Unchained in the acclaimed role of “house slave” Stephen, refused to answer questions on the issue during a television interview with Fox Houston’s Jake Hamilton unless the latter first used the word in full himself. It proved a useful tactic: Hamilton was so embarrassed by Jackson’s demand that he ended up abandoning the question altogether.