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Elise Neal Says ‘12 Years A Slave’ Was Not Great

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Not everyone is on board with Steve McQueen’s Oscar buzz 12 Years A Slave. Critics have lauded the film for its performances, storytelling and cinematography, but actress Elise Neal is unimpressed.

“Everybody is talking about how great 12 Years of Slave was. No, it wasn’t great. I’m sorry. I was very disappointed,” she said in a recent interview with Erica Vain.

While she thought the acting and cinematography was great, she wasn’t here for the movie as a whole.

“As a woman who has been working for more than 20 years in this industry, from television to high budget films such as Money Talks to blockbusters with, I guess an audience of a million, like Scream 2, I have never seen so many films produced that are geared towards reminding Black people where their 'place' should be.”

“[...] Why do we need movies to remind us of where we used to be? I feel like, that’s not what we should be doing. We should be doing things to encourage us where we are right now. What we’re doing right now. What Black people’s lives are like right now. And if you are going to produce a movie that reminds us of where and who we used to be, TELL THE FULL STORY.”

Although Elise’s opinions were strong, her point wasn’t to bash the film. More than anything, she said she wants Black people to ask why Hollywood keeps telling the same stories of The Help,The Butler or of Blacks being slaves.

“I think it’s sad that a great film maker and a friend of mine, like Spike Lee has to even think about doing a Kickstarter to get a movie made in the right way with owning his own films. He is a legend in our game and he still deserves respect, you know what I mean? I just don’t understand that, I don’t. I don’t like it.”

Neal has a point. Where are the Black movies about Black people just living their lives? Why do the Black movies that receive the most acclaim have to be tied to Blacks suffering or overcoming in the face of injustice?

Is Elise on to something? Let us know your thoughts!

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