Saturday, September 11, 2010

Black Girl Lost? Is Proenza Schouler's Film "Act Da Fool" Pathology Porn?

Here is a little weekend thinking project for you.

Proenza Schouler's faux documentary/fashionista art film, Act Da Fool has been criticized as sexist, racist, and exploitative of black women. After viewing the short film, I am unsettled by its omnipresent white gaze--especially given the overpowering Whiteness that is the fashion industry. But, I am more offended as a cultural critic and fan because Act Da Fool seems to be no more than a failed effort at Avant-garde, hipster, film-making.

What do you think? Is Act Da Fool another example of pathology porn in the Age of Obama (i.e. the Precious syndrome) or is it cutting edge, radical film-making that gives "voice" to young black women?


Cobb said...

I will assume (without bothering to view the video) that your question is appropriate and that they are accurate bracketing Scylla and Charybdis characterizations of the film. I suspect, therefore that both are true, and it's a hellish situation in either direction. "Voice"! Perfect.

Annette C said...

My first thought was that this was an interesting point of view, thinking it was created by Black people. But when I researched Proenza Schouler, I was disgusted. Their explanation of the film and their motivation to do it as explained on YouTube made this seem even more like a mockery of poor inner city people and Black women in general. Had this been a film by a Black person trying to shine a light on how hopeless they feel in their particular situation, I would have been able to identify w/the raw 'truths' and feelings they may be exhibiting. But instead it's 2 white guys filming Black teens prancing around suggestively dressed, pouring beer down their throats. Definitely not something to accompany 'fashion'. This is reminiscent of the late 80s/90s when white guys were trying to do 'gansta' rap and 'keeping it real' when they actually were from the suburbs.

Furthermore, the models in their shows look like death warmed over!