In 2007, I named "What Black Men Think" the best documentary of the year in my annual Blacktrospective film feature. Now, Janks Morton, Jr. is back with "Hoodwinked," an equally thought-provoking sequel to his groundbreaking directorial debut.
This go-round, Janks again handles emcee duties in a project ostensibly designed to debunk a host of harmful stereotypes about African-Americans. He's helped in that endeavor by an impressive supporting cast comprised of esteemed luminaries like Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, Dr. Boyce Watkins, Dr. Steve Perry, Dr. Ivory Toldson, Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu, Dr. Joseph Marshall, Maniko Barthelemy and Kai Jackson.
The movie opens with a confrontational quote from Malcolm X, "Who taught you to hate yourself?" before Janks launches into a series of impromptu, man-in-the-street interviews where he asks brothers and sisters to name some positive stereotypes about black people. Most struggle to come up with even one, which prompts Dr. Hill to surmise that blacks have internalized white supremacy.
Next, Janks poses several questions to help highlight how some commonly-held, mistaken beliefs about blacks have left the bulk of the community brainwashed about itself. For example, he asks, "Are there more black men in jail or in college?" and the response he invariably gets is "in jail," which is totally erroneous.
He goes on to challenge more of the conventional wisdom about blacks on issues ranging from the high school dropout rate to the percentage of deadbeat dads to the ratio of females to males attending college.
Sadly, many African-American appearing here are "skeptical about any statistics that don't show blacks in a negative light" leading one of the experts to conclude that they must have "whitewashed minds." Overall, Hoodwinked serves as a sobering wake-up call that it's high time for blacks to unlearn self-hating propaganda and to "turn to each other" instead of "on each other," as suggested by Dr. Hill.
Here, here! The black community owes a debt of gratitude to Janks Morton for his continued commitment to raising African-American cultural consciousness.
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 87 minutes
Distributor: iYAGO Entertainment Group