“You know, I grew up around black people my whole life. I mean, if the truth be told, I probably know n***** better than you. And don’t go getting offended by my use of the quote-unquote N-word. I have a black wife and two biracial kids, so I feel I have a right. I don’t give a Goddamn what that prick Spike Lee says. Tarantino was right. N***** is just a word. If Ol’ Dirty Bastard can use it every other word, why can’t I?” That’s a quote from Michael Rappaport’s character in Spike Lee’s 2000 film Bamboozled. “Why can’t I?” — the modern white man’s favorite refrain, a sort of mantra directed at a society that, now, allows for us to get away with just a little bit less than we have for centuries, and exactly the ethos that guides Jeremy Saville’s Loqueesha. This is a movie seemingly engineered to expedite the director’s YouTube monetization application, guided by the notion that there’s no such thing as bad press; it’s the product of a weak imagination and immense hubris, essentially an assemblage of all the usual white supremacist fears of non-white usurpation rendered in a faux-pragmatic voice, allowing Saville a fantasy of relevancy. Spike Lee’s Bamboozled warned against all of this with its depiction of a black development exec creating a modern day minstrel show, capitulating to his audience’s desire to be reassured of their believed supremacy via racist caricature.
The product of a weak imagination and immense hubris, essentially an assemblage of all the usual white supremacist fears of non-white usurpation rendered in a faux-pragmatic voice, allowing Saville a fantasy of relevancy.
It is the same sort of racist caricature that Saville has built his entire movie around — in this case, a sassy black woman rendered through vocal blackface. If there is any value to Loqueesha, it’s in its indication of the very very modest progress made in the media’s sensitivity towards matters regarding race, or more accurately, what elements of racism can be passed off as a valid perspective in a healthy discourse. One also imagines that nothing here is born from true maliciousness, but rather from Saville’s solipsism, a baffling assertion that he, a 40-something failed sketch comic, somehow has a firm grip on how to best navigate racial tension in modern America. Saville relies on all the usual means of proving his expertise on such matters: he saddles his character with a black friend who assists with the Loqueesha project, he sets himself up with a black love interest (confusing fetishization with transracial solidarity), and at one point puts a more overtly racist man in his place. This is all filtered through an aesthetic that could be described as ‘sitcom-y’ and the sort of wise-ass sense of humor one might associate with their divorced uncle. It’s almost amusing the degree to which Saville is hung up on the question of “Why can’t I?” when just about all of this movie, which is out of step with the times in almost every way, begs the question “Why would anyone?”
You can currently stream Jeremy Saville’s Loqueesha on Amazon Prime, unfortunately.