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The Making of “Precious” pt.1

By ISHMAEL REED

“A niche market could be defined as a component that gives your
business power. A niche market allows you to define whom you are
marketing to. When you know who are you are marketing to it’s easy
to determine where your marketing energy and dollars should be spent.”

Defining Your Nice Market, A Critical Step in Small Business Marketing
by Laura Lake

One can view Sarah Siegel on “YouTube” discussing her approach to
marketing. During her dispassionate recital she says that she sees a
“niche dilemma,” and finds a way to solve that dilemma. Seeing that no one had supplied women with panties that were meant to be visible while wearing low cut jeans, she captured the niche and made a fortune. With five million dollars, she invested in the film Precious, which was adapted from the book Push, written by Ramona Lofton, who goes by the pen name of Sapphire, after the emasculating shrew in “Amos and Andy,” a show created by white vaudevillians Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll.

(Ms. Lofton also knows a thing or two about marketing.
Noticing theneed for white New York feminists to use black men as
the fall guys for world misogyny, while keeping silent about the
misogyny of those who share their ethnic back-ground, she joined
in on the lynching of five black and Hispanic boys,
“who grew up in jail.”She made money, and became famous.
They were innocent!)

When Lionsgate Studio and Harvey Weinstein were quarrelling over the rights to Push, which has been marketed under the title of Precious, about a pregnant 350 pound illiterate black teenager, who has borne her father’s child and is assaulted
sexually by her mother, Sarah Greenberg, speaking for Lionsgate,
said that the movie would providethe studio with “a gold mine of
opportunity,” which is probably true,since the image of the black
male as sexual predator has created a profit center for over one
hundred years and even won elections for politicians like Bush,
The First.

But politicians, the KKK, Nazis, film, television, etc, had done the
black male as a rapist to death. The problem for Sarah and Lionsgate
and her film company Smokewood, was to solve “ the niche dilemma,”
which they saw as selling a black film to white audiences (the people
to whom CNN and MSNBC are referring to when they invoke the phrase “The American People.”) An article in The New York Times ,2/4/09, reported on the confusion among the investors as they fumbled about for a marketing plan.

“The studio prides itself on taking on marketing challenges, but
“Push”…is one of the biggest to come along in some time, marketing
experts say. African-American audiences of all demographics could
wince at the film’s negative imagery. As films like “The Great Debaters” and “Miracle at St. Anna” have shown, a release labeled a black film by the marketplace — and

“Push” already has been — can be an incredibly tough sell to
mainstreamwhite audiences.

“Lionsgate already seems a little befuddled. On Monday the company
initially agreed to discuss the inherent marketing challenges. A few
hours later it backtracked, rejecting any marketing talk but saying
executives would be happy to speak broadly about their delight in
nabbing the movie. Before long that offer was also rescinded.”

Three standing ovations given Push’s test run at Sundance convinced
some of the business people that although white audiences might
decline to support films that show cerebral blacks, The Great Debaters, in which Denzel Washington plays the great black poet Melvin Tolson, or Spike lee’s Miracle at St. Anna, which shows heroic blacks, they would probably enjoy a film in which blacks were shown as incestors and pedophiles. White audiences continuing to give the film standing ovations and prizes and critical acclaim indicates that when Lionsgate’s co-presidents for theatrical marketing, Sarah Greenberg and Tim Palen said of Precious, “There is simply a gold mine of opportunity here, “they were on the money. It was Geoffrey Gilmore, director of the Sundance Film Festival, who enhanced the sales potential by providing the marketers led by Ms. Siegel with another selling point. In an interview he said that Push might hit “a cultural chord” because of all of the discussion about race prompted by the election of President Obama. It was after their cynical manipulative tying of a black president to their sleazy product that I wanted Sarah to change the name of her panty company from So Low to How Low.

Ishmael Reed is an award-winning novelist, author & essayist. He was born in Tennesse & raised in Buffalo NY and is a former journalist for the Buffalo Challenger. His next book “Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media: the Return of the Nigger Breakers” will be published in the Spring by Baraka publishers of Quebec. He is the editor of Konch. He can be reached at:
ireedpub@yahoo.com

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3 Comments on "The Making of “Precious” pt.1"

  1. Those boobs are big like DD

  2. Cup size of serena williams bothers me

  3. Very interesting. I have not seen the movie. I will see it in the near future. I understand what you are saying and it seems whenever “we” are seen in film in a negative way there are rave reviews. For example when Denzel W. played the the corrupt officer in Training Day. Didn't he win a Oscar for that! I love his actingand many of his movies but that was the movie I hated. I'll read on through the next parts of your review /comments. DS

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