On this day in comedy on October 6, 2000 Bamboozled was released by New Line Cinemas.
Written and directed by Spike Lee, this film is a satirical look at the world of degrading television programming. Damon Wayans plays a TV executive only his white boss doesn’t like his pro-black shows. The man, who spews black lingo liberally because he’s married to a black woman and has half-black kids, wants a true depiction of black people. None of that Huxtable nonsense. So Wayans gives him a show in blackface. He’s sure the idea will be rejected as ridiculous and he’ll be fired giving him the freedom to create meaningful programming elsewhere. Well, you guessed it – The Man loves the concept of tap dancing Negros and greenlights the entry immediately. Wayans is stuck.
A cast is now needed to make this travesty come alive. Tommy Davidson and Savion Glover play the two new stars of the show to be entitled, “Mantan: The New Millennium Minstrel Show”. Glover doesn’t mind the blackface, as long as he gets to tap. Davidson finds it offensive and once the show airs and the entire audience is in blackface he finds it even more so. Davidson quits, but not before gaining the wrath of a militant group who can’t stand cooning. So they kidnap Glover and with cameras trained on the tap dancer, assassinate him for all to see and remember. Wayans loses his mind and is shot for his crimes against humanity by his assistant played by Jada Pinkett-Smith. As he lay dying he has to watch a video left by Pinkett-Smith of degrading black images throughout America’s media history and how he has been one more brick in that building of disgust.
Bamboozled was released in a limited number of theaters and was critically panned. Budgeted at $10 million it earned $2,463,650 at the box office.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton
Check out this clip: