By now you may have heard of the Vue Cinema’s knee jerk reaction to ban the movie Blue Story amidst claims that 25 serious incidents had happened in 16 of its cinemas. Initially when I read this article I was stunned and quite confused by the decision. While I had not yet heard of the film or watched it, I was still perplexed. How many violent films have come out this year? Why was this film receiving such harsh punishment? Will the Vue have been quick to remove this film if it had been produced in Hollywood? If it was a Spike Lee or Quentin Tarantino? Are there other motives which led the Chief Executive of Vue to reach this decision? Andrew Onwubolu (Rapman), the director of the film Blue Story voiced his upset.
This decision recieved swift backlash and outcry from the community. I read the article, and thought to myself would they have reached the same decision if this was a film by a different demographic? No is the answer and I say this with all confidence and absolute VIM because in 2012 when the mass shooting occurred in Colorado, during the screening of Dark Night Rises, not one cinema anywhere either in the US or UK thought to ban the film. While the family of the those who lost their lives will inevitably relate their loss to the film, cinemas did not blame the film for the ill-fated event that occurred. I understand this particular example happened in America, nevertheless, the blame solely laid on the perpetrator who was later convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. Why then is this film being blamed for the actions of individuals who should not even have been able to see the film, on top of that the fights occurred during the screening of Frozen 2. The film is rated 15, so what were 13 and 14-year-olds doing there? Clearly this is due to the lapse of security at the cinemas and not the film. One thing this decision blares out is how as black people we are seen as a collective and not as individuals with minds of our own.
When foolish decisions like this are made it’s easy to point fingers and make judgement which are not necessarily pulled out of thin air per say but in this situation, I would like to take the time to digest some information. Is the Chief Executive racist, does he hold prejudice against youths, particularly black youth? I do not have the answer to this, but if you need an example of institutional prejudice/racism this is it. For arguments sake, let us take the view that the Vue took into consideration the current high knife crime rate, coupled with the 25 incidents and decided to ban the film, then would we say it’s fair? Honestly just writing this I can see how far I am reaching to make sense of it all. Is the Vue now cancelled? Personally, I am not here for this cancelling culture, it’s mostly talk and no action, people still shop at H&M, Kanye West Albums are doing fine, I could go on. However, this is the time for the Vue to look at its infrastructure and understand its make-up is due a makeover so that incidents like this do not occur in the future.
The cinema has decided to reinstate the film and ‘beef ‘ up security, which is really where the focus should have been from the beginning. They also denied that the decision had anything to do with race and maybe it didn’t; but the message I received from it, had to do with race even if it wasn’t the main factor, it played a part consciously or subconsciously. Situations as such highlight the importance for us to have a seat at the table. Because we can’t constantly have our hard work dismissed. And if we can’t have a seat at the table then we are going to carry on building a whole house and have several seats there.