The Portrayal of Young Black Men in Hollywood Films
Black Knight is a film starring Martin Lawrence which is a DreamWorks
production released in July 2002 by AOL Time Warner. DreamWorks and
AOL Time Warner are large companies that have achieved high levels of
recognition and status within the film industry. The fact it was
produced by two large companies connotes that it is a film with a
large budget so any special effects are likely to be impressive, and
have the ability to employ high budget actors/actresses which will
bring in bigger crowds.
The fact it is produced by a reputable company also means that the
film should not be discriminatory or prejudiced.
Black Knight is a text of the comedy genre but provides a mixed
representation of young black males, as it opposes the dominant
ideology yet also, eventually conforms to it. Martin Lawrence is shown
as different to everyone else repeatedly throughout the film, he is
then shown as the hero, but then this is taken away when he wakes up
and it was all a dream. This gives the impression that the only time
black people can actually be successful is in dreams.
The narrative follows Todorov's Narrative Theory and focuses around
Jamal (Martin Lawrence) who is employed in a menial job at a medieval
theme park. This is important as it shows black people to be employed
in jobs which take a low brain capacity.
Through a series of comedic events, Jamal falls into the moat while
reaching for a gold amulet. He is then transported by the amulet, back
into medieval times.
Jamal reaching for the gold amulet provides negative connotations as
it gives the impression that he is incapable of gaining wealth through
After Jamal has been transported back in time, he is very isolated
throughout the film, as he is the only black person and he is also the
only contemporary character. He does not know medieval ways and
customs and often appears ostracized.
One of the key scenes relating to the ideology of the text is when
Jamal wakes up to find the king's daughter has snuck into his room and
slept in his bed with him, but then the king walks in and blames Jamal
who is then ousted from the castle where he had worked his way up to
being a close advisor of the king, this is another display of black
people being portrayed as subservient.
Not only does this give connotations that black people cannot achieve
success without doing something wrong, but the fact the king is white
also gives subliminal messages that white people should have power
over black people. This scene shows black people as easy targets for
scapegoating. It also gives the impression that white people should
always be believed over black people.
Another key part of the film is the battle scene. This is the
penultimate scene and this is...