In 2017, the online magazine Very Smart Brothas listed their Top 10 Blackest Moments of the Year. Their Number 7 was my Number 1. A brother had converted a file cabinet into a barbecue pit. It was far and away by a hundred country miles easily the blackest thing I’d seen in 2017. (Warning: cursing in the video below. It’s hilarious though.)
In 2018, “Black Panther” was the clear blackest winner of the year. I don’t need to explain why. Watch it and understand.
“Dolemite is My Name” is the winner of Number 1 Blackest Thing I’ve Seen in 2019. It’s a Netflix original movie about comedian Rudy Ray Moore aka “Dolemite.” Why is it my Number 1? Because the foundation of Moore’s humor is African-American folklore. Yes, his humor was X-rated. Imagine if Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx had a baby. The dirtiness and cursing was part of Moore’s appeal.
Moore’s comedy was rooted in The Dozens, a game of spoken words between two contestants, common in black communities of the United States, where participants insult each other until one gives up. It is customary for the Dozens to be played in front of an audience of bystanders, who encourage the participants to reply with increasingly egregious insults in order to heighten the tension and, consequently, make the contest more interesting to watch. –per Wikipedia. (Growing up in Detroit, Michigan, we called it “joning.”)
Moore’s Dolemite persona was so dirty, no one would record his comedy albums. He recorded his first three albums in his apartment in front of an invited audience.
No one would promote his comedy albums nor play them on the radio, so he distributed them himself.
Nobody would finance his first movie, “Dolemite,” so he did it himself with $100,000. The movie made $10,000,000 and was one of the top grossing movies of 1975. Moore made seven more movies.
Rudy Ray Moore’s popularity was contained within the black community. With his unique rhythm, rhyme and persona, he is considered the Godfather of Rap. Moore died a multi-millionaire in 2008 at the age of 81.
Enter Eddie Murphy. He always wanted to produce and star in a movie about Moore, which no one wanted to make because they (read: studio executives) had never heard of Moore. Enter Netflix.
Murphy and Netflix are a marriage made in Heaven. This movie is fantastic! Finally! A movie worthy of Eddie Murphy! A brother is on top of his game. Watch the trailer and you’ll see what I’m saying. A larger than life comedian needed to play another larger than life comedian. It’s clear that Murphy was having the time of his life. I hope he gets award nominations for this role.
“Dolemite is My Name” starts in 1970 when Moore was a struggling showman working at a record store and ends at the premiere of his first movie in 1975. To watch the rise and continued rise of Rudy Ray Moore is wonderful. I wrote that its the blackest thing I’ve seen this year. It’s also a uniquely American tale of never giving up on your dreams. Moore had been in the entertainment business since 1955. To see this brother succeed, against all odds, was heartwarming.
And it’s hilarious! This is Eddie Murphy, y’all! The supporting cast are Mike Epps, Titus Burgess, Craig Robinson, Da’vine Joy Rudolph, Keegan-Michael Key, T.I., Wesley Snipes, Snoop Dogg, Chris Rock, and Emmy winner Ron Cephas Jones (This is Us). Ruth E. Carter, legendary costumer designer and Oscar winner for her costumes for “Black Panther,” created the costumes for this movie. Her designs are fantastic and she deserves some nominations too.
Rudy Ray Moore once said: “I wasn’t saying dirty words just to say them… It was a form of art, sketches in which I developed ghetto characters who cursed. I don’t want to be referred to as a dirty old man, rather a ghetto expressionist.” Moore influenced countless rappers and comedians. “Dolemite is My Name” is a worthy homage to Moore and a comeback for Eddie Murphy.
I loved it. 10 out of 10 Mocha Angels.
Up next on Holistic Saturdays: An update to my “no watching TV nor internet surfing while eating.” Saturday, November 30.